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Thread: The Impeachment, Trial and Acquittal of Donald John Trump

  1. #586
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    03 Sep 03
    Trump Will Invoke Executive Privilege to Block Bolton Testimony

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said the White House plans to invoke executive privilege to prevent former National Security Adviser John Bolton from testifying in the Senate impeachment trial expected to begin next week.

    “I think you have to for the sake of the office,” Trump said in an interview Friday with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham when asked whether he would take steps to stop the possible testimony

    “You can’t be in the White House as president -- future, I’m talking about future, many future presidents -- and have a security adviser, anybody having to do with security, and legal, and other things” testify, Trump said.

    The comments contradicted remarks from Trump on Thursday. The president said he didn’t plan to block Bolton from testifying: “I don’t stop it.”

    Bolton said Monday he would testify if subpoenaed during Trump’s impeachment trial, injecting fresh drama into the proceedings, which have been delayed as Democrats demanded that key figures -- including Bolton -- appear as witnesses.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will prepare to send articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week after failing to secure any concessions on the Senate trial from Republicans.

    Aaaaand cue the further obstruction of justice.

    Complete of course with Trump saying two completely different things that contradict each other.

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    03 Sep 03
    Fox News' Sean Hannity Issues Phone Number Threat To Republicans In Impeachment Rant

    Fox News host Sean Hannity on Friday threatened to give out phone numbers as he warned Republican senators against allowing witnesses to be called during President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.

    “They now get to present their case to all of you Republican senators, don’t make me start giving out the phone number,” he warned on his radio show in audio published online by progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America.

    It’s unclear exactly what phone number Hannity was threatening to release.

    The primetime anchor, who is a staunch supporter of the president, has repeatedly urged his viewers and listeners to call up elected officials to echo his views in the past.

    Hannity continued:

    You need to understand here that their sole constitutional role is they get to impeach. They have decided in their insanity and psychosis and rage to abuse that power and bring up what is a noncase. And just politicize this because they’re just obsessed and Nancy Pelosi needed to appease the radicalism rising within her base. That is not what your role is in the U.S. Senate. Your role is also very, very clear: You are to run the trial. That’s it. That’s what your job is. It is not your job, at all, to redo their corrupt investigation.

    The House voted to impeach Trump over the Ukraine scandal in December.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held off from transmitting the two articles of impeachment (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress) to the Senate amid fears of Republican bias in the trial and the White House’s blocking of key witnesses from testifying. On Friday, she announced the articles would be transmitted next week.

    "in their insanity and psychosis and rage" project much there Sean?

    This "Administration" becomes more and more Orwellian as the walls continue to close in. Don't you dare step out of line!

  3. #588
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    03 Sep 03
    Republican senators say they will not vote to dismiss charges against Trump ahead of trial

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican members of the U.S Senate, poised to begin an impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the coming days, voiced opposition on Monday to any attempt to dismiss the charges against him without a trial.

    The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives is expected to formally send the charges to the Senate this week, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to help acquit his fellow Republican.

    Trump appeared on Sunday to reverse his position on how the Senate should proceed, writing on Twitter that a full trial would give the Democrats who pursued impeachment undeserved credibility and signaling support for dismissal of the charges with no trial.

    “There is almost no interest” among Republican senators for a motion to dismiss the House charges, Republican Senator Roy Blunt told reporters on Monday.

    "I will not be supporting a motion to dismiss," said Republican Senator Mitt Romney. "At this stage, the allegations that have been made are serious and deserve to be given consideration with the arguments for and against."

    Senator Susan Collins, among a handful of Republicans whom Democrats hope to persuade to back their call for witness testimony, told reporters she and a small group of colleagues were discussing a trial format that would allow lawmakers to vote on whether to include witnesses after hearing from each side and having the opportunity to pose questions.

    “We’re still talking, and I think the discussions have been going well,” Collins told reporters, saying she strongly favored the approach taken during the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed sending the two articles of impeachment passed by the House on Dec. 18 to the Republican-led Senate, preventing McConnell from holding a quick trial right away that cleared the president.


    The House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The impeachment charges stem from Trump's request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

    House Democrats will discuss on Tuesday morning how to move forward, Pelosi said on Sunday, with the chamber possibly voting to send the charges to the Senate later that day.

    Pelosi said the delay was meant to convince the U.S. public of the need to call witnesses in the Senate trial after Trump's administration blocked some current and former officials from cooperating in the House impeachment inquiry.

    McConnell has yet to say definitively how the Senate will conduct the trial.

    He has not committed to allowing any witnesses or new documents in the proceedings and instead could steer the process toward a quick acquittal. McConnell has left open the possibility of deciding on witness testimony later in the trial. He has said he sees no chance of the Senate convicting Trump.

    The Senate, which could open a trial rapidly after receiving the charges from the House, plans to meet daily except on Sundays each week to conduct the proceedings, likely beginning each day at noon EST (1700 GMT) and working until either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. EST (2200 or 2300 GMT), according to congressional aides.

