Nel's New Day

December 3, 2019

Impeachment Inquiry Report Has New Findings

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony about impeachment from four constitutional academicians—three selected by the Democrats and one brought by the Republicans, Jonathan Turley, who has already come out against the impeachment of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Today, the House Intelligence Committee revealed more findings in the 300-page report that will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee. In a press release, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the Intelligence Committee, began with a succinct summary of the findings: 

“The evidence is clear that President Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. These investigations were designed to benefit his 2020 presidential reelection campaign.”

The Intelligence Committee has 100 hours of depositions from 17 witnesses along with 30 hours of public testimony from 12 of those 17—belying the false GOP accusation of unfair secrecy. Other witnesses, unlike these 17, refused to comply with subpoenas or deliver documents to the House because DDT told everyone, those now employed and others gone from the government, to illegally deny their appearance in the impeachment inquiry. House Democrats will proceed with the case from the information that they have, sending the report to the House Judiciary Committee for review and crafting articles of impeachment. A vote on these articles may be taken before the end of the year.

The articles of impeachment will undoubtedly pursue “abuse of power.” “Obstruction” and the high crime of “bribery” are also being considered. Those who claim to be confused can easily understand the findings, especially with the executive report

“President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign. The President demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election. To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary.”

The report further explains that DDT used multiple allies, both in and outside his administration, for the pressure that he put on Zelensky. The conclusion cites how DDT’s “scheme intentionally bypassed many career personnel [but] it was undertaken with the knowledge and approval of senior Administration officials, including the President’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.” These and “other senior White House and Executive Branch officials … facilitated and furthered the President’s scheme, and withheld information about the scheme from the Congress and the American public.” The report describes Mulvaney publicly acknowledgement that DDT “directly tied the hold on military aid to his desire to get Ukraine to conduct a political investigation.” Mulvaney told concerned people to “get over it.” After DDT was discovered to be withholding this aid and extorting Zelensky, DDT then released the aid.

The report has new revelations beyond news about witnesses’ testimony and documents, one of them the damning involvement of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in the scheme. As the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes played a large part in the questioning of witnesses and his insertion of baseless lies into the record. He was evidently highly complicit in the extortion and tried to cover up this complicity with the hearings.

From telephone records, the finding show phone calls connecting Nunes, DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, indicted Giuliani associate and plot participant Lev Parnas, Nunes’s staff member Derek Harvey, and Nunes’s former staff member Kashyap “Kash” Patel. Phone contacts between Giuliani, Parnas, Nunes, and John Solomon indicated Nunes’ involvement in creating the false story of Ukraine meddling that now-discredited Solomon wrote for The Hill. Parnas was also instrumental in Parnas’ waging a smear campaign against then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and claimed DDT sent him on a “mission” to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Nunes is already suing CNN for reporting Parnas’ claims the Nunes met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin in Vienna and that Nunes talked about investigating the Bidens and the Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory.

The report describes DDT’s troubles beyond pressuring Ukraine:

DDT obstructed justice by blocking access to witnesses, documents and testimony. The report lists a dozen current or former administration officials, ten of them refusing subpoenas, declining to testify because of DDT’s orders. Despite subpoenas, the White House, Office of Management and Budget and the State, and Defense and Energy departments refused to produce documents to the House. [In a ruling mandating that former WH counsel Don McGahn testify before the House, U.S. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson stated that the House and the public will be harmed without McGahn’s live testimony. She wrote that “the DOJ has already harmed the Committee’s interests by successfully delaying its access to other materials.”]

DDT may have broken federal criminal laws by attacking and intimidating witnesses. The report cites four specific examples when DDT tweeted threats against people called to testify before the House committee and the whistleblower who was subjected to over 100 public statements from DDT during a two-month period.

DDT is described in the report as the first president ever “to seek to completely obstruct an impeachment inquiry undertaken by the House.” According to the report, “even President Richard Nixon—who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence—accepted the authority of Congress to conduct an impeachment inquiry and permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify to Congressional committees.”

DDT may fail in his attempts to use Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony that first claimed DDT said he didn’t want a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine. Sondland later recanted his earlier testimony which is “at odds with the weight of the evidence and not backed up by any records the White House was willing to provide Ambassador Sondland.” The White House also has no record for the September 9 call which may have occurred two days earlier.

DDT’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky occurred the day after Robert Mueller testified to the House about the Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Mueller talked about Giuliani’s attempts to hurt the special counsel probe with his false conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the election instead of Russia.

Phone calls between Solomon and Parnas cast doubt on his Solomon’s column from May 2018 referencing a letter from then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) Pompeo accusing Yovanovitch of disparaging the DDT administration, a smear campaign designed to undermine and then fire her as ambassador to Ukraine. Tweets and comments from DDT, Giuliani, and Donald Trump Jr in the days after Solomon’s publication article was published built on his allegations and added new “conspiracy theories” connected to Joe and Hunter Biden.

The report makes two important points: The impeachment inquiry is still investigating, and impeachment is necessary to avoid danger:

“Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts. The damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the president’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked. Any future president will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three.”

DDT won’t be taking part in the impeachment inquiry—at least for now. Pat A. Cipollone sent a five-page letter, much of it whining about unfairness, to tell Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will not be participating in the Judiciary Committee hearings regarding the impeachment inquiry. Cipollone signed the letter “Counsel to the President,” although his position is not legally DDT’s personal lawyer.  DDT’s take on the current impeachment inquiry: It’s totally unfair that I can’t take part in the process, and no, I won’t take part in the process.

DDT followed up his refusal to participate in tomorrow’s hearing by wailing about the Democrats deliberately picking the time of his trip to NATO for the impeachment inquiry. He hates NATO, but he claimed that “this is one of the most important journeys that we make as president.” Last year, he threatened to pull out of the 70-year-old alliance. He grows more unhinged by the day.

The complete report is here.

November 26, 2019

Impeachment Worsens for DDT Despite False Defenses

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) pardoned his turkey and left town for Mar-a-Lago, but the impeachment inquiry goes on. The House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing about the impeachment inquiry on December 4, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his lawyer have been invited to attend and question witnesses. They have until December 1 to respond.

Last week, DDT said he seriously considered answering written questions about the inquiry, and he has complained about what he perceived as House leaving him out of the process. His excuse for blocking all current and past aids and officials from subpoenaed testimony and documents is to protect future presidents. Using documents from the White House’s office of Management and Budget, the House Budget Committee prepared a timeline showing that the military aid was withheld while DDT pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Details about the committee’s report is here.

Mark Sandy, the only OMB official to testify in the impeachment inquiry, said that two OMB officials resigned over concerns about DDT’s freezing the aid to Ukraine. One who worked in the legal division disagreed with OMB’s decision because of the Impoundment Control Act limiting the executive branch from changing congressional spending decisions. Sandy said he also expressed concerns about OMB following the law so DDT’s political appointee signed the documents holding up the money for Ukraine.

In other testimony, Sandy said that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney emailed him on July 12, telling him that DDT ordered a freeze on Ukraine’s military aid. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland also testified that DDT told him and other administration officials to keep pressure on Ukraine. In addition to holding the money so that it would not be released before the end of the fiscal year, DDT also refused to give Congress a formal rescission notice which would provide the reason for withholding congressionally approved funds.

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani has also gotten into more trouble. When he met with Zelensky’s top aid in August during a trip to Madrid with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani stayed with Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López in a luxurious estate, purchased through money laundering and bribery. A month later, Giuliani helped represent López in a meeting with the head of DOJ’s criminal division and other federal attorneys, arguing that he should not face criminal charges for his $1.2 billion money-laundering case in Florida. According to the complaint, López and other top officials of the state-owned oil company conspired with business leaders and bankers to steal from the Venezuelan company and launder the money through Florida real estate.

Giuliani has other problems. In late 2018, Judith Nathan’s court filings in her divorce from Giuliani stated that he paid Maria Rosa Ryan, his also married mistress, $286,536 over six months. In that time, he also spent $447,938 on activities “for his own enjoyment” and $165,165 on travel.

A judge has ruled that Don McGahn, former White House top lawyer, must testify to Congress about his time with DDT. In a scorching decision, U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said that McGahn cannot hide behind DDT’s false claim of “absolute immunity.” House Democrats will move closer to new testimony concerning Robert Mueller’s evidence about obstruction of justice if the appeals don’t block them. Jackson wrote that DDT is not a king and doesn’t have unchecked powers. According the ruling, no one is above the law.

Jackson’s opinion can help the impeachment inquiry investigation because it removes DDT’s claim of absolute immunity. Former national security adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman have suggested that they will obey subpoenas if a court so orders. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also said he would go to court to see if he had to testify. Other officials may decide to disobey DDT’s orders to ignore subpoenas with this court ruling. Executive privilege may still allow witnesses who refuse to answer questions.

In recent protection for DDT, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants an investigation into Joe Biden and son Hunter. He tweeted:

“If a Republican was in the same position, they’d certainly be investigated!”

Several people, including Sen. Sean Maloney (D-NY), is taking Graham up on his offer. Maloney responded that he was delighted “to talk about how the kids of powerful people benefit from their parents’ officeholding,” including “Donald Trump Jr., Eric, Jared and Ivanka.” Others chimed in with names such as Andrew Giuliani, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Bush offspring, and Bill Barr’s daughter and son-in-law.

Anti-impeachment advocates are pleased by a recent CNN poll showing that only half the country thinks that DDT should be not only impeached by the House but also removed from office by the Senate. In 1998, the highest polling to remove Bill Clinton from being president was 29 percent, and the House GOP majority voted to impeach that year. Twenty percent more of the population think that DDT should be removed. The percentage of people wanting Richard Nixon removed didn’t climb to 57 percent until the Supreme Court ordered him to give up his audio tapes. 

Only recently have a few documents about DDT’s actions toward Ukraine begun to dribble out. Republicans, many of them terrified to cross DDT, repeat Russian propaganda even when some Fox news hosts correct them. They continue to stand by their false defenses for DDT’s criminal actions of bribery and extortion. 

1. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president was appropriate.—Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

2. There was no quid pro quo.—Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) although all the testimony to the House disagreed

3. The July 25 call was inappropriate but not impeachable.—Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) who also said that DDT commits these kinds of actions all the time 

4. Trump was expressing his opinion on the July 25 call.—Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

5. Even if there was a quid pro quo, it wasn’t a “corrupt” quid pro quo.—Sen. John Neeley Kennedy (R-LA) who also echoes Russian propaganda arguing points.

6. Even if there was a quid pro quo, this happens in foreign policy.—Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who ignored that the “quid pro quo” was for DDT’s personal benefit and not for that of the United States

7. Trump was unaware of the quid pro quo.—Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) although the testimony showed he is wrong

8. Trump is incapable of a quid pro quo.—Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), a position that he got from the Wall Street Journal editorial board

9. Trump’s public call for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens was not serious.—Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) although DDT didn’t say he was “joking”

10. Interpreting Trump’s actions amounts to “differences of opinion.”—House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

11. The whistleblower complaint was based on hearsay.—Graham, despite all the first-hand testimony

12. The whistleblower complaint was inaccurate.—House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), despite testimony from people who heard the July 25 call

13. The whistleblower has a political bias.–Scalise

14. The whistleblower is part of the “deep state.”—Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) although the intelligence IG declared it credible.

15. The impeachment inquiry is a secret and unfair process.—Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) about the process passed by Republicans in 2015

16. Trump has no due-process rights.—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) although impeachment does not guarantee these rights and DDT hasn’t been charged with anything

17. Ukraine said there was no pressure.—Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) about a country afraid of not receiving vital aid

18. Ukraine did not agree to any investigations.—Jordan ignoring the facts

19. Ukraine did not know the security aid was held up.—Jordan, disproved by testimony and documents

20. Ukraine ultimately got the security aid.—Scalise refuting the fact that attempted actions are impeachable

21. Impeachment is a coup d’etat.—McCarthy about constitutional procedures

22. Democrats wanted to impeach Trump as soon as he was inaugurated.—Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-OH) lying about the fact that a majority of House Democrats didn’t support impeachment until after the July 25 call

23. Sondland never directly heard Trump mention Ukrainian security aid.—Turner, despite Sondland’s testimony that there was a quid pro quo

24. It’s the media’s fault.—Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ignoring DDT’s actions

25. It’s Obama’s fault.—Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) although President Obama gave Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars in military support 

26. DDT told Giuliani to run a shadow policy team because he’s “ a great crime fighter” and a “friend.”—DDT  

DDT said he fired Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine because she “wouldn’t hang my picture in the [U.S.] embassy [in Ukraine].” Her legal team explained, “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.” A report in 2017 stated that pictures of DDT and Pence weren’t being displayed because the Government Publishing Office did get images from the White House. The White House said that DDT and Pence hadn’t decided when to sit for the portraits.

The two major “fake” defenses: the impeachment isn’t fair, and DDT isn’t impeachable.

November 25, 2019

More Impeachment News

Although the impeachment inquiry may be moving onto writing articles of impeachment, the bad news for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to pour out.

Lev Parnas, associate of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has given the House Intelligence Committee audio and video recordings and photographs. Giuliani used Parnas to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas said he acted as translator as part of a “team” regularly meeting in Washington’s Trump International Hotel about spreading conspiracy theories among key Ukrainians. Team members included Giuliani, journalist John Solomon who spread the conspiracy theories through such media as The Hill, and married attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing who appeared on Fox for the same purpose.

Joseph Bondy, Parnas’ lawyer, said that his client worked for over a year with Giuliani to find damaging information about the Bidens while DDT and GOP members of Congress pushed false information that Joe Biden intervened in a Ukrainian criminal investigation and Ukraine meddled to the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton. After the 2018 election, while Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was still chair of the Intelligence Committee but before the Democrats took over the House, he visited former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in Vienna who promoted the conspiracy theories. Because they would have to tell House Intelligence Adam Schiff (D-CA), Nunes’ aides called off this year’s trip to Ukraine where he planned to interview two former Ukrainian prosecutors about evidence helping DDT’s reelection campaign. Instead, Parnas set up the meetings with the two men over phone and on Skype.

Nunes is the first congressional member thus far who is directly implicated in the Ukrainian scandal. He first denied any meetings and then said he didn’t want to talk about the situation. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chair of the Armed Services Committee, said that Nunes may face an ethics investigation about the possibility of this meeting. Nunes says that he will file a lawsuit against CNN and The Daily Beast for their articles about his alleged meeting. Mark Sumner has a timeline of Nunes’ sycophantic behavior since DDT’s inauguration.

Western leaders, including then-VP Joe Biden, ousted Shokin in 2016 because Shokin wouldn’t pursue corruption cases. No evidence exists that the Bidens acted inappropriately or that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Almost a year ago at DDT’s Hanukkah party in the White House, DDT met with Giuliani and associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and asked them to undertake “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas and DDT have had at least eight meetings since 2014, including photo-ops and attendance at high-dollar fundraisers.

Giuliani’s recent subpoenas list allegations of money laundering as well as obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person, allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, mail fraud, and wire fraud. His involvement with Kremlin-connected Russian oligarchs, Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky, led to DDT’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, perhaps the catalyst for DDT’s impeachment inquiry. Energy tycoon Firtash offered to find dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for fighting extradition to the U.S. on bribery and racketeering. The convoluted relationships among people involved in promoting conspiracy theories is available here. Executives of the Ukrainian state-run gas company are cooperating with Giuliani’s criminal investigation.

Anticipating DDT trying to save himself by rejecting his private lawyer, Giuliani plans to protect himself. For the second time, Giuliani has bragged about having “insurance”:

“I’ve heard things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance.”

Giuliani tried to cover up his statement by claiming humor or another type of evidence against the Bidens, but his statement sounds like a threat.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may also be in trouble after newly released documents implicate him in connection with Giuliani regarding the Ukrainian bribery scam. Almost 100 pages show repeated contacts between Giuliani and Pompeo starting last spring. A lawsuit forced the release of the records showing that Pompeo had at least two phone calls with Giuliani in March during the time that DDT’s private lawyer was trying to oust Yovanovitch. The next month, Pompeo ordered her removal. According to the documents, the State Department sent congressional members a deliberately misleading reply about her departure that “reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador,” according to Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. Earlier, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified, “Everyone was in the loop.”

A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release records about DDT’s withholding military aid to Ukraine. The 211 pages include communications between the Pentagon, its comptroller, and OMB. The first half are due by December 12, and the second by December 20.

When DDT became confused about who he should fire on the reality show The Apprentice, producers would engage in “retroactive narrative construction” to justify DDT’s statements. Now his staffers and agency officials face the same dilemma for his actions caused by his alternative realities, recently freezing the military aid to Ukraine with no legal rationale. Hundreds of documents show a frantic search for after-the-fact justification about the legality of the funds’ freeze. 

In Fox, Ken Starr, chief investigator of President Clinton for his impeachment, said:

“We now know that the president in fact committed the crime of bribery…I think articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up…. I think we’ve known that, it was just confirmed today [on Wednesday].”

Starr also said he wondered if senators would ask DDT to resign “in light of what we’ve heard today” from Sondland.

DDT’s biggest problem with Ukraine is the election of Volodymyr Zelensky for president last spring. The losing candidate, incumbent Petro Poroshenko, had agreed to drop investigations into DDT’s former campaign manager in exchange for anti-tank missiles, the Javelins, from the U.S. Before the Ukrainian election and accompanied by associates Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani met with key Poroshenko official, prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko, at least twice. Poroshenko agreed to announcing investigations into the Bidens and Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election for electoral help with a state visit to the U.S. John Solomon started writing articles with false information from Lutsenko in March with these claims and a smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, then-ambassador to Ukraine.

Poroshenko lost in a landslide on April 21, and DDT had to find an alternative route for his goals. DDT attacked Zelensky because he thought the new president might really oppose corruption instead of pretending to do so in an effort to please DDT. Without corruption by Poroshenko and Lutsenko, DDT needed a new game plan.

DDT’s latest strategy has been to bribe his jurors, an illegal practice in courts throughout the United States. He started out by transferring money from his campaign to those of four vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection. Then top White House officials secretly met with GOP senators to strategize the limiting of the impeachment trial, comparable to juries meeting accused criminals in their trials. They may have agreed to two weeks, long enough to look honest but short enough to not damage DDT. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already promised that DDT would be acquitted. Jury tampering also includes free lunches, specifically with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) who have sometimes been critical about DDT’s actions. Romney went so far as to describe DDT’s asking foreign countries to investigate Joe Biden as “wrong and appalling.”

Upping the ante, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other officials hosted over 40 GOP House members for overnight stays at the presidential retreat Camp David before any impeachment vote—at taxpayers’ cost. DDT doesn’t like the rustic setting so he avoided the hiking, bowling, skeet shooting, campfires, and friendly talk, but he called in during the dinners to compliment them. The representatives were impressed. DDT has met with or reached out to over half the GOP House members since the launch of the impeachment inquiry and given 50 of the 53 senators lunch with him.

With the goal of discouraging people who think that DDT should be impeached, Republicans are quoting new polls indicating that the majority doesn’t support his impeachment. Fivethirtyeight.com, which has conservative results, posted that 56.8 percent think that DDT committed an impeachable offense. Even more, 77.3 percent think that DDT asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, and 63.5 percent think that the action is inappropriate. Almost 60 percent believe that DDT tried to cover up his actions with Ukraine.

November 22, 2019

GOP, DDT Acting like Russian Assets

Impeachment testimony has concluded—perhaps. Republicans argue that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had to investigate “corruption” in Ukraine because they were responsible for meddling in the 2016 election. Testimony refuted this conspiracy theory, but Republicans cannot give up support for this falsehood that was created by the Russians

Today, the public discovered that Republicans have known that Russia has pushed the “fictional narrative” of Ukraine’s responsibility for meddling since early 2017—and that senators were briefed on the Russian security services’ disinformation campaign by Russian security services. Ukraine didn’t do the hacking during the 2016 election: Russia did. Russia’s aim was to increase discord among adversaries, and Russia succeeded. Russia’s intelligence officers told prominent Russians and Ukrainians, who then told U.S. political figures and journalists unaware of the origin. U.S. intelligence agencies told senator about this campaign, and the Republicans ignored the information. Reporters Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg wrote:

“That muddy brew worked its way into American information ecosystems, sloshing around until parts of it reached Mr. Trump, who has also spoken with Mr. Putin about allegations of Ukrainian interference. Mr. Trump also brought up the assertions of Ukrainian meddling in his July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into whether he abused his power by asking for a public commitment to investigations he stood to gain from personally.”

Despite information that their conspiracy theories about Ukraine are false, GOP House members insisted on bringing it up in questioning with no evidence to support their false theories. In his call to Fox and Friends this morning, DDT again pushed the Russian propaganda. Even those ultra-conservative hosts looked and sounded dubious, one of them asking if DDT is sure of the debunked theory that the FBI gave a Democratic server to what DDT falsely called a Ukrainian-owned company. The hosts of Fox and Friends didn’t look pleased by their interaction with DDT. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/fact-check-trump-s-false-claims-about-ukraine-dnc-server-n1089596   DDT falsely claimed, “[The FBI] gave the server to CrowdStrike … which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.” CrowdStrike is the California-based cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC to investigate a breach. The investigation showed that it was a Russian hack to create chaos, discord, and disruption of the 2016 election. Publicly traded on the Nasdaq, Crowdstrike’s biggest shareholder is Warburg Pincus who has personal ties to DDT. One of CrowdStrike’s founders, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian-born U.S. citizen, who often consults with the U.S. government on cybersecurity. Common practice in investigations is to digitally copy physical servers to preserve the information as evidence. The DNC has decommissioned 140 servers and rebuilt 11, related to 2016. The RNC also used CrowdStrike after it was hacked. This falsehood from DDT was one of many during his 53-minute commentary on Fox and Friends. 

During his colloquy, DDT admitted that he shook down Zelensky for the military aid:

“We’re looking for, why should we be giving hundreds of millions of dollars to countries when there’s this kind of corruption?”

Congress passed the law with the military aid, and DDT signed it. DDT admitted he wants to prove that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 election to help his reelection campaign. To help DDT’s re-election, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appears to be initiating an investigation into Joe Biden.

During her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Fiona Hill, formerly a Russia expert from the National Security Council, spoke about the false GOP fringe notion:

“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. I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternative narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.”

With their refusal to accept the truth and their continued claim that Ukraine was the meddler in the U.S. election, Republicans are joining DDT as Russian assets, weakening Ukraine and the U.S. while strengthening Russia. The right wing tried to slime her because of her British accent—she’s a coalminer’ daughter. She told them that she comes from the same area as George Washington’s ancestors. Accused of being a “Never Trumper,” she nevertheless defended him whenever possible. Sondland described Hill as “emotional,” but her demeanor during the hours-long questioning debunked his attempt to destroy her testimony. The GOP lawyer Steve Castor ended up in a trap with more damning testimony against DDT when he accused her of just being upset. While GOP representatives became more enraged at her during her testimony, she calmly sat there waiting for them to finish. Tim Miller is right by calling her Queen Fiona for her testimony. His full account is well worth reading. 

Earlier in the week, Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the EU and one of the “three amigos” on DDT’s shadow policy team to circumvent official appointees for Ukraine, saved himself and testified against the concept of a “rogue diplomacy” with Ukraine. Fox’s Chris Wallace summarized Sondland’s testimony:

 “[Sondland] took out the bus, and he ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney—he implicates all of them.”

Sondland said that he followed DDT’s orders when he talked to Ukraine about investigations, that there was a quid pro quo, and that “everyone was in the loop.” Pence tried to deny any knowledge, but Sondland testified that weeks before the July 25 phone call he specifically told Pence he “had concerns” about how the military aid to Ukraine “had become tied” to the investigations. Sondland also said that he had no choice but to work with DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. DDT spent the day denying Sondland’s testimony, repeating “I want nothing.” He even wrote a speech about it with his Sharpie in case he forgot the words. DDT then refused to take any questions from reporters. Pence’s office said Sondland lied. More details about Sondland’s testimony this week.

About Sondland, Hill testified, “He wasn’t coordinating with us because we weren’t doing the same thing that he was doing. He was being involved in a domestic political errand. And we were being involved in national security foreign policy.”

Pentagon Ukraine-Russia expert Laura Cooper testified that Ukraine met all of legal corruption elimination thresholds months before DDT froze the military aid and that the DOD had certified the funds before May. A claim is that DDT doesn’t want to send money to corrupt countries—at least those that don’t personally benefit him—but the military aid for Ukraine had built-in conditions to prove it has undertaken anti-corruption reforms.

The right also smeared Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the fired NSC specialist on Ukraine, after he testified that DDT’s July 25 call to Zelensky by DDT was inappropriate. Vindman heard the call. Republican attacks on Vindman are so severe that the Army is considering the need to protect Vindman and his family on a military base.

DDT complains about not having any witnesses, but two GOP witnesses testified this week. Tim Morrison, former NSC official, testified that he immediately went to NSC lawyer John Eisenberg after he heard the call and said the transcript should be restricted to hide it from the public. Morrison suggested that DDT’s July 25 call be restricted because of the “political” ramifications” if people knew about it. After White House lawyer John Eisenberg hid the transcript—which has not been completely released—in the highest classified system, Morrison said Eisenberg said that this placement was a “mistake … and administrative error.” Later Morrison said that Eisenberg told him “I gave no such direction.” Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, the other GOP witness, changed his earlier testimony to say that he now remembered Sondland had brought up the Burisma/2016 election investigations at the July 10 meeting in the White House with a Ukrainian delegation.

Takeaways from Week Two:

  1. President Trump was directly involved in directing the investigations into Ukraine.
  2. Contrary to what Mulvaney stated in the White House briefing room, it is virtually unheard of for the president’s political interests to have an effect on foreign aid.
  3. Interfering in aid to Ukraine may have put Ukrainian lives at risk and strengthened Russia’s hand in the region.
  4. Ukraine knew in May that DDT was pressuring them. 
  5. Pompeo refuses to defend the people who work for him in the State Department. 
  6. Leading federal GOP officials and lawmakers continue to act as assets for Russia to protect them despite their knowledge that Russia, not Ukraine, meddled in DDT’s election.
  7. Giuliani is still bragging about working on the same investigations in Ukraine. 
  8. Pompeo’s and Mulvaney’s refusal to testify make DDT look even guiltier.  

November 18, 2019

Open Impeachment Inquiry Hearings: Week One

Open House impeachment inquiry hearings, instigated by a whistleblower, began last week with new revelations about the attempts of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to use his office for his personal benefit. 

Highlights of the week:

DDT’s furious tweets impugning witnesses Marie Yovanovitch and Jennifer Williams that DDT calls “free speech” but resemble witness tampering, a conviction for Roger Stone: Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, described DDT’s smear and intimidation campaign  against her for the past six months, one which made her seek safety in the U.S. and which DDT continued in tweets at the same time that she testified. His goal was to replace her in Ukraine with someone who would carry out his investigation into conspiracy theories to destroy a political opponent. DDT tweeted nothing about George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Bill Taylor, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, instead falsely attacking only two women. While GOP representatives readied themselves to leave the hearing, Yovanovitch (center right) left to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. DDT claimed he “mostly never heard of” Williams, VP Mike Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, although he called her a “Never Trumper.” She heard DDT’s phone call, but he told her to read the transcript. Williams, a career foreign service official, called DDT’s requests to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky unusual and inappropriate, especially when he specifically referred to investigations into the Bidens and mentioned the Burisma gas company.

Direct knowledge of DDT’s corruption in closed-door hearings: After Republican attacked the testimony of Bill Taylor and George Kent for mere hearsay, more witnesses testified about direct knowledge of DDT’s demands for investigation and holding up military aid. Taylor’s staffer David Holmes overheard DDT talk about the investigations in a Kiev restaurant where Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the DU, called DDT on his cell phone. The call began with Sondland’s comment to DDT that Zelensky “loves your ass” and continued with DDT asking if Zelensky was “gonna do the investigation.” Sondland answered in the affirmative and said that Zelensky will do “anything you ask him to.” Holmes heard DDT’s end of the conversation because he was so loud that Sondland held the phone away from his ear. After the call, Sondland said that DDT didn’t “give a sh*t about Ukraine,” only the “big stuff” that benefits himself such as the “Biden investigation” that Giuliani was pushing. Holmes also told about being asked to take notes for a meeting with Sondland and Zelensky’s aide Andriy Yermak before he was not allowed in the room because they didn’t want any note-taker.

Another staffer, Suriya Jayanti, also reported overhearing Sondland’s phone conversation with DDT. Bill Taylor had testified that the reference was to the Bidens and that Sondland told DDT that the Ukrainians “were ready to move forward.”

Senior White House budget official Mark Sandy also testified last week about DDT freezing the military aid to Ukraine. Laura Cooper, the Defense Department official who oversees military aid to Ukraine, had already testified that a senior OMB official had announced this hold on July 18 after all departments and agencies except OMB had signed off on the aid. Receiving no reason for the freeze, Sandy was told to sign the first of several letters freezing the funds for Ukraine, starting on July 25, the same day as DDT’s call with Zelensky. All the other letters were signed by Sandy’s boss, political appointee Michael Duffey, who said he wanted to learn more about the apportionment process. Duffey said on July 26 that the hold “relates to the President’s concerns about corruption.”

Release of new transcripts: Advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, testified that DDT pushed his shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating political opponents. Laura Cooper added that Volker demanded an investigation into specific U.S. citizens, a violation of civil liberties because it’s not based on a suspected crime but pushed by a politician. DDT went beyond an investigation into insisting on prosecutions even if evidence did not warrant them. The testimony shows that, contrary to Volker’s claims, he knew about the links of the quid pro quo as well as the Ukrainians knowing about the ultimatum before Sondland delivered it.

The transcript of Tim Morrison’s testimony describes Sondland’s actions and statements, confirming Sondland’s amendment to his original testimony after he decided he should tell the truth. Gordon Sondland, EU ambassador, operated at DDT’s request and talked to a Ukrainian about exchanging military aid for political investigations to benefit DDT. He told Yermack that if his country did not announce the investigations into the Bidens that DDT would withhold the military aid. Immediately after his conversation with Yermack, Sondland told Morrison that the prosecutor general should publicly announce he was opening the Burisma investigation. Hunter Biden had served on the company’s board while his father was working on Ukraine policy for the Obama administration. Morrison said that he didn’t remember the name “Burisma” mentioned in the July 25 phone call, but Williams, who heard the July 25 call, said that Zelensky referenced the name of the gas company. Morrison said that he told the administration to “restrict access to the package” after hearing the call between DDT and Zelensky but moving the call transcript to a highly classified system was a “mistake.”

Williams’ transcript filled in some details of Pence’s involvement in which she reported on DDT’s phone call with Zelensky and Zelensky’s concern about DDT’s withholding the military aid. She also told Pence about how DDT’s demands would benefit him far more than the country.

Today, the House released two more transcripts, those from David Holmes and David Hale, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. 

Trying to look innocent, DDT released a transcript of his first phone call with Zelensky, which Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), read into the House record. It illuminates more of DDT’s lies. The readout of the call: DDT promises to work with Zelensky to “implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.” The call: DDT’s brief congratulation for Zelensky’s election followed by a discussion of DDT’s ownership of Miss Universe and a vague invitation to the White House. Missing: Mention of general “corruption” or anti-corruption efforts and a time for the invitation. DDT refused to attend Zelensky’s inauguration, instead sending Energy Secretary Rick Perry to cut a business deal benefiting GOP donors in the U.S.

Federal prosecutors are investigating DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for potential campaign-finance violations; failure to register as a foreign agent; crimes with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman who are charged with conspiracy, falsification of records, and lying to the FEC about political donations; participation in removing Yovanovitch from Ukraine because she obstructed Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Biden; and maybe other crimes. Giuliani is also in the midst of a divorce with his wife of 15 years, Judith Giuliani, who said, “I’m sad to know that the hero of 9/11 has become a liar.” A trial is set for January because Giuliani is concealing his income.

An overview of Republicans’ attempts—and lies—to defend DDT:  

  • Ukraine interfered to help Democrats in the 2016 election.
  • Ukraine eventually got the military aid so there was no crime.  
  • Joe Biden is a bad person.
  • Witnesses aren’t credible because they don’t have firsthand information, but they want the whistleblower who didn’t have firsthand information.
  • The direct testimony isn’t related to the inquiry.
  • The impeachment is only about the July 25 phone call, and there’s nothing there.
  • Public hearings are a “sham.”
  • Hearings are boring.
  • The hearings are too hard to understand
  • The Mueller investigation was a fraud. 
  • DDT is too dumb to carry out the corruption.

Nothing on the substance of the inquiry. 

Witnesses in the upcoming week’s open hearings: Gordon Sondland, Jennifer Williams, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman (top National Security Council expert on Ukraine), Kurt D. Volker, Tim Morrison, Laura Cooper, David Hale, and Fiona Hill (a former National Security Council official with expertise in Russia). Mark Sandy will testify if he receives a subpoena. Russell Vought, acting OMB director, and Michael Duffey, OMB’s national security chief, refuse to appear of turn over documents as does acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Unhappy with State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo for months, DDT is now furious because the people Pompeo hired are testifying against DDT. A new Cabinet member may be on the horizon.

Today DDT said that he will “strongly consider” testifying in writing as part of the impeachment inquiry. If DDT can’t tell the truth, he should stay quiet: House investigators are looking into whether he lied to Robert Mueller in his written responses.  

November 10, 2019

Open Impeachment Inquiry Hearings: Follow the Money

Despite frantic tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and vehement denials from GOP lawmakers, the impeachment inquiry proceedings move forward this week with televised hearings. The focus will be on “three interrelated lines of inquiry“:

Did DDT ask a foreign leader for investigations to help his personal political interests, including an investigation into DDT’s political rival and possible opponent in the 2020 election?

Did DDT use the Office of the President to pressure Ukraine for his own personal political interests, including leveraging a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president or withholding U.S. military aid?

Did DDT and his administration try to hide information from Congress and the U.S. people about DDT’s actions and behavior, thus seeking to obstruct, suppress, or cover up information?

In closed-door hearings, GOP representatives tried to avoid these inquiries, for example asking about Marie Yovanovitch’s national heritage. (Her father fled the Soviet Union and then the Nazis; her mother grew up “stateless” in Germany. They moved to the United States when Marie was three.) Other questions tried to whitewash evidence from the Mueller investigation, and one member asked Yovanovitch whether her staff “monitored” the social media account of an alt-right conspiracy theorist who accused a pizzeria as being the site of a fictional Democratic pedophile ring. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), former chair of the Intelligence Committee who leaked information to the White House, questioned the origins of the FBI Russia investigation and pushed accusations of bias in the DOJ.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) gave GOP Intelligence Committee members inquiry parameters for witnesses, but Republicans want to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter by calling them as witnesses. Other GOP witness requests were for Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer; the unnamed whistleblower who DDT and GOP lawmakers are determined to out; the researcher Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS which commissioned a dossier about Russia and Trump; and Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian American who worked with the Democratic National Committee. Schiff said that Democrats would evaluate the GOP requests for witnesses but added:

“[The inquiry] will not serve … as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.”

DDT announced that he will release a “transcript” of an April call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, perhaps hoping that it will wipe out the damaging July 25 extortion call. The public and Congress still have no access to the complete transcript of the July 25 call.

Republicans focused their defense of DDT’s extortion by claiming that former VP Joe Biden secured Hunter Biden’s position on a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, during Joe Biden’s time in the executive branch. Hunter worked for Burisma from 2014 to 2019, sometimes earning as much as $50,000 a month, but extensive investigations found no relationship between Hunter’s job and Joe’s influence. Other attacks on Joe Biden without evidence come from far-right conspiracy theorists evolving from attempts by DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get a corruption inquiry dropped for an associate of Russian organized crime.

Giuliani’s and DDT’s corruption with Ukraine have business purposes indicated by their connection with Lev Parnas, arrested for campaign finance violation and planning to testify before the House. Businessmen used their connections with Giuliani and DDT, hoping to install new board members on Ukraine’s state gas company, Naftogaz, and get lucrative contracts. Part of the scheme, recently resigned Energy Secretary Rick Perry, had proposed a donor as a board member but refused to testify before the House. Sources claim Perry asked DDT to make his July 25 call to Zelensky and represented the U.S. at Zelensky’s inauguration while DDT was still extorting the new Ukrainian president. Federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani.

A loud voice pushing the lie that Joe Biden’s position benefited Hunter came from Donald Trump Jr. On Sean Hannity’s Fox show to tout his new book, Triggered, DDT’s namesake said:

“I wish my name was Hunter Biden. I could go abroad, make millions off of my father’s presidency. I’d be a really rich guy.”  

Supposedly in charge of the Trump Organization, Trump Jr. has repeatedly leveraged political connections for business deals—selling condos in India for a Trump-branded property and fighting to save a Trump property by asking the president of Panama to intervene for him. Taxpayers paid for his travel. China gave a large number of trademarks to Ivanka Trump, who receives about $4 million each year from the DDT-promoted hotel chain, and her husband, Jared Kushner, has sold over $100 million worth of Trump Organization property since DDT’s election.

DDT’s son, Eric Trump, said, “When my father became commander in chief of this country, we got out of all international business, right?” Unbelievably wrong as this article shows. Eric also whined about Hunter’s advantages that are actually those of Eric:

“Money grows on trees, there are no rules, and the press will always cover for you ….”

Trumps’ views on nepotism:

“I like nepotism. I think, you know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, nepotism.’ Usually these are people without children. But I like nepotism.”–DDT

Nepotism is “kind of a factor of life” and a “beautiful thing.”—Eric Trump

As for DDT’s newly-discovered concern for corruption, he, along with Ivanka, participated in a hotel development deal in Azerbaijan, which ranks 152nd out of 180 on Transparency International’s index of the world’s most corrupt countries. The Trumps partnered with the son of the country’s then-transportation minister, Ziya Mammadov, described in a U.S. diplomatic cable as “notoriously corrupt, even for Azerbaijan.” The Mammadov family has been connected to a corrupt scheme involving operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In Brazil, Trump partnered with Paulo Figueiredo, later arrested for his part in diverting pension funds into real estate developments, including the one with DDT. Just a bit of DDT’s corruption.

In a GOP strategy for impeachment inquiry hearings, House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) transferred Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to the Intelligence Committee because of Jordan’s aggressive questioning. Jordan faces possible lawsuits about at least eight ex-OSU wrestlers asserting that he ignored sexual abuse reports while Jordan was an assistant coach at Ohio State University from 1987 to 1995. A male student said Jordan shrugged when he told Jordan about sexual abuse by school doctor Richard Strauss. A recent witness said that Jordan “snickered” when he told Jordan about the abuse. Jordan replied, “I have nothing to do with this” before walking away. Originally, Jordan said he knew nothing about the abuse and then shifted to claim that “conversations in a locker room” aren’t the same. The head coach who Jordan worked for apparently knew about the claims. Defending Jordan, DDT and GOP lawmakers followed their pattern of supporting sexual abusers and their enablers unless they are registered Democrats.  

Strauss was accused of sexually abusing almost 300 men during a 17-year period. Ohio State knows of 1,429 cases of fondling and 47 cases of rape by Strauss, who killed himself in 2005. The most recent lawsuit is the 13th against the school, and an attorney said that this information “barely scratches the surface.”

Republicans are caught in a bind of bribery and blackmail. DDT will campaign against anyone who doesn’t support his every action, and he has promised to give money to senators who don’t appear to be 100-percent behind him. Those who face a tight election and sign a resolution condemning the inquiry as “unprecedented and undemocratic” may receive campaign funds; those who have offended him get nothing.

GOP senators benefiting from DDT’s largesse are Cory Gardner (CO), Joni Ernst (IA), David Perdue (GA) and Thom Tillis (NC). DDT also plans to appear at a reception for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s PAC. Receiving no money, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) not only didn’t sign the resolution but also called for a retraction of his tweet comparing impeachment and “lynching” and said that DDT made a “big mistake” asking China to investigate the Bidens. Martha McSally (AZ) was also overlooked in DDT’s gifts because she won’t use WinRed, the DDT-endorsed online fundraising site.

For the 2020 election, 22 Republican senatorial seats are up for election, and the GOP senators on the ballot are behind in fundraising. In the first ten months of the 116th Congress, Jonny Isakson (GA), Mike Enzi (WY), Pat Roberts (KS), and Lamar Alexander (TN) announced that they won’t run for re-election in 2020. About DDT’s donations to some of the GOP senators, Richard Painter, George W. Bush’s top ethics lawyer, tweeted:

“Any other American who offered cash to the jury before a trial would go to prison for felony bribery. But he can get away with it? Criminal.”

DDT and GOP lawmakers sent out a hue and cry for public hearings—until they were announced. Now Republicans use the same decibel level to decry the public hearings that start this week. Follow the money.

November 7, 2019

GOP Impeachment Strategy: Lies, Smears

News about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)’s impeachment inquiry keeps dribbling out:

The Government Accountability Office is investigating DDT for possible law violation by withholding Ukraine aid with no supporting policy. In a legal review, the Pentagon concluded that congressionally approved funds must be released and expressed concern that the aid would expire last September 30 if not released.

DDT wanted Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to support DDT’s conspiracy theory by linking that false belief in Ukrainian interference for the 2016 U.S. elections with the word “Clinton,” according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Gordon Sondland had told Tim Morrison about DDT’s wishes. More testimony from Kent from this transcript: 

Rudy Giuliani, DDT’s personal lawyer, orchestrated a “campaign of lies” against Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, with “assertions and allegations … without basis.”

Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, may have lied about Ukraine-related discussions he had with DDT. Fiona Hill, the top Russia expert on the National Security Council, told Kent about her concerns that Sondland “made assertions about conversations that did not match with what had actually been said.”

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, wielded power over Ukraine policy and controlled the military aid designated for Ukraine. “[Mulvaney] put a hold on all security assistance to the Ukraine,” Kent testified.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kent’s boss, failed to back up Yovanovitch and lied about investigators trying to “bully” diplomats into testifying.

After Zelensky’s aides decided that they had to take sides in U.S. politics to get the vital military aid against Russian aggression, Ukraine was saved by leaks about the freeze on military aid and DDT’s extortionist July 25 phone call. Zelensky’s speech to agree with DDT’s demands was scheduled for September 13 on CNN after the news broke.

In an exploration of what VP Mike Pence knew about the scandal, his aid Jennifer Williams, testified about the July 25 call, which she heard. She said it was political in nature and didn’t understand why the military aid was not being released. She did believe that it might be tied to an investigation into the Bidens. Her notes from the call went into Pence’s folder.

Pompeo has worked hard to stay out of the limelight, but witnesses are moving the Klieg lights toward him about his mistreatment of his staff in favor of pleasing DDT. His three taxpayer-supported trips to Kansas recently indicate he might bail out from DDT’s administration; a Senate seat is open.

AG Bill Barr finally refused to do something that DDT wants: Barr won’t hold a press conference to declare that DDT broke no laws during his phone call with Zelensky.  The DOJ is even distancing itself from DDT, saying that it won’t endorse the withholding of military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an its investigation into the Bidens. Barr has also separated himself from Giuliani.

During today’s Roger Stone trial, jurors heard tapes of his lying under oath to the House about his involvement with hacking by Wikileaks and communication with a former radio host and comedian, supported by texts and emails from Stone. Charged with making false statements to the committee and committing obstruction of justice and witness tampering, Stone also lied about talking with DDT. One text to the comedian, who denied Stone’s claim that he was the intermediary with Wikileaks, from Stone read, “Prepare to die … You are a rat.”

Giuliani admitted DDT’s extortion in a tweet that was followed by his conspiracy theories about the Bidens:

“The investigation I conducted concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption, was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges, that kept changing as one after another were disproven.”

The same Republicans who expressed fury about closed House hearings now say that they won’t be watching the open hearings in the coming weeks—too busy, at their day jobs, hearings are “political,” etc. This video shows Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) excuse for his demanding impeachment in Bill Clinton’s refusal to submit subpoenas and exonerating DDT for the same action. Hint: it doesn’t hold water. Also, the highly incensed Republicans crying “unfair” about closed hearings aren’t bothering to attend them even if they can. Those who do, spend their time asking unrelated questions, complaining about the process, and planting information about the whistleblower. For Sondland’s testimony, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-1.

Republicans may have difficulty spinning these acts:

DDT suspended the military aid himself by ordering Mulvaney to tell budget officials that the funds were frozen, perhaps permanently—one week before his phone call extorting Zelensky. Officials were told not to tell members of Congress about the frozen aid.

Giuliani publicly confirmed the whole plot at DDT’s direction and to personally benefit DDT. Giuliani said, “I don’t do anything that involves my client without speaking with my client.”

Those texts explain of Sondland’s confession that he directly informed a top aide to Zelensky that “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” That was DDT’s demand of a public statement from Zelensky exonerating Russia of electoral sabotage and falsely implicating in corruption.

Pence directly delivered the message about suspended aid to Ukraine and told him he needed to do more to fight “corruption” on top of demands by Sondland and Giuliani.

Former Florida AG Pam Bondi has been added to DDT’s impeachment team after it dumped former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). She will have “special government employee” status, meaning that, as a part-time employee, she won’t have to meet the regular ethics rules and continue her outside work. The ethics deal helps Bondi because she has a checkered career. Six years ago, DDT’s now defunct charitable foundation, legally prohibited from donating to political campaigns, paid her $25,000 immediately before Bondi dropped investigation of solid allegations against the “Trump University.” This morning, Bondi called Jared Kushner “one of the smartest human beings” she’s ever met.

DDT claims that he’s done nothing wrong, but he refuses to turn over Bill Taylor’s notes to the House, blocks as many people as possible from complying with legal subpoenas, and conducts a “witch hunt” to find the whistleblower reporting his phone call with Zelensky. 

One of DDT’s recent strategies to distract people from his crimes and impeachable offenses is a concerted effort to out the whistleblower who alerted everyone to the July 25 phone call. After making demands on the media to follow this order, his sycophants comply with possibly legal violations of a law to keep whistleblowers’ identities confidential, preventing retaliation. Conservative press, however, named a person, and Donald Jr. retweeted the name from Breitbart News. Jack Prosobiec, responsible for publicizing the conspiracy theory of Pizzagate about Democrats involved in a child sex abuse ring leading to a shooting in a restaurant, originally came out with this name for the whistleblower that he said “sounds like” the person.  

By Monday’s campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin with DDT, fellow Kentuckian and GOP Sen. Rand Paul violated the Hatch Act and then demanded the release of the whistleblower’s name, a violation of another law. Yesterday, Paul blocked a resolution to protect whistleblowers although Libertarian Paul supposedly fights for privacy. The identity of the person—even the person’s testimony—has lost all relevance after the number of witnesses appearing in House hearings, but it’s a diversion.

Next week, open House hearings for the impeach inquiry, called a “partisan clown show” by DDT, open with Bill Taylor, who testified about two different quid pro quos from DDT and his abuse of Marie Yovanovitch. Testimony will include highlights of how Giuliani is in charge of foreign policy regarding Ukraine. In his earlier testimony, Taylor also said that getting the military aid released was difficult because of “the Greenland question, about purchasing Greenland, which took up a lot of energy in the NSC.” Taylor said that a meeting with DDT was “hard to schedule.”

DDT claims that he’s done nothing wrong, but he refuses to turn over Bill Taylor’s notes to the House, blocks as many people as possible from complying with legal subpoenas, and conducts a “witch hunt” to find the whistleblower reporting his phone call with Zelensky. DDT tries to hide everything he does.

The one success DDT can claim is pleasing Russia. Showing the fiasco of the lying to defend Republicans, a Russian commentator said that DDT is “making Russia great.” She continued:

“The chaos brought by Trump into the American system of government is weakening the United States. America is getting weaker and now Russia is taking its place in the Middle East. Suddenly, Russia is starting to seriously penetrate Africa… So when they say that Trump is weakening the United States—yes, he is. And that’s why we love him… The more problems they have, the better it is for us.”

Russia predicts another win for DDT in 2020. DDT is giving Vladimir Putin everything he wants and more.

November 5, 2019

Impeachment Evidence Piles Up

Congressional testimony is creating a disastrous picture of extortion by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) as four transcripts have been released and Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, reversed earlier testimony to admit the existence of a quid pro quo. He now admits that he told one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers that “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” Earlier, Sondland had said that the only quid pro quo was Zelensky’s invitation to the White House. Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, had testified that Sondland warned Zelensky aide Andrey Yermak that the security assistance “would not come” unless Zelensky openly promised an investigation into Burisma, an energy company where Hunter Biden had held a board position.

Today, Congress released transcripts from Sondland and Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine. Parts of these transcripts:

Sondland: He suggested that the quid pro quo “doesn’t sound good” and is probably illegal. His original statement claimed that he didn’t know in May that the Giuliani’s attempt for Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden although the media widely announced this at that time.

Volker: Undercutting Sondland’s testimony, Volker said Giuliani pushed “debunked” conspiracy theories, that Giuliani’s intent was for quid pro quo, including an investigation into the Bidens, was obvious. Giuliani gave DDT the idea that Ukraine was out to get him, according to Volker’s conversation with DDT who told Volker to talk to Giuliani. And Giuliani has announced that he works for DDT who is directing the Ukraine operation. Volker also testified that he sent a Ukrainian official DDT’s script for Zelensky to read, a statement that included an investigation into the energy company that employed Hunter Biden and a conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s interfering in the 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Volker said:

“I agreed with the Ukrainians they shouldn’t [issue a statement mentioning the Bidens and 2016], and in fact told them just drop it, wait till you have your own prosecutor general in place.”

Before the release of the transcript, Republicans claimed that his testimony was good for DDT. The transcripts don’t show anything positive for the GOP and DDT’s argument. Transcripts from both men indicate that they believe DDT wants the investigations into the Bidens for only his personal benefit.

The first two transcripts from the impeachment inquiry emerged yesterday, testimonies of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Yovanovitch: DDT forced her out of her job in May and called her “bad news” during his July 25 phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. She also she felt threatened by DDT’s comments that “[Yovanovitch is] going to go through some things” and was warned about “nervousness” in the White House endangered her “security.” She also reported concerns expressed by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov about the danger of Ukraine being forced into U.S. domestic politics. (Ukrainian defense official Oleksandr Danyliuk expressed concern to Yovanovitch’s replacement, William B. Taylor, about Zelensky being used as a “pawn” for Trump’s reelection campaign, according to Taylor’s testimony.) Yovanovitch said Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland urged her to tweet her support for DDT to help save her job. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/468910-five-takeaways-from-the-first-trump-impeachment-deposition-transcripts   She expressed concern and confusion about DDT’s private secretary Rudy Giuliani pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter and the unfounded involvement of Ukraine in the U.S. 2016 election interference.  

Yovanovitch also testified that two people from Florida, Lev Parnas and Ignore Fruman, wanted her removed as ambassador for their personal business reasons. Giuliani was Parnas’ lawyer, and both men were indicted last month. Acting assistant secretary of state Philip Reeker told Yovanovitch after she returned in May that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he “was no longer able to protect her from President Trump.” When she asked Pompeo for a statement of support, he denied her request because because it could be “undermined” by DDT “with a tweet or something.”

McKinley: He defended Yovanovitch’s tenure and spoke out against DDT’s efforts to “procure negative political information for domestic purposes” and “what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance political objectives.” He said that he also resigned because of Pompeo’s refusal not to publicly support Yovanovitch after the July 25 call. Four senior officials wanted to issue a statement of support, but Pompeo blocked it even after he had three conversations with Pompeo. [Pompeo said (lied?) to ABC that McKinley never asked for this statement of support.] McKinley also agreed with George Kent that officials asked to testify in the impeachment inquiry were bullied by the State Department to not give testimony. Although McKinley did not oversee Ukrainian issues and didn’t hear the July 25 call, he agreed that DDT’s political allies politicized the State Department as over testimony alleged. He cited Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker. In 47 years working for the State Department, McKinley said he had never seen the agency involved in getting damaging information about the president’s political opponents. 

Pompeo has a serious issue with his undying loyalty to DDT over his employees and his responsibilities. As CIA director, Pompeo knew the evidence about Russian hackers interfering in the 2016 election on behalf of DDT and testified in support of that conclusion in 2017. Now Pompeo supports DDT’s investigation into the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the DNC to help Clinton, not DDT. He was the one who helped DDT and Giuliani to oust Yovanovitch with false accusations. State Department officials have been talking to congressional offices for months about the hold on Ukraine military aid, an attempt to cut $4 billion of foreign aid, and DDT’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Testimony against him described his “culture of harassment and impunity.” Like DDT, Pompeo prioritizes his personal ambitions over the United States’ national interests.  

