Scenes From A Hostage Situation

The GOP says that Trump is treating them well.

The House has released its preliminary findings on impeachment.

It's a long document and so I have only read the executive summary so far, but one section I will pay particular attention to is the one that detailed witness intimidation, summarized here.

It's wild to me how Republican politician after Republican politician can decline to challenge Trump on anything out of fear that they will attract his ire and be the subject of "mean tweets" but meanwhile the party line from Republicans is that his attacks on witnesses during the impeachment hearings can't count as witness intimidation because there's no way for the witnesses themselves to hear them in realtime.

They understand how it works: the attacks he makes (which go beyond being "mean" into painting a target on the victims) are the penalty for speaking out against him. The warning is to the next person who might think about testifying. Every day, every single Republican in Congress who has a principled objection to Donald that they dare not voice on the record in public demonstrates just how effective this tactic is. Many of them are defending him from charges of witness tampering because they fear being the victims of such attacks themselves, which means they themselves have been successfully intimidated by the very displays they are claiming must be harmless.

As we watch Republican after Republican fearfully insist that Donald Trump has no power to command silence or obedience through his tweets, it's hard not to think of the repeated invocations of the claim that the Ukrainian president has felt no pressure, either.

I will be sharing more observations from the report as I read it.

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