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Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

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#1145

Former G.O.P. Lawmaker Pressed for Ambassador’s Ouster, Diplomat Says

Robert Livingston, a former Republican congressman turned lobbyist, repeatedly told a Foreign Service officer assigned to the White House that the American ambassador to Ukraine should be fired because of her association with Democrats, the officer told impeachment investigators on Wednesday.

The officer, Catherine M. Croft, testified that she “documented” multiple calls from Mr. Livingston about the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, while she was working at the National Security Council from mid-2017 to mid-2018. She said that she informed two other officials — Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the council, and George P. Kent, a Ukraine expert at the State Department — about them at the time.

“He characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as an ‘Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” she said, referring to the billionaire liberal philanthropist, according to a copy of Ms. Croft’s opening statement reviewed by The New York Times. “It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch.”

The testimony adds to a timeline of known attacks on Ms. Yovanovitch by conservatives questioning her loyalty to President Trump. It is not clear if Mr. Livingston’s work, or those financing it, were in any way connected to efforts by two Americans with business interests in Ukraine who wanted her gone and, later, by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Nor did Ms. Croft have anything to say about whom else Mr. Livingston spoke with.

READ THE STATEMENT

Catherine M. Croft’s opening statement to House impeachment investigators.


#1146

Thanks for this. Another telling declaration in her testimony:

On July 18, I participated in a sub-Policy Coordination Committee video conference where an OMB representative reported that the White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, had placed an informal hold on security assistance to Ukraine. The only reason given was that the order came at the direction of the President.

Testimony like this makes it difficult for the President to claim that his underlings were acting without his knowledge. Trump was at the top of the command chain, orchestrating this extortion attempt.

Croft’s testimony here precisely corroborates Ambassador Taylor’s statement in which he makes the same assertion. From CBS News:

On a conference call on July 18, Taylor said he heard an official from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) say that there was a hold placed on hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine for use in fending off Russian aggression. The official said the order to put the aid on hold came “from the President to the Chief of Staff [Mick Mulvaney] to OMB,” Taylor wrote.

Now we need testimony from OMB officials to confirm that when Mulvaney instructed the OMB to withhold the aid he said Trump gave him the order. Then we need to hear from Mulvaney himself for the final confirmation that the order originated with Trump. Of course, since they work for Trump in the Executive Branch, the OMB and Mulvaney are stonewalling. In the meantime, the impeachment committees are vigorously pursuing their testimony – we can only hope they prevail. (And it’s also no surprise that Trump appointee Bill Barr is not using the DOJ’s subpoena power to pursue the truth.)


#1147

Cross-posting


(David Bythewood) #1149

Developing story: CNN just broke that John Bolton will not testify without a subpoena. No outlets seem to have it online yet.


#1150

Cross-posting :pray:


#1151

Fine sleuthing! :male_detective:

The WaPo just confirmed it in its live impeachment stream:

I assume Bolton is asking for the subpoena just to cover his ass – but then maybe he’s digging in his heels and will defy the subpoena – it’s hard to tell with him.


#1152

New Yorker staff writer Dexter Filkins called the prospect of former National Security Adviser John Bolton testifying before the House impeachment inquiry the “$64,000 question” of Washington and warned that Bolton’s corroboration of other White House officials’ accounts was “potentially devastating” for President Donald Trump.

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Filkins noted that Bolton’s name continues to come up in the testimony of other White House and State Department officials who have testified about alleged misconduct by Trump. Filkins offered context about Bolton and the effect his testimony could have based on his time with the conservative firebrand for a long, New Yorker profile from this past spring.

“You spent time with Bolton. Based on what you know about him, do you think he will testify willingly? If so, what kind of witness would he be?” Cooper asked.

