Trump Is Being Impeached for Harming America to Extort Campaign Help

There’s a narrative solidifying among journalists that Democrats are conducting an impeachment inquiry (at least as it pertains to Ukraine) into whether Trump solicited foreign help for an election.

Even setting aside that on the call with Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump first asked Ukraine’s president to provide “evidence” backing Russian disinformation about the last election, foreign election assistance is not (all) Trump is being impeached for. Trump is being impeached for pursuing US policies that serve to coerce his foreign partners into helping him win the 2020 election.

His demand that China start an investigation into the Bidens was separated from his assertion that “if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power” by less than 30 seconds.

We’re looking at a lot of things. China’s coming in next week. We’re going to have a meeting with them. We’ll see. But we’re doing very well. Some of the, uh, numbers are being affected by all of the nonsense, all of the politics going on in this country, but the Democrats, I call them the do-nothing Democrats because they do nothing for this country. They don’t care about this country. But, uh, the numbers really are looking very good going into the future. So we’ll see. I have a lot of options on China. But if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.

[comment on how he wants Zelensky to investigate the Bidens]

And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with uh, with Ukraine.

And a key part of the whistleblower’s complaint is that,

On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President “earlier that month” had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it.

Trump held up the money, which had been appropriated by Congress, overruling John Bolton’s and some other national security advisors’ counsel (which may be why Bolton was excluded from the call), as well as that of some Republican Senators. At least some of the Ukrainians in the loop claimed to be blindsided by the freeze and talked about how the freeze made Ukraine more vulnerable vis a vis Russia. Trump restored the aid only after Congress forced him to, even as the whistleblower complaint was breaking.

In short, Trump was defying Congress’ orders, and his excuses (that he was trying to get Ukraine to work on corruption) don’t hold up.

Trump has a lot of leeway to set the foreign policy of the US (but not in defiance of Congressional budgetary guidance). But he has come very close to suggesting that he is setting the foreign policy priorities of the country in such a way as to get leverage over other countries to help him politically.

And DOJ, when receiving this whistleblower complaint, did not review whether this amounts to extortion or bribery, the latter of which is specifically enumerated as an offense demanding impeachment in the Constitution.

This is what impeachment is about: Trump is considering inflicting more damage on farmers and manufacturers and this summer helped an adversary (admittedly the one who helped him get elected the last time), all in an effort to coerce help from foreign leaders.

Update: Fox just obtained encrypted texts showing that temporary Ambassador to Ukraine William Brockenbrough Taylor Jr. said “it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” which would appear to make the intent clear.

184 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    He uses extortion and bribery so much that it’s almost usual. But it needs to be charged, so we can have a government that isn’t above the law any more.

    • Americana says:

      It’s even crazier what the effects of Trump’s behavior are on every layer of staff in our gov’t. Look at this exchange below and understand that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sundland was most likely trying to shut down an email exchange which would have provided evidence of Trump’s malfeasance. But first, Amb. Sondland pretends to lay out justification for Trump’s actions and pretends Trump’s intentions were innocent. This kind of gutless behavior by Sondland is inexcusable and given how many others in Trump’s administration are playing along and echoing the same sentiments, it should be seen for what it is.


      “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, said in an exchange obtained by ABC News, prompting a reply from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

      “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions,” Sondland texted in response. “The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.

      “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text,” Sondland added.

  2. Mister Sterling says:

    This is what kept me sleepless the first few nights after the story broke around September 24. Trump sold us out. The lives of 350 Million Americans is nothing to him. He fucked us over just to gain an advantage in the 2020 election. Just like his golf game, he cheats. And because he does this in the open, it doesn’t look like a crime. That is his genius.

    • P J Evans says:

      It looks like a crime to me, just like a bank robbery during the hours the bank is open is still a crime.

  3. 200Toros says:

    And my silly question is – don’t trump’s statements this morning obviate the need for an investigation? He’s saying it publicly, on television. Can we go straight to articles of impeachment?

    • Malached says:

      Just my 2 cents, but I think that the House needs to do a thorough investigation to a) inform the public and b) have any chance (however slim) in the Senate. Moscow Mitch will do everything he can to limit the amount of evidence presented once it gets to the Senate.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    Here is a perspective that the author suggests might resolve the conflict between going big or going small:

    “Here are 7 impeachable offenses buried in the Ukraine scandal — and how they tie in to Trump’s broader crimes” – Cody Fenwick, AlterNet,
    October 2, 2019
    “…Ukraine should be the focus of the inquiry, given the way the issue has entirely overhauled the landscape for impeachment. But articles of impeachment can be drawn broadly, responding to consistent features of Trump’s wrongdoing in ways that hold him accountable for his other high crimes.”

    • Justlp says:

      Great article! Clear, concise but could cover a broad swath of the overwhelming amount of damage caused by this corrupt administration. Thanks for sharing the link, SL.

  5. 200Toros says:

    Watching that video this morning, I was also struck by how he tacked and jibed his way to the helicopter, as others have noted. Seemed incapable of walking in a straight line. I seriously doubt he could pass a field sobriety test at this point. Off his meds, or they’re just not working anymore?

    • P J Evans says:

      I’m wondering, seriously, if he has untreated diabetes and has neuropathy in his feet. (It also can damage vision.) Because neuropathy can make it hard to tell what you’re walking on. (You wobble because you can’t feel your feet properly.)
      (Neuropathy can make your feet – or hands – feel tingling, like they’re going to sleep, to numb, to painful. It’s a real problem.)

