WTF Community

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

house-committees
conflicts-of-interest
trump
tax-returns
russia

#662

Breaking

The Whistleblower declassified complaint - just released.:point_down:


Day 979
#663

Just finished reading it. There is no doubt. The President is guilty of betraying his oath of office by using the power entrusted in him as President for his own personal gain. That is, he pressured a foreign power to investigate his primary political rival. Further, he attempted to cover up this traitorous act and he did so in concert with other officials in his administration and at least one private citizen.

President Trump represents a clear and present danger to our nation. He placed a crucial ally in jeopardy (withholding military aid from Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression) for the benefit his re-election campaign. The question becomes has he committed the same act with other nations or would he do so in the future? Would he surrender U.S. interests in the China Sea to enlist China’s help in his re-election? Would he conspire with Russia? After Trump has demonstrated this explicit abuse of power, how can we be assured that there is any limit on his betrayals in order to maintain his grip on the office of President?

The impeachment inquiry must proceed with a sense of urgency and these credible allegations must be thoroughly investigated. If the allegations are confirmed Trump must be formally impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate. Other than Trump’s immediate resignation, there is no other remedy. :balance_scale:


#664

Yes… @Keaton_James thanks for your thorough analysis. Agreed

It is clear that there has been a cover-up and that the WH has been caught red-handed.

The job of House Speaker Pelosi and all heads of Committees - Schiff, Nadler, Cummings, Waxman, Neal, and Engel to get the most dastardly points in front of the House to present the clearest argument for Impeachment. This one - looks likes the best way forward for them. :boom::boom::boom:


#665

Watching MSNBC analysts now while waiting for the acting Director of National Intelligence to testify. Favorite comment:

"This is Donald Trump mobbing up foreign policy. End of story." - Nicolle Wallace :dart:


#666

Damn, Schiff is good!

You have got to watch this hearing! This is the best I’ve felt about the Democrats’ investigations in a long time. Finally! We have an advocate, Schiff, who is going for the jugular and we have a stonewaller, Maguire, who is in way over his head.

Watch as Maguire tries to evade admitting that the complaint was credible and urgent. Within minutes, Schiff has him admitting exactly that. Then Maguire tries to evade admitting that the first entity that he went to seek advice about the complaint was the White House even though the White House is the subject of the complaint. Maguire squirms and squirms, dodging the question and obfuscating, but Schiff is relentless. Within minutes, Maguire admits unequivocally that, yes, he did go to the White House first.

This is dramatic stuff. Riveting really. The President’s ship is sinking before our eyes. :balance_scale:

And OMG is Nunes pathetic!

Following Schiff’s scathing session, Nunes’s questioning of Maguire is a total snoozer. Nunes fails to address one iota of the substance of the complaint. He first tries to enlist Maguire in calling out the “main stream media” for daring to actually report this bombshell – Maguire is obviously uncomfortable with that and won’t go along. Then Nunes goes to the weary old, ineffectual Republican play: “Let’s investigate the person who reported the five-alarm fire rather than actually trying to put out the fire.” Nunes goes on and on trying to sensationalize that fact that this story leaked and makes vague, pointless accusations about where the leak might have come from. Again, Maguire is having none of it.

And that’s it. Nunes concludes his questioning. Can’t even call it a “swing and a miss.” Nunes just stood at the plate while three strikes flew past. :baseball:


#667

Whistleblower is a male CIA agent who was detailed to the WH. WB’s lawyer of course wants to keep his name anonymous, which makes sense in the age where T goes and starts insinuating that the WB is a ‘spy.’

Somehow…sorry to say…someone is going to leak it. My guess it will be leaked as a retaliatory measure from someone in T’s camp or the R’s.

WASHINGTON — The whistle-blower who revealed that President Trump sought foreign help for his re-election and that the White House sought to cover it up is a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to three people familiar with his identity.

The man has since returned to the C.I.A., the people said. Little else is known about him. His complaint made public Thursday suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.


