Yes, I’d like to see Rep Nunes get reviewed, rebuked and thrown off the Intelligence Committee…
Here’s his comments this am on Fox…create some more smoke.
Yes, I’d like to see Rep Nunes get reviewed, rebuked and thrown off the Intelligence Committee…
Here’s his comments this am on Fox…create some more smoke.
This whole piece is worth reading but the passage below struck me the most. Even as they watched the President disparage fact-witnesses in front of them, the GOP were still unmoved.
Hour after hour of blockbuster testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee painted a corrupt portrait of foreign policy in the Trump administration. Witnesses detailed a rogue operation led by Trump to withhold military aid to Ukraine, as well as a White House visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky, until its government announced an investigation into the Bidens, which could benefit Trump’s campaign for a second term.
In a dramatic coda to two weeks of hearings, former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, a Russia expert and Trump appointee who directed the administration’s policy in Europe, bolstered the case for a quid pro quo. She also plainly debunked a Ukraine conspiracy theory propagated by the president and pleaded with Republicans on the panel to help safeguard America’s democracy from further Russian interference.
But judging by the comments of Hurd and others, Hill did not appear to persuade Republicans on the panel to buck the president. Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the committee’s top Republican and a fierce defender of Trump, insisted that Democrats were using the inquiry to try to “overthrow the president.”
Even Trump’s real-time badgering of a witness — a tweet attacking ousted ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich during her congressional testimony on Nov. 15 — did not move the needle for Republicans. Democrats suggested it could form the basis of its own article of impeachment.
“You can disagree or dislike the tweet, but we are here to talk about impeachment, and nothing in that room today and nothing in that room earlier this week — nothing rises to the level of impeachable offenses,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who has cultivated a profile as a moderate Republican but emerged duringthe hearings as a fiery partisan defender of Trump.
Leaders in capitals around the globe are watching the inquiry unfold with interest.
“If there is impeachment, if he’s tried and acquitted, the message will be that this will continue as long as he’s in office,” said Angela Stent, a Russia specialist and professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. “If you’re President Putin and you see Trump acquitted, you can continue doing what you’re doing and there will be no penalties to pay for it.”
Same down-the-line allegiances to T…until or unless something? else breaks that could really move them. Public opinion polls which have turned slightly towards a full impeachment/removal…yet are not enough to get the R’s off the gravy train - which lobbyists, and entrenched T supporters support.
Yet if each and every one of the R’s seats were truly dependent on the ethics and truth of what the various members of government (Hill, Yovanovitch, Vindman, Taylor) were testifying to, then the entire Impeachment vote would be different of course.
The R beholden group…to T, to their constituents who are buying that it is not enough to impeach…and the R stronghold of 53 seats in Republican senate can keep T in office.
Same sentiment of course in Washington Examiner this am.
A Washington Republican establishment that has been hostile to President Trump and concerned that the White House is headed off the rails is united behind the president after two weeks of public impeachment testimony.
For three years, Republican lobbyists, strategists, and lawmakers have discussed their frustration with Trump in hushed conversations, venting to reporters anonymously about the latest in the string of controversies that have gripped this presidency. Yet after multiple witnesses lent at least some credibility to allegations that Trump abused his power in dealings with Ukraine, Republicans are defending Trump against impeachment and predicting the affair might boost his reelection prospects.
“This is clearly a partisan exercise that has little to no impact on most folks who reside outside the Beltway,” John Feehery, a Republican lobbyist, told the Washington Examiner . “Everybody knows how it is going to play out.”
House Republicans are unified against impeachment, and as the process heads toward a Senate trial, it has become evident there are few GOP votes to convict the president, let alone the 20 needed to expel him from office. That red wall of protection on Capitol Hill has helped foster support for Trump with Republican lobbyists on K Street and among party strategists throughout Washington.
But the key to goodwill from Republicans least likely to defend Trump has been public opinion. Support for impeachment increased in the weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initiated the process on Sept. 24, including with critical independent voters. The polling has since moved against impeachment, even as witnesses testified to their belief that Trump was withholding arms from Ukraine in a quid pro quo to get the Ukrainians to investigate his political opponents.
Nothing Republican Rep. Devin Nunes does during the hearings makes sense if you watch it in the moment. When it’s posted on Facebook later, though, it works perfectly.
“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo?” Sondland said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
“Holy cow Gordon Sondland going full John Dean in opening statement,” MSNBC host Ari Melber tweeted.
