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Thread: The Impeachment and Trial of Donald John Trump

  1. #271
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    Trump says more information soon to be released about White House's Vindman

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that more information would be released shortly about Alexander Vindman, the U.S. official who told Congress he was concerned that Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader threatened national security.

    Vindman, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and National Security Council official, has been targeted by Trump since his Oct. 29 congressional testimony was released. Trump tweeted that day that Vindman was a “Never Trumper witness.”

    Asked whether he regrets calling the Vindman a “Never Trumper,” Trump told reporters on Saturday, “Well, you’ll be seeing very soon what comes out and then you can ask the question in a different way.”

    Vindman sat in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that spurred the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation.
    _____________

    Looks like the Trump smear machine is just getting started. I'm sure it'll be something along the lines of "Alexander Vindman was a war hero because he was wounded. I like people who weren’t wounded.”
    “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

  2. #272
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    Gordon Sondland has amended his testimony to include an account that makes it crystal clear Ukraine was told it was required to investigate the imaginary DNC server and the Bidens in order to get aid. Interesting. Should shake things up a bit. Trump & his cultists will be going scorched earth on him now.


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  3. #273
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    ah, Sondland. another guy whom tried going full-bore to Team Trump and in the end couldn't bear to pay the price for sign-in.

    at least he's doing the right thing...when faced with legal repercussions.
    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

  4. #274
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    Lev Parnas, Giuliani Associate, Opens Talks With Impeachment Investigators

    An associate of Rudy Giuliani who was involved in a campaign to pressure Ukraine into aiding President Donald Trump’s political prospects has broken ranks, opening a dialogue with congressional impeachment investigators and accusing the president of falsely denying their relationship.

    The associate, Lev Parnas, had previously resisted speaking with investigators for the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings, which are examining the president’s pressure attempts in Ukraine. A former lawyer for Trump was then representing Parnas.

    But since then, Parnas has hired new lawyers who contacted the congressional investigators last week to notify them to “direct any future correspondence or communication to us,” according to a copy of the letter.

    The lawyers also signaled Monday that Parnas, who was arrested last month on campaign finance charges, is prepared to comply with a congressional subpoena for his documents and testimony.

    Parnas, a Ukrainian-born American citizen who was central to Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s rivals, could offer Congress a vein of information about the efforts in Ukraine.

    “We are willing to comply with the subpoena to the extent that it does not violate any appropriate privilege that Mr. Parnas may properly invoke,” said Joseph A. Bondy, who along with Edward B. MacMahon Jr. now represents Parnas.

    Bondy said that given the federal criminal charges, his client may invoke his right under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate himself.

    The turnabout occurred after Trump denied knowing Parnas when he was arrested.

    “Mr. Parnas was very upset by President Trump’s plainly false statement that he did not know him,” said Bondy, whose client has maintained that he has had extensive dealings with the president.

    After federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced charges against Parnas and three other men, Trump told reporters that he did not know Parnas or Igor Fruman, another Giuliani associate who also worked to help Trump in Ukraine and was among those charged with campaign finance violations. The two men had contributed extensively to political committees supporting Trump and appeared with the president in pictures posted on social media.

    “I don’t know them. I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do … Maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy,” the president said. Of the numerous photographs of them together, Trump said, “I have a picture with everybody.”

    Parnas initially remained in Trump’s camp after House Democrats on Sept. 30 requested documents and testimony from him and Fruman. The men hired John Dowd, a lawyer who had earlier represented the president at one stage of the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Trump signed off on the hiring of Dowd, according to an Oct. 2 email reviewed by The New York Times.

    “I have discussed the issue of representation with the president. The president consents to allowing your representation of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Furman,” Jay Sekulow, another lawyer for Trump, wrote to Dowd, misspelling Fruman’s surname.

    Dowd said in an interview that Trump’s approval was sought “simply as a courtesy to the president” because of the lawyer’s previous work for him. Dowd said he still represents Fruman.

    A person close to Trump said that the email did not demonstrate that the president knew Parnas or Fruman personally but rather knew of them from media reports.

    On Oct. 3, when he still represented both men, Dowd wrote a letter to the House Intelligence Committee that implied that some of the materials the Democrats had asked the men to produce would be protected by attorney-client or executive privilege.

    Dowd told the Democrats that he could not determine how long it would take him to review documents for privilege and accused them of trying to “harass, intimidate and embarrass my clients.”

