Trump Impeachment: The Public Hearings Day 1

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Trump Impeachment: The Public Hearings Day 1

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1Limelite
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 10:48am

Chairman Schiff opening remarks.

Lays out timeline of events.
Cites testimony of witnesses; cites public remarks by administration officials; cites historical record of facts surrounding importance of alliance with Ukraine against Putin desire to re-establish Russian Empire.
Reminds all that we are a Constitutional democracy based on the separation and balance of powers among the three branches of government; that we exist under the Rule of Law; and that the importance of these hearings is to seek to protect our system of government from a president who would seek to end it by abuse of power, corruption, and bribery.

Mr. Nunes opening remarks.

First sentence a lie.
Second sentence an attempt to fabricate a conspiracy theory.
Third sentence a lie and misrepresentation.
Fourth sentence an attempt to fabricate a second conspiracy.
Continual sentences that appeal to partisan emotions, purposely deceive Republican base with lies, conspiracy theories, and personal attacks against Democrats.
No statements indicating any interest in executing duties of his office to the Constitution.
Continuous Trumpist drivel.

Now listening to George Kent, career nonpartisan diplomat.

Please blog your reports on the Hearings below.

2Limelite
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 11:46am

Mr. Kent Opening Remarks

Autobiographical orientation demonstrating history of service to the national interests of the USA.
Statement of purpose in his testimony today includes need to support ally, Ukraine, as it develops a fledgling democracy based on the Rule of Law. Outlines instances of pro-Russian corruption involving Burisma founder, certain state legal figures in Ukranian government, and pro-Russian government previous to present one.
Indicates no evidence of personal corruption; however, appearance of conflict of interest associated with Biden's presence of Board of Directors Burisma exist.
Points out that Ukraine support by the US of present government is vital to USA security.
Charges that Giuliani and associates' dark foreign policy ops on behalf of Trump's personal interests undermine our national interests vis a vis Ukraine and support Russian state interests. Emphasises (No " " on my computer. Sorry.) damage done by their efforts to oust former US Ambassador to Ukraine and undermining of Ukrainian anti-corruption efforts by Trump corruption demanding quid pro quo for security aid.
Closes with argument that international emigre's service to the US have historically proven valuable and supportive of our national interests.

3Limelite
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 12:31pm

Opening Remarks by Ambassador Taylor

Heavily detailed timeline of events from July to October of this year all incidents Amb. Taylor witnessed with own eyes and ears based on his real-time notes and recollections, including an update post his closed deposition.

Makes clear that "investigations" when used by Trump, irregular Giuliani foreign policy efforts, and Sondland referred to 2016 election interference by Ukraine in US elections; on Burisma corruption; and "dirt" on both Bidens.

Pointed out that Trump stated "there is no quid pro quo" flatly belied the facts that a face-to face WH meeting by US and Ukraine president was conditioned by the Ukrainian president publicly "putting himself in a box" by announcing "before a microphone" that he would begin those investigations. Later, Taylor learned that not only the face-to-face meeting depended on Ukrainian president "clear(ing) things up in public," but that appropriated security aid would be held up, too, unless Ukrainian president performed.

Both Ambs. Sondland and Volker used language that "Trump is a businessman and would not sign the check until Ukraine paid him what they 'owed' him." Ukraine did not owe Trump anything. Usage of the exact same phrase by both Sondland and Volker indicates that such language was probably heard by them directly from Trump since they both had direct contact with him by phone. This indicates Trump was pressuring Ukrainian president to announce public investigations into 2016 election interference by them in US election, that Burisma corruption be tied to Bidens and Democrats; and that both Bidens were corruptly profiting from their personal dealings with Ukraine and Biden, Jr.'s position on Burisma board. All of which are fabricated accusations that have been debunked.

Democratic Lawyer's Questions

Under questioning from Democratic counsel, Amb. Taylor states that he has never in his lifetime as a public servant witnessed any other American president requiring a personal favor from a sovereign power to help him against his political opposition and "enemies."

Repeatedly, Kent and Taylor, testify under examination that their distress, concern, and alarm resulted from the abandonment of decades of American policy vis a vis Ukraine was against USA's security interest; against USA's long standing goal of fostering new democracies under Rule of Law; further that withholding Ukrainian security aid is in the interests of neither them nor us but is in the Russian interests, which threatens overturning peace in Europe by invading a sovereign country.

Amb. Taylor iterates and reiterates that Trump's conditional demands on Ukrainian president for quid pro quo, occurred and are occurring to this day, contribute to deaths of Ukrainians fighting a hot war on their eastern territory against Russian military invaders.

Bombshells:

Sondland's "Call me," reply in which he reveals to Taylor during the phone call that directly links Trump to withholding security aid unless Ukrainian president performs personal political favors publicly.

Taylor's staff member overhears Sondland's cell phone call to Trump and hears Trump asking about "investigations." When call ended, staff member asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine. Sondland replied, "Trump cares more about investigations of Biden that Giuliani was pressing for."

4jjwilson61
Nov 13, 2019, 12:45pm

>3 Limelite: ...was conditioned by the Ukrainian president publicly "putting himself in a box" by announcing "before a microphone" that he would begin those investigations

I hope this gets emphasized. What Trump was really interested was that Ukraine publicly announce investigations not the investigations themselves. He just wanted to be able to be able to use the existence of the Ukrainian investigations as a cudgel against Biden.

