WTF Community

The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump


(David Bythewood) #1446

Volker and Morrison very much seem to be trying to save their own skins. That’s general consensus I am seeing here. Even with that, their testimony is quite damaging.


The towing of the line by the GOP Questioners and Volker’s response. Nothing to see here…

and Bolton’s constant refrain…“Call the lawyers…”

(David Bythewood) #1448

This new lie, that the call was placed on the secret server by accident, is really really dumb.

It’s a password-protected system. It’s not an accident. And it wasn’t a one-off thing. This was apparently common place to a degree we’re only vaguely aware of yet.

(David Bythewood) #1449

It’s a bad day for Rudy when even the pro-Trump Washington Examiner put this out:

How Not to Plot Secret Foreign Policy: On a Cellphone and WhatsApp

American officials expressed wonderment that Rudolph W. Giuliani was running his “irregular channel” of diplomacy over open cell lines and communications apps penetrated by the Russians.

The mystery of Rudy Giuliani and the stalled Ukraine aid

In a previously unreported message to POLITICO shortly before news broke about the stalled military assistance, Trump’s personal lawyer said he didn’t know anything about it.

Rudy may be in trouble. He’d better butt-dial a lawyer. A GOOD lawyer. And hope he butt-recorded some of Trump’s conversations to cut a deal.

Turner is really good at shooting down GOP talking points. Too bad he’s supposed to be on their side.

He just shot down hearsay because we have now heard from many who are direct witnesses, brought up the irregularly channels, and also brought up perjury, which we know Gordon Sondland is culpable for. And last week Turner admitted that the 6th amendment does NOT apply here, undermining a major GOP and Trump talking point about due process.


Ambassador Volker - bringing it home for the GOP.

(David Bythewood) #1451

The irony of Gym Jordan lauding Ukraine for removing immunity of members of its parliament and leadership from being charged with a crime while he backs a man who claims total and complete Presidential Immunity is sickening.

The GOP just rolled out “Dennis Rodman in North Korea” as a “useful barometer” to try to back their gambit that this was all about vetting Zelensky. Seriously.


Cross-posting. Jesus @matt how much coffee did you drink today?! I had to go be a normal person most of today so thanks for this most excellent re-cap!


Moving the Republican needle…hmmmmmm the $64,000 question.



This has been a painfully slow process, but at least Judge Jackson is expediting this step which will be concluded on Monday – then it’s on to the next step: an almost certain appeal. But good to see this moving ahead.

The great news is that Democrats have confirmed they will be holding more hearings after the current round – the next round will be to determine if Trump obstructed justice – and McGahn’s testimony will be crucial.

A federal judge said she intends to rule no later than the end of the day Monday on whether former White House counsel Donald McGahn must testify under subpoena to Congress, after the House Judiciary Committee asked her to accelerate a decision because it aims to call him after the current round of public impeachment hearings finish in December.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of Washington entered an order Tuesday about her deadline intent “absent unforeseen circumstances” shortly after a filing from House General Counsel Douglas N. Letter arguing last week’s opening of the hearings before the House Intelligence Committee was grounds for urgency.

Those committee hearings are exploring President Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate former vice president Joe Biden — a potential 2020 political rival — and his son Hunter Biden. House Democrats are debating whether articles of impeachment should include obstruction of justice allegations detailed in the special counsel report by Robert S. Mueller III.

“Given that the House’s impeachment inquiry is proceeding rapidly, the Committee has a finite window of time to effectively obtain and consider McGahn’s testimony,” Letter wrote.

“The Judiciary Committee anticipates holding hearings after [the] public hearings have concluded and would aim to obtain Mr. McGahn’s testimony at that time,” Letter wrote.


One for the ages…Chairman Schiff brought it home with his final comments tonight. I am in awe…

(David Bythewood) #1456

Trump loyalists will smear Vindman today. Here’s the big lie they’re telling.

When Alexander Vindman publicly testifies before the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday morning, he will stress his service to this country as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and recipient of the Purple Heart.

Naturally, Republicans will counter that Vindman showed disloyalty to President Trump , which in their mind apparently carries more weight than his loyalty to country does.

