The public hearings in the impeachment inquiry have been quite devastating for Donald Trump, but Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony was especially brutal. As former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explained, Sondland has effectively destroyed every White House defense: “Trump didn’t care about Ukraine; there was a quid pro quo; Trump & Rudy demanded the announcement of investigations; everyone was in the loop; Ukraine knew about the linkage; all was directed by Trump.”
It’s against this backdrop that the president – you guessed it – claimed exoneration.
President Donald Trump claimed that testimony E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland gave in the House impeachment inquiry, exonerated him, saying that “it’s all over.”
Addressing reporters as Sondland publicly testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Trump recounted a conversation he had with the ambassador and claimed that, “I just noticed one thing and I would say that means it’s all over.”
Obviously, no one could seriously believe this, but what I find amazing is the larger pattern: the boy who cried wolf has been replaced with the president who cried exoneration.
Trump then said the Justice Department inspector general’s office had “totally” exonerated him in the Russia scandal. That was both wrong and kind of bonkers.
He then claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee had also exonerated him in the Russia scandal. That also wasn’t true.
After Michael Cohen’s public congressional testimony, Trump said his former fixer exonerated him. In reality, what Cohen testified was that he didn’t have any direct evidence of cooperation between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign, though Cohen added that he believes Trump is “capable” of having committed the crime.
Obviously, it’s impossible to see Sondland’s sworn testimony as being good for the White House, but with a track record like Trump’s, he shouldn’t be disappointed when no one believes him.