The Intelligence Issues the House Intelligence Committee Largely Ignored

I watched or listened to most of the House Intelligence Committee hearing with Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire this morning. And because both sides (with the very limited exception of Will Hurd) failed to raise the issues regarding the whistleblower complaint that go to the core of Maguire’s own equities, he was largely able to dodge the difficult issues.

Maguire’s own actions implicate whether IC whistleblowers will believe credible complaints will be treated appropriately. As Democrats noted, his first actions when he received a complaint implicating the President and the Attorney General were to refer to lawyers reporting directly to the President and the Attorney General. Maguire even pretended that Bill Barr’s role in this was not a significant part of the complaint to dismiss the worthlessness of referring this complaint to Bill Barr to investigate.

But there were three other key issues Maguire should not have been able to dodge.

First is the allegation that Trump moved the summary of this call to the covert communications system to hide the improper nature of the call. The whistleblower complaint said that this is not the first time the White House has done so. This is a clear abuse of the legal status of covert operations dictated by the National Security Act, something for which Maguire has direct responsibility. Covert operations must be communicated, by law, to at least the Gang of Eight in Congress. That Trump has politicized and misused this system discredits a core means of accountability for the White House, on Maguire’s job directly oversees. And yet he wasn’t asked how Trump’s actions undermine the legally mandated system of covert communications.

Then there’s the fact that Trump is premising policy decisions not on the best intelligence, but instead on how he can derive personal benefit from them. His doing so is a core abuse of presidential power. But — as I noted this morning — it also robs American citizens of the benefits the entire intelligence system is supposed to ensure. Maguire admittedly cannot force the President to make the right decisions. But the repercussions of premising policy decisions on personal gain for the national security of the US should be a concern of Maguire’s. That wasn’t mentioned either.

Finally, there’s the allegation that someone without clearance and entirely outside of the intelligence community was being asked to share and act on classified information derived from the intelligence community. Maguire at one point claimed that Trump can do whatever he wants with his personal lawyer and that such discussions would be privileged (after, at another point, dodging a question because he’s not a lawyer). That’s the height of absurdity. Rudy’s pursuit of policy actions has nothing to do with his role as Trump’s personal lawyer. And as the DOJ IG complaint against Jim Comey makes clear, sharing even retroactively confidential information with your personal lawyers — as Comey was scolded for doing — is not permissible. Yes, it’s true that as President Trump can declassify anything he wants (though Comey was original classification authority for the information he shared with his own lawyers), but others in the IC cannot share information with an uncleared person without formal declassification, or they risk their own legal troubles.

None of this came up in substantive fashion in today’s hearing by the people who are supposed to oversee the intelligence community.

260 replies
  1. Paul says:

    Would you please do us a favor and go to work for the House Intelligence committee?
    (Thank you for helping clarify a lot of these issues)

    • Ruthie says:

      Seriously, or at least some of them or their staff might read this blog.

      I wasn’t able to watch the hearing, and I’m surprised to hear Democrats didn’t have more effective questioning. They weren’t brilliant in past hearings, but there were some nuggets here and there.

      • Eureka says:

        As to MOC/staff reading this blog (which has been acknowledged before): ahead of prior hearings, Marcy has had extensive posts identifying key lines of questioning. Beyond the short schedule ahead of this hearing (and of the availability of some of the documentary evidence), I wonder if their missing EW’s expertise is half the problem with today.

  2. Tom says:

    Perhaps Joseph Maguire is a different man on the bridge of a warship or commanding a Navy SEAL team, but today he seemed like someone uncomfortable with exercising sole responsibility on his own and looking for someone to share it with; at least, that’s my take on his decision to consult with the White House and the DOJ on the WB’s complaint rather than simply forward it to Congress as required by law. Was he really so naïve as to believe that Trump, Barr, and the rest are “all honourable men” who would give him their honest, objective advice? Has he not been following the news? All Maguire did was tip off where his real loyalties are. And for a man in an intelligence job, he seemed remarkably incurious about what Giuliani has been up to in the Ukraine and elsewhere. That whole “I’m just a simple sailor doing my job the best I know how” pose didn’t come off too well.

    • klynn says:

      The but, but… “only six weeks on the job…”

      “Proper reading…”

      And total denial of his role in “conflict of interest” was appalling.

      He knew better to put country, constitution and the people first. Instead he pretended to.

    • Mainmata says:

      He’s career military used to working under a strict hierarchy/chain of command. He doesn’t seem like the type that thinks independently. Also, a propos of Marcy’s great post, this morning’s hearing was overly focussed on process rather than substance. Process is important, especially with this criminal president but the public is going to be more interested in beef rather than the timing and temperature approaches for grilling the beef.

    • CAzen says:

      Maguire was ordered to request Barr review & Exec Privilege by White House almost before he got the complaint on his desk – Whithouse new – was officially advised of complaint by IG.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Maguire asking for advice of the very people the complaint alleged had acted wrongfully was a big mistake. The simplest explanation is that he spent nearly four decades obeying a chain of command, in which the president was always at the top. But it was a fundamental error in judgment. Would he have made the same choice about allegations against his own CNO?

    Where else was he to turn? To the House and Senate intel committee chairs, to whom the WB complaint should have been delivered, based on his own IG’s determination that the complaint was credible and urgent. Like every other course of conduct, that would have put his job on the line. But that goes with the territory, which Maguire would well know.

    Instead, he blinked. I think he was wrong, and not just in hindsight. There are examples of the problem elsewhere. A corporate WB who had an urgent and credible claim that implicated the chairman and general counsel, for example, would be foolish to use established procedure.

    Approaching the board would have been perilous: they are not easily reachable, except by the most senior executives; they are commonly absurdly loyal to the CEO. The only course would have been to seek outside counsel for advice about a better course of action. The WB did that. It was also a course of conduct open to Maguire.

    Imperfect options, and with risks, but more responsible than giving decision-making authority over allegations of wrongful conduct to the very officials accused of that wrongful conduct.

  4. bmaz says:

    Should also be noted that there is no executive privilege with regard to communication with Rudy. I would argue that given the circumstances of Rudy’s blabbing, there is no attorney/client privilege either, but that is a different matter. And it is absolutely absurd that Rudy was dealing with classified information in the first place.

    • Peterr says:

      At one point, someone (Schiff?) pushed back on this uncritical appeal to privilege, saying in essence “Speaking generally, there’s no privilege if the conversation involves criminal behavior, right?”, to which Maguire agreed.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      John Dean tweeted today a very similar statement with regards to Trump-Guiliani attorney-client relationship being invalid.

      • viget says:

        Also, I would argue that when it comes to foreign policy interests of the US, how can Rudy be representing the President in his PERSONAL capacity?

        Is that not illegal?

        Which to me means Rudy is not representing Trump to the Ukrainians, but rather the Trump campaign. Thus he’s soliciting illegal foreign campaign contributions.

        Seems like whatever he’s doing is illegal either way.

        • Mainmata says:

          Correct. And made worse by his using State Dept. resources for what was clearly, as you said soliciting campaign finance violations.

    • BobCon says:

      I know I’m beating a dead horse, but if the House had been preparing this year for this likely situation, they would have an explicit policy ready to go.

      They can’t keep going this way without a plan.

      • bmaz says:

        The “only” plan Pelosi had was to quash any impeachment efforts. There was no Plan B. None. And it is showing.

        • BobCon says:

          There is a strong vibe of “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” vibe to her and a lot of Democrats.

          I wonder how much they would rather be in control of their little minority staffs and have a small caucus that votes in lockstep than to actually form a consensus and earn loyalty. House minority leaders can be autocrats. Speakers need to be planners and team builders.

  5. orionATL says:

    “…Finally, there’s the allegation that someone without clearance and entirely outside of the intelligence community was being asked to share and act on classified information derived from the intelligence community. Maguire at one point claimed that Trump can do whatever he wants with his personal lawyer and that such discussions would be privileged (after, at another point, dodging a question because he’s not a lawyer). That’s the height of absurdity. Rudy’s pursuit of policy actions has nothing to do with his role as Trump’s personal lawyer…”

    i am glad to see that someone in the media is challenging trump’s authority to use his personal lawyer to conduct official government business, in foreign policy in this instance. clearly, trump did this for two familiar reasons:

    1. because guiliani is a sleazebag like manafort and cohen and stone whom trump can trust to do whatever improper acts trump needs doing.

    2. because guiliani, unlike u.s. government employees, can be trusted to keep these matters hidden from the public and especially from trump’s critics both within the executive branch and in the congress which is where our president knew he needed to keep them.

    the very unusual handling of documents associated with bribery and extortion of the ukranian leader says it all.

      • Peterr says:

        Perhaps if it was slightly amended to begin “because Trump believes that guiliani . . . ” it might be more accurate.

        The fact that there is little evidence to support that belief is another issue.

      • orionATL says:

        actually giuliani talks a lot like trump when you think about it – confusing syntax with volumes of misdirection, misinformation, and protective blame around an issue; another clever manipulator of minds with words; great on the deny-confess-deny trick that trump has used all his life.

        • LeeNLP says:

          I would add: “deny-confess-claim-extreme-victimhood-deny” trick.

          He constantly claims the media are out to get him, are torturing him, his life is in constant danger, etc.

          His and Trump’s constant whining are really unbecoming in men their age.

  6. nxinva says:

    After reading the 10-page Whistleblower complaint, I was eager to hear questioning by members of the House Intelligence Committee regarding what I thought stood out as the most OBVIOUS illegal behavior – misclassifying documents, prohibited in EO 13526, Section 1.7.

    “Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations. (a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
    (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
    (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
    (3) restrain competition; or
    (4) prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.”

    What else have they misclassified at the codeword level? Who reviews this type of classification for misuse? It is a very niche clearance level…I know that from my yearly mandatory training in proper classification of government documents.

    • rip says:

      If the various congressional committees aren’t reading this blog, they’re abdicating their responsibilities. Not saying that MW is the end-all source, just that there are some items dispensed here that probably don’t appear in MSM or even briefing reports.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s reported rant to USG officials employed at the US Mission to the UN is reprehensible. It is Trump off his meds and losing his cool in a dangerous way.

    Trump reportedly asked employees of the US Mission to the UN who leaked his call(s) with Ukraine’s Zelensky. Has he been told where the leaker worked (Bill Barr?) or is he venting to the wrong people? Either is totally inappropriate.

    More importantly, Trump is throwing around words like “spies” and “treason,” which can carry the death penalty. That Trump is wrong on the facts and law is predictable. But his intent is as clear as it is wrongful. Will Capt. Queeg be allowed to continue his command, in a typhoon and during wartime, while he obsesses about who stole his strawberries?

    • P J Evans says:

      It would appear that someone – probably Barr – told the current occupant of the Oval Office who filed the complaint. Another action to put in that binder of “should not have dones”.

  8. jaango says:

    I was disappointed in McGuire’s testimony.

    As such, I believe that he did not have to consult with his colleagues, since the decision was predicated on law and not on a personal belief, political or otherwise. As such, he, like Mueller’s decision-making, and Mueller, walked into this political arena as a Republican operation, now McGuire will walk out as a Republican, but in name only. Thus, the
    National Monument to Criminal Stupidity, quietly awaits their respective histories.