5lriley
Nov 13, 2019, 1:03pm

I'm kind of and going to be out of range of a lot of TV for a while so this thread is much appreciated.

6proximity1
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 2:32pm



(The Trial of George Jacobs, August 5th, 1692 (Circa 1840s/50s) by T. H. Matteson. ) (Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons)




"Samuel Sewall, sensible of the reiterated strokes of God upon himself and family; and being sensible, that as to the Guilt contracted upon the opening of the late Commission of Oyer and Terminer at Salem (to which the order of this Day relates) he is, upon many accounts, more concerned than any that he knows of, Desires to take the Blame and shame of it, Asking pardon of men, And especially desiring prayers that God, who has an Unlimited Authority, would pardon that sin and all other his sins; personal and Relative..."



Confession of Samuel Sewall*, read by the Rev. Samuel Willard before the congregation of South Church, Boston, Mass. 1698
______________

* Presiding judge on the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Salem, Massachusetts, 1692-93

(New England Historical Society)


_________________________

further reading:

(Emerson W. Baker)
The Salem Witch Trial Judges: "Persons of the Best Prudence?"


__________________



(Rebecca Beatrice Brooks) The Salem Witch Trials Judges (History of Massachusetts Blog)


"On May 27, 1692, Sir William Phips appointed nine of the colony’s magistrates to serve as judges on the newly created Court of Oyer and Terminer. The court was created specifically to handle the growing number of cases in the Salem Witch Trials.

"According to a letter that Sir William Phips sent to the Earl of Nottingham in October of 1692, he chose these specific men for the job because they 'were persons of the best prudence and figure that could then be pitched upon.” (emphasis added)

"These judges had a lot in common. They were wealthy merchants and high ranking militia officers. All nine had been judges for years and were all members of the Governor’s Council. Six of them were also related by marriage and five of them had attended Harvard, a training ground for young ministers, yet none of them became ministers. (emphasis added)

"According to Emerson W. Baker in his book, A Storm of Witchcraft (2016), these nine judges were considered the elite of the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

"As a group, the judges represented the proverbial 1 percent – the merchant elite who were wealthy, intermarried, and exercised power in social, political, and military circles. In short, they were the superrich of Massachusetts. Simply calling them ‘merchants’ shortchanges them…Most had considerable political experience, having served as deputies and assistants in the General Court.”


"Baker points out that they were also all middle aged, with Sewall the youngest at 40, while Richards, 67, and Stoughton, 60, were the oldest and the rest were between forty-five and fifty-three." ...

...
__________________

(© Rebecca Beatrice Brooks 2011-2019 )
__________________






"Some Miscellany
OBSERVATIONS


On our present Debates respecting
Witchcrafts, in a Dialogue
Between
S(alem). & B(oston)."

By P(hilip).E(nglish). and J(ohn).A(lden).


(Philadelphia, Printed by William Bradford, for Hezekiah Usher, 1692)

(07/04/11 by Margo Burns,.)
__________


_________________________________



"We resolve policy disputes by elections, not impeachments."

(White House)| Trump vs. the ‘Policy Community’ | Andrew McCarthy | National Review | November 12, 2019 7:51 PM |



... "Democrats are now scheming with fellow progressives in the policy community to achieve their three-year longing to impeach President Trump. Note that when Mark Zaid was applauding Sally Yates, he couldn’t resist adding that a 'coup' had been spawned by an internal government 'rebellion,' which he took as assurance that 'impeachment will follow.'

"Never forget: The coup is driven by policy differences.

"The Left will tell you it’s not — it’s driven by lawlessness. But the Left treats all disagreement with its policy preferences as lawlessness. And when it can’t pull that off, it slanders the dissenters as outlaws. That’s how, with a Supreme Court slot on the line, a widely admired jurist with a peerless record of mentoring his law clerks, mostly women, into high professional achievements somehow becomes a serial rapist.

"We don’t have to agree with the president in order to agree that he is president. We can fight against his policies when they are wrongheaded, but we can’t fight against his authority to make policy. That fight is what elections are for . . . not impeachments. Otherwise, American self-government — the accountability of the policy maker to the voters whose lives are affected — collapses."




7Limelite
Nov 13, 2019, 1:56pm

>6 proximity1:

The topic of this thread is the TV broadcast of the impeachment of Trump covering the public hearings.

If you can't stick to the topic, take your agenda elsewhere and start your own thread.

8proximity1
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 2:41pm

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
>7 Limelite:

This (open) thread concerns a witch-hunt. My post concerns some back-ground on the sordid history of that matter.

So, as this is an open thread and, as it is within the domain of "Pro & Con, you & I may respond in any way we please to comments--pertinently or not. (Maybe you've confused this place with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.)and his closed-door intelligence committee "hearings" on Trump and impeachment. If you're looking only for an echo-chamber, try there.)

You can even claim, falsely, like so much of your BULLSHIT comments, that my views and comments aren't welcome here.

And I can suggest that you can fuck off and go to hell.

