Impeachable Acts: What GOP Spin Can’t Change

[NB: note the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I wrote this in comments but in hindsight it should be shared as a post.

Nothing the GOP has said about the impeachment hearing witnesses, their testimony, the rules and circumstances, can change these facts.

Though this isn’t the word-for-word transcription of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky, the content not omitted or redacted in the published telephone conference memo is damning enough:

The GOP wants the public to forget that Trump asked for a favor.

The GOP wants people to forget that 18 USC 201 Bribery says no public official may demand or ask for anything of value for personal use, and Trump specifically mentions Biden during the call, making this about his personal re-election campaign.

The GOP wants people to forget that 52 USC 30121 Contributions (campaign finance) says no candidate may solicit anything of value from a foreign national.

The GOP wants people to forget Trump used his office for the purposes of campaign work — while not a Hatch Act violation, certainly an abuse of office.

The GOP wants people to forget that Trump removed former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after assassinating her character — not merely removing her at his discretion as executive, but an unlawful retaliatory firing — also implying during the July 25 call that she would be harassed or persecuted in some way even though she had already been recalled from her position as Ambassador to Ukraine.

And the GOP wants want you to forget that Trump intimidated witnesses even as they testified before Congress, a violation of 18 USC 1512.

But facts are stubborn things and in this case, the facts before us are simple, straightforward, inescapable as presented during the hearings to date and in published government documents. Trump bribed Ukraine’s Zelensky, violated campaign finance law, tampered with witnesses, and abused his office.

We don’t even need to look at his extortion (18 USC 872) or weigh whether he committed Honest Services Fraud (18 USC 1346), or his role in obstruction of proceedings (18 USC 1505) and contempt of Congress (2 USC 192 – preventing witnesses from testifying or withholding evidence), or conspiracy to defraud the United States by agreeing to commit any of the above acts with Rudy Giuliani and/or others (18 USC 371).

Republican lawmakers, aides and strategists surveyed by CNBC’s John Harwood have uniformly treated Trump’s bribery — asking for foreign interference in our presidential elections again — as an inconvenience, some annoyance which will blow over.

None of the elected Republicans so far have been willing to live up their oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. The only elected Republican to do so had to leave the GOP because he believed impeachment hearings were warranted.

Voters can’t forget this at the polls: our democracy and the Constitution are inconveniences to the Republican Party.

162 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    Threatening elected officials, threatening the whistleblower, threatening the press, and claiming that he’s not going to leave office at any time.

    • e.a.f. says:

      he isn’t planning to leave office. he thinks he can do what Putin did and Erdogen and some of those other boys. he is like a child whose bad behaviour has never been dealt with. Children are frequently sent to their room by their parents, but don’t go, they just continue doing what they’re doing. For all that trump has done, there have not been any repercussions. He has no intention of giving up that office, until he can install one of his children Like what exactly is Congress or anyone going to do, if he is impeached or looses the election and refuses to go/ Who is going to go in and arrest him? It isn’t for nothing he is over ruling the military courts and granting whatever he is granting to military criminals. The military is under his control. this is the test and he will not leave the W.H.
      A democracy works because people at some level agree they have a set of rules and they all play with those rules. the first one is, loose the election and you leave. He won’t and what exactly can any one do, if he declares himself president for another 4 years>

      • cavenewt says:

        “A democracy works because people at some level agree they have a set of rules and they all play with those rules.”

        And now we’re finding out what happens when somebody completely flaunts the rules. I hope we manage to extricate ourselves before it’s too late. I’m really afraid that everything is riding on John Roberts and his desire to leave a respectable legacy.

    • William C McCammon says:

      How about this revolutionary idea, in politics, and indeed in the Presidency, does anyone actually think that there’s actually EVER been a President who hasn’t uttered the phrase “can you do us a favor?”

  2. Eureka says:

    That Harwood thread’s got some sick content, which may or may not be factually correct but certainly is not morally so:

    strategist #6 “more difficult, but I don’t think so yet. Senate will keep dodging. No way anyone defects on the House side right now. “Both sides will keep watching polls. We’ll see if today moves anything. i suspect it will but not by a significant margin”

    lawmaker #3 “No. I think the attitude is, so what? “Sondland did his best to protect the President. over half the Dems were for Impeachment before the whistleblower. people see what they want This is still too complicated for average person to understand. But follow the polls”

    I do wonder the average person’s understanding. The pace is fast and a lot of important details are like inside-baseball. I start the day watching a local broadcast network to see what general punditry says outside of cable news, but they (ABC in today’s case) cut away before hearings are finished so I end up elsewhere.

    I don’t even know what the future plans are. If there’s been an announcement, it’s passed my attention.

    Thanks for rooting things back in the plain, clear facts.

    • Rayne says:

      I just wanted to vomit reading Harwood’s thread. The rot in the Republican Party is complete, the metastasis thorough. It is a zombie organism which hasn’t produced any new thinking in two decades. It has doubled down on the original sins of this country — greed and xenophobia.

      What keeps me going is knowing something new and better is coming, but the path between burying what’s left of the GOP and birthing the new political reality is going to be incredibly rocky.

      Ad astra per aspera.

      • Eureka says:

        That’s a beautiful phrase, Rayne.

        The image atop the wiki also reminds me of the many special moons we had in 2018.

        We are up to the challenge.

      • Ruthie says:

        Are you hopeful that our fellow citizens will recognize the extent of Trump’s corruption and the GOP’s complicity? If recent polls re: impeachment are to be believed, that seems doubtful at best, which makes me really fear the 2020 election.

        I know I probably come across as relentlessly negative, but that’s because in this situation I am! I just despair when I see polls like the ones that came out this week, with Trump beating several top Dems in Wisconsin.

        • Rayne says:

          I don’t think in terms of hope. I simply refuse to go out on my knees; I will stand and fight as long as I possibly can. And I don’t need negativity to get in my way.

          You’re also not paying attention to how badly Trump’s endorsement hurt Republicans like KY’s Gov. Bevin and LA’s gubernatorial candidate Rispone. Mississippi has structural problems (read: state governmental system entrenched in white supremacy) making it an exception.

          Try talking to GenZ voters. They aren’t despairing or jaded.

          • Yohei72 says:

            Yes, thanks for the reminder, Rayne.

            The Republican base has latched onto Trump because they know they’re losing (in the sense of their cultural privilege), and it drives them rabid with anger and fear.

            The Republican establishment has thrown in their lot with Trump in part because they know they’re losing (in the sense that demographic and cultural trends are rapidly turning against them at the voting booth) and they know this may be their last shot at tightening their grip on power before it slips through their fingers.

            I’ve been saying since the rise of the Tea Party, “These people are losing. The question is, How much damage will they do as they go down?” The scary part is that the last 3-4 years indicate to me that the answer is, “More than I suspected.”

        • Cathy says:

          Keep in mind polls are fickle.

          Try out some voter trends instead…a Brookings Institution analysis of the 2018 midterms notes that in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona Democrats won the cumulative state level House votes. Even in Texas “the 2016 presidential election D-R margin of -9.4 was reduced to just -3.5 in 2018. (” [#TurnTxBlue2022]

          And then recent election results suggest the word is out Trump has lost the secret sauce: In both Kentucky and Louisiana he failed to drag the GOP candidate across the finish line (

          Not all is darkness. 🙂

        • Arice says:

          Don’t despair about polls. Polls are a tool of propaganda just as much as they are a legitimate political tool. When someone is promoting a particular poll it’s because they WANT you to feel despair or fear or something of that sort.

          The 2020 election is a long way out.

        • Tracy Lynn says:

          Remember, at their best, polls are simply reflection of whatever is going on at any one time — they do change. I mean, after the 2008 election, Sarah Palin shot to the top of some polls as a front runner for the republican nomination for 2012. Where is she now?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I did well in 8th grade social studies – we covered Watergate and everything – but I must have missed the class that covered protecting the president as the standard for conduct in political office. Can we impeach a political party?

      The too complicated to follow meme is another concession to Trump’s inability to function, not to mention a fervent hope among those who want to keep their job without doing it.

      • P J Evans says:

        “Can we impeach a political party?”

        I don’t think so, but I wish, not for the first time in the last 10 years, that it could be hit with the RICO charges that it seems to deserve..

            • blueedredcounty says:

              I’m an engineer, not a lawyer, but I thought I read some time ago that the corporations formed for the political parties had to be spelled out as excluded from RICO. Otherwise they would by definition be illegal. I’m newer to the site and I haven’t seen the older posts, but is my memory correct bmaz? This is why it is never RICO?