Lawyers for the whistle-blower refused to confirm that he worked for the C.I.A. and said that publishing information about him was dangerous.

“Any decision to report any perceived identifying information of the whistle-blower is deeply concerning and reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way,” said Andrew Bakaj, his lead counsel. “The whistle-blower has a right to anonymity."

The C.I.A. officer did not work on the communications team that handles calls with foreign leaders, according to the people familiar with his identity. He learned about Mr. Trump’s conduct “in the course of official interagency business,” according to the complaint, which was dotted with footnotes about machinations in Kiev and reinforced with public comments by senior Ukrainian officials.


#668

Thank you for watching it. I started & then turned it off because I get tired of the idiotic grandstanding (Nunes) and the non answers by Maguire. I really appreciate everyone here who does the watching & then tells us about it.

I’m still trying to figure out why Maguire thought he needed to ask the wh about the complaint after the Inspector General had already ruled on it. Especially after I read an article about the unaccountability of the OLC.


#669

Breaking - :fire::fire::fire:

Oh it is even more dicey - the lengths to which the Whistleblower went to get his information out…and the plot thickens. According to NYT tonight, WB went to CIA’s General Counsel to anonymously notifiy them of this call that DJT had with Zelensky.

The CIA Gen. Counsel made some further probes with this knowledge and it eventually went up the chain via the WH Office of Legal counsel, so that T did know someone was looking into his call.

When the original CIA officer/WB became aware that the WH knew, he went the way of going to NSC’s formal Whistleblower’s complaint system where he knew there were protections.

More reading here.below…and details which certainly convey the charge 'Who knew what when? and When did they know it? " - the famous Watergate Impeachment inquiry question.

I particularly enjoyed reading this comment - “They are like tuna in a shark tank.” which referred to people “anonymous whistleblowers” who go to General Counsel instead of going the official Whistleblower route.

WTF WTF WTF

The whistle-blower’s expertise will likely add to lawmakers’ confidence about the merits of his complaint, and tamp down allegations that he might have misunderstood what he learned about Mr. Trump. He did not listen directly to the July call, but some White House colleagues told him that they were concerned they had witnessed “the president abuse his office for personal gain,” according to the complaint.

The week after the call, the officer delivered a somewhat broad accusation anonymously to the C.I.A.’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Ellwood, according to multiple people familiar with the events. The initial allegations reported only that serious questions existed about a phone call between Mr. Trump and a foreign leader.

As required by government policy, Ms. Ellwood began to try to assess whether a “reasonable basis” for the accusation existed. During the preliminary inquiry, Ms. Ellwood and a career C.I.A. lawyer learned that multiple people had raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s call.

The next day, Mr. Demers went to the White House to read the transcript of the call and assess whether to alert other senior law enforcement officials. He decided to notify the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the department’s criminal division, according to two administration officials.

Department officials began to discuss the accusations and whether and how to follow up. Attorney General William P. Barr learned of the allegations around that time, according to a person familiar with the matter. While Mr. Barr was briefed, he did not oversee the discussions about how to proceed, the person said.

But as White House, C.I.A., and Justice Department officials were examining the accusations, the C.I.A. officer who had lodged them anonymously grew concerned after learning that Ms. Ellwood had contacted the White House, according to two people familiar with the matter. While it is not clear how the officer became aware that she shared the information, he concluded that the C.I.A. was not taking his allegations seriously.

That played a factor in his decision to become a whistle-blower, they said. And about two weeks after first submitting his anonymous accusations, he decided to file a whistle-blower complaint to Mr. Atkinson, a step that offers special legal protections, unlike going to a general counsel.

The revelation that the White House knew that a C.I.A. officer was expressing concerns before he filed a whistle-blower complaint demonstrates a weakness in a law meant to protect him from reprisals and shows that he was at risk of retaliation long before Mr. Trump obliquely threatened him on Thursday.

“I always advise whistle-blowers against going to general counsels because the general counsels have to report the matter,” said Dan Meyer, the former executive director of the intelligence community whistle-blowing program and managing partner of Tully Rinckey’s Washington office. “They are like tuna in a shark tank.”