“There is a Trump presidency before today and a Trump presidency after today,” Anand Giridharadas, an author and Time editor-at-large, tweeted.
But there are two impeachment hearings unfolding in the nation’s capital. One, carried out by the Democrats, is designed to ascertain the truth as to whether Trump sought a “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine to get the country to investigate Joe Biden and the 2016 presidential election in exchange for aid money. The other, being carried out simultaneously by the Republicans, is quite different. Instead of trying to learn the truth, it seeks to create not just a counternarrative but a completely separate reality.
Each round of GOP questioning is not meant to interrogate the witnesses, which today included Sondland, but instead to create moments that can be flipped into Fox News segments, shared as bite-size Facebook posts, or dropped into 4chan threads. Their alternate universe — built from baseless online conspiracy theories and reading the tea leaves of Trump’s Twitter feed — dominates Fox News and Facebook. And the Republicans’ strategy, as confusing and bizarre as it may seem to those on the outside, is working.
Am putting this Washington Post Opinion piece by Conservative Jennifer Rubin on R’s and Impeachment here because it draws on the same truths we are stating above. R’s are spouting arguments which are not based in fact (and some are Putin’s own campaign efforts, ie Ukraine had the Crowdstrike servers, and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US elections - both serious untruths.)
If congressional Republicans have evidence our intelligence community is wrong, they need to present it. Otherwise, they need to be called out for deliberately assisting a hostile foreign power. It is up to mainstream media interviewers and every Democrat on the ballot in 2020 to directly challenge Republicans who, yes, engage in un-American activity.
In the case of Trump, he not only picks up the propaganda from domestic sources carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s water, which “worked its way into American information ecosystems, sloshing around until parts of it reached Mr. Trump”; he was duped right from the source speaking “with Mr. Putin about allegations of Ukrainian interference.” Whether the president is being blackmailed is unknown; what we do know is that he is a malleable puppet whose strings are pulled in the Kremlin.
Ironically, it was Republicans during the Cold War who routinely and falsely accused every liberal of aiding communists. Now, we have a case in which the “useful idiots” are in the White House and Congress, spreading Putin’s lies far more effectively than the Russian leader could do on his own.
“We don’t foreclose the possibility of more depositions, more hearings. We are in the process of getting more documents all the time. So that investigative work is being done,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
“What we’re not going to do is wait months and months while the administration plays a game of ‘rope a dope’ in an effort to try to stall. We’re not willing to go down that road,” Schiff said.
“Rope a dope” is a term originated by the late boxer Muhammad Ali referring to delaying tactics.
Trump’s administration has refused to provide documents requested by House Democrats and blocked witnesses from testifying including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Other current and former officials have defied White House instructions not to testify.
Schiff said the committee learns more information every day and he expects that to continue but the evidence is already so “overwhelming and uncontested” that lawmakers wanted to begin drafting the report for transmission the Judiciary Committee.
“Even as we compile this report, even as we submit evidence to the Judiciary Committee, we’re going to continue our investigation,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The Judiciary Committee could conduct more proceedings if needed, including hearings, that allow Trump and his counsel to participate. The panel would draft any articles of impeachment against Trump before they would go to the full House for a vote.
Just watched Schiff who is doing the rounds this morning, and holding the line, keeping the R’s and T on their toes. Schiff is on CNN’s Face The Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press…using the “rope a dope” line again, calling out Bolton on why he’s not testifying, and questioning what Rep Nunes was doing which Schiff says little on, except that this maybe something to look into in. “It’s important to know we’re not stopping.” (re: investigating)
“We feel an urgency about that…We are not allowing the Administration to stonewall us.”… Is there anything that is something could move Republicans…?"
“I think the facts of the investigation are not contested…”
On the Senate Trial - re: Bolton. “When it comes to documents and witnesses, the chief Justice will have to make a decision whether (Bolton’s) information is subpoenaed.”
What is Executive privilege?
WSJ produced this explainer video, click link to watch video.
I may be biased but I get the feeling the President is ill prepared to defend himself if this goes to trial. He fundamentally and consistently misunderstands how the government actually works.
