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Impeachment, Indictment, 25th Amendment 2

This is a continuation of the topic Impeachment, Indictment, 25th Amendment.

Pro and Con

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Oct 2, 9:01am Top

Article cited by 2wonderY in previous thread stated:
"The State Department inspector general's office operates usually operates independently of its political appointees."

Plot thickens? clears?


#155 2wonderY Today, 8:29am Top
The suspense!

last evening:

The State Department watchdog just requested an 'urgent' meeting with congressional committees

The State Department's internal watchdog requested a Wednesday briefing with a bipartisan group of committees in both the House and the Senate. The purpose is "to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine."

The State Department Inspector General Steve Linick invited Democratic and Republican congressional committee staffers to inform them about documents on Ukraine it had obtained from the department's Office of the Legal Adviser.

Oct 2, 9:06am Top

If FOX News had existed during the Nixon era, Trickie Dickie would have finished his second term.

Edited: Oct 2, 9:17am Top

Well there you go: Putin says nothing compromising in Trump's telephone call to Zelinsky.

'Nothing compromising' in Trump call to Ukraine's Zelensky: Putin
Af (AFP?) | October 2, 2019

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday defended Donald Trump over accusations the US leader pressured Kiev to dig up dirt on a rival, saying there was "nothing compromising" in transcripts of the call.

"I see nothing compromising in the conversation between Trump and (Ukrainian leader Volodymyr) Zelensky," Putin said of the phone call that has sparked an impeachment probe in the US.


Oct 2, 10:36am Top

Trump is intent on using his executive privilege, the dept. of justice and of state to block the investigation in every possible way. The democrats are coming to a crossroads and if by impeaching Trump they can take away or limit Trump's executive privilege they are probably going to have to do it and maybe very soon. There's a point where you're fucking around too much and these people believe that they own the DOJ that they own the law and can do whatever they please. So far the democrats have shown they have the outrage but they haven't shown they have teeth enough for the job. Got to get a lot meaner.

Edited: Oct 2, 1:21pm Top

>2 Molly3028:

If the American voting-public at large were to decide the matter, Donald Trump would finish his first-term as president-- (as he almost certainly shall do one way or the other)-- without being subjected to an utterly partisan and corrupted version of the Constitution's provisions for impeachment.

Oct 2, 3:44pm Top

>1 margd: contd. :(

Yamiche Alcindor @Yamiche | 1:44 PM · Oct 2, 2019
Confirmed: A source familiar tells me the State Department IG briefing on the Hill is
about retaliation against State Department officials who are trying to cooperate with House Democrats.

Oct 3, 1:04am Top

The Dangerous Position of William Barr
David Rohde | September 29, 2019

...Since Mitchell (Watergate), Attorneys General have also worked to restore public faith in the independence of the Justice Department. Edward Levi, a conservative legal scholar whom Gerald Ford appointed as the first post-Watergate Attorney General, was hailed by both political parties for restoring neutrality and integrity to the office. In an attempt to cement Levi’s legacy, multiple Republican and Democratic Attorneys General have recused themselves from investigations involving the Presidents who appointed them. During the Clinton Administration, Janet Reno recused herself from the Whitewater investigation, which led to Clinton’s impeachment. During the George W. Bush Administration, Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales both recused themselves from an investigation of the leak of the C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame’s identity. Barr has an opportunity to do the same and recuse himself from the Trump-Ukraine investigation—to show that he represents the best interests of the American people, not those of Donald Trump. So far, he has declined to do so.


Edited: Oct 3, 10:55am Top

>7 margd:

Fucking bullshit.


>6 margd:

And why should State Department employees--in an agency of the executive branch of government which is under the direction of the president and his appointed secretary-- "cooperate" in the partisan efforts of Democratic party members of the legislative branch's House of Representatives!!??

Professionals in the Department of State have no business aiding and abetting partisan efforts to undermine their own official directors' policies and acts.

If they had knowledge of wrong-doing on Trump's part, they could and should have brought it to the attention of that dumb-fuck, Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor, during his years'-long vain effort to drum up, fabricate grounds for criminal charges agaisnt Trump. Apparently they didn't. Surely Mueller should have jumped at such stuff. So, which is it: was it not there or was Mueller and a vast staff, spending millions of tax-dollars, really that fucking incompetent?

It's rather amazing, isn't it? : Mueller learned nothing about this alleged connivance between Trump and the leadership of Ukraine.

Oct 3, 6:56am Top

Current and former U.S. officials studying the document pointed to several elements that, they say, indicate that the document may have been handled in an unusual way.
Carol D. Leonnig, Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell | Oct. 2, 2019

...Those include the use of ellipses (...) — punctuation indicating that information has been deleted for clarity or other reasons — that traditionally have not appeared in summaries of presidential calls with foreign leaders...

...they accompanied Trump’s reference to cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike...Trump...asking Zelensky about...theory that Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden had, while vice president, demanded the removal of a prosecutor looking to investigate Biden’s son Hunter.

...the brevity of a document purporting to represent a call that lasted 30 minutes...read the call summary aloud...: 10 minutes 40 seconds, or roughly 20 minutes shorter than the White House’s assertion about the call’s length.

...rough transcript of the Zelensky call includes about half the number of words that would be expected if the call had proceeded at the same or similar pace as the previous calls.

...unusual for lacking a tracking number that would normally indicate it had been circulated to senior subject experts and the national security adviser’s office for review and edits. Instead of a “package” number, the memo released by the White House carries a stamp saying: “PkgNumberShort.”

...carries classification markings that Situation Room staffers do not normally add when they create a word-for-word transcript..."didn’t go through the normal process"...

The whistleblower said in his complaint that multiple U.S. officials had alerted him that “senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.“


Oct 3, 10:12am Top

>8 proximity1: casting your pearls ... ? (Matthew 7:6)

Oct 3, 11:55am Top

Trump says he wants Ukraine, China to investigate Bidens
October 3, 2019 / 10:40 AM / Updated 20 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S President Donald Trump said on Thursday he wanted Ukraine and China to investigate political rival and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son, openly advocating an action that triggered a Democratic impeachment inquiry in Congress.

...“I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said in response to a question on what he wanted Zelenskiy to do.

As he left the White House for a visit to Florida, Trump also said he believed China should launch a probe of the Bidens, alluding to unproven allegations he and his lawyer have made about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China.

“And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”


Joyce Alene @JoyceWhiteVance (U Alabama Law) | 11:19 AM · Oct 3, 2019:
1/ Trump just committed a felony violation of law by soliciting something of value in connection with a US election from a foreign gov’t on national TV. 52 U.S. Code § 30121. Violating the law isn’t necessary for Impeachment but it certainly warrants it. https://law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121

2/ The statute requires knowledge your conduct is a crime. After the Mueller investigation, there’s no way Trump was unaware this violates the law. Ukraine/China can you hear me is even worse than Russia, if that’s possible, because it comes from a sitting president.

3/ Campaign finance crimes also require a thing of value be involved. But as FEC Chair @EllenLWeintraub
recently said, you don’t have to be able to assign a dollar amount. But, in the case of Ukraine, Trump did this. The help he sought was worth $400mil in US aid. That’s a felony

The key here is recalling impeachment doesn’t require a felony. Impeachment is meant, in the immortal words of @LindseyGrahamSC
to cleanse the office. But for those who’ve demanded a felony crime before a president can be impeached, here it is in plain view.

Edited: Oct 6, 5:51am Top

>10 fuzzi:

The people I'd like to reach with data and reasoned-argument aren't what I'd call a wasted cause.

Those who are a waste of time are of course not worth (my) worrying about. There are not that many of them--eventhough, in reading these threads, it is easy to assume they're a really very significantly large part of the general public, in fact they are not.

Read the recent Quinnipiac University poll--for what it's worth (and that in itself is a debatable matter):

Overall, it is completely obvious that, on every important or interesting issue, the opinions are overwhelmingly divided on partisan lines.

Question No. 11 is typical of what I mean:

"11. As you may know, the House of Representatives has begun a formal impeachment inquiry to determine whether or not to bring impeachment charges against President Trump. Do you approve or disapprove of this impeachment inquiry? "

Approve (%)

Total: 52%

Republicans : 8
Democrats : 95
Independents : 50
Men : 44
Women : 58
Respondants are White & do or do not have a college degree (? this is significant of something?) :

of these, 52% of those (W) who do have a college degree "approve"
while 34% of those (W) who do not have a college degree "approve"

Disapprove (%)

Total: 45

Republicans : 91
Democrats : 4
Independents : 45
Men : 53
Women : 38
(White) with college degree : 46
(White ) without college degree: 63

Respondants are White & do or do not have a college degree (? this is significant of something?) :

of these, 46% of those (W) who do have a college degree "disapprove" while 63% of those (W) who do not have a college degree "disapprove"

RE: "Don't Know (DK) / (NA) No Answer given" to the above question:

Total: (%) : 3
Republicans : DK/NA : 1
Democrats : DK/NA : 1
Independents : DK/NA : 6
Men : DK/NA : 3
Women : DK/NA : 3
(White) with college degree : DK/NA : 3
(White ) without college degree: DK/NA : 3


Notice that, if this poll had an overall margin of error of, say, +/- 2%, then the number of those who approve of the House of Reps.' impeachment initiative would not even rise to a majority of the responses. Barely half would "approve", almost half would not approve and the remainder don't know or won't state a position.


Among the the things which interest me as suggested by the poll's data is this: "White" & college-degree-holders segment; for these include many men and women who are people in middle-and-upper-corporate-management and, thus, are making key decisions and perhaps influencing others like themselves as also college-degree holding men and women. Thank goodness that, (I suspect) they are not at all so influential (to the contrary, fortunately!) among those without a college-degree of any kind.

in general, where I find I am most worried/concerned about or fear for the basic intelligence and reasoning abilities of (in this case) my fellow Americans, it is clearly just there-- among these supposedly "more (formally) highly-educated" segments of the population and, conversely, where I am most relieved and gratified at people's basic 'common'(?)-sense and reasoning, that is, again, clearly among those who supposedly are not "more (formally) highly-educated." ( that is, as measured by number of hours spent in class-room instruction).

Again, I'll offer a rough example of what I mean and why I think this is so.

We're told over and over by the idiot television pundits opposed to Trump that what matters here is the simple and bare fact that Trump, in a direct personal communication with a foreign leader, implied or suggested or even more unambiguously requested that the foreign leader use his resources to learn about activities on the parts of Joe Biden or his son, Hunter, or both of them, with regard to their business relations (and, of course, implied as a part of this, an associated money-trail) with Ukrainians in the Ukraine or elsewhere. Period.

Now, my point is that if one grows stuff, builds stuff, makes things with one's own hands, if one drives a truck or a fork-lift, climbs a pole or a construction-crane, or repairs things in rough weather,or wears goggles and safety-gear (outside of a university research laboratory or science institute)--if one does this kind of work, one is, I gather, much more likely to question the television pundits' presentation of the Biden affairs as a too-narrow simplificiation.