      • 200Toros says:

        Interesting, that could make sense. Guy on twitter, Tom Joseph, has made a case for dementia, said it is progressing rapidly and that we will see a dramatic decline over the next 90 days. He makes a pretty convincing case, and has a deep knowledge of and familial history with dementia. We shall see…

      • Eureka says:

        I agree, PJ. Besides the sensory problems (the numbness, tingling, pain), the motor problems would impair gait– and esp. stairs– as well (as one example, the peroneal compartment is what picks up or *everts the foot: when it’s weak it is referred to as a peroneal paresis; in the extreme, a peroneal palsy– where you can see the exaggerated effects of a “foot drop”/ inverted foot posture). A subtle weakness wouldn’t be seen with the naked eye but for things like using handrails and eyes-on-foot placement for stairs and so forth as folks note re his gait. His being tall (length of/travel distance for nerve fibers) and overweight wouldn’t help.

        And as per rest of convo, that may be besides whatever else may or may not be going on (tho untreated diabetes gunks up cognitive function as well).

        *in this case I mean everted properly or neutrally, as one lifts the foot to walk, especially using stairs where there is ‘extra’ void space so nothing is forcing the foot into neutral posture (adding: though plain walking can get ‘stumbly’ here as well.)

        • P J Evans says:

          If it’s untreated diabetes, his eating habits aren’t doing him any favors. I’m wondering when his kidneys are going to take a vacation.

          (I’ve had my feet get in the way, resulting in face-planting. No real damage – but I have to be careful.)

      • Mary M McCurnin says:

        My husband has neuropathy and can’t even take a walk down the block. He accidentally steps on things like a dog’s tail or my foot and has no idea he has done so.

        The lifts in Trump’s shoes don’t help this situation either.

        Then there is the Rapidly Progressive Dementia:

        “As a major prion disease referral center in the United States, we are referred several rapidly progressive dementias (RPD) cases every week, most of which are referred with a potential diagnosis Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease (CJD). The number of referrals increased dramatically with the identification of quinacrine as a potential therapy for CJD and commencement of the first U.S. CJD treatment trail in 20051.[1, 2] We recognized the need for a broader diagnostic approach to RPD when we observed that 15-20% of these referrals were due to other non-prion conditions, many of which were treatable. Physicians, and even neurologists, generally are not trained formally in the assessment of RPDs. In this review, we hope to provide a more thorough appreciation of the myriad of etiologies for RPDS and to offer a possible diagnostic decision tree or algorithm, based largely on the experience of our center.”

        (I have experience with Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease. My first husband died from this at the age of 40. I think Trump is not mentally sick enough to have this. The symptoms are things like no short term memory and evolves until the person is dead. It usually take 18 months to 2 years to happen. But, then, I am not a scientist or doctor.)

  6. harpie says:
    8:08 AM – 3 Oct 2019

    Trump at 10:37:24 a.m., talking about trade negotiations:
    “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

    Trump at 10:37:54 a.m., asked about Ukraine probe:
    “Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

    Does anyone have a video with both of these quotes on it?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Nice trade-based economy you have their Mr. Xi. Be a shame if anything happened to it on the 70th anniversary of your independence.

      • Rayne says:

        LOL I was mesmerized by the celebratory parade, thinking as I watched that so very little if anything in that parade was made in America.

        I also laughed when I realized Xi had the parade Trump wanted on July 4th.

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t think the current occupant of the Oval Office understands either economics or trade. He’s threatening one of our biggest product suppliers.)

      • Pjb says:

        You usually (Mariano Rivera excepted) cannot succeed in the big leagues with only one pitch. It seems Trump has two. According to CNN it was more bribery than extortion with the Chinese. “During a phone call with Xi on June 18, Trump raised Biden’s political prospects as well as those of Warren, who by then had started rising in the polls… Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed.”

      • Justlp says:

        Is it a celebration of independence if you’re living in an authoritarian dictatorship? Not meant to sound snarky, I’m really curious. When I looked it up I just found 70th anniversary.

        And Rayne, I thought the same thing when I saw video of the parade.

      • misteranderson says:

        I think it’s an interesting exercise to watch him while you know he’s lying. He is a very good liar. Gaslighting to the extreme!

        • misteranderson says:

          I guess what I mean is his technique. He imposes his will, he’s forceful, he uses phrases such as “& everybody knows it’s true.” He believes it’s true, & he uses constant framing & repetition,

        • Tom says:

          Whatever decline in mental capacity the President may be experiencing, I don’t think he’s so far gone that he doesn’t know when he’s lying. He lies for the same reason anyone does: to cover something up, to avoid the consequences of one’s actions, or to gain an advantage in some other way. Trump knows exactly what he’s doing when he lies; hence, as you say, the “constant framing & repetition.”

        • P J Evans says:

          He lies even when truth would benefit him more. And he can say something completely different thirty seconds later.
          He doesn’t know he’s lying, because right then it’s truth for him.

    • harpie says:

      These quotes are at 1:30 and 2:00 in the video provided by 200 Toros, below.
      President Trump addresses media on the South Lawn; 10/3/19
      you tube dot com watch?v=RpFDnyrOAXM

      Thank you, 200 Toros!

      • Frank Probst says:

        The mind reels. Was a transcript not enough to satisfy you? Here’s actual videotape. Lordy.

  7. Rayne says:

    Trump’s AG goes to Italy to investigate Mifsud, ostensibly while researching the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

    And while Barr’s there, Trump launches new tariffs targeting European food products including Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

    This isn’t like soybeans which are a fungible commodity; soybeans from one country are like soybeans in another. There’s no substitute for Parmigiano-Reggiano; the name is a specific legal denomination because it’s only produced in Parma and Reggio Emilia.

    What we produce in the US and call ‘parmesan’ isn’t a one-for-one substitute; it’s okay but it’s a pale copy.

    The tariffs are supposed to be punitive and related to a dispute about subsidies to Airbus but really? How is punishing the producers and consumers of a cheese made only on one small area of Europe supposed to hurt European manufacturing?

