Impeachment Hearings: Day 4 – Sondland Gets Another Chance

[NB: Updates to this post will appear at the bottom. /~Rayne]

First of the day’s hearings begin at 9:00 a.m. ET and the second at 2:30 p.m. Here’s the schedule according to NPR:

Wednesday, first panel at 9 a.m. ET

  • Gordon Sondland. Once a top donor to the president’s inaugural committee, Sondland has faced intense scrutiny about his closed-door testimony after he sent the committee a three-page amendment reversing his initial account. In that addendum, Sondland said he personally told a top aide to Zelenskiy that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was linked to investigations.

Wednesday, second panel at 2:30 p.m. ET

  • Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Defense Department, who in closed-door testimony said that Ukrainians raised the administration’s delay of $391 million in security assistance in August. She said that she spoke to Volker about the issue and that he told her he was working with Ukrainians to make a statement disavowing election interference.
  • David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs at the State Department. He testified behind closed doors on Nov. 6, and Republicans asked for him to appear in the public hearings.

Until now Republicans had been most worried about hotelier Gordon Sondland’s testimony, out of all the witnesses called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

New reports say Sondland will admit there was a quid pro quo and implicate then-National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Trump.

The opening of the hearing appears a little disordered even now because the GOP members didn’t appear to know in advance this was the tack Sondland would take.

~ ~ ~

For folks who can stream, catch today’s hearings at:

For folks who can’t stream, you can follow these live Twitter threads:

Marcy’s live twitter thread

Brandi Buchman-Courthouse News’s thread

Looks like Courthouse News’s Adam Klasfeld is also covering this hearing.

Paul McLeod-BuzzFeed is tweeting from the hearing room.

My Trump-Russia Twitter list which includes most of the above folks.

See also CNN’s live update page for today’s hearings.

~ ~ ~

Pam Bondi has already made a boo-boo defending Trump this morning:

Not off to a good start.

Buckle up, Sondland’s begun.

329 replies
      • JamesJoyce says:

        I was thinking bout cooking up a “rattle” for this impeachment festivity. Pickled Rattler…

        Rattlers are actually good eating.

        I prefer rattler to gator.

        Just like with them soon to be un-pardoned Turkeys on your thanksgiving day table, the best part is cutting the rattler’s head off.

        That is really the only way to ensure one is not bit and poisoned by the rattler’s injected toxins.

        After done eating rattler I’ll go to a turkey shoot to get my TGD-Turkey…

        At least you can be assured you won’t be but and poisoned if you eat what you prepare.

        Some can’t help but be poisoned by what they hear and see from a box, living in a happy meal box.

    • Vicks says:

      I knew it was going to be good when during the warmup Fox wasn’t reading any of Sonland’s opening statement like the other stations were doing.
      Ken Star soothed Fox’s Friends by saying it contained bombshells but things always can change during testimony.

    • Mooser says:

      That is where Trump missed his calling. Donald Trump should open an addiction-treatment franchise. Anybody can rehabilitate themselves using Trump!

  1. klynn says:

    I really like how Schiff notes aspects of Sondland’s statement in his opening statement.

    It makes Nunes’ statement come off as obstruction and BS. He looks like a fool. He is an insult to the Constitution. That last comment will be why Nunes’ career comes to an end. People put their lives and careers on the line to testify and defend the Constitution. His calling this a circus and his calling this a “cooked up by Dems” spectacle is an incredible insult to those who have courageously come forward.

    Good lord Nunes.

  2. Bunnyvelour says:

    So, is the new defense (or at least talking point) going to be that there was no “rogue” operation, because everyone was in on it?

    • Steve13209 says:

      I think that’s the GOP’s only play at this point. Say everyone in the Administration knew, but Trump never actually said anything impeachable. There is a purely partisan vote in the House to impeach (GOP never wavers) and then rely on the Senate to acquit based on it not rising to the level of removal. It will probably work. Not sure how it affects the 2020 election, but honestly, I find that secondary. This constitutional exercise is crucial for the country.

  3. harpie says:

    Marcy retweets:
    7:31 AM – 20 Nov 2019

    “He had to ANNOUNCE the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do it as I remember” really critical and telling fact.

    Important response to that:
    8:01 AM – 20 Nov 2019

    to @ harrylitman @ DemFromCT Really critical and telling fact about the assumed reaction of the US media, also.

    One would hope they take note about how their predictable chasing of shiny objects is being weaponized.

    • BobCon says:

      The obvious bet is Giuliani had Vogel primed and ready to go. And I suspect a big reason why Baquet has been so reluctant to dis Vogel is that a major chunk of the political desk editors above Vogel were engaged and had signed off.

  4. Mister Sterling says:

    Today was as big as John Dean’s moment on March 21 1973. I don’t expect Sondland to be rehabilitated and rite books for 50 years afterward. But this was a John Dean day. The Republicans have no meaningful response. Pence and Trump are toast.

    • bmaz says:

      That is laughable, Sondland is nowhere close to Dean. And Trump and Pence will survive just fine. The Congress is not like it was then, and while Sondland has been useful to the Majority, Castor has made a couple of inroads. It is good stuff, but not that earth shattering compared Dean.

      • BobCon says:

        He is not as big as Dean, more like McCord, who was a very big deal in terms of the details on the ground level of the conspiracy.

        Dean, of course, gave evidence at the heart of everything.

        I think the Democrats right now face the choice the leaders have dreaded. They can stop now, let McConnell control the endgame, and pat themselves on the back. Or they can gird themselves for a longer battle.

        It’s a battle where they hold the high ground and all kinds of advantages, but no certainty.

        Of course, there is no certainty in declining the battle either, and even more risks. But I suspect that is the way the leadership will go.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          BoCon, please clarify. In your last sentence, are you saying that you think the D leadership will decline the battle ? And if so, why ?

          • BobCon says:

            The leadership is desperate to get this over with in the House before Christmas. They think there is a magic reset button they can push that will turn the election season into some kind of sunshine and roses period where the Democrats just chant happy thoughts and cruise to a victory.

            They are kidding themselves about Trump and the GOP. Ukraine wasn’t their only scheme, and getting caught now won’t stop future schemes. They need to embrace what they can’t avoid, and finally start tying the theme of GOP corruption into a theme of Democratic solutions.

            However, that involves a shift to the activist wing of the party, and Pelosi, Schumer, and their backers lose if that happens. They yearn for containment, even if that means propping up the GOP and risking horrible malfeasance.

        • timbo says:

          I think some of the DP leadership is hanging on a decision point being whether the courts actually support their subpoenas in a timely fashion. Another wildcard is Bolton…

        • Rayne says:

          *squinting* Can’t figure out how you arrive at “This is bad for Dems” after Sondland just threw cabinet members, a senator, Trump and his attorney under the bus.

          We have NEVER had a clear path to Trump’s removal because of McConnell and Graham at helm of Senate GOP leadership. What has improved is that the impeachable crime is no longer as difficult for the public to wrap their heads around as multiple counts of obstruction outlined in a +400-page report. This case is very straight forward: Trump asked for something of value for personal use from a foreign national. Doesn’t matter timing now.

          It’s on the GOP to explain to voters next year why they offer a credible alternative to Democrats to govern, from seat to seat, race to race.

          • BobCon says:

            I see this as a great opportunity for the Democrats to crystalize their strong points and emphasize the complete collapse of the GOP as a rational force in the US.

            I have a lot of doubts that the Democratic leadership will take that path, and they will end up following a path that assumes and relies on the GOP acting responsibly. Their risk aversion is putting us on a vastly riskier trajectory.

