These people tried to save Donald Trump from himself but he would not have it.
Courtesy of NYT:
Interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials, congressional aides and others, previously undisclosed emails and documents, and a close reading of thousands of pages of impeachment testimony provide the most complete account yet of the 84 days from when Mr. Trump first inquired about the money to his decision in September to relent.
What emerges is the story of how Mr. Trump’s demands sent shock waves through the White House and the Pentagon, created deep rifts within the senior ranks of his administration, left key aides like Mr. Mulvaney under intensifying scrutiny — and ended only after Mr. Trump learned of a damning whistle-blower report and came under pressure from influential Republican lawmakers.
In many ways, the havoc Mr. Giuliani and other Trump loyalists set off in the State Department by pursuing the investigations was matched by conflicts and confusion in the White House and Pentagon stemming from Mr. Trump’s order to withhold the aid.
Opposition to the order from his top national security advisers was more intense than previously known. In late August, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper joined Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser at the time, for a previously undisclosed Oval Office meeting with the president where they tried but failed to convince him that releasing the aid was in interests of the United States.
So for almost three months those around Trump tried to protect him from doing something that would ultimately see him impeached, and he steamrolled right over them and did it anyway.
Of course, not everybody tried to stop Trump.
For instance, Mick Mulvaney seemed perfectly fine with pushing Trump’s agenda despite the fact that it was a blatant abuse of power, and lawyers from the Office of Management and Budget were preparing an argument to defend Trump which essentially claimed that as president he could do whatever the hell he wanted to do.
The article points out that Trump used government bureaucracy and secrecy to hide what he was up to from folks who might have felt compelled to try and stop him.
All of this indicates that Trump knew full well that what he was doing with aid to Ukraine was wrong, and yet he did it anyway.
Which is valuable information for members of the Senate who are about to decide Trump’s fate, and also an indication that there are multiple witnesses who need to be brought forward.
You know if Mitch McConnell wants to give this three ring circus even a semblance of respectability.