Nel's New Day

January 31, 2020

‘We Don’t Want to Hear the Truth’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said:

“If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. The framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves if right and truth don’t matter.”

On Friday, January 31, 2020 at 5:42 pm, Republicans cast 51 votes in favor of having a trial with no witnesses, no documents, and no debate. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) voted for witnesses; retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he would vote against witnesses because he had heard enough. Like other Republicans, Alexander said that the actions of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) aren’t “impeachable.”

The entire world has now watched Republicans ignore the U.S. Constitution. Even Chief Justice John Roberts has come out as a loser. Despite his measured demeanor, his face fell when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked

“Does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?”

Since the beginning of the impeachment inquiry, Democrats gave Republican lawmakers everything that they asked for the process. When Democrats met GOP requirements, Republicans changed their demands. By the end, Republicans resorted to the “so what” decision: DDT did what he was charged with, but his actions, which violated the U.S. Constitution, didn’t go beyond “inappropriate” or “improper.”

The possibility of former national security council adviser John Bolton being called as a witness frightened GOP senators. They wanted “first-hand witnesses” but rejected a person who was present when DDT issued his orders. Reporting has already provided enough information from Bolton’s forthcoming book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, to know that his testimony can make DDT look guilty.

According to Bolton, DDT did try to extort Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing a Biden investigation in exchange for DDT releasing congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine—and ordered Bolton to tell Zelensky to meet with DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to issue the threat last May. Bolton said he didn’t make the call, but his statement adds to the timeline of Ukraine’s knowledge about the withholding of aid. New reporting also cites the presence of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and Giuliani in the room with Bolton and DDT when the order was given. All four of the officials with DDT would be “first-hand” witnesses.

If Bolton’s narrative is true, Cipollone could be disbarred because he took part as a lawyer in a proceedings where he was potentially a “fact witness,” having observed the events of the trial. The lawyer who is supposed to represent the office of the president and not the person in the Oval Office failed to disclose that he witnessed the crime from which he is defending DDT even after House Managers wrote Cipollone ten days ago demanding that he dislose all first-hand facts and information before the trial.

Bolton’s book has much more about DDT. He called DDT “mentally unstable” and said that DDT would pull the U.S. out of NATO if he is reelected. Bolton wrote about DDT giving favors to autocratic leaders like Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Xi Jinping of China. He also wrote that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knew about the smear effort against Ambassador Yovanovitch, Giuliani’s claims about her being false, and Giuliani’s work on behalf of others. Last September, Bolton asked House Democrats to investigate DDT’s firing of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in September before the impeachment inquiry, contrary to DDT’s claim that Bolton stayed quiet about his concerns regarding Ukraine.

DDT’s first attempt to shut up Bolton was to tweet about his “nasty & untrue book.” Joined by officials in danger of Bolton’s testimony such as Pompeo and Mulvaney, DDT described Bolton as a departed, disgruntled government employee. Former acting chief of staff John Kelly, however, disagrees: “If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton.” DDT’s next step was to block the book from its March 17 release on the basis of “classified information.” Defined broadly, the term could be making DDT’s “job very hard” if foreign leaders find out he doesn’t have a “positive” opinion of them. DDT thinks all information making him look bad is “classified.”

Before GOP senators denied all witnesses, Lev Parnas’ lawyer wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about Parnas’ evidence regarding DDT’s involvement with the Ukraine debacle: personal knowledge and evidence including text messages, phone records, documentary evidence, and travel records. Parnas’ information directly involves not only those cited by Bolton but also other top Republicans such as VP Mike Pence, AG Bill Barr, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Nunes’ adviser Derek Harvey, journalist John Solomon, attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, and pro-DDT super PAC America First.

In testimony about DDT’s pressure on Bolton to help push Zelensky into an announcement into investigating Biden, Parnas would testify to:

  • His trips to Ukraine “to directly convey the president’s alleged ‘quid pro quo.’”
  • Times and places where he overheard Giuliani talk to DDT along with Parnas’ direct interaction with DDT.
  • His meeting with a top Zelenskiy aide when Parnas communicated the conveyed the quid pro quo.
  • A conversation between Giuliani and then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry that communicated DDT’s arrangement
  • His trip with Giuliani to Madrid to meet with Zelenskiy aide Andrey Yermak.
  • Coordination during the UN General Assembly in September 2019 when Zelenskiy met with DDT.
  • The origins of his relationships with DDT and Giuliani.
  • His actions “at all times” “at the direction of Mr. Giuliani, on behalf of the president,” and with DDT’s knowledge about these demands on Ukraine.

Alan Dershowitz—Fox contributor, Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson lawyer, and member of DDT’s legal team, gave Republicans the reason that they will acquit DDT:

“Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.

“’I want to be elected. I think I’m a great president. I think I’m the greatest president there ever was. If I’m not elected the national interest will suffer greatly.’ That cannot be impeachable.”

Garry Kasparov, Chair of the Human Rights Foundation tweeted:

“Dershowitz is actually making the King Louis XIV argument right now! Trump is good for the country, so anything he does to stay in power is the national interest, even if corrupt or illegal. That’s the language of every king & dictator: I am the end and the means justify me.”

In an attempt for backup, Dershowitz frequently cited Harvard Law School professor Nikolas Bowie as agreeing with Dershowitz’s arguments. Bowie labels his arguments for acquitting DDT as “irresponsible and ludicrous.” Bowie said, “Abuse of power is a crime” and followed up by stating that people are convicted of this criminal offense. Dershowitz’s standard of “national interest” allows DDT to “order the military to start rounding up black people because he’s afraid of losing the next election.” Or a president could promise a federal job to a state election official who selectively suppresses the opponents’ votes or paying people to spread false information. Or withhold tax dollars for his personal gain to push a foreign country into helping him with his reelection.

Acquitting DDT, as GOP senators are wont to do, permits presidents to do all this and more because this trial sets that precedent—at least for DDT. Dershowitz claimed in his book The Case against Impeaching Trump that a president can give Alaska back to Russia without being impeached. A president could even allow Russia to annex the entire United States, according to Dershowitz’s standard.

Dershowitz protested the media coverage of his statements. He tweeted:

“They characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his reelection was in the national interest, he can do anything. I said nothing like that.”

He claimed that his absence from the trial on the day after his “national interest” speech was because of a prior commitment and that DDT’s legal team “begged me to stay.”

Even the editorial board of the conservative National Review disagrees with Dershowitz, stating “that the Framers did not intend to limit impeachable offenses to certain statutory crimes and their close kin.” With Dershowitz’s standard, “the president could subvert the Constitution itself,” something that the Constitution does not permit.

Senators are scheduled to vote on the two articles of impeachment against DDT on Wednesday, the day after he gives his State of the Union speech. Giuliani must be making plane reservations to Ukraine in order to continue his pressure on Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. And DDT will be able to do anything he wants.

January 4, 2020

Bad Year’s End for DDT

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attack Iran when Iraqis perpetrated the killing of the U.S. mercenary and the attacks against the U.S. embassy in Iraq? DDT was told he looked weak after he called off an airstrike following the unproved report that Iran had downed a U.S. surveillance drone. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT killed Qassem Soleimani to look stronger than President Obama after lack of military action following the 2012 deaths of four people at the Benghazi diplomatic outpost. 

Nothing changed before DDT decided to kill Soleimani; the DOD had to make up excuses after the decision—just as they did with by freezing military aid to Ukraine. DDT’s major reason may be wooing evangelicals after Christianity Today called him “immoral.” All his actions this year will be based on his drive to be re-elected. As always, however, the main reason can be to distract from other negative news about him, such as these somewhat unreported bits from last week.

A whistleblower with access to documents from Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB bank claims that Russia underwrote DDT’s $2 billion loans from Deutsche Bank as well as being the proposed lender on DDT’s desired but uncompleted Trump Tower Moscow. The reason behind DDT’s huge loans from Deutsche Bank has been a mystery, especially because they occurred soon after his bankruptcy and high losses from several New Jersey casinos and his gigantic fine for money laundering in the resulting bankruptcies.

The documents supposedly came from a Deutsche Bank official who killed himself, one of two suicides connected to Deutsche Bank. In investigating Putin’s control over DDT, Congress should be able to obtain information. Judges at the district level and two ensuing appeals all ruled that Congress should receive the records, but the Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about whether Deutsche must comply with the congressional subpoena. SCOTUS usually doesn’t hear cases with no conflict at the lower level and ones between the two branches of government. 

DDT also had a chummy talk with Vladimir Putin last weekend when they talked about “mutual interests.” Russians have taken over the third U.S. base in northern Syria since DDT abandoned the area.

Making impeachment worse for DDT, a judge ordered the release of almost 300 pages of emails about DDT’s freezing the military aid to Ukraine.  “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller in an Aug. 30 email, only available in redacted form until now. A news source has seen unredacted copies from June through October that show how defense and budget officials frantically tried to cover for DDT’s illegal hold. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair, started the process on June 19 when he called acting head of OMB Russell Vought and told him, “We need to hold it up.” DDT rewarded Blair for not testifying about his part in the extortion of Ukraine by promoting him to a new position where Blair, with no experience, plays a prominent role in 5G work. After three months of blocking the funding release, After his order to freeze the funds, Duffey amazed McCusker by falsely blaming the Pentagon for not releasing the money. 

In late August, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and then national security adviser John Bolton failed to persuade DDT to release the aid. OMB’s lawyers worked on an argument permitting DDT to override the congressional law—that he had signed—to send the funding to Ukraine. Mark Sandy, who controlled the release of the money from the Office of Management and Budget, maintained that freezing the funds would violate the Impoundment Control Act protecting Congressional spending power, but Duffey told Sandy to say that the freeze was temporary. Orders to block the Pentagon spending were sent every few days for weeks.  

These revelations are even more awkward as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leads some Republicans in a coverup by refusing to call any witnesses for the impeachment trial including Bolton, Mulvaney, Duffey, and Blair. 

Weeks ago, DDT wanted a big show for his impeachment trial in the Senate; now he suggests that it be called off before it starts. His tweet supported a plan from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to move for a complete dismissal of the trial. This idea, showing the weakness of DDT’s position, follows his attempt to pick a lawyer for the trial. DDT was said to choose either personal lawyer Jay Sekulow or over White House counsel Alan Dershowitz Pat Cipollone because the former have more “television experience.” Dershowitz is fighting an Epstein-related rape allegation, which might make him DDT’s pick. DDT’s personal lawyer, also fighting an indictment, has volunteered for the job. Other TV hucksters who DDT wanted are the loudest screamers from the House, meaning Doug Collins (GA) and Jim Jordan (OH). Devin Nunes (CA) probably lacks the necessary volume and has been quieter after his connection with indicted Lev Parnas in the Ukrainian scheme has been made public. DDT doesn’t get to pick the House members at his trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is infuriating DDT with her delay, and his fury may land on Cipollone because he wants a fast quiet trial.

Parnas, an associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, may provide more information for the impeachment after a U.S. district judge ruled he can share information with the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI had seized.

More trouble for both DDT and Giuliani comes from the public knowledge about Giuliani’s part in trying to depose Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in another part of Giuliani’s being assigned a leading part in foreign diplomacy with no official position. His communication with Maduro in late 2018 opposed the government’s policy to take up a harder line against the Venezuelan government and connected him with a client in the region, a wealthy energy executive investigated for money-laundering. Parnas is also connected to Giuliani’s deal-making.

DDT bragged about how he could get North Korea to denuclearize, but his strategy not only failed but also overturned 30 year of U.S. strategy to contain NK’s nuclear program. Nineteen month after DDT ignored lower-level diplomatic talks, negotiations are gone, and Kim Jong-Un is chortling about his “new strategic weapon,” possibly a long-range ballistic missile. Kim denies DDT’s claim that they will soon meet although DDT keeps talking about his “very good relationship” with NK’s leader. President Obama warned DDT that NK would be his most serious foreign policy challenge—before DDT’s massive blunders in the Middle East—but DDT raised NK to a major global stature. Lawmakers and analysts see the U.S. in a worse position with UK than two years ago: Kim develops his nuclear weapons while DDT stopped joint military exercises with South Korea and weakened international sanctions. Like everyone else dealing with DDT, Kim saw DDT as a patsy and played on his weaknesses.

DDT’s tariffs are failing despite all his bragging. He lies about tariffs’ generating government revenue and boosting U.S. manufacturers. Instead, manufacturing has shrunk for the fifth straight month, dropping to the lowest level in over a decade during the recession. At 47.2, December’s index is slightly above 46.3 in June 2009 and far below the expected 49. A federal study reports that “the 2018 tariffs are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices.” The economy also grew more slowly in 2019 than in 2018, and both years are below growth in 2015 when DDT declared his candidacy with complaints about the terrible economy. The year 2019 may also be the worst for job growth in the past decade. If DDT had not messed with the economy, it would have been in better shape.

Homelessness is increasing since DDT’s inauguration after shrinking while Barack Obama was president.  Last week, HUD reported a 2.7 percent increase, the third consecutive year the number spiked.

Polls supporting the impeachment of DDT indicate that people may be less entrenched in their views. Over half of those surveyed think that DDT should be removed from office, up from 42 percent immediately after the House voted for impeachment. Other results:

57 percent: DDT has committed an impeachable offense.

57 percent: The Senate should hear from new witnesses to learn about DDT’s conduct.

86 percent: Senators should be impartial jurors.

In an Economist/YouGov poll that was published this week, only 38 percent of respondents want DDT to run for president this year, and 51 percent wish he weren’t running. Only 33 percent have a positive view of the GOP, and only 40 percent said they would vote for DDT or for Republicans.

And the world opposes DDT’s assassination of Soleimani while people increasingly think it wasn’t a good idea.

December 24, 2019

Holidays Don’t Stop Impeachment Talk

‘Tis the season for Republicans to rail about impeachment. Comments from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) are becoming more vicious, and GOP lawmakers are downright grumpy. 

The day before Richard Nixon’s resignation, Rep. Earl Landgrebe (IN) gave Republicans their line for supporting Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment. I’m going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.”

Republicans will ignore a newly released email revealed in a lawsuit showing that 91 minutes after DDT got off the phone with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25, the Defense Department was ordered to withhold military aid to a country being invaded at the time by Russia. In the order, Office of Management and Budget’s Michael Duffey asked the Pentagon to keep quiet about the order due to its “sensitive nature.” That directive breaks the law although Duffey lied about the hold being “programmatic”—consistent with congressional intent. It wasn’t, and Duffey refuses to testify about his actions. The email also doesn’t justify withholding congressionally-appropriated funds or hiding the information.

Other witnesses DDT ordered to not testify:

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani: DDT ordered Giuliani to create the plan, find dirt on the Bidens, and participate in the quid pro quo.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney: He said DDT withheld the aid to Ukraine as leverage for DDT.

Former national security adviser John Bolton: He “was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far,” according to his lawyer.

Acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought: He oversees the agency signing off on releasing aid.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry: He talked about his work with Giuliani to set up a meeting between DDT and Zelensky.

Vice President Pence: He was continually involved in DDT’s dealings with Ukraine but continually denied any knowledge about pushing for investigations. He’s also concealing a telephone conversation that his aide Jennifer Williams referenced as useful. https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/06/adam-schiff-pence-jennifer-williams-impeachment-077532

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: He’s in the middle of everything that happened and was involved in the dismissal of Marie Yovanovitch from her post as ambassador to Ukraine.

Neil Abercrombie, former Democratic governor of Hawaii, asked Tulsi Gabbard to immediately resign her congressional seat because she wasn’t representing the people of Hawaii. She voted “present” on the impeachment of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and missed over 85 percent of the votes in the past two months. She said that DDT is guilty but didn’t like the “partisan endeavor” of the process.  Gabbard is still a Democratic presidential candidate, but she isn’t running for the House in the next election.

More impeachment charges against DDT may be imminent. Next week, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will review two separation-of-powers lawsuits, former White House lawyer Don McGahn’s refusal to respond to a subpoena and a request for access to secret grand jury material from Mueller’s investigation. A judge already ruled that McGahn must comply with the subpoena.

DDT’s House impeachment used two limited actions: his extorting a foreign country to gain its support for his re-election in 2020 and his blocking justice by refusing legal subpoenas. Mehdi Hasan has more suggestions in “The A to Z of Things Trump Could and Should Have Been Impeached For”:

Amazon: In his hatred for the company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, DDT personally repeated his demands to the Postmaster General to double shipping rates for Amazon to make Amazon pay billions of additional costs. 

Bigotry: To DDT, African countries are “shitholes,” Mexicans “rapists,” and neo-Nazis “very fine people.” Andrew Johnson was impeached for racism and white supremacy.

CNN: DDT tried to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner to punish CNN, owned by Time Warner, because he didn’t like CNN’s coverage of him. He told aides that he’s mentioned the lawsuit “fifty times” and “I want that deal blocked.”