What these just-described people will wonder is really much more to the essential point:

Were Trump's solicitations without any basis in, any grounding in actual facts? In other words, was Trump soliciting the foreign leaders' help in just getting anything, even false allegations, purely for use in damaging his potential political opponent--and for no other plausible motive than sheer and unsubstantiated defamation ?--the kind of thing, indeed, that so characterizes Trump's opponents' charges against Trump himself.

OR, was there, on the contrary, soeme genuine basis for concern about and a need for valid and accurate information on the activities of the Bidens with certain people in Ukraine political and business circles?

If it's partly or mainly the latter, then these work-with-their-hands people are not at all so worried about the implications of this supposedy damning impeachment-sealing matter.

They think, instead, that as a matter of fact, what we really need and want to know is whether there is important evidence that the Bidens--father or son or both--had irregular dealings with shady Ukrainian business interests in which there was a behind-the-scenes political-paid-quid-pro-quo--which rise to the level of illegal influence-peddling among foreign--not that their being foreigners ought to be particularly damning in and of itself, but it's a part of this potentially-very-sordid picture.

The television talking-heads who are opposed to Trump are attempting to do what is analogous to a patrolman-on-the-beat's saying to New Yorkers in the Wall-Street-area of lower Manhattan on the 11th of September, 2001, after 10:30 in the morning:

"Move along, folks! Nothing to see here! Go about your business as usual."

And it is ever clearer that this is a frantic effort and it is largely or entirely owed to certain very important Obama-administration officials' terrified worry that, unless Attorney General William Barr's investigations are thwarted, derailed, the investigations shall eventually discover and reveal clear evidence of their participation in exactly the sort of things which Special prosecutor Robert Mueller spent years and millions of dollars in a failed effort to find concerning Donald Trump as candidate for president and, later, as president--as though this hasn't already in various and sundry fashions come about--in what would be, were the mainstream news media not so thoroughly "in the tank" for Obama-Biden-Clinton-Podesta, et al, more widely seen for the scandalous and alarming things they are.

Edited: Oct 3, 12:22pm Top

The important thing to keep in mind when looking at recent polling is there are lots of polls and the %'s of those for impeachment in pretty much all of them are steadily climbing higher and higher. Naturally there will come a point where those numbers plateau but we're still kind of at the beginning of this Ukraine thing too. Once the impeachment actually goes forward into the trial those plateaued numbers might rise again particularly if Trump is forced to testify on his own behalf because he's about the loosest cannon there is. Today he admitted that he asked Ukraine to investigate a political opponent and even went on to say that China should investigate the same opponent. He doesn't get it that he's not king of the USA--he never has. He is volatile and has no real sense of reality and could care less about fact or law.

So yeah I'm waiting for Trumpty dumpster fire to fall off his 'wall' and crack his fucking melon.

Oct 3, 1:21pm Top

Who could do even more damage in the remaining year, Trump or Pence?

Sam Bee's review of what Pence has wrought:

Mike Pence Takes HHS To The Past | Full Frontal on TBS

Ideally, you'd want to get rid of both these creeps.

Edited: Oct 3, 2:33pm Top

>14 LolaWalser:

Yes, of course: "ideally," one doesn't stop simply with getting rid of Trump.

And with three sorry years' experience to guide us, please!: who, of Trump's defenders, could possibly be so naive as to suppose that there'd be an end of this madness with the removal of Trump alone?

Thus the obvious goal is revealed in all its sordid glory. It isn't at all sufficient to simply get rid of Trump alone. The Democrats cannot abide the fact that they didn't win the 2016 presidential election according to the electoral-college terms--though, of course, if they had, there'd be no grand designs being floated about reforming that and ending its undemocratic workings against one-person,-one-vote election. Trump's opponents'--Democrats and Republicans--goal is obviously to reverse that election, to undo what voters' ballots, according to electoral-college standards of practice, produced.

And that, of course, explains why their strategy's center-piece is impeachment rather than just duking it out in the 2020 electoral contest---that would take the prerogative out of the hands of Senators and Congressmen and put it back where it all went so "wrong" in the first place, at the electoral-college ruled ballot-box, where too many voters in the places where it counted most voted "wrong" while there was a surfeit of votes in numerous other places which, though "correct" in the World According to the Clintons, the Bidens, & the Obamas, didn't move the electoral-college needle over to the "Winner" category for that world-view.

And that, summed up and taken together for its wider import for the political order, is why it is so very important that, whatever may be one's digust of the person Donald Trump, much more important, unless one is simply ready to fully and unconditionally hand over absolutely all power and prerogative to the elite coporate-media juggernaut class and leave all participatory politics to fantasy gaming, one has to make a determined stand to insist on and assert the role and place of the elected candidate, Donald Trump--even if, and especially if, his opponents succeed in impeaching and convicting him in what is tantamount to an utterly politically-motivated coup under color of a corruption of the Constitution's terms.

Therefore, if impeached and removed, every conscientious American voter who gives a damn for the nation's future as even a woefully inadequate kind of pseudo-democracy must help return Trump to office for no other reason than to enforce clearly a message to the overly-powerful-and-privileged class:

"When we elect someone, he (or she) stays elected-- whether that suits you lot or not. Got that!?"

For the sake of sending that message and that message alone, it is beyond all question important and worth the trouble to go and again see that Trump's 2016 victory by the electoral-college rules is not reversed by powerful malcontents and, if reversed, then re-confirmed in the 2020 presidential contest.

This whole argument would be no less true and valid if, say, Elizabeth Warren had been the victor in 2016 and Republican malcontents had done the same to her that they and their Democratic party co-conspirators have done to Trump before, during and since his election to the presidency.

"We the People," not the highly-paid political pundits, decide these matters. In such matters,"fuck with us" at your peril.

Unless voters, joining together in their common long-term interests across party lines insist very very clearly on this point, then, from now on, the corporato-media ruling elite need never more concern themselves with the petty business of fielding a slate of candidates--all safely within their reliable supervision--and then waiting to see which of them the common electorate chooses to put into office. For every election shall have become nothing other than either the confirmation of a pre-ordained decision by this elite ruling class, or, in contrary case, merely the opening prelude to its systematic reversal by methods and means which shall have become tried, tested and true to the momentarily-disappointed elite's desired ends.

At that point the United States joins the banana-republics as a full-fledged member. And there is no coming back from that disgrace.

Does your fucking democratic order matter enough to you to defend and protect it against those who are adroitly playing you for a partisan sucker? If it does, then you'd best get over your finicky and squeamish hesitation about defending the winning-candidate--though you may think him or her "deplorable" and elected by the deplorable, though he (or she) may have in the past done things which are the equivalent of the current president's "grabbing women by the pussy" because that's sort of what goes in some circles in some circumstances.

There are larger and more serious things than this aspect of the current president's past; and saving the nation's democratic life, as tattered and broken though it be, is one of them.

Oct 3, 3:28pm Top

#14--Trump has linked Pence into his Ukrainian adventure. (I can only wonder what Michael is thinking today about the 'Go ask Mike Pence. He was there too'). By rights Pence goes down along with Pompeo who's been lying through his teeth about his own role in the affair and Barr who's been obstructive in so many ways. If the ghoul Bolton wanted some revenge I'm thinking he could do a lot of revenging. Just saying--it's not so long ago and I recall how giddy Pompeo and Mnuchin were (but particularly Pompeo) the day Bolton got fired--and the thought was that those two didn't get along and there were these two clowns gleefully yucking it up right afterwards. Apparently Bolton knew that Trump's designs on investigating the Biden's was not only unlawful but fucked up and tried to dissuade Donald from following his obsessions down a rabbit hole he wouldn't be able to crawl out of.

So if Donald goes down for this all the above (minus Bolton) should go down with him.

#15--so ideally---they don't stop at Donald--they pick up the rest of the trash too. It's all the President's Men all over again.

Edited: Oct 4, 5:09am Top

Guns, smoking:

Adam Schiff @RepAdamSchiff | 10:35 PM · Oct 3, 2019:

After receiving a trove of important documents from the first of the state department witnesses, my fellow chairs and I highlight some of those deserving of the most attention and what is at stake.

Read them here:



Key figures in the texts:

Rudy Giuliani (Trump lawyer)
Gordon Sondland (the US ambassador to the European Union)
Bill Taylor (the top US diplomat at the US embassy in Ukraine)
Kurt Volker (then the US special representative for Ukraine)
Andrey Yermak (an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky).


"I think potus really wants the deliverable" (Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union)



Preet Bharara @PreetBharara | 11:46 PM · Oct 3, 2019:

All week I’ve been saying you never see direct written evidence of a quid pro quo. I stand corrected.

Quote Tweet Jon Favreau @jonfavs · 5h

* Bill Taylor (the top US diplomat at the US embassy in Ukraine)


David Frum @davidfrum | 12:07 AM · Oct 4, 2019:

Don’t call these texts dumb. Taylor (top US diplomat in Ukariane) was building a file.
If we save the country, his determination to put the facts on record will be an important reason why.
Sonderland (US ambassador to EU) not dumb either. He recognized what Taylor was doing and demanded Taylor cease.
Which Taylor refused to do

(See highlighted text at https://twitter.com/charlie_savage/status/1179958613873438720/photo/1)

Meanwhile, in beleaguered Ukraine:

Ukraine signs key agreement with pro-Russia separatists
Oct 1, 2019

Ukraine has signed an agreement with pro-Russia separatists allowing for local elections to be held in separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. It could pave the way for further peace talks...


Edited: Oct 4, 5:20am Top

Trump raised Biden with Xi in June call housed in highly secure server
Kylie Atwood, Kevin Liptak, Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto and Gloria Borger | October 3, 2019

Washington (CNN)When President Donald Trump suggested — without prompting — that China should investigate Joe Biden and his son, he thrust another political grudge into what was already the world's most complicated and consequential relationship.

The move startled Chinese officials, who say they have little interest in becoming embroiled in a US political controversy. And it amounted to the latest extraordinary effort by Trump to openly request political assistance from foreign governments.

Thursday's comments weren't the first time Trump has injected Biden into his relationship with China, though he said Thursday he has never pushed Xi to investigate the former vice president. Nor is it the first time he has sought to trade favors with Xi, who this week celebrated the 70th birthday of his communist state with a note of congratulations from Trump.

During a phone call with Xi on June 18, Trump raised Biden's political prospects as well as those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who by then had started rising in the polls, according to two people familiar with the discussion. In that call, Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed...



Note as with Ukraine, brave protesters in Hong Kong also thrown under bus in Donaldo's quest for political dirt.
Probably the rest of us, too, as Trump "negotiates" trade agreement with China... :(

Edited: Oct 4, 5:32am Top

>18 margd:

"Washington (CNN) When President Donald Trump suggested — without prompting — that China should investigate Joe Biden and his son..."


Yeah? Well, good for him! You didn't mind it a bit when your own government wasted years of precious time, manpower and money investigating Trump on utterly fabricated claims which were shown to have been partisan-driven bullshit from before "the very first."

So, you and your gang of hoodlums started this ball rolling and now you get an example of "what goes around comes around." Better get used to it. William Barr is going to be very busy for some time to come.

