The president’s impeachment defense attorneys have established that their entire case hinges on facts that can only be gleaned through the testimony of President Donald Trump, according to attorney George Conway.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post Friday, Conway, the husband to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, noted that the president’s attorneys have repeatedly stated that Trump’s decision to withhold congressionally-appropriated military aid from Ukraine was a policy decision that would allow the administration to determine whether the country’s government had taken sufficient anti-corruption measures.
Of course, there is overwhelming evidence that this is not the case. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had twice certified that Ukraine made sufficient reforms and met the anti-corruption benchmarks required to release the aid, and immediately after the aid was halted, DOD performed a third analysis that concluded the funds were being effectively utilized and should be released.
But, as Conway and the president’s legal team have pointed out, a president cannot be impeached for making any policy decision–provided that decision is made with the nation’s best interest in mind–even if that decision might help the president politically. That means the key to the president’s defense is something only he can testify to: his own state of mind.
“But if Trump were to testify, it wouldn’t be enough for him to baldly assert that his motives were pure, or ‘perfect,’ as he is wont to say. And even if he truly believes he acted in good faith, that wouldn’t be enough to acquit him, either. The president’s duty to faithfully execute his office includes not only a duty of loyalty to the nation but also a duty of care — a duty to act with reasonable diligence and upon a reasonable basis,” Conway wrote.
It is this mandatory “duty of care” that Conway says it would be almost impossible for the president to have met.
“Confronted by a skilled examiner, Trump would melt down in minutes. He’d be humiliated, and he knows it — which is why he’s too terrified to give testimony under oath, and why it won’t happen. But it’s the logical conclusion of the argument the president’s lawyers have been making. They have, to use Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow’s wording, ‘opened the door’ to calling Trump,” he argued.
[image via YouTube screenshot]