  9. mospeck says:

    Going over WB report, and troubled by near bottom pg.4:
    “On 9 Aug, the President told reporters: ‘I think [President Zelenskyy] is going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House.’ ”
    Amidst the (granted, hugely important) big brouhaha on about crook trump and his cronies, barr, giuliani, etcetera, etcetera, and the tricked out OLC mechanism.. could a lot of this just be all about trump trying to undermine new Ukrainian pres. Zelenskyy for putin? Just a spec.
    Been away so long I hardly knew the place, and those Ukraine girls really knock me out. Tx Punaise for reminding me

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      That the whole thing was a Putin operation is quite possible: Trump withholds aid until Zelensky agrees to cede a good chunk of his country to Russia. Finding a rationale for pardoning Manafort was probably just a sweetener added on to appeal to Trump’s vindictive nature. It seems that the first part is actually quite within the president’s authority to conduct foreign policy, so it is lucky that he and his attorney pursued the second part with such vigor. Vigor and incompetence, the creatures.

      • Mooser says:

        If I was Zelensky, I’m pretty suspicious, if not certain this is some kind of tag-team effort from Trump and Putin.

    • MissyDC says:

      Zelensky ran on anti-corruption. If he were to enter into a quid pro quo with Trump that would be the end of him. So yes, I think it’s possible this is about bringing down Zelensky. I feel really bad for the guy. He ran as a joke and is now trying to do good.

  10. orionATL says:

    the nytimes will do anything to get a hot story:

    this rationalization from the executive editor of the most trump-pandering, trump-deferential major newspaper in the u.s.:

    “…Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, said The Times was right to publish information about the whistle-blower. “The role of the whistle-blower, including his credibility and his place in the government, is essential to understanding one of the most important issues facing the country — whether the president of the United States abused power and whether the White House covered it up.”…”

    so we paint a bullseye on the whistleblower’s back by identifying him as a cia officer who worked in the Whitehouse. how thoughtful of the times; my understanding and trust in the complaint has suddenly been boosted enormously.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The NYT’s argument seems a tad hypocritical for a paper that often uses single and double anonymous “administration sources,” to make points favorable to the administration. And for a paper that sits on scoops about government misconduct, sometimes for years.

      For the NYT to describe anything about the source’s training, background, or profession this early in the process – a complaint, DoJ’s decision to bury it by not investigating it, a congressional inquiry that might or might not go anywhere – is a dangerous step. What’s Joe Maguire gonna do now to keep his promise about protecting the WB?

      The NYT’s fits to a T Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model of communication.

      • BobCon says:

        One of Baquet’s reporters fled Egypt wih the aid of the Irish government when a US official warned him through back channels that Egypt was planning an arrest and the Trump Administration was refusing to intervene.

        Baquet sat on the story for two years. He won’t publish news that makes Trump looks bad even when his own reporters were threatened.

        • LeeNLP says:

          Each such story reminds me that it was a good choice to give up my subscription so long ago. I have never looked back.

        • Tracy Lynn says:

          Um, there’s nothing “thinly veiled” about suggesting execution for this whistleblower. Trump was outfront.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        My guess is that the owners were in on that decision, too. Apart from being reflexively pro-administration, they would be afraid Murdoch or someone else might run with their story, the WB be damned.

        Making deals with the devil rarely has good outcomes, Dean.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Bill Barr made his bones at the CIA. He would know how to get at the WB, legally or otherwise. Change of assignments, putting a clearance under review, having her fired, prosecuting him, the list goes on.

        At this point, even wrongful conduct by Barr seems unlikely to result in consequence for him. Any wrongful conduct against the individual would take some time to be put right.

        I would not expect either Maguire or Haspel to be much of a bar to retribution against a guy that Trump might imagine cost him the presidency.

        • bmaz says:

          Maybe. But now that his actions are in the public eye, Maguire might surprise. Haspel could too. She has protected tons of CIA folks over the years, and has been meticulously protected herself. She might do better than you think. Or not. I wouldn’t bet money on either one though.

          • Frank Probst says:

            I think Haspel is much better at this game than people realize. She has over 30 years of experience at the CIA. As far as I can tell, every other cabinet-level position is filled by someone who has little to no experience with the agency that they’re tasked with running. Haspel knows exactly what she’s doing. I don’t think it’s any accident that the whistleblower is a CIA analyst. I think it was someone who volunteered to be the whistleblower, because they’re ready to retire anyway, and they don’t have much of a family to worry about. Just my WAG.

        • Greg Hunter says:

          Based on my read of the complaint the people that could make this allegation are vanishingly small, so he/she “drew the short straw” and filed it. The document is too specific for the Whistle Blower not to be identified , even by this Whitehouse, and I would bet AD Maguire will adhere to the law when the outing occurs. I find it interesting that Maguire arises out of the Navy to lead intelligence, don’t you? After all wasn’t Barr around the last time a naval intelligence officer slipped out of the noose?

          The NYT knows Trump operates off the smear why not publish it first? Sure the NYT is in on the con, but what are they going to do? They got Trump elected and he has lived out his usefulness and they willing play along when it suites their interests. A server, many witnesses, mis classification….. A narrow scope allows a scalpel to the situation, which will play perfectly with the public and allows for protection of many of the guilty.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As Trump’s blowup at employees of the US Mission to the UN makes clear, Trump has taken the gloves off. He is uncontrollable at the best of times. What he will NOT do to protect himself is a short list.

      An impeachment inquiry is dangerous enough. Even without a vote on articles of impeachment, it creates a public record of wrongs that can be taken up after he leaves office.

      Even if it yields no prison time, it might have effects that tank what’s left of his business empire. Being Trump, he will obsess about worse outcomes. Moreover, the revelations could ensure he is not re-elected, which makes him more vulnerable than ever.

      It is difficult to be hyperbolic when describing the lengths to which Trump would go to get or get back at his enemies when he thinks his self, wealth, and success are on the line.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Impeachment is the one thing for which Trump cannot pardon himself.

        Nor could Trump classify any such “impeachment pardon” Top Secret.

        Nor could Barr redact any such “impeachment pardon” for Rule 6(E) Grand Jury Material.

      • orionATL says:

        i consider trump a classic bully, but one who has rarely in his life been fronted continuously over a period of time. my expectation is that if he is confronted continuously by the democrats, public intellectuals, and important media he will crumble. this confrontation should not just be about specific actions as with ukraine but more broadly about the fundamental character flaws that make him unfit to remain as the american president:

        pervasive lying and exaggeration in his public address, predilection for undertaking inappropriate, dishonest actions, failure to respect the seperation of powers that is at the heart of american tripartite government (lawlessness in the form of ignoring congressionally passed and presidentially signed laws), tacitly encouraging the white supremacy movement in the nation, extreme ethical insensitivity, nepotism, and self-enrichment, intellectual incompetence with regard to health and safety issues such as nuclear weapons, climate change, air and water standards, …..

        hit trump with these personality deficiencies for an extended period of time and watch what happens, especially if his central measure of worth, his popularity, sinks.

        • rip says:

          I think you are right. He will crumble like a macaroon. All fluff, not substance.

          However, I wonder what his enablers (power players, not tee-partiers) will do in response. Kochs, Mercers, poutines, etc.

          Could be an interesting show as this orange souffle collapses.

          • orionATL says:

            the key is to persist going after him on the key items of his seriously defective personality.

            a second matter is to persistently and simply inform the public about these deficiencies and what they mean concretely for his leadership. our president’s persistent lying on serious matters must be the first item of concern. who can trust him after 2 1/2 hears of non-stop lying?

        • P J Evans says:

          his spite and vengeance should be included.
          He hates everythign Obama did and is trying to erase those (by executive orders, not going through the legal processes).
          He’s trying to take environmental funding from CA because the state isn’t doing things his way, also be EOs and not the legal processes.
          The border shenanigans – which the courts have rules are illegal, but he’s ignoring all those rulings.
          Court shopping to get judges who will agree with him.
          Appointing people who aren’t qualified for the offices.

        • orionATL says:

          in light of this story this evening, i want to add another item to the list at 4:17pm:

          trump has a habit of extraordinary vindictiveness toward critics, particularly critics of his most serious misconduct, his potentially criminal conduct. he doesn’t just counter their assertions with facts, as does joe biden. he goes after their reputation, livelihood, liberty, and property, as with comey, mccabe, and ohr. this conduct is beyond the boundaries of acceptable political conflict (though definitely not unheard of in american history). it creates a climate of fear similar to one of the old communist or fascist state of europe and discourages others who witness serious trump from speaking out,

          • orionATL says:

            thanks, p.j. his vindictiveness toward individuals who call him to account may exceed nixon’s.

            in general, a completely lawless personality and president.

          • orionATL says:

            well, lookee here.

            the guardian publishes a criticism of our prez’s effort to intimidate whistleblowers (plural):


            the damage the president’s behavior is doing resides in maliciously smearing a whistleblower and thereby intimidating future wb’s. an appropriate response for a president would be to present truthful contradicting information. the most salient fact though is that few if any presidents we have had would behave like trump behaved with the ukrainian president, i.e.,
            engaging in political extortion to boost his future election campaign.

            earlier, prez engaged in a similar smearing of doj/fbi officials who he framed would further investigate his collusion with the putin&co.

            • orionATL says:

              just to be clear as i understand matters:

              the critical national security issue in the president’s extortion effort is that the new leadership of ukraine represents a u.s. opportunity to once again resist russian aggression and prevent the ukraine from becoming a russian satrapy. the battle between the two giants over the ukraine has been going on for many years. that trump would at this point introduce distrust of u.s. resolve and support for the ukrainians for any reason, but especially solely for his own political benefit, is unforgivably unpresidential. given his background, the whistleblower must have felt this to his bones.

              • Rayne says:

                Though Ukraine isn’t a NATO member, at one point in the very recent past (~2-3 years), 80% of the natural gas used by EU countries traveled through Ukraine. EU has relied far more on natural gas per capita than the US does, particularly UK and Germany. An attack on their fuel source is an asymmetric attack on NATO.

                It’s not just a matter of standing up for Ukraine as an eastern European liberal democracy with a right to self determination; it’s the U.S. commitment to NATO of which it is a founding member, obligated under Article 5 to defend member states.

                The entire point of Russia’s support for a venal malignant narcissist like Trump is that he would create a weakness in U.S. resolve to support NATO as well as barrier nations. Trump has now corruptly undermined the very thing for which our intelligence and military have been built — defending the U.S. and its legal obligations under treaties like NATO. Trump has become a domestic threat to the Constitution.

                • orionATL says:

                  actually it is not well-know at all, but the u.s. has been pursuing a “how to fight corruption” policy in various key nations around the globe for a decade at least. this is an important initiative since corruption can often keep good things from happening in a nation as has happened in the ukraine.

                  further, strong russian influence in the ukraine can be a serious problem if the russians want to squeeze europe any january, providing the russians themselves with cover..

                  • orionATL says:

                    i neglected the crucial fact:

                    the u.s. program to tackle corruption in important countries is centered in the judiciary department of that nation e.g., ukraine, indonesia, cambodia.

                    the ambassador is chief-of-mission in any country. her word is law to those americans there, especially state, aid, etc.

                    the ambassador, marie yanukovitch, and her team had worked to get the president and the parliament, to dump the corrupt prosecutor general victor shokin. but trump was working with shokin to free paul manafort of the charge he accepted ~$13 mill under the table for helping with russia-supporting ukrainian politician yanukovich get elected.

                    therefore, trump hatched a plan to smear the ambassador yanukovich here at home on fox news in order to justify firing her. in doing so was interfering with a succesdful working government program to reduce corruption in the ukraine. and he was interfering from a corrupt motive – to keep his former campaign manager from squealing on him.

    • Nehoa says:

      I just cancelled my NYT subscription, and told them that it was because of the publication of the info on the whistleblower. A**holes.

