So many intriguing questions this week, our little heads are spinning! Why did Attroney General William Barr refuse to hold a news conference clearing the president of any wrongdoing in the Ukraine affair? Has the dodgy stodgy AG finally had enough? Was this a bridge too far for the usually obliging Barr, who famously went before the press and misrepresented the Mueller report even before anyone had a chance to read it?
Will John Bolton, the president’s ex-National Security Advisor, testify under subpoena, maybe even on live television? Could this notorious reactionary turn out to be the unlikely savior of truth, justice, and the American way? Bolton, who likened the Giuliani arms-for-Biden-dirt scheme to a drug deal, allegedly can describe meetings and conversations connected to the Ukraine affair that the impeachment investigators don’t know about—at least not yet.
Will Gordon Sondland, who revised his testimony—a sudden burst of recollection!—soon lose his job as Ambassador to the European Union? (Sondland, a hotel magnate, was appointed after he gave a million dollars to the Trump campaign—talk about quid pro quo.) Funny how the consequences of lying under oath can concentrate the mind: Sondland reversed himself and now acknowledges that military aid to Ukraine was conditioned upon that country’s president making a public pledge on American television—CNN was floated, or, no surprise, Fox News—to investigate the Bidens.
Is Giuliani crony Lev Parnas ready to flip and sing like a canary? Last Monday, Parnas’s attorney indicated that his client is poised to spill his secrets to the impeachment inquiry. (This change of heart allegedly has something to do with the fact that the president said he barely knows Parnas, and this hurt Parnas’s feelings.) And is there any truth to the fall-guy theory that the Washington Post postulated on Thursday, that the White House is considering characterizing Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (he of the “get over it” comment), Giuliani, and Sondland as a trio of suckers who were behind the quid pro quo, and that poor old out-of-the-loop Donald Trump knew nothing about this shady bribe?
If it was a week of stunning developments, next week promises to be even more exciting, with live hearings scheduled for Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, administration officials William Taylor and George Kent, both of whom who are the record detailing their alarm over this Ukraine business, will testify; on Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine until she got a phone call telling her she was sacked and to get on the next plane (was that because she wouldn’t play ball with Giuliani and company?) will appear. For their part, Republicans are demanding that the whistleblower testify in open court. On Thursday an attorney for the whistleblower sent the president a cease-and desist letter, demanding that Trump stop calling for the release of the whistleblower’s identity and cease using language that might endanger him or her. Trump ignored this—on Friday morning he was still calling for an unmasking, and adding that this person should be sued “maybe for treason.”
In other non-impeachment news, on Monday, the president lost yet another legal fight to keep his tax records private. (Next stop, Supreme Court!) On Friday, Steve Bannon—remember him?—testified at the Roger Stone trial. (Dirty trickster Stone, a long-time associate of the president, is being tried for lying to Congress, obstructing justice, and witness tampering.) Bannon told the court that Stone did in fact brag that he was in contact with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign. “He had a relationship, or told me he had a relationship with WikiLeaks,” Bannon blabbed. “It was something I think he would frequently mention.”
Lastly, we leave you with this enthralling excerpt from Warning, the new book by Anonymous, scheduled for publication on November 19. The author, allegedly a high-ranking administration official, describes what it is like to meet with the president at the White House: “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him,” he or she writes. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the US government once he puts his pants on.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue