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Thread: 2019 American Political Scene

  1. #286
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    Shokin was a rat with a long tail of history. All Ukraine wanted him gone, as did the IMF, the EU, the British and others. Biden was hardly alone in urging Poroshenko to get rid of him. Nor was he investigating the Biden son and Bursina - the company who he worked for. His replacement sadly was not much better. Yuriy Lutsenko did not even have a law degree so a special law had to be passed to allow him to be Prosecutor General. Moreover he was Deputy of the Rada and a close pal of Poroshenko's. Sure the Yanks wanted Shokin fired, so did 3/4 of Ukraine and others. Nothing to do with his son.

  2. #287
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    Okay, I’ve got it, the majority of the World Affairs Board is cool with VP Joe Biden running cover for his crack head son and extorting a foreign government to do it. No ambiguity here.
    No, you really, really need to learn to read more from a wide variety of sources in order to move from your closed mind to an open mind. Or, stay closed minded but then I would insist that you provide unassailable facts concerning Biden, his crack head son, and extortion thereby proving Bigfella totally wrong. Now that is a tall order. Are you game?

  3. #288
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    Trump Admits Asking Ukraine to Investigate Biden’s Son

    President Donald Trump admitted on Monday morning that he told Ukraine’s president that the U.S. would withhold $250 million in military aid for Ukraine because of “corruption”—an apparent reference to efforts to dig up dirt on the role Joe Biden and his son Hunter are alleged to have played in Ukraine several years back.

    “Well, you’re going to see because what we are doing is we want honesty and I think with the new president you’re going to see much more honesty in the Ukraine and that’s what we’re looking for,” Trump told reporters in New York City. “We want to make sure that country is honest. It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”

    Trump’s admission is a massive upping of the stakes of a deeply controversial saga surrounding his presidency.

    In the past week, news reports have revealed that in a recent phone call, Trump pressed the new Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to investigate whether Joe Biden intervened on his son’s behalf to fire a prosecutor who was allegedly being harmful to his business interests. News reports have shown that Biden did not play such a role.

    Trump, nevertheless, has insisted that there is more to the story. And, behind the scenes, he and his top adviser, Rudy Giuliani, have encouraged the new Ukraine leadership to keep digging into the allegation. Questions have surrounded whether the president sat for months on the security aid—which has been given annually since the Russian invasion of Crimea—in order to compel Zelenskyy to act.

    On Monday, Trump admitted he had done just that. Earlier in the day, Giuliani had said he could not be “100 percent” certain that Trump didn’t threaten to cut off military aid.
    _____________



    And, right on schedule, Trump pulls that "Colonel Nathan R. Jessup" move that I've been waiting for. And it'll make fuck-all of a difference to his kool-aid drinking herd of worshipers.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  4. #289
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    And it'll make fuck-all of a difference to his kool-aid drinking herd of worshipers.
    precisely. however, I now support impeachment as a method of national security distraction.

    Trump pulled this shenanigans with Ukraine literally THE DAY AFTER the Mueller hearing. it's clear that he essentially views himself as untouchable, if he's willing to touch this particular fire. impeaching Trump will force him to respond, and ignite a media/political firestorm that will absorb his attention.

    absolutely insane how quickly the standard Trumpian response of "I didn't do this --> I may or may not have done this, but it was all legal --> I'm not colluding, YOU'RE colluding!" has shifted.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  5. #290
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    Trump says he'll release call transcript

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised to release an unredacted transcript of his phone call with Ukraine's president that has triggered a new Democratic push for impeachment, just hours before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to make a major announcement on the issue.

    Trump tweeted that the transcript, which he said would be made public Wednesday, would show that it was "a totally appropriate call."

    "NO quid pro quo!" he said.

    @realDonaldTrump
    I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine....You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!
    The fast-moving developments came amid new questions about whether Trump had made aid to Ukraine contingent on Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky agreeing to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

    Also Tuesday afternoon, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee tweeted that the whistleblower who filed a formal complaint about Trump's call wanted to talk to his committee.