  11. AndrewOH says:

    This is the entire reason Congress is to be informed, to avoid the appearance of or actual impropriety. So to circumvent Congress, to go to “Trumps personal legal team” (the DoJ and Bill Barr) and expect to get a fair and equitable ruling is ludicrous.

    Perhaps I’m naive, but I think Macguire was acting in good faith and when he saw this all go sideways then he knew he’d been duped, a cover-up was underway and he had become an unwitting accomplice. Honestly, Trump’s overconfidence in releasing the transcript helped save the day. Congress trying to force the release of the compliant might have dragged on for weeks but someone totally overplayed their hand here.

    And then the cover-up. Move the transcripts to a classified system and try to bury them. Wow. Now how many others were involved in a cover-up? Are they in legal jeopardy?

    Rudy, I don’t even know where to start with him and this nuttiness. But for Trump and Rudy to pursue a shadow agenda outside of the State Department certainly isn’t for the benefit of the US of A, it can only be aimed at benefiting people personally.

    Trump then throws Pence under the bus, that’s amazing. And then points investigators to conversations that took place all the way back in April discussing these same matters which could/maybe provide more ammo for Impeachment. How much did Pence know, when and was he also complicit?

    The Senate will never Impeach Trump, they certainly won’t Impeach Trump and Pence both and create President Pelosi. But one can dream…

    • orionATL says:

      what the senate will or will not do is not knowable right now. a number of republican senators are said to be really upset with the Whitehouse for releasing the transcript of the phone call. why? because its damning details makes it much harder for them to defend prez by lying.

      my viewpoint is that, whatever else it is, the impeachment inquiry will be a fact gathering and fact sorting activity in which the most important charges and evidence to support them will be sorted out from the lesser, like the discovery phase of a legal action. then, with a vote to impeach, this politically lit stick of dynamite can be passed to moscow mitch, john cornyn and the senate to toss around during the 2020 campaign year. at that point dear prez just might be seen as a serious liability by brutus mcconnell, et al.

      • Marinela says:

        At this point I am unclear if the “transcript” is not massaged yet.
        It is a memo, as I understand it, not the verbatim transcript.

        Maybe Trump really published the real deal, but I have doubts. Could it be that the locked copy is different? At this point, not sure that President Z. would contradict Trump if the “transcript” is incorrect.

        • P J Evans says:

          The transcript is really notes – and it’s a fairly safe assumption that ti doesn’t include the entire call; some of the stuff left out may be more incriminating. That they hid the word-for-word transcription in the top-secret/codeword system says it’s it’s probably much worse than what they released.

    • pjb says:

      I mean McGuire isn’t the villain of this story but crediting him with “good faith” in going to the DOJ is a bit overgenerous. He is probably a very smart man and figured this was a way to wash his hands of a dicey political situation. Did he know (when the WH lawyers told him to go this route) that by handing off to the DOJ instead of Congress as statutorily mandated, he was participating in a form of catch-and-kill that David Pecker would appreciate? Maybe not for sure, but it had to cross his mind as it would with any one of us.

      Between the determination to misclassify the relevant documents and the strategery of misdirecting the complaint to DOJ’s OLC, it is the White House Counsel’s Office that has a ton to answer for. Give one of these guys immunity if you have to and get the lid blown off this thing.

  12. Vicks says:

    He made it pretty clear to me that he was there simply to defend his decision to NOT BE A PATRIOT with a whole lot of bureaucratic bullshit.
    The do’s and don’ts of what to do when there are credible accusations of someone with power commiting crimes should be obvious to everyone, yet this guy Maguire, the guy in charge of our National Security seemed to have missed class that day.
    I can just imagine the whistle blower and the IG screaming into their pillows.

        • Vicks says:

          Trump is now starting his oh so predictable campaign to seek and destroy the whistle-blower.
          It is my understanding that what were are about to witness is the EXACT reason the whistle-blower protection statute exists and why it must be followed to the letter.
          Every time.
          No exceptions.
          Maguire didn’t exist in a bubble before he took the job, he even said he knew he would be here answering questions one day. He made the decision that he would rather be sitting there defending a choice that protected this president than defending his choice to protecting a whistle blower with information that describes this president committing crimes.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        For me there were 2 compelling instances that popped out that gave me the distinct impression that Maguire had spoken directly with someone who had very strong opinions about Ukraine and the WB.

        1. In one response ( to Val Demings, D- FL, I believe was questioning Maguire at the time,) Maguire was quite insistent that others, besides the US, should step up their support for Ukraine. It struck me as odd how adamant Maguire was about this. His feelings were strong. It made me wonder how he had come to form this opinion.
        2. The other response referenced the WB. I would have to watch the hearing again to see what particular individual elicited the particularly strong response I noticed. Maguire actually spoke about this several times, but one time showed particularly strong feelings. And that had to do with what he had determined was bias on the part of the WB. Again, it made me wonder how he came to form that opinion, especially since he claimed he did not know who the WB was.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          SL, I noted both of those instances as well. They seemed out of line with his pretzel like moves to be seen as stating no opinion. I would go so far as to say that they almost had the appearance of someone trying to prove they were a company man.

          • pdaly says:

            The ICIG’s letter by Michael K. Atkinson to Maguire mentioned that the whistleblower had a potential political bias (OT: just like CIA operative Valerie Plame’s political affiliation seemed to be a relevant topic of discussion for W/Addington/Cheney as they planned outing her) but that the substance of the WB’s claims were substantiated by whatever review the ICIG’s office performed. Therefore, Atkinson advised Maguire that any political bias on the part of the WB were beside the point.

            Atkinson informed Maguire that the potential political bias was NOT a reason to disbelieve the WB’s submission.

            • Vicks says:

              It seems like all of this has been very well prepared, even with detour, hopefully the complaint, the whistle blower AND the democrats have the fortitude to stay steady to stick it out though the the shitstorm that’s building.

        • MissyDC says:

          They were straight out of WH talking points. And it’s my understanding the Europe is paying more (prob per capita) than US. But I could be wrong.

      • Sonsony says:

        I normally defer to bmaz’s authority on this site, but I do think that the ‘acting’ DNI would have had to have known that going to two of the main subjects of a credible and urgent complaint would be seen and interpreted as being a weasel. His act before Congress shows his fealty to the administration and not to his ostensible position or patriotism. A Trumpy can be defined by their inability to fall on even a toothpick to aid their country.

        • Rayne says:

          My personal current theory is that the ADNI was compelled by some rule to go to the originators of the ‘locked box’ into which the content of July 25 conversation was placed. The whistleblower probably grasps this problem, as does the ICIG.

          I think the House Intel Committee may not have been able to ask about that in a public hearing, further frustrating our perception.

  13. 200Toros says:

    Excellent post. I’m hearing a lot of “the WB themself said they did not have first-hand knowledge of these events, therefore treat everything they said as false”. Aside from the obvious logical flaw in that reasoning, it brings up my question. If the WB is able to speak to one of the Intelligence committees directly, will they be able to name the individuals with the first-hand knowledge, and will members of Congress be able to speak with them in order to get corroboration of the WB’s testimony? That seems like a sticky legal wicket; would each corroborator then need full WB protection? The people with the first-hand knowledge have just been shown how WB’s are treated by this Admin and this president, so I’d think the chances of getting anything out of the potential corroborators has probably fallen drastically over the past few days, potentially to zero…

    • Peterr says:

      Not in the sense of executive privilege.

      They are, however, treated very very carefully for diplomatic reasons. That’s why in many cases the two parties coordinate the public release of their readouts, and at times agree NOT to release parts of the conversation that appropriately need to remain confidential. The State Department,DOD, DNI, and NSC spend a great deal of time/energy on how it handles these calls and the records of them, for very legitimate diplomatic reasons.

      None of which apply here. As Michael McFaul said on twitter, “Please note, the original clarification of Trump-Zelensky transcript/MemCon was SECRET, not even TOP SECRET. And then someone kicked it up an even higher notch to compartmentalized intelligence.”

      This is not what you do when you are conducting diplomacy. It’s what you do when you’re hiding problematic personal behavior.

  14. Matthew Harris says:

    I think the problem is, there seems to be an immediate and acute problem, and a long-term problem.

    The immediate problem is the matter of Trump cajoling the Ukraine into investigating Biden.

    The long term problem is that we don’t currently have rules or regulations for the type of things we are involved in, because it was just kind of assumed that they wouldn’t happen.

    So the question of Trump, Ukraine, Giuliani, Zelensky, and Biden are the questions that are coming to the fore right now.

    The bigger questions “What should a government official do when he believes his supervisor is compromised?” is the question that hopefully, if anyone has learned anything, we will be investigating in committees for the next 5 years. That Maguire didn’t know what to do when faced with a situation like this isn’t that surprising. Hopefully we will be better prepared next time.

    • Peterr says:

      Maguire knew what to do. He just didn’t like what would happen if he did it.

      That’s why he went to OLC/DOJ — he was looking for backup, so that this wouldn’t just be his call. Instead, he got shut down.

      Maguire knew what he was supposed to do. He knew, and he choked.

      • pdaly says:

        And yet, during today’s hearing, Maguire didn’t apologize for choking. He blamed it on the limits of the law (as interpreted by the WH lawyers, DOJ and OLC, of course).
        I didn’t get the impression Maguire would act differently in a redo, based on how he answered questions today.

        • Peterr says:

          He knew the law, but once he chose to ignore the plain text of the law and look for cover/advice from DOJ, he was screwed. Today, there was no way he was going to apologize for going to the DOJ, because then he’s (a) admitting to have ignored the law and (b) antagonizing the folks at the WH and DOJ, saying he shouldn’t have gone there.

          He knows Molly Ivins’ Rule of Holes. When you’re in one, quit digging.

  15. Sandwichman says:

    After reading the post-hearing discussion here, I am beginning to appreciate Schiff’s seeming obsession over Maguire’s failure to transmit. The excuse of “executive privilege” looks flimsier and flimsier the more it is examined. There is no executive privilege for criminal conspiracy. Is it plausible that there could be executive privilege for a second-hand account of an alleged criminal conspiracy? Maguire’s excuse quickly devolves into Catch-22 absurdity. The criminality is only alleged until it has been investigated, but it can’t be investigated if the complaint is referred to the subject of the complaint to see if they want to exert privilege over it.

    Schiff could have done a much better job articulating WHY he was dwelling on the question of referring the complaint to the White House. But it does make sense, in retrospect, to have offered Maguire copious opportunity to reflect on the foolishness of his course of action.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      “There is no executive privilege for criminal conspiracy.”
      Thank you for that, sandwichman. As a former FBI-AUSA, Schiff does have some experience with criminal prosecution.

  16. Rugger9 says:

    Another topic missed is why would the Palace go to this kind of trouble?

    It appears TPM has another answer, to which I would add the note that Putin’s project to re-create the USSR needed the Ukraine as its centerpiece. He’s preferring to bite off chunks rather than swallow it whole, and since lots of Russian gas is used in the EU, it falls to the US to make Vlad stop.

    It doesn’t help Individual-1 or AG Barr.

    • orionATL says:

      ythis is exactly right.

      in fact, i believe there are three misconduct or criminal actions in trump’s excellent ukraine adventure:

      1. attempted extortion/bribery of the ukrainianian president zelensky and government.

      2. attempt to exonerate paul manafort of charge he was paid ~$13 mill sub rosa for work for russian-serving ukrainian pol victor yanukovich by colluding with corrupt top ukrainian legal official.