    A spokesman for Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, declined to comment on talks with Parnas.

    Not long afterward, in an indictment unsealed Oct. 10, federal prosecutors accused Parnas and Fruman of illegally routing a $325,000 contribution to a political action committee supporting Trump through a shell company and funneling campaign contributions from a Russian businessman to other U.S. politicians to influence them in support of a marijuana venture. They have both pleaded not guilty.

    House Democrats also sent Dowd subpoenas for Parnas and Fruman on the same day the charges against them were unsealed.

    Parnas hired Giuliani in 2018 to help with a venture called Fraud Guarantee. But as of early this year, their relationship had shifted: Parnas and Fruman began assisting Giuliani in efforts to unearth negative information in Ukraine about former Vice President Joe Biden, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and his son Hunter.

    That work lies close to the center of the investigation by House Democrats into whether Trump oversaw a shadow diplomatic campaign intended to smear a political opponent.

    While it is not clear what documents or testimony Parnas might provide, he was intimately involved with Giuliani’s efforts. Along with Fruman, he traveled repeatedly to Ukraine in search of information about corruption involving the Bidens and pushed for the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump and Giuliani saw as hostile to the president.
    ________________________

    And yet another rat deserts the sinking ship to save his own skin.
    “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

  5. #275
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    Republicans Go Mute After Latest Ukraine Bombshell

    Senate Republicans ducked for cover on Tuesday after a top Trump administration diplomat revised his testimony in the House impeachment inquiry to acknowledge that U.S. aid to Ukraine was being withheld until the country promised to investigate a company tied to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.

    Gordon Sondland, a top donor to President Donald Trump who then picked him to serve as ambassador to the European Union, confirmed in an addendum on Monday to his testimony last month that he was involved in Trump’s attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine’s government after previously claiming he could not recall the details.

    Sondland said his memory had been “refreshed,” and that he now recalled telling an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sept. 1 that “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement.” The statement, the Ukrainians were advised, ought to include Burisma, the company on whose corporate board Hunter Biden served while his father was vice president.

    Sondland’s reversal, which only came after several other top Trump administration officials contradicted his initial testimony and put him in legal jeopardy, is likely to undercut Republican messaging about the impeachment inquiry. GOP lawmakers have steadily denied the existence of a quid pro quo involving the Bidens ever since Trump released a July 25 summary of his call with Zelensky during which the U.S. president requested an investigation into the Bidens.

    Several Senate Republicans declined on Tuesday to respond directly to questions about Sondland’s revised testimony, as well as the president’s attacks against the whistleblower whose complaint helped ignite the impeachment inquiry.

    “I’m going to wait until we get the case from the House and withhold judgment on the daily revelations, charges, witnesses and all the rest ... that’s really all I have to say about that,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said at his weekly press conference at the Capitol.

    Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia similarly declined to comment when asked if she believed it was appropriate to condition aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens,

    “These are judgments that we’re obviously going to have to make when it comes over here,” Capito told reporters, referring to the prospect of a Senate impeachment trial.

    But some Republicans continued to express skepticism about the House impeachment inquiry even when pressed about Sondland’s new admission.

    “Is it against the law? Is it a crime? I don’t know that it is,” Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said, adding he would reserve judgment until and if the House drafts articles of impeachment.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa insisted that Tuesday’s bombshell admission from a top Trump diplomat and backer that a quid pro quo involving Ukraine aid was sought did not, in fact, confirm a quid pro quo.

    “What difference does it make? This was all out with the document the president put out two months ago,” he said, referring to the July 25 call summary of Trump’s call with Zelensky.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he was refusing to read any deposition transcripts released by House impeachment investigators. The top Trump ally and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman dismissed the process as “a bunch of B.S.”

    Later on Tuesday, Graham told reporters that he found Sondland’s new testimony “unpersuasive” because the diplomat told House investigators he “presumed” aid to Ukraine was linked to a statement about investigations. However, Sondland also is now testifying that he told a top Ukrainian official the resumption of aid would “likely not occur” until the government issued such a statement.

    Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, meanwhile, said he was skeptical any new testimony brought against the president would change the minds of Senate Republicans.

