..was the culmination of contemptuous confrontations the Trump administration has been provoking with Congressional Democrats for almost three years.
Something had to give.
That something came later that night, in the form of a Washington Post scoop about a whistleblower complaint from a member of the U.S. intelligence community about a promise Trump had made to a foreign leader. Then, on Thursday evening, the Post reported that the country involved was Ukraine. From there, it didn’t take long to piece together what happened, capped off with confessions from both Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuiliani, the bagman for the operation: Trump had demanded that in exchange for U.S. aide, the new Ukrainian prime minister investigate links between then-Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and a scandal that involves the firing of a prosecutor and a natural gas company, on whose board Hunter was paid handsomely to sit.
The affair itself is not what it appears. By getting the prosecutor fired, Biden probably hurt Hunter’s company more than anything, but it looks bad enough. Indeed, Hunter Biden had no skills to offer the natural gas company other than his appearance of an ability to influence his father, whether he did so or not. Trump clearly saw leveraging it as to his advantage in the 2020 election.“It’s going to be a brutal weekend for a lot of people, especially those who haven’t spoken for impeachment.”
The news had landed like a bomb in a Democratic caucus that was already ready to explode. Calls to impeach Trump rained down from the party’s left flank and its presidential candidates. On Friday evening, Democrats were bracing for a backlash back home. “It’s going to be a brutal weekend for a lot of people, especially those who haven’t spoken for impeachment,” one Democrat predicted.
Indeed it was. Democrats, including frontliners, spent the weekend furiously texting and calling each other as they worked through how to respond to Trump’s latest lawlessness. “People are pissed,” said another Democrat over the weekend. “Frontliners are pissed! And not even the ‘progressive’ frontliners either.”
Pelosi didn’t seem to understand the shift that was taking place under her feet. Reporter John Harwood asked an aide to Pelosi over the weekend if the news changed her calculus on impeachment and got back the reply: “no. see any GOP votes for it?”
Jon Favreau, a speechwriter for President Barack Obama who now serves, from his perch at Pod Save America, as something of a tribune for the volunteer-resistance army that phone banked and door-knocked Democrats into the majority, was apoplectic. “This is insane,” he said. “This is pathetic. This is not what we worked so hard for in 2018.”
By Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi was calling for impeachment proceedings to begin.
Ryan Grim tells the story of the last few days at The Intercept: I realize this post looks like the whole thing — but it isn’t. I just added the tag “impeachment” to this blog.
While you are reading, here is Public Seminar‘s Jeff Isaac on the whistleblower who got it all started.