      3. falsely smearing dismisssing the career-service u.s. ambassador to ukraine because she was trying to encourage getting rid of the corrupt ukrainian prosecutor general victor shokin whom trump’s team was working with to falsify manafort’s record of covertly receiving the $13 mill. this included setting up false stories on fox news, in one case using victor shokin as a on camera witness to the ambassador’s “misconduct”, a charge shokin subsequently admitted was false.

      each one of these three escapades is a disgrace for an american president to be involved in. that there are three is just another example of the corrupt webs president trump weaves without a twinge of conscience to protect himself from PRIOR his corruption. recall that trump surely wants manafort to receive a pardon because manafort is in jail now and is the one person who can publicly spill all the beans about trump’s collusion with the russians re the 2016 campaign.

      thus the ukrainian caper is trump still trying to bury his cheating on the 2016 election before it bites him in the ass. but now it has bit.

      the mueller team’s special counsel investigation, if not the report, is still a naked live wire lying on the ground at the whitehouse.

      this is a serious national security matter where trump’s bought and paid for pro-Russian bias should be brought to the front in dem press activity. it is serious because it may damage a decades long effort to end corruption in the ukraine and leave that country leaning in the direction of europe, not Russia.

      • orionATL says:

        with regard to item #3 above:

        the firing of the ambassador, a career state department official appointed presidentially and approved by the senate, is more consequential than one might imagine for illustrating trump’s endemic corruption as well as his continuing fear that his 2016 collusion will come back to haunt him.

        i think it is not well-know at all, but the u.s. has been pursuing a “how to fight corruption” policy in various nations around the globe for a decade at least. this is an important initiative since corruption can often keep good things from happening in a nation, as in the ukraine.

        a crucial fact about trump’s manufacture excuse for firing ambassador yovanovich lies in the fact that this program to tackle corruption is centered in the JUDICIARY department of that nation e.g., ukraine, indonesia, cambodia.

        the ambassador is chief-of-mission in any country. her word is law to those americans there, especially state, aid, etc.

        ambassador yovanovitch, and her team had worked to get the president and the parliament of the ukraine to dump the corrupt prosecutor general victor shokin. but trump had been working with shokin to free paul manafort of the charge he accepted ~$13 mill under the table for helping the party of the russia-supporting ukrainian politician yanukovich.

        therefore, trump hatched a plan to smear the ambassador yanukovich here at home on fox news in order to justify firing her. in doing so our president was interfering with a successful working government program to reduce corruption in the ukraine. and he was interfering from a corrupt motive – to keep his former campaign manager, now in jail, from squealing on him about his collusion with russia to win the 2016 election.

        here is a description of the manufactured firing of ambassador yovanovitch:

        • danzbe says:

          orionATL – This may sound a bit nit picky or tedious, but the country is just Ukraine. “The Ukraine” referrers to the former soviet territory. Dropping of the article is hugely symbolic to Ukrainians, especially those who would like to distance themselves from their Russian neighbors. It may not seem like much to us, and take some getting used to, but it means a lot to them.

          Sorry for the slightly OT post, but words matter.

          • Rayne says:

            You’re right, just as ‘Kyiv’ versus ‘Kiev’ matters. They’re political identities and a democracy determines its identity. Thanks.

          • orionATL says:

            thanks. a slip from (soviet) times past.

            it is valuable to know how the people who actually live in a country think about things. this matter of a name, given their history of what one might term “semi-occupation”, would be very important.

            and interesting that the ukranian language does not include the definite article “the”.

            i am hopeful the new government can stabilize corruption, but the hyper rich make such things difficult in both our countries.

  17. drouse says:

    I’m pretty sure they did it with malicious aforethought, but placing the transcript(s) in a system filled with burn before reading stuff sets up a true a battle royale to to pry them out. Its going to take a least one trip to the Supremes to settle. Considering that Kavanaugh has said that Nixon was wrongly decided, it might be problematical. Even if they say cough it up, it will probably require someone with the requisite clearances who isn’t already in the administration with the necessary amount of trust. And that isn’t a very long list. A former President maybe?

    • Peterr says:

      This move is a clear place where the OLC opinion saying in essence that “this matter didn’t involve the Intelligence community, but was an ordinary diplomatic conversation” (see page one, paragraph two) falls apart. The Intelligence Community is in charge of those systems, and to have them abused for illegal political purposes is absolutely within the purview of the DNI.

      • drouse says:

        That’s kind of missing the point. Illegal purpose or not, the transcript(s) are on that system. The fight will be over who can access it. From you don’t have clearance to state secrets, everything possible will be tried to deny access. Arguably, this is where the crown jewels of US intelligence are parked and access is understandably restricted.

        • bmaz says:

          No, this is not where the true crown jewels are kept. Now, it may be possible that with the right malware you could get to that system, but it is not on this server itself by my understanding.

        • Peterr says:

          My point isn’t about getting access to the system, but the fact that we’re even talking about the system.

          The big reason why OLC said the ADNI should not turn over the complaint is that it wasn’t connected with the Intelligence Community. Because this very restricted system is controlled by the IC, that would seem to say that OLC is full of manure.

    • BobCon says:

      I think the fear of the Supremes is overblown. I think they would be reluctant to overturn a lot of precedent, but even more compelling to the conservatives would be the prospect of expanding executive power at a time when a liberal may take over.

      I think they would delay a ruling as long as possible — hope that they can get to their summer break wihout needing to rule — and then slide something weak through the transom window at some point in October.

      I do think the Democrats who don’t want to challenge Trump will use the Supremes as monsters in the basement, though, and the conservatives will do nothing to change their minds.

      The usual caveat applies — Trump may do something apalling enough to change the rational analysis.

      • drouse says:

        I don’t think its overblown at all. Not with Roberts as the swing vote.He’s got four fellow travelers who are big fans of the unitary executive and his limited votes against them seem more strategic than principled. So no, I have no faith that when crunch time comes he won’t dance with those who brung him.

        • bmaz says:

          It is damn near impossible for them to screw with anything truly impeachment related. But there needs to be a comprehensive formal inquiry resolution voted on behind the effort.

        • BobCon says:

          Maybe I’m being too cynical, but I think their support for a broad reading of executive power will spring a leak the instant the possibility of a strong liberal executive appears on the horizon.

          • drouse says:

            Maybe not too cynical. The newest additions have already indicated that precedence or consistency is so yesterday.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Now that the poo-poo seems to be hitting the fan, I’m wondering if the recent Kavanaugh Sexual Predator Redux was a warning shot across somebody’s bow, or just the first rumblings of a swamp-gas blowout.

    • orionATL says:

      “the laws” are only determinate where there is political power to insist they be applied, OR to insist they be fairly and correctly applied.

      conversely, political power can will the law to be abused or misapplied, which seems bery likely to be the case here. using classified systems to hide potentially criminal information can not be in line with the intent of “the law”, just as using what’s app encryption to plan a robbery or a shooting can not be.

      if we are going to invoke the law i suppose we should mention the presidential records act here which includes all things involving a president’s communications:

      from miss wiki

      “… The Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201–2207, is an Act of Congress of the United States governing the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents created or received after January 20, 1981, and mandating the preservation of all presidential records. Enacted November 4, 1978,[1] the PRA changed the legal ownership of the official records of the President from private to public, and established a new statutory structure under which Presidents must manage their records. The PRA was amended in 2014, including prohibition of sending electronic records through non-official accounts unless an official account is copied on the transmission, or a copy is forwarded to an official account shortly after creation.[2]..”

      rudy and donnie have a conversation? what then?

      zelensky and our prez have a conversation. what then?

  18. Savage Librarian says:

    Maguire referenced his life experience several times during the hearing. To me, he appeared to be a deeply conflicted man. He seemed caught between a rock and a hard place. The concepts of integrity and honor seemed sincerely important to him. While I am certain that I would have made entirely different decisions than he did, I offer the following as possible reasons for what he did.

    I think his dilemma may relate directly to what Stanley Milgram discovered in his controversial social psychology experiment which began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. In 1974, Milgram published Obedience to Authority. This classic work sheds light on some conundrums of the human condition and the gaps between rules, laws, practical applications, conscience, and the will to survive.

    For further information about this you might want to look at these:

    • milestogo says:

      The reference to the famous Milgram experiments is an informative one. I served in the Navy and suspect the Milgram wrong-siders are even more prevalent in military leadership given the trained emphasis on chain of command. While it may inform a more sympathetic reading of Maguire’s decisions, I actually feel it damns him.

      I spent much of my life orienting myself as a Milgram right-sider exception. In fact I ended my career only two years ago as a whistle-blower in the corporate world though my actions did also end serious illegality in the company I worked for. For this reason, I am in the camp that Maguire did the dead-wrong thing. So though I understand why he made the decision, I ultimately view him as a coward. Even more so as he was aware of the WBs courage when he took his actions.

  19. North Jersey John says:

    Another key area worth probing that didn’t get any extended questioning: what harms to the Intelligence Community arise from hiding key Presidential conversation Memcon’s from the regular IC reporting system? Per the whistleblower complaint (unredacted annex page 1): ….”According to White House officials I spoke with, this “was not the first time” under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive – rather than national security sensitive – information.”

    “Not the first time”. Please Director Maguire: tell us more. Is the Director aware of other important Presidential conversations that are removed from use / analysis by IC and national security professionals? How might this blindfold national security professionals trying to analyze unfolding events?

    Surely, a lot of relevant questioning could have drilled into the dangers arising from hiding key conversations from the professionals tasked with

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t know if Maguire is the person to ask on this. You might need someone who works in the WH for that. (I have no idea if there’s an easy way to find those misfiled calls in that system.)

      • Geoff says:

        Um, intentionally misfiled. I’d also imagine that quite a few Putin call recordings are in their as well, which might put the whole Mueller report in a different light to those still in denial or who were too lazy to even read it.

        We are talking about very high level people with access to that system, all of whom are part of the obstruction. So, let’s not dick around, and just get at those people, find out what they know, who was in on it, and if need be, give them immunity as part of deal to unseal anything related to ukraine, which Im quite sure, will also relate back to Russia and 2016, as it’s all of a piece.

        • P J Evans says:

          I think they’re going to need to find all the political stuff that was stuck in that system to keep it secret from everyone else, and get it refiled where it belongs (possibly as evidence in future cases).

  20. gratuitous says:

    I tend to agree with the points you’ve made. I think, though, that this hearing was just meant to be the curtain-raiser, establishing some of the basic facts and timeline. The questioning of Maguire could have gone into the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, and the committee would still be breaking new ground, asking pertinent questions, and developing new lines of investigation. By keeping today’s hearing short and relatively sweet, Chairman Schiff whetted the public appetite for more, rather than cramming too much into one session.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If that was the set-up, Schiff needs to borrow some of Colbert’s writers. No one will want to see how it ends.

    • Sandwichman says:

      Says who? Says who? I’m afraid that what Cohen has to offer is not evidence but “perspective.” That would be a complete waste of time and effort.

        • Sandwichman says:

          I’m going by what Lanny Davis said in the interview. He said Cohen could offer his “point of view” especially in understanding Trump’s “code.” It seems to me that this would just be a variation on Schiff’s “parody” of Trump’s meaning. “Nice country you got there…shame if anything bad should happen to it.” “I would like you to do us a favor, though…” “Will no one rid me of this troublesome Veep?”

    • Eureka says:

      Cohen & (or moreso) his germane social networks was the first thing I thought of when reading the call memo part re: Zelensky’s NYC Ukrainian friends (where he implies overlaps with Trump’s networks there). Wonder what he’s got to say…

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Per Mike Farb, the wait time on the phone to cancel a NYT subscription is two hours, ten minutes. WikiHow apparently explains four ways to do it.

    The NYT cancellation hotline: 1-844-698-6397.

