I haven’t perused this in depth yet. It looks like the most important takeaway here will be further confirmation that Trump is outright lying when he says he “doesn’t know the guy.”
Analysis of first recording released by Parnas shows significant engagement between Parnas and the President. Parnas has 79 exchanges with Trump.
Now that Parnas has released another recording of him speaking with Trump, it’s a good time to look again at that first recording. One thing I’m surprised about is that the media did not fully convey (IMO), how substantive Parnas’s conversation with the President was. This wasn’t just a passing remark or two shouted across the room; Parnas and the President engaged in a meaningful way – and surely Trump had to remember that (after all, in his own words, “nobody has a better memory than me”).
In addition, there will be records of the fact that Parnas was at these dinners. All Trump’s team had to do was check the lists of donors that have attended these events. I can speak from experience – I attended similar events for Mike Levin (Rep., D), here in CA-49 and received thank you letters and emails and, of course, follow up requests for more contributions.
And, because this is the President, there would have been security records, too.
So, Trump and his team knew for certain that it was more than just selfies that Parnas had with the President. It was actual sit-down conversations.
But back to that first recording. Here again is a link to the audio, which admittedly is tedious to listen to, so I don’t think you should feel you need to slog through the whole thing. Fortunately, there’s a transcript which is also below. You can easily search on “Parnas” and scroll to the parts of the dinner conversation in which Parnas was having a one-on-one with the President.
I’m not focusing here on what was said (which is certainly important), but just the fact that these exchanges were substantive enough that we can say for certain the President is lying when he claims he doesn’t know Parnas. He may not have known him by name, but he would have recalled once he saw Parnas’s photo, and once an aide reminded him, “remember that guy at the Trump Hotel dinner who wanted you to legalize pot and who bad mouthed Yovanovitch, prompting you to have her fired on the spot?” Yeah, that guy, Mr. President.
Here are a couple screen shots of a search on “Parnas” – he makes remarks to the president 79 times – many of those are just “chiming in,” but many are parts of significant one-on-one engagements. You can scroll through yourself to reach the same conclusion. (Again, I’m only focusing here on the extent of their engagement, not the content.)
Note: The search count reflects 4 mentions of Parnas in the introduction to the transcript and 79 instances of Parnas speaking to Trump.
The yellow ticks down the right margin indicate the times Parnas spoke with the President. You can see how he and Trump basically dominated the conversation throughout the middle portion of the dinner.
At the time this recording was released, I had an incorrect perception of the degree of Trump and Parnas’s interaction at the dinner, as I believe many other people did. Although the press referred to this as an “intimate dinner,” I still assumed (for some reason, I don’t know why) that Parnas just made a couple remarks to the President – so I still thought there was some wiggle room for Trump to “plausibly deny” he knew Parnas. However, looking more closely at the conversation from the first dinner (and now with a recording from a another dinner thrown in as well), we can only conclude that Trump outright lied when he said he didn’t know Parnas – and that leaves the door open for wondering why would he lie? What is he hiding? Could it be that in the subsequent months Trump spoke often with Giuliani about the work that Parnas was doing for both of them in furthering their corrupt extortion scheme?
Conclusion: Giuliani must testify about his conversations with Trump and if they included discussions about Parnas’s activies in Ukraine.
This sounds worse at first than it is, but it will come up, I am sure. It might almost be a fair thing he said, back when he had some modicum of integrity.
Claim: Alan Dershowitz once said he was “not happy seeing Nixon’s gang being tried by blacks and liberals” in D.C.
Snopes Rating: Correct Attribution
The jury now hearing the Watergate coverup trial is confined where news of the trial cannot reach it and possibly affect its deliberations.
Nonetheless, U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica should have moved the trial from Washington to insure an impartial jury, Bailey and Dershowitz said.
“I’m not happy seeing Richad Nixon’s gang being tried by blacks and liberals in the Disrict of Columbia,” said Dershowitz.
He thought it would have been “a lot fairer” to have moved the trial to “a district of Maryland where [the 1972 election] was very close, and where you had a mixture of whites and blacks.”
For the Question
“If Bolton were to testify in the light most favorable to the articles of impeachment, wouldn’t the allegations still not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and therefore his testimony would add nothing to this case?”
David Corn is quite an apt “assholes to Americans” translator.
