You know its a bad day for Donald Trump when even his favorite network doesn’t have anything kind to say about him. While appearing on Fox News today, Kenneth Starr –– who led the investigation into former President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct –– summed up a disastrous day for the president by saying that Republican efforts to stop impeachment are moot: “It's over.”
“We now know that the president in fact committed the crime of bribery,” Starr said, referring to damning testimony from Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. “I think the articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up.”
On Wednesday, Sondland alleged that there was “express direction” from Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Guiliani, to pressure Russian President Volodymyr Zelensky into digging up damaging information on political rival Joe Biden. On the subject of whether the where was quid pro quo involved in the scheme, he claimed it “was no secret.”
“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland said of allegations that Trump planned to withhold foreign aid from Ukraine if its leaders did not meet the White House’s demands for information.
“I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” he continued. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
Starr concluded that the situation “doesn’t look good for the president.” Citing testimony from Sondland that he was denied access to documents which could have aided his cooperation with the ongoing investigation from House Democrats, he predicted the revelations would result in party leaders alleging obstruction.
“We have now a process crime, contempt of Congress, contempt of the House in the course of its impeachment,” he told Fox, which is particularly notable because prior to today, Starr had said that he thought the impeachment investigation had failed to find evidence of a crime.
Among the myriad bombshell allegations, Sondland also testified that Rudy Giuliani was behind a bumbling attempt to push a conspiracy theory about the Biden family.
“Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker, and others that President Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election,” Sondland said. “Mr. Giuliani expressed those requests directly to the Ukrainians. Mr. Giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us.”
“We all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements,” he added.
Also testifying today are Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs. Starr speculated that Republicans may need to make up their minds about whether to ask Trump to resign.
“Are Senators going to now say in light of what we hear today, ‘We need to make a trip down to the White House?’” Starr asked. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. But obviously what happens today … has the potential to be a game-changer.”