Your goddamned partisan fervor earned you this--so "enjoy it".

It's long past time that California's 28th district electorate replace Adam Schiff.

Oct 4, 6:33am Top

>19 proximity1:

Claims against Trump were not "utterly fabricated", as the final report did highlight areas of concern. But the point is that it was "your own government" exercising oversight of an elected official, which is a perfectly legal and normal process. It was not an elected official asking a foreign government to interfere, which is not normal nor arguably legal. You're ranting a bit, aren't you, and missing the point?

Edited: Oct 4, 7:39am Top

Politico's succinct summary of recent developments is worth a read:

POLITICO Playbook: The smoking texts

HERE’S WHAT WE CAN SAY DEFINITIVELY: President DONALD TRUMP is bending the machinations of the U.S. government toward taking down JOE BIDEN. Senate and House Republicans are helping him by sticking by his side. That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact.

TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION IS BROWBEATING U.S. ALLIES -- Australia, Italy, Ukraine, the United Kingdom -- to investigate the origins of the Mueller probe.

THE ONLY DIFFERENCE OF OPINION NOW is not over the facts...(President is) root(ing) out corruption (v.)...deeply unfit for office and deserves to be impeached.

EVIDENCE: A NUMBER OF STORIES dropped Thursday night
-- WSJ: “Trump Ordered Ukraine Ambassador Removed After Complaints From Giuliani, Others”
-- NYT: “Trump Envoys Pushed Ukraine to Commit to Investigations”
-- NBC: “U.S. ambassadors pushed Ukraine to investigate as condition for White House visit, texts show”

SUCCESS … @JonahFisherBBC: “BREAKING: Ukraine’s current prosecutor general says his office is going to review up to 15 cases that involve Burisma - the company that Joe Biden's son Hunter worked for.”

AND THEN THIS … CNN: “Trump raised Biden with Xi in June call housed in highly secure server,” by Kylie Atwood, Kevin Liptak, Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto and Gloria Borger

-- ALSO WILD: “In that call, Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed.”


Edited: Oct 4, 12:49pm Top

WHY Wait for the election results? IMPEACH (Not-Yet-president) BIDEN NOW!


The U.S. government could save billions of precious dollars by going ahead now with the impeachment of future-president Joe Biden.

Let's get started. To waste the time and money to elect this influence-peddler and then only later get around to taking his misdeeds seriously is ridiculous.

Let's do "for Biden" what demented anti-Trump maniacs are trying to do "for Trump" and pre-empt an election of Biden by impeaching him sooner rather than later.

How do you like it, Wacko anti-Trump maniacs? These are now the political norms we're going to live through over and over again until we get this insanity (yours as much as anyone else's) out of our (political) system.

Every new president is now going to face a very determined impeachment juggernaut. The next one which targets a Democratic party president is your legacy.


It's time you were reading or re-reading certain of "Shakespere's" plays.

Whatever one's point of view or partisan position, reading Shakespeare's plays, while always useful and interesting no matter the particularities of the times in which one lives, is especially interesting and useful today.

That is because, among other things, we can see that this playwright, when rightly understood for who he was, had a privileged seat in the circles of high state power of his day. He was Edward, Earl of Oxford (the seventeenth in his family line) and he personally knew well virtually all of the Elizabethan court's most important people--including the queen herself, of course, but especially his father-in-law, William Cecil, Baron Burghley, secretary to the queen and Elizabeth's most important and longest-serving right-hand man in virtually all respects.

It is this which permitted Oxford, as he was called, holding the earldom of that title, to see and understand how high political office-holders behave in power and how they are so often undone by their own over-reaching ambitions, setting up their own real-life political tragedy by putting into action forces which come to have far-reaching consequences --consequences, of course, not only for themselves but for the nations of people over whom they wield power-- the consequences which undo them are invariably just those which they fail to recognize before it is too late. That, in a nutshell is the core dramatic element in most of Oxford's dramatic work under the pen-name "William Shakespere".

It was not only his innate genius which allowed his piercing dramas to be created but also the happenstance of his high birth and the privileged view on political power and those who wielded it that went into his work and they are these elements which make his plays on political affairs of state ever-useful, ever-revealing, for our own insights into political actors and their affairs of state.

Edited: Oct 4, 4:53pm Top

What Was Gordon Sondland’s Mission to Ukraine for Trump All About?
Steven Erlanger and Matina Stevis-Gridneff | Oct. 4, 2019

Gordon D. Sondland, the blunt-spoken hotelier who (raised a lot of money for Mr. Trump and) is President Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, was boasting on Ukrainian television that Mr. Trump had honored him with a “special assignment” — “overseeing” relations between the two countries “at the highest levels.” ( his grandparents were from Ukraine... )

...Asked in the interview (on Ukarinian TV about progress in Ukraine-America relations, including questions like membership of NATO and energy security, Mr. Sondland urged patience. “It’s not a question of saying no...It’s a question of saying when. There are certain things that they have to do. There are preconditions to anything.”

...Mr. Sondland’s “special assignment”...was instrumental in the negotiations with Mr. Zelensky’s team and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer...

...In his interview with Ukrainian television, Mr. Sondland said the American-Ukrainian relationship was in the hands of “what are called the three amigos’’ — himself, Energy Secretary Rick Perry* and Kurt D. Volker, the special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

The July...delegation was led by Mr. Perry and included Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and Senator Ron Johnson**, Republican of Wisconsin.

...(July) party and (June dinner was also attended by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser; Mr. Perry; the Polish prime minister; and Ulrich Brechbuhl, a State Department counselor who is mentioned in the whistle-blower memo as having listened in to the July 25 telephone call.

On Aug. 9, according to the texts released, Mr. Sondland thought he was finally making progress on getting a date for the Zelensky visit to the White House. But he was unsure, messaging Mr. Volker: “I think POTUS really wants the deliverable,” meaning a public Zelensky statement about his commitment to investigate the Bidens and 2016.***

...Mr. Perry, Mr. Sondland and Mr. Pence also met with Mr. Zelensky in Warsaw on Aug. 31...“The Vice President reiterated the U.S.’ support of Ukraine’s security and rightful claim to Crimea,’’ the statement read. ‘‘President Zelensky articulated his administration’s commitment to defeating corruption and pledged to launch much anticipated reforms.”

On Sept. 1, Mr. Taylor texted Mr. Sondland: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Mr. Sondland responded by ending the text exchange and reverting to a telephone call.

But by Sept. 9, matters remained unclear. Mr. Taylor, the acting ambassador, messaged: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Mr. Sondland responded: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.’’



* Rick Perry Is Said to Be Resigning as Energy Secretary by Year’s End
Lisa Friedman and Maggie Haberman | Oct. 4, 2019


** Rebecca Ballhaus @rebeccaballhaus | 1:36 PM · Oct 4, 2019:
NEWS: GOP Sen. Ron Johnson tells WSJ that the U.S. ambassador to the EU told him in August that the status of aid to Ukraine was tied to Trump’s interest in having Kiev investigate certain matters. Johnson confronted Trump, who denied it. w/@siobhanehughes

Trump, in August Call With GOP Senator (Ron Johnson), Denied Official’s Claim on Ukraine Aid
Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus | Oct. 4, 2019 2:42 pm ET

...Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) said he learned of a potential quid pro quo from the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who told him that aid to Ukraine was tied to the desire by Mr. Trump and his allies to have Kyiv undertake investigations that the president has sought. (Mr. Johnson said Mr. Sondland told him, Ukraine would appoint a strong prosecutor general and move to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016—if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending”...“I winced,” Mr. Johnson said. “My reaction was: Oh, God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.” He...doesn’t believe Mr. Biden’s name came up during his conversations with Mr. Sondland or Mr. Trump.)

Mr. Johnson raised the issue with Mr. Trump in a phone call on Aug. 31... Mr. Trump flatly rejected the notion that he directed aides to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on a new investigation by Kyiv...

...Mr. Volker, the former U.S. envoy for Ukraine negotiations, told House lawmakers in testimony on Thursday that he wasn’t aware the president had mentioned Mr. Biden’s name in the phone call with Mr. Zelensky until the White House released a rough transcript last week...



** Ukraine to Review Criminal Case on Owner of Firm Linked to Biden’s Son
Andrew E. Kramer | Oct. 4, 2019

Oct 4, 1:57pm Top

McConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens
Alexander Bolton - 10/04/19

...McConnell says he is required by the Senate rules to take up articles of impeachment,
but notes that there is no requirement on how long such a trial must last...



David Frum @davidfrum | 12:11 PM · Oct 4, 2019:

Remember: while it takes 67 votes in the Senate to remove, the rules of the trial are decided by majority vote. R majority in Senate is only 53. If Romney and Sasse demand a real trial - if Murkowksi agrees - McConnell's hopes for hush-up suddenly recede ...

Oct 4, 2:13pm Top

Josh Lederman @JoshNBCNews | 11:33 AM · Oct 4, 2019:

Trump is asked whether he's ever asked a foreign government to investigate corruption NOT involving one of Trump's political opponents.

"We'd have to look," Trump says

Edited: Oct 4, 6:14pm Top

Walter Shaub @waltshaub (former director Office of Govt Ethics) | 10:13 AM · Oct 4, 2019
Twenty-one. That's how many Republican Senators need to decide whether they love America. I don't like thinking about parties, but 21 stand in the way of saving America from the catastrophic consequences of President Trump's republic-destroying corruption. Consider this snapshot:

1. A sitting POTUS solicited a foreign attack on our election by an authoritarian superpower that recently stole 21 million security clearance files, which contain the most intimate personal information imaginable, and is now engaged in a trade war with us.

2. A sitting POTUS solicited a foreign attack on our election by a desperate country that has been invaded by our nemesis and is fighting for its survival in a battle that has already killed 13,000 people and cost it territory, making it completely depending on our government.

3. A sitting POTUS agreed to back off on criticizing the superpower's repression of protesters in Hong Kong, raising the issue of an apparent quid pro quo (which is not necessary for impeachment but is a horrific aggravating factor).

4. A sitting POTUS blocked aid to the dependent country and sent his political appointees to demand that the dependent country demonstrate it will investigate his political rival before he would even meet with them. AGAIN, although quid pro quo is not necessary, it's now CLEAR.

5. A sitting POTUS fired his AG for not stopping an investigation of his campaign, which later produced a shockingly damning report, and the beneficiary of this slow motion Saturday Night Massacre is now working with him to abuse federal resources to investigate the investigator.

6. A sitting POTUS has posted ON THE WHITE HOUSE WEBSITE evidence that he may have directed his slow motion Saturday Night Massacre beneficiary of an Attorney General to abuse the criminal investigative apparatus of the State to investigate his political rival.

7. A sitting POTUS has attacked the whistleblower who exposed his solicitation of a foreign attack on our election, in an effort to not only intimidate this whistleblower but to intimidate other whistleblowers in order to ensure that his corruption continues unchecked.

8. A sitting POTUS has attacked the constitutional separation of powers by implementing an unprecedented across-the-board refusal to cooperate with any Congressional oversight, risking the total destruction of our system of checks and balances on executive abuses of power.