    The Senate is expected to vote to acquit Trump even though some moderate Republicans have bristled over McConnell's reflexive support for the president. Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds majority of those present in the 100-member chamber.

    Well that's a start. Allowing witnesses at the trial would be a good step...though futile one, given that Trump will block them just as he blocked them from testifying in front of the House.

    McConnell has said he sees no chance of the Senate convicting why not allow witnesses? What's the harm?

  4. #589
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    03 Sep 03
    Trump assembles impeachment legal team

    President Donald Trump has closely consulted with aides about the makeup of the team tasked with defending him in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    The team is expected to be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, along with the president's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow. Cipollone's deputies, Pat Philbin and Mike Purpura are expected to have a role as well.

    The legal defense the White House will present is significant. Because the White House chose not to participate in the House’s impeachment investigation, it will be the first time we hear the president’s attorneys formally defend him against charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, mounting an argument for why he should not be removed from office.

    While it’s not immediately clear what strategy the legal team will seek to employ to adhere to the president's demands of a trial that would support his claims of no wrongdoing, a central argument will be that the president did nothing illegal.

    The unknown factor here is whether a handful of the president’s staunchest allies in the House will be part of the defense team on the Senate floor. Republican Reps. Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe and Doug Collins have spent hours prepping at the White House with members of the counsel’s office, according to sources familiar with the meetings. It would be Trump – and his attorney’s – preference to include them for a number of reasons.

    The House members would be used in what sources have described as a “support role” to counter the arguments made by the House impeachment managers – those yet-to-be-named members who will present the House case to remove the president from office. Sources say their firsthand knowledge of the evidence and various closed-door depositions is advantageous to the defense. Jordan and Ratcliffe attended nearly every closed-door deposition during the House impeachment investigation.

    But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators have made clear to the White House they are opposed to the idea and have been lobbying the president against it.

    MORE: Trump's impeachment trial: How we got here, what happens next and what to watch
    And one of Trump’s top allies in the Senate, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he didn’t think it was wise to have House members defending the president during the trial.

    GOP Sen. John Cornyn also said he would advise the president against it, telling ABC News that it’s better to start fresh in the Senate because the House impeachment inquiry “was a little bit of a circus and I don’t think the Senate trial will be anything like that, which is fine with me.”

    But, Cornyn said, “that’s really up to the president. I mean if he wants to, listen, I would respect that choice.”

    After the articles of impeachment are transmitted, the Senate formally informs the president there will be a trial and what day it will start. The legal team is expected to be made public once the White House formally responds.

    The president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has privately urged the president that he wants to be part of the defense in the trial, according to sources, and publicly told reporters earlier this month that he’d like to prosecute the case himself.

    However, that’s unlikely. People close to Trump have urged against this, as Giuliani is a focus of the impeachment probe for the work he did as it relates to Ukraine.

    A key question looming over the trial is to what extent the president will seek to influence the proceedings and limit witnesses who have direct knowledge of events at the center of the inquiry.

    Trump has previously said that he would like witnesses like acting White House Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify in the Senate trial, but more recently has indicted he would block any witnesses from discussing events that took place during their time at the White House.

    “Well, I think you have to for the sake of the office,” Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham in an interview when asked if he’d invoke executive privilege over witnesses such as Bolton.

    McConnell has made clear he sees no need for witnesses, but there is pressure -- even from some Republicans -- to hear from those with direct knowledge of the president’s dealings with Ukraine who were told not to cooperate with the House investigation, and Bolton has said he’s willing to testify should the Senate issue him a subpoena.

    White House officials are growing increasingly concerned that at least four Republican senators will agree to Democrats demands to call high-profile witnesses who may bolster some of the underlying details that House Democrats claim proves that the president's conduct was impeachable.

    The article forgot to mention that Trump's defense team will also include Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and every GOP senator that hasn't expressed at least some discomfort at McConnell and Graham's unambiguous declarations to violate the oath they'll swear before the trial.

    And then of course there's Rudy, sitting up on his hind legs and just begging for scraps at the Trump defense table, probably not wanting to face the fact that he's two steps away from being wrapped up in a burlap bag by Trump and thrown into the Potomac.

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    03 Sep 03
    House releases note on 'Biden case' from Giuliani associate

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats have released a trove of documents they obtained from Lev Parnas, a close associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, including a handwritten note that mentions asking Ukraine's president to investigate “the Biden case.”

    The documents made public Tuesday come as Democrats prepare to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for Trump's trial. They add new context to their charges that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats as he withheld military aid to the country.

    The documents show that Parnas was in constant communication with Giuliani and in contact with Ukrainian officials as he worked as an intermediary.

    Among the documents is a screenshot of a previously undisclosed letter from Giuliani to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy dated May 10, 2019, which was before Zelenskiy took office. In the letter, Giuliani announces himself as Trump’s personal lawyer and requests a meeting with Zelenskiy “as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent.”

