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Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

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#1526

Trump wants Senate trial, expects Joe Biden to testify: White House

President Donald Trump wants an impeachment trial to go forward in the U.S. Senate because he would receive due process there and he expects Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would be among the witnesses, a White House spokesman said on Thursday.

“President Trump wants to have a trial in the Senate because it’s clearly the only chamber where he can expect fairness and receive due process under the Constitution,” spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

“We would expect to finally hear from witnesses who actually witnessed, and possibly participated in corruption - like Adam Schiff, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and the so-called Whistleblower, to name a few,” Gidley said, referring to House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff, who is leading an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

WTF? Using his own Impeachment trial to influence the 2020 election.


(David Bythewood) #1527

Justice Dept. inspector general draft report finds FBI lawyer altered document

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/inspector-generals-report-on-fbis-russia-probe-to-be-delivered-dec-9/2019/11/21/6d6d789e-0c70-11ea-8397-a955cd542d00_story.html

The Justice Department inspector general has found evidence that an FBI employee may have altered a document connected to court-approved surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, but has concluded that the conduct did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The person under scrutiny has not been identified but is a low-level FBI lawyer who has since been forced out of the FBI, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss material that has not yet been made public.

The allegation is contained in a draft of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report analyzing the FBI’s Russia investigation, which witnesses have in recent weeks been allowed to review, people familiar with the matter said. The report is scheduled to be released publicly Dec. 9.

The employee was forced out of the FBI after the incident was discovered, two U.S. officials said. Horowitz found that the employee erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application. He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim, they said.

That conduct did not alter Horowitz’s finding that the surveillance application of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had a proper legal and factual basis, the officials said.

Horowitz has been exploring various aspects of the Russia probe but was focused in particular on applications the FBI filed with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page’s electronic communications.

The alleged alteration of a document by an FBI employee was first reported by CNN.

Separately, Attorney General William P. Barr tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham to explore the origins of the FBI probe and U.S. intelligence agency activities aimed at the Trump campaign, and Durham is expected to pursue the allegation surrounding the altered document to see whether it constitutes a crime, people familiar with the matter said.

Durham’s work is expected to continue well after publication of the inspector general’s report.

A spokeswoman for the inspector general declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the FBI. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment.

President Trump and fellow Republicans have been clamoring for the report’s release, particularly as House Democrats have held high-profile impeachment hearings this month.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the panel plans to hold a hearing with testimony from Horowitz on Dec. 11.

The inspector general has been investigating how the FBI pursued allegations of collusion and conspiracy between Trump associates and Russian agents during the 2016 election.

In recent weeks, key witnesses in the investigation have been called in to review and comment on sections of the report. The Washington Post reported last week that, unlike in previous inspector general reports, witnesses were told they could not submit written responses to the report, which remains a classified document. That raised alarms among some witnesses worried they would not be allowed to correct errors or misunderstandings in the report, according to people familiar with the matter.

After The Post’s report, the inspector general’s office clarified to witnesses that they would be allowed to submit written comments.

Democrats and Republicans have eagerly awaited release of the report, hopeful that the Justice Department’s internal watchdog will validate their views on the law enforcement investigation that dogged the first two years of Trump’s presidency.

Conservatives have alleged that a medley of wrongdoing occurred during the investigation, which was eventually taken over by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and they are likely to seize on any criticism that Horowitz directs at those involved in the probe. Some Trump supporters have referred to the investigation as an attempted “coup.”

Mueller issued a lengthy report this year concluding there was insufficient evidence to support charges of conspiracy between any Trump associates and Russian agents. Mueller also elected not to decide whether the president had obstructed justice in the course of the inquiry, though Barr reviewed Mueller’s findings and concluded the president had not broken the law.

Democrats, meanwhile, are hopeful Horowitz will disprove various conspiracy theories that have been offered about the case and refute Trump’s assertion that Mueller’s probe was a “witch hunt” tainted by political bias against the president.

Looks like this story has no legs.


Day 1036
(M A Croft) #1528

So if Trump didn’t want Ukraine to carry out an “investigation” of the Biden’s; and never withheld the funding for the military aid to Ukraine because he was not interested in any investigation - as he so loudly proclaimed on the White House lawn the other day - why is he wanting the Biden’s to testify in his Senate trial?


