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The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

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#1807

T’s sway is moving this Dem over to R.

The freshman Democrat, who represents a New Jersey district where President Trump is popular, told aides he will announce his switch next week.

Mr. Van Drew has spoken with senior advisers to Mr. Trump about announcing his switch at an event at the White House either immediately before or just after the House votes on two articles of impeachment, which is expected to happen on Wednesday, according to Republicans and Democrats.


#1808

Lindsey Graham invites Rudy Giuliani to Judiciary panel to discuss recent Ukraine visit

Sen. Lindsey Graham is inviting Rudy Giuliani to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his recent trip to Ukraine.

In an interview airing on Face the Nation Sunday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said that Giuliani, who is serving as the president’s personal attorney, could appear before his committee separately from the impending Senate impeachment trial.

“Rudy, if you want to come and tell us what you found, I’ll be glad to talk to you,” Graham said. “We can look at what Rudy’s got and Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at after impeachment. But if Rudy wants to come to the Judiciary Committee and testify about what he found, he’s welcome to do so.”

Giuliani traveled to Ukraine earlier this month to gather information intended to discredit the House’s impeachment probe, which focuses on Trump pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens. Giuliani was spotted at the White House on Friday.

Graham said he didn’t know what material Giuliani had gathered.


#1809

@dragonfly9

Lots of discussion on Twitter. I think it’s one for one with Amash. Do you think it’s a big deal for Democrats or just noteworthy like Amash was when he changed his party to Independent?


#1810

I think it is just plain gamesmanship …I win, you lose strategy. Is it a big deal…it is because it gives T that talking piint…AND reinforces his ‘control’ via bully tactics to outstrip the Dema.

It feels though like a one-off…Amash at least has integrity.

This guy is motivated by fear…and looks very pliant to our eyes.

I sure hope T gets some kind of real pushback…not just along party lines.


#1811

I think this is right. It’s not good that it happened and it gives Trump that talking point at a bad time for Democrats. I guess this guy might not have been doing well in his district? Sucks for Democrats who voted for him in 2018, they need a new candidate.


#1812

A federal judge has ordered the State Department to look for and release more documents relating to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday that the department must search for more Ukraine-related documents and give them to American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the watchdog group.

The State Department had previously given the group documents from Aug. 2 or earlier but will now be required to provide additional documents dated through Oct. 18.

American Oversight said in a tweet that the new records "would include any communications of senior officials, like Sec. Pompeo, with Giuliani or with anyone outside the government about the Ukraine pressure campaign."

The move comes after the State Department late last month released a tranche of documents in response to the request from American Oversight.

Those documents showed repeated contacts between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.


#1813

Weeks of congressional hearings and debate have failed to move the electorate on impeachment, according to the latest Fox News Poll. At the same time, approval of President Trump’s job performance has climbed three points.

Currently, 45 percent of voters approve of the job Trump’s doing, up from 42 percent in late October. Over half, 53 percent, disapprove. That lands the president almost exactly where he started the year, as 43 percent approved and 54 percent disapproved in January.

The poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, also finds 50 percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 4 percent say impeached but not removed, and 41 percent oppose impeaching him altogether.


#1814

@Pet_Proletariat

Here’s what his polling numbers (within the tweet) seem to suggest…Van Drew’s numbers were indicating his constituency disliked impeachment and therefore would vote against Van Drew if he did vote with Dems.

(Polling numbers…but hard to decifer)


#1815

Freshman Democrats push for Amash as impeachment manager

A private campaign is underway to draft Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Trump, a bid to diversify House Democrats’ appeal to voters with a rare conservative voice.

A group of 30 freshman Democrats, led by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), has asked House leaders to consider the libertarian, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, for the small group tasked with arguing its case for removing Trump in the upper chamber, according to several Democratic officials.

The thinking, according to these people, is that Amash would reach conservative voters in a way Democrats can’t, potentially bolstering their case to the public. He also would provide Democrats cover from GOP accusations that they’re pursuing a partisan impeachment; Amash is one of the most conservative members of the House and a vocal Trump critic.

“To the extent that this can be bipartisan, it should, and I think including Representative Amash amongst the impeachment managers is a smart move both for the country, for the substance and for the optics,” Phillips said, adding that Amash brings an array of qualifications: He’s an attorney, a constitutionalist and “the first and only member of the Republican conference, when he was a Republican, to show courage,” Phillips added.

Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would ultimately make the call and is expected to announce managers early this week, multiple Democrats said. Amash did not respond to a request for comment about whether he would accept such a position. But Phillips, who is in touch with Amash about the idea, said the lawmaker has agreed to consider it if asked.


#1816

Americans remain divided on impeachment

More Republicans prefer the Senate not hold a trial at all (46%) than hold a trial that acquits the president (40%).

Rather unremarkable poll until they asked if the GOP prefers what kind of nothing they want to do about Trump. More would rather do nothing, not hold a senate trial at all, than acquit the President. Says everything about the state of Congressional Republican oversight.


#1817

House Judiciary Committee publishes full impeachment report

Page count 658

12/15/19 READ: House Judiciary Committee Report on the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump


Update from Politico,

President Donald Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud, the House Judiciary Committee alleges in a report that will accompany articles of impeachment this week.

The report, a 169-page assessment of the case for Trump’s removal from office, contends that Trump committed “multiple federal crimes” — ones that Democrats addressed under the broad umbrella of “abuse of power,” the first article of impeachment against the president.


#1818

Sen Schumer telling R’s you are breaching your Senate responsibilities by not having an actual trial.

@tribelaw

BREAKING NEWS: Schumer’s proposal to McConnell. If he rejects these reasonable ground rules & insists on a non-trial, the House should consider treating that as a breach of the Senate’s oath & withholding the Articles until the Senate reconsiders

Impeachment letter 12.15.19 is within @tribelaw’s tweet.

https://t.co/a9zbBywFBG


#1819

Sen Schumer’s direct confrontation of Mitch McConnell’s role in impeachment trial from Axios (same as what was said here… Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019)

On Sunday night, Chuck Schumer made his opening bid to Mitch McConnell in the two leaders’ negotiations over the Senate impeachment trial.

Driving the news: Schumer has sent a letter to McConnell in which he asks the Republican leader to call four witnesses who refused to testify before the House impeachment committees.

  • The witnesses Schumer has asked for all have direct knowledge of Trump administration decisions concerning the holdup of aid to Ukraine and the requests for investigations of the Bidens and of the origins of the Russia investigation.
  • They are: Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff; John Bolton, former national security adviser; Michael Duffey, associate director for national security, Office of Management and Budget; and Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney.
  • Schumer also proposes that the Senate issue subpoenas “for a limited set of documents that we believe will shed additional light on the administration’s decision-making regarding the delay in security assistance funding to Ukraine and its requests for certain investigations to be announced by the government of Ukraine,” per the letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Senate Democratic leader’s request — particularly his call for additional impeachment witnesses — may appeal to some moderate Republicans but is sure to meet forceful resistance from President Trump and McConnell.

Between the lines: Schumer offers other suggestions to McConnell, such as the amount of time he believes should be allocated for arguments and counter-arguments. But it’s his requests for witnesses that will be most controversial.

  • By tailoring the description of the kind of witnesses Democrats think should be called — those with “direct knowledge” of the administration’s decisions related to delaying the military aid and seeking investigations — Schumer may be drawing a distinction between witnesses Trump has sought to shield and the sort of Democrats that Trump wanted to drag into the Senate, including the Bidens.
  • Schumer appears to be trying to drive a wedge into the Republican Senate conference. The bet would be that even as McConnell defends Trump, some swing state Republicans who are no fans of the president may want to at least make it seem like they’re seriously examining Trump’s actions.

Read the letter.


#1820

#1821

I spent all morning reading about the criminal conduct alleged in the House Judiciary Report. It looks like the President is accused of both Criminal Bribery, 18 U.S.C. § 201 and Honest Services Fraud, 18 U.S.C § 1346.

Per the report, pages 120 & 126.


Explainer worth a read below :point_down:


#1822

House says it still needs Mueller grand jury details for impeachment proceedings

The US House told a federal appeals court on Monday that it still needs access to confidential grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for use in the current impeachment proceedings.

Some of the still-secret information may have to do with Ukraine, the House argued in a court filing with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The grand jury information allegedly contains “certain redacted materials [that] pertain to a Trump Campaign member’s dealings with Ukraine, and bear on whether the President committed impeachable offenses by soliciting Ukrainian interference in the 2020 Presidential election,” the House wrote on Monday.

