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Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

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#1125

Here’s one more witness to back up the fact that our President attempted to extort a foreign leader to take actions that would benefit him personally.

But, I feel the real bombshell here is Vindman’s statement about a meeting that took place on July 10, about two weeks before the infamous call:

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D. C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate. Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel.

Sondland, via his lawyer, has now gone on record saying there was indeed a quid pro quo. And Vindman’s statement now leaves no doubt that the extortion involved, not just a general investigation into “corruption,” but a specific probe into the President’s number one political rival. Sondland not only knew about this extortion attempt, he was helping orchestrate it.

It’s definitely time to recall Sondland for more testimony at which time he better fully fess up about the extortion plan or face a criminal referral by the House for false testimony.


#1126

As much as T wants this Impeachment “witch-hunt” to go away, the testimony has definitely not made it go away. His sychophants want him to keep low key about it…(impossible for T) and the sheer number of credible sources who will be re-testifying in front of congress is ample. Recapped below.

WSJ article in full :point_down:

WASHINGTON—Top White House officials have been urging a cautious approach to the escalating impeachment proceedings in the House, operating under the belief that because President Trump withstood the Mueller investigation he can overcome the threat posed by the latest round of scrutiny.

That circumspect White House view, in the face of growing criticism from some Republican allies, has most clearly been articulated by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser and one of the few senior aides remaining in the West Wing since Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017. Mr. Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference concluded earlier this year that the Trump campaign didn’t conspire with Moscow, but it also didn’t draw a conclusion on whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice.

What lessons do you think the White House learned from the way it handled the Mueller investigation?

But there are clear differences between the two investigations. The Mueller inquiry focused on conduct during the campaign and relied on Mr. Trump’s advisers and political operatives as witnesses, who were reluctant to participate or were under criminal investigation themselves.

Some of the most impactful testimony in the impeachment probe has come from administration officials who have worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents, serving in the military or as foreign-service officers, raising warnings about Mr. Trump’s conduct as president. And the decision to impeach, and whether to convict, is up to Congress, while Mr. Mueller said one of the reasons he didn’t reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice was a Justice Department legal opinion that forbids an indictment of a sitting president.

“It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge,” Mr. Mueller said in May.

During impeachment-related meetings inside the White House, Mr. Kushner has urged officials to remain calm, homing in on one of the president’s often repeated lines: that the impeachment inquiry is the latest in a long line of partisan attacks the West Wing has had to endure. Mr. Kushner’s message has been that the facts are in the White House’s favor, and that reduces the need to be on the defensive, according to White House officials familiar with the conversations.

Mr. Trump’s Republican allies say that the president’s interactions with Ukraine don’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The Republican-controlled Senate is considered unlikely to remove Mr. Trump from office even if he is impeached by the Democratic-majority House.

Mr. Trump on Monday said he wants more pressure to come from Congress, arguing allied lawmakers should defend his July phone call with Ukraine’s president, which is at the heart of the investigation, and not just attack House Democrats over the impeachment process. The president’s allies on the Hill have largely focused on criticizing procedures like closed-door testimony, rather than mounting a substantive defense of the president’s pressure on Ukraine to undertake investigations that he sought.

I’d rather go into the details of the case rather than process,” Mr. Trump told reporters before flying to Chicago. “But process is good. But I think you ought to look at the case. And the case is very simple; it’s quick. It’s so quick.

Timeline: Interactions Between Trump’s Camp and Ukraine

President Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, have set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday lays out a timeline of interactions between the president’s inner circle and Ukrainian officials

In recent days, the White House has made moves to improve internal communications and contacts with Congress and is looking to hire an aide to help with messaging, a tacit acknowledgment that officials need to do more to deal with the rising threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency.

But they have pushed back against the notion of a formalized “war room” to anchor the response. Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, said during an Oct. 17 news conference that “you don’t have a war room when you haven’t done anything wrong.

Mr. Trump on Friday suggested he doesn’t need additional help. “I don’t have teams. Everyone is talking about teams—I am the team.”

Outside the White House, allies of the president have been agitating for more action and responded with public criticism of the administration.

Former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon said on his podcast last week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) was running a “master class in political warfare” during the impeachment investigation. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), another staunch ally of the president, urged the White House to be more aggressive.

“I do not agree with the comments of my friend Mick Mulvaney when he says that when you prepare a war room that’s some sort of indication of guilt,” Mr. Gaetz said, adding that “we are not going to win this impeachment at a K Street martini party.”

One of the key moments of the Mueller probe for the administration was the strategizing around the final report, and the decision to issue a letter from Attorney General Bill Barr that summarized the document well in advance of the report itself. Both Republicans and Democrats acknowledged that letter successfully lowered expectations for the report.

