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2019 American Political Scene

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

    "NO quid pro quo!" he said.
    ah yes, "nice store, shame if anything happened to it..."

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Trump says he'll release call transcript

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

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

    "NO quid pro quo!" he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So, couple of questions:
    1. Will this transcript be redacted and if so, will the White House present a full undoctored copy of the transcript, showing the redactions, particularly given Trump's "skill" with Sharpie markers?
    2. Will Trump's malignant narcissism cause him to overlook damning evidence of his guilt in the transcripts?
    3. If the answer to the above question is Yes, will Trump's staff and lawyers attempt to doctor the transcript to remove anything incriminating?
    4. Who taught Trump the meaning of "quid pro quo" and spelled it properly for him?

    Leave a comment:


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

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

    absolutely insane how quickly the standard Trumpian response of "I didn't do this --> I may or may not have done this, but it was all legal --> I'm not colluding, YOU'RE colluding!" has shifted.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Trump Admits Asking Ukraine to Investigate Biden’s Son

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

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

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

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

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

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



    And, right on schedule, Trump pulls that "Colonel Nathan R. Jessup" move that I've been waiting for. And it'll make fuck-all of a difference to his kool-aid drinking herd of worshipers.

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by surfgun View Post
    Okay, Iíve got it, the majority of the World Affairs Board is cool with VP Joe Biden running cover for his crack head son and extorting a foreign government to do it. No ambiguity here.
    No, you really, really need to learn to read more from a wide variety of sources in order to move from your closed mind to an open mind. Or, stay closed minded but then I would insist that you provide unassailable facts concerning Biden, his crack head son, and extortion thereby proving Bigfella totally wrong. Now that is a tall order. Are you game?

    Leave a comment:


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

    Leave a comment:


  • Bigfella
    replied
    Originally posted by surfgun View Post
    Okay, I’ve got it, the majority of the World Affairs Board is cool with VP Joe Biden running cover for his crack head son and extorting a foreign government to do it. No ambiguity here.
    No, the majority of sane members of WAB haven't descended so far into the pit of fanaticism that they take the word of a serial sexual predator and fraudster and his legion of online propagandists at face value.

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

    Shokin was an extremely controversial figure in Ukraine before Biden said a word to anyone, and with good reason:

    Viktor Shokin had much bigger issues than the corruption case against Mykola Zlochevsky. Almost immediately after he was appointed, he started to cause almost irreparable harm to Ukraine’s legal system.

    For starters, he failed to prosecute any prominent members of the Yanukovych regime or anybody in the current government. He constantly blocked reform to Ukraine’s broken legal system. He was in charge of implementing the 2014 law on prosecution which the European Union had asked Ukraine to do for years.

    The law aimed to reduce to role of prosecutors who “were absurdly superior to judges in the Soviet legal system that persisted in post-Soviet Ukraine” according to Atlantic Council. It also called for a reevaluation of all prosecutors in order to weed out the more corrupt and incompetent ones. Shokin manipulated the process so that the old system mostly remained the same and minimal, ineffective changes were implemented.

    He was the largest obstacle to judicial reform in Ukraine. It wasn’t just Joe Biden calling for his ouster, it was the United States government and the European Union.

    Steven Pifer, a career foreign service officer who was ambassador to Ukraine under President Bill Clinton, told Politifact that “”virtually everyone” he knew in the U.S. government and virtually all non-governmental experts on Ukraine “felt that Shokin was not doing his job and should be fired. As far as I can recall, they all concurred with the vice president telling Poroshenko that the U.S. government would not extend the $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine until Shokin was removed from office.””

    The European Union also called for him to be fired and celebrated his removal. “This decision creates an opportunity to make a fresh start in the prosecutor general’s office. I hope that the new prosecutor general will ensure that [his] office . . . becomes independent from political influence and pressure and enjoys public trust,” said Jan Tombinski, the EU’s envoy to Ukraine, in a statement at the time.
    https://heavy.com/news/2019/09/joe-biden-ukraine/


    So, pretty much everyone who knew the first thing about what was happening in Ukraine wanted Shokin removed. No evidence they were trying to cover up for their children.