9. A sitting POTUS is using federal resources to promote his properties by taking staff and foreign leaders to his resorts and by creating the appearance that access to government and favoritism can be purchased—a message influence-seekers have heard and acted upon.

10. Members of Congress who, for eight years of the Obama administration, lauded whistleblowers have done the President's bidding by attacking whistleblowers as a means to insulate the President from consequences that may flow from his rampant corruption.

11. A sitting POTUS obstructed an investigation into possible coordination with Russian during the 2016 election and has failed to explain the extensive links between his campaign and Russia, after having asked Russia on camera to hack his political rival's computer system.

12. Trump White House officials tried to conceal wrongdoing by hiding records of official conversations, both inappropriately in a highly secure national security system and by collecting translator notes and other records.

13. A sitting POTUS has violated the constitution by accepting emoluments from foreign governments, the federal government and at least one state.

14. A new whistleblower raises the possibility that a Trump appointee tried to interfere in the IRS audit of POTUS or VPOTUS's tax returns. And, even if investigation doesn't wind up substantiating the claim, the admin is violating a law requiring release of Trump's returns.

15. A sitting POTUS has advanced his scheme of corruption by targeting or publicly condemning career officials who attempt to hold him accountable or merely uphold the rule of law, including our former Ambassador to Ukraine, the Special Counsel, investigators, and others.

16. A sitting POTUS has called on DOJ to investigate his former political rival for his political advantage. He similarly pressured the USPS to raise rates on an American business because he didn't like the coverage of his misdeeds by a paper the owner of that business also owns.

17. He has called for a "treason" prosecution of a Congressional Chair for conducting congressional oversight, repeatedly attacked the free press and debased the office of the President by his disgraceful public remarks and behavior. (See impeachment of Pres. Andrew Johnson)

(The math is a little off. Technically, it's 19 Republicans. I forgot there are 2 independents. And there are some typos. But the government is burning down, so these are not the details that matter.)

Oct 4, 11:26pm Top

I heard Trump also had Chicken for dinner.
Coincidence? I think not. Better start another investigation. After all, there's nothing better everyone should be doing.
Just curious, does all of this Trump hate cause severe headaches?
Oh! There's another one.....severe=difficult=hard=impossible not to be amused at the number of blood vessels popping in the search for something, anything to be used to oust an admittedly childish and ill-mannered at times, yet brilliant, brave, extremely patient businessman, who jumped in without the slightest idea of how a "politician" is supposed to act (thank God), who is bringing us back from a certain end of the great American Experiment.

Oct 5, 1:38am Top

Do you think >27 RunzWithSzizers: is a sockpuppet?

Oct 5, 3:07am Top

>28 guido47:
More likely a suck poppet...

Oct 5, 7:52am Top

A bit of (epithet-laced) truth about the current political culture from a non-conservative Brit:

Oct 5, 8:16am Top

>17 margd: texts, contd.: "black propaganda":

Asha Rangappa @AshaRangappa_ (former FBI Special Agent) | 10/5/2019:

THREAD. One thing not to overlook in understanding the significance of the texts is that in addition to soliciting section assistance and abusing his power, Trump was attempting to employ covert propaganda against the American public:
CNN clip of interview with Rangappa (1:21)

2. As I note in the clip above, one thing the texts make clear is that the administration wasn't just interested in Ukraine investigating Biden -- they were specifically interested in the *messaging* about the investigation. If what you care about is "corruption," you would

3. be satisfied with an assurance that Ukraine was going to investigate. Instead, the Trump admin doesn't care so much about the investigation itself, but making sure that the fact that it is being investigated is *being broadcast* to the audience they care about: American voters

4. IMPORTANTLY, they are very invested in the message being crafted in a *specific way* -- tailored to Trump's benefit by maximizing the "seeds of doubt" on both Biden and the 2016 election. It's being drafted by Trump's personal lawyer!

5. In addition, the message was going to be delivered as an official statement from Ukraine, with NO INDICATION that the United States either precipitated or participated in its creation in any way. This, folks, is called black propaganda.

6. Black propaganda attempts to conceal the true source of information, so that the target cannot accurately assess the credibility of the message or the motives of the source behind it. Trump wanted to cloak his own role and motives behind a statement of a foreign country

7. The goal here is to manipulate the American public into to thinking that Ukraine had *independently* reached the same conclusions about the Russia investigation, and/or uncovered criminal leads about Biden. Trump could then use this to bolster his own views

8. Not for nothing, but a good chunk of the cases I investigated in the FBI were "perception management" (propaganda) cases. We actively try to STOP foreign countries from doing this to us, because we believe that part of an open society and marketplace of ideas is

9. ensuring that people know the true source of information in order to assess credibility and critically evaluate the content (FARA originated in 1938 as a way to combat Nazi propaganda, be requiring state-sponsored content to be identified as such)

10. Basically, you have the Trump admin attempting to conduct an illegal covert psyop on the American public, using officials from the State Department and his own attorney to do it. It's literally a version of what Russia did in 2016. /END

Oct 5, 8:31am Top

>27 RunzWithSzizers: ...and fell on them....

Edited: Oct 5, 9:12am Top

stuart stevens @stuartpstevens |7:43 PM · Oct 4, 2019:
His campaign manager is a felon.
His deputy campaign manager is a felon.
His NSA is a felon. His foreign policy advisor is a felon.
His longtime personal lawyer is a felon.
But the defense is he cares about corruption?

Quote Tweet Ben Shapiro @benshapiro · 21h
This, from Trump, is the entire defense.
Which is why Giuliani’s testimony will end up being the make or break for the Democrats.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 8:16 AM · Oct 4, 2019
As President I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries.
It is done all the time.
This has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens.
This does have to do with their corruption!


Josh Lederman @JoshNBCNews | 11:33 AM · Oct 4, 2019:
Trump is asked whether he's ever asked a foreign government to investigate corruption NOT involving one of Trump's political opponents.
"We'd have to look," Trump says


David Frum @davidfrum | 9:08 AM · Oct 5, 2019
At the Trump hotel, you can charge your bribes to American Express and deduct them from your company's taxes.

Edited: Oct 5, 10:27am Top

>30 fuzzi:

+ 10,000 !

I've also posted a link to that video in previous posts in this site's comments threads.

With few exceptions, everything from T.W. (a.k.a. "Jonathan Pie") prompts me to say to myself, "I wish I'd said that." In other ways and other words, I very often have said "that"--- "What he said!"

Walker's work is brilliant -- though it has happened (rarely) that I disagee with some aspect of certain things he's said; I always admire his essential motives and intentions, even when I can't completely agree with him in every sense and detail.

Edited: Oct 5, 10:04am Top

Throughout time, America's history books are going to have a
record of how GOPers refused to impeach a president who
committed treason during his despicable era.

Edited: Oct 6, 5:54am Top

>35 Molly3028:

"Treason", uniquely of criminal acts, is defined in the Constitution.

Both you and Trump abuse and misuse this term and I suppose that's a combination of your neither knowing nor caring much about whether you're using terms irresponisibly loosely nor knowing what "treason" means in U.S. law.

If those who drafted the Constitution's early articles took the trouble to clearly define what "treason" meant and what (everything outside their narrow definition) could not be called "treason", it's because they had direct experience under British rule in which "treason" was so vague as to include just about anything that was regarded by the crown (King or Queen) as sufficiently outrageous.

Whatever Trump has done, there is one thing which is beyond dispute: he has NEVER engaged in treason under the U.S. law for he has never done any of the following:

("Treason against the United States, shall consist only in"...)

levying War against (the United States),

or in adhering to their Enemies,

giving them Aid and Comfort."

"No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court." (Article Three, section three)

In peacetime, it is virtually impossible to commit treason as the Constitution defines it since "enemies" meant people (nation-states, to be more precise) with which the United States was in a declared state of war. This is made manifest by the term's first specific aspect being "waging war" against the United States.

A president is not guilty of treason simply because he or she maintains close friendly relations with a foreign government's leadership--a party head or elected or appointed ruler as head of state-- even while many U.S. citizens despise or distrust that foreign leader.

So, no— "America's history books are" not "going to have a record of how GOPers refused to impeach a president who committed treason during his despicable era" unless or until a serving president actually commits treason.

You might as well call for the impeachment of Trump for, say, murder in the first degee, even though, of course, he hasn't committed that crime, either. Apparently this fact doesn't interest you that much.

Edited: Oct 5, 1:48pm Top

Diversion and the resentment card have been the two hallmarks
of the GOP during this decade. GOPers are not defending what
Trump did, they are whipping out the "process" card.

Oct 5, 4:22pm Top

>34 proximity1: glad you enjoyed the rerun.

I thought that video was appropriate to post here, as mostly what I see on these threads are huge copy & pastes, taken generally from sites which are not known for their unbiased or agenda-free views.

No one is listening, people are just trying to out-yell each other.

I don't try to engage on LT anymore because too many who participate are typical of what Pie was describing: they don't discuss or engage, but merely scream epithets and ad hominems at anyone who doesn't agree with their own views, ridiculing and trying to shut them down. (see replies to posts such as #27 above)

Edited: Oct 5, 8:29pm Top

Absolutely....it's the most mature thing I could opt to be if I shared these "views".
It would take too long to draw a picture. I'm just glad most Reps are more mature than I feel right now and are remaining out of this bitch fest.

Edited: Oct 7, 1:08pm Top

Brennan Is 'Concerned' That He May Be Questioned By DOJ On Origins Of Russia Probe

If I were in John Brennan's shoes, I wouldn't be describing the term “corruption” in public affairs as activities which are especially characterized by one's doing the following:

… “ Some of the definition of 'corruption'—which is, you move out of the way people who are not corrupt, you spread disinformation about them as a way to discredit them and then you try to cover-up your tracks. And I think we see all of those examples in what Donald Trump has done in the past several months. And it's my impression that they're continuing to do this and they're just digging themselves deeper and deeper into this hole”....


Here's Brennan, speaking on-air from MS-NBC as this network's own “Senior National Security Analyst” about a set of circumstances in which he is personally implicated as one liable to felony criminal charges which relate to “national-security” issues and his own part in directing some of the United States' intelligence-agency operations.

Amazing! Or, well, it ought be. But then, we now live in a time when Democratic Party insiders sound talk about the U.S. intelligence agencies the way that arch-conservative Republican party elected officials used to do.

Let's also review some of the Clinton/Obama Democrats' "greatest hits"

"Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D.-N.Y.):

(Trump) "really dumb" ... "You take on the Intelligence Community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Samantha Power (former Obama administration Ambassador to the United Nations):

"Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."

Oct 6, 8:23am Top

#38--Not sure you know as much about Jonathan Pie as you think you do. If you think he's a Trump fan or for Brexit--you need to take a good several hour look through his archive......and he quite often has attacked and insulted the orange one. The thing with Pie really is no one is safe from critique--not Cameron, not May, not Corbyn, not Johnson, not Trump and not even the Queen. They all leave something to be desired in his eyes but he particularly does not like figures on the political right.