          • timbo says:

            Frankly, the DP leaders need to convince GOP supporters and GOP Senators in particular that this impeachment hearing is about stopping Trump from becoming more of a tyrant than he already appears to be. Also, the courts need to help in the overreach of this President and his supporters. It certainly would be rational to not fully rely on the ability of the DP leadership so far. Even Schiff admitted today that he held off on calling for impeachment for a year until that positiion just was not tenable (by Schiff) any longer. This is the bad judgement that will need to end throughout the entire political body of the US to stop the slide further into authoritarianism. And there is certainly a paucity of good leadership ability that has gotten to this point.

            • Rayne says:

              Are you really grasping that the Democratic Party is being held to a standard that the MAJORITY PARTY in the Senate should do on its own because it’s the right thing, the Constitutional thing to do?

              The House Dems are under no obligation to sell the majority on ethics; it’s up to them to impeach and hand over the bill to Chief Justice Roberts and the Senate.

              It’s up to constituents with Democratic senators to demand they vote to convict and remove.

              It’s up to the public to demand their GOP senators stop acting like a transnational criminal syndicate operating under omerta.

              This is a democracy yet and the people have civic responsibilities here. It’s not on just one political party with a majority in only one house.

              Which brings me to the next stage of activism: CALL YOUR SENATORS AND DEMAND THEY SUPPORT CONVICTION AND REMOVAL. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resistbot.

              • Rayne says:

                In case it’s not clear, I am REALLY angry about the chronic “This is bad for Dems” and “Dems in disarray” bullshit.

                Those are right-wing talking points, amplified by hostile entities. Ditch that crap now.

                YOU are the Democratic Party if you vote for Democrats. YOU have civic responsibilities to your country — a little d democratic republic if you can keep it. YOU, as Ben Franklin said. Your elected officials can only do so much, and the House Democrats have only so much power, Senate Dems even less. Own your role and do something with it besides whining about the Democrats as if they are separate from you. Quit acting like Putin has already won and replaced American democracy with an autocracy.

                (Bring it, bmaz. I have zero patience today after listening to fucking abuse-ignoring Gym Jordan and Mike Shouty Tucker and Devin Cow-suer Nunes.)

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  I agree with you COMPLETELY Rayne.

                  I would add to it that regardless of how odiously criminal the Republicans are, the country needs a viable second party. That’s the democracy part where we ALL have a voice.

                  I might not agree with any of the Republican’s positions, but I will defend to the death their right to [be stupid] represent their constituents.

                • Cathy says:

                  I’m hopeful.

                  Whether this impeachment effort is seen as

                  (a) a defense of the Constitution (goal being the ASAP removal of the unfit occupant of the Oval before he can do more damage),

                  (b) a use of Congressional bully pulpit to neutralize a startlingly odorous piece of corruption (via exposure as scheme was in progress), and/or

                  (c) a use of the Congressional bully pulpit to educate voters ahead of the 2020 elections (about the expectations of duty to country and the failure of the incumbent to meet those expectations)

                  it does seem to be making an impact on at least some of us voters, who should be demanding as much transparency as possible to inform choices regarding our self-governance.

                • Kafreedman says:

                  I’m with you, Rayne. We can already see the effect angry and activist women can have on our political system in the last two blue waves. I try to remain hopeful by learning from all of you.

                • errant aesthete says:


                  As one street fighter to another, I’m proud to be with you every outraged step of the way.

        • Nehoa says:

          I think the Dems are much more prepared to push very hard on the Senate. The messages from these public hearings will be refined and amplified in the Judiciary proceedings, the House votes on articles of impeachment and finally at the Senate trial. Every step provides an opportunity to get more and more public support. Put as much pressure on the GOP Senators as possible, and then force them to live with their vote.
          Look at what all the stress of the impeachment process has brought out thus far. Keeping the pressure on is the obvious course.

        • Vinnie Gambone says:

          Dems would do themselves a favor to talk about Firtash as example of the magnitude of corruption. Oligarchs and Mafia seem one and the same the more one scratches, whether it’s in Ukraine, Russia, or Brighton Beach. Who is the dude moved $40 Billion out of the Ukraine? You’d think Trump would want to know where he is so Eric can sell him some condos. Heard in the depos that team Trump cites Germany as only given $15 Billion to support Ukraine’s war against Russia. Why does no Dem speak of the sheer magnitude of the crimes the former prosecutor let slide? Burisma, Burisma,Burisma. It’s beginning to sound like Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. Someone please ask Trump pointed questions about the Ukraine energy scandals. See if he even knows the level of other corruptions in that country? How much good could that $40 Billion done Ukraine now, either for its people, or for it’s war? I’m sorry to say, without better reporting on specifics of the war, as far as the American public knows, it could be a girl’s slapfight in the schoolyard. One would think Ukraine can’t match Russia’s might. Russia took what they wanted? Russia is taking more? Ukraine is fighting for it’s life? And Trump is asking Zelensky to sell his soul for 200 Javelins? How long does 200 Javelins last in a war? Somebody straighten me out. Has Russia already taken everything they want , and the 200 Javelins are to keep them from grabbing more? It’s all about Land Grabs, right? None of that part ever seems to be reported. Lastly, Jim Jordan is a first class Jerk-off. He would Jerk-off at an orgy. He thinks wearing no jacket makes him stand out, and it does. He stands out as a first class asshole desperately striving to inhabit a persona. He should wear a bow-tie, one that spins. He is the GOP’s best and they are gasping and sputtering because that asshole represents their soul. Fuck him and anybody who looks like him. No, anybody looks like him is already fucked.

      • Ckymonstaz says:

        Yup, Roger Ailes stated purpose for launching Fox news after Nixon resigned was to ensure a conservative echo chamber so GOP wouldn’t face the same result the next time they cheated to stay in power

        Sadly it’s worked thru years of gerrymandering, vote suppression, Bush’s stolen election via his brother and the conservative majority supreme Court and now it will provide the GOP memebers in Senate all the cover they need to torpedo Trump’s impeachment

  5. Terrapin says:

    Watching MSNBC. Their interpretation is that Sondland has basically thrown the leadership of the Trump administration under the bus. Sondland’s testimony also seems to be increasing the pressure to get the big guys into Congress to testify. I wonder if the courts will ever break the obstruction logjam?

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice to have Pence and Pompeo joining those prawns on the barbie. I hope el Presidente has no need for another quick trip to Walter Reed. This sort of thing cannot be good for his blood pressure.

    The Goopers will be huddling during the break about how to avoid a President Pelosi. And how to keep their own seats in Congress. I almost pity them the task of having a chat with the most stubborn empty soul ever to sit in the White House.

  7. timbo says:

    Looks like Sondland’s caught between “oh, I was actually bragging” and “the President didn’t really talk to me all that much about this”.

  8. timbo says:

    Man, Nunes continues to be a dunderhead. Bringing up financial records as some sort of proof of innocents by the President in >this< scandal… while fighting tooth and nail to prevent the same President's tax records…

      • Smeelbo says:

        Do not underestimate the value of confusion. An important strategy I have seen used against popular initiatives is to confuse voters as to what Yes and No actually mean. A confused person is much more likely to say, “Fork it, I have no idea,” and not participate.

    • sand says:

      Been watching off and on . . .

      I noticed that when the Dem’s 45-minute round was over and they went to a 5-minute break, Jordan, Stefanik, and Castor huddled to compare plans (or something). Nunes was left to wander around the front of the room. Clearly, he’s not needed for any type of planning on-the-fly, and there’s no time to write him a new script.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s repeated insistence that Zelensky himself make the announcement about the Biden investigation – putting him in a public box – makes the humiliation personal (Trump’s favorite thing). It undercuts his domestic legitimacy better than a pee tape.

    It all works in Putin’s favor, as EW has pointed out before. Trump is feral, stubborn, and predatory, but I wonder how much of Trump’s insistence came from Vlad, because he benefits more readily than Trump.

    • MattyG says:

      So true. I wonder too how much of jaw wagging is courtesy old Vlads & Co., To date team DT have effortlessly pitched the Kremlin line it would be a shame if Poots can’t get script credits.

    • M. Smith says:

      Oddly, Vlad benefits more readily than Trump in lots of stuff Trump does. I only suggest it’s odd because Trump is technically the President of the United States.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sondland’s interaction with Castor suggests Luskin has persuaded his client that cooperation will keep him out of the pokey more assuredly than remaining loyal to the least loyal man ever to be president.

    • pjb says:

      Really does remind you of how hiring (and listening!) to a good lawyer – not some stupid Trumpy flunky – can sometimes save your life. Also, as noted, Sondland has F.U. money so he has no good reason to travel the Roger Stone path.

      Given what Sondland has done, what does Bolton do if the Judge rules on Monday that McGahn must comply with the House subpoena? Wont he want to follow suit? It seems like he’s got a better story to tell than Mulvaney or Pompeo?

        • BobCon says:

          I assume McGahn’s case almost certainly gets held up in appeals. Bolton is going to have to decide on his own what to do.

          I’m sure the right wingers on the Supreme Court are dying to avoid moving on any of this. They probably wish the elected wing of the GOP would figure out a transition to Pence and leave them out of it.

          I don’t think that will happen, though, and one or two of them probably sense the damage to the right is worse off if they jam the process too obviously.

          They may also be hoping the Democrats roll over on some kind of toothless negotiated compromise, along the lines of Trump’s written answers to Mueller.

          • P J Evans says:

            Transitioning to Pence is going to be harder – he’s going under that bus, with Sondland’s testimony.

  11. Fran of the North says:

    “Don’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain!”

    Trump is tweeting about do-nothing dems and his favorite Speaker of the House. Nary a word about the ongoing conflagration at the hearings.

    At the very least, it proves that he’s at least educable, at least until the rage gets going.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Indeed. It affirms his lifelong inability to deal with reality without lying it into submission or showering it with his daddy’s money to make it go away.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Per Maggie Habs, Trump is now claiming about Sondland that he hardly knows the guy. Ka-ching.

    The Castor – Sondland chat reminds me of the defense prep in A Few Good Men: You noticed nothing unusual? Other than the dead body?

  13. Vince says:

    BTW, has Bondi ever repaid the illegal campaign contribution that Racist Donnie illegally donated to her campaign from his illegal charity?

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Per Paul McCleod:

    Sondland refutes that he was part of “irregular” diplomatic channel. Says he was reporting to the President, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, National Security Adviser and Trump’s chief of staff. “I don’t know how they could consider us to be the irregular channel.”

    Irregular in the sense of parallel and publicly unacknowledged. But definitely Not Unauthorized.

  15. OldTulsaDude says:

    When I’m subpoenaed pulling my hair
    a few days from now
    will you still be feeding me all my lines
    lame excuses,
    faulty timelines

    If I’m at risk of my own perjury
    And I’ve crossed a line
    Will you still need me?
    How will you treat me?
    When I’m doin’ time?

  16. Glacier says:

    Oh my, what a mess we have here:

    Re: “Gordon Sondland. Once a top donor to the president’s inaugural committee”

    I had sent this tidbit to my local reps months ago, to question why AG barr is allowed to be involved in matters related to trump, and now we have Sondland — and probably every person in the trump admin. Although at this point, the inquiry is not criminal, we are on the outside edge of insanity, where lawlessness seems to be the main weapon of the GOP.

    ==> § 45.2 Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship.

    (a) Unless authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with:

    (1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or

    (2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.

    • Glacier says:

      In addition to thoughts above about “§ 45.2 Disqualification”

      If you recall, Pelosi said she wanted trump in prison, thus I think it’s time to consider that the main reason this inquiry is moving along so fast, is because a criminal case is being built, not to go through the limited confines of Impeachment, where the Senate immediately absolves trump — (allowing him to go about with the charade that he can kill anyone he wants) — but instead, proceed with actions to indict trump for bribery as a criminal act. Maybe that seems confusing, but this will become a Constitutional matter of perceived executive powers and Congressional authority. Is the president above the law and can trump be protected by magic powers? This criminal element explodes the entire process of impeachment, because it squarely adds-in the dimension of conspiracy and collusion in terms of the entire GOP and all the trump admin, including the AG and DOJ. Obviously there is no precedent in American history for this level of corruption.

      Going back to § 45.2 Disqualification, will the DOJ enforce the law and allow a criminal trial to proceed — and at that point, what role does the Senate play, i.e., is this technically going to be an impeachment, if the inquiry builds a strong case for criminal conduct and high crimes?

      So, look at this link below:

      As we understand it, the conclusions regarding indictment of an incumbent President reached by the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s office, and this office, are all consistent: there is nothing in the language or legislative history of the Constitution that bars indictment of a sitting president, but there are a number of ‘policy’ factors that weigh heavily against it.

      • bmaz says:

        This is ridiculous. There is no criminal complaint being prepared, and there will not be, nor a criminal trial, while Trump is in office. Seriously, people are getting WAY over their skis on this.

        • Glacier says:

          Re: “no criminal complaint being prepared”

          Why do you think tump can’t be indicted — what’s your specific assumption based on? The case being built now, is part of an inquiry and as Pelosi said, they want trump in prison.

          • P J Evans says:

            There’s this OLC opinion that sitting presidents can’t be indicted. You might have heard of it at some time in the last year or so.

            • Glacier says:

              It’s an opinion that conflicts with Clinton vs Jones. You may want to dig far deeper than fox news! Executive authority pertains to official Constitutional matters, versus shit like bribery — do you really F’ing think DOJ’s opinion supports criminal activity that is un-Constitutional?

              • bmaz says:

                Listen, you are relatively new here, but don’t be a jackass and go accusing anybody, much less PJ, of being a Fox News adherent when you are pitching absolute ignorance.

          • bmaz says:

            There is not just one, but two OLC opinions standing for the proposition that a President may not be indicted while in office. That is the official DOJ position, full stop. And if you think Bill Barr and Steve Engel will reconsider and withdraw those opinions, you are smoking something too strong.

            Frankly, I think the opinions are poorly reasoned, but they are gospel for now. This just is not happening. If and when Trump is out of office, and DOJ Main is differently configured, it would at least be theoretically possible. However, I highly suspect that a new Democratic Administration would “look forward to the future, not the past” as Obama did with regards to Bush, Cheney, Yoo and a host of CIA torturers. But while Trump is still in office, it is not even theoretically possible. That is the driest hole on earth.

            • Glacier says:

              Apparently you haven’t taken time to go through Clinton vs Jones and all those little footnotes side-stepped by DOJ? Last I heard the DOJ is part of the Executive Branch, which continues to offer a supportive interpretation and opinion that supports executive criminal behavior and conduct. On the other hand, SCOTUS, as the Judicial Branch has the final say in offering opinions which interpret Constitutional laws. The matter of high crimes like bribery, specifically targeted at a president is a game-changer, because it goes beyond a blow job or being linked to a conspiracy — what trump has done was never foreseen by any law agency or founding father …

              • bmaz says:

                Apparently you do not understand what I do for a day job and a living, and have for decades. Yes, I am fully familiar with Clinton v. Jones, as well as US v. Nixon, and I am also quite familiar with how the three branches are separated and how the Supreme Court “interprets laws”, whether Constitutional or otherwise.