    “Regardless of how many people you bring out to make the point, I don’t think that’s going to do the job for most of us to change our opinion,”
    Braun said, urging a focus on the summary of Trump’s July 25 conversation with Zelensky.
    ______________

    Glad to know the jurors have already acquitted the accused before the indictment has even been made, to say nothing of an actual trial.
    “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. #276
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    Judas sells out Jesus for 40 pieces while Graham sells out the Constitution for _____

    Well Judas now has competition just like James Buchanan will have competition when Trump leaves office...

  7. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Republicans Go Mute After Latest Ukraine Bombshell
    In this context, I think "dumb" might be more appropriate than "mute."
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  8. #278
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    In Seeking to Join Suit Over Subpoena Power, Mulvaney Goes Up Against the President
    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Even in a White House of never-befores, this may be one of the more head-spinning: The president’s chief of staff is trying to join a lawsuit against the president.

    Mick Mulvaney works only about 50 steps from the Oval Office as he runs the White House staff, but rather than simply obey President Donald Trump’s order to not cooperate with House impeachment investigators, he sent his lawyers to court late Friday night asking a judge whether he should or not.

    To obtain such a ruling, the lawyers asked to join a lawsuit already filed by a former White House official — a lawsuit that names “the Honorable Donald J. Trump” as a defendant along with congressional leaders. The lawyers tried to finesse that by saying in the body of their motion that the defendants they really wanted to sue were the congressional leaders, but their own motion still listed Trump at the top as a defendant because that is the suit they sought to join.

    In effect, Mulvaney hopes the court will tell him whether to listen to his own boss, who wants him to remain silent, or to comply with a subpoena from the House, which wants his testimony. That put Mulvaney at odds with some other current White House and administration officials who had simply defied the House, citing the president’s order not to cooperate with what he called an illegitimate “witch hunt.”

    Mulvaney did not explain why he chose a different course, but his decision focused renewed attention on his relationship with Trump; it has been increasingly strained as House Democrats prepare to open public hearings into whether the president should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

    “It’s symptomatic of a White House that is more dysfunctional than ever — except now it’s not just chaos, the long knives are coming out,” said Chris Whipple, the author of “The Gatekeepers,” a history of White House chiefs of staff. “Everybody, including the White House chief, seems to be lawyering up.”

    Whipple could not think of any precedent for a chief of staff going to court rather than obey a president’s order. “Given that Mulvaney has been willing to do almost anything for Trump, it’s remarkable that he’s asking for a second opinion,” he said.

    The House is investigating Trump for using the power of his office to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine into providing incriminating information about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats at the same time he was holding up $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance. Mulvaney has become a key figure in the case, identified by other witnesses as a facilitator of the pressure campaign and the official who ordered the security aid frozen at Trump’s direction.

    Mulvaney told reporters last month that the aid was suspended in part to force Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory about supposed Ukrainian help for Democrats in the 2016 presidential election, a theory that the president’s onetime homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, had repeatedly told him was “completely debunked.” Hours after Mulvaney’s comment to reporters confirming a direct link between the aid and the president’s personal political interests, the chief of staff tried to take it back, issuing a statement saying that was not what he meant.

    House investigators issued a subpoena to Mulvaney late Thursday, but he failed to show up for a House deposition scheduled for the next morning. Hours later, his lawyers went to court.

    Mulvaney initially resisted getting outside legal help after some of his allies told him he did not need it. But as House Republicans have indicated that they may focus on Mulvaney’s role in the pressure campaign on Ukraine, possibly blaming him rather than the president, it has become clear that the chief of staff’s own interests may be in conflict with the White House on this issue.

    That left Mulvaney in the awkward position of not wanting to openly defy the White House counsel but also not wanting to imperil himself with a possible contempt citation for ignoring a subpoena. So far, a dozen current administration officials have testified despite the White House edict, while about 10 have refused to talk or provide documents.

    The White House declined to comment on the record Saturday, but an administration official who insisted on anonymity said the legal action Mulvaney’s lawyers filed was simply a way to determine whether to comply with the House. Mulvaney, the official said, has as much right as any other American to seek relief in the courts.

    A House Democratic aide, likewise declining to be identified, said the committees leading the inquiry would not be deterred and argued that because Mulvaney had discussed the matter in the news media, he had little justification to claim confidentiality when it came to the House proceedings.

    Trump has grown increasingly sour on Mulvaney in recent months, according to White House insiders. The president has technically not even made Mulvaney his official chief of staff, leaving an “acting” modifier in front of the title for more than 10 months (another never-before).