    And the timing. What incredible timing, when Barr wants Italy to produce “evidence” Trump drops the trade hammer.

    Looks a lot like Putin shelling the western border of the occupied eastern Ukraine while Trump dangled military aid to Zelensky. It’s extortion.

    And small business owners who sell European food products will be the first hurt by this extortion, collateral damage from Trump’s tantrum.

    • Pajaro says:

      Restricting trade in Parmigiano-Reggiano! That does it. That should be a separate impeachment charge in its own right. WTF is wrong with this guy?

      • rip says:

        I guess he doesn’t like a good sharp cheese on his Whopper Macs. Just the orange slime pumped out by Craft/etc.

        • P J Evans says:

          You wouldn’t want Parm on a burger. Cheddar, or American. Maybe a blue cheese – but not a high-end one.
          (Parm is fine by itself. I suspect it would be good with some fruits.)

    • Sandwichman says:

      “What we produce in the US and call ‘parmesan’ isn’t a one-for-one substitute; it’s okay but it’s a pale copy.”

      (It’s not okay.)

      • Rayne says:

        It’s like cheese-food instead of buffalo milk mozzarella on pizza, I know. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

        Nobody better get between me and the imported booze aisle tonight, speaking of desperate.

        • Peterr says:

          What is produced here under the name Parmesan is mostly processed cheese-food product. You can call it lots of things, but please do not call it cheese.

        • P J Evans says:

          I met some, years ago, that actually tasted more like the real thing. I think it’s gone now. (The brand name was “Frigo”.)

        • Savage Librarian says:

          I’d like to be able to join you in a drink today. But since I can’t have alcohol, I keep thinking of that piece of advice that Dave Letterman’s mom offered, “In a pinch, you can get a buzz off of vanilla extract.” But maybe I’ll just have to settle for a sprinkle of nutmeg :-(

        • Rayne says:

          There’s a little trick I do after cooking fish or when I’m feeling blue — works as both an air freshener and a mood lifter. I put a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a splash of vanilla in two cups of water on the stove; bring to a boil then turn the heat down as low as possible and let simmer for an hour, add more water if necessary. The smell is like holiday baking and calorie free to boot. Next best thing to a cocktail.

          Also does a number on men and children, be careful. Men will insist there must be something you’ve baked for them and kids may become giddy.

        • P J Evans says:

          I’ve done simpler versions of Persian food, where you start by sweating an onion in butter with about a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of nutmeg. It smells so good!

        • P J Evans says:

          Try the cinnamon and nutmeg when you’re doing a stew – that’s the kind of thing I was cooking. (They use a little less liquid, and it’s eaten as a sauce on rice or noodles.)

        • mospeck says:

          tx Rayne, I’m gonna try it.
          now back to the mainline depression:
          >There’s a narrative solidifying among journalists that Democrats are >conducting an impeachment inquiry (at least as it pertains to >Ukraine) into whether Trump solicited foreign help for an election.

          Yep, but now Trump is out in the open widening, generalizing his election extortions to China, Italy, etc. I continue to get these bad vibes that the main underlying thing is all about trump working as an agent for putin to destabilize Zelensky and the Ukraine. After the Kurt Douglas Volker quid pro quo testimony and doc dumps today, there’s going to be a lot of misdirection, like the jellyfish squirting ink in all directions.
          Can’t sleep. Drinking at 2 AM is never good.
          Smell of vanilla brings back the long ago worked in a convenience store outside Boston. Two guys come in around 3 or 4 in the morning and bought a number of bottles of vanilla extract. Which seemed crazy, so I ask why. One of them just cracked open the red cap and slugged it right straight down, said ‘bars are closed and it’s 40% alcohol.’ VE is like battery acid. Nope, drinking late at night is never a good sign, but the coming days trump is going to try to take us all down the rabbit hole.

        • Lulymay says:

          Yeah! I haven’t had the nerve to tell Mr. Lulymay about this dire turn of events. Your price is a lot better than ours here in BC, even with our sinking $$ factored in. We sneak over quite regularly during the 9 months we aren’t sunning ourselves in your dry belt. I’m seriously concerned…. I might have to cut back on my wine to compensate for the dear boy. Cheers, all, and good luck over the next 12-13 months.

        • errant aesthete says:


          How I laughed as I pictured myself right there with you – at the imported booze aisle tonight!

        • Rayne says:

          I fear the day the Scotch section of my favorite wine+liquor store has dwindled to the biggest names. Right now it’s so pretty with so many different whiskies of all different price points. ~sigh~

        • P J Evans says:

          My sister likes single malts. (She bought a bottle of Laphroaig when I was there in August. The cheap stuff – $30 a fifth.)

        • P J Evans says:

          Some of the others were above $50 a fifth. (The cheap stuff is aged 10 years. The expensive stuff – and we were at BevMo, which is kind of a BigBox for beverages – is up to 30 years old.)

    • Eureka says:

      (Sighing) He is such a prick.

      We need a list of what we need to start hoarding, as permissible by finances and shelf-life. Worse would be having to read the John Solomons of the world to try to predict this. What’s next?

      • P J Evans says:

        Parm in the heavy plastic they use for international shipping will keep well in the fridge. So will cheddar and other hard cheeses. (When I say “well”, I mean a year or more.)

        • Eureka says:

          I’ll have to shop and pack carefully. Our dog dowses through the grocery bags to see what we got (making delightful chimpanzee-like noises when items meet his approval). He’s usually just sniffing, but fishes for cheese especially– and last time we got parm-reggiano I caught him taking off with it. Oh no no nope! Get back here buddy, you picked the most expensive cheese!