    • KAL says:

      I consider myself an “average” person and don’t think I am more “exceptional” than other “average” person. I fully understand what is happening by watching the hearings, listening to those who provide analysis of events, and reading commentary on several sites (such as this one) where the issues are being discussed. I seek out those who are more in the know and closer to the subject than I so that I do have a better understanding. I like to think other “average” people are doing the same, given the import of the events taking place.

      • Eureka says:

        Maybe that was too charitable to the GOP (and “lawmaker #3”), but I interpreted “average” as the amount of time one is able to spend fact-finding — watching hearings, reading reports and documents, and so forth — as in the average person with work and family demands amidst this dense flurry of info and the quick-digest propaganda to counter it. (And I assume the Senate trial will be based in large part on propagandized talking points.)

        That’s why I appreciate(d) Rayne’s grounding post: the inside-baseball that I and others may have missed, and upon which the GOP routinely launches their nuttery, can’t escape that “favor though.”

        Most people I know did not have time to watch the hearings, for example — in that regard, I consider myself unrepresentative of the general population for having watched the amount that I did. Of necessity, a lot of people will have to rely on their local news broadcasts and newspapers, too. I think that the interest level of, for example, readers of this site is also unrepresentative of the general population.

      • Mylie Cottingham says:

        I’ve been watching the hearings closely, but not one of my family members has. Neither has anyone at my place of employment. In fact, there are three radios in three different locations at my office/shop blaring Limbaugh and Hannity all day long every day. So that’s “average” in my locale (South Dakota).

  3. The Hang Nail says:

    The GOP is going all in. They will use the Senate trial to put the Bidens and the DNC on trial. It won’t take much for them to convince themselves that they were right all along and thus, Trump was justified to pressure Zelensky. If they find out, for example, that Joe said one word more than , “I hope you know what you are doing”, they will claim victory. Never mind that all they have is weak circumstantial evidence. Hypocrisy be damned, it’s enough for them to launch investigations. If you are not cynical yet just wait two months. We will all be checked out next year and the oligarchs will have their way with us.

    • Sundog says:

      I hadn’t thought about that, but I think you’re right. They are going to use the trial in the Senate to make it about Joe and Hunter Biden. I hope the Dems are smart enough to hold more hearings in the house during that time to show all of the GOP obstruction and cover ups. In fact, how about some hearings into Jarvanka and Jr.? I mean, if the GOP is so worried about executive branch offspring making money off their station, why not call them on it? I’ll bet we actually find wrong doing on the Trump side along with investigations quashed by Barr. The Dems need to call the GOPs bluff in that regard.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        The House has to force Bolton, Pompeo and Mulvaney to testify before they vote on impeachment. I would like to see if we already lost the Republic by making the SCOTUS speak on the unitary executive.

        Our forefathers gave their lives for the Constitution, but the Party that embraced that document have seemingly decided to throw it away for ???? God? Oligarchs? Weird.

        • francis burton says:

          Pelosi knows the rules. She has enough and will not make any legal moves that could be sent to SCOTUS. These guys can be called during the impeachment trial. John Roberts will be presiding

      • cavenewt says:

        … And the fact that the Bidens’ guilt, or lack thereof, is absolutely irrelevant to the impeachment will mean nothing? It will only serve to give cover to Republicans to vote against impeachment?

        As with so many things in Trumpland, it’s all about the optics, not the facts.

  4. Amped says:

    Investigative journalism is not a pure science. We rely on sources. The law is not pure, we rely on precident. As Ms Fiona said today, the line is blurred…law vs. the politic. We can quote law, precident, we can quote our first hand sources. Testimony of such…but does that change the alleged mind of the mass politic? The preponderance of evidence to the educated mind, would be enough to convict, no doubt. As investigators we run the chance of being wrong…led astray. Happens. As litigators…same thing. Lives are at stake…not just our egos. A choice you make…fix an engine, it blows up…your fault. Fix a law…now that is something. Move opinions with factual journalism…a powerful thing. So let me thank you, and all the commentators for what amounts to adult education, on the cheap. I got the boot for mentioning Louise M. We go back aways…writers. So, to the top…we try, not always correct. But I would no sooner disparage yourself or Bmaz, simply because we disagree.

