Just for the record, a better name for “quid pro quo” is “bribery.”
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.
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.
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.”
‘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.
And I could say the same about Trump’s presidency from Day 1.
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.
Nicole Wallace pulling no punches and I love it.
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
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:
- Mr. Trump is immune from criminal investigation while he remains in office, even if he were to shoot someone on the streets of Manhattan.
- Federal courts don’t have the authority to transmit grand jury material concerning presidential wrongdoing to Congress to consider impeachment.
- Close aides of the president are entitled to total immunity from testifying if subpoenaed by Congress.
- Administration officials don’t have to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry conducted by Congress even if subpoenaed.
- Many government ethics rules designed to prevent conflicts of interest, nepotism or self-dealing do not apply to Mr. Trump or other White House employees.
- Mr. Trump shouldn’t have to obey state or federal laws that could require the production of his tax returns, and he is immune from a subpoena from state prosecutors for those returns.
Lt. Col Vindman’s testimony - 10 hours. Wow.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Developing story: CNN just broke that John Bolton will not testify without a subpoena. No outlets seem to have it online yet.