Try the Feminism group. That's a "protected" "safe-space", LOL!

9Limelite
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 5:02pm

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Diplomat Kent, "You can't promote anti-corruption to a (government) without pissing off corrupt people."

Swoosh! Slam! Bang!

10Limelite
Nov 13, 2019, 2:26pm

>8 proximity1:

Just the kind of reply we all expect from you. You're welcome to stick to the topic of this thread. Otherwise you're unwelcome.

Your comment, made in defiance of LT user policy, has been flagged.

11RickHarsch
Nov 13, 2019, 2:29pm

>10 Limelite: reason to flag #8: in context the sense of you can fuck off and go to hell is stripped of the quality of suggestion.

Anyway, proximity1 is a very sick man. This, too, should be flagged, of course, and I am grateful that there is no corral for the flagged where I would be forced to share too close...proximity with that sad character.

12proximity1
Nov 13, 2019, 2:40pm


Save your little red flags for November, 2020----oh, wait....

13margd
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 4:00pm

Apparently, Amb Taylor's staffer David Holmes now scheduled for closed hearing on Friday. OMB's Mark Sandy on Saturday.

14Limelite
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 4:20pm

LIES OF THE DAY

LIE #1: Republicans and especially Rep. Jordan insist no crime because "Trump released the money for Ukrainian security aid."

The fact is Trump did not do that. He withheld the money and security aid because the Ukrainian president never gave his public statement that investigations of Bidens and Ukrainian influence on US elections would be undertaken by his government.

If you want to know who did release the aid, read here. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/469742-ukraine-aid-was-released-soon...

LIE #2: If you want to know that the lie Republicans and Trump perpetrate that such aid was withheld because "Ukraine is a corrupt country," is debunked, read here. https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/09/29/trump-claim-on-s...

LIE #3: If you want to know that Trump's claim that aid was withheld because European countries did not contribute enough to support Ukraine is false and fake, read here. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/11/13/factcheck-trump-wrong-eu...

TRUTHS OF THE DAY

TRUTH #1: If you want to know why Trump's Ukrainian extortion racket is a danger to our national security but a boon to Russian goals of restoring the Russian Empire, read the link. You will also learn that the Trump Administration, not Democrats, initiated the effort to hide not only the whistle blower but his-her complaint by. https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-09-20/why-did-trump-withhold-250-million-milita...

TRUTH #2: If you want a specific example of abuse of power by Trump within his executive function as president, read here. https://www.lawfareblog.com/role-omb-withholding-ukrainian-aid

TRUTH #3: If you want to buttress your reality based world view in regards to the Republican conspiracy theory concerning the Biden's alleged criminal wrongdoing in Ukraine and vis a vis Burisma, read here. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hunter-biden-ukraine/what-hunter-biden-did-on...

These articles support the need for public impeachment hearings because the president of the USA is unarguably engaged in corrupt behavior that undermines his oath of office, undermines long standing foreign policy for his personal political benefit, and has administered his government more at the behest of Russian interests than American ones.

They are also important so that the American people see the duplicity, mendacity, and toadying of Republicans on the Intelligence Committee who not once presented a coherent evidentiary defense against the damning testimony of the two witnesses.

Overall take-aways from today's hearings:

The Democrats are building a brick-by-brick clear and effective case of presidential corruption;
Evidence in documents, in depositions, and in news reported in credible sources support the whistle blower complaint;
Republicans are discordant with and averse to facts, evidence, and truth. (For but one example, see https://www.rawstory.com/2019/11/mark-meadows-tries-to-dismiss-new-bombshell-dur... )

Biggest take-away.

Donald Trump's only interest in corruption is the promotion of it when pursuing his own personal benefit but never objecting to it when it subverts America's security interests. A stunning fact to hold in one's mind when you comprehend that that is absolutely counter to and in violation of his oath of office.

15Molly3028
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 9:55pm

Today was par for the course ~ GOPers have been turning
themselves into human pretzels everyday since August 2016.
Dems need a visual shorthand cue that will bring together faces of
GOPers and pretzels and/or elephants and pretzels. These
images on hats, t-shirts and banners could be used to seer
GOPers hypocritical natures into the minds of people in all 50
states.

16TrippB
Nov 13, 2019, 10:16pm

>14 Limelite:

Biggest takeaway….”

A bigger takeaway than the claimed biggest takeaway: This impeachment fiasco is yet another incredible waste of everyone’s time and money, and a squandering of potentially useful time for members of Congress. Dems are ignoring every other need. Nothing new. The Dem’s previous “Get Trump” failed fiasco cost more than $40 million and two years of wasted time. Today’s flop by the Dems is further confirmation that their never-ending investigation in search of a crime, any crime, is still a desperate, failed, three-year attempt to cancel the votes of 62 million citizens.

The 62 million voters, and nearly everyone else except those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, will remember these desperate and wasteful Dem diversions. Another backfire on Dems.

Now, on to the real issue. Biden & Son reportedly pocketed more than $3 million for, well, nothing of value from Ukraine’s Burisma that is public. Where is that investigation? There was a start of an investigation, but Democrat Vice-President Biden exercised a quid-pro-quo to have the prosecutor fired before anyone got to the bottom of Biden & Son’s dealings that led to the payoffs.