  5. Mitch Neher says:

    Can a POTUS–any POTUS–hijack $391 million worth of US taxpayer money to buy (evidently) $391 million worth of opposition research from a foreign power to be used in a US election to smear that POTUS’ political opponent(s)?

    Would that be an impeachable offense if any other POTUS did it?

    Does anyone really have to prove that Trump knowingly, willfully and with criminal intent hijacked $391 million worth of US taxpayer money to buy derogatory information about Joe Biden from The Ukraine to be used for the express purpose of Trump winning reelection to a second term of office as POTUS?

    These are supposed to be strictly rhetorical questions. I swear. Why the hell aren’t they?

    • Cathy says:

      In the article Politico makes it sound as though they are getting specific info on plans to schedule an open hearing, but the closest the article gets to source attribution is

      “House leadership signaled the plans in court filings and oral arguments this week, as the Democrats’ attorneys fought to get McGahn’s testimony, as well as access to more of the evidence Mueller used to write his final report.”

      The focus of such a hearing?

      “Democrats say they have new Mueller-related fodder after Roger Stone’s recent trial raised questions about whether Trump provided false statements to the special counsel’s team.”

      • Cathy says:

        Unfortunately, the false statements tack earns EW’s skepticism in her post on Monday about the mistaken media excitement about Rick Gates’ testimony in that trial, in which she notes Trump’s written response on the topic

        “are very carefully crafted answers, as they disclaim any memory of the requested details rather than — ever — claiming they didn’t happen. Unlike Trump’s answers on Trump Tower Moscow, he did not subsequently make clear he has distinct memories of Roger Stone’s boasts about having advance knowledge of WikiLeaks releases, both publicly and in private calls with Trump. (”

        So are Democrats hopeful that they’ll get timely access to some info from McGhan that cracks open those “carefully crafted answers?”

  6. dadidoc1 says:

    The Hunter Biden board seat with Burisma is unseemly at best. Why don’t the Dems man up and do a proper investigation. The guy has zero credentials to have a paid board seat on any corporation, but for his last name.

      • dadidoc1 says:

        You are correct. I should have said that they should have gone full on Fiona Hill. Man up is just not forceful enough.

        • Rayne says:

          You know why the GOP didn’t go ‘full on’ Fiona Hill?

          Because she’d already handed them their asses.

          The GOP committee members were leaving the room as she testified because they needed to preserve the ability to say, “We didn’t hear anything that merited impeachment.”

          Kind of tough to ‘man up’ when they’ve lost their ass and they can’t find find their tiny man-bits without black pepper and tweezers.

          • Greg Hunter says:

            Larry, Curly and Moe from Ohio are the worst. It is sad that I actually have to hate more than 1/2 the people I graduated with due to their support of these jackwagons.

            Ohio does not send there best, but they represent what the electorate in power want, basically to own the libs, even though it is fracturing society.

            • Rayne says:

              If I had to guess the real problem, it’s that not enough Ohioans want to run for these offices AND your neighbors reflexively vote Republican. That’s what it’s like here in Michigan, my district included.

              I’m annoyed at the dumb-as-a-fencepost GOP milquetoast who reps us while voting lockstep with Trump, but thankful he isn’t a sexual-abuse-ignoring Gym Jordan or bloviating Mike Turner. We could do far better but no Dem wants to run for this district. And I dare not because I would do something stupid like use pottymouth on the campaign trail if some right-wing asshole got in my face.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          dadidoc1 said, “‘[T]hey’ should have gone full on Fiona Hill. Man up is just not forceful enough.”

          1) Never go full retard, Brude.

          2) Dr. Hill would have made “them” soil themselves had “they” gone full [retard] on Fiona Hill.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Yep. Dr. Hill would have made mincemeat of them in open verbal combat. Probably in hand-to-hand, too. Goopers tend to follow Trump in all things.

            Dr. Hill has said, rightly, that her Oxbridge-bred English contemporaries would never have stopped making fun of her northern accent, and put a low ceiling on her career. She found much of what she wanted in her adopted country. Thankfully, she will defend it with more commitment than the entire Republican Party.

            • Mitch Neher says:

              She’s a keeper, for sure; Dr. Hill is. And she’s only 54 years old. I hope that Dr. Hill gets a second chance with a prime posting under the next Democratic administration. And Masha Yovanovich, too.