    Alternatives include the Guardian, the LATimes, SF Chronicle, and the Miami Herald.

    The WaPo – as befits its owner – is offering Today Only a year’s online subscription for $30.

  22. pdaly says:

    A commenter on this website, lawyer HC Gorman, highlighted in a prior post that in the whistleblower’s letter it was clearly stated that the complaint (minus the appendix) was wiped of classified information.

    I wish the Democratic members of Congress brought this fact up today with Maguire when he kept to his excuse for failing to hand off the WB’s letter to Congress in a timely manner with ‘I contacted the WH/DOJ first, because I needed to be sure there was no Executive Privilege.’

    (I did take a break from the hearings to take a walk outside, so maybe I missed it)

    • bmaz says:

      Meh, that is no excuse either. The Intel Committees, especially the Gang of Eight, are fully cleared. I think Maguire tried to do the right thing, screwed up and did not, and likely knows it and regrets it. Whatever, they have the complaint now, and the process has been made clear to everyone now.

    • P J Evans says:

      The letter was written with no classified information – it says so right at the start. Only the appendix had classified material.

  23. Vince says:

    Racist Donnie desperate, saying there has to be some way to stop the Impeachment Inquiry:

    “There should be a way of stopping it, maybe legally through the courts”


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is basically saying, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

      Given his fan base – good people, on both sides – his request is likely to be met. Problem is, that sort of offer is usually accepted via performance. Trump is dancing with fire, but he’s not the only one likely to get burnt.

      • Sandwichman says:

        The problem for Trump is that his MAGAphiles are just as cowardly as he is. They are there for the swagger and bluster as long as it looks like he is the BIG MAN and will drop him “like a dog” when he is on the ropes.

          • Geoff says:

            Charlottesville anyone? Good grief, inform yourself just a little bit before posting. These people are downright dangerous when given the green light, and that is what Trump gives them. He enables, encourages, cajoles, and then turns a blind eye after they attack, with his both siderism BS.

        • Rayne says:

          This is really uninformed. Just how many of his supporters are also people wearing badges and guns working in law enforcement and for the feds, particularly in DHS-ICE-CBP? They will continue to do what they’ve been doing because the culture that propelled Trump remains with or without him.

          They’ll go dark for a time but they will continue be a risk; they’ll organize in places you don’t frequent, like Gab and whatever replaces 8chan. You’ll continue to see mass shootings by ‘lone white gunman’, so-called because the media is just as uninformed.

          And I’ll still be worried about my brown-skinned family members because Trump wrote a permission slip for hate which won’t be retracted just because he’s gone.

          EDIT: And then there’s the Trumpist-aligned like this woman, who’s not in government but still in a position to do great harm to people of color. You think she’s going to go away just because Trump is out of office?

          • P J Evans says:

            She appears to have a history of insanely-racist rants. At least one neighbor has a restraining order, and she was banned from a supermarket. It’s not all on the WH occupant: she’d be a problem anyway.

            • Rayne says:

              PJ, are you really trying to minimize her overt and outrageous racist behavior? She’s characterized as having a long history of racist behavior but the restraining orders against her were filed in April of 2017.

              Let’s not blame it on day drinking either, even if she tries to use that as an excuse.

              • P J Evans says:

                I think she really needs a 30-day evaluation and treatment for whatever problems she has, before she kills or injures someone. (That date on the restraining order says it had been going on for a while already.)
       (The KTLA one didn’t want to load.)

                The trumpistas are annoying, at the least – I saw a car covered with stickers for him, last year or the year before, in my area, with loud music as well. And there was the woman with GOP-T signs and stickers all over her car, who showed up in 2016 (primary, IIRC) wearing an “Uncle Sam” outfit with a sequin-covered hat.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    She’s really out of touch with reality. LA ahsn’t been majority white in years, and Iggle Rock is much less than half white. (Friend lived there up until last fall.)

            • Vicks says:

              This women may have some mental health issues and the racist stuff is on some loop in her brain, but for the rest of them there is no excuse.
              Hate is NOT a mental health issue.
              It does show how low some people need to go to feel elevated and there is less shame in a group so they bond over it and go out and terrorize in order to feel powerful.
              I blame the parents, telling a kid they are special because they are white is crappy foundation. Nothing must be worse then fighting off the news that momma lied to them.

              • Rayne says:

                You, too? Jesus Christ, I don’t think white folks here realize just how often people of color have had to listen to excuse after excuse for white adults who harass/assault/kill people of color. The most frequent excuse is the adult white person is mentally ill.

                There is no goddamned excuse for a 40-something adult to attack people of color simply because they aren’t white. Mental illness isn’t a valid excuse for failing any other social obligation like paying taxes or driving safely but it’s a chronic excuse for racist behavior.

                White people even lie to themselves when yet another lone white gunman slaughters them wholesale using the same excuse. If they didn’t have that excuse they might actually have to deal with guns or racism.

                And if community members aren’t comfortable being confronted about this while being labeled white, it’s time to take a good look at that, interrogate that feeling — how does it feel to be called out for being white? Imagine being unable to escape that, being harassed daily for being white, having people constantly make excuses for that harassment.

                Are we going to excuse Trump’s attacks on this country and others because he’s mentally ill? Is that the excuse we’re going double down on when it comes to massive human rights violations against brown children at the border? It’s just not a valid reason when tens of millions of Americans who are mentally ill manage not to harass/assault/kill others.

                • Tom says:

                  The vast majority of mentally ill people I met during my working career were hapless, disorganized, and led chaotic lives; more a risk to themselves than others. I think some people choose to hate and do harm to others just as others–I’d say most–choose to love and do good in the world.

                • Thebuzzardman says:

                  Why not both?

                  Why isn’t it in some cases, the person is mentally ill AND has racist sentiments?

                  That can exist alongside good old fashioned “just being a racist” without mental illness too. Obviously there is plenty of that and any reasonable person, a lot of whom collect on this site, know this.

                  I know what’s at stake, I know people are upset, but not everything is a binary equation.

                  And I my have my brown family and kids etc too.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  One problem is that attributing racist behavior to mental illness ignores the systemic presence of violence and racism. American culture is built on them (and more desirable things). Fixing things starts with confronting them.

                  • Thebuzzardman says:

                    I assume most people who post here are well aware of systemic racism etc.
                    My point was about this specific instance. The lady is nuts AND a racist.

                    My point was it’s possible for both to exist at once. It still puts the person wholly in the “racist” camp. Their inability to put any kind of shade on it is a function of both their racism AND their mental illness. In the above case.

                    Other people don’t need the loosening of social bounds that might come with mental illness to let their racist freak flag fly. That’s all.

                • Vicks says:

                  Oh man, I’m sorry I did not mean to light you up
                  I did a long reply on my tablet earlier and I’m not seeing it.
                  I thought I was clear but perhaps not clear enough
                  I have a special place in my heart for the mentally ill, these people are underserved and underprotected and if anyone wants to go against me and pick the side of judging this women (if she really is mentally ill of course) by the same standards used to judge racists assholes, all I can say is bring it on.
                  Hate is NOT a mental illness and calling people that do horrible things like march with torches, shoot up Walmarts or grow up to be Donald Trump, mentally ill is an insult to the most vulnerable among us

        • orionATL says:

          sandwichman –

          this is a solid comment and supported by folks who know a lot of personal details about a lot of the bottom of the garbage can that form the trump maga cadres.

          i doubt any organization has worked longer or more assiduously to expose the individual members of the many dozens of small hate groups operating throughout the nation to public notice than the southern poverty law center. this often means publishing their photographs in its magazine. splc is clearly of the opinion that these folk talk big and talk fierce within their kind, but fold when challenged publicly, especially in legal action:

          “… Using fake names and fictional avatars, wannabe killers and hatemongers exude courage and commitment to their hateful causes.

          Until the world learns their real names. Until someone exposes their plans. Then they cry. They beg for forgiveness or a judge’s mercy. They claim all that hate speech was just entertainment. In the anonymity provided by chat rooms dedicated to expressing homicidal intentions toward people because of their faith, ethnicity or sexual orientation, people declare a willingness to be martyrs. But in the light of day or when facing a possible conviction, they bargain for their lives. In this issue of the Intelligence Report, we expose the impact of fighting hate with light…”

          these are the folks hillary clinton quite rightly called the deplorable trump supporters:

          “… “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

          She said the other half of Trump’s supporters “feel that the government has let them down” and are “desperate for change.”

          “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well,” she said…”

          this self-evident comment about some of the maga folks was flagrantly and joyfully criticized by both media wiseheads and by maga types full of fox bravado – more they the fools after the last 2 1/2 yrs.

  24. K-spin says:

    What shocked me (among other things) in Maguire’s testimony was not just his lack of knowledge about certain facts and procedures that are clearly within his purview as DNI, but his lack of awareness that he should be aware of these.
    Examples include:

    1. As well as not knowing how/where the WH should record and store intelligence information, he seemed to think that this was none of his business

    2. He was unable to state whether Rudy has any type of security clearance. I think we’re united in thinking that he doesn’t, but I’d like to hear Maguire both clarify that, and respond to questions about how his level of involvement and access is consistent with security protocols. Referring back to my comment yesterday, a great example is how Rudy had access to the WB complaint at a time when it was being withheld from Congress. Mr Maguire, how did that happen? Maguire saying that he doesn’t know what Rudy does or what his role is, plus his lack of interest in actually finding that out, was highly inadequate.

    IMO the Dems should have pushed Maguire harder (and he should have responded better) on both questions, as to show that intelligence information sharing and storage protocols are being breached (as alleged), it’s crucial for the audience to (a) understand what those protocols are, and (b) have confidence that the guy tasked with overseeing them knows what they are, and understands that it is his responsibility to ensure they’re adhered to.

    This morning was a huge opportunity for the Committee to give us (a), and the DNI to give us (b), and overall, both parties wasted that opportunity.

  25. orionATL says:

    re orion @ 2:16pm

    a vox reporter, zack beauchamp wrote this:

    this is what the nytimes would have written if it was an american corporation with a conscience, a heart, and a soul. it is not.

    the old grey lady is a media corporation that clings to outdated media rules about how to report on political conflict to avoid offending its clients of one political faith or another. the result is we get nytimes reporting that rarely get at the truth the nation faces with the 6sigma trump presidency; times editors are buffaloed by and readily acquiesce to trump’s verbal games.

  26. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    Michael McFaul @McFaul
    Mr. President the people who spoke to the whistleblower are not spies. They are members of your national security team. But they took an oath of office to defend the United States of America, not you.

    • orionATL says:

      nice cite.

      wonderful! ambassador mcfaul got it exactly right. the dems need to cite this over and over and over.

      it will be critical to involve patriotism in the campaign against trump’s impending blizzard of lies. using “national security” won’t elicit emotion the emotion to counter el presidente.

  27. Raven Eye says:

    When Rudy was/is traveling for his “client”, what kind of a passport is he using? Regular? Service? Official? Diplomatic?

  28. PSWebster says:

    I watched most all of the hearing and thought Macquire was fairly reasonable. He made Nunes look like a fool and would not give out answers all the Repubs were asking for. And why did all the Repubs leave at the end where only Dems were questioning? They wanted to end the hearing as quickly as possible, verdad?

    A lot of nit picking here but the guy showed up and spoke candidly seems to me.

    “This is the end.” Jimmy Morrison as this hearing will show as the beginning of the end.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I am struck by how easily this WB complaint might have been buried, at least long enough for it not to have much effect on the next election.

