Nel's New Day

December 11, 2019

Impeachment on Its Way

Well, the House Judiciary Committee really did it. They really prepared articles of impeachment against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The two articles seem brief, but they are clear—representing his corruption since his inauguration.

Article One charges DDT with abuse of power because he “solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election .. through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.” The charge added that DDT tried to pressure Ukraine “for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit … and compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”  The charge proceeds with specific details about DDT’s corrupt actions and includes Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign to elect DDT.

Article Two charges DDT with obstruction of Congress after he “directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with … subpoenas [to testify]” and refused to provide documents requested through subpoenas despite the U.S. Constitution giving the House “the sole Power of Impeachment.” Both Nixon and Clinton impeachments used the argument and this defiance is an impeachable offense. According to the charge:

“In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.”

Bribery was not included because the criminal charge would end up in debate about statutory elements and judicial precedents. Impeachment does not require a specific crime.

Republicans have called for dragging out the impeachment, but House Intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff stated that time is of the essence to keep DDT from continuing his calls for 2020 election interference.

The impeachment inquiry came four days after the release of the second House impeachment inquiry report, this one 52 pages, from the Judiciary Committee. Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted:

Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted:

“President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment.”

After the report was released, the White House counsel told House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to “end this [impeachment] inquiry now,” indicating that he thinks the executive branch is in charge of impeachment. DDT also refused to send lawyers to the committee hearings.

Two days later both Democratic and Republican lawyers testified and answered questions before the Judiciary Committee. Monday’s hearing was a lot of hot air with Republicans focusing on process because they had no defense against the substance of DDT’s corruption. The GOP lawyer, Stephen Castor, used Russian propaganda to push the conspiracy theory about Ukraine meddling in DDT’s election and referred only on the July 25 telephone call, ignoring the senior federal officials who testified about a quid pro quo. Castor could only claim that Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky’s said that he felt no pressure. Zelensky was actually pressured into saying what he did because DDT holds the winning hand in a “power disparity.” Castor also claimed that Joe Biden isn’t a legitimate political opponent for DDT and implied that DDT was too incompetent to carry out corruption of foreign policy, an earlier GOP talking point. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) argued that people in the U.S. are doing fine so there should be no impeachment inquiry. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), rabid DDT supporter, may be breaking with him. About DDT’s private secretary Rudy Giuliani traveling to Ukraine this week to find “dirt” on the Bidens, Gaetz said:

It’s weird that he’s over there. It would seem odd having him over there at this time.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper avoided answering Chris Wallace’s question about whether military aid to Ukraine was held up because of political reasons. Sounds like a yes—from DDT’s GOP appointee.

According to Daniel Larison in The American Conservative, “The Case for Impeachment Is Overwhelming.” He concluded:

“Members of the House have been given a simple test of their fidelity to the Constitution. Are they enablers of presidential abuse of power and corruption, or will they do what their oaths of office require of them and hold a corrupt president in check?”

The ultra-conservative caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) keeps sticking with DDT by claiming that Giuliani is “over there [in Ukraine] as a citizen” and that Giuliani should bring anything “inappropriate” to Congress. DDT, who claims he didn’t tell Giuliani to go to Ukraine, has already said that he wants Giuliani to take his discoveries to the House. On CNN, host Dana Bash cut down Meadows’ Russian propaganda after 15 minutes. Meadows also pushed the argument that DDT accidentally named his political rival’s son, Hunter Biden.

DDT said that Giuliani got “a lot of good information” on Biden during his trip to Ukraine, and Giuliani said DDT told him to brief Congress. Barr has told DDT that Giuliani is a liability for him.  One of Giuliani’s meetings in Kyiv was with Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker, formerly a pro-Russian party member and son of a KGB officer. Derkach attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow.

Zelensky is doing exactly that DDT said that he wanted—wiping out corruption. One of the at least 569 prosecutors who Zelensky plans to fire is Kostiantyn H. Kulyk, who gave Giuliani ammunition in the form of false information. Zelensky’s new prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, is auditing former investigations into the owner of Burisma, the energy company employing Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Anti-corruption activists believe that the probe will not show any corruption on the part of Hunter Biden because the alleged self-dealing of Burisma’s owner predates Hunter Biden’s relationship with the company. 

