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Looking back, and looking forward, one month into the Trump impeachment probe

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Nancy Pelosi announced the start of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump one month ago, on September 24. JUST one month ago. It’s worth taking stock of how much has happened since — how many new pieces of the Ukraine puzzle, how many revelations about potential misconduct, how many desperate deflections by Trump and his allies.

Many prominent commentators read Bill Taylor’s testimony on Tuesday and came away believing impeachment is now inevitable.

The Atlantic’s David A. Graham made this point on Wednesday: “As the past month demonstrates, a lot can change in a few short weeks. One month ago, it wasn’t clear there’d even be an impeachment inquiry. Today, impeachment itself is a near-certainty.” Most of the chatter now is about what will happen when the Senate holds a trial…

One month from now…

“House Democrats are preparing to move their largely private impeachment inquiry onto a more public stage as soon as mid-November and are already grappling with how best to present the complex Ukraine saga to the American people,” WaPo’s Rachael Bade and Karoun Demirjian reported Wednesday night..

“Picture darkens for Trump”

The top headline on the WaPo website right now: “Republican defense of Trump grows more frantic and disjointed as Ukraine scandal escalates.”

The NYT’s main headline: “Republicans grind impeachment inquiry to halt as picture darkens for Trump.”

And on “Feeling the pressure.” Rene Marsh reports that “the Ukrainian President — weeks before taking office — discussed how to handle requests from Trump’s orbit to publicly launch investigations, source says…”

Change the conversation

The Republican effort to disrupt Wednesday’s deposition “came one day after Democrats secured some of their most explosive findings in the impeachment probe,” Politico’s team notes. “Yet GOP lawmakers — at least for the first half of the day — successfully changed the conversation; instead of being pressed for reaction to Taylor’s testimony, they were fielding questions from reporters about the drama unfolding inside the secure facility.”

>> Chris Cuomo’s closing argument on Wednesday night, directed at Republicans like Lindsey Graham: “You used to say you don’t need a crime. Now you say you do. You used to say it was okay to investigate in private. Now you say it isn’t. You used to say POTUS must comply. Now you don’t. It is obvious what you’re doing. But also it is a collective obstruction of what the right says it holds most dear — the Constitution. So my question is this. If the law matters so much, why do you act in ways that respect it so little?”

Matt Gaetz’s latest play for the Fox audience

Re: Wednesday’s much-publicized stunt: “Gaetz and his colleagues weren’t just protesting,” The Bulwark’s Jim Swift wrote. “They compromised a secure area. It’s like storming Area 51, except instead of idiot social media celebrities doing it, it’s elected political representatives doing it to get airtime on Fox.”

Gaetz was on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday night while newscasts on other networks pointed out the absurdity of his actions…

>> One hour later, Sean Hannity interviewed two of the other stormers and condemned the “Democratic closed-door Soviet-style impeachment coup attempt.” He said “I hope you guys do this every day!”

Read more of Wednesday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

Pinned to the top of Trump’s Twitter feed…

…Is his Wednesday tweet calling “Never Trumper Republicans” “human scum.”

“What we know is bad enough”

That’s the title of this piece by Commentary’s Noah Rothman. He runs through some of what “we still do not know,” but concludes, “the all but confirmed revelation that the president subordinated essential American interests in deference to a crank theory that bubbled up from online message boards is disturbing enough. What’s more, everyone, including Trump’s Republican allies in Congress, knows it.”

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