That is true. Am getting that loud and clear from "A Warning" by Anonymous. He knows NADA, ZILCH, NOTHING, ZIPPO about how government works. He does not care to know either, and many of those advisors, people in his sphere say, he often drums up ideas as to handle things that are illegal 1/3 of the time, but mostly he has not a clue as to the balance of power, and his limits of it. #WouldBeKing/Autocrat/DictatorMindSet
But would T really testify…would he have to? What kinds of dancing around would T have to do to not testify - cry foul, fake news, witch hunt etc and lastly executive privilege.
I don’t think the President will have to testify. That would be quite a spectacle though. Trump gets up there before the world and uses the side-show bob defense.
This revelation demonstrates, more than ever, that the House should not hand off the impeachment process to the Senate until Mulvaney, Pompeo, and top OMB officials testify. If they continue to refuse to testify then, IMO, Democrats should dig in – if this means the impeachment process drags on into next summer, so be it. It’s the Republicans who are delaying the process by obstruction. There’s some discussion as to whether or not this would adversely impact Democratic Reps’ and Senators’ ability to campaign, but I have faith they can multi-task.
As soon as we pass control of this process to the Senate, the entire proceedings will be gamed – key witnesses will never be called. It will indeed be a “show trial,” but in this case, a “show” that is a propaganda exercise to falsely exonerate the accused. Let’s never forget the Republicans’ Kavanaugh “investigation” scam. This will be exactly the same except on a much grander scale. The only muscle we have right now is this impeachment process; we should not release it until we have uncovered much more proof of Trump’s wrongdoing from the very mouths of Trump’s closest co-conspirators.
Schiff says the evidence is overwhelming – maybe for you and me it is, but it needs to be written in massive letters across the sky to get through to voters in the Red states. It’s their willful ignorance that is enabling their Reps and Senators. We still have a long ways to go to break through that barrier.
A confidential White House review of President Trump’s decision to place a hold on military aid to Ukraine has turned up hundreds of documents that reveal extensive efforts to generate an after-the-fact justification for the decision and a debate over whether the delay was legal, according to three people familiar with the records.
The research by the White House Counsel’s Office, which was triggered by a congressional impeachment inquiry announced in September, includes early August email exchanges between acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House budget officials seeking to provide an explanation for withholding the funds after President Trump had already ordered a hold in mid-July on the nearly $400 million in security assistance, according to the three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.
One person briefed on the records examination said White House lawyers are expressing concern that the review has turned up some unflattering exchanges and facts that could at a minimum embarrass the president. It’s unclear if the Mulvaney discussions or other records pose any legal problems for Trump in the impeachment inquiry, but some fear they could pose political problems if revealed publicly. …
Later in the article, an OMB spokesperson says the Administration was not “scrambling,” which, of course, means they were scrambling.
All very thoughtful analysis @Keaton_James . You are right about the squeeze play the R’s will give to a Senate inquiry UNLESS we get another bombshell (hail mary perhaps)
Could his taxes be leaked after they hopefully get released??? Opening up another can of worms…
But if it were to be sent over to Senate now, we can not rely on Chief Justice Roberts to bring any further clarity by getting/subpoening those guys…Bolton,Mulvaney Pompeo…although Roberts has shown some Stand Up behavior towards T.
But with elections looming, unfortunately the timing may be off. We will get T impeached in House…and sullying his ego and name.
By delaying we lose the punch of the impact right now…R’s will continue to do their spin game.
The polls say most people do not like his behavior. Many reporters who cover the upcoming elections say this Impeachment business is NOT top of mind with voters.
I will leave it there…good points though.
Keep in mind; though the Democrats are moving forward, that does not preclude more coming out. In fact, more is, like these e-mails. Democrats are aware a number of decisions are dropping that could give them more ammunition, but they need to be seen to be moving forward, because there’s nothing the GOP and Trump would like more than for it to bog down and languish with nothing happening. They can’t wait and hope, but they CAN take whatever new witnesses or info rolls out and hold hearings on it while moving forward. It’s a delicate balance. We’ve only just begun to see what they’ll have to work with.
For the House Intell Impeachment inquiry…and details from Parnas’ trove of evidence that Giuliani and T were instigating the whole thing regarding Burisma/Biden investigation. This is the type of evidence that keeps pouring in…and why Chairman Schiff is keeping the investigation open.
The House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly played a key role in assisting him in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
The material submitted to the committee includes audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump. It was unclear what the content depicts and the committees only began accessing the material last week.