          (Cueing the memory, his teef had poked through that tough plastic)

      • mass interest says:

        I think I might be in for a volley of “you don’t get it,” but here goes:

        Might this be perceived as an opportunity to encourage and support the large number of artisinal cheesemakers in our North American midst.

        I love a variety of European cheeses, as well as others from far-flung places, and selfishly will do some hand-wringing at the increased prices, while keeping the larger issues in mind.

        • P J Evans says:

          There are some domestic versions of European cheeses that are worth trying, if you can find them.
          (“MoBay” from Wisconsin, a domestic version of Morbier, is pretty good.)

        • Rayne says:

          I eat a mess of Vermont white cheddar. I eat an even bigger pile of cheese curds from Wisconsin. There’s a place north of me in Michigan that makes great raclette and some nice blue cheeses come from the west coast, both of which I enjoy.

          None of these are Parmigiano-Reggiano. There is no substitution for it just as there’s no substitution for Vermont white cheddar.

          Consider a product other than cheese, like whisky: bourbon is NOT Scotch. I don’t care for bourbon. They may be aged grain-based alcohols, may both be whiskeys but any regular bourbon or Scotch drinker will tell you these are not the same things.

          The larger issue is that tariffs on foodstuffs do not tackle the problem posed by subsidies on Airbus. Nor do they address the fact that while Airbus and Boeing are the two largest aerospace manufacturers, Boeing’s total revenues over 11 years were 33.8% greater than Airbus *without matching subsidies*.

          Paying 25% more for Parmigiano isn’t going to change that math.

        • P J Evans says:

          The current WH occupant knows nothing about trade or economics. It’s killing the country – and the rest of the world, except maybe Russia and KSA.

        • Lulymay says:

          If you’re not far from the Quebec border, Rayne, there are some fabulous cheese up there, having been produced locally by Monks for years. They are apparently quite highly rated, but they are definitely not the real Parm of course.

        • Rayne says:

          Too far from Quebec — 600-700 miles or so to Montreal — but I will make a commitment to stopping for Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac’s fromage when I make a trip there. I am trying to organize one for next summer. :-)

          The Trappist monastery in Kentucky has great cheese, too, if you find yourself that way.

        • Eureka says:

          What would make you think that the conversants here do not already enjoy fine, local, and generally North American cheeses while ~ loving euro cheeses (etc.) and keeping the larger issues in mind, like you do?

          I don’t want to have to engage in “Protest Cheese-ulinity”, but, fine, will throw in that I know our dairies, other farmers, and regional specialties well.

          Cheers– Let’s enjoy the cheeses we like, and here’s to many more (I feel like a music video would go well here, All the Cheese I’ve Loved, Before….)

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Gosh guys, I feel sorry for Mr Trump.

      Now he doesn’t have little Mikey Cohen walking around to all of the ‘friends’ he wants to do business with, slapping a baseball bat in the palm of his hand suggesting that they really should play ball with Mr Trump.

      Trump is having to be his own strong man and , well, he is just not equipped for that.

      • Eureka says:

        Thanks, Jenny.

        It’s worth noting that these psychos are coming for things like Kerrygold butter (besides the cheeses, and unless it’s on some exceptions list not shown); (sigh, the Locateli pecorino romano; I know, we covered cheese already…); plus some UK woolens, cashmere, and other textiles… I have no idea the market-fraction here for those (tho there must be some, else they’d not bother with them on the list), but wonder if they are over-represented in fast-fashion (And before anyone drops by to pedant about tres cher sweaters and so forth, making winter-wear natural fibers more costly will not help those trying to cut down on their new-age replacements, the living-earth-destroying microfleeces and other polyesters…).

        • P J Evans says:

          White Stilton with fruit in it. (The ones with blueberries or cranberries are very good. Dessert cheese!)

      • P J Evans says:

        Books. The EU is going to be runnign their own tariffs because of Boeing, and none of the tariffs are going to affect either Boeing or Airbus directly.

    • Stacey says:

      He’s like a mafia hit man lopping off someone’s finger and sending it to whoever he’s trying to get a ransom from. They know a finger isn’t all that he could cut off, but hurts, so it shows a willingness to inflict pain and promises lots more. Most normal people would not send their guy (Barr) to get something from them WITH the box with the finger inside it, that’s so gangster!

    • Ruthie says:

      We buy a lot of foods imported from my husband’s native Spain, and likewise there are NO AMERICAN EQUIVALENTS! He was beside himself when he read the news yesterday.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It’s crazy, too, to extend a war in SE Asia that can’t be won to win election or re-election to the presidency. That was a claim made about Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972.

    Reagan was alleged to have sent a message to the Iranians that if they remained intransigent about keeping their American hostages until after the 1980 election, it would deprive Carter of his chance to be re-elected, help Reagan become president, and that he would be a better partner in their negotiations than Carter ever would be.

    Trump would not be the first to commit such crimes, but he might be the most corrupt. He ought to be the first to be impeached for them. Such behavior is precisely why the impeachment power exists.

    • Peterr says:

      “might be the most corrupt”?

      You’ve being very generous here, EoH. This is one case where Trump rightly deserves whatever superlatives one can come up with.

    • rip says:

      Is it only me that notices a commonality amongst these crooks?

      Nixon, Reagan, Trump – all (R)s.

      Of course the two other (R) presidents were not pillars of rectitude. For the W one, he ranks about as low in many measures as any president in history. Pappy’s main sin was pardoning the Nixon (R) and then fading away, purposefully.

      We’re getting set up for another Screw-the-Country, Exit-Stage-Left, Let-the-Dems fix it, and then come on back for another royal screwing. PROFIT!

      • P J Evans says:

        Nixon got pardoned by Ford, who pretty much disappeared after his term was over. (He had a sense of humor, unlike the current occupant.) GWH pardoned the Iran/Contra people.

        • Herringbone says:

          Not that anyone here needs reminding, but GHWB pretty clearly pardoned the Iran/Contra people because Caspar Weinberger, having 1) been indicted, and 2) been foolish enough to memorialize his participation in the scheme, was about to inculpate GHWB himself.

        • ThePL says:

          I will never forget how, the afternoon that the Iran-Contra hearings concluded, Oliver North walked out onto the street and, speaking to the microphones pushed close to his face, was asked (I paraphrase, just barely) “How do you feel now that it’s all over.” North replied (I paraphrase again), “I’m just glad they never asked about all the other stuff we did.”

    • Alan K says:

      Yes, and I recall an interesting note (perhaps mythical) that when Lyndon Johnson learned of Nixon’s subterfuge, he was urged (by Slesinger?) not to go public it because it would shock us to learn that this kind of thing is normal.

  9. Peterr says:

    Trump has been told that under Article 2, Trump has the sole power to conduct foreign policy and he understands this to mean “I can do whatever I want and no one can stop me.”

    He apparently missed the part about Article 1, where is says “Congress shall have to power . . .” followed by a long list of things, ending with this last one: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

    IOW, Congress has the power to make all laws necessary for the President to exercise his powers. If Congress passes a law that says “the executive branch shall send $xxxxxx to the government of Ukraine to use in military support of their efforts to repel the current invasion of Russia upon their territory,” that kind of settles things — unless the president vetoes the law or takes Congress to court to overturn it.

    Trump hears what he wants to hear, and what he most wants to hear are the voices that say “You are supremely powerful and no one can stop you.” Sadly, in Bill Barr, Steven Miller, Mick Mulvaney, and others, that’s exactly the message he’s picking up. In those (likely rare) cases where someone voices a limitation on his power, in some verbal footnote, it goes in one Presidential ear and other the other.

  10. BobCon says:

    I’m deeply concerned that this is a call and response situation parallel to the “Russia if you’re listening” statement.

    I would not rule out the possibility that China has let it be known that they will help Trump with hacking/releasing hacked info/election disruption if he makes a public statement on the issue.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Good point, BobCon. Not to mention, the Hong Kong protesters are undoubtedly being used as backdoor pawns with all the skullduggery going on out front.

  11. RGW’19 says:

    Can congress enact a cease and desist order regarding Trump’s insane public solicitations to other countries? Omg it makes us look so weak!!! So damn damaging! That’s one thing I don’t know if people get, how abominable weak it makes us look!!!

  12. Alan K says:

    Suppose that the Dems win in the courts, but Trump still orders his staff to withhold evidence and they do. What happens next? Does the FBI raid the White House? Oh, but maybe Barr orders them to stand down. What next?

      • Tom says:

        Anachronism? Five years ago on October 22, 2014 the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Canadian Parliament Buildings, Ken Vickers, shot and killed an armed gunman who ran into the House of Commons after having fired at police and murdered a Canadian soldier outside. Those sorts of anachronisms do come in handy sometimes.

    • 200Toros says:

      My question too. That’s why I was hopeful about the path taken by Schiff et al in the Three Chairs Statement regarding stonewalling by Pompeo, which is basically what Peterr referenced also:

      “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress—including State Department employees—is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. In response, Congress may infer from this obstruction that any withheld documents and testimony would reveal information that corroborates the whistleblower complaint.

      “The Committees are operating pursuant to our long-established authorities as well as the impeachment inquiry. We’re committed to protecting witnesses from harassment and intimidation, and we expect their full compliance and that of the Department of State.”

    • Matthew Harris says:

      I am not a lawyer, and I am certainly not a constitutional lawyer, but:

      Writ of Mandamus.

      A court can write an order for a public servant or elected official to perform an action. Courts don’t use these often. Although there is still no guarantee that the executive branch has to obey the judicial system.

      At this point, we are getting to the point where we are dealing with black holes of law and politics. Things warp as we get closer to the singularity, and the normal equations don’t work. Can a court send a Writ of Mandamus to Bill Barr, ordering him to prosecute Mike Pompeo for failure to turn over documents? I think that can happen, but by the time we get to that point, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

      • Ruthie says:

        I could well be wrong – IANAL – but it seems likely to come down to the Supremes at some point. We may be reliant on John Roberts’ desire to be remembered without ignominy.

  13. klynn says:

    Per your tweet re: Lyndsey G’s fit…

    He has NEVER supported this path for Ukraine that the Pres extorted. Why has Graham abandoned the Ukrainian freedom fighters?

  14. Frank Probst says:

    RE: The update at the end. So the Ambassador was recalled, and the temporary Ambassador who replaced her thought this was nuts? The now-temporary Ambassador served as Ambassador to Ukraine for almost 3 years. I’m not clear on how he ended up as temporary Ambassador, but I’m guessing that former Ambassadors don’t stick around at the embassy in positions that are lower than the one they’ve already held, so I’d guess that he wasn’t the next person on the totem pole when the Ambassador was recalled. (Could be wrong. Would hardly be the first time.) The details of how he ended up there are probably going to be interesting.

  15. dc says:

    “The texts [Taylor’s] came just days before the White House released the military assistance to Ukraine — almost $400 million from the State Department and Pentagon meant to boost Ukraine as a U.S. partner against Russian aggression.”
    Looks like Taylor calling out the obvious appearance of quid pro quo could have played a role in the reversal decision.

    • harpie says:

      From the article linked in the update:

      Gordon Sondland, the United States Ambassador to the European Union, responds to Taylor, saying that charge is “incorrect,” insisting the president has been “crystal clear no quid pro quo of any kind”.

      Sondland then suggests to the group take the conversations off line, typing “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”

      Sondland is a political appointee, and has been the U.S. envoy to the European Union since July 2018. He”s assisting Rudy.

