Washington It was a week of disgust for Donald Trump – and the coming should not be easier for the US president. The public hearings in Congress as part of a possible impeachment process did not provide clear, compelling evidence that Trump had abused his office.
But the testimonies painted a picture of a president who unscrupulously tried to discredit his democratic challenger Joe Biden with Ukrainian help. The image of a president who obviously does not shy away from risking US security interests. The image of a president intimidating a top diplomat and recalling it under adventurous conditions.
"Everything Yovanovitch touched" had turned "bad," the president tweeted, while the former Ukrainian US ambassador testified before the intelligence committee. Adam Schiff, Democratic Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, called this "witness intimidation in real time."
In addition, the defeat of the Republicans in two governor elections reinforce the doubts of Trump's self-created nimbus of the "winner". In Louisiana, Democratic Governor John Edwards won the weekend.
The president had declared the election to vote on his policy – and campaigned for the Republican opponent. But Eddie Rispone lost – albeit with 49 percent very close. In early November, the Republicans had lost in Kentucky. At the time, Trump had campaigned for Republican Matt Bevin the night before the election – in vain.
Far more threatening for Trump are the developments in the impeachment investigation. More witnesses will be interrogated this week, including US Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Recordings of former employees
The president is increasingly cornered. On Saturday, the House of Representatives' intelligence committee released transcripts of interviews with former National Security Council member Tim Morrison and US Vice President Mike Pence staff member Jennifer Williams.
Both expressed concerns over attempts to urge the Ukrainian leadership to pressure political investigations against Trump's rival. Morrison and Williams had testified a few days ago in Congress when the hearings were not yet public. Both had overheard the telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodimir Selensky on July 25, which is at the center of the Ukraine affair.
In the conversation Trump Selenski had encouraged investigations against the son of his democratic rival Joe Biden. Trump accuses Biden of attempting to protect his son from Ukrainian justice in his previous role as vice president. Hunter Biden was employed by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma until April 2019.
Williams called Trump's call for such specific investigations in the telephone conversation with Selensky "unusual" and "inappropriate." She said, "For me, that gave rise to possible other motives behind the reluctance of military aid."
Morrison emphasized that he had found nothing illegal in the conversation. But he had been concerned that content of the phone call could reach the public. He also said that the temporary suspension of military aid to Ukraine was linked to the Kiev authorities publicly announcing investigations into Burisma.
Ambassador Sondland had told him that. He had a lot of direct contact with Trump, Morrison continued. "Sondland believed and told me at least that the President gave him instructions."
Acquittal in the Senate is possible
The question of whether the president clearly used $ 400 million in US military aid to Ukraine to bring about the desired investigation is crucial to the process. It is likely that the House of Representatives will bring charges where the Democrats have a majority.
Equally likely is a subsequent acquittal in the Senate, where the Republicans make the majority. Many a Republican senator will doubt whether, given the gravity of the allegations, it is not a civic duty to vote against the president. But for the two-thirds majority required to convict, 20 Republicans would have to switch sides. That hardly seems possible. The Democrats know that too.
Their goal is first to win over public opinion in order to increase the pressure on the Republicans. The current survey values show that something has moved, but not enough from the perspective of the Democrats. According to recent surveys, 48 percent of the surveyed US citizens support the impeachment process. 45.6 percent are against it.
The Democrats should at least pull the undecided on their side – then they could claim that a majority of citizens are behind the Impeachment. In July this year, when speculating about impeachment in the context of the Russian affair, 50.6 percent of respondents were against impeachment.
There will be a Thanksgiving break after the hearings this week. In the first or second week of December will be voted on the charges. The final vote in Congress on the impeachment would then be on 16 December – a week before Christmas. It will be exhausting weeks for the president.
The physical conditions to get through this, Trump apparently: After a routine health check, the president tweeted on Sunday: "Everything is very good". A spokeswoman reiterated: "healthy, energetic and resilient" is the president.
More: Donald Trump had actively supported his party colleague in the election campaign. He thus continues to come under pressure during the ongoing impeachment process.
(t) Trump (t) Impeachment (t) Ukraine (t) Senate (t) Republican (t) Donald Trump (t) President (t) Election Campaign (t) Ukraine Affair (t) Head of State (t ) Election (t) Domestic Policy (t) Democrats (t) Burisma (t) Donald Trump (t) Gordon Sondland (t) Volodymyr Selenskyj (t) Joe Biden (t) Hunter Biden