“We have subpoenaed Mr. Parnas and Mr. [Igor] Fruman for their records. We would like them to fully comply with those subpoenas,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN Sunday, with a committee
That’s a change from what he said on Meet the Press, about wanting to see the documents first before an interview. The documents must have been good enough to warrant drafting subpoena. The feeling on Twitter is that Parnas’s credibility is about as good as Michael Cohen’s. Should be interesting.
Reports filed with the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives show that Nunes claimed expenses for a four-day trip to Europe at the time in question between November 30 and December 3. Four entries for “commercial airfare” were claimed for Scott Glabe, George Pappas, Derek Harvey and Nunes himself.
Each claimed $14,201.43 for their visit—which included daily allowances—and came to a total of $56,805.72.
This is outrageous. That’s more than some American family’s make in year, just wasted on a fool’s errand.
Another wrinkle…speculative of course,.WH lawyer Cipollone wants Mick Mulaney’s job?
OMB office or Chief-of-Staff…?
Not sure why…anyone hazard a guess??
Clearly Sen Graham wants Sec of State Pompeo’s job or something big.
New York Times Editorial Board
On Impeachment and what our Founding Fathers wanted - to protect us from our own leaders who may be aligning themselves with foreign allies for personal gain, aka bribery.
Why President Trump’s Ukraine Scheme Matters
It’s what the founders warned us about.
Over the last two weeks, in sworn testimony from experienced public servants with no political axes to grind, the American people have learned that President Trump orchestrated a scheme to extract what he called a “favor” from a foreign leader by withholding a White House meeting and hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, against his own administration’s policy and the bipartisan wishes of Congress.
And yet the details of the Ukraine story — involving veiled threats, Latin phrases, less genteel “Trumpspeak” and “irregular channels” of diplomacy — don’t map neatly onto some Americans’ idea of obvious wrongdoing. One nagging question for many is whether Mr. Trump was really doing all this for himself, rather than in pursuit of the American national interest. It’s a crucial question; in fact, it’s at the heart of the inquiry.
After all, there’s nothing wrong with conditioning foreign aid on compliance with established foreign policy goals. But that’s not what Mr. Trump did. To the contrary, every known piece of evidence offered so far points in the other direction.
To list just a few: Rudy Giuliani, who was behind the Ukraine operation, has said publicly that he was seeking investigations damaging to Mr. Trump’s political rival in his capacity as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and to advance Mr. Trump’s personal interests.
Multiple impeachment witnesses have testified that Mr. Trump did not care about systemic corruption in Ukraine, a longstanding focus of American foreign policy, including in the Trump administration. On Thursday, David Holmes, a career diplomat working in the embassy in Kyiv, testified that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, agreed that Mr. Trump didn’t care about Ukraine and that he only cared about “big stuff,” like investigating the Bidens.
Then there’s the fact that, as noted in the Lawfare blog, Mr. Trump approved military aid to Ukraine in 2017 and 2018, even though Hunter Biden’s role as a director of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma was well-known at the time. Mr. Trump and his Republican allies now say that it’s in the national interest to get to the bottom of how it could be that Hunter Biden was serving for five years, at great financial benefit to himself, on the Burisma board.
This page was worried about that question in 2015. It’s interesting that Mr. Trump didn’t become fixated on it until 2019. What changed this year? Well, Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, became a presidential candidate.
And of course, there is the summary of Mr. Trump’s July 25 “perfect” call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Despite Mr. Trump’s exhortations that Americans “read the transcript,” it is not exculpatory. In fact, it provides the most direct evidence to date that Mr. Trump was seeking a bribe: When Mr. Zelensky brought up the military aid, Mr. Trump appeared to condition it (“do us a favor though”) on the announcement of investigations into Ukraine’s supposed interference in the 2016 election and the purported corruption of Mr. Biden and his son.
Not direct enough for you? Mr. Trump made it easier about a week after the release of the call summary. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn last month, the president called on China to investigate the Bidens, too. He added, ominously, “if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”
Mr. Trump’s more honest defenders don’t deny the basic story here. Instead, they argue that soliciting help from a foreign government for personal political gain is just not that bad. Mr. Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine were “inappropriate” and “not how the executive should handle such things,” said Representative Will Hurd of Texas, but he shouldn’t be impeached for them. That’s far too glib a judgment. The nation’s founders made that clear by listing bribery as one of just two specific offenses meriting impeachment.