    Also among the documents is a handwritten note on stationery from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna that says “get Zalensky to Annonce that the Biden case will be Investigated." Trump asked Zelenskiy in a July call to investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. Hunter Biden served on the board of a gas company based in Ukraine.

    In a letter outlining the evidence, Democrats said that Parnas' attorney confirmed that Parnas wrote the notes.

    The documents — including phone records, texts and flash drives turned over by Parnas — were sent to the House Judiciary Committee by three other House committees “to be included as part of the official record that will be transmitted to the Senate along with the Articles of Impeachment,” according to a statement. Some of the materials were made public while others were marked as sensitive.

    Four Democratic House committee chairmen in the statement said that they have continued “to collect additional evidence” so that the House impeachment managers “can present to the Senate the most complete factual record possible" before the impeachment trial.

    Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, both U.S. citizens who emigrated from the former Soviet bloc, were indicted last year on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records. Prosecutors allege they made outsize campaign donations to Republican causes after receiving millions of dollars originating from Russia.

    Several of the documents show Parnas communicating with Giuliani and another attorney, Victoria Toensing, about the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, who was at the time the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Her removal, pushed by Trump, was at the center of the Democrats’ inquiry. Yovanovitch testified in the House impeachment hearings that she was the victim of a “smear campaign.”

    Trump on a July 25 call had promised Zelenskiy that Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things.” Roughly two months earlier, she had been recalled from her diplomatic post.

    On April 23, the day before Yovanovitch was directed to return to the United States, Giuliani texted Parnas, "He fired her again." Parnas texted back, "I pray it happens this time I'll call you tomorrow my brother."

    Parnas also received messages from a man named Robert F. Hyde who appeared to be describing surveillance of Yovanovitch and referred to her as a "bitch.” Hyde is now running for a U.S. House seat in Connecticut.

    After texting about the ambassador, Hyde gave Parnas location updates over the course of a week. In one text, Hyde wrote: “She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Her computer is off.” He said she was under heavy security and “we have a person inside.”

    Hyde at one point texted Parnas that ''they are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” and “guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money ... is what I was told.”

    Parnas texted back: “lol.”

    Lawrence Robbins, an attorney for Yovanovitch, declined to comment on the text messages Tuesday evening.

    The text messages also show that Parnas consulted Giuliani in Jan. 2019 after the U.S. denied issuing a visa for former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Giuliani replied: "I can revive it."

    In a follow-up conversation the following day, Giuliani told Parnas: “It’s going to work I have no 1 in it.” Giuliani then predicted "he will get one" before giving Parnas the phone number for Jay Sekulow, the leader of the president's personal legal team. Sekulow is expected to be part of Trump's legal team during the impeachment trial.

    The release of documents comes after a federal judge earlier this month said that Parnas could provide materials to Congress as part of the impeachment proceedings.

    Democrats voted in December to impeach Trump for abuse of power and for obstruction of Congress.

    Trump in his own words to Fox News: "I had no knowledge of Rudy meeting with Ukraine."

    Yeah, I'll bet you didn't. Asshole.

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    03 Sep 03
    House Sends Articles To Senate To Trigger Trial Of Donald Trump

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday formally set in motion the process of sending the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate that will trigger a Senate trial expected to begin on Thursday.

    At an "engrossment" signing ceremony for the House resolution naming the seven impeachment managers -- the lawmakers who will present the House case as prosecutors at the trial -- Pelosi said the House was doing its "constitutional duty."

    "Today, we will make history," she said, "when we walk down -- when the managers walk the hall, they will cross a threshold in history, delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House."

    "This president will be held accountable," she said.

    Marking the somber nature of the occasion, the managers then walked the articles, in two blue folders, silently across the Capitol from the House to the Senate, where the House Clerk announced the arrival. The documents will be formally accepted on Thursday.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would convene at noon, after which the managers will read the articles aloud, Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in and he, in turn, will swear in senators to serve as jurors in the case.

    Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 228-193 to formally send the impeachment charges against President Trump to the Senate to begin the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

    The House resolution officially appoints the seven managers, named by Pelosi Wednesday morning.

    Earlier, shortly after being named an impeachment manager, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler submitted the text of a resolution that spells out the managers’ duties.

    During the short floor debate before the vote, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took aim at the managers appointed by Pelosi, as they sat in front of him, listening.

    "By selecting this particular batch of managers, the speaker has further proven she's not interested in winning the minds, the hearts, or even following the Constitution," he said, calling out Nadler, and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, specifically.

    "The speaker said, 'The President is impeached forever.' Is this what this is all about?" he said. Pelosi pumped her fist in the air as McCarthy quoted her.

    There were about 140 members of the public watching from the galleries.