    @RepAdamSchiff
    We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so.

    We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.
    The Pelosi announcement is scheduled after as all Democrats were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon and at least 164 Democrats -- more than two-thirds of the caucus - now publicly supporting impeaching President Donald Trump.

    At the same time, House Democrats were drafting a resolution to pressure the Director of National Intelligence to release a whistleblower complaint to Congress. The measure will be on the floor for consideration on Wednesday, according to a senior Democratic leadership aide.

    Democratic sources familiar with Pelosi’s deliberations tell ABC News one option under consideration is forming a select committee to handle impeachment and a potential investigation into the new national security whistleblower complaint over the Trump call. The select committee would be separate from the House Judiciary Committee inquiry into whether Trump committed obstruction if justice.

    It’s unclear what jurisdiction the committee would have over the issue, and whether it would be to investigate the Ukraine matter or impeachment more broadly. It’s also not clear who would lead it, but Schiff has had his name floated as a possibility. Schiff is a true Pelosi loyalist and if he were at the helm it would allow her to exert some additional control over the committee. It could also create new logistical challenges, and ruffle feathers of other committee leaders - and be seen as another sign of the frustration within the caucus with the way House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has handled the investigation so far.

    Creating a select committee could lead to impeachment, but that is not a foregone conclusion. It would, however, be a sign that Democrats are inching closer to it and that Pelosi is moving more aggressively, even as some of the most politically vulnerable Democrats she's been protecting have come out for impeachment, giving her political cover to move ahead.

    Pelosi will huddle this afternoon with her leadership team, the chairmen of six committees investigating the president and will hold a special caucus meeting to discuss impeachment.

    Arriving at the Capitol Tuesday morning, Pelosi ignored a question asking whether it is time to impeach the president now that more than 150 Democrats are now out for impeachment.

    Seven freshmen Democrats, all veterans of the military, defense and intelligence agencies, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post Monday evening calling allegations that the president pressured Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden, “a direct violation of our national security.”

    At the United Nations Tuesday, Trump insisted he had done nothing improper and called the new impeachment talk "ridiculous and a "witch hunt."

    “If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense,” Reps. Gil Cisneros, Jason Crow, Chrissy Houlahan, Mikie Sherrill, Elissa Slotkin, Abigail Spanberger, and Elaine Luria,” wrote collectively. “We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of “inherent contempt” and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security.”

    Amid the whistleblower complaint, some of Pelosi’s closest allies have also recently cut off their patience regarding impeachment, perhaps affording Pelosi with political cover and ending the prolonged defense of slow-walk the process through a thorough, methodical investigation.

    Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro called the complaint a “matter of grave urgency.”

    “As with many of my colleagues, I have been reluctant to call for an impeachment inquiry because it would further divide the country, be perceived as overturning the 2016 election, and go to the United States Senate where Republicans would acquit President Trump regardless of the evidence. But these actions regarding the 2020 election are a turning point,” DeLauro wrote in a statement. “An impeachment inquiry may be the only recourse Congress has if the President is enlisting foreign assistance in the 2020 election. Congress must meet this pivotal moment in our nation’s history with decisive action.”

    Meanwhile, Republicans are digging into their defense of the president, with Texas Republican Rep. Lance Gooden introducing a resolution to remove Nadler from his chairmanship.

    “By law, [Nadler] may not launch impeachment proceedings until the full House votes for him to do so,” Gooden asserted. “This attempted coup against a duly-elected, sitting president is unprecedented and must be stopped. I urge the Majority to move immediately to have him stripped of his chairmanship and that any accomplices on the Judiciary Committee not be considered as a replacement.” Link
    ____________________

    So, couple of questions:
    1. Will this transcript be redacted and if so, will the White House present a full undoctored copy of the transcript, showing the redactions, particularly given Trump's "skill" with Sharpie markers?
    2. Will Trump's malignant narcissism cause him to overlook damning evidence of his guilt in the transcripts?
    3. If the answer to the above question is Yes, will Trump's staff and lawyers attempt to doctor the transcript to remove anything incriminating?
    4. Who taught Trump the meaning of "quid pro quo" and spelled it properly for him?
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  6. #291
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    Trump tweeted that the transcript, which he said would be made public Wednesday, would show that it was "a totally appropriate call."

    "NO quid pro quo!" he said.
    ah yes, "nice store, shame if anything happened to it..."
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #292
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    FYI - I've started a new thread for the impeachment (or lack thereof) of Donald Trump. Please make related posts there. Thanks.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  8. #293
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    No, the majority of sane members of WAB haven't descended so far into the pit of fanaticism that they take the word of a serial sexual predator and fraudster and his legion of online propagandists at face value.

    Biden's intervention was unwise and a conflict of interest, but defining it as an effort to protect his son requires a level of ignorance that can only be achieved through careful practice or a serious brain injury.

    .
    Defining something as an effort to protect yourself when you have a conflict of interest is not brain injury, it is the immediate assumption. That's why you need to declare conflicts of interest and recuse yourself from instances where that conflict of interest might come into play. That's just base-line. The rest of your post is running interference for unethical behavior. You don't need to prove anything else about Biden, he fucked up, that's it, it's done.

    Obviously unethical behavior comes in different magnitudes and ethical behavior is not a stated qualification for President, but mild bashing from conspiracy theorists is substantially softer treatment than Biden deserves.

    Oh, and I'd still take a Biden in a heartbeat over any of the other qualifying candidates in the Dem field, though hopefully there will be some sort of divine intervention and Delaney will get the nod.
    "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

  9. #294
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    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...


    A "stable genius" speaks.

  10. #295
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    ... I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...
    Oh good lord. This has reached comical proportions.

  11. #296
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    Oh good lord. This has reached comical proportions.
    Trump Supporters: I LOVE Donald Trump because He Means What He Says!

    Also Trump Supporters: Trump didn't really mean that, he's always talking shit, it's funny!
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  12. #297
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    Federal Judges Rule Against Trump In 3 Cases On Executive Powers
    President Trump suffered defeats in three major court rulings Friday that address the limits of his executive authority.

    The rulings come as the White House has sought to thwart House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the president’s request that the Ukrainian government investigate one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden. While Friday’s decisions stem from cases unrelated to the Ukraine matter, they each address what plaintiffs claimed was a president overstepping his constitutional bounds.

    Business Records
    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court decision, ruling that Congress can see eight years of Trump’s business records held by his accounting firm, Mazars USA. The House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed the records after the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified that Trump had exaggerated his wealth when applying for loans, which is a crime.

    “Contrary to the President’s arguments, the Committee possesses authority under both House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,” Judges David S. Tatel and Patricia A. Millett wrote. The judges went on to call the congressional subpoena for Trump’s records “a valid exercise of the legislative authority.”

    Trump will likely appeal again, either to the full D.C. Circuit Court or to the Supreme Court.

    Denying Green Cards And Visas To Low-Income Immigrants
    U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary nationwide injunction blocking a Trump administration rule set to take effect next week that would have made it easier to deny green cards and visas to immigrants who cannot show they will not require public assistance. After the administration announced the new rule, nearly a dozen states filed suit to block it.

    “The Rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification,” Daniels wrote in his scathing opinion. “It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upwards mobility.”

    Later on Friday afternoon, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton issued a preliminary injunction in a case announced by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

    The president’s legal team is expected to appeal the decisions.

    Wall Funding
    U.S. District Court Judge David Briones, in the Western District of Texas, ruled that the declaration of a national emergency under which Trump diverted funds from other agencies to construct a Mexico border wall was unlawful.

    The decision found that the law “expressly forbids” a president from using money allocated by Congress for any other purpose than was originally set forth. The county of El Paso and the Border Network for Human Rights brought the lawsuit, contending that Trump had broken the law by diverting Defense Department funds to build the wall.

