Trump and his apologists are playing a double game here, arguing that the president has the right to set policy, and then picking and choosing which policy civil servants and appointees were supposed to follow. This allows them to recast the objections of people like Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, National Security Council officials Fiona Hill and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, as well as former national security adviser John Bolton, as insubordination or disloyalty.
In reality, there was no way that anyone in the government could have served both the official U.S. policy and Trump’s hidden objectives at the same time, and we should be grateful that so many of them chose the Constitution over Trump.
In effect, the president’s defenders are arguing that whatever a president does — legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional — is “policy” and therefore obligates every member of the government to follow it without question.
This is madness. If the outcome of this Senate trial is to accept that every act committed by a president is “policy,” we might as well delete impeachment from the Constitution and remove every last vestige of congressional oversight and control.