(David Bythewood) #1529

“If John Bolton keeps refusing to testify, Congress should arrest him”


(David Bythewood) #1530

These outtakes from Fox News are hila- they’re live? Oh.





The Cybersecurity 202: Trump’s CrowdStrike conspiracy theory shows he still doubts Russian election interference

In other, related, news, Steve Doocey shows why Faux News loves him; it’s his class.


(David Bythewood) #1531

“This woman.” “Not an angel.” All Trump knows is lies and and misogyny.

Trump tells Fox News Marie Yovanovitch refused to hang his photo in Ukraine embassy: “This was not an angel, this woman”


#1532

I thank the gentleman as always for his remarks and enter into the record this cross-post.


#1533

Impeachment is about to get a Robert Mueller reprise

Now that the Ukraine hearings are over, Democrats want to hold at least one Mueller-related impeachment hearing on Trump’s possible obstruction and perjury.

Ultimately, the Judiciary panel — which spent the bulk of its time in 2019 examining Mueller’s work — will vote on any eventual articles of impeachment. Any upcoming hearings on the committee, which is led by Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), likely would follow the same model the Intelligence Committee used in its Ukraine hearings and feature questioning by staff counsel.

Good. The President and his campaign keep trying to cheat in the election while claiming some bullshit supreme presidential immunity from oversight. Make the Republicans defend this bullshit in the impeachment trial and fucking be done with it.


#1534

For Trump Remarks

OCTOBER 3, 2019

President Trump White House Departure

President Trump talked to reporters before departing to Florida to deliver remarks on a new Medicare proposal.

Transcript:

Q Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer.

They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that’s newly formed — and all these companies, if you look at —

And, by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with — with Ukraine.

So, I would say that President Zelensky — if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens. Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked. That was a crooked deal — 100 percent. He had no knowledge of energy; didn’t know the first thing about it. All of a sudden, he is getting $50,000 a month, plus a lot of other things. Nobody has any doubt.

And they got rid of a prosecutor who was a very tough prosecutor. They got rid of him. Now they’re trying to make it the opposite way. But they got rid —

So, if I were the President, I would certainly recommend that of Ukraine.


(David Bythewood) #1535

Trump showed us on ‘Fox & Friends’ how little he actually cares about Ukraine

You never have to wait long for President Trump to say something that refutes whatever argument his allies have been making in his defense.

Friday morning, the president did an interview with his most reliable television cheerleaders, Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” where he repeated the bat-guano-crazy notion that some rich Ukrainian has the Democratic National Committee email server that was memorably hacked during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Referring to the DNC, presumably, Trump told the show’s hosts, “They gave the server to CrowdStrike or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, and I still want to see that server,” according to the Hill. Adding that “a lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine,” Trump asked, “Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”

So much to unpack here! But rather than offering a close textual analysis, let me just put Trump’s comments in context.

One of the defenses that Republicans have offered for Trump pressuring Ukraine to perform two politically tinged investigations on his behalf was that the president was understandably and justifiably concerned about corruption in that country. To back that up, they point to a series of anti-Trump comments by Ukrainian officials in 2016, the corruption allegations that Ukrainians raised that year against Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and some alleged contacts between a DNC contractor and the Ukrainian embassy in search of damaging information about Trump.

But Trump’s own comments betray no interest whatsoever in such topics. Instead, as the impeachment hearings have shown, he is obsessed with two things: the idea that former Vice President Joe Biden, in joining the rest of the Western world in pushing for the ouster of a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor several years ago, was somehow trying to protect his son from an investigation the prosecutor had torpedoed; and the notion that Ukrainians had somehow manufactured the evidence that Russians hacked the DNC’s email server.

In other words, Trump’s concerns weren’t about the corruption that was draining billions of dollars from Ukraine’s economy and making the country a minefield for foreign investors. He was focused on a fanciful tale about the origin of a computer hack that had helped his campaign, and a through-the-looking-glass allegation of corruption against one of his top 2020 opponents.

For the record, CrowdStrike is a California company co-founded by a Soviet emigre. So, not Ukrainian. And the idea that Ukrainians, not Russians, were behind the DNC hack has been discredited over and over and over.

Trump’s CrowdStrike villifying is so fact-defying, even Trump’s bestest TV buddy, “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocey, pushed back Friday. Ever so gently. But still.

“Are you sure they did that?” Doocey asked after Trump claimed the DNC gave its server to “a Ukrainian company.”