Edited: Oct 6, 8:49am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Oct 6, 10:25am Top

Edited: Oct 6, 11:07am Top

Andrew P. Bakaj @AndrewBakaj | 8:45 AM · Oct 6, 2019
IC WHISTLEBLOWER UPDATE: I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General. No further comment at this time.

Quote Tweet GeorgeStephanopoulos @GStephanopoulos · 2h
BREAKING: Attorney representing whistleblower who sounded the alarm on Pres. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine tells ABC News he is now representing a second whistleblower who has first-hand knowledge of events. https://abcn.ws/30PZ4BF


2nd whistleblower comes forward after speaking with IG: Attorney
james gordon meek and anne flaherty | Oct 6, 2019

Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower who sounded the alarm on President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine and triggered an impeachment inquiry, tells ABC News that he is now representing a second whistleblower who has spoken with the inspector general.

Zaid tells ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the second person -- also described as an intelligence official -- has first-hand knowledge of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint and has been interviewed by the head of the intelligence community's internal watchdog office, Michael Atkinson.

The existence of a second whistleblower -- particularly one who can speak directly about events involving the president related to conversations involving Ukraine -- could undercut Trump's repeated insistence that the original complaint, released on Sept. 26, was "totally inaccurate."

...Zaid says both officials have full protection of the law intended to protect whistleblowers from being fired in retaliation. While this second official has spoken with the IG -- the internal watchdog office created to handle complaints -- this person has not communicated yet with the congressional committees conducting the investigation.

...Zaid’s co-counsel, Andrew Bakaj, confirmed in a tweet Sunday that the firm is representing "multiple whistleblowers." Zaid later confirmed in a tweet that two are being represented by their legal team...


Oct 6, 12:27pm Top

>41 lriley: I listen to anyone as long as they are upfront and honest about their beliefs.

Just by watching the video it's very apparent that Pie is a classic liberal. He wants to discuss, debate, not shut down others with whom he disagrees. Good for him. I'd chat with Pie any day over a cuppa Joe versus some who have the emotional maturity of a two-year old.

Oct 6, 2:02pm Top

#45--Pie is opinionated and that's fine.....but I don't always agree with him all the time either. People are flawed and politicians being people are going to be all flawed too. I would never trust anyone determined to tell me how great they are.....and a lot of time what's debated about is equivalences but some things are just flat out wrong and shouldn't be given equal time. For instance ideas about exceptionalism. One's gender, race, religion, sexual preference does not signify superiority and should not privilege any special sort of status. That is not a critique of Pie--I don't think he believes in exceptionalism either but a lot do.....and they're flat out wrong.

Oct 7, 2:49am Top

As I recall:
Giuliani not paid by Trump, and Giuliani associates knew three months in advance that ambassador to Ukraine was to be recalled.

AP sources: Trump allies sought changes at Ukraine utility

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer...touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

...the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors (after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy)

...the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president’s personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

On Friday, according to the news site Axios, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” regarding Biden. Axios cited a source saying Trump said Perry had asked Trump to make the call to discuss “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”

.. Perry playing a key role in the effort (the attempts to influence Naftogaz, the multibillion-dollar state gas company)...


Edited: Oct 9, 5:42am Top

>45 fuzzi:

"I listen to anyone as long as they are (i.e. "anyone as long as he is" ) upfront and honest about their ( i.e. his) beliefs."


And, in just this, you are, as Tom Walker is, a world away from a woefully-large number of self-described "liberals." That these so-called liberals would fail to recognize what you point out—"it's very apparent that Pie is a classic liberal"—this speaks volumes about our times and about the self-described so-called liberals themselves. Unfortunately, what is very apparent to you or to me is not necessarily very apparent to others. This is one reason why Tom Walker's comedic work as "Jonanthan Pie" is so important.

We are again, though for different superficial reasons, in a period psychologically similar to one which the writer, Lillian Hellman, described in a work she entitled Scoundrel Time —the heyday of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, (R.-Wis.). I do not mean to compare Donald Trump to senator Joseph McCarthy. I mean to compare the mass-mania of the anti-Communist "Red Scare" in which McCarthy so trafficked with the idiocy of today's anti-Trump mass-mania.

Oct 7, 2:48pm Top

>45 fuzzi:

I'd chat with Pie any day over a cuppa Joe versus some who have the emotional maturity of a two-year old.

At what age do you place Trump's "emotional maturity"?

Oct 7, 3:46pm Top

Today the Donald was going on (and this is verbatim from his twitter account) about his 'great and unmatched wisdom' just before he threatened to destroy Turkey's economy if they to his mind cross some unstated line in their belligerence towards the Kurds that fought alongside the US military against ISIS. The emotional maturity of that is less than zero--the grandiosity and narcissism through the roof. What sane person in their right mind talks like that?

Oct 8, 12:09pm Top

This will get worse for Trump. Adam Schiff signals what’s next.
Greg Sargent | Oct. 8, 2019

...Post-Schar School poll showing that 58 percent of Americans support the House’s impeachment inquiry, and 49 percent support outright removal...62 percent say Trump’s pressure on the Ukrainian president, the topic of the inquiry, was “inappropriate.”

...Trump directed a key witness — Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union — not to testify to Congress...Tuesday...about his role in a series of recently released text message exchanges that deeply incriminate the president...suggested a possible quid pro quo in which hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid — which Trump froze just before talking to Zelensky on July 25 — were also conditioned on doing Trump’s political bidding.

Ambassador William “Bill” Taylor texted to Sondland that he objected to such a quid pro quo involving that military assistance. In one exchange, Sondland denied there was any quid pro quo before abruptly signing off. Schiff said...that Democrats want to ask Taylor about it.

...now that the White House has blocked Sondland from testifying...Schiff also hinted at where this all might end up going in another way: He told me that Democrats have not ruled out going to court to try to enforce subpoenas the White House has resisted, as some previous reporting had suggested.

As of now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo still has not complied with the Democrats’ subpoena seeking a tranche of documents. Meanwhile, the White House is resisting another subpoena...full transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky, a full list of White House staffers who were aware of the call or communicated about how to stash it on the super-secret computer system, and all communications and documents related to Trump’s decision to suspend the military aid.

..."I do not foreclose at all other efforts in parallel to make sure we fully find out all the facts, including court,” Schiff said. He noted that if the administration fought these efforts, “that will not delay us from going forward with articles of impeachment if they are warranted by the president’s obstruction...We need to protect the country...We need to expose whatever wrongdoing has gone on. That work is going to have to proceed.”

...“If it is necessary to go down the road of other articles of impeachment, then presumably there will be a trial in the Senate,” Schiff said. “I don’t think there’s a court in the land that will preclude the Congress from getting the evidence it needs at trial.”...


Oct 8, 1:27pm Top

Chris Hayes @chrislhayes (MSNBC) | 9:56 AM · Oct 8, 2019:

I will note that all of these exchanges between State Department officials were on WhatsApp on their private devices
not on state department email. 🤔

Oct 8, 4:51pm Top

The House’s contempt powers explained
Scott Bomboy | May 7, 2019

...Based on precedent, statutes, and court rulings, the House and the Senate each have the power to invoke three types of contempt proceedings if a committee believes someone is obstructing its investigative powers.

The Congressional Research Service described each of these powers in a detailed March 2019 report. The first type of contempt power is a citation of criminal contempt of Congress...

...The second type of contempt power comes in the form of a civil lawsuit brought by the House or Senate, asking a court to enforce a subpoena.

...The third type of contempt power—Congress’s dormant inherent contempt power—is rarely used in modern times. Inherent contempt was the mode employed by Congress to directly enforce contempt rulings under its own constitutional authority until criminal and civil contempt statutes were passed, and it remained in use into the twentieth century. Under inherent contempt proceedings, the House or Senate has its Sergeant-At-Arms, or deputy, take a person into custody for proceedings to be held in Congress...

Although these powers are not directly stated in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions that they are implicit as an essential legislative power held by Congress...


Edited: Oct 8, 6:22pm Top

George Conway @gtconway3d | 5:19 PM · Oct 8, 2019
It’s hard to count the number of ways that this letter is, constitutionally and legally, garbage.

Quote Tweet Ramsey Touchberry @ramsberry1 · 14m
.@SpeakerPelosi's office confirms she's received letter from WH outlining why the administration won't be cooperating with impeachment inquiry.

Below is the link to the 8-pg letter from WH Counsel Pat Cipollone.


George Conway @gtconway3d | 5:38 PM · Oct 8, 2019:
I cannot fathom how any self-respecting member of the bar could affix his name to this letter. It’s pure hackery, and it disgraces the profession.

Quote Tweet Neal Katyal @neal_katyal | · 55m
George is understating things. https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1181680625113321483

Edited: Oct 9, 6:47am Top

Democrats to subpoena Gordon Sondland, say Trump’s move to block deposition amounts to obstruction
Shane Harris and John Wagner | Oct. 8, 2019

The Trump administration on Tuesday blocked a planned deposition from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a central figure in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Democrats called the administration’s move an act of obstruction and said they would issue a subpoena for Sondland’s testimony, as well as emails and text messages that Sondland held on a personal device and that have been turned over to the State Department, which has yet to release them.

In a trove of text messages that were turned over to the House by another former official, Sondland emerged as a central player in the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations of the president’s political rivals.

...Sondland was scheduled to be deposed Tuesday morning , his lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in a statement.

...Sondland was willing to testify and didn’t appear on Tuesday at the direction of the State Department, Luskin said.

“As the sitting U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. and employee of the State Department, Ambassador Sondland is required to follow the Department’s direction,” Luskin said. “Ambassador Sondland is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify today. Ambassador Sondland traveled to Washington from Brussels in order to prepare for his testimony and to be available to answer the Committee’s questions.”

The State Department left a voice-mail message with Sondland’s attorneys at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, informing them that he would not be allowed to testify, the Democratic committee chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry said in a joint statement.

...Schiff said that the committee had been discussing Sondland’s deposition with the State Department’s legal adviser as recently as Monday evening and “there was no indication that the ambassador would be a no-show.”

Schiff said that Sondland, who remains a State Department employee, had turned over text messages and emails from a personal device to the department, communications that are “equally relevant to this investigation and the impeachment inquiry.”...



Pelosi Statement on Trump Administration Refusal to Comply with House Subpoenas
October 8, 2019
Press Release

...“Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”



House Democrats subpoena E.U. ambassador after State Department blocks testimony
Rebecca Shabad | Oct. 8, 2019

...Issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in consultation with House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the subpoena called on Sondland to produce documents by Oct. 14.

A letter from the three chairmen accompanying the subpoena also called on the U.S. diplomat to appear for a deposition on Oct. 16 ...

The chairmen warned Sondland that if he fails or refuses to comply with the subpoena, "including at the direction or behest of the president, the White House or State Department," it would "constitute further evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the president...Secretary Pompeo’s obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry does not alleviate you of your independent legal obligation to produce to the Committees any responsive documents in your personal possession, custody, or control...There is no valid basis to withhold documents from the Committees by relying on instructions from Secretary Pompeo, who is a fact witness in this inquiry and who is currently defying his own duly issued subpoena for documents — particularly if the Department’s goal is to block the Committees from gaining access to your documents prior to your testimony."