      • Rayne says:

        Hmm. Sondland is really hard to get a bead on. He’s very Republican but straddles the line between NeverTrumper and Party-over-Country GOPer.

        Can’t tell if he was covering Trump’s ass or if he was snowed or if Giuliani’s machinations managed to cut Sondland out thoroughly enough that he didn’t grasp the quid pro quo.

        • Rayne says:

          The one out there might be is if this memorandum doesn’t word-for-word match the transcript when it comes to the several lines related to the quid pro quo. But the fact the White House isn’t forthcoming about a verbatim transcript tells us it’s worse than the memo.

          And Trump’s standing on the White House law asking for foreign assistance doesn’t provide any plausible deniability.

      • dc says:

        Gotcha. Taylor is a career state dept official who was calling BS on the scheme. May have raised enough of a stink for them to realize the optics were not good.

      • rg says:

        I strongly disagree with Mr Sewer. His view that the way to deal with the villainous president is to regard him as an erratic king, and defy him. There is a legal process for dealing with inappropriate behavior by the chief executive. To believe that executive branch employees should take matters into their own hands, is to take the unitary executive concept to an even higher level, usurping even the power of the legislative function.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I think Serwer’s view is more nuanced. He objects to acceptance of the Mad King, kept in line by his courtiers’ willingness to appease him and their unwillingness to follow his more outrageous demands. Kirstjen Nielsen is the breed standard.

          He argues that courtiers should leave the court. Only then will the Mad King’s nakedness be exposed, and leave no room but for his removal.

          Serwer’s view is that “Republicans appear not to care” whether he is naked and outrageous, so long as he and they remain in office. Never mind what harm he does to the country.

    • Eureka says:

      Good question. I forget the day it started but it was notable (as a sputtering shift at least) ~ by the day Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry.

    • Valley girl says:

      Ah! I read it too, and was musing about posting the link when I saw your comment. Agree with you- long, but worth reading. Did you watch the youtube he linked? Lots and lots of links.
      https:// com/watch?v=5GqJna9hpTE

      • 200Toros says:

        Good lord Valley girl, that video alone shows he’s delusional and unfit for ANY office! I work in capital markets, and his TOTAL lack of understanding of even the most basic concepts of international trade, the economy, tariffs, the currency markets, the stock market, the bond market, the Fed, and debt, are a constant source of anxiety/irritation for me. I teach 5th graders The Stock Market Game, and they have a far better understanding of it than he does. He is certainly the Dumbest President Ever, for sure.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regarding Trump’s removal of Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine, all diplomats hold their assignments at the pleasure of the president. (Their employment with the State Dept. is another matter.)

    The reason to mount a vilification campaign – as Giuliani and others have done for Trump – is to obscure an illegitimate purpose and to destroy a witness’s credibility. That’s only worth doing if you have something big to hide.

  17. Savage Librarian says:

    Looks like what the main problem boils down to is that Donald Trump’s real slogan is:

    “Make America Greed Again.”

    That sounds easy enough to understand. It sounds like an ugly and bad value. It doesn’t make us proud and it corrodes our foundation which is the Constitution. Most builders would want to prevent that. Take a look at how an expert explains it:

    “Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe reveals the ‘theme’ for impeachment — that he’s going to help write” – Bob Brigham, October 3, 2019

    “Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe suggested he may be personally helping Democrats craft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.”
    “…The point is that it wasn’t just soliciting foreign help, it was leveraging the powers that go with the office to intervene in our policy, whether it’s with tariffs and trade with China or helping the little Ukrainian defense against the powerful Russian bear,” Tribe explained.”

    “It is that matter, of taking the power of the presidency and using it for selfish purchases, that is the core impeachable offense. And that could be a central article of impeachment, not an article that gets lost in technical detail. And we have virtually all the evidence we need to start writing that article, and I look forward to helping to write it,” he said.”

  18. MB says:

    Just saw Michael Mukasey interviewed on PBS News Hour. PBS is as guilty as CNN in promoting “both-sides-ism” in the face of “controversial” issues. Carrie Cordero, a former Intel community person, was his foil in the same interview.

    I didn’t realize what a POS Mukasey (former attorney general) really is. His POV was essentially although it may be unsavory, it is perfectly acceptable and legal for Trump to openly solicit foreign help for campaign purposes. He and Bill Barr are brothers carrying the same water.

  19. Drew says:

    Just overheard: “Well, when Barr gets himself a lawyer, then we’ll *know* we are in the endgame.”

      • drouse says:

        I would find it utterly unsurprising. Ol Wormtongue been whispering in literally every president’s ear since Nixon. Come to think of it, there’s a good conspiracy theory in there. More convincing than Soros.

      • Eureka says:

        Seems like a good spot to mention Kissinger’s meetings last week with Lavrov (per RU sources), then Pompeo:

        On September 26th evening (656p) (Thursday), the Russian Embassy (in US) account tweets a picture of Lavrov & Kissinger with their names (i.e. making implications that people bought into. Who knows when this pic was from). Also, an RU govt FB account says they met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, no press.* (*per search snippets when I’d looked to see if there really was any meeting: not clicking or linking the RU sites repeating this).

        Then on Saturday the 28th, 911p, Pompeo tweets his meeting with Kissinger.

        Russia in USA: “Lavrov and Kissinger Лавров и Киссинджер [photo] ”

        Secretary Pompeo: “Honored to meet again with one of my most esteemed predecessors, Dr. Henry Kissinger. I’m always grateful for our conversations. [photo]”

        • Rayne says:

          So brazen. “Let’s meet a war criminal who served a U.S. president who was nearly impeached!” Wonder if they not only used the codger as a backchannel but sought his advice on unlawful covert activities.