Tonight the House Judiciary Committee met to “markup”—in short, to address—the articles. The event was quieter than the earlier ones, but the same defense kept appearing. A popular GOP defense of DDT beyond conspiracy theories is not sending military aid to countries with corruption. Yet DDT hasn’t blocked military aid to Iraq and Afghanistan, countries receiving tens of billions of dollars in the 21st century. The research group Security Assistance Monitor reported that, in its examination of 36 countries receiving U.S. counterterrorism, 24 of them “posed serious corruption risks.” None of them has faced investigation—perhaps because they are not connected to any of DDT’s political opponents.

President Obama was concerned about providing military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to oppose Russian attacks. With his departure, DDT requested, and Congress complied, providing anti-tank missiles in addition to security aid to protect themselves from Russia. DDT did not concern himself with corruption. Last spring, two months before DDT suspended aid and talked about corruption to Ukraine, the Pentagon praised Ukraine’s “substantial” progress in tackling corruption. U.S. provides military aid to a avoid sending large forces overseas. DDT froze the $391 million to Ukraine for his personal benefit.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney won’t testify, but he’s still giving media interviews. This week, he said that “politics can and should influence foreign policy.”

Over 522 prestigious legal scholars have signed an open letter stating that DDT committed “impeachable conduct” and lawmakers would be justified in voting to remove him from office. The letter also stated:

“Conduct need not be criminal to be impeachable. Impeachment is a remedy for grave abuses of the public trust.”

The latest “reason” to close down the impeachment is that it will “hurt people’s Christmas experience.” Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and former acting AG Matthew Whitaker have been spreading this concern through state TV (aka Fox). Gingrich may have forgotten that, as House Speaker, he led his party through a 14-hour debate before passing two impeachment charges against Bill Clinton—on December 19, 1998, a Saturday. The votes were largely partisan with some GOP defectors: perjury (228-206) and obstruction (221-212). Gingrich, involved in an extramarital affair while pushing Clinton’s impeachment for an extramarital affair, resigned because Democrats picked up five seats. He supported Dennis Hastert (R-IL) for House Speaker who was later convicted for evading bank reporting requirements while bribing the men who he had sexually molested when they were teenagers.   

The members of the House Judiciary Committee return tomorrow for debate. If they vote in favor of the articles, the entire House could vote as early as next week–maybe in time for the 21st anniversary of the vote to impeach Bill Clinton.

 

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.

September 25, 2019

DDT Joins Netanyahu, Johnson under Fire

Dictator Donald Trump calls himself a dealmaker, but his offers look like a “mob shakedown,” to use the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer (R-NY). In his hatred for President Obama, he tore up U.S. deals with foreign governments on climate, denuclearization, trade, etc. DDT’s lackluster speech before the UN repeated in almost monotone his position of “America First,” rejecting any cooperation with slowing down the climate crisis or negotiating with any democratic countries throughout the world. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez lamented that the U.S. had put into question the positive “international agreement reached with the Iranian regime … for the peace and security of the world” and that DDT had declared his former EU allies as national security threats to put tariffs on their exports. DDT has succeeded in standing alone: Sánchez echoed German and French leaders to move away from the U.S. superpower, intensified by “the new position of this U.S. administration.”  

While DDT pushes his isolationist position, he wants the world to join him against Iran to stop countries from circumventing his harsh sanctions. By endorsing “patriotism over globalism,” he rejects any international law supporting the ideals of democracy and human rights, claiming that nationalism and sovereign rights are the best practice. While DDT presented himself as the leader of “religious freedom,” he rejects any religion except fundamentalist Christianity. He described only Iran and China as his enemies, but human rights are much worse in his personal allies of Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, and Egypt. Even the State Department admits that Saudia Arabia has no freedom of religion, but DDT wants the Saudi money. Because the focus of the UN summit was Climate Action, he spent only 14 minutes sullenly viewing the proceedings (above)

Today, however, was largely focused on DDT’s telephone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the whistleblower complaint about the possibility that DDT violated a number of laws. DDT told Zelensky that the U.S. had been “very, very good” to Ukraine before he asked Zelensky to work with AG Bill Barr and lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to “look into” Joe Biden, DDT’s political opponent. Following Zelensky’s comment about buying Javelins from the U.S., DDT asked Zelensky “to do us a favor though.” After Zelensky expressed willingness to make an investigation, DDT offered to invite him to the White House, something that he had refused to do since Zelensky’s election in May.  

DDT’s also asked Zelensky to look into the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike that investigated Russia’s cyberattacks on the DNC with DDT’s assumption that someone in the Ukraine has a non-existent “missing” server from the DNC that can exonerate Russia’s involvement. DDT also claimed that Hillary Clinton’s emails might be located in Ukraine.