    When it was her turn, Pelosi, standing next to a poster showing the American flag and a quote from the Pledge of Allegiance, ended debate by denouncing Trump's actions and defending the timing of the impeachment proceedings in the House.

    "It is a fact that once somebody is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased. I know you don't like hearing that," Pelosi said to McCarthy.

    Trump, she said, "gave us no choice" on impeachment.

    "They would have liked us to send this over on Christmas Eve so they could dismiss it. Perhaps they don't know that dismissal is a cover-up."

    President Trump, participating in a signing ceremony of an agreement between the United States and China at the White House, observed some Republicans in the audience and directed them to go vote against the resolution.

    "It's on the impeachment hoax," Trump said of the resolution. "It's not going to matter 'cause it's going very well, but I'd rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you. They have a hoax going on over there, let's take care of it."

    "Resolved, That Mr. Schiff, Mr. Nadler, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Jeffries, Mrs. Demings, Mr. Crow, and Ms. Garcia of Texas are appointed managers to conduct the impeachment trial against Donald John Trump, President of the United States, that a message be sent to the Senate to inform the Senate of these appointments, and that the managers so appointed may, in connection with the preparation and the conduct of the trial, exhibit the articles of impeachment to the Senate and take all other actions necessary…," the resolution states, formally naming each impeachment manager.

    The resolution goes on to authorize "employing legal, clerical, and other necessary assistants and incurring such other expenses as may be necessary, to be paid from amounts available to the Committee on the Judiciary under applicable expense resolutions or from the applicable accounts of the House of Representatives."

    In other words, the costs of the House participation in the Senate trial will be covered by the Judiciary Committee.

    The measure also authorizes "sending for persons and papers, and filing with the Secretary of the Senate, on the part of the House of Representatives, any pleadings, in conjunction with or subsequent to, the exhibition of the articles of impeachment that the managers consider necessary."

    Pelosi will sign the bill at a 5 p.m. engrossing ceremony in the Capitol, before the managers carry out the ritual of marching across the Capitol to present the bill to the Senate secretary.

    Earlier, as she named the managers, Pelosi, with Schiff and Nadler at her side, began by saying "an impeachment will last forever."

    Schiff and Nadler will be two of the mangers, Schiff designated by Pelosi as the lead manager.

    "Time has been our friend in all this," she added, noting what she called the new "incriminating" evidence that has surfaced in the month since the House impeachment vote on Dec. 18, including new documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

    Schiff said that bombshell new evidence, revealed by the House just Tuesday night, must be considered by the Senate.

    Schiff added that documents will be just as important as any witnesses, citing a letter Giuliani sent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and what it said about his having Trump's blessing.

    "If the Senate wants to see the evidence, they should demand to see the documents," he said.

    Democrats further pushed back on the comparison to the Clinton trial precedent, pointing to the fact that during Clinton, the Senate had the full record thanks to the Starr investigation and the House investigation.

    Nadler also batted down the early suggestion from Republicans that former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, should be called, saying he wouldn't be considered a relevant witness.

    "It's important for the president to know and Vladimir Putin to know that the American voters decide who are president is. We wouldn't be in this situation had we not waited and insist that there be witnesses and we see documentation," Pelosi said.

    Other managers Pelosi named were Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren of California, Sylvia Garcia of Texas and Jason Crow of Colorado.

    Pelosi said she chose members of Congress with experience as litigators who are comfortable in a courtroom setting and making a strong, evidence-based case.

    "The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people," she said.

    When asked about the delay in transferring the articles, Schiff said the extra time helped Democrats make the case for a trial in the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially said he would support efforts to dismiss the case.

    "If McConnell makes this the first trial in history without witnesses it will be exposed for what it is and that's an effort to cover up for the president," Schiff said.

    "Dismissal is cover-up," Pelosi added.

    "It is essential we bring this impeachment to stop the president from rigging the next election," Nadler said.

    Pelosi ended the announcement by warning that should the Senate fall short of a full trial, it wouldn't overshadow the House's impeachment vote - just the third in American history.

    "He has been held accountable. He has been impeached forever. They can never erase that," Pelosi said.

    There have been 20 presidential impeachment managers in American history; all of them have been white men.

    Pelosi's team has three women: Demings, Lofgren and Sylvia Garcia.

    There are two freshman lawmakers on the team: Crow, a former Army Ranger and lawyer, and Garcia.

    Crow helped write the pivotal Washington Post op-ed with other freshman in September in favor of impeachment that was seen as turning the tide in favor of impeachment in the caucus. He's the only manager who is not a member of the Judiciary or Intelligence Committees. Demings, the former police chief of Orlando, is on both panels.

    Lofgren is a veteran of three impeachments: She was a Judiciary Committee staffer during Watergate, and served on the panel during Clinton's impeachment.

    Though the House voted to impeach Trump in December, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Pelosi withheld delivering the charges to the Senate, saying she wanted McConnell to first outline the rules of the trial and commit to bringing key witnesses before the Senate to testify, including former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.