    The referral to the DoJ was outside the explicit statutory process for decision-making and reporting to Congress. Maguire did it anyway. An admiral with 36 years of service and following the manual. But he spent 34 of those 36 years as a SEAL. He was used to making decisions on his own, outside the box, and under high stress, where consequences were always serious and sometimes fatal.

    Maguire ignored process, rather, he invented one, and sent the hot potato to the DoJ. The rationale was “privilege.” Did that come from some Iago at the DoJ or the WH Counsel’s office?

    An experienced aide – the intel community is full of them – could have told him the odds of the complaint being buried by an adverse OLC decision. The reputations of Engel, Barr, and Trump long precede them.

    So, did Joe Maguire “ask for advice” from the DoJ in order to protect the president – his chain of command – while shifting responsibility to the DoJ and WH? Is he a political naif who assumed that the WH and DoJ were run by straight arrows, who would do their duty to God and country? (Operators are supposed to be better than that at reading the lay of the land.)

    Was he in uncharted waters and legitimately needed advice on a Big Issue, but failed to assess how disastrous it was to ask for it from the people directly implicated in alleged crimes: the President, his WH Counsel, and the Attorney General? The top of the chain of command, where the buck stops.

    Rarely is there one reason we do things. But none of the reasons put Maguire in a good light. He needs to rethink continuing to serve so corrupt an administration.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve been wondering about his decision, too, and whether he consulted anyone as to what to do. Yesterday he came across as diffident and deferential; not the decisive military man you would have expected. As you say, as a Navy SEAL he would have known that often you have to accept the responsibility of making decisions based on incomplete information. He doesn’t seem like the type who would have taken the WB complaint to the White House expecting to get a pat on the head, but what response did he really think he would get? “Gee, Joe! Better get this over to Congress right away!” Hardly. He seems to have felt uncomfortable with the role of being the lonely guy who has to make a tough decision on his own and sought the comfort of having someone tell him what to do. Paula Reid said on NPR this morning that “Maguire did the safe thing rather than the brave thing.” (probably not quoting her exactly) As a Navy man, Maguire should have remembered the words of Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not consistent with the independent operator, everybody’s life is on the line, motif one associates with SEALs. It is consistent with a follow-the-chain-of-command one associates with the Navy.

    • BobCon says:

      It is certainly possible he is complicit in a Barr scheme. However he may have also been carrying out an old bureacratic tactic when a rotten egg shows up in your in box. If he had reason to believe that it wouldn’t have stayed buried the way another revelation might, then it’s possible he wanted as many fingerprints on it as possible before it went public. That is a move to keep the media attention from focusing solely on him and force the bosses to take more of the heat.

      Or maybe he was just following orders.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There’s just that nit that following an illegal order is an illegal act. But, yea, based on his demeanor from yesterday, it looks like he was in over his political head – and probably resented the hell out of it.

        After 36 years in the Navy, that could not have been the first time. He might have done the usual, run it up the chain thingy. That suggests it’s still time to get out of the water, rather than take one for this corrupt Gipper.

    • Marinela says:

      Latest information indicates that the Whistler blower, a CIA officer first sent an anonymous letter, which was poorly handled by the CIA. WH, DoG lawyers got the info, so then the WB send a formal WB complain to the DNI, he/she was worried it was covered up, and worried about it’s own exposures.
      So by the time Acting DNI received it from the IC IG, wondering if he was already informed to “cover” up with EP.

      If so, then his actions are even more problematic.

    • Marinela says:

      What I didn’t like about him yesterday, acting DNI was annoyed that Congress actually got the complain.
      He kept saying, well you got it now, no reason to discuss the cover up process. He had no interest on getting to the bottom on how it is that the complaint was not investigated by the DoJ, not his problem. He seemed more worried about his legal exposure, just wanted to be thanked for his service, and it is somebody else problems.
      This goes to the moral character more than anything. But just to be nominated for that position, Trump wanted a yes person, somebody that follows orders, and this is exactly why he got the job.

      He knew that EP is the answer, this is why he asked the question in the first place.

      All this talk about his years of service, well not a good look for him, he didn’t really act the part of somebody with experience and integrity.

    • Marinela says:

      The Trump enablers, they all struggle with their constitutional duties, but they are all in and have all the answers when attacking democrats in the congress.

      They find their voices in going after democrats, pretty quiet on what the Trump administration is doing wrong.
      The usual excuses, not answering hypotheticals, EP, etc.

  30. Rita says:

    I thought there was one Congressman, maybe Jamie Ruskin, who did talk about Giuliani not having security clearance.

    I thought a lot about Adm. Maguire’s basic response that he went to the White House because of the Executive Privilege question. I am relatively sure that he must have consulted first with his department’s legal advisors. Why they didn’t recommend just sending hypothetical questions rather than sending the complaint, I don’t know.

    He made such a boneheaded decision that his qualifications for the high level jobs he has and has had are in question.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Any hypotheticals asked of WH Counsel or DoJ would have given the game away, and resulted in the same answer: the president is king and cannot be challenged.

      Executive privilege may be a relevant issue. But, Barr and Engel admit no exceptions to it. Nor do they accept that Congress has legitimate oversight authority over the executive branch.

      In reality, Congress has that authority. EP itself is a judicial invention. It has variation and limits, one of which is that it is not designed to protect criminal conduct.

      This complaint’s allegations of criminal conduct should readily outweigh EP claims, certainly in the face of explicit statutory authority requiring that qualifying complaints be sent to Congress.

  31. Vicks says:

    Hold on now.
    Clearly I have found your hot button and you have found mine,
    My first sentence cut slack for one woman because she appeared to be mentally ill, followed by “for the rest of them there is no excuse”
    The mentally ill are incredibly misunderstood and an incredibly underserved part of every community.
    No matter how disgusting their words, a mentally ill person simply can’t be judge in the same context as the rest of the assholes out there.
    I went on to say that HATE IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS
    I was raised in a racist environment and I can tell you, those people aren’t mentally ill, they are assholes. They get together with others like them and raise little families of assholes.
    They adore our current leader because just when they were getting hints that people were starting to think being white wasn’t so special anymore, he made them believe the glory days were coming back,
    When racist words comes out of the mouth of the most powerful man in the world, it stops my breath and makes my knees buckle just like when I was a kid. I get flashes humanity at its worst and I realize I need a better word than asshole to describe the hate that goes along with that much power.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve worked with racists and no, they aren’t usually mentally ill. (Manipulative, some of them, but not mentally ill. My lead person was a racist, but knew the rules well enough to never have two simultaneous witnesses to her racism, which is how she got away with it.)

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    So Congress is still recessing for its two-week Fall recess. Without actually authorizing an impeachment inquiry. I guess nothing much interesting is going on.

    • Geoff says:

      So they have one absolute fail hearing to start things off, totally swing and miss the target, get bogged down in process, and then go on vacation, completely destroying the momentum theyve been handed. Unbelievable. Really, just unbelievable. How can they be this bad at this?

      As for Maguire. A cleverly disguised partisan hack. And not very good at hiding it. I made a long comment to an FT article about this – the guy was appointed by Trump. That’s his boss. You work for Trump, day one, you destroy whatever reputation you have. My other point is that, if you are an intelligence official, and you just got through the Mueller report (if you didnt read it, you are incompetent and should have no credibility at this point) and you must have realized what Barr did to twist the interpretation and how the OLC ruling saves Trumps criminal ass. And you STILL went to work for him. So, either you are on his side, or, you aren’t. If you read that report and inferred that the whole thing ended up a sham due to Barr and Trump, then you’d probably not be on Team Trump, and if you had to decide what to do with this info, and, when confronted with more of their criminality, you’d probably be disinclined to let them have a good chance to bury it, and yet, you take it right to them. That makes no sense. Clearly, he is on their team. This guy is a fraud. A smirking, not very bright fraud.

      Nevertheless, this was not the guy to focus on when you have one day to get this case to explode before you take a vacation. FAIL.

      • bmaz says:

        I dunno, I saw no reason to ascribe malicious motive to Maguire. He has a long history of not being any partisan, and did not really want the job. My bet is on Earl’s paragraph from above:

        “Was he in uncharted waters and legitimately needed advice on a Big Issue, but failed to assess how disastrous it was to ask for it from the people directly implicated in alleged crimes: the President, his WH Counsel, and the Attorney General? The top of the chain of command, where the buck stops.”

        It may not have been the best plan, but I can easily see how somebody would get there, especially a rigid institutionalist like Maguire. Who knows?

        • Geoff says:

          So, not partisan, just not very bright. ;-) I’d like to believe this to be the case, but I’m struggling with that.

          • P J Evans says:

            He probably thought in chain-of-command terms, without realizing that in this case, he’s dealing with a different chain. I think he should have been more familiar with the whistle-blower statute, given his position at the point where the chain stops following the usual path.
            (Getting to flag rank does require intelligence. But it also should require knowing when to rock the boat.)

          • Ken Muldrew says:

            You may be underestimating the gravity of the situation he found himself in.

            Consider the hypothetical (but likely correct) assumption that Trump is being largely controlled by Putin. The IC knows it but can’t do anything short of a coup to stop it. They know about the phone calls where Putin asks for “favours” (mob-boss style) and Trump acquiesces (“yes, we were going to do that anyway”). It does no good to blow the whistle on these transcripts on a secure server because a President can do almost anything, foreign policy wise. But then one day the President incompetently adds another favour onto the ask, to dig up dirt on a political rival. Now the IC can make a legitimate complaint and point to the “money”-trail hidden on the secure server at the same time.

            The complaint is made and forwarded to Maguire to pass on to congress, following the whistleblower protection law. It seems like a pretty straightforward decision, but Maguire is part of this administration. He can see perfectly well that the entire Republican party has decided that the Republic is finished and they are all working toward a transition to the next phase. The Democratic party, or at least the leadership, is maybe a bit harder to read, but seem to have their eyes shut and their ears plugged. As part of this administration, Maguire seems to have already decided which faction will be shaping the country going forward, except maybe the buffoon leading the charge has just made an unforced error of such magnitude that things are going to be a bit unpredictable in the near future. A Gordian knot if there ever was one for someone who doesn’t want to play Cicero and save the Republic.

            Consider, too, that the people he is up against are far, far more powerful than any mob boss. This isn’t a Whitehall knife-fight between mid-level bureaucrats.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        My WAG is that Maguire was a highly competent flag officer and SEAL. He walked into a hornet’s nest of incompetence, vindictiveness, and ass covering by people with no standards of personal conduct.

        He was immediately confronted with allegations that the President of the United States and his top associates committed crimes. Not a common problem. He may have blinked.

        But I don’t think Maguire is one of the team, like Barr and Pompeo. That makes him a potential patsy for guys that have no restraint. It’s a good reason to consider resigning rather than waiting to be tossed overboard like a character from Hitchcock’s Lifeboat.

      • orionATL says:

        mcguire was a military officer inexperienced at a very high-level job he had been in a month. that is all you need to know to predict his behavior.

        mcguire was picked by trump possibly with the thought he might be a useful patsy.

        but most assuredly after having undergone a trump “are you with me” loyalty test – you know, like the ones james comey failed. McGuire would have had his promise to trump uppermost in his mind.

        • mospeck says:

          interesting discussion.
          Maguire, why was he chosen?
          Why were Coats and spook Sue KO’d? And the very next day this Flag rank, chain-of-command, not ostensibly simple, honorable Navy Seal thrust in to be the decider?
          yea, Trump is a moron-just a very impulsive, mercurial, vindictive individual. Low EQ my sister calls it. DNI stuff just happened all accidental and by chance. Def not meticulously calculated, not simulated (like in 1/20th pawn weights by some Russian chess program). There are no GRU 2500-rate players on the other side advising moron trump and fat man barr, and their crooked lawyers. Impeachment will all just go peachy keen straightforward for the Dems, since Trump is such a blithering moron.

  33. dwfreeman says:

    In the post-game analysis of Thursday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing, there has been much criticism of chairman Schiff and the commmittee spending too much time questioning DNI Joe Maguire about the process of turning over the whistleblower complaint.

    Whether that seems legitimate or not, it goes to the heart of the committee’s belief and even the Speaker’s contention that Maguire intentionally violated whistleblower law by first seeking legal advice from both White House counsel and DOJ;s Office of Legal Counsel and allowing both to determine the release of that material. In fact, it turns out that both had prior notice of the whistleblower’s intent to file a complaint days after the Trump-Zalensky call. Which means nearly a full month before Congress learned about any of it.

    Former DNI Dan Coats resigned on July 28, shortly thereafter the whistleblower, a CIA employee, went to the CIA’s general counsel Courtney Simmons Elwood, according to the New York Times, with allegations contained in the formal complaint officially filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson on Aug. 12. Maguire took over as DNI on Aug. 16.

    Clearly, committee members totally disbelieved Maguire’s arguments for making those moves and not following the letter of the law, which as a veteran military man who follows chain of command decision-making and orders, one would have fully expected him to act without question or challenge in response to statutory responsibility.

    Not only did the committee illustrate why that was such poor decision-making based on the conflicts inherent within the complaint, but the additional cover-up allegations regarding burying the contents of the July 25 Zelenksky-Trump call in a code-word access computer server meant only for high classified documents.

    While Maguire seeminly offered reasonable rationale for seeking legal help before making the IC IG’s validated complaint of the whistleblower accusations before making it available to Congress, he still violated the law and wholly demonstrated a complete abdication of the full responsibilities of his new job. And I believe it’s because of his personal record and background, in addition to the newness of his position, that he did so.

    What is clear, however, is that he was used by the administration to continue blocking word of the complaint to Congress and its connection to a simultaneous mystery roiling on Capitol Hill, concerning why congressionally approved defense aid to Ukraine was being held up. On Sept. 9, three congressional committees opened investigations to determine whether the delay in the $250 million funding release was for political reasons.On the same day, Atkinson wrote a letter to the House and Senate intelligence committees informing them of the pending complaint without disclosing its subject matter.

    Days later, angry over not being told of the complaint sooner, Schiff issued a House subpeona to Maguire about failing to comply with the timeline of the complaint issuance under whistleblower law.

    As it turns out, Maguire was either deliberately not told by the administration and the DOJ that they both had prior knowledge of the whistleblowers actions before he gave them second looks at the complaint filed or he failed to acknowledge this during the hearing. In either case, it fully explains the deep skepticism of congressional leaders and House Intelligence members why Maguire was not as forthcoming as he should have been.

    What this implies, of course, is that Barr’s DOJ had sufficient time to work with White House counsel to map out a strategy that would seek to foil the prying eyes of Congress should the complaint become public. As the king of coverup, I fully believe Barr capable of orchestrating such a plan.

    • Sandwichman says:

      “Former DNI Dan Coats resigned on July 28, shortly thereafter the whistleblower, a CIA employee, went to the CIA’s general counsel Courtney Simmons Elwood, according to the New York Times, with allegations…”

      What did Dan Coats know and when did he know it? Is the timeline of his and Sue Gordon’s departure and the whistleblower complaint a “coincidence”? As the WB complaint makes obvious, accounts of the Ukraine phone call and its impropriety were circulating in the intelligence agencies. It is implausible that the DNI and deputy DNI knew nothing about it. It is implausible that the WH was unaware of murmurs of discontent bubbling up in the IC.

      Then there is that story about Coats interrupting the election security meeting to tell Gordon to bail. The House Intelligence Committee needs to call on Coats and Gordon.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for the movement to cancel your NYT subscription, in outrage over its publishing information about the whistleblower, I’m for it. It’s the only message it might listen to, and then only if done en masse. You can readily restart it.

    (The NYT stopped caring about what people outside the administration thought of it when it terminated its ombudsperson.)

    I don’t agree with the NYT’s self-serving claim of no harm, no foul, because the WH already knew or suspected that it was a CIA employee in late July.

    Confirmation itself is important intelligence, as important as the underlying information. Plus, the issue of potential harm is not limited to what Trump or Barr might themselves do. They weren’t in El Paso or Dayton, but their extreme followers can do damage anywhere.

    The WB apparently anonymously raised issues about this call with the CIA’s general counsel’s office, which expands the number of people involved. That the WH suspected there was a potential WB in late July means they’ve prepped this for some time, which makes you wonder why they seem so poorly prepared. Also makes you wonder what conversations were had with Maguire and when.

    • BobCon says:

      One hint as to why the White House wasn’t prepared may be connected to the IRS whistleblower case. The House Ways and Means Committee received a whistleblower complaint in July that the administration has been interfering with an audit of Trump’s taxes. Chairman Neal has treated it with even less urgency than he has treated getting Trump’s tax records. He’s quietly asked for details from Mnuchin, and is basically content with the predictable stonewall.

      I think the White House made the calculation (with good reason) by this past summer that the House was going to pass on any serious effort to push for information. Schiff seems to have gone off script.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Not government related, but there is also the whistleblower related to Deutsche Bank, Kushner, and funny business in Florida. So, lots of Trump Syndicate lawyers must be busy, busy, busy. Oh, yeah, not sure where this fits in with everything else. But, Hofeller’s daughter was a kind of whistleblower, too. She turned over all his files about racial gerrymandering in many states, including FL where Roger Stone has/had (?) residence for years.

        • Jenny says:

          With this administration, lots of “funny business” here, there and everywhere. So, much more to be revealed.

          • Savage Librarian says:

            Speaking of funny, thanks for sharing the Trevor Noah clip. That was brilliant. I probably wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.

  35. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The game of musical chairs that Trump is playing with his succession of acting appointments at the top of the intelligence tree would aid and abet his chicanery.

  36. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It is always more complicated than it first appears. As dwfreeman notes above and as TPM reported, the WB first sought advice from his own intelligence agency’s general counsel in late July. CIA general counsel Courtney Elwood immediately told the WH Counsel’s office and Bill Barr at the DoJ.

    Supposedly, that was in keeping with established procedure. That’s questionable, given the substance of the complaint, which implicated both offices. But it’s in keeping with her conservative establishment background: Yale Law, Rehnquist clerk, jobs in the BushCheney WH, stints at their DoJ, including as deputy chief of staff, partner in the most boutique of boutique corporate litigation firms in DC.

    So, a month later, Maguire, the new kid in town, was faced with a fait accompli. Trump’s personal team had been braced for this complaint for a month. It might be one reason the DNI job was open. The request for guidance to the DoJ was pro forma; it had probably already been written. (What was Gina Haspel’s role in all this?)

    That reinforces, in my view, the need for Joe Maguire to consider his loyalties and resign from such a lawless administration. It is not “quitting.” It is upholding the values he spent 36 years defending.

    • harpie says:

      […] Thus, on matters on which the “head of an executive department” (here, the acting director of national intelligence) is the final arbiter, it makes sense that he will follow the OLC’s advice when he seeks it.
      But, as explained above, the director of national intelligence is not the arbiter of whether a whistleblower complaint meets the relevant statutory criteria; the ICIG is. Put another way, Congress gave the decision-making authority in this case to the ICIG, not to the acting director of national intelligence — or the OLC for that matter. […]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When an agency head confronts an issue and requires legal guidance about how the law applies to it, an OLC opinion is sometimes sought.

        But it’s not relevant whether the head of an executive branch agency asked for an OLC opinion. If one exists concerning the law governing an agency’s conduct, that interpretation is binding on its conduct and personnel.

        OLC opinions can be overridden by legislation or court challenge, for example. But that requires a large number of people to know about them. Under current practice, many of them remain secret, and are known to very few.

        That has to change. It’s one more reason merely re-establishing some mythic bipartisan camaraderie would not meet the challenges we now face.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I would restate Vladeck’s correct analysis another way. Barr and Engel are not interpreting the law so much as applying. They do it to reach a decision they prefer over the IC IG’s decision. They are inventing the legal foundation for that, just as they are inventing the monarchical presidency they want so much.

          By analogy, appellate courts distinguish between interpreting and applying the law every day. Normally, they do not reconsider what facts exist and apply the law to them. In simplest terms, they limit themselves to restating the governing rules, and leave it to the lower courts to apply them to their facts. It’s a huge distinction.

          Barr and Engel are saying the OLC is not limited to interpreting the law. They are substituting their own view of the facts, judgment and priorities and making it binding on the executive branch.

          As Vladeck more elegantly lays out, the WBPA statute does not permit it. In fact, Barr’s practice would gut this statute and many others.

  37. General Sternwood says:

    >it also robs American citizens of the benefits the entire intelligence system is supposed to ensure. Maguire admittedly cannot force the President to make the right decisions. But the repercussions of premising policy decisions on personal gain for the national security of the US should be a concern of Maguire’s.

    When Maguire was asked “Isn’t this worth investigating?” and he just smiled and said that Congress was now investigating, that also was robbing “American citizens of the benefits the entire intelligence system”. He was saying, DOJ and the intelligence services are executive branch, and you won’t have *our* help doing the investigation, but feel free to call all the stonewalling witnesses you want. Like me, when I claim that Executive Privilege keeps me from telling you whether or not I talked with the target of your investigation about a document that you have right in front of you.

  38. Darrow Boggiano says:

    I think they had to use this hearing to establish jurisdiction over the case because the rogue AG Barr provided the lame ass DNI with legal excuses for not sending the Complaint to their Committee. Also, they used the hearing to get info on the trail of losers who were covering up the complaint. I thought the hearing was effective, despite the many issues they did not get into yet.

  39. harpie says:

    This is “Former chief White House ethics lawyer 2005-07”:
    11:27 AM – 27 Sep 2019

    I just received an “Impeachment Update” email from @realDonaldTrump

    “Richard, We just sent President Trump a list of everyone who’s contributed toward our Q3 fundraising goal, and he couldn’t believe that your name was still MISSING.”

    He apparently doesn’t watch CNN or MSNBC.

    They’re keeping track of who’s not sufficiently supportive.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Is it really that clear-cut? The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the military, but that does not make him a soldier.

  40. harpie says:
    1:06 PM – 27 Sep 2019

    BREAKING: @SecPompeo subpoenaed for Ukraine documents as @ HouseForeign, @ HouseIntel & @ OversightDems committees accelerate #ImpeachmentInquiry.
    “Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry” [screenshots]

    To date, Pompeo has refused to produce these documents, which were first requested more than two weeks ago. The Chairmen sent a follow-up letter warning @SecPompeo that they would consider compulsory measures if he continued to refuse to comply.

    The Chairmen also sent a separate letter today notifying Pompeo that the Committees have scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks:
    • October 2, 2019: Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch
    • October 3, 2019: Ambassador Kurt Volker
    • October 7, 2019: Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent
    • October 8, 2019: Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl
    • October 10, 2019: Ambassador Gordon Sondland

    • harpie says:
      1:24 PM – 27 Sep 2019

      In light of House issuing subpoenas for five State Department officials in #Ukrainegate impeachment inquiry (and more subpoenas to come) … Worth reflecting on Rep. @tedlieu’s #FridayThoughts from last week

      Links to:
      11:56 AM – 20 Sep 2019

      Don’t know why this thought keeps coming to mind, so I’m gonna share it.

      The United States Congress has the power of inherent contempt, which includes the power to fine individuals who defy Congress. The United States Supreme Court has upheld that power.