Replied Trump, “That’s what the word is.” Which is just his way of saying, “That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.”


#1536

Cross-posting


(David Bythewood) #1537

Giuliani associate willing to tell Congress Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian official to get dirt on Biden



#1538

Summary of Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

November 13th - 22nd

Calendars:

News:

The President’s Public Remarks:

Documents:

Public Hearings:

:newspaper: Timeline has been updated. Breaking news starts below. :point_down:


(David Bythewood) #1539

Charges of Ukrainian Meddling? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says

Moscow has run a years-long operation to blame Ukraine for its own 2016 election interference. Republicans have used similar talking points to defend President Trump in impeachment proceedings.

U.S. Republican Senators Ask Treasury for Suspicious Activity Reports on Hunter Biden



#1540

Opinion piece from Bret Stephens, conservative opinion writer for NYT, and formerly WSJ. When all the writing is on the wall, we have major corruption at the top and a whole lot of co-signers to this. Compares US to corrupt Ukraine.

Yet the person who is both the principal consumer and purveyor of those falsehoods is the president of the United States, just as he has been a purveyor of so many other conspiracy theories. Even now, this should astound us.

It doesn’t, because we’ve been living in a country undergoing its own dismal process of Ukrainianization: of treating fictions as facts; and propaganda as journalism; and political opponents as criminals; and political offices as business ventures; and personal relatives as diplomatic representatives; and legal fixers as shadow cabinet members; and extortion as foreign policy; and toadyism as patriotism; and fellow citizens as “human scum”; and mortal enemies as long-lost friends — and then acting as if all this is perfectly normal. This is more than a high crime. It’s a clear and present danger to our security, institutions, and moral hygiene.

It’s to the immense credit of ordinary Ukrainians that, in fighting Russian aggression in the field and fighting for better governance in Kyiv, they have shown themselves worthy of the world’s support. And it’s to the enduring shame of the Republican Party that they have been willing to debase our political standards to the old Ukrainian level just when Ukrainians are trying to rise to our former level.

The one way to stop this is to make every effort to remove Trump from office. It shouldn’t have to wait a year.


(David Bythewood) #1541

CEO of Ukraine State Gas Firm Preparing to Testify in Giuliani Probe


#1542

Any ever surprised? No…never.

Trump ranted dishonestly for much of his 53-minute Friday interview with his favorite morning show, repeatedly refusing to let the show’s co-hosts get in a word in edgewise. When they did manage to make a semi-critical point, Trump brushed them off.


(David Bythewood) #1543

There’s a good article attached to those posts:

Fox & Friends tried harder than usual – not especially hard, but harder than usual – to challenge President Donald Trump.

It did not work very well.

Trump ranted dishonestly for much of his 53-minute Friday interview with his favorite morning show, repeatedly refusing to let the show’s co-hosts get in a word in edgewise. When they did manage to make a semi-critical point, Trump brushed them off.

When co-host Steve Doocy asked Trump if he was sure about his claim that the Democratic National Committee had given an important computer server that was hacked in 2016 to Ukraine (they had not), Trump said, providing no evidence and citing no sources, “That’s what the word is.”

When co-host Brian Kilmeade corrected Trump’s claim that European countries haven’t provided aid to Ukraine, Trump didn’t respond. (Kilmeade had quickly moved on to the next question.) When Kilmeade corrected Trump’s claim that he has “pulled out” of Syria, noting that Trump is keeping hundreds of soldiers in the country, Trump again said nothing. (Kilmeade quickly moved on again.)

Trump made at least 18 false claims in the interview – and that’s our initial count. We’re still looking into some other claims.

The list so far:

A factory in Texas

Trump said, “I just got back from Austin, Texas, where I was with Tim Cook. He’s going to be building a $1 billion facility to make whatever he makes. You know, that’s Apple. And he’s gonna build this incredible facility. We toured another facility where they make the Mac Pro, which is phenomenal, which was opening – the reason we, you know – it opened that day.”

Facts First : The plant Trump visited did not open that day. The Flex Ltd. facility has been making Apple’s Mac Pro computers since 2013.

Apple did break ground that day on a $1 billion campus in Austin, about a mile from the plant Trump toured with Cook, but no manufacturing is expected to be done at the campus. You can read a full fact check here.