    While McConnell resisted Pelosi's pressure campaign, a number of Senate Republicans have expressed interest in voting to hear from witnesses after the initial opening arguments. And McConnell has ruled out dismissing the charges against Trump at the start of proceedings, a move that Democrats feared would circumvent an airing of the charges against the president.

    "The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial," Pelosi wrote in a statement released on Tuesday.

    Shortly after word came about the planned House vote, McConnell took to the Senate floor to lambaste what he called an "arbitrary" month-long delay in sending over the articles.

    The delay has impacted the plans of the several Senate Democrats running for president, forcing them to adjust their campaign schedules leading up to the Iowa caucuses early next month.

    McConnell said arguments in the Senate trial are expected to begin next Tuesday.

    Removal from office would require 67 senators voting in favor of conviction, constituting a simple majority of the body. That means at least 20 Republicans would need to turn against the president, assuming all Democrats vote to convict.

  7. #592
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    03 Sep 03
    Lev Parnas Says Trump Knew Everything In Ukraine Scandal

    Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani at the center of the Ukraine scandal that led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, said both men were fully aware “of all my movements” and that the president knew “exactly what was going on” as he waged a pressure campaign to dig up dirt on a presidential campaign rival.

    “President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an interview set to air Wednesday. “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials.”

    The explosive comments come the same day the House voted to send two articles of impeachment against the president to the Senate for trial. The House voted largely along party lines to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress last month. He is just the third American president to be impeached.

    The pressure campaign in Ukraine was a central fixture of the House impeachment vote after a parade of current and former Trump administration officials detailed an effort by the White House to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for political favors.

    Parnas emerged as a key figure in that effort during the House inquiry. He was indicted last fall on campaign finance charges and has since split with Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, pledging to speak openly about his efforts with Ukraine.

    In the interview with Maddow, Parnas elaborated that members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s team were told to meet with him because he was on the ground as a representative of the Trump administration “doing their work.”

    “I mean they have no reason to speak to me,” Parnas said. “Why would President Zelensky’s inner circle, or Minister [of Internal Affairs Arsen] Avakov, or all these people or [former] President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me.”

    “That’s the secret that they’re trying to keep,” he added.

    Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a trove of records on Tuesday that Parnas’s attorneys turned over to congressional investigators. The cache includes previously unseen handwritten notes by Parnas that demonstrate how Giuliani communicated with Zelensky on behalf of Trump. The documents also include letters and WhatsApp messages between Parnas and a man who may have tracked the location of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

    One note has instructions to get Zelensky to “announce that the Biden case will be investigated.”

    The details are sure to complicate the Senate’s impeachment duties. Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have been attempting to hold a speedy trial with no new witnesses, but pressure has been building to hear from members of Trump’s orbit who have so far remained quiet about what they know.

    As certain as it is that Trump will be "acquitted" by a spineless GOP that has sold their souls to this loathsome c*unt, it's still entertaining to see person after person, document after document, all saying the same thing, over and over again.

    And anybody saying differently won't take the stand in Trump's defense even if you put a gun to their head.

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    03 Sep 03
    Kellyanne Conway Melts Down Under Grilling by Fox News

    White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked four times by Fox News on Thursday morning to “flat-out” refute claims from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas that President Donald Trump was fully “aware” of what he was up to in Ukraine. She didn’t give a straight answer once.

    After Fox aired a clip of Parnas’ interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow from Wednesday night, they asked her to refute his central claims. Conway first tried to laugh it off, joking with no sense of irony, “Remember, people who go on TV are never under oath.” Meanwhile, the Trump White House has blocked witnesses from testifying under oath and criticized the credibility of those who have.

    But that argument didn’t satisfy Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, who repeatedly grilled Conway on the substance of what Parnas was saying.

    “Are you saying flat-out, 100 percent what he alleges is not true, yes or no?” Hemmer asked.

    Instead of answering yes or no, Conway went on to offer up an “objection” to the idea that Parnas could know Trump was aware of his movements. “You cannot say what someone else knew or thought,” she said. “That was a TV show, not a court of law.”

    As she continued to filibuster, Hemmer interrupted her. “But back on Parnas, cut through it: Is he lying or not, Kellyanne?”

    “He’s a proven liar, he’s been indicted,” she answered, again without addressing the specific claims about Trump.

    Moments later, Hemmer’s co-host Sandra Smith jumped in as well. “Just to finish on that point, it’s a yes or no question,” she said. “‘Trump knew exactly what was going on,’ said Lev Parnas, and we’re asking, is that statement true or false?”

    “Trump knew what was going on how?” Conway said, answering the true or false question with a question of her own. “In other words, what is Lev Parnas actually saying?”

    It was her fourth time refusing to answer the question and ultimately the Fox hosts had no choice but to move on.

    No wonder Trump wants to keep people close to him off the stand.