    There is, however, another even larger wrinkle in this little smear. It looks like Shokin wasn't actually investigating Biden's son. In fact, part of the reason for US pressure on Shokin was because he wasn't helping the UK investigation into the case involving Biden's son. Oh, and the mass protests to remove Shokin. That too :

    “There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky,” Kasko said in an interview last week. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”.....

    ....After the U.K. request, Ukrainian prosecutors opened their own case, accusing Zlochevsky of embezzling public funds. Burisma and Zlochevsky have denied the allegations.

    The case against Zlochevsky and his Burisma Holdings was assigned to Shokin, then a deputy prosecutor. But Shokin and others weren’t pursuing it, according to the internal reports from the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office reviewed by Bloomberg.

    In a December 2014 letter, U.S. officials warned Ukrainian prosecutors of negative consequences for Ukraine over its failure to assist the U.K., which had seized Zlochevsky’s assets, according to the documents.

    Those funds, $23.5 million, were unblocked in 2015 when a British court determined there wasn’t enough evidence to justify the continued freeze, in part because Ukrainian prosecutors had failed to provide the necessary information....

    ....Shokin took no action to pursue cases against Zlochevsky throughout 2015, said Kasko, who was Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation and helping in asset-recovery investigations. Kasko said he had urged Shokin to pursue the investigations.

    The U.S. stepped up its criticism in September 2015, when its ambassador to Ukraine, during a speech, accused officials working under Shokin of “subverting” the U.K. investigation.

    The U.S. plan to push for Shokin’s dismissal didn’t initially come from Biden, but rather filtered up from officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Embassy personnel had called for U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine to be tied to broader anti-corruption efforts, including Shokin’s dismissal, this person said.

    Biden’s threat to withhold $1 billion if Ukraine didn’t crack down on corruption reportedly came in March. That same month, hundreds of Ukrainians demonstrated outside President Petro Poroshenko’s office demanding Shokin’s resignation, and he was dismissed.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-s-biden-claim

    So, it turns out that Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to remove a guy who not only wasn't prosecuting the case against his son, but wasn't prosecuting much corruption at all, much to chagrin of the US Government, the EU and a few people in Ukraine. Oh dear.

    For the record, I'd be happy enough to see the back of Biden, but watching Trump's drone swarm take their morning does of lies and charge forth to do combat once again is as nauseating a spectacle as it is possible to find in the democratic world this side of British politics. Watching supposedly intelligent Americans regurgitate propaganda that would make a Chinese '50 cent army' member wince while pretending to represent 'individuality' and constitutional government is positively scary. Just at the moment the world needs positive models of democratic government the two great progenitors of modern democracy are shitting on the dinner table & insisting it is chocolate mousse.

    I wish people still had a sense of shame.

    Leave a comment:


  • surfgun
    replied
    Okay, I’ve got it, the majority of the World Affairs Board is cool with VP Joe Biden running cover for his crack head son and extorting a foreign government to do it. No ambiguity here.

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by surfgun View Post
    I heard Joe Biden publicly brag in his OWN Words, that he had extorted a government to fire on of their officials. Let me paraphrase- You have six hours to fire him. As I get on AF2 back to the states and your government does not do as I demand those loan guarantees/aid will be gone.
    LMAO, are you talking about a man so dirty and corrupted that he should join good old Viktor in Russia?

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by surfgun View Post
    Tophatter, any thoughts on Joe as VP extorting Ukraine?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KCF9My1vBP4 In Joe’s own words.
    Bwahaha, although I gotta give you some points for actually having the nerve to post such monumental bullshit...

    Leave a comment:


  • surfgun
    replied
    I heard Joe Biden publicly brag in his OWN Words, that he had extorted a government to fire on of their officials. Let me paraphrase- You have six hours to fire him. As I get on AF2 back to the states and your government does not do as I demand those loan guarantees/aid will be gone.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by surfgun View Post
    Crack team at NYT’s found no evidence of Democrat wrong doing? Will wonders never cease.
    So obviously you do not have your own opinion on the matter? Unless the NYT’s forms your opinion?
    Bring me some evidence. Go ahead, I'll wait. Then I'll give you an opinion on the matter. As of right now, there is no evidence, just the usual innuendo and deflection from Trump and his pack of idiots.