17RickHarsch
Nov 13, 2019, 10:25pm

>16 TrippB: You should give Ukraine a call.

18TrippB
Nov 13, 2019, 10:32pm

>17 RickHarsch: You should give Ukraine a call.
I'd prefer to visit! The Ukrainians I've known are wonderful people. I've never had the opportunity to spend any time there. Yet.

19Limelite
Nov 13, 2019, 10:34pm

>16 TrippB:

Were you married to one of Sarah Palin's spawn? If yes, then I understand your post completely.

20TrippB
Nov 13, 2019, 10:40pm

Thank you for validating your perspective. It's more effective than any critique of your position than I'd spend time to share.

21Limelite
Nov 13, 2019, 10:46pm

>20 TrippB:

Thank you for demonstrating that syndrome. What did you call it? Trump Derangement Syndrome?

22TrippB
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 11:25pm

For the benefit of TDS sufferers, I'll use little words. Some people hear "Trump" and think "bad man" and exhibit multiple examples of hysteria. They'll abandon all recognition of a vastly improved economy, an elevated world standing, and positive economic position of Americans, and then seek basis to claim that America is being destroyed. That is Trump Derangement Syndrome.

If you do any actual work, how's your paycheck compared to 2016? How's your 401k?

For those contributing to the economy, Trump is doing great.

23Limelite
Nov 13, 2019, 11:28pm

>22 TrippB:

I disagree. TDS sufferers believe he can do no wrong, close their eyes to his character flaws, deny the facts and evidence that contradict his lies, accuse the reality based community of suffering from their own mental dysfunction, and behave as if they belonged to the Cult of Trump. That is true derangement.

P.O.V. is everything.

24John5918
Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 12:01am

>22 TrippB:

"Elevated world standing"? Really? I would suggest the opposite, that the USA's world standing is getting lower as it withdraws from multilateral treaties, pisses off its longstanding allies, behaves unpredictably and unilaterally on international security matters, has a president who has publicly announced that multilateralism is dead and who behaves in a manner which many people consider both disgusting and ludicrous, and which as a nation demonstrates increasing polarisation and domestic political paralysis.

Of course my own nation under Johnson, and mired in the Brexit fiasco, is hardly better. Maybe this is becoming the new norm for modern developed democracies when the hard right takes control?

25TrippB
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 11:54pm

>23 Limelite:
I disagree. Trump is a social media embarrassment. He's a narcissist on an equal level as the annoying, but more socially adept, Obama. At the same time, Trump's done great things. Obama's administration pumped out more federal regulations--not laws, but business-stifling regulations--than any president in history. He must have wanted to spread it around--internationally.

Trump has fulfilled his campaign promises, including getting rid of oppressive government red tape impeding business growth. It's been very effective. Millions of Americans are better off.

26TrippB
Nov 14, 2019, 12:07am

>24 John5918:
I can only hope that the U.S. withdraws from international entanglements, and stops sacrificing U.S. lives in local squabbles that have no benefit for Americans. Too many Americans have been killed in areas where conflict has been ongoing for generations and where the U.S. sacrifice has not been appreciated. It's time we explore the benefits of increased isolationism. We have too many graves in locations where the investment has not been worth the cost--including graves with my family names.

27John5918
Nov 14, 2019, 12:23am

>26 TrippB:

You may well agree with the USA lowering its world standing, but that is then in contradiction to your claim that the USA has elevated its world standing.

30proximity1
Nov 14, 2019, 8:49am



Review:

("A Day at the Circus")


(The New York Post) Goodwin: Adam Schiff’s dull impeachment hearings are a flop | By Michael Goodwin | November 13, 2019 | 10:21pm


...

"At this point, time and public patience are not the impeachers’ friends.

"The lack of surprising or even new developments are major strikes against them. They have the burden of proving their hatred for President Trump is based on something other than resentment over his election or his tweets. That should be a fairly low bar, but they couldn’t get over it.

"Although the hearing wasn’t as deadly as special counsel Robert Mueller’s hapless final appearance, it certainly didn’t move the Dems closer to their goal of running Trump out of town.

"If Schiff, the zealous California chair of the intelligence panel, has a compelling vision about how to persuade the public that the president committed crimes or anything approaching crimes involving Ukraine, it escapes me. The first day of hearings and the first witnesses should have at least been able to produce facts and tantalizing hints that would leave viewers wanting more. ...

...

31jjwilson61
Nov 14, 2019, 9:34am

>16 TrippB: This impeachment fiasco is yet another incredible waste of everyone’s time and money, and a squandering of potentially useful time for members of Congress.

The House has passed a lot of very needed legislation that McConnell is just sitting on, so I really don't think that there's anything more useful they could be spending their time on.

32margd
Nov 14, 2019, 10:20am

>28 John5918: >29 2wonderY: Interesting to me that the R's most effective questioning came from "backbencher" Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, not IMO, "big guns" Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, and Steve Castor.

33Limelite
Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 2:24pm

>30 proximity1:

Witnesses only proved Trump directly guilty of bribery. That's all.