Pretending that the call is about stopping corruption in Ukraine before DDT releases funding appropriated by Congress for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression, DDT ignored a letter sent to four congressional committees in May of this year. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood “certified that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption [and] increasing accountability.” Instead, DDT’s reference to “corruption” is only domestic, focused at a campaign opponent.

Today’s events after DDT released his version of the Zelensky telephone call:

  • Following yesterday’s unanimous Senate vote for DDT to release the whistleblower complaint, 421 House members voted in favor of the resolution. Two Republicans—Louis  Gohmert (TX) and Thomas Massie (KY)—voted present.
  • DDT released the complaint to both House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It includes not only concerns about DDT’s covert extortion on the telephone call but also the way that the White House mishandled records of the communications. According to the whistleblower, other witnesses exist.
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to pass a resolution denouncing an impeachment inquiry by a vote of 231 Democrats and one Independent opposed against the 193 GOP members in favor.
  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called on Barr to recuse himself from DOJ involvement in the Ukraine scandal because DDT “dragged the Attorney General into this mess.”
  • The White House accidentally emailed talking points to defend DDT to Democratic members of Congress and their staff their talking points to defend DDT. Once the mistake was discovered, the White House asked Democrats to return the email.
  • DDT concluded his day with another rambling, largely monotone speech that repeated his “witch hunt” claim from the Mueller investigation.
  • At the end of DDT’s press conference with Zelensky, he said that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), elected by the membership until January 2021, is no longer the Speaker of the House and claimed that she isn’t “interested in guns and gun protection and gun safety.” The House has passed three major gun safety bills that GOP Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) refuses to allow on the Senate floor.
  • Zelensky didn’t know that his side of the conversation would be made public.
  • DDT called Zelensky last April to work with Giuliani on investigations.
  • The whistleblower complaint has been declassified and available for the public, probably tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow, Congressional members will see the complete report from the Inspector General with corroborating information.

Sources reported that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, in the job for fewer than six weeks, threatened to quit if DDT forces him to stonewall Congress during tomorrow’s testimony regarding a whistleblower complaint about DDT. Maguire got the job after DDT refused to allow DNI’s deputy director, Sue Gordon, into the senior position. As a Michigan congressman, Maguire leaked sensitive information like a sieve. [Note: both Maguire and DDT denied that Maguire offered to resign.] Maguire is scheduled to appear before both House and Senate Intelligence Committees tomorrow.

With beauty in the eye of the beholder, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) followed DDT’s talking points and scoffed at the accusation that the released transcript of DDT’s conversation with Zelensky was extortion and called it a “nothing burger.” On the other hand, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called the memo “very troubling.” Instead of being a verbatim transcript of the 30-minute telephone call from a recording, the selective five-page summary that DDT released supposedly comes from notes and memories of officials in the Situation Room, and a cautionary note explains that a number of factors “can affect the accuracy of the record.” Readers can look at the summary and make their own decisions about the content.

David Nakamura wrote that DDT went from “America First” to a “me first”:

“At a gathering of world leaders in New York this week, President Trump decamped to one of his own properties, complained that the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged against him, feuded with a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist—and, on Wednesday, defended himself against the disclosure that he had asked a foreign leader to investigate a political rival…

“Trump repeatedly trashed Biden, suggesting it was the former vice president who had inappropriately pressured Ukrainian officials to help his son’s business dealings—despite evidence to the contrary.

“Meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday, Trump also faulted former president Barack Obama for allowing Russian-backed forces to invade and occupy the Crimea region of Ukraine. A day earlier, in his 37-minute address to world leaders in the United Nations’ distinctive green-marbled chambers, Trump made no mention of Russia’s malign behavior, including Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“’What we’re seeing in the [Ukraine] transcript is that he is clearly putting his own interests over the interests of the United States,’ said John Bellinger III, who served as a lawyer on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. ‘There are so many things he could have talked about, such as Russian interference in Ukraine, but all Trump wants to talk about is investigating a political rival.’

“As [Zelensky] pressed him to visit the country, Trump reflected on his time as the owner of the Miss Universe pageant. ‘We had a winner from Ukraine,’ Trump said, ‘and we got to know the country very well in a lot of different ways.’”

The House needs to investigate DDT’s behavior because Barr refuses to do so from the DOJ.

In other parts of the world:

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 28 days to form a governing coalition of 61 parliament members. Netanyahu has only 55 at this time, and the question is whether he can pick up six from the other 65 who may be dug in against him. Without a position as prime minister, Netanyahu can be prosecuted for bribery, fraud, and corruption.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in New York City when the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled that his suspension of Parliament until October 14 was illegal because his action frustrated its ability to “carry out its constitutional functions.” Parliament is back and furious because Johnson won’t follow the law to find a deal before the UK leaves the European Union. Johnson’s opposition immediately called on him to quit, but he promised that the UK will not be a part of the EU after Halloween. The court’s ruling shows that the executive does not have unfettered power. Last week, the EU rejected three proposals for alternative arrangements to Brexit, and it will consider a fourth this week.

Three world leaders: Israel’s Netanyahu is terrified, UK’s Johnson is bullying, and U.S.’s DDT is deflated.

September 24, 2019

Ukraine: DDT’s Road to Impeachment

A new Nixon era has been introduced: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that six committees will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in response to allegations that he tried to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain. The impeachment committee process against Nixon, lasting almost eight months, was completed over 25 years ago at the end of July with recommendations for articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. Nixon resigned less than two weeks later.

Pelosi directed the chairs of the committees investigating DDT to send their best cases for DDT’s impeachable offenses to the Judiciary Committee to lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment. That committee’s investigation already focused on Robert Mueller’s findings and DDT’s personal profits from state and foreign governments’ spending. An inquiry is the first step to a vote to charge DDT with high crimes and misdemeanors. Before Pelosi’s announcement, 149 House Democrats and one Independent, formerly a Republican, called for DDT’s impeachment; the number has increased since then.

Pelosi said:

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections…

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

The impeachment impetus came from allegations that DDT violated the law in his refusal to release a whistleblower’s complaint about DDT’s “promises” to a foreign country and his pressure on Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for corruption while withholding almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression.

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee entered the fray by inviting the whistleblower to a closed session by Friday and interviewing the intelligence inspector general who wanted to release the complaint to Congress as required by law. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unexpectedly permitted a vote on Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) consent resolution to release the complaint to the Intelligence Committee that unanimously passed.

VP Mike Pence’s complicity in DDT’s apparent extortion and bribery plot comes from the transcript of his press conference in Poland when Pence said that he had talked to Zelensky about DDT’s “financial support in great detail.” Pence added that DDT “had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.” Over three weeks ago, Pence spread the same story that DDT and Rudy Giuliani are trying to promote.

DDT’s shifts about Ukraine keep dribbling out: 

  • DDT said he didn’t talk to Zelensky about Joe Biden.
  • DDT said he talked to Zelensky about corruption but not Biden.
  • DDT said he “might” have talked about Biden in the “beautiful conversation with Zelensky”
  • DDT said that he talked about the $250 million military aid in the conversation but didn’t connect it to Biden.
  • DDT forgot to mention that he gave Ukraine an extra $140 million after talking with Zelensky about investigating Biden; that information came from Zelensky’s announcement. 
  • DDT said, “Who wouldn’t speak to your son? Of course, you spoke to your son.” [Evidently DDT talked to his son about the June 2016 meeting with Russia to get dirt on political opponent Hillary Clinton.] 
  • DDT said he connected the money designated for Ukraine to the talk about corruption: “Why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”
  • DDT said he didn’t pressure Zelensky to investigate in exchange for the money, but that if “a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair right now.” [Actually, an investigation exonerated Biden of any wrongdoing, but DDT isn’t as lucky. DDT typically projects his behavior and crimes onto others. DDT’s only concern with “corruption” in Ukraine has been about Joe Biden.]
  • DDT told budget officials to block military aid for Ukraine three days before his telephone conversation with Zelensky and ordered officials to tell lawmakers that the delays were an “interagency process” with no additional information.
  • DDT said he didn’t tell anyone to withhold the funding to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression. (He did.)
  • DDT said he did withhold the funding but because NATO countries didn’t give Ukraine money. (They already are.)
  • DDT said he might give the telephone call transcript to a “respected source” so “everyone will say” his conversation with Zelensky was perfectly fine, much like Nixon’s offer to give his audio recording to a hard-of-hearing conservative senator for a summary.
  • DDT said that he will release the full transcript to the public tomorrow.

A timeline of the events in this debacle.

After Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) met with Zelensky in early September, he reported that Ukraine’s president“directly” expressed concerns that “the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence” of his unwillingness to launch an investigation into the Bidens. Murphy said that any demand from a U.S. president provides “an implicit threat” with “consequences.”

In mid-August, lawmakers discovered that acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney took control of the Ukrainian aid from the Defense and State departments in a possibly illegal action that blocked money authorized by Congress. At the same time, the whistleblower filed a complaint about DDT and Ukraine to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is covering for DDT, avoiding answers about the telephone call with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press and with Jake Tapper about the difference between business dealings for Biden’s son and DDT’s family. Mnuchin said that following federal law in releasing the whistleblower complaint to Congress would “set a terrible precedent” with the current administration.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who claimed he was looking for “dirt on Biden,” claimed that the State Department sent him to talk to Zelensky’s right-hand man, Andriy Yermack. In doing so, he might avoid prosecution under the Logan Act which criminalizes a private citizen’s attempt to intervene without authorization in disputes or controversies between the U.S. and foreign governments. His statements leave him open to prosecution for bribery and extortion conspiracy because he has no immunity. The Hobbs Act defines extortion as “obtaining property from another, with his consent, under color of official right,” according to Barbara McQuade. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act criminalizes the act of a U.S. citizen to corruptly offer “anything of value” to a foreign official to retain business or influence an official decision. Giuliani clearly acts on the part of DDT to persuade Ukraine to “investigate” a political opponent, illegal under federal law that blocks a person from soliciting, accept, or receiving a “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national in connection to a U.S. election and prohibits a foreign national from the same act. Damaging information fits the definition of a “thing of value.”

Giuliani’s stories change as swiftly as those from DDT:

  • Last week, Giuliani said, “I did what I did on my own, and then I told [Trump] about it afterwards. Because I’m his lawyer.”
  • Over the weekend, Giuliani told the Washington Post, about DDT, “I don’t do anything that involves my client without speaking with my client.”
  • Monday, Giuliani told Sean Hannity, about his meeting with Yermack, “I wasn’t operating on my own. I was operating at the request of the State Department.”

Giuliani is left hanging out to dry. DDT asked Zelensky eight times to talk to Giuliani, and the State Department said that that it didn’t ask him for help:

“Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government.”

On Sunday, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he approved of Giuliani “inserting himself in foreign affairs” and pressing Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, possibly encouraging Giuliani to break the law.

Because the law does not designate what to do if the DNI violates the law by not releasing the complaint, experts think that the IG, who wants to provide Congress with the complaint, is in charge of delivering the complaint. Jesselyn Radack, a national security lawyer, said that “the DNI cannot countermand the inspector general’s determination.” The DNI, however, consulted the DOJ, another violation of the law, whose opinions are “considered to be binding.” Employees of the executive branch can’t be prosecuted for not doing what the White House demands, but they can be fired, according to a former DOJ official.

Repubicans argue that they don’t know the facts but that DDT’s actions with Ukraine aren’t wrong because the people who want to know the facts are speculating. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claimed that DDT didn’t talk to Zelensky about Joe Biden—after DDT said that he talked to Zelensky about Biden. The media has the same confusion about how to defend DDT after he admits to extortion by saying “So what if I did?” Republicans and DDT have spread around the blame—Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Ukraine, the whistleblower, the media—or just saying that DDT did nothing wrong by trying to blackmail Ukraine. It’s all part of the coverup pattern for DDT’s sole concerns, his reelection in 2020.

Failing to stop Pelosi’s impeachment plan by offering to release the transcript of the Zelensky telephone call, DDT called the Speaker to “work something out” with “this whistleblower complaint.” She said, “Tell our people to obey the law.” He should have listened to aides who told him not to call Zelensky.

September 20, 2019

DDT: Week 139 – Self-Serving, ‘Quid pro Quo’

The whistleblower debacle about a troubling “promise” from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has exploded—at least in the mainstream media. During a July telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, DDT told him eight times to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden for corruption. Tightlipped Director of National Intelligence Joseph MacGuire is keeping his mouth shut about why he doesn’t follow the law to give the complaint to Congress, but DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has no problem talking about the situation. Last night, he told Chris Cuomo on CNN that he asked Ukraine to look into Joe Biden and that he didn’t ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden—in back to back answers. Last May, Giuliani said about his pressuring Ukraine to help DDT get reelected that it wasn’t “illegal” although “somebody could say it’s improper.” This follows the Russian scandal about a foreign government’s interference in a U.S. election. Now Giuliani—and perhaps DDT—are asking for intervention from another foreign government. The exchange and Giuliani’s meltdown are here.

Giuliani is as much of a con as DDT; he’s just not as good at doing it, which says he’s really bad in what he does. Here’s a timeline between May 2, 2019, when Giuliani and DDT pushed the scandal against Biden, and September 13, 2019, when DDT gave up on the blackmail and released the Congress-approved $250 million to Ukraine. The trail of breadcrumbs leads from the whistleblower to Ukraine.

Trying to hide his activities, DDT stopped the bipartisan practice of publishing “readouts,” official descriptions of his telephone calls with world leaders in June. People in the U.S. learn about his calls only through the foreign press, for example this week’s calls to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Without a U.S. readout, foreign leaders shape the narratives, and DDT demonstrates his level of paranoia.

Giuliani’s admission makes him a co-conspirator in the situation, possibly a federal crime. The day after DDT’s call with Zelensky about investigating Joe Biden’s son, U.S. Special Representative Kurt Volker met with Ukrainian leaders. Soon after, Giuliani was sent to Spain to meet with one of Zelensky’s closest associates, Andriy Yermack. As DDT delayed appropriated military aid for Ukraine, Giuliani explained the quid pro quo—literally “something for something”—when he told Yermack,  “Your country owes it to us and to your country to find out what really happened.” Giuliani was referring to Ukraine’s investigation into corruption about Joe and Hunter Biden’s involvement with a gas company and Joe Biden’s advocacy for firing a Ukrainian prosecutor overseeing an anti-corruption probe of the company’s owner. The next prosecutor general said he found no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. Giuliani said his goal is to make sure Biden doesn’t become president without answering for the problems in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine for Russia. What would stop DDT from promising Putin he’ll give Ukraine to Russia if he gets elected in 2020?  https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/giuliani-raises-alleged-corruption-joe-biden-and-son-whistleblower  Giuliani’s latest scam to please Fox is declaring that Biden took $1.5 billion out of China. 

DDT’s diversion for the Ukraine blackmail scandal is sending an unspecified number of troops to protect oil in Saudi Arabia despite no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks. He’s also punishing Iran by putting sanctions on its central bank.

NRA, Republicans, and DDT are avoiding any gun safety legislation, but Colt announced that it will no longer manufacture rifles, including the AR-15, for civilian use.

Brett Kavanaugh stays in the news as NYT reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, authors of a book investigating his scandals, said that Kavanaugh agreed to talk to them if they publicly lied for him. His offer was to provide background information in exchange for a claim in the book that he declined to be interviewed. Authors of The Education of Brett Kavanaugh refused his offer and therefore did not speak with him about the book. Kavanaugh isn’t commenting on the matter.

In late December, most voters polled by the research firm Perry Undem believed Kavanaugh had lied about his teenage years. Forty-nine percent had a largely unfavorable impression of him, as compared with the 29 percent who had a favorable one. Thirty-five percent said the Senate did the right thing in confirming him; a close 41 percent disagreed. A poll from Perry Undem found that 57 percent of voters said Kavanaugh lied under oath and that, except among “self-identified Republicans and white men (both minorities of the electorate),” most voters believed Christine Blasey Ford over Kavanaugh. Every time I look at Kavanaugh’s photos, I think about his pushing his penis in a young woman’s face—that the NYT called “harmless fun.” 

On tonight’s Bill Maher show, both Maher and Andrew Sullivan defended Kavanaugh with the claim that his behavior came from teenage bad choices. They skipped over the fact that he lied under oath in all his confirmation hearings and now asks writers to lie in a book about him. The GOP talking point is blame the victim. It’s a man’s world even when women are doing the attacking.

One might wonder if DDT is trying to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by retweeting a lie that she celebrated the anniversary of 9/11. The video he copied came from a Congressional Black Caucus event on 9/13. Twitter didn’t take down the tweet because it was from the man in the Oval Office. When DDT copied the originator, Terrence Williams, he called him “a very highly respected conservative pundit” with “half a million followers” on Twitter. DDT has made Omar the target by millions of racist white supremacist followers who believe everything DDT says.

DDT has been ordered back to court, this time by a New York state Supreme Court justice who wants a videotaped deposition for a civil suit about a 2015 occurrence between protesters and DDT’s security guards. Plaintiffs claim that DDT’s guards assaulted them on the sidewalk outside the Trump Tower when they demonstrated against DDT’s calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals.”

Although DDT pretends he’s concerned about homeless people, but he admitted that his reason for “rounding up” homeless people in California cities and dropping them into government facilities is that foreign investors may not want to rent or buy real estate if they see homeless people. Last July, DDT told Tucker Carlson that homelessness started only two years ago but he had cleaned up the problem in Washington, D.C. The city has a slightly larger homeless population than San Francisco.  DDT is looking out for the 30 percent of the former Bank of America tower in San Francisco and properties in Los Angeles that he owns. He is so concerned about pollution going into the ocean from the homeless people that he plans to have the EPA cite San Francisco for environmental violations. DDT made this announcement shortly after he blocked California from restricting pollution from automobile exhaust and sued four car manufacturers for voluntarily cooperating with the state’s clean air rules. 

Republicans claim states’ rights as part of their policies, but DDT is removing California’s right to set tailpipe pollution rules stricter than federal regulations. To do so, he will revoke a legal waiver granted to the state by the 1970 Clean Air Act, an act that affects 13 other states comprising one-third of the auto market. DDT wants the change now to defend his legal right to undo emissions regulations in the Supreme Court before the 2020 election. Twenty-three states have joined California in its 60th lawsuit to stop DDT’s administration from blocking states’ authority to set higher emission standards than the U.S. for cars and trucks.

The Feds cut the interest rate another 0.25 percent to 1.75 percent—bad news for retirees and savers—and the stock market went down. Ten of the 17 Fed leaders look to keeping or raising the rates for the rest of 2019. Bad news for DDT as business executives and lawmakers blame him for the trade uncertainty. DDT inherited a stable economy, but his irrational actions required the NY Fed to borrow $128 billion in Treasuries and other securities at between five and 10 percent interest over a two-day period so that banks could maintain their reserve requirements, its first rescue since the 2008 recession. The feds may start printing new money before the end of the year to make up for the gap.

According to a Fox survey, 52 percent of the country feel exhausted with DDT’s administration, and he caused only 37 percent to feel energized about politics. The percentage of people nervous about the economy has increased from 43 percent to 48 percent in the past six months, and a plurality of 43 percent believe that DDT’s policies hurt the economy. More poll results here.

September 19, 2019

The Self-Appointed King Tries to Hide

Loose Lips Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had to be reminded that he was spreading classified information when he used his signature Sharpie to proud signed the wall replacement—that he called the “new” wall—at the southern border and said:

“One thing we haven’t mentioned is technology. They’re wired so that we will know if somebody’s trying to break through….   You won’t be able to touch it. You can fry an egg on that wall.”

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, acting head of the Army Corps, couldn’t even stop him with his recommendation, “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that” before DDT described the steel wall’s beams as heat conductors.

Breaking just hours later was news about an intelligence community whistleblower who described a “promise” that DDT made a foreign leader that “raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information.” A high authority, presumably DDT, has ordered the information kept even from congressional members who have legal access to the report. The term “new” means that the concern came after one last summer when DDT released a detailed photo of a failed Iranian launch that was possibly classified, his earlier release of highly classified information to Russian guests about a highly sensitive and valuable matter with Israel, and the discussion of North Korea ballistic missile tests in front of Mar-a-Lago guests and staff. He also refuses to give up his unsecured cellphone. Conservatives point out that presidents can declassify any information, but DDT is the first person in the Oval Office who lacks any filter on his mouth after complaining throughout his campaign about Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

DDT’s response to the news about the whistleblower was “No problem!”—that people are always listening to his conversations with a foreign leader. He also stated that he was far too smart to “say something inappropriate” in that situation and he “would only do what is right.” The news isn’t “fake,” as he claimed: the whistleblower filed a complaint, the IG’s office examined the complaint, and he considered it credible and urgent enough that he contacted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which illegally worked with the DOJ to circumvent legal process on congressional disclosure.

After the acting DNI and IG appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) reported that the complaint came from “more than one” event although the IG refused to give any other information about the complaint. The impression from the hearing is that the DOJ (aka AG Bill Barr) and DDT are trying to cover up the situation. The acting DNI will testify in open session on September 26, and both men will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. From appearances, the DOJ (aka AG Bill Barr) and DDT are trying to cover up the situation.    

According to a source, the “promise” was made on a phone call. Reporters found conversations with three foreign leaders in the two months before the complaint filing:  Chinese President Xi Jinping (June 18), French President Emmanuel Macron (July 1), and Russian President Vladimir Putin (July 31). The call with Putin wasn’t recorded, but Russia announced it. Key events during that time of the event and coverup: Dan Coates, Director of National Intelligence, resigned (July 28); U.S. pulled out of INF treaty with Russia (August 2); John Huntsman, the Russian Ambassador, resigned (August 6); and Joseph Maguire named acting DNI (August 8). Maguire was the person who went to the DOJ and told to withhold the information.

