The opening statements from Bill Taylor and George Kent this morning were devastating to the President because of the two career diplomats' stature and the powerful way in which they delivered their remarks.
It’s almost impossible to dispute that there was a deal on the table that would trade the release of aid to Ukraine for Ukrainian investigations that would help Trump win the next election. It’s indefensible behavior on the part of the President and I doubt Republicans will spend a lot of time trying to defend it.
Perhaps the most significant testimony, though, was about US foreign policy. Both Kent and Taylor warned against abandoning our commitment to Ukraine as an important strategic ally. To do so would be the latest example of the President tilting US foreign policy in the direction of helping Russia at the expense of our traditional allies. Whether it was Trump's servile turn at the Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin last year, or his abandonment of our Kurdish allies in Syria or his trying to bully our allies into readmitting Russia to the G-8, the message has been clear.
Both Kent and Taylor make the important point that it’s not just abuse of power, it's the reorientation of US foreign policy toward Russia and against America's national interests.
Joe Lockhart was White House press secretary from 1998-2000 in President Bill Clinton's administration. He co-hosts the podcast "Words Matter."