Yes, the dull-witted would think that dull.
__________________________________

UPDATE

Second US State Dept. official in Ukraine confirms overhearing president on phone call conducted over Sondham's cell phone in Ukrainian restaurant that directly ties Trump to the extortion scheme against Pres. Zelensky.

https://apnews.com/ef4ca38f1cf047b4ab329d1457f41392

342wonderY
Nov 14, 2019, 1:57pm

Day 2

AP source: 2nd US official heard Trump call with Sondland

The second diplomatic staffer also at the table was Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv.

The staffer Taylor testified about is David Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, according to an official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Jayanti is an attorney who joined the State Department in 2012 and was previously posted at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. She has been stationed since September 2018 at the embassy in Kyiv, where she helps coordinate U.S. business interests with the former Soviet republic’s energy industry.

Jayanti was in Washington last month and scheduled for a closed-door interview with impeachment investigators. But the deposition was canceled because of the funeral for former House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings and has not yet been rescheduled.

35proximity1
Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 6:46am

"Second US State Dept. official in Ukraine confirms overhearing president on phone call conducted over Sondham's cell phone in Ukrainian restaurant that directly ties Trump directly to the extortion scheme against Pres. Zelensky."

___________________

SEE: "hearsay" (law) Federal Rules of Evidence

There'll be no conviction even if this farce results in a vote of impeachment in the House of Representatives. Voters are going to take their revenge on Democrats for pursuing this outrageous years-long mania.

But we have learned important things about the degraded state of the body politic including the fact that, if & when Trump is re-elected, his partisan opponents shall attempt the continuation of their harassment through violating the federal law and Constitutional principles and procedures.

We now know that Democrats have no intention of affording the slightest respect to a 2020 presidential election that returns Trump to the presidency. We now know that they'll undertake any means to undermine and scuttle his tenure. This shall prove out even if Trump wins a clear majority of the popular vote rather than gains his office solely by the Electoral college count of states' electors.

When electoral means are foreclosed as a way to resolve such fundamental controversies, only courts or the resort to open violence remain as recourse. By rejecting the resolution via the ballot-box, Trump's pursuers are inviting a "courts or violence" manner of deciding these issues. You and your stated positions here are prima facie examples of that tendency. You've already made yourself an advocate of and an accomplice to unconstitional procedures designed to "railroad" Trump.

What American voters--regardless of party--must understand by election-day, 2020, is that one of the only safe and effective mechanisms remaining to them is their decision to severely sanction at the ballot-box all those who have been instrumental in taking us down this path to a cultish & demented anti-Trump and anti-Constitutional witch-hunt followed by trial procedures straight out of witch-trial history of 17th-century colonial America.

The key, the crucial question, the answer to which at this point we don't and cannot know is this: Shall there be enough of them to carry that message of sanction across?

If those who understand the facts and the stakes involved here do their best to educate their peers to these circumstances, then there is a chance that, between now and election-day, 2020, enough people may be reached, informed and convinced, that the election puts into office those who shall use the law wisely and fairly to hold today's lynch-mob leaders to account for their criminal acts and betryals of the Constitution.

But the informed and converted shall never incude the likes of you, "Limelite," for their minds, as is yours, are closed to such appeals to reason. That much is clear already.

Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham shall have important parts in the work of preserving and protecting the rule of law which people such as you would simply sweep aside and replace with factional-fury which overturns popular elections and rules the executive by the abuse of impeachment, circus trials, conviction and removal.

At that point, we have perpetual chaotic political disorder and a prolonged breakdown in the public's civic trust and restraint.

The political damage your ways invite makes the Vandals and Visigoths look like the Virginia House of Burgesses.

36Limelite
Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 3:31pm

The "hearsay" meme is nothing more than a Trumpist effort intended to distract their base from yesterday's painful reality. It fails miserably, even at that.

What Sec. Kent and Amb. Taylor testified to is actual evidence. Ambassadors and State Dept. officials are Constitutionally sworn officers of the federal government. They function as proxy spokespersons who speak in the president's voice whenever they discuss presidential foreign policy and how it shall be carried out. That is their Prime Directive. Therefore, even in discussion among themselves about official topics, they are still speaking for the president who is in absentia. In this case, most especially Amb. ("Forgetful") Sondham is.

Trumpists attempting to make "hearsay" a defense of Trump have put themselves into an untenable vise. They deny reality because they forget who ambassadors and State Departments really are, and they forget, in their eagerness to promote "hearsay" as exculpatory (that means proving your innocence, Donald) for Trump that documentary evidence supports Sec. Kent's and Amb. Taylor's testimony. Sad. The vise squeezes tighter.

Even more foolish is that Trumpists trot out this empty defense in the wake of Amb. Taylor's testimony that a member of his staff overheard Trump shout about "investigations" -- Trump cabal code for "bribery" -- over an insecure, open, public cell phone call initiated by Amb. Sondham from a Ukranian restaurant. That is direct evidence, not hearsay. And today we learn that a second State Dept. official also overheard the president's raised voice in that restaurant. One cannot help but wonder how many unofficial diners did, too. Well, maybe a Trumpist wouldn't ask himself that.

Yet, not a single outraged bray from Trumpists about that insecure, open cell phone call between their man in the WH and one of his official spokespersons. Remember how right wing nuts foamed at the mouth when Sec. Clinton admitted to having used her personal cell phone? And she never did when speaking to the president. I'm old enough to remember the Republican waste of taxpayer money when they investigated that nothing burger.