“That’s the $64,000 question,” Filkins replied. “Everyone in Washington is wondering about that. I think, on one hand, he knows everything. He had total visibility and he left on bad terms with Trump. Trump said: ‘I fired him.’ He said: ‘No, I quit before you could fire me.’ But on the other hand, he’s always been — you know, he’s a partisan. He’s always been a stalwart Republican and he came from Fox News, he came from that whole thing. So, it’s really hard to tell. Potentially what’s so interesting is if he does testify, to what other people have said that he did, and he believed and he said, then I think it’s potentially devastating for the president because of [Bolton’s] stature as one of the premier Republicans in the Republican establishment.

Among other blockbuster revelations, Bolton is reported to have privately blasted the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, to extract a political investigation of Joe Biden, calling it a “drug deal,” based on the testimony of former State Department official Fiona Hill.

“I think what’s interesting here is that from the very beginning, from day one when he got hired by Trump, they never saw eye to eye on anything,” Filkins explained. “He’s not a Trump ally. He’s not Trump’s friend. This is what’s so beguiling to people in Washington right now. Nobody can really figure out what he’s going to do. He’s a smart guy. He’s a Yale lawyer. He’s really smart. He was in the middle of it, so he knows everything.”

Watch the video above, via CNN. [Click on the article title above and then on the video at the top of the article.]

And here’s Filkins’ in-depth New Yorker profile of Bolton (may require a subscription):


#1153

Me too. He was sidelined, not included in meetings AND witnessed T, Giuliani and other create shadow governments from within. Bolton’s comment about watching a ‘drug deal’ go down (watching these guerilla tactics in play) make me think Bolton is out for revenge. The subpoena immunizes him from any future legal proceedings (perhaps) from the WH.

Buckle up…next Thursday Nov 7th for another show down. :fire:


(David Bythewood) #1154

Oh, definitely. John Bolton’s temper and vindictive nature are as legendary as Trump’s. Trump stabbed him in the back. There is no way Bolton won’t gladly return the favor. I’ve been waiting for this.


#1155

White House lawyer moved transcript of Trump call to classified server after Ukraine adviser raised alarms

Moments after President Trump ended his phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25, an unsettled national security aide rushed to the office of White House lawyer John Eisenberg.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine adviser at the White House, had been listening to the call and was disturbed by the pressure Trump had applied to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, according to people familiar with Vindman’s testimony to lawmakers this week.

Vindman told Eisenberg, the White House’s legal adviser on national security issues, that what the president did was wrong, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

Scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad, Eisenberg proposed a step that other officials have said is at odds with long-standing White House protocol: moving a transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it, according to two people familiar with Vindman’s account.

The details of how the White House clamped down on information about the controversial call comes as the House impeachment inquiry turns its focus to the role of Eisenberg, who has served as deputy White House counsel since the start of Trump’s administration. House impeachment investigators on Wednesday evening announced they have asked Eisenberg and a fellow White House lawyer, Mike Ellis, to testify Monday.

Vindman’s account marks the first known instance in which a witness before the impeachment inquiry has provided a firsthand account linking Eisenberg to the decision to move the problematic transcript to a highly classified server.

Former Trump national security officials said it was unheard of to store presidential calls with foreign leaders on the NICE system but that Eisenberg had moved at least one other transcript of a Trump phone call there.

Eisenberg is in for it now. :8ball:

And what about that other call Eisenberg moved to the super secret server? :interrobang:


Day 1014
#1156

Watch live the Impeachment Inquiry Rules Vote in Congress

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/31/774513460/as-impeachment-inquiry-moves-into-open-phase-heres-what-to-expect-next

The impeachment inquiry enters a new open phase with a House vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry. The measure drafted by House Democrats lays out the ground rules for public hearings, provides procedures for the president and his counsel to respond to evidence and sets out the process for considering articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee and the full House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the vote in a letter to House Democrats this week after weeks of noting that there is no requirement for a full House vote. The move means that the House is another step closer to voting on articles of impeachment against President Trump.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the author of the House resolution, told NPR that the vote means the House is “entering a different phase” on the impeachment process. He said that he expects Democrats to be largely united on the vote and that when he briefed the caucus on the details, he stressed that “a clear transparent process was important.”