Also on Maddow tonight…tune in at 9pm


#670

More damning details…Giuliani’s bravado at work being checked by the Ukrainians. Giuliani is more ‘fixer’ working with T, now that Michael Cohen has gone. From this, we know Rudy inserts himself into the international front almost posing as a legitimate US representative.

More details in this article than anyone wants to know about Rudy, but it is a weirdly woven story…and T is still ‘enamored’ with Rudy.

Oh boy…

A key figure at the heart of the burgeoning impeachment probe is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who as personal attorney to President Trump pressed Ukraine on pursuing an investigation of one of his boss’s political rivals.

A whistleblower complaint released Thursday depicts Mr. Giuliani, 75 years old, as eager to thrust himself into U.S. foreign policy. In some instances, he acted on his own, and in others his actions were in conjunction with U.S. government officials.

Ukrainians seeking influence in Washington viewed him as a direct conduit to Mr. Trump. And when Mr. Giuliani’s actions were in conflict with the U.S. government’s national-security and foreign-policy apparatus, it was unable and at times unwilling to deter him. Some senior government officials knew little, if anything, of his work.

Officials were initiated by the State Department. In July, Mr. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, received a text message from Kurt Volker, the U.S. government’s special representative to Ukraine. In the message, which Mr. Giuliani provided to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Volker offered to introduce Mr. Giuliani to a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Mr. Mayor—really enjoyed breakfast this morning,” Mr. Volker texted to Mr. Giuliani on July 19. “As discussed, connecting you here with Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky.” He suggested a three-way call the next week.

Mr. Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has served as an unpaid volunteer in the Ukraine post since 2017. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

A State Department spokesman confirmed that Mr. Volker, at Mr. Yermak’s request, put Mr. Yermak in touch with Mr. Giuliani. “Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump,” the spokesman said. “He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government.”

Six days after the text, President Trump in a phone call pressed Mr. Zelensky to pursue investigations, including a probe into the activities of former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. During the call, Mr. Trump repeatedly said Mr. Zelensky should connect with Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, according to a record of the call released by the White House Wednesday. Mr. Trump has defended the phone call as “perfect.”

At least for now, Mr. Trump remains enamored with Mr. Giuliani, people close to the president said. Mr. Trump has frequently praised his lawyer in public and in private for his loyalty and commitment to uncovering what both men believe is inappropriate behavior by Mr. Biden, who hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing. One administration official said it was unlikely that Mr. Trump’s allies would even try to convince the president to cut ties with Mr. Giuliani because of the two men’s tight bond.

White House aides over the past year have grown accustomed to—if not comfortable with—the close relationship between the two men. Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani typically meet at the White House alone, aides say. Their meetings—like many with Mr. Trump’s close friends—are rarely on the president’s schedule that is circulated among aides.

While serving as the president’s lawyer, a role for which he doesn’t draw a paycheck, Mr. Giuliani has also drawn scrutiny for his frequent trips abroad, where foreign officials say they have been uncertain whether he is speaking for himself or as a U.S. government representative.

Mr. Giuliani has met with foreign leaders including the king of Bahrain. Last year, he wrote to the president of Romania to criticize the country’s anticorruption investigations, according to a copy of the letter released by Senate Democrats. His position in the letter is counter to that of the State Department.

Mr. Giuliani said at the time that he was working on behalf of his security company, Giuliani Security & Safety, which had been retained by a security company run by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis J. Freeh.

Mr. Giuliani’s role as Mr. Trump’s lawyer, opposition-research investigator and frequent defender on television is the latest incarnation for the former associate attorney general and U.S. attorney who became a global figure as mayor of New York when terrorists attacked the city on Sept. 11, 2001. After that, he threw himself into the world of global consulting, starting a management-consulting firm called Giuliani Partners in 2002.