    Mulvaney was not among the aides who traveled with Trump to Tuscaloosa on Saturday to watch the University of Alabama Crimson Tide take on Louisiana State University in a major college football matchup.

    A lawyer for Mulvaney alerted the White House Counsel’s Office about the pending filing, and the office raised no objections, according to a person close to Mulvaney. Some observers said Mulvaney’s goal may be not to oppose Trump but to help him, and himself: In signaling that he would like the courts to decide whom he should side with, he is turning the decision over to a legal process that may continue well beyond the Democrats’ impeachment time frame.

    As the president spoke with reporters on Saturday before boarding Air Force One, he had nothing to say about Mulvaney’s legal action, instead issuing his ritual denunciation of the House Democrats for pursuing impeachment.

    Trump did say he would release as early as Tuesday a rough transcript of his first telephone call with Zelenskiy congratulating him on his April election, which came before the much-debated July 25 call in which the president asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden and other Democrats. “There’s never been a president who’s been so transparent,” Trump said. “This is a witch hunt at the highest level, and it’s so bad for our country.”

    The motion filed by Mulvaney late Friday night sought to include him in a lawsuit by Charles Kupperman, the president’s former deputy national security adviser, who has also been subpoenaed by the House. Kupperman is represented by Charles J. Cooper, the same lawyer representing his former boss and longtime friend, John Bolton, who stepped down as the president’s national security adviser in September.

    Bolton has reached an agreement with Simon & Schuster to write a book about his experiences in the White House — The Associated Press reported that it is worth $2 million — but first will have to resolve whether to testify as well. While he is not a plaintiff in Kupperman’s suit, Bolton is in effect waiting for its ruling to determine whether he will cooperate as well.

    Bolton may be the most sought-after witness because he resisted the pressure campaign on Ukraine and quarreled with Mulvaney over the matter. The idea that Mulvaney would then lump himself in the same legal fight with Bolton struck many involved in the matter as an odd twist.

    “There’s no honor among thieves,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., who serves on two of the committees leading the impeachment investigation. “This case is filled with ironies.”

    Neither Mulvaney nor his lawyers asked Kupperman, Bolton or their lawyer to join the suit, nor did they give them advance notice. Bolton and Kupperman now have to decide whether to support or oppose including Mulvaney in their action.

    “The question whether the president’s authority must give way in the face of a congressional subpoena — the determination Mr. Kupperman has asked this court to make — is central to the question whether the House may take adverse action against Mr. Mulvaney, as threatened,” the lawyers, William Pittard and Christopher Muha, wrote in their motion. “For that reason, Mr. Mulvaney seeks to intervene here.”

    The lawyers noted that Mulvaney “finds himself caught in that division, trapped between the commands of two of its coequal branches — with one of those branches threatening him with contempt.” But his situation is even more acute than Kupperman’s, the lawyers, added, and not just because he still works in the White House.

    “Mr. Mulvaney is both a closer and a more senior advisor to the president than was Mr. Kupperman,” they wrote, noting that he has a cabinet-level position. “And, as the acting White House chief of staff, Mr. Mulvaney is among the most regular advisors of the president.”

    Mulvaney’s decision to try to join the lawsuit was also puzzling because House Democrats have withdrawn their subpoena for Kupperman and made clear they do not want to fight a court battle to obtain his testimony or Bolton’s.

    Cooper, representing Bolton, wrote to the House on Friday that his client possessed evidence important to the investigation but would not testify without a clarifying court ruling. Bolton, Cooper wrote, “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.”
    _________________

    No words. I have no words. Even though we've all come to expect a non-stop batshit circus parade of clowns, idiots and adult-sized special-needs toddlers (in the case of Donald Trump, all of the above), this "Administration" still manages to keep hitting the rock bottom pit of disgrace and illegality and just keeps digging
    “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

  9. #279
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    let me add to this:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...8b6_story.html

    Two of President Trump’s senior advisers undermined and ignored him in what they claimed was an effort to “save the country,” former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley claims in a new memoir.

    Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly sought to recruit her to work around and subvert Trump, but she refused, Haley writes in a new book, “With All Due Respect,” which also describes Tillerson as “exhausting” and imperious and Kelly as suspicious of her access to Trump.

    “Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” Haley wrote.