4 takeaways from the second day of questions in Trump’s impeachment trial
Senators are in the second and last day of questions in President Trump’s impeachment trial. They are expected to take votes Friday on whether to extend the trial by calling witnesses or to end it by voting to acquit or convict.
Below are four key takeaways from the second day of the Q&A portion of the trial so far. Here are the takeaways from the first day of questions.
The short version
Trump’s defense still hasn’t answered key questions about his intent
The fallout over the Trump team’s foreign interference argument [from Dershowitz]
Rand Paul’s attempt to publicly out the whistleblower
Democrats are increasingly pessimistic about winning the fight over witnesses
Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said late Thursday that he would vote against considering new evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial, a strong indication that Republicans have lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents.
His opposition is a significant victory for Republican leaders. Though not all senators have announced their intentions, the vast majority of Republicans are expected to vote on Friday against allowing new evidence, and Mr. Alexander was a critical swing vote.
His announcement indicated that Republicans had fallen in line to push the trial into its final phase — reaching a verdict that is all but certain to be Mr. Trump’s acquittal — without delay.
Lamar Alexander has opted for cowardice. It is the new GOP way. We will remember. And I will never again call him "Senator. He had abdicated that title.
Speaking at a private event in Austin Thursday, Former National Security Advisor John Bolton defended government officials who testified in front of the U.S. House impeachment inquiry.
The United States Senate could soon decide whether to call Bolton to testify himself in the President’s impeachment trial.
Sources tell KXAN Bolton defended former diplomatic and state department officials Fiona Hill, Tim Morrison, Alex Vindman, Bill Taylor, and Marie Yovanovitch.
“All of them acted in the best interest of the country as they saw it and consistent to what they thought our policies were,” said Bolton, during the question-and-answer time after his keynote speech.
He went on to say members of the Trump Administration should “feel they’re able to speak their minds without retribution.”
“The idea that somehow testifying to what you think is true is destructive to the system of government we have — I think, is very nearly the reverse — the exact reverse of the truth,” said Bolton.
The audience applauded after his answer.
Bolton was in Austin at the invitation of Luther King Capitol Management, a Texas company that provides “investment management services to high net worth individuals,” according to its website.
Bolton was the keynote speaker for a private client luncheon Thursday morning at the Hyatt Regency on Barton Springs Road. The program was titled “Foreign Challenges Facing the Trump Administration.”
Bolton briefly mentioned his new book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” which reportedly supports accusations President Trump tied foreign aid to Ukraine for an investigation into the family of his political rival, Joe Biden. This week, the Trump Administration issued a letter to Bolton to keep him from publishing his new book, claiming it includes classified information.
Democratic Senators have called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to support calling Bolton to testify. Bolton said he would testify if subpoenaed.
Well, Mr. Bolton, put your money where your mouth is and make a detailed public statement now – tonight – telling us everything you know that is relevant to the impeachment proceeding. If you fail to do so, an acquittal in a sham trial will be as much on your head as on any of the Senators who vote for it.
Got to believe that the sentiment towards giving T’s malfeasance a green light by a subservient R majority will not sit well with many of us. So they get to keep their guy, not kick him out, hold on to power for a while…BUT there will be the November 2020 election to get him out.
I follow this Professor Heather Cox Richardson, Boston College who does some great round-ups of what the heck is going on historically on these impeachment hearings, both parties etc. She’s worth checking out. *
Today’s January 30, 2020
Today in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, senators submitted questions to presiding Chief Justice John Roberts, who read them aloud for either the House impeachment managers or the president’s lawyers to answer.
Over the course of the day, it became obvious that the defense didn’t feel the need to defend the president; they knew they have the votes to acquit him. So Republican senators and his lawyers continued to attack the Democrats and the Bidens, while Democrats and the House impeachment managers tried to shame the Republicans into defending the rule of law. It did not work. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) illustrated the Republican approach when he tried to get the Chief Justice to read aloud the name of the alleged whistleblower and a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, accusing them of plotting together to impeach the president. At that, Roberts balked and declined to read it. So Paul simply went outside—although he was not supposed to leave the chamber—and read it to reporters.