                We don’t do stupid here. And your insistence on this point is blindingly stupid. Do you have any more full of shit lectures, or are you done now? And, by the way, I see you attempted to sock puppet under the handle of “Una Caminata”. We do not allow that here either, and that attempt has been placed in the trash bin where it belongs. You have been here ten days or less and have violated the sock puppet ban, lectured the readers with complete garbage about the current ability to indict a sitting President and basically been a pain. That is not a good plan, do better or be gone.

                • Glacier says:

                  I’ve totally misunderstood what emptywheel is and appreciate your lecture on indictments. It’s confusing when emptywheel projects itself as progress and then I get this shit from you, because you’re the ultimate authority on the universe. It makes no difference to me who you are, but it would be useful to have your comment policy attached to the comment post button, to warn new posters to only post superficual praise to the echo chamber (filled with assholes)

                  • bmaz says:

                    You are barking up the wrong tree. I am not the “ultimate authority on the universe”, but I am not stupid and am, at least marginally, attuned to facts and law. You do not seem to be. As to the rest of your “comment”, again, screw off. I am done with you.

                    Rank bullshit does not work here. And take your “echo chamber” and shove it. We encourage many opinions here, we do, however, discourage rank ignorance and nonsense.

                  • Rayne says:

                    There hasn’t been a formal comment policy here because wide open discussion is encouraged. However there are limits to width and openness.

                    Things frowned upon here include but not limited to: deliberate sockpuppeting, ad hominem attacks on contributors and/or commenters, claims without substantiation (support your claims with citations and sources, extraordinary claims need extraordinary support), behavior denying other commenters’ use of comment thread, behavior undermining site integrity and/or or users’ security.

                    Long-time blogger and citizen journalist Lisa Williams once explained that her blog was like her living room; she expected commenters to behave as they would in her living room. This seems a perfect rule of thumb — not overly specific but easy to understand. This might be a fairly raucous living room but hosts and guests alike don’t care for the jerk who does something nasty in the punch bowl.

                    With respect to your behavior over ~25 approved comments in the nine days you’ve commented here: you have a tendency to lecture community members and contributors without having taken the time to understand the site. This isn’t Political Blogging 101; many of the community members have been here for nearly a decade, and many of them are highly educated professionals including attorneys and former regulators. It’s grating to have a newbie show up, toss out comments which are thin on citations and/or reason, excessively wordy about 30% of the time, and attack long-time community members.

                    I recommend taking a breath and read the room for a while longer before you plunge in again, and I say this wearing my moderator’s hat.


      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Indeed. Establishment Dems had to be led kicking and screaming into an impeachment inquiry, a civil proceeding. And that was only because Trump made his misconduct so obvious. Even then, there’s is only a modest likelihood that the Senate would follow with removal from office.

        The only thing worse for one insider than telling tales about another insider – which often leads to immediate loss of insider status – is to try to hold another insider to account. Not being subject to public account is part of the definition of insider status.

    • Jenny says:

      With Sondland’s testimony, vital to hear from Pompeo, Bolton, Mulvaney and Pence. Not sure that will ever happen.

      Let’s remember what Trump said about Sondland, “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.”

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Yeah, but Trump would say that about his own Mother. Remember he tried to dis-associate himself from Rudy a few weeks ago.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          Hell… I’m waiting for Trump to say that about his own sons…

          You know that moment is coming…

        • P J Evans says:

          More evidence Trmp has a serious learning disability: he keeps trying to say that about people with whom he was photographed more than once, at invitation-only parties.

          • TooLoose LeTruck says:

            Damned near jaw dropping, innit?

            It would be quite a list, at this point, of people he’s had his picture taken w/ but claims he doesn’t know…

            Putin… that one truly amazes me…


            Didn’t he just make that claim about Sondland?

            I can see Trump not really knowing who Vindland is…

            But PUTIN?

            And Turmpanistas continue to drink the bath water…

            • TooLoose LeTruck says:

              Quick note…

              Yes, Trump and Putin have had multiple face to face meetings since the election AND I recall Trump denying he had ever met Putin back during the campaign… just like he claimed he wasn’t seeking a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow…

              Photos come to light… letters…

              Who are you gonna believe… pure-as-driven snow Donald Trump, or your own dirty, stinkin’, lyin’ eyes?

  17. Avattoir says:

    If Sondland doesn’t stop diving into all that water, the frickin’ laser sharks are liable to take him out.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Nunes assumes that Sondland is lying. His use of his hands is straight from Rhoda, but his smarminess is his own. We’re not gonna hear from… [insert anyone who gave testimony in secret session]. Nunes is implying that that larger record is beneficial to his client, um, the president. Nice try.

    Nunes accuses Schiff of obstructing his own investigation. What a dumbfuck. The idea that Trump’s disdain for foreign aid is about Trump looking out for the taxpayer is stand-up comic stuff. How many times has Trump taken his two hundred plus-sized entourage to his own golf courses? Hmmm?

    Devin is about to learn how much smarter Sondland is than Devin.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sondland: WH and State have still not found a record of that call….

    Sondland knows how to sharpen a toothbrush to a fine point. It’s amusing how much more able he is at verbal and personal combat than Trump – or Castor and Nunes.

    Nunes interrupts milquetoast Castor to complain that “we” can’t hear directly from the whistleblower. How about the multitude of administration witnesses Trump is keeping from testifying? Hmmm?

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      How about the multitude of administration witnesses Trump is keeping from testifying? Hmmm?

      Shhhhhh… we’re not supposed to talk about that…

      I don’t get the Republican obsession with the whistleblower, especially after so many others have come forward to testify and in effect confirm what the original complaint said…

      It’s like they still believe that if they can just out this ONE person and discredit him or her, it’ll destroy the entire impeachment inquiry…

      Magical thinking is cute in small children…

      In adults? Not so much…

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          That – revenge – certainly is a plausible explanation…

          What is visible publicly at this point is concerning enough…

          Who knows what’s still to come to light?

          How much worse can all of this get?

          There’s almost assuredly an element of intimidation intended in all of this…

          ‘Don’t you dare squeal…’

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Occam would suggest it’s clear to Sondland that Trump is at the weakest point in his administration. Saving himself and his hotels depends on his being forthcoming. That’s a novel approach to a bunch of goombas who think legal strategy begins and ends with being as obstructive as Roy Cohn. Trump never had his juice, he doesn’t now, and nobody he’s hired since has it.

      • bmaz says:

        He is still squishy, but if Sondland had testified the first couple of times in the closed setting as he has today, he might not still have a job as ambassador, but he would have no potential liability hanging out there. And, it is quite possible he really doesn’t now because the Barr DOJ won’t do it, but he is still in a tenuous place.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          As I noted above (4:11 pm), Sondland is misguided. He is a Libertarian and probably thought, incorrectly, that Trump was a fellow-traveller rather than the mafia boss he is (see Trump Syndicate®). And, unlike Trump, he and his wife are successful, fairly self-made business people.

          Interestingly, his parents were both Jewish refugees via Germany and Uruguay.
          His mother’s 2007 interview is well worth a read.

            • AndTheSlithyToves says:

              One of my favorite comments from her: “Yeah, because it took that long for my mother to get another visa for my auntie. So, I got to know all my other aunts and uncles and the cousins, and the main thing is I got to see my poor grandmother killing herself working and my grandfather doing nothing. And, you want to know what it did to me? It turned me off on Orthodoxy [laugh].”