          Looks like the meeting was in the same room. Kissinger’s wearing a different suit and tie so unlikely it was the same day. Pompeo’s meeting took place mid-day, Lavrov’s at twilight. But which hotel near the U.N.?

          Thanks for pointing this out, Eureka.

        • Eureka says:

          Also in the RU picture, it looks like Kissinger may be on the phone with someone (besides his hand placement, his glance is away from Lavrov as if in another convo, while Lavrov looks on). Could be incidental. But if true, who is Kissinger on the phone with (or what are they trying to imply)?

        • Rayne says:

          Pretty sure these meetings took place at Kissinger’s own personal digs at River House. Only place on the river with that view and a bay window feature located not far from the U.N.

        • Eureka says:

          Nice sleuthery!

          Interesting that they described his home as a UN “sideline” (that’s the descriptor I most remember from the RU-site snippets in search about the meeting). Multiple interpretations for that word use, including “sideline” as where the real decisions and play calls are made, and/or not referring to his home as a more intimate place to keep it on the wink-nod-pseudo-down-low (like how the tweet was put out).

          The only thing I wondered is if that pic with Lavrov was taken at another meeting (apparently in his home), and just posted the 26th to pump-up the meeting (esp for those who know it’s Kissinger’s home). Matters not, as the implication is the same.

        • Rayne says:

          Or the simple implication is that Kissinger welcomed Lavrov, and then Pompeo, on a personal level. Blessed by an elderly statesman who they may not see through the same lens we do (war criminal).

  20. Matthew Harris says:

    Another facet of the extortion/bribery I would have said was theoretical before today, but now believe to be pretty realistic: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Since Trump’s statements “encouraging” China to get foreign policy favors in turn for investigations, it seems much more likely that Trump supporting Saudi Arabia has been involving personal favors. Including, perhaps, the hacking of Bezos’ phone. So, we might be in a position where American soldiers and sailors have been deployed against Iran in return for getting dick picks of Jeff Bezos. Truly bizarre, but now this is a possibility to discuss.

    • 200Toros says:

      Whoooo boy, you’ve got some catching up to do! But this is a great site for it, start reading the archives and timelines, that will bring you up to speed! I know, it’s hard to keep up with the pace of all this craziness, I feel for you, stay strong…

    • Jenny says:

      Saw this earlier this week. Certainly puts the puzzle pieces together.


      The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
      Season 2019 Episode 13 | 1h 54m 48s

      A year after the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, FRONTLINE investigates the rise of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. In a two-hour documentary, Martin Smith — who has covered the Middle East for FRONTLINE for 20 years — examines the crown prince’s vision for the future of Saudi Arabia, his handling of dissent and his ties to Khashoggi’s killing.

      • Rayne says:

        Really wish we knew more about Jamal Khashoggi’s last, unfinished reporting projects. Can’t help but wonder if Trump greenlit Khashoggi’s assassination — perhaps not directly but by committing to slow walk any protest and to stay out of KSA’s internal affairs.

        And did Kushner benefit in some way as well, thinking of his pajama party with MbS in late 2017.

        • Jenny says:

          It all smells fishy with this cruel administration. The documents now in the top-secret-secret server will have all the answers regarding the MBS,Trump, Kushner and others. Treasure trove of corruption?

        • Tom says:

          Yes! Trump has a secret server oozing and suppurating with evidence of his corruption, just as Dorian Gray had a hidden portrait of himself that recorded his every sin and moral transgression.

  21. Sandwichman says:

    Just to put things in perspective, timeline wise:

    On September 1, Ambassador Taylor sought clarification of the requirements for a White House visit:

    [9/1/19, 12:08:57 PM] Bill Taylor: Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?

    [9/1/19, 12:42:29 PM] Gordon Sondland: call me

    Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A.:

    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

    Sep 1
    In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!

  22. e.a.f. says:

    when the news started to break regarding trump’s latest antics, it didn’t surprise me at all. It was just another e.g. of how out of control he is and how little he thinks of the U.S.A., its citizens, its place in the world, etc. On the other hand, it was almost incomprehensible that an American President had done this. But then again the American president is trump, so its no surprise.

    If the Republicans do not vote to impeach, they too are guilty of selling out their country to maintain control and power. While we have young people in Hong Kong fighting for democracy, many Americans don’t seem to care that much. You’d think by this time there would be millions demonstrating in the streets.

    the man sounds like a cheap thug when he speaks.

    if trump remains in office I can see a point at which other countries, i.e. NATO may well expel the U.S.A., as it will have become a dictatorship and not of much use to them.

  23. Herringbone says:

    About “extortion”: at some point this month, I came across a comment that suggested that the framers of the Constitution would not have made any legal distinction between extortion and bribery. In other words, to an originalist, what the president did with Ukraine would have come under the heading of a specifically enumerated impeachable offense. Does anyone here know if that’s true?

    • Tom says:

      Pretty staggering stuff. So Trump is willing to overturn U.S. foreign policy and put his countrymen at risk just to stay in office another term and avoid criminal prosecution.

      • Americana says:

        Trump isn’t trying to stay in for “just one more term and to stay out of prison.” Trump is likely hoping for another term so he can continue to weight the dice so he DOESN’T go to prison at the end of his next term. In the meantime, should Trump get a second term, Trump will be striving to ensure the next POTUS is another Republican who would be liable to grant Trump a pardon that wouldn’t have quite the same taint as if VP Pence gave Trump a pardon.

        We are in the worst series of Catch-22s any one POTUS has been able to achieve for himself in order to attempt to assure his crimes don’t cause him any legal troubles.

        • P J Evans says:

          He keeps floating Ivanka for VP. I doubt he understands the clause that the VP can’t be from the same state as the President.