The vast majority of House Democrats publicly back the inquiry, so the measure is expected to pass with few members breaking with their leaders.

The move is also a way for Democrats to try to take away the primary attack from Republicans, who for weeks have declared the current inquiry a “sham” because the House hasn’t gone on the record with a vote formalizing it.


#1157

Here comes where the rubber meets the road…T wanting to back with funding on not impeaching him from Senators, and money for their re-election campaign is part of the bid. Politics as usual.

Here’s the message:

If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers,” the message warned, “we won’t be able to defend the President from this baseless Impeachment WITCH HUNT.”

Sen Collins (R-ME) has avoided discussing whether this impeachment inquiry or impeachment is worthy of her support. Her seat in Maine is definitely in play.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/31/trump-impeachment-senators-donor-062084

President Donald Trump is rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment — and sending a message to those who don’t to get on board.

Trump is tapping his vast fundraising network for a handful of loyal senators facing tough reelection bids in 2020. Each of them has signed onto a Republican-backed resolution condemning the inquiry as “unprecedented and undemocratic.”

Conspicuously absent from the group is Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a politically vulnerable Republican who’s refused to support the resolution and avoided taking a stance on impeachment. With his new push, Trump is exerting leverage over a group he badly needs in his corner with an impeachment trial likely coming soon to the Senate — but that also needs him.

Republican senators on the ballot next year are lagging in fundraising, stoking uncertainty about the GOP’s hold on the chamber, and could use the fundraising might of the president. Trump’s political operation has raked in over $300 million this year.

On Wednesday, the Trump reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list urging donors to provide a contribution that would be divided between the president and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. Each of the senators are supporting the anti-impeachment resolution despite being endangered in 2020.

“If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers,” the message warned, “we won’t be able to defend the President from this baseless Impeachment WITCH HUNT.”

Next week, Trump will lend a hand to Georgia Sen. David Perdue, a staunch ally who has also spoken out against impeachment. On Nov. 8, the president will host an Atlanta fundraising lunch that will jointly benefit his campaign, the Republican National Committee, and Perdue’s reelection effort. Attendees are being asked to give up to $100,000, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.

Thank you @rusticgorilla


#1158

Comments:


#1159

For Impeachment posting (reached my limit)

Wow…double wow! :boom:

Eisenberg is one who knew and covered it up quickly. He’s looking to get disbarred. Bigly.


Day 1014
(David Bythewood) #1160

Limit reset.

Also, Kellyanne Conway would like to talk to you about the war on Christmas on this totally unremarkable day.

#HappyHalloween


#1161

Lawsuit to yield State Department documents relating to Pompeo and Giuliani by Nov. 22

The State Department has agreed to produce some Ukraine-related documents by November 22, according to a joint court filing Wednesday night from the department and watchdog group American Oversight.

There is not a full description yet of how many documents may emerge through this Freedom of Information Act production, but the agreement marks a promise by the State Department to search for documents, redact them, and give them to American Oversight by November 22.

That promise is significant as the State Department has not turned over requested documents to Capitol Hill. Witnesses have given documents to the State Department, which hasn’t given them to impeachment investigators.

American Oversight is now specifically seeking only communications from or to top State Department officials – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – when they’re communicating with people outside the government, including or about former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

The State Department will also look into the records of Pompeo and two other officials for “final directives” to recall then-Ambassador Yovanovitch from her post.

Earlier this month, in response to an emergency motion from American Oversight, Judge Christopher Cooper ordered lawyers for the group and the State Department to come together to narrow the scope of the documents in the request – eliminating those that would likely be exempt from release – and produce documents in the next 30 days.

Cooper said that he could not think of a third party exemption that would prevent the release of correspondence between Giuliani and top State Department officials regarding Ukraine.