As pressure mounted for Republican senators to permit testimony, it was not the president on trial today; it was the Senate. Although the Republicans’ initial position was that the president had not done what he had been accused of, the House managers made such a convincing case—and the president’s defense team hardly a defense at all—that by the end of today it was entirely clear Trump had, in fact, tried to steal the 2020 election by withholding vital military aid from Ukraine until its leaders announced an investigation into the Bidens. Indeed, it was so clear that Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander conceded everything. He even said Trump’s behavior was “inappropriate” and “undermines the principle of equal justice under the law.”
Indeed, it was so clear, Alexander said, there was no need for more witnesses, including John Bolton, whose testimony would simply prove what we already know.
But, Alexander went on to say, the president’s actions “do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.” The answer, he says, is in the ballot box. (Since the whole point of the Ukraine Scandal was to cheat in the election, I am hugely suspicious of the Republican insistence on the ballot box as the solution to removing Trump.)
Alexander’s vote against allowing witnesses almost certainly means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has the votes to reject witnesses and move quickly to acquit the president as soon as tomorrow or very early on Saturday morning, likely while most Americans are asleep. Tonight, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said she would vote in favor of hearing witnesses, but this is almost certainly what they call a “hall pass,” meaning that because her constituents want witnesses and she is both up for re-election and vulnerable, McConnell is letting her vote yes and will not retaliate for that vote. It is possible, and I would actually guess likely considering the language Alexander used, that McConnell got Alexander to vote no so that Collins could vote yes. While the vote is not yet a done deal-- Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will not announce her decision until tomorrow morning—the outcome looks pretty certain.
This is where we are now. Few people thought the Republican-controlled Senate would convict the president, but I, anyway, thought they would acquit him after continuing to argue he was innocent. Instead, they have done something shocking. They have conceded that Trump did what he is accused of: he tried to smear his rival so he could win reelection in 2020, in a scheme that both apparently broke laws and also looks quite like what happened in 2016. But, they say, his actions do not constitute an impeachable offense.
While this might well have been the only way they could think of to get out from under the evidence the House had mustered, and away from calling witnesses after Bolton suggested he would testify that Trump had, in fact, done what the House alleged, the Senate has essentially said that Congress will not rein in the president no matter what he does. Trump, of course, has already said that the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want,” and Senate Republicans have now agreed. As the president’s lawyers made claims for his expansive power during the Senate trial, House impeachment manager Adam Schiff warned that we are witnessing “a descent into constitutional madness.”
When will Trump ask another leader for a favor? What will he withhold or offer in return? What will he do to cheat in 2020? How will he undercut his opponent? To which countries will he turn for help to win reelection? It is not in his make up to be chastened; rather, he will be emboldened. Trade deals, treaties, the use of our soldiers, cyberwarfare from Russia or Saudi Arabia… it is now all on the table.
And, interestingly, while everyone was watching the trial today, Attorney General William Barr moved to solidify his control over lingering investigations from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election by naming Timothy Shea, one of his chief counselors, as the interim U.S. Attorney for Washington D.C. (Remember Barr also has appointed his own investigator, John Durham, to look into the origins of the Russia investigation.) This office is in charge of the cases against former Trump advisor Roger Stone, former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, and former national security advisor Michael Flynn. It is also in charge of the grand jury investigation into former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, and of an investigation into former FBI director James Comey, both of whom Trump saw as his enemies.
This means that Shea and Barr will be in charge of investigations that likely will make the news before the 2020 election.
Tonight, Adam Schiff tweeted: “After two and half centuries of our nation’s history, it’s come to this: The President’s lawyers argue on the Senate floor that he can withhold aid, coerce an ally, and try to cheat in an election, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Our Founders would be aghast.”
Our Founders certainly would be aghast. And the president’s lawyers are wrong that there’s nothing we can do about it. We can continue to insist on a free and fair vote and on the rule of law in America.
As 53 Killers prepare to exonerate Trump, the quid pro quo and extortion racket Trump sought with Ukraine is still ongoing.
Pompeo Says Trump Backs Ukraine on Russia, but Isn’t Ready for Zelensky Visit
The secretary of state met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, during the impeachment trial of President Trump over a pressure campaign against Ukraine.
A thread by Senator Coons on the way Trump’s lawyers handled his question about foreign election interference and soliciting it.
An old but relevant article that gives us a window into what we can expect once Trump feels invincible: