The enduring beauty of the deep state… Marie Yovanovitch provides the best counterpoint to Trumpism to date

I had the good fortune to be on vacation this past Friday, so I was able to watch quite a bit of Marie Yovanovitch’s courageous testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in real-time. While there’s a great deal that I could say about the shameful behavior of Republicans on the committee and the response to the former ambassador’s testimony in conservative media, I’d like to focus on the following four pieces of video, all of which I think are incredibly important. If you happened to have missed Yovanovitch’s testimony, I’d encourage you to watch them.

SETTING THE STAGE… Donald Trump, in his July 25 call with then newly-elected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, before he complains about how the U.S. relationship with Ukraine hasn’t been “reciprocal,” and asks for the now infamous “favor,” starts out by both praising corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, and lambasting U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch, who he referred to as being “bad news.” Here Congressman Adam Schiff and Yovanovitch discuss the President’s call, and how unprecedented it is for an admired ambassador, with decades of experience leading our anti-corruption efforts abroad, to be criticized in such a way, and forced from her post without cause.

INTIMIDATION IN REAL-TIME… Not long into Yovanovitch’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff temporarily halted his line of questing, alerting the former ambassador to the fact that the President of the United States was, at that very moment, attacking her in real-time on Twitter. Here’s Schiff informing Yovanovitch, who chose to testify in spite of Trump’s order not to participate in the investigation, that the President had just tweeted out, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” This, of course, is not only untrue, but appears to meet the standard for witness intimidation.

THE BIG TAKEAWAY… Here’s Schiff, at the very end of the session with Yovanovitch, summing up the big takeaway of the day, after reminding the audience that Yovanovitch was forced from her post after a coordinated smear campaign, because Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani saw her as being an impediment to their plans. Before gaveling the session to a close, Schiff reminds the audience that, during the call with Zelensky, Donald Trump “praises the corrupt (Lutsenko), condemns the just (Yovanovitch), and asks for an investigation into the Bidens.” And, with that, the audience breaks into wild applause.

APPLAUDING THE RULE OF LAW… As I just noted, once the session came to a close, a huge percentage of those in the audience rose to their feet to give Yovanovitch a standing ovation over the yelling of Republicans, who were seeking to advance the ridiculous narrative that they’d somehow been treated unfairly in this process. [No matter what bad-faith arguments the Republicans make, always remember that the Democrats are following the procedure passed by the Republican majority in 2015 to the letter.] While the bravery of Yovanovitch can’t be overstated, my sense is that the people applauding weren’t just clapping for the ambassador, but for all of the those women and men like her, who continue to do the difficult, important and often thankless work of diplomacy on behalf of our nation. Yovanovitch gave those people voice on Friday, and one can only hope that she’ll inspire more career professionals in the State Department to step up and do the right thing, not just because Donald Trump is a danger to our nation, but because, if we’re ever going to set things right, we’re going to have to attract more people of character to public service. In an age where the Secretary of State sits back and allows diplomats to be assaulted by the President of the United, the Vice President refuses to defend his own foreign policy aids from attack, and people are constantly being not just thrown under the bus, but called traitors, it’s difficult to imagine people lining up to enter the world of foreign service. And we’re desperately going to need those people if this nation of our is going to survive. There’s a lot of cleaning up to be done, but noting is more important, in my mind, than rebuilding the State Department, and restocking the bench with people like Yovanovitch, who put country over party, and service over profit. This administration, insecure and terrified, has been shitting on these people for the past three years now, presenting their virtues as faults to the American people, and disparaging them as “deep state” operatives, when all they really want to do is defend the constitution, and it’s great to finally see these people getting their chance on the stage, reminding us all what it’s really all about.

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6 Comments

  1. David Leonhardt by proxy
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Mueller and Comey have served their country for decades. Yet when confronted with a test of character – having to choose between their personal image and their country – they failed.

    Which should make us all the more grateful for Marie Yovanovitch.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/17/opinion/marie-yovanovitch-impeachment.html

  2. iRobert
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I find odd that there appears to be nobody around Trump advising him on how to do things without getting his hands dirty personally.

  3. Sad
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Could be your big opportunity iRobert.

    Send them your resume.

  4. iRobert
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Sad.

    Attempting to dig Trump out of the hole in which he’s put himself would be one hell of a challenge now. I wonder if anyone can help him at this point.

  5. Sad
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    But he will stick around long enough to go up against Mayor Pete right?

    He won’t resign?

  6. iRobert
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Some powerful interests seem to want chaos, so I’m assuming Trump will be kept right where he is.

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