      • P J Evans says:

        Schiff is saying that his committee will be working at least the second half of next week, and probably the week after that, taking time off only for the High Holy Days.

    • harpie says:
      3:13 PM – 27 Sep 2019

      Schiff, in a letter to Dems, confirms Oct. 4 hearing with the Intelligence Community IG
      “The IC IG conducted a preliminary investigation and determined that the whistleblower complaint was credible. This hearing is critical to establish additional details, leads and evidence.”
      “We are already in the process of identifying additional witnesses to be interviewed, whether in closed sessions or public hearings,”
      Schiff adds.
      More subpoenas and investigatory steps will occur next week, as the investigation accelerates…”

      • P J Evans says:

        Probably crashed from the load they don’t usually get.
        (Consider: a college student newspaper is breaking international stories.)

        • harpie says:

          oh…I thought it said scoop…but still a great story, and they’re getting well deserved recognition for it! I was wondering how the story connected with Az…now I know.

          McCain Institute head Kurt Volker steps down as US diplomat Volker’s resignation comes amid reports that he was involved in the Trump-Ukraine investigation

          Executive Director of the McCain Institute Kurt Volker resigned from his position as the U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Friday, following reports he collaborated with Ukraine and President Donald Trump.
          An ASU official confirmed Volker’s resignation Friday, and said the University could not speak about his future at ASU because the University does not comment on personnel matters. […]

          Another tweet from the Paper:

          8:31 PM – 27 Sep 2019

          [email protected]_howard4, reporter who broke the Volker resignation story and SP managing editor, was featured on @BBCWorld a few hours ago.
          When asked how our organization found this information, he said, “The most important thing to us is we always try to … localize national issues.”
          “We wanted to see why this would be important to our community,” Howard said to @BBCWorld .
          “… We decided that we would pursue it in the way that we knew how and in the way that affected Arizona State University, and … our reporting lead us to this.”

        • harpie says:

          But…here’s AP’s Matt Lee in the WaPo, giving credit:
          US official: Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine has resigned

          Matthew Lee | AP September 27, 2019 at 9:24 p.m. EDT

          […] Pompeo said Thursday that as far as he knew, all State Department employees had acted appropriately in dealing with Ukraine.
          Volker was brought into the Trump administration by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to serve as envoy for Ukraine. He worked in a volunteer capacity and had retained his job as head of the John McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

          Arizona State’s student newspaper was the first to report his resignation.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, I said this a little while ago on the other thread:

            Actually, I was wrong about the State Press, they did “break” it. And now I know how. Volker’s day job is with the McCain Center, which is part of ASU. He gave ASU President Michael Crow a heads up (and I will bet dollars to donuts Crow had told Volker to pick Trump or ASU, and Volker took the better long term gig), and Crow gave the scoop to the State Press, which is run by the Cronkite School of Journalism. It is truly a superb school. May not quite yet be equal to Medil or Columbia, but they are closing in very fast.


            • harpie says:

              …it’s so hard to keep up with everything and all these comment sections. LOL!
              I literally have to decide which two comment sections I’ll be concentrating on…otherwise I’d just go [more] insane

              • harpie says:

                Right now, the latest ones are Rayne’s and Jim’s [which I haven’t even read yet], so that’s where I’m headed now…and that’s before I have to catch up on all the overnight tweeters I follow…OY!

    • Rayne says:

      Pompeo’s facing a deadline tomorrow for some documents. Wondering what the compulsory measures will be if Pompeo doesn’t come through. House must do more than a stern letter.

  41. Vince says:

    Congressional Repubs and the American RightWing are all parroting the same talking point, that the whistleblower only had second-hand hearsay, so it’s all fake news. Only problem, the IG stated he CORROBORATED all of that info. Another balloon popped.

  42. P J Evans says:

    This is lovely (via DKos)

    President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the U.S. election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter.

    The comments, which have not been previously reported, were part of a now-infamous meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Trump revealed highly classified information that exposed a source of intelligence on the Islamic State. He also said during the meeting that firing FBI Director James B. Comey the day before had relieved “great pressure” on him.

    Treacherous SOB.

    • Eureka says:

      The irony being that his enablers shoving all of Trump’s treacherous “gaffes” and political plays into a SCIF probably *has* protected our national security some, absent any will or plan by his enablers and others to remove him.

      This is on his GOP coterie for not 25th-ing him from the jump, too.

      (Adding, what we all know of what he does and says to other leaders is bad enough, I am just imagining the worse stuff like this leaking out over the last few years and how much worse it would be, given no attempt to remove him.

      People like Tillerson could have tried to whip a response, and they could have had Pence and their judges.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes, a lot of Trump’s senior people are walking away or being forced out, but still complying with omerta. That includes the entire GOP, which has chosen Trump as the ship they’ll sail or go down with.

        Why is an impeachment inquiry hanging on the thread of a mid-level CIA officer’s willingness to say the emperor has no clothes, and is, in fact, opening the castle gates and leaving them open and unguarded?

        I would add to that list of enablers news organizations that repackage Trump’s speech. That’s not editing, it’s deception. It’s hard enough to accept wrenching change when you understand why it’s necessary. It’s impossible when you don’t know.

        • harpie says:

          EoH: Yes, a lot of Trump’s senior people are walking away or being forced out, but still complying with omerta. That includes the entire GOP, which has chosen Trump as the ship they’ll sail or go down with.

          Yes. THE.ENTIRE.GOP.

          [1] This morning Trump tweeted:
          [ ] realDonaldTrump/status/1177919923885969408
          5:16 AM – 28 Sep 2019

          Can you imagine if these Do Nothing Democrat Savages, people like Nadler, Schiff, AOC Plus 3, and many more, had a Republican Party who would have done to Obama what the Do Nothings are doing to me. Oh well, maybe next time!

          [2] …to which Adam Serwer responded [via bmaz]:

          5:34 AM – 28 Sep 2019

          “Savages” [screenshot]
          I’m going to keep pointing this out but: hundreds of members now support impeachment. Schiff and Nadler are committee chairs. He is bringing the four congresswomen into this because he hopes to blur white voters’ judgement by inciting racial resentment.

          The foundation of Trump’s politics is identity threat: making white people feel scared and angry that Those People are trying to take something from You. It is his favorite play; he will turn the dial until it breaks off if he thinks it can save him.

          [3] WaPo reports:

          12:55 AM – 28 Sep 2019

          Trump campaign launches anti-impeachment blitz on Facebook, targeting four minority congresswomen

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I would add to that excellent observation that Trump is using misogyny as well as racism to defend against impeachment. He has barely opened the tap on his massive reservoir of fear and resentment.

        • Eureka says:

          That’s an important point: news orgs are not only weaving to his weft, but they are setting up the whole loom.

          In fact, what the news orgs do here is excellent evidence for the Cohen-and-many-others thesis as to how Trump communicates. Shows they are too close to report it.

  43. Vicks says:

    “American democracy today desperately needs the GOP to uphold democracy rather than feast on its destruction,”
    Fareed Zakaria

    Anyone else sensing that SOME R’s are rushing to make sure they don’t get caught with crumbs on their faces?

  44. K-spin says:

    I’m not judging Maguire as harshly as (some) others, but he did display incredible naïveté in (1) failing to see the conflict involved in asking for advice from the WH and DoJ, while knowing that both Trump and Barr are named in the complaint, and (2) continuously stating that he hadn’t ‘withheld’ the complaint, he was just ‘waiting on the WH’ to respond to his EP questions.

    I don’t know whether he genuinely THOUGHT he was doing the right thing, or if he was just trying to cover his arse, but either way, I find it difficult to think a person in his position would actually BELIEVE that Barr’s DoJ and Trump’s WH would do anything other than they did. Maybe he really is that naïve, but regardless, he’s out of his depth, and needs to recognise the fact that without the actions of the IC IG, this complaint would never have come to light. ‘Hey, you’ve got it now’ does not cut it, and does not abnegate his responsibility for (mis)handling the matter, however good his intentions may have been.

  45. Yohei72 says:

    This has been touched on briefly in the thread above, but I wanted to request more clarity from the many bigger legal minds here than mine: Giuliani can’t legitimately claim attorney-client privilege for his work regarding Ukraine, can he? I mean, even leaving aside the possibility that it involved criminality, in which case it would of course not be privileged. Privilege would only apply to actual legal work for a client, right? Not unofficial diplomacy or campaign strategizing or whatever else you want to call what he was doing in and around Ukraine.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    • P J Evans says:

      He’s the personal lawyer for the guy in the Oval Office, he says, so it shouldn’t cover anything he said or did in Ukraine or anywhere else where he claims to have been doing things for the government.

      • Yohei72 says:

        Sure, I know that’s what he’s claiming, but such a sweeping claim is absurd on its face, isn’t it? That is to say, in a court case a judge would, in essence roll her eyes and tell him to quit wasting her time, though possibly in the form of a written decision, not literally to his face.

    • Rayne says:

      Attorney-client privilege is claimed by the client (smack me if I’m wrong, bmaz), not the attorney.

      Giuliani told someone/some outlet yesterday he wasn’t Trump’s attorney. I have to dig through my notes for that to confirm, but it means even his client can’t claim the privilege if he’s not his attorney.

      I don’t know if anyone has pointedly asked Giuliani recently when Trump became his client, what services he’s providing to Trump, and who’s paying him. Financials filed in his recent divorce case showed he was paid millions by client(s) in Ukraine but I don’t recall Trump being one of his paying clients.

    • Pjb says:

      You are right that the privilege belongs to the client. The fact Trump wasn’t paying him isn’t the relevant consideration. Pro bono legal representation still entitles a client to assert he privilege. I think of this in 3 ways:

      1. The work he was doing was not providing legal advice and counsel, he was acting as a co-conspirator. The fact he’s got a law degree is interesting but as relevant as if he had a pilot’s license. He was conducting diplomacy, not legal representation.

      2. Because he was acting as a co-conspirator, even legal advice he provided to Trump (if any) would be within the crime-fraud exception and thus not privileged.

      3. Even if 1 and 2 didn’t apply, the A/C privilege extends only to private communications between a lawyer and his client. The presence of any third parties defeats any privilege. So communications with any State Dept officials or Ukrainians are all fair game.

    • Yohei72 says:

      Thanks, everyone, for helping to clarify. In particular, I’d forgotten that a/c privilege applies only to communications with the client, and not to any third party. So Giuliani’s claim is even more clownish than I’d thought.

      As so often, one suspects this noise about privilege is just meat for the base – something the ignorant cultists can use to feel Giuliani is extra justified when he refuses subpoenas and Barr’s DOJ refuses to enforce them.

      EDIT: And also as so often, the MSM is falling down on the job by not pointing out these relevant considerations whenever it reports on Rudy’s blathering about how he doesn’t have to talk to Congress unless Trump tells him to – thus helping to spread his talking points without any countering information or context.

      • pjb says:

        “As so often, one suspects this noise about privilege is just meat for the base – something the ignorant cultists can use to feel Giuliani is extra justified when he refuses subpoenas and Barr’s DOJ refuses to enforce them.”

        Yup, it’s of a piece with Lindsey Graham’s tweet this morning (pre-tee time) that impeachment based upon hearsay is unjustified. I am certain any of the trial lawyers who comment or host this blog can easily run through why the memcon was both excepted from the hearsay rule and and even if hearsay, is admissible as an exception to hearsay as an admission against interest. And, of course, hearsay is perfectly good evidence to support criminal indictment (analogous to impeachment). But, none of that mattered to Graham – it was just folderall for the base. Purely performative.

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