The Justice Department is still attempting to block the House’s request for the grand jury material, after a lower-level judge sided with the House.


#1823

2019-12-16%20impreachment%20report%20includes%20charges%20of%20bribery%2C%20wire%20fraud

Democrats accused President Trump of “multiple federal crimes,” including bribery and wire fraud, in a new report released early Monday that explains the articles of impeachment that the House is expected to approve mostly along party lines Wednesday.

A trial will probably begin in the Republican-led Senate in early January, and Democrats are seeking to call several senior Trump administration officials who did not testify as part of the House proceedings.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

I’ve included a screen shot of this historic headline. I wanted to preserve it since it’s part of a live stream which will change over time.


(David Bythewood) #1824

The boy is back in town.

Giuliani returns from Ukraine with new, very questionable “evidence” that the Bidens committed “multiple crimes”

As Trump faces impeachment, Giuliani returns to television to expound upon the conspiracy theories that lead to the impeachment inquiry.

During a moment in which President Donald Trump appears to be days from being impeached, his personal lawyer is boldly promoting more of the sort of conspiracy theories around the Biden family and Ukraine that has led the president into impeachment proceedings in the first place.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, gave an interview with the conservative One America News Network (OAN) that aired Saturday and Sunday, in which he pushed increasingly convoluted conspiracy theories about the Biden family and Ukraine.

And he brought along men he presented as witnesses able to verify his claims, including Andrii Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s parliament who is also a promoter of Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theories, and Yuri Lutsenko, a former prosecutor who has clashed with the US’s former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

The interview and the commentary he provided in a series of tweets are just the latest in a long line of radical statements Giuliani has made, like his November statement to the New Yorker’s Adam Entous, admitting he worked to have Yovanovitch fired so he could pursue this conspiracy theory investigation.

“I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” he told Entous. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

It was an oddly timed moment to say as much, given that Yovanovitch’s sudden recall is one of the many unusual decisions Democrats explored while building their impeachment case.

But it, and the OAN interview, are signs that rather than recede into the background and allow congressional Republicans to defend the president ahead of this week’s House impeachment vote, Giuliani is seizing the moment to highlight those actions and the conspiracy theories that motivated them.

Giuliani spent the OAN interview discussing the “evidence” he found in Ukraine to support what the interviewer Chanel Rion referred to as “so-called conspiracy theories.” And in large part, this evidence built on an already wild story, adding strange new twists like the death and resurrection of a disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor.

What Giuliani claims to have learned in Ukraine

As Vox’s Jane Coaston has explained, Giuliani and several of his associates have long maintained — without verified evidence, and despite federal assertions otherwise — that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on behalf of the Democrats. He also claims that former Vice President Joe Biden pushed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to protect his son, Hunter, (and Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company Hunter served on the board of) from investigation, and that former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was anti-Trump.

Each of these theories has been debunked, but Giuliani raised them all on OAN, focusing heavily on the Bidens.

“We have found multiple crimes the Bidens have committed: extortion, bribery, and money laundering,” Giuliani said. He went on to present “evidence” he said supported this assertion, relying in part on a handwritten diagram titled “Bribery (Crime).”

The extortion and bribery accusations center on a video of Joe Biden bragging about his role in instituting anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine filmed at a session at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

In it, Biden takes credit for an effort that involved the G7, the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and other international bodies to get Ukraine to remove then-prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who was seen as blocking anti-corruption initiatives. Biden was directed to deliver a message to the Ukrainian government on behalf of these groups and the US government: that their loan guarantees would be cut off unless they removed Shokin.

You can question a witnesses credibility but you cannot question hard documentary evidence, which each firsthand witness part of this investigation provide. pic.twitter.com/FBTMpTySuQ

— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 15, 2019

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours,” Biden said in retelling the story. “If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’”

The former vice president said after the threat, “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Referring to this statement, Giuliani said, “I don’t think I’d ever seen as concise, or as tight, or as clear a confession. But worse than that, I saw a confession with proof of guilty knowledge by leaving his son out.”

Evidence revealed that corruption in 2016 was so extensive it was POTUS’s DUTY to ask for US-Ukraine investigation.

Impeachment is part of Dem cover-up.

Extortion, bribery & money laundering goes beyond Biden’s.