              • bmaz says:

                Yes. But it was a portrait of a woman who persevered and pulled her family by the bootstraps in the face of severe adversity. It is, indeed, what immigrant stories this country is built on, as opposed to the bigoted posit of Trump and Stephen Miller.

                We all have such a story if you go back far enough. And the struggle that all our forebears went through is probably unimaginable now.

              • Eureka says:

                Yes! (And how her broken Dad did eventually get to work; meanwhile she was supporting the whole family.)

                [Though it did give me pause that she was sent with the auntie as a ‘guarantee’ (that her mom would get auntie a visa) in the first place. Erm…]

  20. MB says:

    Just got this off of BBC’s live feed: Giuliani’s deleted tweet from about 1/2 hour ago:

    https: //drive. /file/d/ 1uBHRRew97uAvWLrrwiZ6eJinzyx9RCq8/view?usp=sharing

    [URL has been deactivated with blank spaces inserted. We don’t allow active Google Drive links because the site both identifies visitors to others and can also be used to distribute unexpected content. Can you share this image in a tweet by any chance and share that link? Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • mb says:

      Rayne – I’m not on Twitter and have no plans to join up! Users can, if they wish, copy & paste the altered URL and remove spaces if they want to actually see it.

      Bottom line for non-viewers is that Rudy sez (well…said, because he deleted this): “Gordan Sondland – never met him, had a couple of phone calls – no quid pro quo”

        • timbo says:

          Guliani has some problems in that the President asked these guys to go to Rudy. So then it is begged who had the idea that Rudy should be involved and how it was that Rudy was in Ukraine earlier than the President’s direction to Volker et al to seek Rudy out.

      • Eureka says:

        Rayne says:

        Thanks much, Pie.
        (emphasis added

        This whole time I thought you were *Piels* Damn Good, with an L not an I, as in Piels beer and a take off on ~ feels damn good.

        Mind. Blown.

          • Cathy says:

            Per Ink Blot’s About Us:

            The Inkblot site is a fun test similar to the Rorschach test. We don’t use the actual Rorschach cards but we use a set that is very similar in appearance. The test results are completely nonsensical and should not be relied upon in any way, shape, or form (except for a good laugh). Needless to say, we don’t actually do any “analysis” of your responses, nor are they stored, kept, or tabulated in any way. It’s all just a bloody daft joke, okay?

            Sort of like the minority/majority claims of affiliation for the minority’s impeachment witnesses.

          • Eureka says:

            Good bet that any given pie tastes better than any given Piels, too, tho it’s been some years since the latter.

  21. sand says:

    I hope the residents of the San Joaquin Valley are watching and calling their local Nunes office to tell him that they’re not going to send him back to D.C. in 2021. It seems he’ll have a strong Democratic challenger. There’s got to be someone smarter that the Republicans could run for the seat.

  22. Cathy says:

    The camera footage I’d like to see on CSPAN today is the MitchCam (if there isn’t one, there should be)

  23. PSWebster says:

    My bookkeeper-accountant came in and nailed it: Sonderland’s wife said: you are not going to jail over this. Ha ha… I think she is right.

  24. Rayne says:

    Huh. Must be out checking the location and condition of the lifeboats.

  25. 200Toros says:

    Repub exculpatory formula: State loudly and clearly for the record, that what you’re doing is NOT a crime, whilst you are in the process of committing the crime! It’s kinda genius, for idiots…

  26. timbo says:

    DP reps still letting Sondland obfuscate or act like he’s ignorant of the meaning of their questions. Even Schiff got flustered trying to cross exam Sondland a few minutes ago. When is the DP going to hit these guys hard?

    • Ruthie says:

      Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY) just came after Sondland pretty hard for taking 3 tries to cough up his testimony. He had a similar, though less aggressive, tone with Volker yesterday evening.

      I, for one, cheered.

      • bmaz says:

        Maloney was a fucking jackass. He foamed at the mouth like Jim Jordan. Just ask the damn questions, it is FAR more effective. Spewing spittle while examining a witness is the mark of a jerk, not someone effective.

        • timbo says:

          I wish the Chairman would let the Reps have more time or additional time if they need it to finish cross-examination of this witness. But then they have an ambitious witness list this week.

        • Ruthie says:

          I’m sure you’re correct, and I should guard against such an emotional reaction. But dang, it sure is hard to watch these lying liars and not cheer when someone calls them out!

          • skua says:

            We’ve all been trained to be spectators, that anything worthwhile is entertaining, that pizzaz and panache are reliable indicators of important events.

            Trump’s base have been trained slightly more than us.

            I too got a thrill watching Maloney. Sesame Street didn’t prepare me for adulthood.

  27. 200Toros says:

    Rep. Mike Turner R-OH, just did a fairly good job delivering a Talking Point for GOP – just got Sondland to admit that no-one ever told him specifically that trump himself stated that he personally “was tying aid” to Ukraine delivering the investigation. Said Sondland is just speculating. They’ll run with this. “No Evidence.”

    The logical hole for the proverbial truck is that this assumes a defense of “there was a quid pro quo, but it was orchestrated by someone else” which is immediately negated by their other claim “the president and only the president sets foreign policy.”

    • Rayne says:

      The GOP can’t get around this:

      The GOP wants people to forget this.

      They want people to forget that 18 USC 201 Bribery says no public official may demand or ask for anything of value for personal use.

      They want people to forget that 52 USC 30121 Contributions says no candidate may solicit anything of value from a foreign national.

      They want people to forget that Trump removed Yovanovitch after assassinating her character — not merely removing her at his discretion as executive, but an unlawful retaliatory firing.

      And they want you to forget that Trump has intimidated witnesses. Fuck Mike Turner because he can’t shout over these points.

    • Cathy says:

      O/T but recusal-related: Is there anything to prevent AG Barr from recusing himself from various matters *in fact* while causing statements to the contrary to be made public (statements not delivered under oath, subject to perjury or other legal penalty, etc.)?

      I notice that most episodes of the “AG Barr is a Hands-on Micromanaging Trumper” show, the one produced for Audience of One’s benefit, refer to matters that predate Barr’s role in government.

  28. Mooser says:

    “This is a common occurrence…” Yeah, and all the examples came from the Trump regime.

    But never mind that. I wonder how Sondland feels about his big-time Repub friends now?

    • Mooser says:

      So there it is, Sondland gave all Federal employees who may be involved in or cognizant of Trump’s actions an example of the protection and support they can expect from the administration if they testify. Another words, they must protect Trump at all costs, but expect nothing in return (except whatever gloomy satisfaction martyrs get). And it only cost Sondland a cool million to find this out.

  29. punaise says:

    Re Trump’s notes, to the tune of Julie Andrews (I Feel Pretty):

    I want nothing
    Oh, so nothing
    I feel no quid pro quo coming to light
    And I pity
    Any churl who isn’t me tonight

    I feel harming
    Oh, so harming
    It’s alarming how harming I feel!
    And so petty
    That I hardly can believe I’m real

    I feel cunning
    And, in trance, sing
    Feel like running and dancing: destroy
    For I’m shoved
    By a “perfect” wonderful ploy!

      • Sandwichman says:

        “Not only did I buy him lunch but I also provided entertainment.” — Gordon Sondland. This guy coulda been a contender! A cross between Rodney Dangerfied and Larry David.

  30. joel fisher says:

    So now there’s a smoking gun. However, if you harbor any notion that progress has been made in the direction of removing the President it’s an admission that you naively believe there are 20 or more GOP Senators that are not stone evil. Stone evil cowards, at that. If there were the slightest move toward conviction by any single GOP Senator, he or she would be primaried faster than Lindsay Graham can change positions on quid pro quo. The “Trump base” is 90% (more likely 100%) of the GOP; they’re the ones that vote in the GOP primaries; so cross Trump at your peril, cowards and evil ones. Even if Trump were offered some deal that would keep him out of jail in return for a resignation, he’d only run again next year. Or in 2024 if he lives that long.

    • blueedredcounty says:

      Lindsay Graham changing positions…
      NO THANK YOU for searing this image into people’s brains…

  31. Matthew Harris says:

    Two takeaways from this for me:

    1. It will be very hard for anyone to lie or even mislead under oath at this point, because what they say will contradict too many people’s testimony, and because too many people have already broken free. Some of this might be due to Roger Stone’s guilty verdict: Sondland probably realized that while not probable, there is a chance that he could actually end up in prison for lying to congress to protect Trump, and there is no reason to risk anything to do that.

    2. Some people are going to lose their job. Predicting firings in the Trump administration is an easy bet, and given that Sondland has very publicly repudiated him, it seems hard to believe that Sondland is going to continue much further. The question is how soon and how dramatically the firings and resignations happen.

    A lot of what happens next depends on two things:

    1. Whether there is another line of firings from State and the NSC, and whether it is dramatic enough to shake the perception held by the middle 10% of the electorate that “this is just business as usual”

    2. Whether the Parnas/Fruman indictment touches Rudy Giuliani, and whether that involves the Ukraine business. As far as I understand it so far, Parnas and Fruman’s arrests were about campaign financing, not directly about the Ukraine/Biden affair. But obviously they are somehow related, and obviously Giuliani is related as well. Having a criminal charge against Giuliani will make it clear that Trump is implicated in criminal conduct.

    • Cathy says:

      Re the first factor driving what happens next –

      Good point about breaking through the “business as usual” barrier. I wonder how many of that 10% are old enough to have perceptions influenced by the Clinton impeachment but not old enough to have witnessed the run-up to the Nixon resignation.

      Regardless of what happens next I’m hoping that people such as @klynn’s 16 year old are paying attention and will use this experience to identify mistakes they don’t wish to see repeated when they inherit our democracy.

      • klynn says:

        He’s taking notes. He just wishes he could vote next year!

        I told him to work and get all his voting age friends to vote. He’s working on it!

        • Cathy says:

          One of mine misses it by a month. He’s torqued. Told him he’s a member of the shock troops held in reserve in event 2020 goes horribly wrong. #TurnTxBlueby2022 [and if that’s not a thing, it should be]

      • Matthew Harris says:

        Kind of to expand on that: right now, looking at 538 numbers, Trump has around 41% approval, and 54% disapproval. The difference between people who want an impeachment and those that don’t is 47.5 to 45.5.

        So of the people who disapprove of Trump, 7% don’t believe there are grounds for impeachment.

        For me, the odd thing is that if 47% of people think Trump is doing badly enough that he should be removed from office, there should be at least 10-20% of additional people who believe he is doing badly, but not criminally. But then we have this steep drop-off from people in favor of impeachment, to people who disapprove but aren’t in favor of impeachment, to people who don’t care, and then on to Trump supporters. There is still a middle ground of people who are treating this like it is “bad, but not too bad”, and I don’t know what will cause them to shake out of that.

    • Areader2019 says:

      The whistleblower already offered to answer written questions under oath. That was good enough for Trump.

      • Ckymonstaz says:

        Would be nice if same standard applies but noone gets away with what the orange blimp does!

        Would love to belive FBI needs his testimony in a case against Rudy or any of the other criminals involved in this but Barr runs DOJ so seems more likely this is another sideshow like the ridiculous criminal investigation into the beginnings of the Russia investigation

      • 200Toros says:

        Yes that was an EPIC move by the WB legal team! To which the GOP instantly screamed “That’s TOTALLY unacceptable!” Haa….

  32. 200Toros says:

    I watched the hearings yesterday and today, saw the moving, highly credible testimony of dedicated military and FSO’s, and think, “well, that’s about a wrap, he’s toast.”

    Guy pops his head into my office just now, says “No pizzazz to this stuff! Unless there’s a semen-stained dress involved, I don’t think the public cares.”

    Good lord, I hope he’s wrong.

    And I can’t believe he actually used the word “pizzazz”, sheesh…

    • Rayne says:

      That guy you can mark down as a right-wing human bot. He just parroted a variant of ‘boring’ at you. So goddamned lazy, a pod person whose brain has been occupied by fascist memes.

      It’s not about popular sentiment any longer now that we’re past critical mass (51% for impeachment). The facts presented show that Trump committed impeachable acts. House Democrats simply must do their duty by finishing the hearings and voting to impeach.

    • Tom says:

      I heard David Folkenflik on NPR Wednesday evening report that the TV viewership for the impeachment hearings is actually pretty good. And that’s not counting people who don’t watch the hearings live but see them later on YouTube or elsewhere in toto or as excerpts.

      • Cathy says:

        Waiting to see if someone in the hearing attempts to tease out whether the same-day inquiry (Jul 25 – Day of The Call) was in frantic Ukrainian prep for The Call or in frantic Ukrainian reaction to The Call.

      • r helder says:

        i’m glad somebody brought this up. it was passed in 1974 in response to nixon’s impoundment of funds allocated by congress. title x requires notification to congress if dispersal of funds is delayed — and the trump administration never notified congress. even after notification, it sets a 45 day limit, far exceeded here. i looked it up the other day, but couldn’t find the penalty for noncompliance

    • harpie says:

      New details on July 25, 2019 from Cooper testimony. I haven’t checked these times]:
      3:34 PM – 20 Nov 2019

      July 25 timeline, w/ Cooper’s testimony:
      9-9:33a.m.: POTUS-Zelensky call

      2:31p.m. DOD receives email from State saying Ukrainian Embassy & HFAC are inquiring about aid

      4:25p.m. DOD receives email from State saying Ukrainian Embassy knows to an extent about aid

      And Cooper says separately on July 25 that a member of her staff got a question directly from a Ukrainian Embassy contact “asking what was going on with Ukraine security assistance.”

      • harpie says:
        3:09 PM – 20 Nov 2019

        Why is what Cooper testifying important? Because the Republicans have said for weeks: If the Ukrainians didn’t know about the hold on the $$ during the July 25 call, then there was no quid pro quo. / [examples] / Now there are BIG CLUES that the Ukrainians did know when Zelenskyy got on the call with Trump.

        The State Department is obviously refusing to turn over some of the emails Cooper just referenced that would reveal the Ukrainians knew about the hold as early as July 25

        • P J Evans says:

          Given that the GOP-T has a number of lawyers in its ranks, you would think they could come up with arguments that weren’t such obvious bovine excrement.

    • harpie says:

      Philip Bump with a good article and CHART about this:

      Ukraine aid may have been stopped in early July — and Ukraine likely knew by the time of Trump’s call
      The timeline of the withholding of aid has been murky.
      Philip Bump November 20, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. EST

      […] It’s worth noting, however, that the timeline as presented by Jordan is in dispute. Testimony from a dozen witnesses suggests that most of those involved in the interactions with Ukraine understood the timeline as Jordan does. But several outliers, people in better position to know, suggest the aid halt began as early as the beginning of July — and that Ukraine was aware of it later that month. […] CHART […]

  33. Vince says:

    Surprised this wasn’t mentioned at the hearing. When Racist Donnie went out on the White House front lawn, and read the text of his call after Sonland asked what he wanted from Ukraine, and he stated:

    “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.”