Deaths: Six migrant children between two and 16 died in DDT’s custody in the past year; no migrant children died in the previous ten years. ICE’s bad medical care resulted in two preventable surgeries and four deaths.

Emoluments: Trying to use his faltering Doral resort for the G7 summit, making almost weekly trips to his own properties, profiting from domestic and foreign leaders’ stays at his hotels—all this and more illustrate DDT’s violation of the U.S. Constitution in what he calls “this phony emoluments clause.”

Fraud: Since he was elected, DDT settled three lawsuits against his Trump University and was forced to pay $2 million for misusing Trump Foundation charitable funds for his personal gain after the organization was “shut down for its misconduct.”

General Services Administration: DDT blocked the sale of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. headquarters to keep competition away from the Trump Hotel.

Hush Money: DDT’s illegal payments during his campaign to two women claiming to have affairs with him violates campaign finance laws.

Incitement of Violence: DDT consistently encourages his supporters to attack political opponents, and domestic terrorists cite his name, inflammatory rhetoric, or both when arrested.

Jared: DDT gave son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a security clearance after intelligence officials refused to grant him one because he could be compromised by his business ties to foreign governments.

Kids in Cages: DDT separated over 5,400 children and babies from their migrant parents at the southern border and locked them up in a policy that has been described as torture.

Lies: DDT has told over 15,000 falsehoods since he was inaugurated, and the pace of his lying is accelerating. The first article of impeachment against Nixon was “making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States.”

Media Attacks: DDT asks the FBI to jail reporters who publish leaks, threatens to revoke the broadcast licenses of media organizations critical of him (aka printing the news), and demonizes journalists as “scum,” “slime,” “sick people,” “fake news,” and “the enemy of the people.”

Negligence: Almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans died after 2017 Hurricane Maria because of DDT’s negligence and incompetence, and he still illegally withholds desperately needed disaster relief appropriated by Congress. White House officials reported that DDT said “he did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico… Instead, he wanted more of the money to go to Texas and Florida.”

Obstruction of Justice: Robert Mueller reported ten instances of DDT’s possible obstruction of justice in the investigation of Russian interfering with the 2016 election, and over 1,000 former federal prosecutors stated that DDT’s conducted would have resulted “in multiple felony charges” if he were a private citizen. 

Perjury: Under oath, DDT told the Mueller inquiry that he didn’t remember talking with Roger Stone about WikiLeaks or Stone talking about WikiLeaks with people in his campaign. Former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, however, said Stone told him DDT knew about these disclosures in 2016.

QAnon: DDT retweeted the group’s conspiracy theories, invited them to speak at his rallies, and hosted them at the White House—supporting QAnon’s desire to “carry out criminal or violent acts.”

Rape: In addition to his sexual assault and harassment, reported by dozens of women, DDT was accused of raping writer E. Jean Carroll in the dressing room of a luxury department store.

Syria: DDT’s airstrikes against Syria had no vote from Congress.

Tax Evasion: Much of the at least $413 million in today’s dollars that DDT received from his father’s real estate empire came from tax dodges in the 1990s. Loan papers from New York properties later show more tax evasion.

Ultra Vires: DDT admitted he lied about a “national emergency” to fund his border wall through circumventing Congress. (Ultra vires is Latin for “beyond the powers.”)

Vladimir Putin: Among other favors for Russia, DDT welcomed Russian help to get elected and handed over classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office.

Witness Intimidation: Like a mob boss, DDT threatened his former lawyer Michel Cohen and attacked former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch while she testified to the House Intelligence Committee.

XI: DDT asked for help from Chinese president Xi Jinping to investigate Joe Biden in DDT’s re-election efforts.

Yemen: Opposing Congress, DDT helped Saudi Arabia drop bombs and vetoed a bipartisan bill calling for an end to U.S. military involvement in the Saudi air war as a “flagrant defiance of the 1973 War Powers Act that checks a president’s ability to engage in armed conflict without express consent of Congress.”

Zelensky: DDT tried to bribe Ukraine’s president.

Another DDT-follower listed 100 impeachable offenses as of last April.

Poll results:

  • 71 percent want DDT’s top aides to testify in a Senate impeachment trial.
  • 55 percent say that DDT was fairly treated in the House committee impeachment inquiry hearings.
  • 52 percent approve of DDT’s impeachment and want him removed from office.

Meanwhile, the trial is in limbo while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argue about process, causing DDT to continually rage.  

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.  

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