WTF Community

Day 978

(Matt Kiser) #1

1/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 166 Democrats supported some type of impeachment action — more than two-thirds of the 235-member caucus – following reports that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine and pressured officials to investigate Joe Biden's son. Pelosi told House Democrats in a closed door meeting she will support a formal impeachment inquiry, believing that Trump pressuring the president of Ukraine and his administration's subsequent refusal to share the whistleblower report with Congress has left the House with no alternative but to move forward with an inquiry. "It would be my intention with the consent of this caucus … to proceed with an impeachment inquiry," Pelosi said. "He is asking a foreign government to help him in his campaign, that is a betrayal of his oath of office." Pelosi and top Democrats have privately discussed the creation of a special select committee – similar the one created in 1973 to investigate the Watergate scandal – to conduct the impeachment inquiry, rather than leaving the task with the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats are also discussing a resolution condemning Trump's interaction with his Ukrainian counterpart to put lawmakers on the record. Trump, meanwhile, called the allegations a "witch hunt." (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg / Politico / The Guardian)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
(Simon Rodan) #2

After two and a half plus years during which the offences against decent and proper conduct have been violated on a daily, even hourly basis, and during which evidence of highly suspect actions and behavior continued to accumulate, today’s announcement seems almost anti-climactic. It seems clear that the Senate will not vote to remove Trump from office if and when, as one must expect, the House votes to impeach. And it is also pretty clear, I think, that Trump’s base will only be energized seeing impeach as a “political hatchet job”. None of this new, but the debate has moved from the realm of speculation to reality. If events play out in a predictable fashion, the 2020 presidential will be close and ugly.

(Lynda Paquette (Lamp)) #3

When I heard the news today I thought “Oh, so THIS is what takes.” As Simon notes, it’s been two and half years of lawlessness, but the Ukrainian situation has finally crossed the invisible line of what it takes I guess. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I do believe that it is positive movement towards a new world. I think it’s going to be very slow going though. I think we may see real chaos around the 2020 election results. I don’t think “we get out of this” as easily as the 2020 election.


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(John Eddy) #5

Okay. I just want someone to sanity check me.

We have no concrete information about what the whistleblower’s complaint, nor how whatever it involves was collected so as to be acted upon, right?

I didn’t have some blackout and miss a major announcement?

(Matt Kiser) #6

Here’s a timeline of events:

September 2018: Congress approves military aid to Ukraine, per House Democratic sources.

Feb. 28, 2019: Congressional officials are notified that the administration is set to release large amounts of that aid. It doesn’t happen.

May 19: Trump goes on Fox News and rails about Biden and Ukraine, falsely claiming that Biden improperly pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was supposedly “after” his son.

May 23: Congress is again notified of a pending release of aid. It again doesn’t happen.

July 18th or thereabouts: Trump orders Mulvaney to freeze the aid to Ukraine. Trump’s decision is communicated to officials at the State and Defense departments. Importantly, as The Post reports, officials are instructed to tell lawmakers that the delay stemmed from some kind of “interagency process,” but not to share any more details.

July 24: The special counsel testifies to Congress, and Trump hails the proceedings as a “very good day.” While the special counsel detailed extraordinary corruption and wrongdoing, Trump plainly takes from it that he can conduct himself with total impunity.

July 25: Trump holds a call with Zelensky. Trump himself will later admit he brought up Biden and “corruption” in Ukraine. It is also subsequently reported that Trump directly urged Zelensky to discuss this with Giuliani.

Late July: A few days after that call, Giuliani meets with an aide to Zelensky, and demands an investigation into Biden. Giuliani later admits he would not be doing this without discussing it with Trump.

Aug. 12: The inspector general of the intelligence community receives a complaint from a whistleblower.

Aug. 26: The inspector general forwards the whistleblower complaint to the DNI, saying he deemed it of “urgent concern” and “credible.”

Aug. 30: CNN reports that Trump is seriously looking at blocking the aid entirely, and that the Pentagon privately advised for the aid to be released.

Early September: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) speaks to Zelensky. Murphy has since characterized their conversation by saying that Zelensky “directly” expressed concerns that the cutoff of aid was a “consequence” of failing to probe Biden.

Sept. 9: The inspector general alerts the congressional intelligence committees to the whistleblower complaint, and says the DNI hasn’t forwarded it to them, in potential violation of the law.