    Then Racist Donnie said, it’s over, case closed, you can cancel the impeachment.

    The big problem is, that call happened the same day the whistleblower complaint (which by law was supposed to go to congress), instead went to the White House, likely via his mob lawyer, Pooh Bar.

    So they already knew the jig was up. So those are not exculpatory statements, those are lying weasel, after he got caught, statements.

    What a dumbass.

  34. klynn says:

    When Schiff was asking Sondland about the lunch conversation and Holmes testimony about it, Schiff gave me a sense that they have the call content just by the way he asked Sondland if there was anything he wanted to add to his recollection of the lunch.

    • P J Evans says:

      Holmes probably wrote down everything he could remember, as soon as he was able to do so. He was deposed last week, and I’m sure Schiff has read that.

      • klynn says:

        I figure Holmes penned notes. Possible recording was mentioned twice I think. Second time was in the context of having a ally release their capture of the call.

    • Vince says:

      Somebody, might have been Congressman Swalwell, mentioned there will be a transcript of the phone call released, by the Russians or another country, given it was a convo with the POTUS on a non-secure phone on an open line.

  35. Eureka says:

    “Minor”* (all things considered) detail in the Sondland opening statement that gave me visions of luxury-type graft, from Exhibit 1 (email), PDF 20. On Weds, June 5th, Philip Reeker says:

    And enormous gratitude to Georgette for the special Brussels‐to‐Ljubljana transportation!
    Best, Phil
    (emphasis added)

    *Problem is, his statement is filled with “minor” and/or implicit details (like how “logjams” should be unquestionably resolved by extorting Zelensky’s new government, but whatevs). I was unable to watch parts of his testimony, so am not sure what of any of these ~ inadvertently exposed character or practice flaws which are the true killers of democracy~ were aired amidst the big-ticket items.

  36. Eureka says:

    Well this was a rewarding little research trip:

    As has been observed, a competent Sondland should have been aware of Burisma = Biden by the time of Vogel’s early May hack jobs.

    So maybe he doesn’t have a subscription to the NYT (but didn’t Bloomberg host a prominent takedown of Vogel? Anyway…). I would like to see page one of google’s cached results for ‘Burisma’ on any number of given days — because it’s not at all plausible that the name wasn’t at least searched, right? (This is even leaving aside explicit mention amongst the band of bumblers.) Regardless, there’s no easy way to do that nor any fair way given the variability in google-served results per users’ infosec and privacy practices, etc.

    But there’s always wiki (which is top-page prominent in most engines and cases).

    Search Burisma — the wiki is “Burisma Holdings.” There are several interesting things in the wiki’s history:

    ●It was created in the first place as a split from the Hunter Biden wiki — that’s its origin (14 May 2015).

    ●The wiki’s page-top summary box includes “Key people”: hyperlinked Hunter Biden was included in that box for years, until it was removed sometime between late September and early October of this year ( _tons_ of recent edits, sick of clicking to specify exact date/time).

    ●Hunter Biden is discussed in a section called “Management” now. That section used to be called, for years, “Board of Directors.”

    ●The most interesting feature of this “Board of Directors” section: Hunter Biden was specifically identified as (hyperlinked) Joe Biden’s son on April 9, 2019. The last edit prior to April 9, 2019 was December 8, 2018. Hmm, what kicked-up this explicit, save-a-click, interest in documenting Hunter’s descent, and then, after a long gap in activity?

    As to the April 9th date (Biden _formally_ announced on April 25th), recall that Biden made bold March 2019 pre-announcements, including that ‘gaffe’ speech about him running/not running. Some links here:

    i.e. it was clear as day by then that they needed to accelerate their Biden-angle plot, beyond Biden’s VP role and the general scheme to frame Ukraine for 2016. Correia’s January 22, 2017 reply to Biden’s stepping- down tweet suggests that they were itching to get cooking the general stew back then:

    • Fran of the North says:

      Eureka, nice work.

      There is no question that there was an entire campaign of distraction and disinformation designed to sow confusion and doubt about Biden. The Ukrainian announcement would have just been the first step.

      Then the drip, drip, drip of ‘revelations’ that the MSM would pick up and amplify.

      Reminds me of similar situation. Wonder if the trickster behind that was orchestrating this one?

    • Cathy says:

      Well sussed Eureka – wiki as part of the “hearts and minds” battle field of cyber wars. They who make the edits set the narrative.

    • harpie says:

      Yes, great sleuthing, Eureka!
      Laura Rozen Retweeted
      4:57 AM – 21 Nov 2019

      Rudy Giuliani connected an investigation of the Bidens to the 2020 presidential election. On Twitter, May 10. [screenshot][THREAD]

      Days after Trump recalled Yovanovitch & 13 days before Trump told the three amigos in the Oval Office to listen to Rudy.

      [#UkraineTimeline thanks, harpie!/Rayne]

    • Eureka says:

      I meant to add that the wiki page-top summary box (with ‘Key people’) also appears as a preview atop search results @ engines like duckduckgo (so one needn’t even have clicked over to wiki, period, to have seen at least Hunter Biden’s name under those and former circumstances. All that’s beside the issue of pre-filled search suggestions/ KW combos (oh, the kingdom for _those_ caches by date, too! And it’s a specialty of the bots to drive those changes…like Putin et al. wouldn’t want *everyone* to link those KW), and the fact that they think we are super dumb if they think we believe they didn’t know that Burisma = Biden. &c…).

  37. CD54 says:

    @ Vince at 6:55 pm

    I know I’m late and this may have already been covered, but the Sept. 9th call between Trump and Sondland in which Trump says, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky” — that is, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — “to do the right thing.
    Something to that effect.”, sounds just like the “Fake phone call! Fake phone call!” bit from Pulp Fiction.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      That may well be, but . . . even more importantly (and despite recent errors with my own reading comprehension) . . . I remain utterly convinced that the calendar dates July 25th and July 26th of 2019 came and went before (not during, and not after) the calendar dates September 8th and September 9th of 2019.

      And yet, the Republicans are currently making a big deal out of Sondland’s claim that Trump denied on September 9th of 2019 what Trump had already asked from Zelenskiy on July 25th 2019 and what Trump had already confirmed to Sondland on July 26th of 2019–namely, Trump’s request for Zelenskiy to make a public statement opening investigations into Biden.

      BTW, Giuliani (as in “talk to Rudy; talk to Rudy”) had already said on the TV numerous times before Trump’s July 25th call with Zelenskiy that [paraphrase] an investigation into Ukrainian efforts to interference in the 2016 US election would expose the supposedly real reason that Biden wanted Shokin fired.

      It’s almost as though the Republicans have staked the whole of their defense of Trump on the old school-yard listening game known as Simon Says–as in Trump said after the fact that “Simon says, ‘I want nothing. I don’t want a quid pro quo. All I want is for the Ukrainians to do the right thing.'”

    • Cathy says:

      This is part of my own ever deeper demographic reveal…

      I’m not sure the President was thinking of the pop culture reference his re-enactment of his side of the Sept. 9 phone call seems to embody. Yet I’m wondering if I’m the only one in this age bracket that his campaigns seem to target that notice that he appears to be channeling a lovable but bumbling character going out of his way to deny unpleasant reality.

      Mr. President (main re-enactment with following Exuent at 02:45 – 03:30)

      Tribute to Sgt. Schultz, of 1965-1971 comedy Hogan’s Heroes:

      Would this have the effect of making the President seem less harmful, more cuddly? Or more uncomfortably, the comic relief on a stage of leadership, rather than a star?