Breaking with DDT and Giuliani, Lev Parnas now plans to talk to congressional investigators looking into impeachment, perhaps because DDT said he didn’t know him although their photos together go back at least five years. Yet DDT “signed off” on the lawyer for Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman, the same lawyer who had defended Paul Manafort. Parnas has fired that lawyer in exchange for new ones who said that Parnas will comply with a congressional subpoena. Parnas knows Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine to support DDT and the ways that illegal foreign donations are laundered to DDT and the GOP.

Jennifer Williams, a senior adviser to VP Mike Pence, will probably testify in Congress this week. She was one of the people listening to DDT’s July 25 call with Zelensky when DDT asked for a “favor” in return to releasing the military aid and requested that Zelensky work with AG Bill Barr and Giuliani on investigations into the Bidens.

DDT is openly asking Republicans to doctor the transcripts of the testimonies. He tweeted that they “should give their own transcripts of the interviews to contrast with Schiff’s manipulated propaganda. House Republicans must have nothing to do with Shifty’s rendition of those interviews.”

An under-reported and truly bizarre piece of the impeachment inquiry comes from DDT’s and conservatives’ conspiracy theory about emails centering on CrowdStrike. The House GOP campaign organization uses this California cybersecurity company to protect its sensitive data and has no plans to change. Yet DDT and some House Republicans accuse CrowdStrike—with no evidence—of conspiring with Democrats in the 2016 election in a Ukrainian-backed intelligence operation to hurt DDT’s winning the White House. DDT still maintains that the hacked DNC server is hidden in Ukraine. Continuing to hire CrowdStrike shows that the GOP knows that the conspiracy theory is wrong, yet Republicans continue to blame CrowdStrike for election interference.  

Continuing the conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election, Giuliani met last week with a theory perpetrator, former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko. In spite of congressional investigations, it appears that soliciting Ukraine to investigate Biden and other Democrats hasn’t stopped, and some Ukrainian lawmakers are still looking into their conspiracy theory about a government campaign to smear Paul Manafort as part of taking down DDT in 2016. In his shadow foreign policy operation to damage DDT’s rivals, Giuliani had met with Telizhenko other times. Telizhenko had worked for Ukrainian businessman Pavel Fuks, a potential partner in DDT’s unsuccessful attempt to build a hotel in Moscow.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may represent the GOP approach toward an impeachment trial in the Senate: he won’t be reading the transcripts and called the probe “a bunch of BS.”  

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote in a statement, “Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought.” It’s a delusion. The transcripts show a quid pro quo, Ukrainian knowledge about it, and DDT directing the extortion scheme.  

October 25, 2019

‘Quid pro Quo’ Review

About 30 GOP House members, so desperate about evidence against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the impeachment inquiry, behaved like thugs this past week when they pushed into a closed-door committee; forced out Laura Cooper, a top Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy who was preparing to testify; illegally compromised sensitive information by using their cellphones; and tried to record the proceedings for DDT. They delayed the proceedings for five hours, ordering they pizza and fast food before leaving a mess to be cleaned up. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who earlier threatened DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen if he testified, bragged about leading the group. Like a mob boss, DDT urged them to carry out their illegal activities and then praised them.

GOP representatives claimed that their objection was the secrecy of the process, but 47 of them have access to the closed-door depositions but don’t take advantage of this opportunity. Thus far, not one of them has leaked any positive information about DDT from the testimony—which they would if it were available. When former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy from South Carolina ran the mostly secret hearings about Benghazi, he said, “Private [hearings] always produce better results.” 

Not a trial, Impeachment inquiry proceedings are comparable to a grand jury, held in secret to determine if a person should be indicted. The Senate holds the trial if the House votes in favor of impeachment; Republicans will then be in charge to call DDT’s witnesses. On Fox & Friends, GOP legal analysis Andrew Napolitano explained to Brian Kilmeade how the Democrats are following congressional regulations:

“I read the House rules. The hearings over which Congressman Schiff is presiding … are consistent with the rules…. They can’t change the rules, they follow the rules. And when were the rules written last? In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner. And who enacted them? A Republican majority.”

In evidence that DDT lied about wanting to combat corruption in Ukraine, he tried to cut foreign aid programs that would combat corruption in Ukraine and other parts of the world. On Fox News Sunday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tried to support DDT’s false claim by claiming that he held up the aid because of rampant corruption in Ukraine although he had earlier claimed that the money was held up for political purposes. That was just before he said he didn’t say that. [visual Mulvaney – Sure we’re crooks cartoon 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wouldn’t back up DDT’s false claims that McConnell called the DDT’s version of the July 25 extortion telephone call “the most innocent phone call he’s read.” McConnell said he does not remember any conversations with DDT about the Ukraine phone call or the subject of Ukraine.

DDT got lies from Kahyap Patel, a protégé of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who formerly chaired of the Intelligence Committee and fed information from hearings to DDT. Fiona Hill, who testified about Ukraine to the House last week, said that DDT thought Patel was in charge of Ukraine policy for the National Security Council instead of Tim Morrison who replaced Hill in early September. Patel’s name has appeared in several depositions about DDT’s shadow foreign policy campaign to get political favors from Ukraine. Nunes’ top staffer, Patel also discredited FBI and DOJ officials investigating Russia’s election interference.

A breakdown of DDT’s quid pro quo:

State Department officials Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland testified about a May 23 meeting with DDT when he refused to invite Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. Sondland said DDT “directed those of us present . . . to talk to Mr. Giuliani . . . about his concerns.”

Volker met with Giuliani on July 19 and testified that “he mentioned both the accusations about Vice President Biden and about interference in the 2016 election.” Giuliani said he wanted “Ukraine to investigate what happened in the past.”

Volker worked with Zelensky top aide Andrey Yermak to set up the July 25 phone call between Zelensky and DDT. On the morning of July 25, Volker texted Yermak to lay out the quid pro quo: “Heard from White House-assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington. Good luck!” During the call, Mr. Trump requested investigations of both the DNC server hacking and Biden; Zelensky promised to comply in exchange for a visit to the White House.

Giuliani called Volker and Sondland about Zelensky’s pending White House visit. Volker testified that “Mayor Giuliani then said he believed the Ukrainian president needed to make a statement about fighting corruption, and that he had discussed it with Mr. Yermak.” Giuliani said that the Ukrainians’ draft statement about corruption was too “generic” and demanded a “specific reference to ‘Burisma’ and ‘2016.’ ” (Joe Biden’s son Hunter was associated with the gas company Burisma.) Volker changed the statement per Giuliani’s requirements. Yermack accepted the statement but said that the declaration won’t be released until a confirmation of the date for Zelensky’s visit to the White House.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified about the demand for the public statement. Sondland told Taylor he had heard about the requirement directly from DDT and that DDT wanted “everything,” including military aid to Ukraine, tied to the country’s leaders’ commitment to investigate Democrats, the 2016 election, and Burisma. Taylor stated that DDT “wanted President Zelenskiy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.” Mulvaney declared that he had held up the military aid in exchange for the Ukrainian investigations. Mulvaney may be right that the government exchanges “favors” all the time, but using favors to help just DDT is illegal.

Ukraine learned that the $391 million military aid was being held up in early August although DDT denied it, but pressure on Zelensky started before his election last spring. DDT also delayed trade privileges with Ukraine with former national security adviser John Bolton warning the White House’s trade representative to withdraw any action benefiting Ukraine.

Taylor said that Sondland told him on September 8 about a conversation with Zelensky, based on a talk with DDT, that Zelensky needs to “clear things up” in public to end a “stalemate,” meaning that Ukraine would not get the “much-needed military assistance” to fight Russia. Zelensky said he couldn’t promise investigations of Biden and the Democrats, the statement “was shelved,” and Zelensky’s visit was canceled. The military aid, far earlier authorized by Congress, was released on September 11 after public outcry. The House Democrats announced an investigation into the reasons behind the blocking of the military aid and possible connection to help DDT’s reelection campaign. 

The July 25 phone call between Zelensky and DDT was in the midst of a three-month quid pro quo process with specific, repeated demands to Ukraine for political investigations which were orchestrated by DDT’s personal lawyer. Taylor testified that State Department Mike Pompeo was an integral part of the quid pro quo process. A federal judge gave DDT 30 days to release documents related to Ukraine, including communications between his personal secretary Rudy Giuliani and Pompeo. Giuliani’s communications are subject to public disclosure because he doesn’t work for the government.

Philip Zelikow, a history professor at the University of Virginia, explained DDT’s crimes and cited 18 U.S.C. § 201(b), that any public official who “corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for… being influenced in the performance of any official act” is breaking the law. Zelikow added that things of value don’t need to be tangible to fit the bribery law.

The Bulwark cited the GOP shifts for DDT defenses: 

  • The quid pro quo wasn’t real because only the U.S. knew it existed.
  • Maybe both sides knew about it, but it was never enforced.
  • Because the quid (withholding military aid) was illegal, then by definition it couldn’t have been an actual thing.
  • Maybe it was illegal and maybe both sides knew about it and maybe it was enforced, but executive authority allows all of this.
  • Maybe executive authority doesn’t actually allow any of this, but the impeachment process in the House was tainted, so whatever the Senate thinks of Trump’s actions, they’re duty-bound to acquit him because they have to think about future precedent.