    Leave a comment:


  • surfgun
    replied
    Crack team at NYT’s found no evidence of Democrat wrong doing? Will wonders never cease.
    So obviously you do not have your own opinion on the matter? Unless the NYT’s forms your opinion?

    Leave a comment:


  • GVChamp
    replied
    Originally posted by surfgun View Post
    As of now, Biden is still the front-runner. Warren might have momentum after the first few states (which are whiter, where Warren does really well), but it's way, way, way too early to stay Biden is out.

    OTOH, there's a clear top 2, and chances for anyone else are long at best. Sanders keeps shedding, Harris and Booker are weak, Mayor Pete can't get ahead, and everyone else is on life support.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Unblock whistleblower's complaint on President Donald Trump's call to Ukraine over Biden

    Just as the aftershocks of the special counsel's Russia investigation seemed to have settled, the latest tremblor out of the Oval Office is whether the president used the levers of his foreign policy toward Ukraine for political gain.

    A confidential whistleblower report might provide an answer. But once again, the nation's grinding democratic processes are falling short of providing Americans what they need to decide whether Donald Trump did something wrong.

    Short of someone violating the law by leaking that whistleblower complaint, or the whistleblower risking retaliation by bravely going to Congress, there's no quick or certain process for the public to learn its contents.

    There is, however, a steady drip of news media reports, and a few admissions by Trump himself on Sunday.

    According to The Washington Post and The New York Times, a whistleblower complaint filed with the intelligence community's inspector general focused on a promise Trump made during a phone call on July 25 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (This happened to be the day after Robert Mueller's much-anticipated congressional testimony.) During that conversation, Trump asked the Kiev leader to investigate a key political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's son Hunter, regarding the younger Biden's past business dealings in Ukraine.

    The Wall Street Journal later buttressed this reporting, revealing that Trump pressed Zelensky about eight times during their call to open the inquiry.

    Still unclear is whether there's any connection between Trump's desire for dirt on the Bidens and $250 million in U.S. military aid for Ukraine, which has been engaged in a five-year civil war with pro-Russian separatists. The aid was inexplicably delayed, then released soon after Congress raised concerns about the whistleblower complaint.

    Was a meeting with Zelensky or the promise of Ukrainian assistance somehow, by inference or otherwise, made contingent on Kiev investigating Biden? If true, that would be a gross abuse of presidential power.

    Trump acknowledged Sunday that he spoke with Zelensky about a Biden investigation, defending the conversation as appropriate and "perfect." His defenders, meanwhile, fanned out on the morning talk shows to dispense a confusing smokescreen of unproven allegations against the Bidens. [Yep, right here on WAB too. It's like a zombie army lol - TH]

    All the while, the unnamed whistleblower's account languishes in the dark.

    The intelligence community's inspector general, Trump appointee Michael Atkinson, was so troubled by the report that he deemed it of "urgent concern."

    The law requires that an urgent-concern whistleblower complaint "shall" be turned over to Congress. But the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, blocked this. His legal response, supplied by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, is that the alleged target of the complaint — presumably Trump himself — is not a member of the intelligence community, so the urgent-concern requirements for the whistleblower law are not applicable.

    That justification is painfully reminiscent of the legal gymnastics Mueller employed when he concluded that he was barred from saying whether Trump broke the law by obstructing justice in the Russian influence investigation, but that he also couldn't "exonerate" him.

    A system of checks and balances guaranteed by the Constitution should inform the American people when their president violates the law or commits an impeachable offense. That system is being stretched to the breaking point.

    Now it's up to members of Congress — not just Democrats but also Republicans who claim to believe in the rule of law — to get to the bottom of this latest tawdry tale by holding hearings, obtaining transcripts, and finding a way to gain access to the whistleblower complaint or that person's testimony. Link
    _____________________

    Leave a comment:

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