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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine sat before a Congressional committee on Tuesday and apparently provided “damning” testimony as part of an impeachment investigation into President Trump. From the Associated Press:
Former U.S. Ambassador William Taylor, a diplomat who has sharply questioned President Donald Trump’s policy on Ukraine, has provided lawmakers with a “disturbing” account of events at the center of the impeachment probe , Democrats said Tuesday.
Lawmakers emerging after the early hours of the private deposition said Taylor had given a lengthy opening statement, with a recall of events that filled in gaps from the testimony of other witnesses. They said Taylor kept records at the time of conversations and documents.
“The testimony is very disturbing,” said New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., used the same word. Asked why, he said, “Because it’s becoming more distinct.”
Taylor’s appearance is among the most watched because of a text message, released by House investigators earlier in the probe, in which he called Trump’s attempt to leverage military aid to Ukraine in return for a political investigation “crazy.”
Meanwhile, President Trump is now comparing impeachment proceedings to a “lynching,” and Republican elected officials such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are even defending the statement. Trump’s history of racist remarks leaves little doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing in using the word “lynching” today.
As Aaron Blake writes for The Washington Post, it’s now “every man for himself” in terms of Republicans and their continued support for President Trump.
► Some Democrats think that impeachment proceedings might take longer than initially expected — in large part because witness testimony continues to reveal new concerns. From CNN:
“Every time we have a deposition, it leads us in a slightly different direction,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who sits on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, two of the three panels leading the investigation, said Monday. “We don’t know how many additional pieces of testimony we may need. We just don’t know.”
The challenge facing Democrats: They want to conduct a thorough investigation, but prolonging the probe will continue to consume Washington — and risks bumping into the presidential election season if proceedings drag into the new year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is leading the probe, both have refused to put a specific timeframe on the investigation.
► The editorial board of the Pueblo Chieftain smashed a failed effort to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia:
Dave DeCenzo, a volunteer for the recall effort, said more signatures were collected, but the group didn’t want to reveal them for fear the signers might be “doxxed” — that is, have their private information revealed on the internet.
To butcher Shakespeare, wethinks he dox protest too much. If the group had produced enough signatures to qualify a recall for the ballot, then those names would have become a matter of public record, anyway. So this alleged concern for the privacy of the petitioners sounds suspiciously like a convenient cover story to mask the group’s failure.
And we’re glad the group’s efforts not only failed, but failed so spectacularly. We can laugh about this now that it’s over, but what the anti-Garcia group was attempting to do was no joke.
Garcia was elected to a new term in office just last year with a commanding three-fourths of the total votes cast. Between the time he was re-elected and the recall campaign was launched, he did nothing that was inconsistent with his stated beliefs or campaign promises.
An editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette on Monday opened with a familiar lede: “No money could buy for Colorado Democrats the gift Republicans handed them in 2019.”
As Jason Salzman writes for the Colorado Times-Recorder, media outlets should take a lesson from recall mania and act more skeptical of unsubstantiated claims in the future.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has always said that he would not take positions on state issues because of his status as a federal elected official. So, naturally, Gardner wrote an Op-Ed opposing Proposition CC that ran in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast and find out if you can do better at “Duke or Donald” than our guest contestant.
Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)