Because Republicans have no real defense for DDT’s actions, they wail and gnash their teeth about impeachment not being “fair”—although impeachment about Bill Clinton’s affair was fine because he is a Democrat. To understand the GOP definition of fair, think about their behavior toward Democrats for the past four terms.

More information about GOP corruption comes from Giuliani’s “butt dialing.” On October, he was overheard raving about his need for hundreds of thousands of dollars and referring to “Robert” who is in Turkey, possibly Robert Mangas who is a registered agent of the Turkish government and a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig, Giuliani’s former employer. Mangas provided an affidavit in the case of Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, charged in the U.S. with laundering money; his lawyer Giuliani had tried to persuade Turkey’s president to release the trader and and then sought help from DDT. In another butt-dial 18 days earlier, Giuliani railed against the Bidens with non-stop false allegations that he used for demanding investigations, a focus for the House impeachment inquiry into DDT.

With associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani worked with Ukrainian officials to get damaging information about DDT’s targets such as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the Bidens. DDT’s lawyers are now claiming that Parnas has “executive privilege” because Giuliani also works for DDT. At this time, the public doesn’t know whose interests Giuliani represents—or even which country.

If DDT wants to investigate, he should look inward.

October 6, 2019

Week 141 – Whistleblower Complaints Expand

Filed under: impeachment,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:37 PM
Tags: , ,

Last Thursday, a federal judge ordered the White House to keep evidence dealings that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has with foreign leaders, including those with Ukraine that have fueled the current impeachment inquiry into DDT’s actions. Judge Amy Berman Jackson said to preserve “all records of efforts by White House or other executive branch officials to return, ‘claw back,’ ’lock down’ or recall White House records” about dealings with foreign officials. The DOJ promised that it had already taken steps to secure the records, but Jackson issued an unusual order to maintain the records with any violation resulting in sanction or criminal charge for contempt of court. The order seems to directly cover DDT because the “defendants” in the lawsuit are only the Executive Office of the President and President Donald J. Trump.

DDT’s telephone call transcripts could make for good reading, according to the worry expressed by his aides, some of them “genuinely horrified” according to Washington Post journalists. Of concern were promises that might not be kept, policies in opposition to the U.S. positions, critical alliances jeopardized because of diplomatic blunders, or pressures for a personal favor.

DDT:

  • (Ukraine) Pressured the president into investigating the Bidens to get promised military aid and meet with him.
  • (Russia) Fawned over Vladimir Putin while knowing that he interfered in the 2016 election and asked for help in making friends with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.
  • (Saudi Arabia) Pledged to help the monarchy enter the G7, the world’s leading economies that share democratic philosophy. (Russia was excluded in 2014 for violating international law after invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea.)
  • (Peru) Promised to send them a C-130 military cargo plane overnight.
  • (Ukraine) Pressured the president into investigating the Bidens to get promised military aid and meet with him.
  • (China, Turkey) Struck a cozy tone with authoritarian leaders.
  • (Philippines) Praised the president who killed thousands of suspected drug dealers without judicial involvement by telling he was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”
  • (Japan) Begged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to recommend him for a Novel prize.
  • (UK) Harangued Prime Minister Theresa May about money for NATO and refuted her intelligence community’s conclusion that Putin’s government had orchestrated the attempted murder and poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil.

The first whistleblower who filed a complaint on August 12 and the second person with firsthand knowledge supporting the first one are no longer alone. The person’s attorney said that “multiple” whistleblowers have come forward. Meanwhile, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) hid out at his golf course yesterday and the White House today. Friday, DDT tweeted that his extortion of Ukraine “this has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens.” By Sunday, he tweeted that he wants to run “against 1% Joe Biden” and his family were “PAID OFF, pure and simple!”

Seven possible DDT criminal actions in the Ukrainian scandal:

  • Campaign Finance Violation: Seeking something of value exceeding $25,000 (a felony) for his reelection from Zelensky.
  • Bribery: A public official seeking “anything of value” for influencing a public act.
  • Honest Services Fraud: Performing an official act in exchange for personal gain.
  • Extortion: Threatening a person for a payout.
  • Witness Intimidation: Obstructing an impeachment inquiry.
  • Obstruction of Justice: Hiding records from an investigation.
  • Conspiracy: Agreeing with others to commit any of the above crimes.

The only defense of DDT on Sunday shows came from congressional GOP members and DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who sent contradictory explanations. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) shouted over Chuck Todd’s questions on Meet the Press to vehemently cite anti-media messages from Fox-generated conspiracy theories that reject knowledge from U.S. intelligence agencies, finishing with how DDT “adamantly denied” any quid pro quo. On Fox, Giuliani argued that DDT “has every right to ask countries to help us in a criminal investigation that should be undertaken.” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) used the line that DDT’s request for an investigation from China wasn’t “a real request” but dodged questions. Earlier Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed that DDT was only joking about the call for an investigation. Explaining the GOP support for DDT, a former administration official said, “Nobody wants to be the zebra that strays from the pack and gets gobbled up by the lion.”  

Two lesser known people, unofficial envoys reporting to Giuliani, have set up meetings for him with top Ukrainian officials. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns and used DDT to tout a new business to sell natural gas in Ukraine. They are part of the conspiracy claiming that Ukraine tried to rig the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton. Donations may have been funneled from foreigners. GOP lawmakers struggling with the Ukrainian scandal had expressed the wish that Giuliani would disappear.  

DDT plans to use Energy Secretary Rick Perry as a patsy to cover himself and VP Mike Pence. Although DDT claims that Perry encouraged him to make the July 25 call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the Energy Department said the encouragement to talk about energy matters, a subject not in the call according to DDT’s summary. Perry said about his conversations with Zelensky, “Not once as God as my witness, not once was a Biden name—not the former vice president, not his son ever mentioned.”

People indicate that they are tired of the word “unprecedented,” but DDT, with his massive number of lies and legal violations, fits the term. His pressure on Ukraine to investigate his opponent in a probe that has already exonerated Joe Biden may go beyond his other “unprecedented” actions. Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat who worked for Democratic and Republican administrations, tweeted about DDT’s calling on China to investigate Biden:

“This is a first in American history dating to 1789. An American President has asked our strongest adversary, a communist dictatorship, to investigate his major opponent. Let that sink in. It is corruption—morally and legally wrong.”

Four historians—Texas A&M’s Elizabeth A. Cobbs, Arizona State’s Kyle Longley, Colorado School of Mines’ Kenneth Osgood, and the University of Texas at Austin’s Jeremi Suri—agreed they’ve “never seen anything like” this DDT scandal in their investigation of books about the first 44 presidents and how they conduct U.S. foreign policy:

“Nothing really surprises us anymore.

“Until now.

“Trump’s documentary record differs dramatically from his predecessors. A worrisome thread runs through each conversation. Trump appears laser-focused on his own fortunes to the exclusion of the national security of the United States. Unfortunately, this is part of a larger and startling pattern of Trump promoting his personal agenda ahead of the nation’s interests.”

Their piece was published the day before DDT appealed to two foreign governments from the White House South Lawn to attack his political opponent. DDT creates uncharted territory.

DDT’s phone calls aren’t his only legal and impeachment problems. Acting Inspector General Rich Delmar, an independent watchdog at the Treasury Department, is examining why the IRS rejected requests from Ways and Means Chair Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) for DDT’s tax returns. Delmar said he didn’t know whether his inquiry will consider a complaint from a whistleblower that someone tried to improperly influence the IRS’s audits of DDT. Neal said the federal employee had “credible allegations of ‘evidence of possible misconduct’ – specifically, potential ‘inappropriate efforts to influence’ the mandatory audit program.” Neal is suing in federal court to enforce a subpoena for the records under a 1924 law allowing the heads of Congress’s tax committees to examine anyone’s private tax information. A district court has a scheduled November 6 hearing by DDT’s lawyers to have the case dismissed, and Delmar is stalling to investigate the complaint. The DOJ is also trying to delay the process.

The complaint was filed months ago, but the public didn’t learn about it until recently. The person claimed that at least one Treasury Department political appointee tried to interfere with the annual audit of DDT’s or VP Mike Pence’s tax returns. Once again, DDT claimed that the secondhand information was meaningless, but an inquiry can locate firsthand evidence. The whistleblower said that he followed his supervisors’ advice to ask for an investigation of the complaint. DDT has continually lied about reasons for not releasing his tax returns as all other presidents have done in the past.

The impeachment inquiry has driven DDT into a mad frenzy as shown by his supposed press conference with Finland’s President Saulli Niinistö on October 2. During the fiasco, DDT accused Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on the left of having a mental breakdown about “a call that didn’t take place” in reference to the July 25 telephone call with Zelensky that he had already discussed. The Finns are now convinced that DDT is a fool. Niinistö’s classic comment to DDT was “Mr. President, you have here a great democracy. Keep it going on.” DDT won’t do it; that responsibility is left up to the people of the United States.

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