#671

Whistleblower Complaint - the documents we have so far

For convenience, here are the three documents:

  1. Readout of the Trump’s call with the President of Ukraine (some are calling this a “transcript,” but that’s misleading since it’s not a verbatim transcription of an audio tape; it’s actually a collection of notes on the call taken by two or more note takers and assembled into a document that looks like a transcript).
  1. The Whistleblower’s complaint that he or she submitted to the Inspector General of the intelligence services.

And here’s an audio version:

  1. NEW :boom: The Inspector General’s report on the Whistleblower Complaint (just released). This is the IG’s assessment of the complaint including his conclusion that it is “credible” and “urgent.” The IG submitted this document, along with the Whistleblower’s Complaint to the acting Director of National Intelligence. The Whistleblower Law requires that the DNI pass a “credible and urgent” complaint to Congress. The DNI did not pass it to Congress and did not even inform Congress that exists. He did not pass it to Congress until he was forced to because Schiff found out about it via the IG and then demanded that Congress receive it.

#672

Cracks are appearing in the dam…

For the first time, two Republican governors have publicly supported the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, a new development in an intensifying political fracas that has so far been largely partisan.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, both outspoken critics of Trump from the Northeast, said Thursday they favored the investigation, but Scott added that he would wait for more information before calling for further action against the president.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Scott called the inquiry “appropriate” and said it is a key part of Congress’s duty as a co-equal branch of government.

“I think we have much more to learn and need to understand all the facts as this serious allegation is considered,“ he said. "Congress has a solemn responsibility to every American to fulfill its role in our government system of checks and balances.”

At a Thursday event, Baker told reporters, "It’s a deeply disturbing situation and circumstance and I think the proper role and responsibility for Congress at this point is to investigate it and get to the bottom of it.”

Several Senate Republicans were privately stunned Wednesday and questioned the White House’s judgment after it released a rough transcript of President Trump’s call with the Ukraine president that showed Trump offering the help of the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

One Senate Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said the transcript’s release was a “huge mistake” that the GOP now has to confront and defend — while the party argues at the same time that House Democrats are overreaching with their impeachment inquiry of Trump.

Three other GOP senators complained privately in discussions with The Washington Post that the White House erred by releasing the transcript, arguing that it sets a precedent for future presidents about disclosure of calls with foreign leaders and could be seen as a concession to Democrats.

Publicly, two senators expressed serious concerns about the revelation, as cracks have begun to emerge with GOP lawmakers privately discussing Trump’s conduct and their party’s political standing.

“Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons and say there’s no ‘there’ there when there’s obviously a lot that’s very troubling there,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told reporters after reviewing the whistleblower’s complaint. “. . . Democrats ought not be using words like ‘impeach’ before they knew anything about the actual substance.”

“It remains troubling in the extreme. It’s deeply troubling,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters Wednesday when asked about the transcript.

Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake claimed there would be at least 35 Republican senators in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump if a private vote were held.

“I heard someone say if there were a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes,” Flake reportedly said at a talk held Thursday night. “That’s not true. There would be at least 35.”

Flake made the comment during a live recording of Slate’s What’s Next podcast at the Texas Tribune ‘s TribFest, Thursday.

:boom: And here’s something that’s radically changed over the last 24 hours. Fox News is actually featuring some of the same stories about impeachment shown above. Amazing.

I check the Fox News site every now and then and noticed (unsurprisingly) that over the last few days, there was nothing – and I mean nothing – about the Whistleblower Complaint on their home page. You could search on relevant key words and come up with some op-eds attempting to debunk the scandal (like Hannity), but otherwise: radio silence. Now they are actually providing semi-legitimate coverage and admitting that impeachment momentum is building. Yes, they are currently leading with a story about those horrible leakers, but there are other stories, too, that address the seriousness of the allegations and the tectonic shifts that are occurring in public opinion and on The Hill.

At the risk of giving them another hit for their stats, check it out! :wink:


#673

wicked migraine, missed yesterday. Cross-posting


#674

Articles of Impeachment by the end of October!

