That delayed the hearings by a few hours. Also, about a dozen of those charging Republican elephants were on one of the three committees conducting the inquiry, meaning they already had access to the room. But that’s not my point.
For the last couple of days the President has been Tweeting that Republicans in Congress should stop criticizing the process and start defending him on the substance – meaning defend him against coming impeachment articles of abuse of power among other things, including that call with the Ukrainian president that so many now have testified about, confirming what the whistleblower said.
Here the Republican flock hesitates a bit because they don’t want to defend him on the substance, likely because many believe he has abused his office but they fear him.
This week, a decorated military man who is still serving took to the witness table before the impeachment inquiry testifying to behavior by the President that compromised national security. In response, the President and many in his Republican chorus criticized the colonel (who was criticizing his commander-in-chief - a huge deal). They called him an immigrant and implied his loyalty was to his birth country, Ukraine. He also is Jewish and to many Jews this “loyalty to another country” is a trope used against Jews for years because the anti-semitic trope implies Israel is their home country.
So, there are Republicans taking up the President’s knee-jerk instinct to attack anyone who crosses him.
Will the Republicans defend him on the substance?
Well, likely most will, yes, because they fear they will lose election if they cross Trump. Trump is the mafia boss in this scenario, and you don’t cross a mafia boss, ever.
All presidents, whichever party, want loyalty from their party’s members in the House and Senate. But none to the degree that Trump demands it. Literally blind loyalty because they have to trust he's telling the truth, something he has a bad record on. Cross him and his people find an acolyte to oppose you. Criticize him and you are attacked as an enemy of his.
Look at the record. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized Trump during the 2016 campaign in no uncertain terms. But Graham has come to heel at Trump’s knee. Just as Trump said the ISIS terrorist “died like a dog” that’s also how Trump likes his supporters – heeling at his command like the dogs they are.
The impeachment inquiry is about to enter the next stage -- the stage Trump and his followers have called for – open hearings where the President gets to question witnesses, exactly how the process has been carried out before.
This will be better than the best courtroom drama on TV, watching as witnesses testify to his misdeeds. The president probably will have direct feeds into his supporters' ears so he can orchestrate his defense. Will his defenders want to attack a soldier in uniform who is doing what he thought he could never do – testify against his commander? They already have in a personal, inappropriate way. But will they contest his version of the facts?
The whole situation has gotten very slimy, led by the slimer-in-chief. If any one of his defenders thought he had a soul, they’re about to see he has none. He will attack anyone who attacks him, even a witness who spilled blood for his country.
This from the man who claims to be an admirer and booster of the military. The man who boasted when he took office about “my generals.” The man who has attacked each of his generals as they tried to get the President to do the right things for the country.
Trump’s mission is to win. Not for the country, but for himself.