Teresa Hanafin writes the “Fast Forward” feature for the Boston Globe:


It’s been a little difficult to keep up with the Republicans’ changing defenses of Trump:

He did not pressure Ukraine to find dirt on the Bidens.

Okay, so he did, but there was no quid pro quo.

Okay, so there was a quid pro quo, but that’s not why he held up the military aid.

Okay, so that was the reason he held up the aid, but it was because he worried about overall corruption in Ukraine.

Okay, so we can’t find any examples of when he cared about corruption, but but but …

I was ready to give up, and then celebrity defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz got up at Trump’s impeachment trial and you know, the guy never disappoints. He gave a breathtaking defense of Trump’s efforts to coerce a foreign government to smear his top political opponent, telling the senators that if the president believes that his reelection is in the national interest, then he can do anything he wants to fix the election. His words:

If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.

I seem to remember a previous president saying, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

Several observers have said that they wish the Democrats would ask a logical question: Why would a US president ask a foreign government to investigate a US citizen, subjecting that citizen to a foreign court, especially if he believes that country is one of the most corrupt in the world?

As former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa has written, “Having a U.S. citizen investigated by a foreign country is not ‘foreign policy.’ It is actually against our normal practice, which is *not* to subject our citizens to foreign courts, where we don’t know that they observe our rights and due process guarantees.

“We need to stop this ‘foreign policy’ nonsense. There is no *U.S. national interest* in an individual citizen being prosecuted abroad — especially when those interests are expressed in laws passed by Congress and can be prosecuted here.”

In other words, when Trump suddenly felt the impulse to look into the Bidens and Ukraine — not at any time in 2017, and not at any time in 2018, but only when Joe Biden started running for president — why didn’t he ask our Justice Department or the State Department to investigate?

A question from GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska highlighted Trump’s dubious timeline: Did Trump ever previously mention the Bidens and corruption to former Ukrainian presidents, or other Ukrainian officials, or to any of his Cabinet members, or to any of his aides, or, in fact, to anybody?

And Mitt Romney of Utah asked for the specific date when Trump ordered the hold on military aid and his rationale. Trump’s lawyers dodged both questions, essentially refusing to answer.

There’s another very disturbing thing going on: Senator Rand Paulof Kentucky wants to publicly reveal the name of the person he and other Republicans think is the whistleblower by asking questions that contain her/his name. Chief Justice John Roberts has warned the Republicans to stop, but Paul says he’s going to keep trying because intimidation and threats is SOP in Trump’s GOP. Let’s be clear: The person assumed to be the whistleblower has received death threats. Death threats.

Let’s see what happens when questioning resumes at 1 p.m. today. Tomorrow, it looks like Mitch McConnell and the Republicans will refuse to gather more information and vote to acquit Trump.