Sept. 10: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, demands that the DNI transmit the whistleblower complaint to Congress.

Sept. 12: The aid to Ukraine is released.

Sept. 13: Schiff subpoenas the DNI for the whistleblower complaint.

Sept. 17: The DNI again formally refuses to turn over the whistleblower complaint, arguing that the law doesn’t apply, because the activity in question relates to “someone” outside the intelligence community. Reporting indicates that the DNI did this after getting advised to do so by the Justice Department.

Sept. 17: The inspector general pushes back hard on the DNI’s decision, flatly stating that the complaint “relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI’s responsibilities to the American people.”

Sept. 18-19: It turns out the “someone” in question may be Trump himself. The Post scoops that the whistleblower complaint involved a “promise” Trump made to a foreign leader. We then learn that it also involves Ukraine.

Sept. 19: Giuliani first denies to CNN that he is pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden, before reversing and confirming as much.

Sept. 22: Trump confirms he brought up Biden and corruption in the call with Zelensky, but top administration officials deny Trump “pressured” him to investigate Biden.

(Birrell Walsh) #7

Thank you Matt for your incredible tracking of details!

Like many others, I believe that impeaching Trump is a gift to Trump. It will make the election be about the impeachment itself (only), and the electorate will be exhausted when it is over. And of course the conclusion is given: the Senate will not convict. The gentry on the right will say he is exonerated, etc.

It is not the battle I would wish to fight, nor the battlefield I would wish to fight on, nor the time I would wish to fight it. It would be a gift to Mr Trump, as I said.

So what SHOULD be done. Oh, I have several ideas.

Given that Trump may have committed state crimes in New York, how about civil forfeiture of all his New York property? I know CF is usually used on poor drug peddlers - but using it on Mr. Trump could result in either A) he loses his property or B) the roaringly unconsitutional Civil Forfeiture laws get struck down. How is that for a win/win?

Or: Perhaps we can’t indict a president, but surely we could indict all those who obey him? Every last civil servant, cabinet officer, and functionary who obeys him or helps in his pretty obviously illegal acts. He’ll pardon them? OK, how about using Civil Forfeiture on them?

Again, thanks for your work.


Dan Coats, former DNI head…makes an appearance today, but says very little…about his thoughts about the Administration, except he does not feel a border wall could be that effective, with the known 1000 tunnels or ladders found nearby any wall.

Still unknown if he could be the whistleblower…

In his first public appearance since stepping down as director of national intelligence, Dan Coats indicated he’s keeping some secrets to himself.

Coats, an often outspoken former senator, didn’t have much to say about current affairs during a 30-minute address to the Economic Club of Indiana, an appearance scheduled long before he announced his resignation

During an ensuing 15-minute Q&A, though, he answered a couple of more meaty questions, written by the audience and delivered by a club moderator, including about a whistleblower complaint reportedly made against President Donald Trump and whether the country truly needs a wall along the border with Mexico. He declined an interview with IndyStar.

There’s much I can’t say,” Coats said about the whistleblower complaint. “We’re in the secrets business … obviously there are a number of things going on relative to that and you’ve been reading about it in the paper and there’s speculation.”

He ultimately said tunnels and ladders have been effectively used to circumvent sections of the wall that currently are in place. In fact, he said 1,000 tunnels have been discovered over time, some with sophisticated features such as air control and railroad tracks used to run drugs.

Does a wall give us better protection in terms of how people want to walk into America, put their foot on the soil and say, ‘you’ve got to keep me? Even though it’s illegal?’ In places, yes. In other places, no. We have to look at electronics. We have to look at different things, policy issues and so forth.”

(Hanret Snyman) #9

I agree with most of what you said. Including an enormous shoutout to Matt for his incredible work.
There is one sure way to get DJT out of office and one way only: vote him out.
The low voter turnout throughout (2016, 2018 and recent NC District 9) really alarms me and is a huge issue for me.
IMO: Instead of wasting time and energy on impeachment, spend all the time, energy and money on mobilizing and energizing every single possible voter.