Oct 8, 7:36pm Top

>49 LolaWalser: higher than the general population, especially those who have been melting down and having tantrums over his election and Presidency. 😁

Edited: Oct 9, 5:35am Top

DOJ: If Watergate Happened Today, We’d Block Evidence From Congress
Jeremy Stahl | Oct 08, 2019

...(in a hearing on the House Judiciary Committee’s request for Howell to issue an order commanding the DOJ to turn over the remaining redacted portions of the Mueller report along with critical underlying evidence) the Department of Justice sought to block the release...arguing that if Watergate happened today, it would be able to prevent the release of grand jury evidence to Congress and the public.

To keep the evidence from Congress, the Justice Department is seeking to overturn a critical Nixon-era case (the 1974 case Haldeman v. Sirica) that allowed the Watergate grand jury to turn over evidence to congressional investigators as part of an impeachment inquiry. The government’s “extraordinary position” made Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the District Court for the District of Columbia say, “Wow.”



More detail on rest of the exchange at https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2019/10/08/wow-dc-judge-questions-dojs-ex...

e.g., (Judge) "Howell also question DOJ over whether foreign governments were given access to the grand jury material that the agency is fighting to not share with U.S. lawmakers."

Oct 9, 7:20am Top

#57--more proof that the Trump administration think that they are above the law.

Oct 10, 3:22am Top

On Ukraine Aid, ‘Nothing to See Here’: Diplomats Urged to Play Down Funds’ Release
Lara Jakes | Oct. 9, 2019

...Messages obtained by The New York Times among U.S. diplomats discussed the aid to Ukraine....

“We realize the strain this puts on posts and your ability to conclude grants and carry out programs,” Jim Kulikowski, the State Department’s regional assistance coordinator, wrote in an Aug. 5 email.

“We currently await further guidance and will provide you with an update as soon as we know about next steps,” Mr. Kulikowski wrote in the message, which was sent to dozens of State Department employees, including diplomats in Kiev and in countries across Eastern Europe.

...A Ukrainian official has said Mr. Zelensky’s government did not learn of the funding delay until about a month later (after July 25 phone call?). The White House has said the review merely sought to ensure the money was properly spent.

But the freeze irritated diplomats who questioned whether it was tied to Mr. Trump’s demands for Ukraine to investigate two politically fraught allegations: a widely debunked conspiracy theory about election tampering in 2016 and corruption at an energy company that employed the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. There is no evidence that the Bidens were involved in wrongdoing.

...Officials were informed that the freeze had been reversed — and the $141 million in foreign military financing would be released — in a Sept. 12 email from the White House that was then sent around the State Department.

“Apparently, and I don’t have full visibility, decision made last night,” Mr. Kulikowski wrote.

(Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary overseeing issues in Europe and Eurasia) said the Ukrainian government had already been told that the funds were forthcoming. But he urged State Department employees not to announce the reversal.

“Ukrainians are aware, but N.S.C. said that in the spirit of the ‘hold’ being a normal review, there will be no public announcement that it has been lifted,” he wrote, referring to the president’s National Security Council.

...“I will inform President Zelensky as soon as he is out of a meeting,” (William B. Taylor Jr., the top American envoy in Kiev) wrote to Mr. Freden. “We then intend to make it public here.”

Mr. Freden responded in minutes. “In terms of public messaging, N.S.C. is deliberately treating both the hold and its lifting as administrative matters,” he wrote. “My advice is to keep your public messaging low-key as well.”

“Good advice — thanks,” Mr. Taylor emailed back...


Oct 10, 4:21am Top

Edited: Oct 10, 11:20am Top

Songbirds in the making?

Two business associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani have been arrested and are in custody
Washington Post Staff | Oct. 10, 2019

The two men, who helped Giuliani investigate former vice president Joe Biden, were charged with campaign finance violations...Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have been under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.



Giuliani Associates Indicted on Campaign Finance Charges
Quinta Jurecic | October 10, 2019

Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin have been indicted by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York on campaign finance charges. Parnas and Fruman have been reported to have worked with Rudy Giuliani on his efforts in Ukraine. The (21 p Grand Jury) indictment is available here and below...



Arieh Kovler @ariehkovler| ·48m
🚨 Parnas indictment: Parnas lobbied for the removal of the US Ambassador to Ukraine. Which links in nicely with the Trump call and the whistleblower complaint. 🚨

Image https://twitter.com/ariehkovler/status/1182302456098820101/photo/1

Edited: Oct 10, 12:14pm Top

First, as a test, read the following with no resort to other or further clarifying information--alright? Why? Because the challenge here points up the strange circumstances which are, themselves, the point of this exercise; here's your information and read and judge it on nothing other than this:

..."were attacked for not following proper procedure in revealing their information to the public; attacking the method of disclosure while ignoring the misconduct revealed by that disclosure is typically the approach of those implicated in ...."

Here's your challenge: reading the citation above, first discern what you can say you know about or from it.

In this, I'll provide this summary:

We know, taking the text at face-value for the purposes of this example, that someone has disclosed something. We know further that whoever this was, the method(s) used in the making the disclosure are being denounced and, this, independently of the validity of the details which are the content of the disclosure, which is characterized as "misconduct."

That done, your challenge is to discern, first, which partisans, "pro-" or "anti-" Trump, are they whose choice of method of disclosure is being denounced here?

Secondly, what "exactly was disclosed,"? how? and why?

My hunch here is simple: you neither know nor can know, based on only the information provided, how to correctly answer those queries and the reason for that is also simple: Trump's adversaries have done— and they continue to do —the very things which they, outraged, denounce him, Trump, or his associates, for doing.

If this wasn't the case, then you could and should be able to very dependably explain without looking further or having any additional data who is the person or are the people involved and the things he or they disclosed which elicited the cited comment.

If you say otherwise, tell us the correct answers--unaided.



Okay, then, Never-Trump-ers

If you didn't cheat (LOL!) and you're ready to cry, "Uncle!", then you're now authorized to review, first, the material at this link and then read the essay at this link.

Oct 10, 12:09pm Top

>54 margd: 8-pg letter from WH Counsel Pat Cipollone, contd.

White House Letter Distorts Both Law and History on Impeachment
Frank O. Bowman, III | October 10, 2019

The White House letter of October 8 refusing all executive branch cooperation with the ongoing House impeachment inquiry is, simply put, a public relations exercise. The legal arguments it intersperses between insults to members of the House Democratic leadership and appeals to the President’s base voters are without foundation. The errors and mischaracterizations are so numerous that they cannot all be addressed in this space. Instead, I will consider only the fundamental misconceptions at the heart of the White House argument, as well as a single illustrative historical incident – the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson.


Oct 10, 12:54pm Top

White House Shifted Authority Over Ukraine Aid (and other foreign aid and defense accounts) Amid Legal Concerns
Andrew Duehren and Gordon Lubold | Oct. 10, 2019

...President Trump’s order to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in mid-July is at the center of House Democratic efforts to investigate allegations that Mr. Trump used U.S. foreign-policy powers to benefit himself politically. The hold came days before Mr. Trump’s request, on a July 25 call, that the Ukrainian president work with Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to conduct investigations into presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

...The president has the authority to delay the release of money in certain instances, according to the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research agency, including if there has been an unexpected change in circumstances for the program. But without being provided explanation or justification about why the administration was delaying the aid, some career officials at the Office of Management and Budget became worried they didn’t have the legal authority to hold up the funds...

...While career civil servants put an initial hold on the aid, Michael Duffey, (political appointee) associate director of national security programs in OMB, was given the authority for continuing to keep the aid on hold after the career staff began raising their concerns to political officials at OMB... Mr. Duffey also began overseeing the process for approving and releasing funds, called apportionment, for other foreign aid and defense accounts, according to a public document indicating the change.

...The involvement of a political official like Mr. Duffey in the apportionment process is unusual, according to several former OMB officials. Career staff below the political level at OMB with years, and sometimes decades, of technical knowledge of the funding process have historically overseen the routine process, according to the former officials. Career staff remain involved in preparing the apportionments, while Mr. Duffey now reviews and signs off on them...


Edited: Oct 10, 4:11pm Top

Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT (US Senator) | 11:22 AM · Oct 10, 2019:
Let’s be clear about what just happened.

The two Russian born ringleaders of the Ukraine scandal just got arrested for making hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal contributions to Trump’s re-election.

the level

REVEALED: Rudy Giuliani’s indicted Ukraine henchman gave thousands to Kevin McCarthy
Brad Reed | October 10, 2019

Lev Parnas, the foreign-born businessman who was indicted this week on campaign-finance charges, donated thousands of dollars ($2700) last year to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Other filings made with the Federal Elections Commission show that Parnas donated that exact same amount to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who on Thursday was implicated in an indictment of Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman...






Prosecutors also allege the men enlisted a U.S. congressman (Pete Sessions?) to seek the ouster of the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was prematurely recalled from her post earlier this year.



U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman held a press conference to outline the indictment of the two men, and intriguingly, he mentioned that Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport “as they were about to board an international flight with one-way tickets.”



Rebecca Ballhaus @rebeccaballhaus (WSJ) · 2h
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman had lunch with Rudy Giuliani at the Trump hotel in Washington YESTERDAY, a source who saw them tells @nataliewsj. They were arrested later that night at Dulles, where they were awaiting an international flight.

WSJ News Exclusive | Two Foreign-Born Men Who Helped Giuliani on Ukraine Arrested on Campaign-Fin...
Two foreign-born donors to a pro-Trump fundraising committee who helped Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Democrat Joe Biden were arrested late Wednesday on criminal charges of violating...

Edited: Oct 11, 10:05am Top

(From The Wall Street Journal )

(Alexander) Hamilton Wouldn't Impeach Trump | by Alan M. Dershowitz | 10 October 2019


Politics | Ukraine Whistle-blower May Not Testify In Person Lawmakers are awaiting an appearance Friday by the former Ukraine ambassador
| By Dustin Volz and Warren P. Strobel | Updated Oct. 10, 2019 6:55 pm ET

“WASHINGTON—Lawyers for the CIA officer whose whistle-blower complaint helped ignite an impeachment inquiry into President Trump have asked Congress whether their client could submit testimony in writing instead of appearing in person, according to people familiar with the matter.

“The request reflects concerns about whether the whistle-blower could testify to Democrats and Republicans without revealing his identity, and fears that doing so would lead to it being publicly leaked, jeopardizing his personal safety. The intelligence committees haven't yet responded to the inquiry about potential written testimony, the people said.”


The 6th Amendment's Confrontation Clause



Oct 11, 12:08pm Top

Yovanovitch apparently defying the Trump administration and testifying to congress.

Oct 11, 12:50pm Top

Trump Had Marie Yovanovitch Removed on ‘False Claims,’ She Tells House Inquiry
Sharon LaFraniere and Nicholas Fandos | Oct. 11, 2019

...Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that imperils Mr. Trump. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”

“I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” she said. But people associated with Mr. Giuliani “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” she said.