The Ukraine scandal and impeachment

CrowdStrike

Trump said that Democrats gave a computer server that was hacked in 2016 to “a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.”

Facts First : The cybersecurity company that investigated the hack, CrowdStrike , is a publicly traded American company co-founded by Dmitri Alperovitch, an American citizen who was born in Russia, not Ukraine. Regardless, such firms do not typically take possession of physical servers to conduct their analysis.

Asked if he is sure the Democrats gave the server to Ukraine, Trump did not cite any specific evidence. He said, “That’s what the word is.”

The accuracy of the whistleblower

Trump said that the whistleblower complaint about his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “bore no relationship to my call.”

Facts First : The whistleblower’s account of the call has largely been proven accurate.

In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct.

You can read a full fact check here.

The identity of the whistleblower

Trump said “a lot of people think” that the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, is “essentially the whistleblower.”

Facts First : This is simple nonsense. Schiff is not the whistleblower, “essentially” or otherwise.

The whistleblower is someone who works in the intelligence community. The whistleblower sought guidance from Schiff’s committee before filing their complaint, but there is no evidence Schiff dictated the content of the complaint, much less that Schiff can himself be considered the whistleblower.

The timing of Schiff’s comments

Trump said that Schiff made up what Trump said on the call with Zelensky, but then, when Trump released his rough transcript of the call, everybody was “embarrassed.”

Facts Firs t : Trump can reasonably criticize Schiff for Schiff’s comments at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in September; as we’ve written before, Schiff’s mix of near-quotes from Trump, his own analysis, and supposed “parody” was at the very least confusing. But Schiff spoke the day after Trump released the rough transcript, not before.

Before he started claiming that Schiff did not expect a transcript to be released, Trump had complained that Schiff did not read the transcript available to him.

European aid to Ukraine

Trump said of aid to Ukraine, “Why isn’t Germany putting up money? Why isn’t France putting up money? Why isn’t all of the European nations, why aren’t they putting up?”

Facts First : European countries have provided hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2014. (Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade told Trump in this interview that Europe has indeed provided aid.)

Zelensky acknowledged European “help” during his meeting with Trump at the United Nations in September, though he said the world’s efforts had been inadequate so far: “And, I’m sorry, but we don’t need help; we need support. Real support. And we thank – thank everybody, thank all of the European countries; they each help us. But we also want to have more – more.”

You can read a full fact check here.

Obama’s aid to Ukraine

Trump said President Barack Obama sent only “pillows and sheets” in aid to Ukraine, adding, “He wouldn’t send anything else.”

Facts First : Obama did refuse to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, but he didn’t send mere pillows and sheets; he sent counter-mortar radars, drones, armored Humvees and night vision devices, among other things.

You can read a full fact check here.

Hunter Biden’s career

Trump said that Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden managed to get business opportunities during Joe Biden’s vice-presidency even though Hunter Biden “never made 10 cents in his life.”

Facts First : This is an exaggeration. While it’s certainly fair for Trump to raise questions about how qualified Hunter Biden was for the positions he secured while Joe Biden was vice-president, Hunter Biden did have prior professional experience.

Hunter Biden has acknowledged that he probably would not have gotten a seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, if his dad were not Joe Biden. However, it’s not true that he had never made “10 cents.” Hunter Biden, a lawyer, had worked prior to Joe Biden’s vice-presidency as a bank executive, at the Department of Commerce and as a lobbyist. He had also served on the board of Amtrak.

Prosecutor Viktor Shokin

Trump said that the Ukrainian prosecutor Joe Biden had pushed to oust, Viktor Shokin, was “prosecuting” the company where Hunter Biden sat on the board, Burisma.

Facts First : Shokin was not prosecuting Burisma.

While there had been an investigation of the company, Shokin’s former deputy, Vitaliy Kasko, has said that it was dormant at the time of Joe Biden’s intervention. (The former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, testified in Trump’s impeachment inquiry that Shokin was corrupt; the US and its allies had made a coordinated effort to oust him.)

Zelensky and Marie Yovanovitch

Trump said of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch: “By the way, when I was talking to President Zelensky, it’s right on the phone, you can read it. He didn’t like her. He brought up her name and he didn’t like her at all.”

Facts First : The rough transcript of the July phone call shows that Trump, not Zelensky, was the one who brought up Yovanovitch: “The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that,” Trump said. Zelensky responded, “It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%.”