Also, DNC collusion w/ Ukraine to destroy candidate Trump. pic.twitter.com/cfNFgPQ29J

— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 15, 2019

Of course, Biden’s statement wasn’t a confession, and unlike Trump’s asks of Ukraine, the former vice president’s request was sanctioned by the US government and the international community. And although Biden may not have mentioned his son, in pressing for Shokin to be replaced by a prosecutor more interested in anti-corruption work, he was placing his son and Burisma in more danger of being investigated, not less.

The witnesses and evidence Giuliani presented to support his case are equally nonsensical. For instance, OAN showed what it said was a document from Latvian prosecutors that casts Burisma as being involved in corruption.

The document was meant to show Hunter Biden was involved in money laundering; instead — if it is real — it merely confirms what was already known: a number of countries were concerned about Burisma and its business practices, and were frustrated Ukrainian prosecutors weren’t doing more to investigate it. Hunter Biden’s decision to join such a company doesn’t demonstrate good judgment (as he acknowledged in October), but the document is far from a smoking gun.

And Giuliani’s witnesses are not overly credible. He cites Shokin himself, one of the fountainheads of the Biden firing conspiracy theory, who was accused of lying on an application for a US visa by Yovanovitch’s sworn congressional testimony. Further adding to questions of the credibility of Shokin and his documents are Giuliani’s claim that “Shokin’s med records show he was poisoned, died twice, and was revived.”

He also relies on Shokin’s successor, Yuri Lutsenko, who was also almost involved in a business deal with Giuliani. In early 2019, the lawyer’s firm proposed that Lutsenko, who at that time was still prosecutor general, authorize a payment of $200,000 to help the Ukrainian government find embezzled money. Lutsenko has admitted to lying to a conservative journalist, giving him a false statement that cast Yovanovitch in a negative light.

Given the witnesses he brought forward and the quality of the evidence he presented, it isn’t clear that Giuliani discovered anything during his Ukraine trip that will lend any credence to his conspiracy theories. But less important than whether they are true, is whether the president is convinced by Giuliani’s findings and acts on them.

Giuliani’s pursuit of Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theories hasn’t helped Trump, but he’s continuing it anyway

Giuliani’s interview comes at a time when the president hopes to justify his actions with Ukraine in the face of impeachment. Making public statements about the further pursuit of the conspiracy theories that helped launch impeachment does not seem like the sort of thing that would help with that justification, but fits with Giuliani’s actions in the impeachment process so far, which have been less than helpful to his boss.

He infamously read his texts off of an iPad on Fox News, further implicating the State Department in Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens. And as Trump’s allies attempted to mount a defense of the president’s actions around the argument that there was “no quid pro quo,” Giuliani sent tweets that undercut that argument.

Similarly, Giuliani’s OAN interview adds credence to a Democratic argument for impeachment: that Trump must be removed because the Ukraine scandal definitively proved that the president is not above asking foreign powers to interfere in US elections for his benefit.

This tendency to give fuel to Trump’s critics has frustrated some current and former members of the Trump administration. During her congressional testimony, former National Security Council official Fiona Hill said former national security adviser John Bolton told her “Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up.”

According to Politico, the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, has told other State Department employees, “Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and fucks everything up.”

But Giuliani maintains the support of the president, who has stuck with him despite all criticism. Trump is his willing partner when it comes to the advancement of Ukraine-Biden conspiracy theories. Trump reportedly called his lawyer as soon as the man returned from Ukraine — while his plane was still taxiing — to hear what he’d learned on the trip and debriefed with him at the White House on Friday. And Monday, he retweeted clips from Giuliani’s OAN interview.


#1825

The media is scrambling to sort out the report which weighs in at over 600 pages. I’m sure we’ll soon see some excellent summaries and analyses. Here’s an early piece from Forbes that does a fine job of highlighting the major points:

Topline: The House judiciary committee on Monday released its report explaining the the charges it has levelled against President Donald Trump, prompting him to once again label the impeachment process a “hoax.”

  • The report was released in the early hours of Monday. In it, Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the committee, laid out the justifications for deciding to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

  • The 658-page document outlines four main points: the process by which the committee recommended the House impeach Trump; the violations that justify impeachment, i.e., “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”; and the facts underlying the abuse of power and obstruction of congress charges.