    • Mooser says:

      Aww, can’t blame Volker, he was acting under the principles and methods endorsed by the John McCain Institute. “Am I doing what John McCain would have done?” is the standard Volker judges his every action by.

      • bmaz says:

        That is a complete load of shit. You don’t know Volker, you don’t know the leadership at ASU and you clearly do not know jack shit about the McCain Institute.

  24. Tom says:

    To Herringbone above at 6:55 am — Can’t help you with your specific question, but I do recall that George Washington in his Farewell Address of 1796 warned about the dangers of the U.S. becoming involved “foreign entanglements” that might undermine the freedom and independence of the young republic. For President Trump to blatantly ask for foreign governments to help him get re-elected in 2020 certainly fits the definition of what Washington warned against.

  25. harpie says:

    I am rushing out of the house on a [very exciting!!! :-) :-) :-)] personal mission, but saw this retweeted by bmaz this morning:
    4:36 AM – 4 Oct 2019

    The texts obtained by House investigators are devastating — explicit efforts by US ambassadors to dangle White House visit for the “favor” Trump wanted. Hard to be more quid pro quo than this: [screenshot of 7/25/19 Volker text] [link to WaPo]

    I want to add that on 8/9/19 Trump said:
    8:28 AM – 9 Aug 2019

    TRUMP: I think he’s [Zelensky] going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House, and we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine. And I think he will be coming very soon, actually.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for that, harpie, Trump’s tweet is important because it happens smack in the middle of Sondland and Volker preparing to discussing a ‘draft’ with Zelensky’s aide/adviser Yermak, and Giuliani meeting (presume online/phone)with Yermak on 09-AUG and Yermak pressing Volker for a White House visit on 10-AUG.

      In other words if Yermak managed for Zelensky to accept the scripted response from Giuliani, Sondland+Volker, the White House would invite Zelensky to visit the U.S.

      There’s more than one quid pro quo.

    • Rayne says:

      Agreed. I need to recheck the list of persons called to give depositions before the House committees — Taylor wasn’t on the last list I posted.

      But I need to finish my new post about these text transcripts first. LOL

    • bmaz says:

      He is right. She should have that vote and pass it. She has the votes, and all she has to do is whip them with the same intensity she whipped against impeachment since the start of the year. It would be a smart move. And I have been predicting the Trump argument that a formal resolution is needed basically from the start. Do I think it is definitively necessary? I don’t know, there is not any real precedence on that argument. But why give it any oxygen at all? Pass the fucking resolution and end the issue.

  26. Americana says:

    Trump is now filing a formal rejection of the impeachment inquiry saying no vote was taken in the House. So, all of Trump’s oh-so-concerned willingness to supposedly cooperate w/the inquiry is once again being torpedoed out of the water by Trump’s legal team so Trump doesn’t have to actually cooperate. How fortuitous for Trump there might be no need for his cooperation! If there is anything more indicative of Trump’s criminality, it’s his blatant attempts to slant the legal situation in his favour against the demands of Congressional oversight. Put the prong collar on that man, take the vote and bring this man to heel.

    [This comment has been edited to remove an overly long quotation that can be found easily at the link]

    • bmaz says:

      Okay, so you have clearly not been paying attention over all these months, because this has been repeatedly spelled out in the pages of this blog.

      First off, the argument that there is no formal resolution for inquiry is not a stupid argument. If I were them, I would make it in a heartbeat. Is it a winner? Who knows, there is no definitive precedent. Is it ignorant of Pelosi to leave that argument dangling around? Obviously, yes.

      Secondly, you also have also apparently never paid attention to the clear distinctions between legislative oversight and impeachment inquiry basis. Inquiry basis “can” include what otherwise might be normal oversight discovery, but it is NOT the same.

        • bmaz says:

          I have seen those numerous times over the years, including Clinton. That does not establish squat in regard to the instant case.

        • P J Evans says:

          I think the first one is the resolution you keep telling us they need. (A lot of people aren’t old enough to remember that stuff, anyway.)

        • bmaz says:

          And, seriously, you are supporting the argument that, even though there is no precedent one way or another, the Pelosi plan of fucking things off that she has the votes to remove as even a potential argument, is a good idea?

          Okay, I’ll bite. How in the hell can that be supported when the argument can be invalidated on the spot, and removed from not only lower court Trump judges, but the oh so conservative Roberts Court at SCOTUS?

          Please, I beg you, tell me how that is some brilliant strategy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There’s the nit that a president refusing to cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation is committing an impeachable offense in broad daylight.

      Trump is entitled, however, to demand that Congress cross the necessary t’s and dot the essential i’s. Pelosi knows that better than anyone, so that’s on her. But the MSM aids and abets her by conflating her announcement with an actual House vote.

      It’s as if she wants to collect her winnings from the race, but keep her horses locked in the starting gate. The racing commission should object to that.

      Perhaps she wants to save her Blue Dogs from having to cast a recorded vote. [Always protect the right, never the left.] Whatever her reasons, she is leaving Trump a hole big enough that even he can walk through it.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Pelosi denies that the Constitution, House Rules, or precedent requires a vote by the full House to authorize an impeachment inquiry. However correct that is, if her position provides an opening for Trump to test his theories in court, she adds to the delay.

        Her above-the-fray, I’m-nicer-than-this-but-you’re-forcing-my-hand-posture – which she seems to need for other reasons – is beginning to grow old. The fact is, she is not above any of this: it’s her job.

    • Eureka says:

      I wish we were making a stack of offenses, and storing them in our White House, such that they’d avalanche upon the occupant like they do in so many hoarders- and- their- piles- of- newspapers stories.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’m hoping that Mitch’s bill in-box topples over on him, some afternoon, and he’s stuck on the floor all night, missing dinner with “donors”.

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