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

Her opening statement revealed no new details about Mr. Trump’s effort to pressure Volodymyr Zelensky, the new president of Ukraine, to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Joseph R. Biden Jr. It also offered no details about Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, two businessmen who helped Mr. Giuliani mount a campaign for her removal. Both were arrested late Wednesday on charges of campaign finance violations. The indictment charged that they were working for one or more Ukrainian officials who wanted her out of Kiev.

But she provided new details about her abrupt ouster from Kiev. Less than two months after the State Department asked her to extend her tour as ambassador until 2020, she said, she was abruptly told to return to Washington “on the next plane.”

She said that John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, told her later that she had “done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

He said that Mr. Trump had “lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador,” she said, and that there had been “a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018.”

She said that she had never inhibited any legitimate efforts by Ukraine to combat corruption and was not involved in discussions about the suspension of $391 million in American security aid to Ukraine this summer. And she said that she viewed the present circumstances as a tragedy not just for American diplomacy but Ukraine’s attempts to reform its government and defend against a hostile Russia.

“That harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” she said, according to the prepared remarks. “It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the president and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”...


Oct 11, 1:04pm Top

Yovanovitch: exhibit A on why loosening Civil Service protections, especially by this Administration, is a bad idea. Whistleblower is exhibit B. I've seen others in past administrations... We have until Oct 17 to comment:

Probation on Initial Appointment to a Competitive Position, Performance-Based Reduction in Grade and Removal Actions and Adverse Actions
A Proposed Rule by the Personnel Management Office on 09/17/2019

Trump Had Marie Yovanovitch Removed on ‘False Claims,’ She Tells House Inquiry
Sharon LaFraniere and Nicholas Fandos | Oct. 11, 2019

Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch was recalled from Ukraine, she told impeachment investigators on Friday, despite a boss saying she had “done nothing wrong.”

...allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer...people associated with Mr. Giuliani “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine...“a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018.”

...she viewed the present circumstances as a tragedy not just for American diplomacy but Ukraine’s attempts to reform its government and defend against a hostile Russia.

“...harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants...It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the president and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”


Edited: Oct 12, 3:33am Top

Jonathan Allen @jonallendc | 10:02 PM · Oct 11, 2019:
This is the president’s lawyer saying the president directed him to engage in the scheme at the heart of the impeachment.
Just to be clear.

Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work
Michael S. Schmidt, Ben Protess, Kenneth P. Vogel and William K. Rashbaum | Oct. 11, 2019

...Mr. Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Ms. Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the American government and the news media...



Who's under the bus?

Jennifer Jacobs @JenniferJJacobs | 5:00 PM · Oct 11, 2019
Asked if Rudy Giuliani is still his personal attorney, Trump at WH departure said he doesn’t know.

via @josh_wingrove

Oct 12, 8:40am Top

So to be clear a career professional in the State Dept. who has worked her way up the ladder through service, diligence and hard work and who has 33 years now in the State Dept. loses her job because the President's personal attorney (acting as a shadow State Dept. minister and unconfirmed by the congress) and a couple of his mafiosi friends see her as a roadblock to their nefarious plans to 1) cash in on Ukranian corruption in the oil/gas markets and 2) to find dirt on one of Trump's political opponents......and in the meantime they wanted to block her from speaking on her own behalf thus not only to deny her the right to defend not only herself but the State Dept. as a whole.

It's par for the course for this not only corrupt but clumsy and incompetent Trump administration. They can't help breaking some kind of law practically every day and they also can't help being caught out time and again.

Edited: Oct 13, 5:14am Top

Arsonists, trying four times to burn a building down—and failing each time—finally desperate, denounce as "arsonists" the vigils who had repeatedly put the fires out which they'd set.

Oct 12, 2:04pm Top

Trump’s Favorite Impeachment Lawyer Is ...Trump Himself
Sam Stein | 10.12.19

On Tuesday, the Office of the White House Counsel delivered an eight-page letter to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejecting the very legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry threatening this presidency.

The letter was notable not for the conclusion it reached—few suspected that the administration was going to cooperate with House Democrats—but for the broadsides and rhetorical flourishes it featured. That’s because this letter wasn’t fully written by lawyers.

It was crafted, in large part, by President Donald Trump himself...

...Trump had also privately consulted on the letter with Rudy Giuliani...


Oct 13, 5:24am Top

>73 margd:

(a paraphrase)

"I don't know that I'm interested in paying my lawyer to tell me what I may not do."

-- said by one of the ultra-rich robber-baron set of the late 19th century U.S. and cited in Matthew Josephson, The Robber Barons

Oct 13, 8:11am Top

>53 margd: continued. (inherent contempt)

Tlaib says Democrats have discussed detaining White House officials who don't testify
John Bowden - 10/12/19

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) revealed in a new interview that House Democrats have discussed jailing allies of the president who do not comply with congressional subpoenas, an escalation of the House's efforts to force White House compliance with an impeachment inquiry.

Tlaib told Deadline Detroit that such an action, known as inherent contempt, would be "uncharted territory" for Congress but added that "serious discussions" about taking the step have occurred within the Democratic caucus...


Oct 13, 4:26pm Top

At the risk of pleasing people of ideological slants I generally do not enjoy pleasing-- Taibbi's latest, wherein spades are called spades.


Edited: Oct 16, 4:00am Top


And how!

You beat me to the putsch this time.

Taibbi's essay is brilliant.

Unfortunately, since so big a part of the reasons Americans find themselves up this shit-creek is due to the simple fact that so many of them are too damned lazy to read, inform themselves and then think clearly, I'm posting the following except from Taibbi's article which your post links:


"We have long been spared this madness in America. Our head-counting ceremony was Election Day. We did it once every four years.

"That’s all over, in the Trump era.

"On Thursday, news broke that two businessmen said to have 'peddled supposedly explosive information about corruption involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden' were arrested at Dulles airport on 'campaign finance violations.' The two figures are alleged to be bagmen bearing 'dirt' on Democrats, solicited by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

"Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will be asked to give depositions to impeachment investigators. They’re reportedly going to refuse. Their lawyer John Dowd also says they will 'refuse to appear before House Committees investigating President Donald Trump.' Fruman and Parnas meanwhile claim they had real derogatory information about Biden and other politicians, but 'the U.S. government had shown little interest in receiving it through official channels.'

"For Americans not familiar with the language of the Third World, that’s two contrasting denials of political legitimacy.

"The men who are the proxies for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in this story are asserting that “official channels” have been corrupted. The forces backing impeachment, meanwhile, are telling us those same defendants are obstructing a lawful impeachment inquiry.

"This latest incident, set against the impeachment mania and the reportedly 'expanding' Russiagate investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, accelerates our timeline to chaos. We are speeding toward a situation when someone in one of these camps refuses to obey a major decree, arrest order, or court decision, at which point Americans will get to experience the joys of their political futures being decided by phone calls to generals and police chiefs.

"My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don’t see this because they’re not used to waking up in a country where you’re not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don’t understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president." ...


To repeat, these circumstances are NOT the "constitutional 'crisis' " Trump's opponents describe them to be. There was an election, the Trump campaign won it as fairly and squarely as our political system's terms allow, and that election's results were denied, rejected, refused--adamantly and subbornly--by the very people who, only weeks before election-day, had demanded that candidate Trump make a solemn public declaration that he'd respect, accept and abide by the result of the balloting.

It's not that the constitution is failing us. It's that many Americans are failing their civic responsibilities to the constitution, to themselves, and to their fellow-citizens.

That's the kind of problem which the constitution cannot remedy. No constitution can. The last time we had this degree of such a disgraceful failure to respect the constitutional order was around about 1860--and the failures led the nation to the only place remaining when the resort to the ballot-box is denied and refused. It led to the battlefield and to open war.

(Again, citing Taibbi's article)


" In enormous numbers, voters rejected everything they had ever been told about who was and was not qualified for higher office. "

... (emphasis is added)

Because, you see, their right to do that-- to decide that way and for reasons which are sound in their judgment-- is the central point and principle of any democratically-based system.

If an electorate is simply disallowed, preëmptorily barred, from even having that choice open to them at all, then that is the end right there of any kind of meaningful participatory government--one under which official government is ultimately answerable to a regularly-intervening electorate. A failing in this, an absence of this, for any semblance of democratic governance, spells "Game Over."

(Again, citing Taibbi's article)


"Why (ought Trump) give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker?"

... (emphasis is added)

Well, because, for starters, unlike his hell-bent-for-impeachment opponents, Trump, as a candidate for high office as well as president, has not sought to subvert the regular working of the Constitutional order and, when it comes to actual evidence, we have none at all that indicates that Trump would fail to abide by the legal limits on his terms of service in office as president of the United States.

We so far have no reason at all to suspect that Trump would either do or allow what outgoing president Barack Obama apparently knowingly allowed: a deliberately hatched plot, a scheme, on the part of both partisan officials and intelligence agency directorships, by which candidate and then president-elect Donald Trump was made the central target of a set-up, a fabricated project to frame him as illegitimately elected and one who is attemtpting to derail what became, in both form as well as in fact, a coup d'état under color of law.


Smug and self-deluded, pseudo-Leftist 'liberals' of our time take offense at everything and responsibility for nothing.

So, what has really happened in the U.S. body politic?

I put it this way : In the biggest real-world, real-time test of the general public's grasp of and attachment to the most essential functions and features of a democratically-based political order (however beaten and broken), since the "Watergate" scandal* of the Nixon administrations, a very large part of the adult American public is in flagrant default.

Unfortunately, a situation such as this can be worse, much worse, than some garden-variety "Constitutional crisis." A constitutional crisis is something susceptible to remedy by putting back in order a missing or defective aspect of the constitution's provisions. That can be done by legislation, a constitutional amendment or by a supreme court ruling which restores a former proper working balance when it has been lost or corrupted.

In the present case, the defect is in a large part of the adult U.S. public's understanding of what is essential about a democratically-based political order and the principles which underpin it and what must be done to dependably defend them when they are under threat.

One of the first and worst of the failings is this public's failure to avoid confusing others' defense of democratic principles by which the institutions and the processes of democratic governance are practiced with what they dismiss as a purely partisan defense of Trump, the person, as opposed to Trump, the current duly-elected president of the United States. They're failing to make that distinction for what I fear may be a simple fact: they do not believe in making any such distinction. They don't distinguish their own partisan biases from what, to them, is "defending 'democracy'". They're blind, then, to the fact that they themselves are currently the largest and most conspicuous obstacle to preserving an even semi-healthy democratic order.

They're refusing to respect and abide by the 2016 election outcomes. They're perverting democratic principles and constitutional provisions in their zeal to "get the president" one way or another, and effectively disable and remove him and his legal second, the vice-president, at any cost to honesty, to facts and to the truthful respect for law.

The "Watergate" scandal was an example of the executive branch of government going off the rails in attempts to corrupt and abuse democratic principles and procedures used by institutions of government. But there was nothing special about the locus of this scandal. It merely happened that in these circumstances, the malfeasance was in and by the highest officials of the executive branch. The same kinds of things could be undertaken by members of the legislative branch--that is, the Congress. And that, in sum, is what is and has been happening.