Of course, those of us outside the Cult of Trump recognize this promotion of a "hearsay" defense as yet another example of the "IOKIYAR" hypocritical double-standard employed by right wing nuts when caught at nefarious behavior. Sorry, blithering about "hearsay" doesn't exonerate (that means prove you're innocent, Donald) Trump. Sadder still.

In a word that even the Donald can understand, one can sum up Trumpist efforts to perpetrate their "hearsay" meme as a defense argument against Trump's guilt as "FAKE!"

37TrippB
Nov 14, 2019, 8:20pm

>27 John5918:
You may well agree with the USA lowering its world standing, but that is then in contradiction to your claim that the USA has elevated its world standing.

I think it’s more a matter of our differing opinion on world standing. From my perspective, when leaders of other nations recognize that Trump won’t play the games of prior presidents, there may be resentment, but it also results in a measure of respect, and that is an improvement in world standing.

China’s lying, cheating, and stealing their way to a massive economy was left unchecked too long. The trade war started by Trump is a temporary inconvenience, but long overdue, and it’s working. Iran, since the Carter administration, has never made an agreement in good faith. Trump was absolutely right to toss aside the useless nuclear executive agreement bought by Obama with a planeload of cash. The never-ratified Paris Accord was a joke. Good riddance. North Korea has actually come to the table to negotiate. NATO members have been put on notice that the U.S. will no longer do all their heavy lifting.

I agree with Trump’s campaign promise and actions to get the U.S. out of endless wars. When ISIS was decimated, it was time to bring Americans home from Syria (and maybe leave a small fleet of drones that can be piloted from anywhere). Cooperation with enemies of our enemies is fine, but not a reason for being mired forever in their problems. Engaging when it is in America’s best interest is good. Getting out when there’s no benefit is better.

There are multiple other examples where Trump’s brash defiance of presidential tradition in international relations hasn’t always been pretty or even particularly diplomatic, but I think world leaders now recognize that when Trump says he’s going to do something, it isn’t an empty threat….unlike Obama’s wimpy red lines in the Syrian sand.

I would prefer that Trump speak softly and carry a big stick, but that isn't his style. If Dems manage to revive what is left their sad impeachment effort and create a miracle in their favor, perhaps President Pence will be more subtle and just as strong.

38John5918
Nov 15, 2019, 12:12am

>37 TrippB:

I'm sorry to say that whatever else Trump is getting from other world leaders, it certainly isn't respect. Fear, perhaps, about the unpredictability, unilateralism and avowed single-minded pursuit of what he (and you?) perceive as the self interest of what is still the largest and best-armed superpower in the world, potentially (many would say actually) the biggest bully on the block. Confusion and uncertainty about what a maverick superpower led by someone who appears to change his mind every time he goes on Twitter and whose statements are often at odds with policies coming from his own government will do next, making any sort of planning by both individual nations and multilateral institutions far more difficult. But respect? No.

39John5918
Nov 15, 2019, 12:39am

The Guardian again: The Guardian view on Donald Trump’s impeachment: a grave and necessary process

If the US president tried to enlist Ukraine to investigate his rivals he broke his oath of office and threatened America’s security...

The central issue over the coming weeks is not whether Mr Trump is a disgraceful president. The verdict on that is already in – and he is guilty. The issue is whether he has committed what the US constitution describes as “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours”. The crux here is whether, as a whistleblower has complained, Mr Trump has used the power of his office to solicit a foreign country, Ukraine, to interfere in the 2020 US election campaign. If he did, he faces charges of betraying his oath of office and threatening US security. In the past, that might have been enough to doom him...

40proximity1
Edited: Nov 16, 2019, 11:15am

>36 Limelite:

"What Sec. Kent and Amb. Taylor testified to is actual evidence."

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"Evidence"? Of what? A crime?

What crime? Trump's adversaries allege that he engaged in what amounts to offering the Ukraine head of state a bribe.

But where the crime of bribery is concerned the allegation is that something of value—typically but not necessarily money (hard currency or any of its substitutes or anything else of such a value that it can reasonably be construed as providing an inducement to a second party's illegal behavior; so, tangible or intangible gifts of value)—is offered as an inducement to a second party's illegal behavior.

That illegal behavior may consist of a positive act—doing something which is illegal (malum in se): a contract murder*, for an extreme example—or an omission, the refraining from acting where the law requires an act. Thus, for example, giving an inducement to a public official in return for the official's not enforcing something contrary to what the law provides ought or must lawfully be done.

Finally, the act or omission can be a corruption of the manner prescribed by law of doing or not doing something. Thus, if, for example, from an inducement, an official subverts, corrupts, an open-bidding process on a publicly-financed work, and, instead of dealing with all bidders in an impartial manner as the law might require, the decision-maker favors one or more bidders for a contract over another or others because he or they have offered an inducement for the partiality, that constitutes a bribe and an illegal act in return for it. (The "reverse of the coin", so to speak, in acts of bribery is known as "extortion" which involves "obtaining benefit (from a second party) through coercion" instead of paying a second party in return or as inducement for a favor.)