  • The report notes that unlike past presidents, “Trump declined to attend any hearings, question any witnesses, or recommend that the Committee call additional witnesses in his defense.”

  • Trump has repeatedly denounced the process as a “sham” and a “hoax.” On Monday morning, he retweeted dozens of posts from various accounts that sought to criticize democratic efforts to impeach him. “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS! The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job in the history of American politics!”

Key background: House Democrats last week unveiled articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congress. The decision followed nearly three months of public and private hearings into whether Trump pressured Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for Trump’s political gain. Trump is accused of withholding $391 million in military aide unless Zelensky agreed to help him. Trump also allegedly sought Zelensky’s help investigating the unfounded claim that Ukraine—not Russia—meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

“One investigation was designed to help him gain an advantage in the 2020 election. The other was intended to help President Trump conceal the truth about the 2016 election,” the report says.

What else does the report say? It states that Trump had the upper hand during the July call. The report adds that Ukraine was locked in an “existential battle” with Russia and needed U.S. help in the form of military aid.

“[Abuse of power] occurs when a President exercises the powers of his office to obtain an improper personal benefit while injuring and ignoring the national interest. The evidence shows that President Trump leveraged his office to solicit and pressure Ukraine for a personal favor.”

The second charge, obstruction of congress, was arrived at on the basis that Trump did “everything in his power” to obstruct the House impeachment inquiry. The report reads: “President Trump also attempted to muzzle witnesses, threatening to damage their careers if they agreed to testify, and even attacked one witness during her live testimony before Congress.”

Providing dissenting views, the Republicans said Democrats had failed to provide a case for impeachment and that, in contrast to the impeachment proceedings against president Nixon, “these proceedings … will go down in history as the quintessential example of how such proceedings should ‘not’ be conducted.”

Crucial quote: The report said: “America has a vital national security interest in countering Russian aggression, and our strategic partner Ukraine is quite literally at the front line of resisting that aggression. When the President weakens a partner who advances American security interests, the President weakens America.

“As to election integrity, American democracy above all rests upon elections that are free and fair. When the President demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections. To the Founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment.”


#1826

Giuliani confesses he backed the efforts of foreigners to oust a U.S. diplomat – a clear violation of foreign lobbying laws

  • Rudy Giuliani confirmed in detail to The New Yorker his role in engineering the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch as the US’s ambassador to Ukraine after she refused to help him dig up political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

  • “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” Giuliani told the magazine. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

  • He also outlined his efforts to publicly smear Yovanovitch on TV and through the self-described investigative journalist John Solomon.

  • Giuliani’s comments are a remarkable admission given that Yovanovitch’s ouster is one of the central threads of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

  • More importantly, Giuliani himself is the focus of criminal investigation related to his dealings with Yovanovitch because they may have violated foreign lobbying laws.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who’s now President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in detail to The New Yorker his role in engineering the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch as the US’s ambassador to Ukraine.

Giuliani told The New Yorker’s Adam Entous that he viewed Yovanovitch as an obstacle as he attempted to obtain politically damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election.

"I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way," Giuliani said. "She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody."

To that end, Giuliani compiled a dossier of conspiracy theories about the Bidens and Yovanovitch that he sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year and was later shared with the FBI and The New Yorker.

Giuliani also began speaking out against Yovanovitch on news outlets like Fox News, while directing John Solomon, a self-described investigative journalist who traffics in conspiracy theories, to publish op-ed articles smearing Yovanovitch in The Hill.

“I said, ‘John, let’s make this as prominent as possible,’” Giuliani told The New Yorker. “‘I’ll go on TV. You go on TV. You do columns.’”

The former New York City mayor’s comments are a remarkable admission given that Yovanovitch’s ouster is one of the central threads of the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Perhaps more importantly, however, Giuliani himself is the focus of criminal investigation related to his dealings with Yovanovitch because they may have violated foreign lobbying laws.

Yovanovitch, a widely respected foreign service officer, was unceremoniously ousted in May after she refused to help Giuliani and his allies in Ukraine and the US manufacture dirt on the Bidens to hurt his chances against Trump.

Yovanovitch was … tough on Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general who worked with Giuliani to try to get dirt on the Bidens.

Yovanovitch “refused to allow her embassy to be dragged into some sort of effort to concoct dirt for political purposes,” a former official told The Guardian. …