(David Bythewood) #10

(David Bythewood) #11

The GOP has begun its spin tactics for the Whistleblower Complaint by insisting that the whole case should ride on the single call that Trump says he will release today. But all reports indicate this latest scheme was months in the making and does NOT ride on a single call. Here is why this can’t be trusted and the Whistleblower must be allowed to testify:

(foxburr) #12

Hi all–new forum member, long-time subscriber to the newsletter, and very glad to have a place to discuss these issues with others who are trying to make sense of what’s happening in the US.

I understand the concerns raised here about the potential political fallout that could result from impeachment proceedings; I get the instinct to lean on political expediency, but I also know from my own circle of leftist friends and colleagues that if the House doesn’t launch impeachment proceedings, they are less likely to vote in the 2020 general election.

Like many others I worry that this may be too little, too late. But I am nevertheless glad to see it happen, because it restores a modicum of my faith in justice and due process.

edit: adding as others have my gratitude to Matt for all of his diligence and hard work here. Thank you.

(David Bythewood) #13

Whoa. Coming out now:

AG Barr is involved.

And it is NOT a verbatim transcript. Meaning it’s not actually a transcript at all.

The transcript, in keeping with White House practice, is a memorandum of a telephone conversation and is not a verbatim account of the conversation.


@Windthin You nailed it! The call alone is sufficient to impeach the President (his crime is right there in black and white no matter how the Republicans try to spin it), but even more importantly, this crime was developing over a period of several months and involves a concerted conspiracy between Trump and Giuliani. The fact that Zelenesky brings up Giuliani demonstrates that his administration had already been working with Giuliani on this. We need to start talking about Trump and Giuliani as co-conspirators – that is a precise description of their relationship.

It’s stunning as well as extremely incriminating that Trump told Zelensky that Barr would also call him. Just think let that sink in for a minute: Trump had already enlisted or intended to enlist the head of our Department of Justice in this conspiracy! Wow.

Because it’s so crucial to the big picture here, I’m reposting @Windthin’s link to the in-depth investigative piece from the WaPo that exposes the broad conspiracy that Trump and Giuliani had been working on for months. This will all come out during the impeachment inquiry. Thank god that process has started. Giuliani will be called and other witnesses will be called as well who knew what Giuliani and his client (co-conspirator), Trump, were up to. As @Windthin pointed out, this is about far, far more than one phone call and there will be plenty of testimony and documents to prove Trump and Giuliani’s guilt in this criminal conspiracy at the highest levels of our government. :boom:

Here’s more on Trump’s incrimination of Barr and the Justice Department. The DoJ has scrambled to deny any involvement. We shall see. But the mere fact that Trump explicitly invoked Barr’s name to further his criminal conspiracy is damning in and of itself.


OMG, you guys, you have to read the “transcript” in full, it’s kinda incredible. This is what the President released to clear his name?! What an idiot. :joy::joy::joy:

(David Bythewood) #16

Yup. There’s a smocking gun if I ever saw one.

(David Bythewood) #17

And here comes Bill Barr, out to set a new lie-speed record by exonerating Trump already.


what do you make of this (it is from Senator Chuck Grassley’s facebook):

Senator Chuck Grassley, president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, today released the following statement regarding the release of a White House transcript of a call between the presidents of the United States and Ukraine.

“Speaker Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry even before seeing the call transcript or hearing from the alleged whistleblower or the director of national intelligence. That says all anyone needs to know about the legitimacy of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry: impeach now, facts later.

“I’ve read the transcript in its entirety. It shows that there was no quid pro quo. The Ukrainian President admitted problems with corruption in the country and agreed that the issue at hand warranted looking into further.

“The firing of a prosecutor looking into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son following pressure from Mr. Biden himself is worthy of investigation. That a president who ran on an anti-corruption platform would look into this matter is unsurprising and is in both the U.S. and Ukrainian national interest.

“For years, Democrats have decried foreign interference in U.S. elections. But this seems to be a one-way street. Democrats are wholly uninterested in looking into past Ukrainian efforts to help former Vice President Biden, as well as the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, which reportedly used Ukraine to undermine the Trump campaign. That’s not how the rule of law works.

“National media attention to only one side of this issue is disappointing even if unsurprising. The Obama administration used the Department of Justice and its intelligence agencies to investigate a political opponent in then-candidate Trump while using foreign government sources to further the investigation. But it’s supposedly unacceptable for the Trump administration to encourage a foreign nation to look into a matter that it was prevented from fully investigating by the previous administration with clear conflicts of interest. That’s not a standard that makes any sense.”