      • Eureka says:

        That was creepy, seeing the set-constructed watch towers in the background of those clips. I’ve only glimpsed reruns here and there of Hogan’s Heroes, AND I am in oppositeland as to Trump: perhaps that supports your proposal (lol).

        When there’s nothing to yap from Fox & Friends, Team Trump seems to rely on ‘classic’ tv references and tropes *a lot*. So I wouldn’t doubt at least a subconscious modeling pulled from the days when fictionalized T.V. was his favorite babysitter, his BFF, his loyal wife…

        Since all things Trump dovetail, I’ll add that I have it on good authority that of the myriad reasons soldiers hated Patton — new hero of the white nationalist and anti-Semite crowd — events surrounding the real “Stalag 13” were chief amongst them. Patton risked and lost lives when he hastily ordered (but did not lead) a premature liberation assault on the too heavily-defended camps there (mainly Oflag XIII-B and Stalag XIII-C); ca. 10% of the task force made it back, ca. 10% were killed, and the overwhelming majority were captured and sent or marched to (other) camps, and an uncertain fate.

        • P J Evans says:

          One thing about “Hogan’s Heroes”: a lot of the cast were either veterans of WW2 (not German), or had escaped from Germany. Robert Clary, who played LeBeau, was in a camp and had the number on his arm to prove it.

          • Eureka says:

            Now that you say that, PJ, I vaguely recall having heard that. I am really curious lately about watching (and ‘getting’) that show — which I mainly know by laugh tracks. Was it some low-key healing thing via humor? Did people really like it, or was it watched because it was what was on (and so forth)…

            • P J Evans says:

              I remember we watched it a lot. It was, actually, funny, in a way that didn’t involve sex or cruelty.

            • Cathy says:

              This was a part of American pop culture as I was growing up. Since then I was reminded of it by an article, several years ago now, that points to an interesting media history. Apparently the show was syndicated in Germany and was a BIG hit…supposedly because it gave the German citizens permission to laugh at Nazis. That’s in line with your recollection of the show being related to healing.

              Here’s the link to the article, “In Germany, Hogan’s Heroes, Loosely Translated, Is a Hit,” WSJ, May 31, 1996.

              Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall, so I’m just going off memory. I assume the article is referring to a contemporary release of the syndicated show, implying a post-reunification release in the mid-nineties.

          • bmaz says:

            Indeed. Though not a veteran that I am aware of, Bob Crane, Hogan, was murdered very close to here. It remains one of the most infamous unsolved murders in Arizona history.

        • Cathy says:

          Some tidbits from the trivia section of IMDb (caveat: I’ve done no fact checking)

          The show was still very popular in its final season on the air. However, it was caught up in the “rural purge” that took place just before the 1971-1972 television season. The main reason it was canceled, was due to the fact that it was felt that the show mainly appealed to rural audiences and older people in much the same way that shows like The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Green Acres (1965), and Hee Haw (1969) were.

          Despite some coincidental similarities (both have a “Sergeant Schultz” character, and a somewhat put-upon Commandant), this show was not inspired by the movie, Stalag 17 (1953), as some may think.

          The series was originally supposed to take place in a regular American prison. But Creators Bernard Fein and Al Ruddy re-wrote the teleplay when they heard that NBC was developing the pilot Campo 44 (1967), which took place in an Italian POW camp.

          The black and white pilot episode originally included a Russian character, who was played by Leonid Kinskey. Kinksey refused to continue with the series, because he became uncomfortable with having Nazi characters starring in a comedy.

          German film distributor KirchGruppe acquired the rights to this show, but did not broadcast it for many years, due to fears that it would offend viewers. It was first broadcast on German television in 1992, but the program failed to connect with viewers. However, after the dialogue was re-written to make the characters look even more foolish (which ensured that the viewers understood the characters were caricatures), the show became successful.

          In the German dubbed version, very often the salute “Heil Hitler” was changed to “Heil Kräuter!” (literally translated: medicinal herb). Also, when the show alluded to bombing and killing, the dialogue was often modified as well. For instance, when the Americans destroyed a munitions factory, the German version made it a toilet paper factory, and when Sergeant Schulz reported the Allies having bombed Hamburg, it was revised to the Royal Air Force dropping candy as a “propaganda maneuver”.

          • Cathy says:

            Ack! Sorry, Rayne! This became a much larger comment than I intended – if you delete I can break it up (especially since it’s so O/T?)

            • Rayne says:

              Slow down, Cath. We can’t be here as you hit Publish/Reply 7/24. Please try to share 100-300 words and no more of copyrighted material. That IMDb content will be left up for now. Please also keep in mind the community members who read comments on mobile device displays — shorter, concise comments are best. Thanks.

          • Cathy says:

            If the trivia comment stays…note that the last two items are arguably sourced from the 1996 WSJ article…and the first item is an oddly explicit statement of my assertion about Trump campaign demographics. Weird, IMDb, weird.

      • Cathy says:

        See, now, if these missives were in pen and paper, I’d just go over the “9” with a Sharpie “7” and hash the stem just to emphasize it’s seven-ness.

        [^^^^^ this to taunt the lawyers – I would never do that}

        We just need a different system for designating all these pesky comms.

          • Eureka says:

            I know, the text looks so different in the typing box vs when it appears on the page. I’ve generally given up correcting myself unless it’s a proper name to fix or I happen to recognize a possible misunderstanding.

            @ PJ 856p

            I love the Kos title: Amigo-adjacents. I am not comfortable with the level of ass-kissery to which Sondland has become accustomed (per his statement), so stand by awaiting further reveals on his BS attempts to hedge it both ways.

  38. harpie says:

    Today Fiona Hill will testify.
    4:52 AM – 21 Nov 2019

    Fiona Hill on allegations of Ukrainian meddling in 2016 (she got into a sharp back and forth with Republicans on this in the closed door deposition as well) [screenshot]

    Excerpt: from the screenshot:

    Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country – and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

    Last night [Marcy, Laura Rozen and other tweeted about this]:
    5:20 PM – 20 Nov 2019

    Exclu: Congressional records show Nunes, Derek Harvey, and two other staffers traveled to Europe in late 2018. Lev Parnas helped set up meetings for them there, per his lawyer [Daily Beast link]

    • harpie says:

      Also, this was reported on the 18th:
      Helen Kennedy Retweeted
      5:50 PM – 17 Nov 2019

      This kinda weird… While accusing Democrats on the Intel Committee of not having briefings, Devin Nunes admits he and other Republicans have been having their own briefings. It really sounds like he’s admitting The White House is sidestepping Democrats on the intel committee [FOX VIDEO]

      I mean he mentions he got a separate meeting about the Syria raid before it happened which we know Trump only told certain Republicans about. This suggests there are other briefings that Democrats on the committee are also being excluded from

  39. klynn says:


    Do you think the Canadian Gov “secrecy certificate” on embassy spying was irt Sondland call and a possible behind the scenes gentleman’s agreement was made in order to secure the new trade deal with Canada – the trade deal that Pence announced on his trip to Marionette, WI?

    I figured if any caught the Sondland unsecured call, we would check with the Five Eyes members first.

    • klynn says:

      Then Pelosi said yesterday 11/21-
      “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during a press conference Thursday that she remains skeptical about the House passing the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement this year, as Congress’s lower chamber continues to focus on the impeachment…”

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Yeah, but . . . my sense of humor is sorely in need of intravenous Vitamin B12 24/7 these days.

      Make that an overdose, please?

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