So I ask:

What, then, did president Trump do? whether as a demand for Volodymyr Zelensky's illegal act (according to U.S. law) or as acceptance of an offer from president Volodymyr Zelensky which U.S. law forbids Trump do (or what, on the contrary, did Trump fail to do which U.S. law required him to do concerning Ukraine)?

What? Name this thing, for fuck's sake—and show the proofs of it—or, failing that, SHUT the FUCK UP already.

U.S. aid to Ukraine is discretionary, not obligatory. But, more than this, U.S. law and long-standing practice makes it entirely legal and permissable for aid to foreign states to come with expressly stated conditions which the recipient state is required to meet or fulfill.

Now, someone has to interpret and otherwise determine whether or not conditions of foreign aid are to be asserted or, if part of an act of Congress, whether the conditions have been sufficiently met. Typically, where the U.S. government is the aid-grantor, that person is, by law, ultimately (and, often, in the first instance, and literally personally) the president of the United States: for example, "...the president of the United States shall, for the purposes of this act's foreign aid, certify (or determine) that the recipient state has (or states have) met the conditions set out in" ... etc.

Does anyone here seriously contend that Trump engaged, either explicitly or implicitly!, in what amounts to a"shake-down" of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky?

— e.g.



Trump : " You, president Zelensky, either do (or don't do) 'X', as I demand, otherwise we (i.e. the U.S. govt.) shall do (or not do) 'Y'."

____________________

( where 'Y' is, namely, that which, by OUR law, the U.S. government, if Trump was supposedly threatening to do it, is forbidden or where, if Trump was supposedly threatening to refuse to do it, is required to be done for Ukraine anyway !?!



Are you people fucking nuts!? In the political 'climate' of the moment (July 25th, 2019!) at which this alleged "bribery" (or "extortion") on the part of Trump was supposed to have been committed (in a supervised telephone conversation!), for Trump to have attempted such a measure—a bribe of or an act of extortion against Ukraine's president Zelensky—would have been tantamount to Trump's fashioning a hangman's-noose, putting his head into it and handing it to president Zelensky to do with as he pleased!

Come on! Has anyone noticed this and explained how Donald "The-Art-of-the-Deal" Trump is really that stupid? Already the subject/victim of more than two years' relentless hounding by his foes, why would Trump have even dreamed of handing these foes such a gold-plated gift? The answer is obvious. He never would have done so. Already alert to the problem of unauthorized leaks from his own White House staff, Trump places a supervised, recorded and, of necessity, translated (into Ukranian (even if president Zelensky is fluent in English)) phone call to Ukraine's president Zelensky in which he attempts to bribe or extort cooperation from him and, in doing this, never calculates the potential risk and danger to his tenure in office? With his own "impeachment" already an open topic of discussion for many months?

This alleged scenario is a ridiculous fantasy offered to us by Trump-agonistes who, it seems, are truly desperate to get rid of him; surely they'd never have concocted such an elaborate and transparently ridiculous "case" as this against president Trump if they'd had a sane, plausible, case to make.

Now, of course, it can and it does sometimes happen that high-ranking officials of nation-states or the executive officers of these states engage in strong-arm tactics of all sorts (what in negotiatons is called “hard-bargaining”) against their peers.

But they do this hard-bargaining legally, staying strictly within “the letter of the law," and do so, if, for no other reason, because, if they did otherwise, they'd be leaving themselves open to either the threat of or the fact of their exposure to their own nation's criminal laws prohibiting their engaging in illegal acts as a tool and tactic of diplomacy.

If, by this point, one has failed to grasp that the burden here is on Trump's political foes to show not that there was merely some "quid-pro-quo" but to show instead how and why this "quid-pro-quo" was either per se a violation of U.S. or applicable international law or how and why it was not within the purview of president Trump to undertake at all, well, then, in that case one is either not being honest with himself or with the rest of us or he's simply not able to follow and parse what isn't that hard to understand.

On the contrary, in all likelihood, it was and it is not only completely and strictly within president Trump's purview as president of the United States to make these judgments and decisions at his discretion and not the purview of inferior agents of the executive branch to countermand the president's determinations of a policy matter, it is also, according to both the letter and the spirit of the law, the president's decision to make and no one else's.

So, to return to my point, whatever these witnesses testified to having overheard, if it isn't hearsay, whether admissable or not, it must directly concern something which is by nature and character a crime under U.S. law.

But, as with the years-long "Russian/Trump 'election collusion'", Trump's political foes have demonstrated only that they're prepared to do violence to the legal and the ordinary lay meaning of words just to ty and get president Trump out of office, not that Trump— as far as these foes of Trump have been able to show—actually acted illegally in anything.

Once more, in their relentless zeal to get rid of Trump, the Democrats in the Congressional "kitchen" have cooked up a soufflé which has exploded and left them with egg all over their faces and they have no idea because so much of the national press-corps is right there in the middle of it and helping them. That would be hilarious except for the fact that this is deadly serious and it is the constitutional order in the U.S. which is clearly and gravely at stake.
________________________________________

Further reading:


(The Federalist (Washington, D.C.)) (Politics) |
This Impeachment Inquiry Is Really About Who Sets U.S. Foreign Policy” | If Trump thinks it’s in the national interest to root out corruption in Ukraine and get to the bottom of 2016 election meddling, that’s his prerogative
. | By John Daniel Davidson
November 14, 2019
______________________________

… “To put it more bluntly, the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is about whether the president or unelected officials in the State Department should be able to determine U.S. foreign policy and define U.S. national interests abroad.