The Republican game plan is to further the notion that Vindman disloyally worked to undermine Trump’s foreign policies because he disagreed with them. At its core, however, the story Republicans will tell rests not just on an effort to smear Vindman’s impure intentions toward Trump, but also on a big lie of a very different sort.

That big lie is the idea that Trump’s actions in this scandal were rooted in some sort of conception of foreign policy shaped around the national interest, when in fact they were entirely about furthering his own profoundly corrupt personal and political ends.

Vindman is expected to reiterate numerous claims he made in private testimony that are very damaging to Trump. Vindman will likely discuss a July 10 meeting at which Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union and a key Trump ringleader, directly pressed Ukrainian officials to launch the sham investigations Trump wanted.

Vindman will also reiterate his alarm while listening in on Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. On it, Trump explicitly demanded investigations designed to validate conspiracy theories about Ukrainian-Democratic collusion that absolve Russia of sabotaging the 2016 election and lies smearing potential 2020 rival Joe Biden.

Vindman will recount that he reported Trump’s actions to a top White House lawyer, who then reportedly told him to remain quiet about them.

Republicans are already telegraphing their response. They will say unelected bureaucrats like Vindman were improperly trying to “sabotage” the elected president’s foreign policies, as Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) put it in a new letter to House Republicans.

Or, as The Post reports, Republicans plan to “try to discredit” Vindman “by questioning his motives and his loyalty to the president.”

Trump himself signaled his approval of this general line, retweeting a tweet from lickspittle loyalist Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) fulminating that the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is based on “unelected bureaucrats airing their policy grievances with the president.”

A lot of the analysis out there focuses on the risk Republicans are taking by questioning Vindman’s loyalty to the president. The “Morning Joe” panel just tore into this strategy, labeling it “offensive.” And Vindman’s lawyers plan to respond by stressing his service to country.

But let’s not get snowed by the devious game that Republicans are playing here.

The GOP game

The game isn’t just to question Vindman’s motives. It’s also to further the underlying idea that Vindman — and, indeed, all the diplomats and professionals who have testified about this plot — have been fundamentally driven by a dispute with Trump over policy , which is indeed ultimately set by the president.

That lie, in turn, is designed to mask the ugly, throbbing truth at the core of this whole affair, which most Republicans refuse to concede in public: Trump was solely driven by corrupt self-interest.

Whatever the political risks it involves, a debate over Vindman’s motives (and that of other professionals) is designed to help Trump, by furthering the premise that this was about a policy disagreement.

The basic facts show that this is nonsense.

The scheme was corrupt all throughout

Let’s recap. Back in May, Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani publicly revealed the whole scheme, telegraphing months of pressure on Ukraine to investigate the 2016 Ukraine conspiracy theory and the Bidens — and not generic corruption — which he said would be “very helpful” to Trump.

Those months of pressure — to carry out investigations that would help Trump politically — are also documented in those texts among ambassadors.

We also know from the White House’s own summary of the call that Trump explicitly pressed Ukraine for investigations into the 2016 conspiracy theory and the Bidens — and not generic corruption.

Want more? Sondland testified he told Ukraine that those investigations were the condition for Trump to release the military aid, and the evidence is overwhelming that Sondland took direction from Trump throughout. State Department employee David Holmes testified he overheard Trump directly demanding from Sondland to know of the status of the Biden investigation. And so on.

Why this is deeply destructive

Trump himself has constantly pushed the idea that those testifying to the corrupt plot are “Never Trumpers” and “Deep State” denizens out to get him. This is pernicious and destructive in a much deeper sense as well.

As political theorists Laura Field and Sean Illing have shown, the coin of the Trumpist post-truth realm is confusion and nihilism. The basic goal is to eradicate public faith in the very idea that government professionals like Vindman might actually make reasoned judgments about Trump’s misconduct that are rooted in good-faith empiricism.

Such judgments can only be rooted in tribal disloyalty to Trump. You are either with Trump or against Trump. If you are against him, your facts and judgments are inherently suspect. The great body of known facts is thus rendered irrelevant.

