WTF Community

Day 1035


(Matt Kiser) #1

1/ The U.S. ambassador to the European Union testified that he and senior administration officials "followed the president's orders" to work with Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into Joe Biden and the discredited conspiracy theory that the country helped Democrats in the 2016 election. Gordon Sondland testified that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and special envoy Kurt Volker coordinated with Giuliani at the "at the express direction of the president of the United States" to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations. Sondland said he directly communicated the "quid pro quo" arrangement to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Sondland also provided House impeachment investigators with emails and texts showing that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Perry, and others were all aware that Trump conditioned a White House meeting for Zelensky on his willingness to launch investigations. "They knew what we were doing and why," Sondland said. "Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret." (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/2019/11/20/day-1035/

👀 Impeachment Watch: Day 4.0
Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
(Matt Kiser) #2

tl;dr

1/ The U.S. ambassador to the European Union testified that he and senior administration officials “followed the president’s orders” to work with Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into Joe Biden and the discredited conspiracy theory that the country helped Democrats in the 2016 election. Gordon Sondland testified that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and special envoy Kurt Volker coordinated with Giuliani at the “at the express direction of the president of the United States” to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations. Sondland said he directly communicated the “quid pro quo” arrangement to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Sondland also provided House impeachment investigators with emails and texts showing that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Perry, and others were all aware that Trump conditioned a White House meeting for Zelensky on his willingness to launch investigations. “They knew what we were doing and why,” Sondland said. “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN

2/ Sondland testified that he told Pence before his Sept. 1 meeting with Zelensky that he “had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” Sondland said Pence “nodded” in response and didn’t ask what investigations he was referring to. When Zelensky raised the issue of security aid, Pence said he would speak to Trump about it. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, claimed Pence “never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations.” (CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Sondland testified that he kept Secretary of State Michael Pompeo informed of the key developments in the campaign to pressure Zelensky to appease Trump and announce investigations. Sondland and Pompeo discussed drafting a statement in mid-August regarding Zelensky making public commitment to investigate Biden that they hoped would persuade Trump to grant Zelensky an Oval Office meeting and “break the logjam” on providing the security funds. Pompeo expressed approval of the plan. Trump, however, canceled his trip to Poland. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

4/ The FBI asked to interview the CIA whistleblower over concerns with the Justice Department declining to investigate the complaint after a criminal referral was sent from the inspector general of the Intelligence Community. In late September, the Justice Department confirmed that the assistant attorney general, and an appointee of Trump, had reviewed the whistleblower’s complaint and determined there was no violation of campaign finance laws by Trump when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open up an investigation into the gas company that once paid Hunter Biden to serve on its board. FBI counterintelligence officials were particularly concerned about the claims that Rudy Giuliani, Igor Fruman, and Lev Parnas may have been manipulated by Russian interests. The whistleblower has not yet agreed to an interview. (Yahoo News / NBC News / CNN)

4/ Trump described Sondland’s testimony as “fantastic” and said it proves he “did absolutely nothing wrong.” Trump also attempted to distance his relationship with Sondland, saying “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much.” Last month, Trump called Sondland – who contributed $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee – “a really good man and great American.” Two weeks ago, however, Trump claimed to “hardly know the gentleman.” (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration distributed talking points to discredit Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified that he had registered complaints about Trump’s call with the Ukraine president. White House aide Julia Hahn sent two emails to Trump surrogates questioning Vindman’s credibility and claiming Trump did “nothing wrong.” The Army, meanwhile, has increased their protection around Vindman and his family. (Daily Beast / ABC News / Reuters)

  2. In 2017, Nikki Haley lost her password for classified communication, so she used a system meant for unclassified material to send “confidential” information. (Daily Beast)


What happens now: Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary, and David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs, are testifying to the House Intelligence Committee.

The DemDebate starts tonight at 9 p.m. ET and will stream on g MSNBC and the Washington Post. The Democrats who qualified based on polling and fundraising are: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Ashley Parker, and Kristen Welker will become the third ever all-female moderator lineup.


Today in fronts.

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#3

:smirk:


#4


#5

Most Republicans have left the room

As we work our way through this second round of staff questions, almost all the Republicans have left the hearing room.

Still present: Castor, Jordan, Ratcliffe and Stefanik.

Everyone else has left.


#6

Best headline yet

Trump before Sondland’s testimony: “He’s a great American.” Trump after: “This is not a man I know well.”

Sondland, who gave $1 million to Trump’s campaign, just got the “coffee boy” treatment.

Politico too


#7


#8

Watch Trump read these notes

President Trump White House Departure

President Trump spoke to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for Austin, Texas. The president commented on the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who was appearing before the House Intelligence Committee as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Full Video :point_down:

Transcript from press pool


(David Bythewood) #9

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#10

Former Impeachment lawyer for Clinton, Ken Starr suggests this may be the moment for Republican Senators to ask the President to resign. By the mere suggestion, and all that it means with regard to Watergate, we may have started down a new road towards removing the President. Highly speculative…but Amb. Sondland’s testimony was very riveting and this was discussed on Fox Network. :boom:

Moments before Wednesday’s impeachment hearings and right after U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland’s opening statement was released, Fox News contributor Ken Starr wondered aloud whether Sondland flipping on President Trump would cause GOP senators to push Trump to resign. “The real issue is the senators are watching,” Starr said. “Are senators going to now say in light of what we hear today, it’s going to be a long day even with the ambassador alone, in light of what we have heard, ‘We need to make a trip down to the White House’? That historic example set during the Nixon presidency. From what I’ve been able to glean I don’t think that’s going to happen. But obviously what happens today could—has the potential to be a game-changer.


#11

Next hearing is now @ 5:30pm ET


#12

:eyes:

Same day as the call on the first memo Trump released.


#13

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report into the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation will be released December 9, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Wednesday night.

“It will be December 9th, you’ll get the report,” the South Carolina Republican told Fox News. “That’s locked.”

What the report says is unknown. But some witnesses who have been interviewed by the inspector general say they expect that it will likely reveal some missteps, though none that should be interpreted as undermining a legitimate investigation.

I don’t understand how this paragraph supports the next:

The timing of the release, pronounced imminent for months, could be a boon for Republicans amid the unfolding impeachment proceedings.

Say what? If the report turns out to only reveal “some missteps,” none of which delegitimize the investigations, I don’t see how that would be construed as a win for Republicans. If anything, if the report does not undermine the legitimacy of the investigations, it will fundamentally be legitimizing them – and ultimately that’s what counts. This is, of course, all speculation, but it’s interesting to see CNN telegraphing that the report may not contain any bombshells. We can only wait and see. :hourglass_flowing_sand:


(David Bythewood) #14

Good news for a change: humanitarian Scott Warren exonerated.



#15

:eyes:


(David Bythewood) #16

“Warfighter”?

This from the man who claims to have “the best words”?

Also, this is, again, the President meddling in the proper channels of military law and making us look unjust before the rest of the world.
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(David Bythewood) #17

GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act


(Matt Kiser) closed #18

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