“What we heard Wednesday was a lot of opinions from Taylor and Kent about what U.S. policy should be in Ukraine and what serves the national interest there. But if President Trump has a different view, whose opinion should matter? Clearly, the president’s opinion is the one that counts because the president, not State Department officials, sets U.S. foreign policy. …
...

... "To take one example, Taylor said Wednesday he doesn’t think Ukraine owes the United States anything other than 'appreciation.' Well, many Americans, including the president himself, might disagree with that. There are perfectly good reasons to think Ukraine, or any other country that receives U.S. aid, might owe the United States something more than 'appreciation.' Maybe such countries also owe America some level of cooperation in advancing U.S. national interests—as defined by the president of the United States, not Ambassador Taylor or any other unelected bureaucrat.

"This is in fact exactly how the Trump administration views the matter, which is likely the reason Trump and other administration officials have been so adamant that there was no quid pro quo. The administration’s interest in the Bidens and Burisma and 2016 election meddling appears to have been backward-looking, not forward-looking.

"Trump wanted to know why the Bidens weren’t investigated and who in the Ukrainian government worked to undermine his 2016 campaign. Getting to the bottom of these things and ensuring they don’t happen again would be a reasonable condition to the receipt of hundreds of millions in security aid." ...

“Taylor also claimed Wednesday that Ukraine is important to U.S. security, and that Russian aggression cannot stand. But Russian aggression was allowed to stand when Moscow invaded Georgia during the George W. Bush administration, and again when Russian troops occupied Crimea during the Obama administration. What was the 'interagency consensus' back then, and why was Ukraine not considered important enough to U.S. security to prompt any pushback against Russia?

“The answer is that the president sets foreign policy, not the unelected bureaucrats of the administrative state. So far, the entire impeachment inquiry hinges on this fact, and the more the American people get to see the impeachment debate play out in public hearings, the clearer it will become that Democrats are relying on an incredibly narrow and highly subjective interpretation of the facts to justify their claims that Trump tried to set up a quid pro quo with Ukraine."


__________________
(John is the Political Editor at The Federalist.
Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.)


_________________________

* Contract-murder, or murder-by-hire is generally not referred to as a crime of "bribery". But a "bribe", an inducement, is, in effect, undertaken. It's just that, as crime goes, murder so far surpasses simple bribery that those involved as instigators are charged as accessories-before-the-fact to murder, rather than as perpetrators of bribery.

41lriley
Nov 15, 2019, 12:16pm

#35--'Voters are going to take their revenge on democrats for pursuing this outrageous years-long mania.'

Yeah--there are going to be a lot of voters pissed off about this who will vote republican. So what? We're talking mainly about those tea party hard core Trumpists. The 35 to 40% that stick with him through thick and thin. You think he's won any new friends? I don't. I think Trump realized long ago something that you don't---that even pulling off all kinds of shit he won his election not on the numbers--he fell almost 3 million short of a plurality--and that to win again (and avoid prison time) he would need to make the next 2020 election as dirty as could be. In his mind back in July with Biden leading the polls that was the guy to dirty up--so he kind of jumped the gun but IMO that's always been his plan to drag his next opponent through the mud and hope that by doing so he'd have his best to chance to win again.

The problem then was how---and like the criminal Trump is he decided to commit crimes. And he got caught in his own web so now people like you are crying tears and that's alright (there's something cleansing in tears) but thinking that somehow this means that more voters are going to be flocking to your guy is a big big stretch IMO. I'm thinking if anything it's the other way around. I'm thinking also that he'll drag his party into another big defeat like 2018 in 2020 and Republicans have a lot more seats in the Senate than Democrats in this election cycle.

42Limelite
Nov 15, 2019, 2:01pm

>40 proximity1:

Crime of bribery. Aren't you paying attention?

Crime of soliciting foreign meddling into US elections. Aren't you paying attention? Even accepting foreign interference (i.e., money, dirt) in a political campaign without soliciting it is a crime. But constructing a conspiracy to shakedown a foreign head of state to provide it has got to be an even worse crime. Wouldn't you agree?

Crime of slandering a career State Dept. officer with baseless smears is a civil offense when both parties are private citizens. But doing so to remove a representative of the US foreign policy and security interests in order to replace her with a political contributor who will be a yes-man in order to further Russian security interests and personal political benefit goes beyond simple offense and accedes to betrayal of American interests equal to treason.

Those of us who are paying attention and haven't made themselves head-in-sand people see that.

43proximity1
Nov 16, 2019, 6:39am


>42 Limelite:

YOU'RE so concerned about libel and slander!?!

Get a mirror, pal. Have a good long look in it.

It's a wonder your keyboard doesn't spontaneously burst into flames.

44Limelite
Nov 16, 2019, 12:26pm

>43 proximity1:
Cherry-picker.