At least one of the aides key in that planning, White House attorney Emmet Flood, has since left the administration, and his position has never been filled. While Mr. Flood maintained a firm grip on White House strategy related to the investigation, the current West Wing doesn’t have clear lines of authority, officials said.

Mr. Kushner has proved most influential in recent weeks, including the decision to add a communications aide. White House officials said they are in talks with Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, to return to the administration to help with communications and strategy. Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, was also being considered for the job. Both didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Mulvaney has focused on coordinating the West Wing staff, officials said. Mr. Mulvaney and most of his senior team, who worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget for most of the Mueller investigation, have looked to Mr. Kushner to provide perspective on reacting to the news cycle and a high-level approach to problem solving.

The two men, along with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, have weighed in heavily on messaging strategy, officials said. Some officials have said the dynamic has created overlap and confusion.

It stirred some angst among officials when Mr. Cipollone took a lead role on the messaging around the decision, which he backed, to release the transcript of the president’s call with Ukraine’s president that helped spur the impeachment query. That transcript release was opposed by some in the White House at the time. He also was described by some officials as creating a logjam that delayed the release of an eight-page letter earlier this month that stipulated the administration wouldn’t engage with the probe.

The Ukraine Witnesses

Scheduled to Testify:

  • Oct. 29: Alexander Vindman, the director of European affairs at the National Security Council who attended the Ukrainian president’s inauguration in May
  • Oct. 30: Kathryn Wheelbarger, the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs; Catherine Croft, who served at the State Department as special adviser for Ukraine; Christopher Anderson, who was a special adviser to Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy for Ukraine negotiations
  • Oct. 31: Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s Russia and Europe director

The letter was released two weeks after the House probe was announced.

Mr. Cipollone rarely pushes back on the president’s demands in person, an administration official said, in contrast with his predecessor, Don McGahn, who repeatedly tangled with the president in his 20-month tenure and wasn’t on speaking terms with him for the final months, officials said at the time. Mr. Cipollone didn’t respond to a request for comment.

One ally of the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), has said that the White House needs to improve its communications and urged them to replicate former President Clinton’s approach to impeachment.

He described Mr. Clinton has being staffed by top legal minds and described his team as on message every day.

Asked about Mr. Trump’s team, Mr. Graham said he talked to Mr. Mulvaney. “I think they’re working on getting a messaging team together,” he said.

—Siohban Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus contributed to this article.


#1127

Sondland’s statement


#1128

Whoa! That last sentence nails Pompeo. We know from Vindman’s statement that Sondland was very specific about the extortion: dirt on Bidens or no meeting with Trump. And here he is saying Pompeo was OK with that since it clearly was his “Ukraine strategy”:

…my boss Secretary Pompeo was very supportive of our Ukraine strategy.


(David Bythewood) #1129

Just for the record, a better name for “quid pro quo” is “bribery.”

‘Bribery’ is right there in the Constitution. Trump could be impeached for that.


#1130

Looks like it won’t be long until we find out if Charles Kupperman must testify – if he does, that would set a precedent for Bolton testifying.

A federal judge hearing arguments in a potentially critical impeachment inquiry case wants to hear from lawyers for the Trump White House, the House of Representatives and from impeachment witness Charles Kupperman on Thursday after Kupperman filed a lawsuit asking the federal court to decide whether he would need to testify.

Kupperman’s House testimony had been set for Monday, but Kupperman didn’t show up, citing White House and Justice Department reasoning that he was immune from testifying because of his previous work on the National Security Council.

Leon will meet the parties in court at 3 p.m. on Thursday, “due to the time-sensitive nature of the issues raised in this case,” Judge Richard Leon of the DC District Court wrote Monday night.

Kupperman’s lawsuit raises additional questions about possible testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, as Kupperman’s lawyer Charles Cooper also represents Bolton.


#1131

Congressional committees are seeking testimony from Robert Blair, Asst to Mulvaney and someone on the Ukraine call.

The House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump are seeking testimony from Robert Blair, an assistant to the President and senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, a source familiar with the request told CNN.

The committees investigating Trump have requested Blair — who was on the line during Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s President — come testify about White House policy toward Ukraine.

The committees are still in talks with Blair and it is not clear if he will agree to testify voluntarily. House committees have already issued subpoenas to current and former administration officials because of White House efforts to block their testimony.


(David Bythewood) #1132

Trumpworld’s New Impeachment Defense: Smear Iraq War Hero As a Spy

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman will testify that he was “worried about the implications” of Trump’s call with Voldymyr Zelensky. Trump allies have suggested Vindham has “an affinity for Ukraine.”


(Matt Kiser) pinned #1133

#1134

‘Extremely disturbing’: Top Dems alarmed over Vindman’s testimony on Trump-Ukraine call

Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House.