Today the media also reported communication 18 days before the complaint was filed in August 12 between DDT and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The readout of the call noted a focus on Ukraine’s ability to “complete investigations into corruption cases that have hampered Ukraine-US cooperation.” House Democrats were already investigating the call to check on the possibility that DDT and his attorney Rudy Giuliani were manipulating Ukraine to help DDT’s reelection campaign. Records related to efforts to blackmail the Ukrainian government into helping DDT’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, in prison for illegal lobbying and financial fraud, and finding dirt on Democratic presidential candidate through his son’s activity in Ukraine while Hunter Biden was on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. DDT had also blocked financial aid for Ukraine that Congress had appropriated.

Giuliani has already pressured Zelensky to extend an investigation into Hunter Biden although previous inquiries had discovered no wrongdoing and advised DDT about how to deal with Zelensky. Last week, DDT released the $250 million to Ukraine after a bipartisan push.

In a letter written this week, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson disagreed with the basis of DDT’s suppression of the whistleblower’s complaint that the situation is out of the DNI’s jurisdiction because it doesn’t concern anyone in the intelligence community and that its release would violate DDT’s “privilege.” Atkinson wrote that the DNI and the DOJ are wrong, that the “disclosure not only falls within the DNI’s jurisdiction, but relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI’s responsibilities to the American people.” He continued that denial of permission to disclose the “general subject matter” of the complaint to Congress affects “the execution of two of my most important duties and responsibilities as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community”—his responsibility toward the whistleblower and his duties to the congressional oversight committees.

While DDT declares himself above the law in not permitting congressional members to see a whistleblower complaint, his lawyers are making the same “above the law” claim in a lawsuit against New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance. New York had subpoenaed eight years of his state tax returns per a new state law, and lawyers declared that DDT cannot be criminally investigated while he is in office. With no legal backing, they argued that sitting presidents are immune from all criminal inquiries while in the White House. It’s their enormous responsibility and unique role that removes them from any legal action, especially from local prosecutors. Any “originalist” judge or justice who believes in following the words of the Constitution would laugh in the lawyers’ faces; those words aren’t in the Constitution.

The lawyers themselves probably are aware of their arguments’ ridiculousness, but they’re working hard to delay the release of DDT’s financial records. The request for DDT’s personal and corporate tax returns came from a search into the part that he and his family played in making hush payments to two women during his presidential campaign.

DDT has filed other lawsuits to keep his tax returns private since he promised to make public after his election. These include attempts by congressional Democrats, New York lawmakers, and California in a law requiring presidential primary candidates to release tax returns before being on the ballot. A judge ruled against California today, winning legal arguments were on narrower grounds.

During the Nixon and Clinton administrations, the DOJ barred federal prosecutors from charging a sitting president with a federal crime while in office, claiming that impeachment is the process for wrongdoing. The orders, however, do not deal with state prosecutors. During his time in the Oval Office, DDT has been investigated in federal criminal inquiries by special investigator Robert Mueller. As of May 13, 2019, federal, state, and congressional authorities had at least 29 investigations into DDT’s businesses, campaign, inauguration, and presidency. In May, Mueller said that the DOJ “explicitly permits” the investigation of presidents, but they cannot be charged with federal crimes. DDT’s lawyers claim that investigations against a sitting president are also unconstitutional and called the Manhattan DA “a county prosecutor.”

According to New York law, filing a false business record can be a felony if that the filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. If Vance obtains DDT’s tax returns, they remain secret unless they are used as evidence in a criminal case.

Thus far, judges have not quashed any subpoenas for his tax returns, and today he obtained only a one-week delay.  The winners of the 2016 election are the lawyers. Being in court doesn’t seem “burdensome” for DDT because he spends a lot of time suing other people.

In another attempt to hide information from Congress, the White House refuses to reveal potentially disqualifying material in Darrell Issa’s FBI file for his director of U.S. Trade and Development Agency confirmation before the Senate. Issa has escaped convictions after his run-ins with the law. Only GOP and Democrat leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee were allowed to see the file, and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) initially decided to schedule hearings without the agreement of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Over Menendez’ objections, the confirmation for Marshall Billingslea for the State Department’s human rights activities leader continued despite document gaps in his file while he worked on detainee torture policies for George W. Bush. Risch had asked the White House for Issa’s FBI file but receive no response.

DDT’s game is to succeed in his corruption through declaring himself king and hiding everything.

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