Where, before, in the Watergate scandal, we had as principal actors President Richard Nixon and his top White House staff—John Ehrlichman ( Nixon's one time White House legal counsel and later advisor as Assistant to the President for domestic affairs) and H. R. "Bob" Haldeman, (White House chief of staff), the Attorney General, John Mitchell, Charles "Chuck" Colson, Ehrlichman's successor as White House legal counsel, and John Dean, who in turn succeeded Colson as White House legal counsel—now the key perpetrators of a scandalous abuse of power operate from the Congress: the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; along with former Senator ( D.-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, members of Clinton's presidential-campaign executive staff; Congressman Adam Schiff (D.- Calif.) and former F.B.I. and intelligence agency or Department of Justice directors active during the Obama administrations, these, aided and abetted by a virulently partisan press corps which includes, as main actors, CNN, NBC, ABC, MS-NBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times. These individuals and news organizations have repeatedly been caught up in some of the most outrageous failures of official or of journalistic practice since the days of Wisconsin U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy's "Red-baiting" of the 1950s.

Many of them are themselves implicated in conspiratorial acts of the very sort they accuse President Trump of having committed, acts which constitute potential felonies under U.S. law.

In case you wonder: 'how can we get out of this mess?' I have some thoughts on that question.

First, there's the lazy, do-nothing-differently way out. This is what I regard as the 'default' way out. By that manner, we learn nothing, take no lessons, take no pains to change our ways, we just carry on as we're now doing. This will eventually lead in any one of a variety of manners and methods more or less rapidly to our civil society tearing itself apart politically until, unless it is stopped somewhere, somehow, before then, there comes the effective end of anything we'd be pleased to call a desirable political order of a semi-democratic or other kind or to other nightmarish alternatives which are far worse because they bear no resemblance to free society as these have been considered to be over centuries.

The result should be political ruins for the people who live through and produce it and for what's likely to be some indeterminate number of generations which follow—assuming there are any of those. But this is the 'easiest' way out because it allows everyone to give up hope and accept as inevitable that there's no mutually-desirable political future for the country or, if there is one, we can neither picture it nor plot any course to get there deliberately: it's out there somewhere beyond both our abilities to imagine it and on the far side of a general political collapse and catastrophe in the meantime. If one day the American people get there, it shall have been by the accident of dumb luck.

Another way, a second way, is to try to adopt changes in our behaviors toward each other. This would require a lot of what we currently show little or no patience or capacity to produce: reasonable and workable compromise which accepts that, among other things, a mutual acceptance—by both the nominal “winners” and “losers” of electoral ballot-counting in generally basically fair elections is something that, though occasionally disappointing, is still better than the route to general social disintegration and destruction. Thus, among what amounts to nearly half the present adult population, there'd be required some real work in political maturity. In other words, a heck of lot of petty-minded malcontents currently out for Trump' scalp would have to grow the fuck up a bit, make an about-face and accept the election results of the 2016 presidential election on the understanding that this is a close to a sacred feature of democratic survival as it is possible to find and that, the compromise one set makes today shall eventually be reciprocated by others in the future when these find themselves on the losing side of the electoral outcome.

This constitutes a rather large challenge. There is very little reason to suppose that the selfish system-destroyers who are currently bent on getting President Trump's scalp as a political trophy would stand around doing nothing as the other parts of the general public come to see their own political salvation in a mature recognition of the fact that the Democratic party lost the last presidential election and that, for the good of the nation both now and for generations to come, the losing party is going to make its peace with the result and look ahead to elections of 2020 and beyond—because the value of saving the republic outweighs what some calculate to be their potential gains by wrecking it.

Is this understanding just too great a challenge for the adult American public? Is there, in this woefully infantilized society, that much in maturity left to be mustered?

Or is it too late? Have we already gone too far now to avert even greater hardship and eventual political ruin and destruction by sticking to a disaster-course we're now on?

Fuck us if we don't shake ourselves, sit up, look around at what we're doing and make a mighty effort to do something better than carry on to our mutual self-destructions.

* Caveat: Numerous of those former Nixon-White-House operatives interviewed in the above-linked PBS program, "Watergate Plus 30" (years)) are basically presenting their past parts in a re-telling which puts their former acts in a less-sinister-looking aspect than was actually the case at the time.

Oct 14, 7:50am Top

>77 proximity1:

You (and the right wing generally) are putting a lot of effort into reinforcing the narrative that the "election's results were denied, rejected, refused--adamantly and subbornly--by the very people who, only weeks before election-day, had demanded that candidate Trump make a solemn public declaration that he'd respect, accept and abide by the result of the balloting". But they weren't denied. He became president and formed a government. Now a constitutional process of impeachment is underway not because the election result is being denied but because of his behaviour since becoming president. While you may or may not agree that his behaviour warrants impeachment, that decision will be made by those who are constitutionally mandated to decide, based on evidence presented, not based on denying his election.

Oct 14, 12:49pm Top

>77 proximity1: "...Unfortunately, since so big a part of the reasons Americans find themselves up this shit-creek is due to the simple fact that so many of them are too damned lazy to read, inform themselves and then think clearly..."

Strange, isn't it, that this needs to be pointed out at a site that purports to be all about books and reading?

People are ignorant because they choose to be ignorant. Information from a world of sources is at one's fingers but people still embrace and absorb what they are told to believe through the 20th century passive process of watching television "news".

Oct 14, 12:54pm Top

>79 fuzzi: people still embrace and absorb what they are told to believe through the 20th century passive process of watching television "news".

Do you think that is still true? There appears to be a lot of evidence that people are now getting their information from social media rather than from traditional news media, and social media of course is a lot less reliable and a lot more selective than the traditional media.

Oct 14, 8:43pm Top

#79--If the political discourse here bothers you so much this particular group FWIW is for pretty much discussing the political. But there are plenty of other groups here if you want to discuss books such as the Reading Globally group....but literally there are thousands of choices here it would seem to discuss whatever kind of reading matter you most prefer. It's not hard to join or even not to join and just engage.

Edited: Oct 15, 1:27am Top

Bolton Objected to Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Calling Giuliani ‘a Hand Grenade’
Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos | Oct. 14, 2019

... John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser,...got into a tense exchange on July 10 with Gordon D. Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union, who was working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to three people who heard the testimony.

...aide, Fiona Hill, testified that Mr. Bolton told her to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about a rogue effort by Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff...“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, told Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to two people at the deposition. (Another person in the room initially said Mr. Bolton referred to Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney, but two others said he cited Mr. Sondland.)

...“Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation.

The testimony revealed in a powerful way just how divisive Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to extract damaging information about Democrats from Ukraine on President Trump’s behalf were within the White House. Ms. Hill, the senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs, testified that Mr. Giuliani and his allies circumvented the usual national security process to run their own rump foreign policy, leaving the president’s official advisers aware of the rogue operation yet powerless to stop it.

...Mr. Sondland, who had inserted himself into dealings with Ukraine even though it was not part of his official portfolio, ...told her that he was in charge of Ukraine...According to whom, she asked. The president, he answered...


Edited: Oct 15, 2:35pm Top

Matt Gaetz is, of course, a fair and non-partisan truth-seeker:

"Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago,” Gaetz tweeted. “Now, his own Judiciary members aren’t even allowed to participate in it. And yes - my constituents want me actively involved in stopping the #KangarooCourtCoup run by Shifty Schiff."

'Gaetz-crasher': Here's why a Republican lawmaker was barred from closed-door testimony

Esquire comments

Matt Gaetz Thinks His Audience Is as Big a Box of Rocks as He Is

(oh well, let's quote the whole thing)

Is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Breathalyzer) the biggest schmuck currently gracing the halls of Congress?

Opinions vary. But not by much.

On Monday morning, Fiona Hill, the administration*'s former Russia expert, came to Capitol Hill to testify in closed session to the House Oversight and Intelligence Committees regarding the president*'s attempt at running a protection racket on Ukraine. Gaetz is a member of neither committee, but he showed up anyway, obviously as a mole on behalf of Camp Runamuck. Acting perfectly within the rules of the House, the committees threw his truckling ass out. Gaetz immediately found a bank of microphones in front of which to drive the nails into his own palms.

"It's not like I'm on the Agriculture Committee," Gaetz moped. Good thing, too, since he apparently could be outsmarted by produce.

You may recall that it was Gaetz who Tweeted out what could only be interpreted as a threat toward Michael Cohen before the latter testified to the Judiciary Committee. That episode was referred to the Florida Bar Association in a complaint that charged Gaetz with with witness tampering. The Florida Bar cleared Gaetz because, well, Florida, but it did hurl a handful of uncomplimentary adjectives at him. It's important to remember that any articles of impeachment that are forthcoming will have to go through the House Judiciary Committee of which Gaetz is a member and, as such, he has to be allowed into the room. Where it happens. And people say vaudeville is dead.

And now, Matt Gaetz speaks.

"This morning we see further evidence that Adam Schiff's clown show of an impeachment proceeding continues. Adam Schiff lied when he said that he & his team had not had contact with the whistleblower. He lied when he read a false transcript into the record."

When the final history of this historical malignancy is written, this argument that Schiff's comic paraphrase of the president*'s guilt-laden telephone call was a "false transcript" is going to be reckoned as one of the dumbest things they ever got the MAGAs to swallow, much less one of the dumbest chunks of pure mendacity ever to emerge from Congress. For one thing none of us has seen the actual transcript of the call. What Camp Runamuck released was something close to a memorandum of the conversation, and it was still enough to touch off a legitimate impeachment inquiry. The idea that Schiff read "a false transcript into the record" is proof enough that Gaetz believes his audience is as big a box of rocks as he is.

Edited: Oct 18, 8:08am Top

As head of OMB, Mick Mulvaney had to be involved in holding back Ukraine's money, and as acting chief of staff he had to know what Trump/Giuiliani/Sundland were up to.

Amazing then that he has twice served up Trump:
(1) he released notes from Trump phone call with president of Ukraine ("though").

(2) Then yesterday, he admitted quid pro quo:
Mulvaney links delay in Ukraine aid to DOJ investigation into 2016, then revises statement — live updates
Stefan Becket, Grace Segers and Kathryn Watson | October 18, 2019

(3) WH, apparently not appreciating Mulvaney's loose cannon tendency, had him announce yet another questionable action (emoluments):
White House says Trump property will host next G-7 summit, dismissing concerns over ethics and optics
October 17, 2019

Edited: Yesterday, 6:22pm Top

Useful timeline for main characters. Doesn't include the burglars in 1990s film "Home Alone", nor Jasper and Horace in Disney's "101 Dalmatians"?

Trump impeachment inquiry: A visual timeline
The key people and events involved in the Ukraine scandal and the effort to impeach President Donald Trump

Zachary B. Wolf, Will Houp, Allie Schmitz and Tal Yellin. Photo editing by Heather Fulbright | Updated Oct. 18, 2019


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