This is unlikely to prove persuasive to the middle of the country, because the known facts are so overwhelming, the witnesses are such compelling and credible figures, and Trump’s corruption has been so obvious on so many fronts for so long.

There is a legitimate debate to be had over how far government professionals should go in questioning the policies of the elected executive. But what ultimately defines this situation at its corrupt core isn’t that in any way, shape or form , and no one is obliged to pretend it is.

Who is David Hale, and why does his public testimony matter in the impeachment inquiry?

Sondland preview: What to watch for in Wednesday hearing

(David Bythewood) #1457

$35 million in Pentagon aid hasn’t reached Ukraine, despite White House assurances

(David Bythewood) #1458

Joy Reid lays it out perfectly; Volker and Morrison’s testimony was damning for Trump, even as they feebly attempted to save their own skins with highly unrealistic excuses.

Republicans should have thought twice before calling Volker and Morrison

They have only made things worse for Trump.


Impeachment Hearings Day 4 Schedule

Tomorrow 8AM ET

  • EU ambassador Gordon Sondland

And 2:30PM ET

  • Pentagon official for Ukraine and Russia Laura Cooper and State Department official David Hale

(David Bythewood) #1460

Takeaways From Day 3 Of Testimony In The Public Impeachment Hearings

Sooner or later, Trump turns on everybody.

A White House Now ‘Cannibalizing Itself’


thx @Pet_Proletariat

C-SPAN’S coverage starts at 5am

Hearings start at 6a PST/9a EST

(I saw the same thing last nite…so now have more time for coffee :coffee:)

Buckle up…

I predict (as do the legal pundits) on Amb Sondland that we will hear a lot of him taking the 5th OR it is possible the Impeachment Committee may have given Sondland immunity from future prosecution.


Day 4 Impeachment watch - comments

Ambassador Sondland looks like he’s going to turn on T…check out his Opening Statement - these 2 points. - He’s pointing to a direct quid pro quo coming from the WH. He’s gonna talk methinks.

FROM NY Live Blog

  • Schiff calls Sondland a “skilled dealmaker” despite little evidence to back that up — one sign of how important Sondland’s testimony is for the Democratic side.
    9:14 AM ET

Maggie Haberman

White House Correspondent

Sharon, Schiff is trying to remind viewers why Trump would lean on Sondland the way he did.
9:14 AM ET

Sharon LaFraniere

Washington Investigative Reporter

That’s right, Maggie. Everyone else seems to describe Sondland as a bull in a diplomatic china shop.

  • Sharon LaFraniere

Washington Investigative Reporter

This is quite interesting from Sondland’s opening statement: “Even as late as Sept. 24, Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Rudy Giuliani.” This is part of Sondland’s evidence that he was in no way an independent actor, but that Pompeo and others “knew what we were doing and why.” And Sept. 24 was well after the existence of the whistle-blower complaint was public, which exploded the Ukraine issue into the open, and the day before the White House released the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call in July.

  • That would also mean that Pompeo was telling officials to talk to Giuliani while John Bolton was telling them not to.

(David Bythewood) #1463

Sondland Kept Pompeo Informed on Ukraine Pressure Campaign

The diplomat at the center of the impeachment inquiry looped in the secretary of state at key moments as American officials pushed for investigations sought by President Trump.

(David Bythewood) #1464


Yes Pompeo has been central to giving green lights to what T desires, and therefore Guiliani and Sondland…and now it looks like Pompeo will try to wiggle out of his Sec of State job, to go for the Kansas Senate seat. He knows he’s at an impasse here.

Mr. Pompeo has said little publicly about what he knew about the pressure campaign on Ukraine, but he has publicly criticized the Democrats’ impeachment investigation, claiming that it has been unfair to Mr. Trump and the State Department. The secretary of state had acceded to Mr. Trump’s order in the spring that he recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who had been the target of a campaign of criticism involving Mr. Giuliani and two of his associates.

While Mr. Pompeo heard Mr. Trump make his demands for the investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election on the July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky, it is not clear what he knew, or when, about the freeze over the summer of $391 million in United States military aid to Ukraine.