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The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump


(David Bythewood) #1486

America needs to hear — under oath — from Pompeo, Perry, Pence, and Bolton


And that’s a wrap for Day 4

Cross-posting :raised_hands:


3 takeaways from Laura Cooper’s and David Hale’s testimony

1. The July 25 date conspicuously surfaces again

Cooper is a Russia and Ukraine expert at the Defense Department who oversees the department’s long-term strategy on Russia. She testified she both viewed the military aid for Ukraine as critically important and that she had no idea why it was held up over the summer, despite Congress authorizing the money and the Defense Department having assured Ukraine had met the qualifications for receiving it in May.

But then she added something else notable: That she has since learned the Ukrainians reached out on July 25, asking members of her staff what was going on with the military aid. That’s big for two reasons:

  • July 25 is the same day Trump talked with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on the phone and asked for “a favor,” to investigate a debunked notion about the 2016 election and the Bidens. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the Ukrainians reach out to the Pentagon, to Cooper and her staff, to get more information about why they hadn’t received the aid that same day. This is just days after officials in the State Department learned the aid has been held up. Cooper said the Ukrainians “likely” knew about the aid being held up then, too.
  • It is the earliest date we’ve heard so far that Ukrainians may have known their military assistance had been withheld. Previously, U.S. diplomats testified Ukrainians became aware they weren’t getting their military aid in August, after a Politico article reported on it. But it changes the game if Ukrainians were concerned about their aid being withheld when their president was talking to Trump. If the Ukrainians knew Trump had the ability to give them $400 million in military help when Trump asked Zelensky “a favor, though," it weakens a Republican defense that there couldn’t have been a quid pro quo evident in that request.

2. Republicans don’t catch a break on the witnesses

Republicans can request witnesses to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Democrats can and did overrule many of their requests, such as on the whistleblower and Hunter Biden.) On Tuesday, two they had listed among their requests, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former White House Russia national security expert Tim Morrison, both said it was troubling if Trump had held up military aid to investigate his political opponent.

On Wednesday we heard from another person Republicans had on their list of requested witnesses: Hale, the No. 3 at the State Department and the top professional diplomat there. Under questioning from Democrats, he said something similar that was unhelpful to Trump’s case:*

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.): Would you agree, though, that it would be very unusual to place a hold on military aid to leverage a foreign country to get them to investigate a political opponent?

Hale: Yes.

Schiff: And I take it you would agree that that would be completely inappropriate.

Hale: That would be consistent with the conduct of our foreign policy in general.

Schiff: And it’d be wrong, wouldn’t it?

Hale: It’s certainly not what I would do.

Later, Hale agreed something else Trump did was wrong: That former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was ousted under allegations driven by Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Hale jumped at the chance to defend Yovanovitch: “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work…”

Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) cut him off, by asking directly: [Would you agree] "that what happened to her was wrong?”

Finally, Hale confirmed what Trump himself has acknowledged: Office of Management and Budget officials said Trump ordered the hold on the aid.

3. Republicans aren’t bowed by Sondland’s testimony

Sondland is a Trump donor and a Trump appointee who was doing Trump’s bidding in Ukraine. And he testified Wednesday that there were conditions for Ukraine’s president to get a meeting and a phone call with Trump: They had to announce investigations into Democrats. He also knocked down a number of Republicans’ defenses for the president.

But **House Republicans have been remarkably unified in this whole impeachment inquiry, and they didn’t miss a beat following Sondland’s testimony.

They regrouped and asked questions of Cooper and Hale that underscored presidents sometimes do want to pause foreign aid to make sure it’s going to the right place. Or that neither Cooper nor Hale had evidence the aid was stopped to pressure Ukrainians, despite their high-level rankings in their respective agencies.**

This unity is Trump’s best strength. It’s possible if/when the House of Representatives votes to impeach him, it will be an entirely Democratic vote. And Trump can continue to try to argue this impeachment inquiry is a partisan effort against him.


Rep. Carolyn Maloney wins election to chair House Oversight Committee

She’ll be the first woman to head the panel.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will become the first woman to lead the House Oversight Committee, vaulting into a high-stakes role as one of the Democrats’ top voices in the caucus’ impeachment probe.

The New York Democrat was confirmed to the post in a caucus-wide secret ballot vote on Wednesday, where she defeated Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). Maloney received 133 votes while Connolly received 86.

(David Bythewood) #1490

The bombshells keep dropping.

Lev Parnas Helped Rep. Devin Nunes’ Investigations

The indicted Giuliani associate helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for the Republican congressman in 2018.

If you’re wondering why Lev Parnas has been so eager to work with Democrats, it’s Trump’s own fault: his penchant for ditching his cronies when they get caught angered Parnas, who in turn flipped on Trump out of spite.

What comes around, goes around.


Impeachment Day 5 - comments

Opening remarks from Chairman Schiff - enlightened/respectful and Rep Nunes - mansplaining the Russian role in Elections and Dems fakery.

Backdrop - T is on tweeting-overdrive in his inimitable style :clown_face:- throwing darts at his ‘enemies’ and dreaming up scenarios where he is always right.

David Holmes - Ukrainian expert, non-political appointee - took Fiona HIll’s job. Was at lunch with Sondland when he, and others overheard loud comments by T on 'investigations."
Fiona Hill - Russian expert, worked inside the WH who was fired by T. She served T approx 2 years, but had many years working for many administrations as an expert. She is going to a force to contend with and is a smart, self-assured professional.
Part of her opening statement

Dr. Fiona Hill has released her opening statement, and a significant quote.


" Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

Our nation is being torn apart,” she added. “Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined … When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.”

