The day that Donald Trump has been waiting for (and whining about) has finally come. It's the day that marks the commencement of his Fox News Legal Team's presentation of his case against removing him from office now that he has been irrevocably impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Of course, everyone has already heard the case that Trump's lawyers will be making. They have been making that case relentlessly on Fox News for weeks. The case that Fox viewers haven't heard is the one by Democrats. That's because Fox News chose to shield their snowflake viewers from any exposure to reality. Instead, they aired their own regularly scheduled, Trump-fluffing programs during prime time rather than the Senate hearings. They even admonished their viewers not to watch the hearings at all because Fox's shills would watch for them.
To no one's surprise, Trump's defense was littered with familiar lies. His White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, led off by falsely characterizing the House impeachment hearings, saying that Democrats "lock[ed] everybody out of it from the President's side." In fact, Democrats invited the White House to participate, but the invitation was rejected in a letter from Cipollone himself. And all Republican members of the three committees holding hearings — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — participated and were given equal time.
Following Cipollone's flagrant fictionalization of events, his deputy, Mike Purpura took center stage with what he said were the "six key facts that have not, and will not, change." (video below) Let's take a look, shall we?
FIRST: "The transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything."
Actually, there has been no transcript released, only a memo purporting to summarize the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. And in that memo Trump is plainly seen to condition aid with a demand that Zelensky "do us a favor, though." Trump then stated his interest in a conspiracy theory about a a Democratic computer server, and the Biden family. There was no discussion of corruption whatsoever.
SECOND: "President Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything."
In fact, Zelensky had to be careful not to upset Trump at the risk of losing the aid. You can't ask a hostage if he's under pressure and expect a candid answer. Zelensky told an interviewer that he didn't "want us to look like beggars." Then went on to say that "If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying." What's more, Trump himself confessed on national television that he did condition aid on a demand that Zelensky help him smear Joe Biden. When asked directly what he hoped to get from Zelensky, Trump said "I would think that if they’re honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens."
Third: "President Zelensky and other high ranking Ukrainian officials did not even know the security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July 25 call."
Not according to the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister who said that Ukraine was aware of a U.S. freeze in military aid as early as July.
Fourth: "Not a single witness testified that the President himself said that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else."
Not true. Several witnesses (i.e. Gordon Sondland, Alexander Vindman) said that Trump had made a such a connection. But if Trump's attorneys are concerned that there wasn't sufficient testimony from first-hand witnesses, then why is Trump prohibiting staffers like Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, etc., from testifying? Why would he block testimony from those he says would exonerate him?
Fifth: "The security assistance flowed on September 11, and a presidential meeting took place on September 25, without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations."
What Trump's team isn't saying is that those things occurred only after he got caught. They were an attempt to paper over his criminal behavior after the fact.
Finally: "The Democrats blind drive to impeach the President does not, and cannot, change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats' own witnesses, that President Trump has been a better friend and stronger support of Ukraine than his predecessor [President Obama]."
You can hardly call threatening a country with the loss of critical military aid during a war as "friendly." And even if there were cursory signs of friendship, that doesn't excuse Trump's unlawful behavior. Furthermore, Trump has been a far better friend to Vladimir Putin and Russia, the country that is invading and annexing parts of Ukraine.
If this is any indication of how the Trump defense is going to go as it proceeds through next week, we are in for some hefty heapings of falsehoods and misdirection. They haven't even even gotten to the Bidens yet, as Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow promised to do. But rest assured, that will come. And the whole of the Trump defense will be built on distortion and deception. But that's only because they can't defend Trump on the facts.