At the constitutional convention in 1787, Gouverneur Morris agreed that impeachment was a tool Congress needed to deal with a corrupt chief executive. “He may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust, and no one would say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger of seeing the first Magistrate in foreign pay, without being able to guard against it by displacing him,” Morris said. “This Magistrate is not the King but the prime minister. The people are the King.”
Another framer, George Mason, asked, “Shall any man be above justice?” He added, “Shall the man who has practiced corruption, and by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment by repeating his guilt?”
Nearly a decade later, in his farewell address to the nation, George Washington warned Americans “to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
Why were the framers so concerned about bribery and foreign influence? Because they had plenty of evidence of the damage it could do. They were designing the world’s first attempt at large-scale republican self-government, and they knew its success, and even survival, would depend on elected leaders who represented the people’s interest, not their own.
In other words, Americans agree to give their elected officials power over them, and those officials agree to exercise that power on Americans’ behalf. If the nation’s leaders breach that deal by lining their own pockets and bartering the interests of their citizens, they break the trust that self-government and democracy depend on. The testimony so far indicates that it’s even worse in this case. It suggests that Mr. Trump wasn’t simply soliciting a bribe, but doing so to try to rig the next election. It should go without saying that representative democracy cannot work if its leaders are cheating to keep themselves in power.
The argument that there’s nothing to worry about because Mr. Trump’s Ukraine scheme didn’t work in the end misses the point. If Mr. Trump is allowed to get away with this blatant attempt at subverting the will of the 2020 voters, what’s to stop him from trying again? Remember, the phone call with the Ukrainian president, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, happened just one day after the special counsel Robert Mueller testified in Congress about the end of the Russia investigation. If the House of Representatives impeaches Mr. Trump and then the Senate acquits him, it’s reasonable to assume that he would take that outcome as exoneration — and as carte blanche to do whatever he wants to win in 2020.
Throughout the hearings, House Democrats have done their job as representatives of a coequal branch of government, attempting to get to the bottom of grave allegations of wrongdoing by the president. Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has behaved with admirable focus and restraint as his Republican colleagues have acted like children, yelling at witnesses and leaving the room when they didn’t want to hear damaging testimony.
There could well be more to come, too, if the many administration officials currently refusing to appear do the right thing and show up. Many have sent out news releases disputing witness testimony. Those witnesses were willing to testify under oath, however, at risk of perjury — and as yet Mr. Trump’s defenders have not been. If they don’t have anything to hide, why not come forward and speak under oath?
Republicans complain that this is all a partisan attack, or a “hoax,” as the president calls it. There’s no question that Democrats have their own partisan interests. But that’s no excuse for the Republicans to ignore all this evidence. In conducting this inquiry, the Democrats are doing what people concerned about protecting the nation would do. It is the Republicans who are turning this process into a partisan dogfight, attacking lifelong public servants, implying they have dual loyalty and misstating testimony they heard the day before. Rather than listening to what witnesses were telling them, some of them chose to pound the table and regurgitate conspiracy theories about Ukraine that were long ago debunked by American intelligence as Russian disinformation and misdirection.
Put this in some perspective: A party that was more than happy to impeach a president for lying about a sexual affair has refused to cast even a single vote in favor of an inquiry into whether to impeach a president who, by the credible accounts of his own appointees, has undermined national security for political advantage.
For the record: This page supported the impeachment inquiry into President Bill Clinton, as it has supported this inquiry into President Trump.
This Republican display of herd instinct is part of the broader unwillingness of the party’s leaders, and their hypocritical supporters in the partisan press, to check Mr. Trump’s most disturbing tendency of all. From the beginning of his term in 2017, President Trump has asserted broad, even monarchical, powers. He can use the extraordinary force of his office to strong-arm other countries into serving as his political pawns. He can run a protection racket with military alliances and pull out of international organizations and treaties. He can profit off the presidency. The Justice Department’s guidelines bar the indictment of a sitting president.
According to his lawyers, he can’t even be investigated, no matter what he has done or might do. Now, he’s being asked to defend his behavior before a coequal branch of the government, an exercise that he chooses, in his kingly manner, to deem illegitimate. So he refuses to participate and stops others from doing so.
In July Mr. Trump said that the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want.” Those are the words of a despot, not an American president. As the impeachment inquiry proceeds, Republicans who claim they have no problem with this sort of talk should ask themselves how they would feel if it were coming from a President Joe Biden.
And worse yet, they were committing a crime on our dime.