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    03 Sep 03
    Rand Paul threatens fellow Republicans with explosive witness votes

    Sen. Rand Paul is waging a fierce campaign to prevent the Senate from hearing witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, vowing to force tough votes on his fellow Republicans if they break with the president or back Democrats' demands for new evidence.

    The Kentucky Republican is occasionally at odds with Trump, from his killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani to his national emergency to build his southern border wall. But when it comes to impeachment, Paul is taking the hardest line possible in Trump’s favor.

    Paul says if four or more of his GOP colleagues join with Democrats to entertain new witness testimony, he will make the Senate vote on subpoenaing the president’s preferred witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the whistleblower who revealed the Ukraine scandal — polarizing picks who moderate Republicans aren’t eager to call. So he has a simple message for his party: end the trial before witnesses are called.

    “If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is,” Paul said during an interview in his office on Wednesday. “If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period.”

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned Republicans not to divide the party and endanger his slim GOP majority, but Paul’s play could be useful to him. If the pressure campaign stifles the small group of Republicans open to hearing from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, McConnell will be able to conclude the trial in the swift fashion he’s long sought.

    But if a majority of the Senate agrees to hear witnesses, Paul is ready to go all out to make sure everyone in the Senate is on the record about whether they stand with Trump.

    “My first preference would be to be done with it as soon as possible and not to have any witnesses,” Paul said. “If they insist on having people like Bolton coming forward, my insistence will be not just one witness. But that the president should be able to call any witnesses that he deems necessary to his defense.”

    Paul’s threat is backed up by real power under the process envisioned by McConnell and allowed for under Senate rules.

    After hearing opening arguments and questioning from House impeachment managers and the White House counsel, the Senate is expected to take a vote on whether to consider the witness issue at all, according to senators familiar with McConnell’s plans. If the Senate agrees to hear witnesses, every senator will have the chance to force a motion seeking testimony.

    An initial vote to consider witnesses has been sought by GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. If it fails, the trial is likely to head to closing arguments. The question of witnesses might mimic the motion to dismiss impeachment that was considered and rebuffed during former President Bill Clinton’s Senate trial.

    Both Collins and Murkowski said on Wednesday they aren’t advocating for specific witnesses but simply want to retain the right to hear more evidence during the trial. Collins even said she agrees with Paul’s view on witness parity.

    “If he’s saying that both sides should have an opportunity, I agree with that, to call witnesses. We’ll make the call on which ones. But it isn’t fair to just let one side call witnesses,” she said.

    But asked about Paul’s contention that she and other Republicans risk a collapse in support from the GOP base if they side with Democrats on procedural votes, she demurred: “You know, it’s not my focus. My focus is to be fair. And to have a dignified trial.”

    Paul is perhaps the most aggressive user of Senate procedure to get his way, forcing votes on budget-cutting amendments on spending bills; briefly shuttering the Patriot Act; and even forcing his a brief government shutdown in 2018. And he often draws significant blowback from his party for his tactics.

    But this time around, Paul is acting as his own version of a team player. He’s not going to offer a motion to immediately dismiss the trial despite pressure from Trump’s allies to do so. He’s even talking about party unity — even though he’s usually the most likely Republican to deviate from McConnell’s line.

    “Sometimes it’s good to have people unified. ... I’m for immediate dismissal, but I know it’s not just four [senators]. There might be 10 that are against immediate dismissal. It’ll just be a vote that fails,” Paul said. “When it’s something that we’re trying to stay together and there is the other team trying to attack our leader, I think it behooves us to have as much unanimity as we can.”

    Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are arguing that Republicans are in danger of giving Minority Leader Chuck Schumer the witnesses he wants by even considering a debate over new testimony. And that has Paul in the good graces of senior Republicans who have spent years dealing with his parliamentary antics.

    “He’s just showing he’s not going to go quietly. If there’s some witnesses allowed, he wants to make sure there’s some reciprocity,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is close to McConnell. “His point is that it shouldn’t be just a one-way street. He’s got a good point.”

    It’s easy to see how the witness debate could get out of control for vulnerable senators in both parties. In addition to Paul’s plans, Democrats would also be sure to offer difficult votes for Republicans facing reelection like Collins, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha McSally of Arizona. And Democrats have a pair of incumbent senators up for reelection in November in states Trump won in 2016, as well: Doug Jones of Alabama and Gary Peters of Michigan.

    “I don’t know if somebody proposes Rudy Giuliani as one of the reciprocal witnesses, how many votes that will get,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said.

    By threatening to create the circus-like atmosphere the GOP is trying to avoid, Paul could in fact shut down the witness debate and help Senate Republicans protect their majority. Just three Republicans are strongly considering voting to hear witnesses, one short of the simple majority needed. Senators like Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) are undecided and want to wait until they hear the opening arguments, meaning the whip count is unsettled.

    And senior Republicans believe the specter of a chaotic witness debate could stifle the thirst for hearing new evidence.