After months of plodding investigating to determine whether they had grounds to impeach Mr. Trump, Democrats were working feverishly to build a case on the Ukraine matter, with some lawmakers saying they could move within a month or six weeks, possibly drafting articles of impeachment by the end of October.

“This is a cover-up,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, who after months of resisting the move made it clear that she was determined to follow through with a formal impeachment inquiry.

She read aloud from a portion of the document describing an attempt by White House officials to quickly “lock down” records of a phone call in which Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The complaint detailed charges that the president “is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” and that officials took pains to conceal evidence of that effort.

“We are at a different level of lawlessness that is clear to the American people,” Ms. Pelosi said.

The speaker said the growing impeachment case would be centered around the Ukraine matter and investigative action mostly lodged in the House Intelligence Committee, which first received and publicized the complaint.

That means the House Judiciary Committee, which had been leading the charge on impeachment for months, will temporarily idle the public aspects of its inquiry. The panel had been working on its own investigation of the findings of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s election interference in 2016, and the president’s attempts to disrupt his work. Those topics could still come into play if and when Democrats draft impeachment articles.

The Intelligence Committee was quickly lining up investigative targets. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the committee’s chairman, said that the complaint provided a clear “road map” for congressional investigators in the coming weeks and that his committee would work through Congress’s two-week recess that begins on Friday.


#675

The National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee’s Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin more than previously known — even though the two had declared their ties to the Kremlin.

The report, available here, also describes how closely the gun rights group was involved with organizing a 2015 visit by some of its leaders to Moscow.

Then-NRA vice president Pete Brownell, who would later become NRA president, was enticed to visit Russia with the promise of personal business opportunities — and the NRA covered a portion of the trip’s costs.

The conclusions of the Senate investigation could have legal implications for the NRA, Wyden says.

Tax-exempt organizations are barred from using funds for the personal benefit of its officials or for actions significantly outside their stated missions. The revelations in the Senate report raise questions about whether the NRA could face civil penalties or lose its tax-exempt status.


#676

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said that Attorney General William P. Barr had “gone rogue,” and questioned whether he could objectively make decisions about legal action in response to an explosive whistle-blower complaint accusing President Trump of misconduct, because Mr. Barr himself was mentioned in the document.

“I do think the attorney general has gone rogue,” Ms. Pelosi said on CNN. “He has for a long time now. And since he was mentioned, in all of this, it’s curious that he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled.”

He should recuse himself. :smirk:


#677

Hope it subsides…feel better :face_with_head_bandage: :bed:


#678

Members of the House Intelligence Committee are planning to return to Washington next week despite a scheduled congressional recess, including a potential hearing next Friday, as Democrats move swiftly in their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

That lawmakers will be working over two-week recess reflects a growing sense of urgency among House Democrats to more aggressively confront and investigate Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which were documented in a whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration initially withheld from Congress.


#679

Attorney General William Barr and the President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani are likely to be called to testify in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and Ukraine, according to a House Democrat who sits on the committee.

Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Friday that he has “several questions” for Giuliani including whether the President’s personal lawyer has a security clearance.

"Rudy may be the best source of information, because he doesn’t know what he shouldn’t say," Quigley said, adding that he thinks Barr is “part of that list” of officials the committee will call to testify.


#680

House Democrats, kick-starting their impeachment inquiry into President Trump, subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding he produce a tranche of documents related to the president’s dealings with Ukraine. Separately, they instructed him to make five State Department officials available for depositions in the coming two weeks.

A failure to do so, the leaders of three House committees wrote jointly, would be construed as “evidence of obstruction of the House’s inquiry” — an offense Democrats have made clear they view as grounds for impeachment.


#681

The House Intelligence Committee will return from the House recess for a closed hearing Oct. 4 featuring testimony from Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who handled the whistleblower complaint over President Trump’s actions on Ukraine, two committee sources told Axios.

Why it matters: Atkinson is the inspector general who determined that the whistleblower complaint was an “urgent concern” that "appears credible."Atkinson is likely to be able to give the most detailed testimony on the issues raised by the complaint, short of the committee hearing directly from the whistleblower.