"The judge zeroed in on communications with Rudy Giuliani to be most subject to public disclosure. Why? Because he doesn’t work for the government," American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers told reporters at the time.

American Oversight had filed a lawsuit and asked for a preliminary injunction to compel the State Department to begin rapidly processing and releasing senior officials’ correspondence with Giuliani and other communications about efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open a political investigation. The lawsuit also sought the release of records related to the recall of Yovanovitch.

Go American Oversight! :muscle:

I don’t trust the State Department to actually release any documents that would incriminate Pompeo, but if they are trying to distance themselves from Giuliani, they might use this as an opportunity to throw him under the bus – putting more pressure on him to flip on his client, Donald Trump, in order to save his own skin.

P.S. Posting this here because, although it does not directly relate to the House’s impeachment inquiry, any documents released to American Oversight in this case will undoubtedly find their way into the inquiry process.


(David Bythewood) #1162

So… is Ann Coulter trolling her side or ours?

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They are eating their own now. The Daily Caller is not exactly left wing.
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#1163

The lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton signaled Thursday that Bolton will not testify anytime soon in the House impeachment inquiry.

Democratic lawmakers want to hear next week from Bolton over the administration’s approach to Ukraine that is central to House proceedings that could lead to the impeachment of President Donald Trump .

Charles Cooper, Bolton’s lawyer, was in federal court Thursday on behalf of another client whose testimony the House also wants.

The client is former Bolton deputy Charles Kupperman, who wants a federal judge to resolve whether he can be forced to testify since he was a close adviser to Trump.

Cooper said Bolton could be added to the case, which is before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon. Cooper has previously said that Bolton would not testify voluntarily. A House-issued subpoena would put him in the exact same situation as Kupperman.

Leon first brought up Bolton, asking whether adding him to the case would cause any delays. Leon said he hopes to issue a ruling by late December.

Cooper said there would be no delay since the legal issue would be the same, whether a small circle of the president’s advisers are “absolutely immune” from having to testify.

Kupperman went to federal court because he “is in a basic Catch-22,” summoned to testify by the House and forbidden to do so by the White House, Cooper said.

Kupperman doesn’t really care how Leon decides the case, but he wants a judge to do so, Cooper said.

The same question of immunity for Trump advisers also was being weighed in another Washington courtroom Thursday. House Democrats and the White House are locked in a legal struggle over a House subpoena for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.

There was no indication when U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson would rule.

And this article from CNN indicates the judge will hear arguments on Dec. 10.

I don’t like that these articles are both taking the tack: “Well, that’s it. These two witnesses won’t be testifying. The Republican’s stall tactic has worked.” To hell with that, I say, if the proceedings need to be extended to assure an appearance from Bolton, I don’t care if they drag on into next Summer. The future of our nation is at stake.

There’s still an outside chance Bolton will testify as scheduled next week. If he doesn’t: shame, shame, shame on him. I cannot express how deep that shame should be.


Day 1015
#1164

Cross-posting :pray:


(David Bythewood) #1165

Trump and the GOP are gloating about the testimony from Tim Morrison; Trump himself even re-tweeted this. They seem to be ignoring that this “entirely legal call” was immediately placed on a super secret server by the man claiming nothing was odd about it.

Latest Impeachment Witness: I Wasn’t Worried That Trump Broke the Law With Call

Tim Morrison backed up some details—and disputed others—about the now infamous call with the Ukrainian president. But he did say he didn’t think it crossed a legal line.

Top NSC Russia official confirms key testimony linking Trump to quid pro quo

Tim Morrison, however, was careful not to directly criticize the president’s actions.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/31/top-nsc-official-trump-testimony-ukraine-062836

Given his clear role in attempting to bury the Ukraine call and protect Trump from his own crimes, Morrison’s testimony can only be considered a further effort at obstruction, even as he corroborated Trump’s bribery scheme.