    “I certainly don’t think it’s to anybody’s advantage to have this constant offering of motions and back and forth that goes on indefinitely in terms of who may or may not be called,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said.

    But if there are 51 votes for witnesses and the trial is extended, Paul’s tactics will become a huge problem for vulnerable GOP incumbents. His motions will put them between swing voters and Trump’s base, a poor position to be in during an election year.

    Paul said he doesn’t want to let it get to that point. But if it does, he’s ready to go. And he thinks Trump will be, too.

    If “some Republicans help Democrats get witnesses and there are no witnesses for the president, I think the end result is a revolutionary tide against those people,” Paul said. “I can’t imagine that [Trump] will let it go by if someone votes to bring in witnesses that his administration isn’t interested in.”

  10. #595
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    03 Sep 03
    Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William Barr

    Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he was giving media interviews about his role in President Trump’s attempts convince Ukrainian officials to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden because he wanted to protect himself from Attorney General William Barr.

    Parnas made that claim in an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, the second part of which aired Thursday night.

    Trump, Parnas said, was made more powerful “when he got William Barr.”

    “They're trying to scare me into not talking,” Parnas said of officials in the Justice Department, adding that “My wife is scared. My kids are nervous."

    “People are scared,” he said of Trump’s supporters. “Am I scared, yes.”

    Parnas, who is under indictment on campaign finance charges in the Southern District of New York, which is overseen by Barr’s office, went on to describe Trump as a “cult leader.”

    "I don’t think Trump is like organized crime,” Parnas said, “I think he’s a cult leader.”

    Parnas, who is free on bond, described a tense meeting in jail with his former lawyer John Dowd, who also represented Trump. According to Parnas, Dowd and Kevin Downing visited Parnas in jail to try to talk him out of cooperating with the House impeachment inquiry.

    “Were they telling you to sacrifice yourself to protect the President?” Maddow asked.

    “That's the way I felt,” Parnas replied, adding that he told the two lawyers, "If you don't get out of here right now, something bad is going to happen." He then fired them. His current lawyer, Joseph Bondy, was at his side for the interview.

    Parnas has turned over voluminous documents and cellphone records to House investigators pertaining to his role as a go-between in the efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden.

    On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also criticized Barr in harsh terms.

    "Does anyone think that the rogue A.G. is going to appoint a special prosecutor?” Pelosi said in Washington in reference to the revelations stemming from Maddow’s interview with Barr. “No, because he's implicated in all of this. This is an example of all of the president's henchmen. And I hope that the senators do not become part of the president's henchmen."

    Trump, meanwhile, continued to assert that he did not know Parnas.

    "I know nothing about him but I can tell you this, I don’t know him, I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to him," Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday.

    There are numerous photographs of Trump and members of his family with Parnas, and he has turned over to the House emails indicating that Trump personally signed off on Dowd taking on Parnas as a client.

    Parnas also said that after spending months pressing Ukraine’s government to announce an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, he has come to conclusion that such an investigation was not warranted.

    "After analyzing all the evidence and sitting back and, what’s it called, really understanding what’s going on, I don’t think Vice President Biden did anything wrong,” Parnas said. “I think he was protecting our country and getting rid of probably a crooked attorney general."

    A night earlier, Parnas described the direction Trump had given Giuliani, including linking the release of nearly $400 million in congressionally approved military aid to an announcement of an investigation of Biden. Parnas told Maddow that “everybody was in the loop,” including Vice President Mike Pence.

    Trump’s Senate impeachment trial begins Tuesday.

  11. #596
    Lei Feng Protege
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    Arlington, VA
    must be more deep


    The GOP said Trump committed no crime. The GAO now rules he broke the law.
    The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office severely undermines a core Trump impeachment defense

    Aaron Blake
    Jan. 16, 2020 at 11:02 a.m. EST

    The GOP has made the idea there was no crime a central argument in its impeachment defense of President Trump. The articles of impeachment, Republicans argue, don’t actually accuse Trump of a specific, statutory criminal act, so the process is illegitimate.

    This, of course, ignores that you don’t need a crime to impeach. But that strained argument was just severely undermined.

    The Government Accountability Office ruled Thursday the Trump administration’s withholding of aid to Ukraine violated the law, because Trump can’t use his policy priorities to supersede the constitutional power of the purse that Congress enjoys.

    If Congress appropriates the money, essentially, Trump needs to have a very specific reason for withholding it, and the reasons supplied didn’t qualify.

    In a nine-page report, GAO general counsel Thomas H. Armstrong delivers rebukes to Trump and his administration, saying it has failed to abide by the law, failed to substantiate its actions and failed to cooperate by providing the necessary documentation.

    The GAO report specifically refers to $214 million in funds for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative — it hasn’t reached a conclusion on an additional $26.5 million in foreign military financing that was withheld — that was delayed via footnotes. It says the footnotes, which said the funds were withheld to make sure they were not spent “in a manner that could conflict with the President’s foreign policy,” don’t satisfy the requirement for overriding Congress’s appropriation of funds.

