President Donald Trump’s enemies were crowing that he had been chastened on the night of his acquittal from their scam impeachment effort.
They said he had learned his lesson, especially after nonsensical utterings from moderate Senate Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. They agreed with Democrats that it was wrong for President Trump to discuss former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter on his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Murkowski, Collins and Alexander voted for Trump’s acquittal during his Senate trial but expressed the hope that he would ‘learn from his mistakes.’ Romney broke from the GOP and voted to remove Trump from office.
House Democrats used the phone call to craft two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Bidens were involved in eyebrow-raising deals in Ukraine. Democrats insist the president used military aid of $400,000 as a quid pro quo to push the probe of a political rival. Trump released the unclassified, unredacted transcript of his call which revealed there was no reference to a quid pro quo.
If the president’s enemies were expecting a remorseful, more restrained Trump to emerge from their latest attempted coup they were sorely disappointed.
Two days after his acquittal Trump ‘released the kracken’ and traitorous White House moles were caught in his trap.
His political and media adversaries quaked on Friday night as the news broke that Trump was ousting several White House officials who had testified at his impeachment inquiry.
The first axe fell on Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, who was reassigned to the Defense Department and escorted out of The White House. Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny Vindman, a National Security Council attorney who was assigned to the office that vetted publications like former national security adviser John Bolton’s book, was also reassigned and escorted out of the White House.
Hours later Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the EU, released a statement saying he too had been recalled from his role ‘effective’ immediately.’ He had bolstered Democrats’ allegations that Trump engineered a diplomatic back channel with Ukraine, using his private attorney Rudy Giuliani, in order to push Zelensky to probe Biden.
He was forced to admit under cross examination that he had no evidence “other than my own presumption” that Trump ordered the aid withheld until Zelensky announced that the investigations the president requested would be opened.
Vindman listened in on the July 25 telephone call between Trump and Zelelensky and is accused of breaking the chain of command to leak the details to the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. He was also a key witness in the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry.
He testified before the House Intelligence Committee, criticizing the president’s call, but denied knowing the identity of the whistleblower.
Eight of 12 officials who testified publicly during the impeachment hearings have quit, been fired, or reassigned.
Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine, was recalled from her post last spring and retired last month from the Foreign Service. Veteran diplomat William B. Taylor, who replaced her in an acting capacity, stepped down from his position in January.
Jennifer Williams, former adviser on European issues in Vice President Mike Pence’s office, left two months early but is expected to take a new position at U.S. Central Command in Florida. Fiona Hill, the Europe policy chief at the National Security Council resigned in 2019 and returned to the Brookings Institution in 2020. Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, resigned days before testifying.
George P. Kent continues to serve at the State Department, Laura Cooper at the Defense Department and David Holmes at the embassy in Ukraine.
The White House purge was being inaccurately dubbed ‘The Friday Night Massacre,’ even though some officials were reassigned, not fired, in a reference to the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ of October 1973.
That night Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus both tendered their resignations to President Nixon. They refused to follow his orders to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox who was investigating the Watergate scandal. Nixon fired Cox later that night.
The expulsions were also reminiscent of Trump’s cleansing of the FBI after the attempt to remove him from office using findings from the Mueller special counsel investigation failed.
The firing of former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok brought to a conclusion the purging of several high-profile officials who were agitating against the president during the 2016 campaign cycle.
Strzok, a counterintelligence expert with particular expertise on Russia, assisted with the investigation into Trump’s presidential rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret email server. She was cleared of wrongdoing after several questionable actions by FBI and Justice Department officials that did not follow normal protocol.
Strzok helped to initiate the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. He also exchanged private text messages with Lisa Page, an FBI attorney with whom he was having an affair. They both communicated about a mysterious ‘insurance policy’ in the event that the president was elected.
Trump also fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017 after then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended his removal after he ordered that no charges be filed against Clinton.
Lisa Page and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe voluntarily resigned in 2018 while Rosenstein resigned last year.
James A. Baker, the former general counsel for the FBI and one of former FBI Director James Comey’s closest advisers, also resigned.
The president is still standing after unprecedented attempts by the Democratic Party, aided by the media and fading Never Trump crusaders, to get rid of him. The only lessons learned are the bitter ones of his fallen enemies.