Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, Professor. Nov. 20, 2019 1 min read

The only Republican defense remaining—and understand that by LAW it's NOT A DEFENSE—is that it was in fact legal for President Trump to knowingly condition official U.S. acts on acts by foreign actors that personally benefitted him and were not tied to the U.S. national interest.

1/ There'll NEVER be a valid claim that falsely exculpating Russia of 2016 election interference—by pursuing new conspiracy theories—was in the national interest. There'll NEVER be a valid claim that investigating one Ukrainian company equated to to Ukraine "fighting corruption."

2/ The GOP defense of Trump ended today. There's no longer even a conceivable coherent defense. All they can say now is the law doesn't apply to Trump. That's what they're left with. I honestly have no idea where they go from here except to openly promote administrative nihilism.

3/ By the way, Mr. Sondland's claim that he would have preferred not to work with Giuliani is broadly credible. Who *would* want to work with him? It seems clear that the Ukraine shakedown was a Trump-Giuliani-Pompeo joint that dragged into its wake a dozen or more other players.

4/ Even so, Sondland, Volker, Perry, Johnson and Mulvaney absolutely *had to know* that what they were doing was wrong. There's no colorable claim to be made—by any of these men, at the time or now—to suggest that U.S. foreign policy can be conducted via acts of criminal bribery.

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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