Acting House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, told NBC News she found Vindman’s remarks “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing” as she left the deposition. Maloney refused to answer any other questions about Vindman’s testimony.

Vindman, appearing voluntarily under congressional subpoena, was set to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens — and that he raised concerns about it.


#1135

And I could say the same about Trump’s presidency from Day 1.

:scream:


#1136

House Judiciary Committee says it has ‘urgent’ need for Mueller grand jury docs

The House Judiciary Committee argued to a federal judge on Tuesday it has an “urgent” need for access to grand jury secrets from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The Trump administration had appealed a decision giving the House access to the details by Thursday, and is asking the courts to step in to pause the handover of grand jury transcripts, exhibits and currently redacted details in the Mueller report.

"The public interest demands a swift but thorough impeachment investigation," the House wrote in its filing Tuesday. "Delay in this case would not only hinder the House’s ability to consider impeachment quickly, but also enhance DOJ’s ability to run out the clock on the committee’s impeachment inquiry altogether."

The House argues it wants to see the details both for its Ukraine impeachment investigation and in examining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation, which Mueller thoroughly investigated.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court, after rejecting the Justice Department’s arguments to keep the grand jury details from the House last Friday, hasn’t yet decided if the delivery of the information should be paused past Thursday.


#1137

(David Bythewood) #1138

Nicole Wallace pulling no punches and I love it.


#1139

Cross-posting :pray:


#1140

All the tactics T’s lawyers use to keep T away from revealing anything about his actions, what was communicated and basically “What the President knew and when did he know it.” The upshot is to protect an incumbent president…but the truth is T can and should be INVESTIGATED…within the constructs of the law, and Impeachment process demands this.

As Pelosi keeps stating “No one is above the law.”

One lawyer for the president recently even suggested that Mr. Trump could shoot someone on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and not be investigated by local authorities, echoing a statement the president made during his 2016 campaign in which he said he wouldn’t lose any voters over such an action.

A longstanding Justice Department legal opinion says a president can’t be federally prosecuted while in office, but says nothing about being investigated, and in any case doesn’t apply to state and local efforts to enforce their own laws. Mr. Trump’s lawyers say he is beyond any such actions.

This administration has articulated a view of presidential power in which the president is above the law,” said Erica Newland, who served in the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel during both the Obama and Trump administrations.

Lawyers representing the president either in his personal or institutional capacity have argued that law enforcement can’t investigate the president at all; that he can shut down investigations into himself or his associates; and that obstruction-of-justice laws don’t apply to the president. (Nobody argues that presidents aren’t subject to all laws once they are out of office.)

At the same time, since Democrats took over Congress in January, Mr. Trump’s government and personal lawyers have fought numerous legal battles over congressional oversight—arguing that close aides don’t have to testify even if subpoenaed, that all congressional investigations must serve a “legislative purpose,” that cabinet secretaries can disobey subpoenas and that a congressional impeachment inquiry is invalid.

Further, they have argued that federal courts can’t transmit evidence of presidential wrongdoing obtained by a grand jury to Congress for possible consideration of impeachment.n some instances, Trump administration attorneys have contended that courts have no right to stop the president from taking official actions.

Some of the claims are contradictory: Mr. Trump’s personal attorneys have argued he can be held accountable only by Congress, while his White House lawyers fought efforts to hold him accountable in Congress.

To some extent, Mr. Trump’s lawyers are just doing their job: taking aggressive, legal positions in the best interests of the client, and hoping for the best. Lawyers for previous presidents have made similarly aggressive claims about powers and immunities to defend the president personally or the long-term authority of the office.

But scholars of presidential power say what is different about the Trump administration is its unwillingness to acknowledge the legitimacy and interests of other institutions.

Sidebar - T’s lawyer’s arguments recap

Presidential Power

Some positions that lawyers representing Mr. Trump, the White House or the Department of Justice have argued since January 2017 in court or in other legal documents:


#1141

Lt. Col Vindman’s testimony - 10 hours. Wow.


#1142

Lt. Col Vindman testifies today to say that the Ukraine call (July 25th, 2019) transcript does not include all pertinent details and OMITS a lot of important information. Vindman wanted to change the transcript (all experts review the rough transcripts) but they were not accepted. Transcript was then dropped into the highly sensitive server.

Again - Sins of Omission…very obvious curbing of the truth.

WASHINGTON — Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the editing process. But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House’s most classified computer system — and whether those moves were meant to conceal the conversation’s most controversial aspects.


(David Bythewood) #1143

As predicted, now that the House has moved to formalize impeachment proceedings, the GOP is insisting everything that came before has to be tossed out and that it’s all a political stunt to keep Speaker Pelosi in power.
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#1144

@Keaton_James

:smirk: We found the answer. Y’all are amazing! So proud of this crew!