Let the games begin…:statue_of_liberty:

Ms. Hill was the first former White House official to testify in the House impeachment inquiry, and her account provided a gripping in-the-room view of the shadow maneuvers that have jeopardized Mr. Trump’s presidency. While she left her post shortly before the now-famous July 25 telephone call in which Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democrats, she helped House investigators understand the early months of the pressure campaign.

Nicholas Fandos NYT Live Blog

It is kind of amazing how many immigrants or children of immigrants this impeachment inquiry has heard from: Hill. Yovanovitch. Vindman. Sondland.


Curious development with regard that R Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins will be visiting the WH. Is it at T’s request to upend any theories that T can keep his R Senatorial hold and keep their potential vote in a potential Impeachment full vote?

Or will it be a time for bargaining where Sen Romney might pitch the T to resign, similar to the famous Sen Goldwater’s request for Nixon to resign because all Republicans had lost faith in his ability to lead in the face of Impeachment?

Trump to meet with Romney and Collins amid impeachment fight


President Donald Trump is expected to have lunch at the White House Thursday with a group of 10 Senate Republicans – including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins - as he continues to aggressively court allegiance from members of his own party amid the ongoing impeachment battle.

President Donald Trump is expected to have lunch at the White House Thursday with a group of 10 Senate Republicans – including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins - as he continues to aggressively court allegiance from members of his own party amid the ongoing impeachment battle.

Sens. Romney and Collins both have a history of publicly criticizing the president, and their loyalty as jurors in a potential Senate trail is far from assured.

An aide to Sen. Romney told ABC News that the senator wasn’t expecting a White House invitation but is happy to hear whatever the president wants to discuss.

Thursday’s meeting will be the fifth time the president has brought Republican senators into the White House for lunch since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry in late September.


Live stream

Impeachment Hearing with Fiona Hill and David Holmes

Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, and David Holmes, an aide to the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified before the House Intelligence Committeeas part of its impeachment inquiry into President Trump.



Catie Edmondson

It appears a large number of Republican lawmakers have now left the dais, with only a few sitting through Democrats’ counsel’s questions. To be a fly in the wall in their ante room right now…

Catie Edmondson NYT Live Blog


Charlie, I’ve been told by multiple Republicans that the fourth defense – let the voters decide – is polling well.

Perhaps for a vote scheduled shortly. Not sure.


Every hearing he’s opened this this debunked theory about the DNC server and the false story of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. I’m very interested in the GOP defense today, since most of their talking points have been debunked last night and this morning.

They still have the black ledger story and the Politico story, I hope they ask Ms. Hill about those, i’d love to hear what she has to say about those pieces.


READ: Fiona Hill’s opening remarks at impeachment hearing


Read David Holmes’s

Opening Statement


And I know we all know it is all Playbook stuff - Repetition is effective. T uses it…at some point because you/one says it, it must be true.

As Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin remarked in an interview:

“A friend of mine once paraphrased David Gergen, saying on the subject of repetition, “If you want to get your point across, especially to a broader audience, you need to repeat yourself so often, you get sick of hearing yourself say it . And only then will people begin to internalize what you’re saying.”

Reminds me of this article - where Nunes acts as Tribe leader…“Good for our tribe”
and tells everyone what is ‘true.’ Obviously, his facts are not…he’s preaching/lying and trying to pin the tail on the Dem donkeys…(so to speak)

But at some point, yup, you can not hear beyond your knowns perhaps, however false. :roll_eyes: And bad news travels faster than good.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that has to do with knowing and coming to know things — what counts as true, what counts as evidence, how we accumulate knowledge, and the like. It’s where you find schools of thought like skepticism (we can’t truly know anything) and realism (the universe contains observer-independent facts we can come to know).

Tribal epistemology, as I see it, is when tribalism comes to systematically subordinate epistemological principles.

Tribal epistemology happens when tribal interests subsume transpartisan epistemological principles, like standards of evidence, internal coherence, and defeasibility. “Good for our tribe” becomes the primary determinant of what is true; “part of our tribe” becomes the primary determinant of who to trust.

from @macro 📝 Must Read Op-Ed and Profiles



House Speaker Weekly Briefing

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters at the Capitol and responds to questions on a range of issues, including the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s Ukraine policy and the withholding of security assistance.


Takeaways on the impeachment proceedings:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted Thursday that the ongoing impeachment inquiry is far from over and that more witnesses may be called to publicly testify against President Donald Trump.

"We aren’t finished yet, the day is not over," Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. The Democratic leader added that you "never know what testimony of one person may lead to the need for testimony of another."

Pelosi declined to give an exact impeachment timeline during her press conference, telling reporters that “we will go where the facts take us.” She added that it is up to the House committees involved in the inquiry to decide whether additional testimony is needed.

She also lashed out at her conservative colleagues for continuing to stand by Trump, stating that "the sad tragedy of all of this is the behavior of the President and the defense of that behavior by the Republicans."


Oh they are [email protected] Lawyer Castor does NOT get confirmation from Holmes!!


(David Bythewood) #1502

They are REALLY working to re-hash 2016 and the whole “Ukraine attacked us” conspiracy theory again. It’s idiotic.

(David Bythewood) #1503

Trump says he will release ‘financial statement’ before 2020 election: tweet


Trump is fighting a legal battle on at least two fronts, all the way to the Supreme Court, to PREVENT his tax returns from being released.

And now he wants us to believe he’ll just do it free and clear before the 2020 election? Yeah, right. Stall tactic so he can claim the lawsuits are unnecessary.


She’s covering the Politico story right now!

(David Bythewood) #1505

The GOP has apparently moved from re-hashing old conspiracy theories to outright gaslighting and berating of witnesses. At least three of them now have gone to shouting at David Holmes, and the last one didn’t even ask anything, just spent the whole time ranting.