    The judge did not specify what should now happen, but has asked the county and the Border Network to file a proposed preliminary injunction within 10 days. In the meantime, construction of the border wall can continue, but that could come to a halt once the terms of the injunction are specified.

    An appeal is expected from the Trump administration.

    _____

    Emperor Trump continues to win.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  13. #298
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    Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work

    WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York City are investigating whether President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

    The investigators are examining Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

    The investigation into Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Yovanovitch.


    Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Yovanovitch and other targets of Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Giuliani shared that material this year with U.S. government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

    Federal law requires U.S. citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.

    A criminal investigation of Giuliani raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president, whose dealings with the country are already the subject of an impeachment inquiry. It is also a stark turn for Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same U.S. attorney’s office he led in the 1980s, when he first rose to prominence as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later ascended to two terms as mayor of New York.

    It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, declined to comment.

    Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the U.S. government and the news media.

    “Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Giuliani said. Lutsenko had chafed at Yovanovitch’s anticorruption efforts and wanted her recalled from Kyiv.

    Giuliani also said he was unaware of any investigation into him, and he defended the pressure campaign on Ukrainians, which he led, as legal and above board.

    CNN and other news organizations reported that federal prosecutors were scrutinizing Giuliani’s financial dealings with his associates, but it has not been previously reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are specifically investigating whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine.

    Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators Friday that Trump had pressed for her removal for months even though the State Department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

    Giuliani had receded from the spotlight in recent years while he built a brisk international consulting business, including work in Ukraine. But he reemerged in the center of the political stage last year, when Trump retained him for the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.

    Russia’s sabotage also ushered in a new focus at the Justice Department on enforcing the laws regulating foreign influence that had essentially sat dormant for a half-century and under which Giuliani is now being investigated.

    Giuliani said that because Democrats had questioned his business consulting for foreign clients, his contracts explicitly say he does not lobby or act as an agent of foreigners.

    Through his two associates who also worked to oust the ambassador, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani connected early this year with Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s top prosecutor until August. Parnas and Fruman had previously connected Giuliani to Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, late last year.

    Parnas had told people that Yovanovitch was stymieing his efforts to pursue gas business in Ukraine. Parnas also told people that one of his companies had paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for an unrelated U.S. business venture, and Giuliani said he advised Parnas and Fruman on a Ukrainian dispute.

    Lutsenko had sought to relay the information he had collected on Trump’s targets to U.S. law enforcement agencies and saw Giuliani as someone who could make that happen. Giuliani and Lutsenko initially spoke over the phone and then met in person in New York in January.

    Lutsenko initially asked Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Giuliani said, he interviewed Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Yovanovitch, Biden and others.

    Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the FBI. He did not say who told him.

    Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Solomon, who independently interviewed Lutsenko and other sources.

    Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.

    He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

    Giuliani said Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.

    “He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”

    The president sought to distance himself earlier Friday from Giuliani, saying he was uncertain when asked whether Giuliani still represented him. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Trump told reporters. “I spoke to him yesterday quickly. He is a very good attorney, and he has been my attorney.”

    Giuliani later said that he still represented Trump.

    The recall of the ambassador and the efforts by Trump and Giuliani to push for investigations in Ukraine have emerged as the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump.

    The impeachment was prompted by a whistleblower complaint about Trump pressing President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine in a July phone call to pursue investigations that could help Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. At the time, the Trump administration had frozen $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

    The State Department’s inspector general has turned over to House impeachment investigators a packet of materials including the memos containing notes of Giuliani’s interviews with Lutsenko and Shokin.

    The investigation into Giuliani is the latest to scrutinize one of Trump’s lawyers. His former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, implicated the president when he pleaded guilty last year to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed affairs with Trump, which he has denied.

    Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Trump as “Individual 1” in court papers but never formally accused him of wrongdoing.
    _________________

    Oh Rudy, you should've stay in NYC, just like your (former) boss. Working for Donald Trump is a one-way ticket to prison, being defrauded or if you're really lucky, just plain ol' public disgrace.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work

    WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York City are investigating whether President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

    The investigators are examining Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

    The investigation into Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Yovanovitch.


    Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Yovanovitch and other targets of Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Giuliani shared that material this year with U.S. government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

    Federal law requires U.S. citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.

    A criminal investigation of Giuliani raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president, whose dealings with the country are already the subject of an impeachment inquiry. It is also a stark turn for Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same U.S. attorney’s office he led in the 1980s, when he first rose to prominence as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later ascended to two terms as mayor of New York.

    It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, declined to comment.

    Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the U.S. government and the news media.

    “Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Giuliani said. Lutsenko had chafed at Yovanovitch’s anticorruption efforts and wanted her recalled from Kyiv.

    Giuliani also said he was unaware of any investigation into him, and he defended the pressure campaign on Ukrainians, which he led, as legal and above board.

    CNN and other news organizations reported that federal prosecutors were scrutinizing Giuliani’s financial dealings with his associates, but it has not been previously reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are specifically investigating whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine.

    Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators Friday that Trump had pressed for her removal for months even though the State Department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

    Giuliani had receded from the spotlight in recent years while he built a brisk international consulting business, including work in Ukraine. But he reemerged in the center of the political stage last year, when Trump retained him for the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.

    Russia’s sabotage also ushered in a new focus at the Justice Department on enforcing the laws regulating foreign influence that had essentially sat dormant for a half-century and under which Giuliani is now being investigated.

    Giuliani said that because Democrats had questioned his business consulting for foreign clients, his contracts explicitly say he does not lobby or act as an agent of foreigners.

    Through his two associates who also worked to oust the ambassador, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani connected early this year with Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s top prosecutor until August. Parnas and Fruman had previously connected Giuliani to Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, late last year.

    Parnas had told people that Yovanovitch was stymieing his efforts to pursue gas business in Ukraine. Parnas also told people that one of his companies had paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for an unrelated U.S. business venture, and Giuliani said he advised Parnas and Fruman on a Ukrainian dispute.

    Lutsenko had sought to relay the information he had collected on Trump’s targets to U.S. law enforcement agencies and saw Giuliani as someone who could make that happen. Giuliani and Lutsenko initially spoke over the phone and then met in person in New York in January.

    Lutsenko initially asked Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Giuliani said, he interviewed Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Yovanovitch, Biden and others.

    Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the FBI. He did not say who told him.

    Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Solomon, who independently interviewed Lutsenko and other sources.

    Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.

    He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

    Giuliani said Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.

    “He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”

    The president sought to distance himself earlier Friday from Giuliani, saying he was uncertain when asked whether Giuliani still represented him. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Trump told reporters. “I spoke to him yesterday quickly. He is a very good attorney, and he has been my attorney.”

    Giuliani later said that he still represented Trump.

    The recall of the ambassador and the efforts by Trump and Giuliani to push for investigations in Ukraine have emerged as the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump.

    The impeachment was prompted by a whistleblower complaint about Trump pressing President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine in a July phone call to pursue investigations that could help Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. At the time, the Trump administration had frozen $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

    The State Department’s inspector general has turned over to House impeachment investigators a packet of materials including the memos containing notes of Giuliani’s interviews with Lutsenko and Shokin.

    The investigation into Giuliani is the latest to scrutinize one of Trump’s lawyers. His former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, implicated the president when he pleaded guilty last year to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed affairs with Trump, which he has denied.

    Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Trump as “Individual 1” in court papers but never formally accused him of wrongdoing.
    _________________

    Oh Rudy, you should've stay in NYC, just like your (former) boss. Working for Donald Trump is a one-way ticket to prison, being defrauded or if you're really lucky, just plain ol' public disgrace.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  15. #300
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    so just in the last month, Trump has f*cked over a reformist Ukraine and the Kurds.

    i'm wondering where all the folks waxing lyrical about how Trump is a strategic genius with McMaster/Mattis letting him play good cop/bad cop have gone.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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