    “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the report begins. The Office of Management and Budget “withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”

    While that section focuses on the OMB violating the law, other portions of the report point more directly to Trump.

    “The President is not vested with the power to ignore or amend any such duly enacted law,” it says.

    To be clear, the GAO report is not a criminal indictment. The office can at most sue the administration for the release of funds, and they have already been released. There’s not really a next step here.

    But it means something symbolically and practically. An official report of the U.S. government now says the withholding of military aid that Trump used to leverage Ukraine was in violation of the law. Whether any quid pro quos themselves were illegal or abuses of power, now we can say the use of the leverage itself was, according to GAO.

    Republicans have taken to arguing in recent weeks that the lack of a statutory crime in the two impeachment articles the House sent to the Senate on Wednesday indicate Trump’s actions weren’t that bad — or even, in some extreme arguments, that this impeachment isn’t valid. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has taken to arguing the Supreme Court should strike down Trump’s impeachment, because there is no accusation of a crime.

    This ignores the broad legal consensus that the “high crimes and misdemeanors” requirement in the Constitution doesn’t actually require statutory crimes. Even the GOP’s legal expert impeachment witness, Jonathan Turley, acknowledged as such.

    Trump even pushed the argument on Twitter, literally minutes after the GAO report came out.

    Giuliani’s specious argument aside, there are perhaps political reasons for Democrats to have actually accused Trump of a crime, and they passed on using “bribery” — which is listed in the Constitution as an impeachable offense and is a statutory crime.

    Now they can plausibly argue Trump took an illegal action here as part of his pressure campaign on Ukraine. They can now say he broke the law to leverage a foreign government for dirt on a political opponent.
    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

  12. #597
    Senior Contributor
    Join Date
    12 Aug 08
    The really 'odd' (or entirely predictable) thing about all these Parnas 'revelations' surrounding 'Guiliani's investigation' is that the whole lot was funded with Muscovite criminal money either from Firtash (linked with Semion Mogilevich and fighting extradition to the US) or directly from Moscow. Parnas actually payed Guiliani $500,000 that Firtash gave him and received an additional $1m direct from Moscow to his Wife's account. So given that they were 'representing the personal interests of the President of the US' (as opposed to 'US interests') why was dirty Muscovite money funding them and is that alright?

  13. #598
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    03 Sep 03
    Trump lawyers present defense for 'dangerous' impeachment

    Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump's legal team presented Saturday its line of defense for his upcoming impeachment trial, a process they dismissed as unconstitutional and "dangerous."

    It was the first time the team presented its arguments, modeled on those put forward since December by Trump and his fellow Republicans.

    White House counsel Pat Cipollone will be lead lawyer, backed by Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow. They will be joined by Ken Starr, who was at the center of Bill Clinton's impeachment in the 1990s, and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

    In an initial response to the president's being charged, written by Cipollone and Sekulow, the defense said that the articles of impeachment -- passed by the majority-Democrat House of Representatives -- "are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president."

    "This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election," the team said in a statement.

    Trump has been impeached on charges that he abused his office to try and force Ukraine into digging up dirt on leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by withholding $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    He was also impeached for allegedly obstructing Congress.

    "The articles of impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever," the defense team said.

    In a call with reporters earlier Saturday, a source close to Trump's legal team said the articles violate the Constitution because they are "the product of invalid proceedings that flagrantly denied the president any due process rights."

    The impeachment process risks doing "lasting damage to our structure of government," the source said.

    The sources added that Trump had met with Zelensky at the UN in September and that the military aid had been released, proving there was no quid pro quo with Kiev -- although by that point, a whistleblower within the administration had already triggered the impeachment proceedings.

    The House managers, or prosecutors in the impeachment trial, filed their official brief on Saturday, in which they said that Trump's conduct "is the Framers' worst nightmare," referring to the authors of the US Constitution.

    "The case against the President of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming," the managers said in a joint statement after filing the brief.

    "President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy."

    Interesting defense. The usual batshit non sequiturs and utter lack of knowledge about the Constitution, as expected. But hey I guess they've got to go with something.

  14. #599
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Orlando, Florida, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post

    Interesting defense. The usual batshit non sequiturs and utter lack of knowledge about the Constitution, as expected. But hey I guess they've got to go with something.

    Here's a suggestion for the defense team: How about denying he did what he's accused of doing?
    Nah, nevermind.
    That wouldn't work.
    Everyone already knows he's

    (with apologies to Marvelous Mark and G.Trudeau)
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  15. #600
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    03 Sep 03
    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Here's a suggestion for the defense team: How about denying he did what he's accused of doing?
    Nah, nevermind.
    That wouldn't work.
    Everyone already knows he's

    (with apologies to Marvelous Mark and G.Trudeau)
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