    “It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing,” Haley wrote of the views the two men held.
    this sounds pretty true to me, given what we know Tillerson said about Trump.
    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

  10. #280
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    let me add to this:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...8b6_story.html



    this sounds pretty true to me, given what we know Tillerson said about Trump.
    Looks like we can add Nikki Haley to the list of True Believers...or at least the ones that put themselves and their ambitions over the needs of the country.

    I found this online, it goes a long way toward explaining the difference between Trump supporters and Trump followers:

    I know most logical people keep asking ourselves how he can have any popularity at all let alone a blind following. I really think the fact he talks like the guy at the end of the bar plays into it.

    There is wide difference between his “supporters” and his ‘followers”.

    Most supporters are educated or at least smart enough to only care about what Trump may do for their individual means. Example:Republican politicians.

    His ‘followers” are a different story. They hear someone that actually speaks as they might themselves speak: Spouting opinions based on prejudice and fear, conspiracy theories and hate.
    This appeals to them. They want to feel this guy is “one of them". He's their “voice". His disjointed, rambling and nonsensical rants aren't signs of cognitive decline to his followers: It shows that he IS one of them


    His supporters know he's full of shit and a serial liar but see him as a means to an end.

    The sad fact that his followers just cannot grasp is that Trump cares absolutely nothing about them. For him “they” are a means to an end.
    If their misplaced loyalty didn't directly effect all of us negatively it would only be sad. But the truth is they are endangering the entire country and in effect the world stage.

    It's almost too absurd to be real.
    “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

  11. #281
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    Giuliani Associate Says He Told Ukraine That Aid Was Contingent On Biden Probe: Report

    Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani’s two indicted business associates, reportedly said that he told incoming Ukrainian leadership earlier this year to announce an investigation into the Bidens in exchange for U.S. military aid.

    Parnas allegedly traveled to Kyiv just before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated in May and told the incoming government to announce an investigation into President Donald Trump’s political rival Joe Biden, otherwise the U.S. would freeze military aid to the country, the Ukrainian-American businessman’s attorney Joseph A. Bondy told The New York Times in a report published Sunday.

    Also contingent on the investigation announcement reportedly was Vice President Mike Pence’s attendance at Zelensky’s inauguration ceremony, according to Bondy. Pence never ended up attending Zelensky’s inauguration, according to the Times.

    The remarks to the newspaper are one of the first signs that Parnas has flipped on Trump and his personal attorney in the impeachment investigation surrounding the United States president’s attempted extortion of Ukraine. The warning to Ukrainian leadership was allegedly at the direction of Giuliani, whom Bondy said Parnas believed to be acting under Trump’s instruction.

    The business associate said Nov. 4 that he would be willing to testify in the House impeachment probe, a change of heart after Parnas refused to comply with House committees’ requests in October. The reconsideration came after Trump denied to reporters that he knew Parnas.

    Parnas and fellow Soviet-born business associate Igor Fruman were arrested in October on charges of using a shell company to make straw donations to a pro-Trump election committee and other Republican candidates like former Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas). They pleaded not guilty, though the indictments did not mention any issues related to the impeachment investigation.

    Giuliani has said that Parnas and Fruman assisted him in pursuing unsubstantiated allegations that Biden pushed for a Ukrainian prosecutor’s ouster to benefit his son Hunter, who used to serve on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. But Giuliani has denied that Parnas delivered a warning to incoming Ukrainian leadership at his direction, according to the Times.

    Giuliani himself is under investigation over allegations of illegally engaging in foreign lobbying in connection with the Ukraine scandal. That investigation stemmed from the probe into Parnas and Fruman, though Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.

    Fruman’s attorney John M. Dowd told the Times that the two were only seeking a meeting with Zelensky and that there was no discussion of withholding military aid or setting up terms.

    Trump suspended nearly $400 million in congressionally approved U.S. military aid to Ukraine just before his July 25 call with Zelensky, in which he pressured him to investigate the Bidens as well as false claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election instead of Russia.

    The House announced an impeachment inquiry into Trump in September after reviewing a whistleblower complaint about the Ukraine call. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing despite several instances revealing an attempted quid pro quo and witnesses corroborating such concerns in their testimony to lawmakers. Public impeachment hearings are expected to begin on Wednesday.
    _______________

    Tick-tock tick-tock lol
    “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. #282
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Looks like we can add Nikki Haley to the list of True Believers...or at least the ones that put themselves and their ambitions over the needs of the country.

