Every Trump accuser who has testified before the impeachment inquiry in the House has assumed that the government of Vladimir Putin deserves to be considered a mortal enemy of the United States, and that it is in American interests to side strongly with Ukraine in its military and territorial conflict with the Russia. Indeed, at times in the inquiry it has sounded like the president’s greatest impeachable transgression was his refusal to accept this consensus view of the establishment, along with his tendency to look at Ukraine and its elected government with suspicion.

Those who are responding so rashly to the president’s actions in Ukraine thus have quite a bit at stake.

First, there is political power and influence. The establishment rules by unspoken consensus. It is unprepared for and thus deeply frightened of having to justify and defend its views in the political arena because it intuitively grasps that there may be insufficient public support for policies it is unwaveringly convinced are good for the country and the world. By resisting the consensus view, Trump puts its advocates on the defensive, which is an uncomfortable and threatening place to be. These advocates consider this intolerable and are willing to go to great lengths to make it stop. Even if it means taking down the president and his administration.

Second, there is private advantage.