Zelensky did criticize Yovanovitch, saying, “Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.” But he had been prompted by Trump, not disparaging her on his own.

Marie Yovanovitch and Trump’s photo

Trump claimed about Yovanovitch: “This ambassador that everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy. … She’s in charge of the embassy. She wouldn’t hang it. It took like a year and a half, or two years, for her to get the picture up.”

Facts First : There is no evidence that Yovanovitch refused to hang Trump’s photo. It took the Trump administration more than nine months after his inauguration to distribute an official photo of Trump to government buildings such as embassies, CNBC reported in 2017. More than seven months into the term, the White House told The Washington Post that Trump had not yet sat for the photo.

A State Department official who has recently served in Kiev said Yovanovitch never sought to prevent Trump’s photo from being put up at the embassy. The official said the photo did not arrive until late 2017.

Yovanovitch’s legal team did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment, but NBC received this response from a person “connected to her legal team”: “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.”

Soldiers

The treatment of veterans

Trump said, “The vets: for years you would turn on your television, every night you’d see a story about the vets and how badly they’re being treated, it’s a horror show. You don’t hear that anymore.”

Facts First : We can’t speak for what Trump himself has seen on television, but it’s just not true that the rest of us no longer hear about veterans being treated badly at VA facilities.

Merely since August, there have been news stories about “11 suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center,” “how Veterans Affairs failed to stop a pathologist who misdiagnosed 3,000 cases” and wasn’t fired until 2018, how “a Veterans Affairs medical center in West Virginia is being investigated over allegations that one of its physicians sexually assaulted more than a dozen patients,” and how a veteran at a VA facility in Georgia was allegedly bitten by ants “100 times before his death.”

Veterans Choice

Trump claimed to have been the one who passed the Veterans Choice health care program.

Facts First : The Choice bill, a bipartisan initiative led by senators Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, was signed into law by Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the program.

The US presence in Syria

Trump said: “I’m pulling back. I just pulled out of Syria, except I kept the oil, if it was okay with you.”

Facts First : Trump did not “pull out” of Syria. While he did withdraw US troops from the northeastern region, in advance of a Turkish offensive in that region, he has kept hundreds of troops in the country – as Kilmeade noted to Trump, responding, “You have 600 guys there, right?”

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said two weeks ago that there would be “probably in the 500-ish frame. Maybe 600” soldiers left in northeast Syria (he said the number would definitely be less than 1,000), in addition to the separate force of more than 100 soldiers stationed in southern Syria near Jordan.

Military leaders have said that the US will not keep any revenue from the Syrian oil fields they are securing, but Trump has continued to suggest that the US is seizing the oil for itself.

China

China’s economic performance

Trump said China is having its worst economic year in “57 years.”

Facts First : China’s second-quarter GDP growth of 6.2% and third-quarter GDP growth of 6% were its worst since 1992 , 27 years ago. Trump has repeatedly made clear that he knows that 27 years is the reported figure, but he has added additional years for no apparent reason.

Who is paying for Trump’s tariffs on China

Trump blamed “the media” for trying to convince people that Americans are paying for Trump’s tariffs on China.

Facts First : A bevy of economic studies have found that Americans are bearing the overwhelming majority of the tariff costs, and Americans make the actual tariff payments.

The history of tariffs on China

Trump said the US has never previously taken in “10 cents” from tariffs on China.

Facts First : Again, these tariffs are paid by Americans. Aside from the question of who is paying, it’s not true that the Treasury has never received “10 cents” from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries; FactCheck.org reported that the US generated, from such tariffs, an “average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb.”

Trump’s claim also ignores China’s hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases of US goods – more than $300 billion during Trump’s presidency alone. The US had generated over $37 billion from Trump’s new tariffs on China as of November 20, according to official data published by Customs and Border Protection.

The trade deficit with China

Trump said the US has for years had a “$500 billion” trade deficit with China.

Facts First : Through 2018, there had never been a $500 billion trade deficit with China. The deficit was $381 billion last year when counting goods and services, $420 billion when counting goods alone.

Also:



#1544

Rep Nunes and Rep Swalwell face off…video


#1545

:exploding_head::exploding_head: Nunes met with Shokin?

“Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December,” said Bondy.

Shokin was ousted from his position in 2016 after pressure from Western leaders, including then-vice president Biden, over concerns that Shokin was not pursuing corruption cases.