    I found this online, it goes a long way toward explaining the difference between Trump supporters and Trump followers:
    What this interview of Pennsylvania swing voters.You'll love the woman on the top right.

    https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/...newday-vpx.cnn

  13. #283
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    His ‘followers” are a different story. They hear someone that actually speaks as they might themselves speak: Spouting opinions based on prejudice and fear, conspiracy theories and hate.
    This appeals to them. They want to feel this guy is “one of them". He's their “voice". His disjointed, rambling and nonsensical rants aren't signs of cognitive decline to his followers: It shows that he IS one of them
    Hmm, that struck a bell.

    "He's really sort of a dull person, except when he appears before an audience, when somehow, a switch is turned on. He could milk an audience and shape it and get it to feel."

  14. #284
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    The irony of all this Lev Parnas/Igor Fruman is that they were on the payroll of Dmytro Firtash (a guy set up by all accounts by Semyon Mogilevich, the Grandfather of Muscovite organised crime, now resident in Moscow due to payments to the 'authorities'). Parnas payed Giuliani not vice versa so Firtash (currently in Vienna with an extradition order for fraud from the US over his head) was paying Trumpkin's lawyer (who apparently worked for Trumpkin pro gratis).

  15. #285
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    Trump impeachment hearings: 5 key takeaways from the first day

    The first day of public impeachment hearings resulted in new evidence supporting the Democrats’ case that President Trump was leveraging U.S. aid to Ukraine to get President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. State Department officials Bill Taylor and George Kent, career diplomats who have served under multiple presidents, were the witnesses Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee.

    Here are the key moments from today’s testimony.

    ‘Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden’

    While much of Taylor’s testimony had already been disclosed in the transcripts of his earlier, closed-door deposition, there was key new information. Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, described a conversation in which Trump pressed the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, for information about “the investigations.”

    Taylor was not part of the call, which occurred on July 26, the day after the phone call between Trump and Zelensky that kicked off the investigation. He was told about it by an embassy staffer, who was meeting with Sondland at a restaurant when the ambassador placed a call to the White House. The staffer told Taylor that he was able to hear both ends of the conversation.

    “Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine,” Taylor testified. “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for.” Taylor said he had informed the State Department and both the majority and minority counsels for the Intelligence Committee as soon as he found out about the July 26 call. Under questioning, he clarified that he believed Sondland was saying that Trump cared more about the investigation into the Bidens than he did about Ukraine.

    Trump, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said it’s the first he’s heard of the July 26 call with Sondland and called Taylor’s testimony “secondhand information.” When pressed, Trump said he didn’t recall the conversation at all, “not even a little bit.”

    Sondland, a businessman who was appointed to the ambassadorship following large donations to the Trump inauguration, will testify next week. He dramatically altered his testimony from last month’s private deposition, saying he had “refreshed [his] recollection” and now remembered Trump tying foreign assistance to Ukraine to a public statement by Zelensky that Biden was under investigation.

    In a September text message conversation with Sondland, Taylor said he thought it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Sondland said he had checked with Trump, who denied that was his intention. Taylor was asked about that during Wednesday’s hearing.

    “Have you ever seen another example of foreign aid conditioned on the personal or political interests of the president of the United States?” asked Daniel Goldman, the staff lawyer asking questions for Democrats on the committee.

    “No, Mr. Goldman, I’ve not,” said Taylor.

    Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said the statement that Giuliani sought from Ukraine on Trump’s behalf was meant to combat corruption in Kyiv. Kent said that wasn’t an accurate assessment. “That was not an anti-corruption statement,” said Kent, noting that Giuliani pushed to include specific references to Biden’s son Hunter’s business interests in Ukraine and to the 2016 election.

    The Republican case

    GOP members on the panel made a variety of arguments in the president’s defense.

    • Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, hammered the point that neither Taylor nor Kent had ever met Trump and were relying on second- and third-hand sources. The administration has refused to allow acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify, and Giuliani has defied a subpoena, denying the inquiry of firsthand witnesses.
    • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was added to the committee just last week in order to press the Republican case, argued that because Zelensky hadn’t expressed concerns to Taylor about the aid in their three meetings over the summer, there must not have been a problem. Taylor pointed out that Zelensky wasn’t aware the aid was being held up until the third meeting and that Ukrainian officials reached out after an August Politico article headlined “Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to confront Russia.”
    • Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said that since Zelensky said publicly that Trump wasn’t extorting and blackmailing him, that means he wasn’t being extorted or blackmailed. Kent said his assessment was that Zelensky, who is dependent on American aid, could not afford to cross Trump in public.
    • Several Republicans noted that after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed part of it in 2014, Taylor urged his superiors to provide “lethal aid” to Ukraine, but the Obama administration sent only “blankets,” whereas Trump had supplied arms, including Javelin antitank missiles. The point went unchallenged in the hearing, although fact checkers note that, in fact, by 2015 the United States had given millions to Ukraine in drones, armored Humvees, counter-mortar radars and night-vision gear.