“Democrats’ cries for impeachment grow stronger by the day, but their case for impeachment grows weaker. Democrats should instead focus on the issues Americans care about, such as lowering prescription drug prices, rebuilding our infrastructure and passing the USMCA.”


Thanks for highlighting Giuliani’s role he may be considered also the “fall guy” as well as the co-conspirator… @Keaton_James @Windthin and @Pet_Proletariat

So much reporting now…and Esquire tracks all of Giuliani’s statements in the last several days as well this last 24 hours…He’s changing his tune, and he’s in there so deep.

Giuliani’s constant TV appearances telling us that his work with the President to discover the Biden’s “wrongs” and his participation in pressuring the Ukrainian officials are manipulations of the truth. It was outright corrupt behavior on the part of T, Giuliani and now Barr who is implicated as well and reflects an abuse of power on all fronts.

Reminder that there is not any attorney-client privilege if there is a crime involved, so Rudy does not have a leg to stand on for his own defense with regard to his ‘official’ role as the President’s lawyer.

But could we see Articles of Impeachment on T and his role in the Ukrainian calls soon. Yes…clearly extortion tactics were used and intent is obvious. :pray:

A new report from the Washington Post , which has nailed the Ukraine story throughout, centers Giuliani in a caper wherein the State Department and other official channels were shoved aside so that the Presidential Lawyer could get up to…something…in Ukraine. Actually, we know what the something was: both Trump and Giuliani have openly admitted they pressured the president of Ukraine to open an investigation that could damage Joe Biden.

But the whole WaPo report centers on Giuliani’s role, and based on his appearances across Fox News’ many fine offerings last night and this morning, he’s aware of his new status as a protagonist in the story of an impeachable offense. Vox’s Aaron Rupar traced Giuliani’s merry dance across cable news and, we can only assume, his dark internal journey into the cavernous depths of delusion required to survive working on the president’s behalf. First, he joined the program hosted by Laura Ingraham, who lives in fear of The Children who want a habitable planet.

Rudy Giuliani is losing it. This is Infowars-type stuff.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2019

Giuliani is now lying and spouting off conspiracy theories to try to stay out of the fire, but you’ve got to believe Trump will shove him the rest of the way in if necessary.

Later, he addressed head-on the report from WaPo that he’d circumvented official State Department channels to do his thing over there:

Wow. Here’s Rudy Giuliani throwing the State Department under the bus and saying State officials called him and asked him to get involved in Ukraine.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2019

Ah! He held up his phone’s home screen

This is what innocence looks like, folks. It was also on display at 1:23 a.m., not too long after the Presidential Lawyer departed the Fox News premises, when he took to Twitter to perform some InfoWars Mad Libs.

We know corrupt Ukrainian oligarch laundered $3 million to the Biden Family. But $3 to $4m more was laundered to Biden. So release all the financial records of all businesses involving Biden, Kerry’s stepson and notorious mobster Whitey Bulger’s nephew.

— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) September 25, 2019

But wait—there’s more. Giuliani returned to the airwaves this fine Wednesday morning to debut a new line of obvious bullshit.

Rudy Giuliani’s new talking point this morning is that the president of Ukraine just wanted to investigate Biden on his own and Trump didn’t even have to push him

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2019

It’s too late, Rudy. You already admitted on television that you pressured the Ukrainians to ensnare the Bidens in an investigation. The president already admitted he pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to do so. Saying, maybe the Ukrainian president brought it up , then laughing maniacally, is not as clever as you seem to think.

Elsewhere on Fox and Friends , Giuliani tried to somehow make this about Obama and even the three geniuses were not impressed. And then there was this:

Here is Rudy Giuliani, who is not a government official, saying on Fox & Friends that the transcript of Trump’s call to president of Ukraine – one that’s at the heart of a whistleblower complaint – was read to him. Congress still hasn’t been able to see it.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2019

Why did Giuliani get a look at The Transcript before Congress and the general public?

Here are some explosive CNN interviews with Giuliani who breaks down the claims that the Bidens needed investigating, and what actually transpired with the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor.

Take a look at this :point_down:


Check out the headlines for these major newspapers for 9.25.19