    Kent absolves Biden

    Kent, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department overseeing European and Eurasian affairs, said there was no truth to the allegations that Biden had acted inappropriately as vice president. Representing the Obama administration, Biden had pushed for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor accused of corruption, a position shared by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The prosecutor had previously investigated a Ukrainian energy company that had given a lucrative board seat to Biden’s son. But the allegations against the company, Burisma Holdings, predated the younger Biden’s appointment to the board, which was described as an effort to provide international oversight in the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian energy industry, and a Ukrainian prosecutor cleared the Bidens of any wrongdoing.

    “Mr. Kent, are you familiar as you indicate in your opening statement that you’re aware of these allegations related to Vice President Biden?” asked Goldman.

    “I am,” said Kent.

    “To your knowledge, is there any factual basis to support those allegations?” asked Goldman.

    “None whatsoever,” said Kent.

    “When Vice President Biden acted in Ukraine, did he act in accordance with official U.S. policy?” asked Goldman, to which Kent replied, “He did.”

    Republicans’ lawyer rambles

    Steve Castor, the chief minority counsel for the House Oversight Committee, drew online criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his meandering line of questioning. Castor confronted Taylor and Kent about why they weren’t on Trump’s call to Zelensky, only for both to explain that under normal diplomatic procedure they wouldn’t be involved. Castor also sought to minimize what Taylor considered the impropriety of Trump setting up a backchannel diplomatic outreach to the Ukrainian government, enlisting Giuliani, Sondland (whose portfolio as ambassador to the European Union did not include Ukraine, which is not a member) and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Taylor chuckled at Castor’s attempt to say the process was “irregular” but not “outlandish,” but conceded it was “not as outlandish as it could be.”

    Castor did score a point in pressing Kent to admit that he had flagged concerns to the vice president’s office about Hunter Biden’s business activities in Ukraine, without results.

    “Whatever the GOP counsel is doing, it’s not working,” wrote Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under George W. Bush. “I don’t [understand] where he’s going.”

    “Lines up with what a few Republicans have said to me in the last few minutes,” wrote Politico’s Jake Sherman, retweeting Fleischer’s comment.

    Nunes turns the attack on Democrats and the media

    The opening statement from ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was largely about how Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has handled the inquiry. He said that “Democrats conducted secret depositions” in the basement of the Capitol, implying that Republicans were excluded from the preliminary testimony, although they were present and given time to ask questions. Nunes also insulted Taylor and Kent, saying, “I’d like to congratulate you for qualifying for passing the Democrats’ star chamber auditions” and suggesting they were unwitting participants in a smear campaign against Trump.

    Before witness testimony even began, Republicans pushed to interview the original whistleblower, whose report led to the announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry. Democrats have vowed to protect the whistleblower’s anonymity, insisting his testimony wasn’t necessary since his allegations have been corroborated by other witnesses.

    “It won’t be my single decision,” Schiff said. “We will entertain a motion to subpoena any witness.”

    What comes next?

    There are additional hearings on Friday, Nov. 15, and next week from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21.
    __________________

    The Republicans didn't have shit and they knew it. All they could bleat on and on like sheep about "Clinton, Obama, Biden, Democrats" and the usual conspiracy theories.

    And of course, the best moment of the entire day:

    “There is one witness, one witness, that they won’t bring in front of us, they won’t bring in front of the American people. That’s the guy who started it all, the whistleblower.” ~ Rep. Jim Jordan (Histrionic Little Bitch-Ohio)

    “Thank you, I say to my colleague, I’d be glad to have the person who started it all come in and testify. President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there.” ~ Rep. Peter Welch (Burn Meister-Vt.)

    As funny as it was, it underlined the problem with the GOP defense of Trump: They're not denying what he did. And there isn't a chance in HELL they'd ever consider having Trump sitting in that seat...or anywhere near the Capitol Building for that matter.
    “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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