              Good behavior must be rewarded. Bad behavior, punished (within reason).

    • Rita says:

      What experience or credentials are required for a board seat in many corporations?

      Often it is family connection, connection to an important client, or famous name. Sometimes, like in the Biden case, it can also be that the person brings a valuable skill, in this case, a lawyer,

    • harpie says:

      If there were laws against “unseemly at best”, Javanka would be on the top of my list as requiring a “proper investigation.

    • Rayne says:

      Hey. Thanks for pushing the Russian narrative. We were fresh out of that crap around here.

      Ivanka Trump said she was going to shutter her business, but then received trademarks from China on products including voting machines.

      You know what? THAT is fucking unseemly and worse. Why voting machines? Is this a signal affirming China has permission to fuck with our elections?

      Eric Trump said only last month, “the difference between us and Hunter is when my father became commander-in-chief of this country, we got out of all international business, right?”

      Except that’s an outright lie — the Trumps have made millions of dollars overseas since Trump was inaugurated.

      And the Trumps have profited from foreign businesses and governments right here in the U.S., one particular example being the Trump hotel in the old Washington DC post office.

      THAT’S fucking unseemly and emoluments violations to boot. The unseemly part isn’t that the sons made money in overseas business but that the entire family lies about it, they’ve lied about control of the Trump org assets, Trump uses the White House to promote Trump org businesses, and Trump has made decisions as executive which are far too closely aligned with specific activities of domestic and foreign customers who’ve bought something of value from the Trump org.

      I mean, Trump Towers Istanbul and the sell-out of the Kurds. Get a fucking grip if you can’t see the problem.

      Clearly you have no idea that the EU as well as the US — you know, the countries which are inconveniently most of NATO to Putin’s displeasure — had problems with Ukraine’s corruption under Poroshenko (whose corrupt image Manafort was hired to rehab) and predecessor Yanukovych (convicted of treason by Ukraine after he fled the country). It wasn’t just then-VP Joe Biden insisting Ukraine clean up its business culture. Hunter Biden’s acceptance of a seat with Burisma was also reviewed at the time and seen as a non-issue because Hunter was and is a private citizen.

      Now fuck off with this crap.

      • Bobby Gladd says:

        Great post, great comment. I have the queasy feeling today after watching all of the hearings that Trump is gonna get away with all of this, extensive incriminating facts and evidence be damned.

        I would love to be wrong.

      • P J Evans says:

        Eric’s wrong about at least one thing in that statement: his father is CinC of the US military, not the country. For a lot of us, he’s an unwanted criminal in the WH.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Unseemly and untypical are not the same thing. Hunter Biden’s board seat was garden variety influence peddling. A hybrid of nepotism, it can be found in political and business gardens worldwide. It spreads quickly and is the dominant ground cover in some gardens. Eradicating it would depopulate half the world’s capitals.

      Unseemly, but a small scar in a landscape of corruption. Pursuing Hunter Biden would be tending to a sliver in the midst of a plague epidemic.

    • 200Toros says:

      You might want to check out the board membership of a few American companies; you’re in for a rude awakening…

      • Grizzly92 says:

        Long time reader, first time reply. This has been a thorn in my side as an investor for many years. Just check out the former BOD of the billion dollar fraud Theranos. Corporate governance is a problem that desperately needs to be addressed in our own country.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, this is exactly right. And, hey, sometimes it makes sense to get a “name” on the board. Theranos is a particular problem example of too many “names” and no one with technical knowledge.

          Also, hi Grizzly92, welcome to the comments, and please participate more often. It is a good thing, and we excel with more and valuable voices in the mix.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        You’ll have to wake them up first. Many of them so cooperate with their CEO, it’s as if they only wake up when instructed to vote, Yes.

        • P J Evans says:

          I ended up with three hundred-plus shares of corporate stock via my 401(k). I voted in a couple of the corporate-meeting elections, but quit when the board made it clear that they consider shareholder votes to be advisory, regardless of the vote count.

          • 200Toros says:

            Yep, votes only count for large shareholders. And the only corporate mission is, for far too many companies – make the stock go up.

            That’s it.

            • P J Evans says:

              This one is a utility company, so the shares are fairly stable (and good investments). But they’ve been replacing women in management and on the board with men, and too many of them are higher-dividend/lower-cost types. (Which means that maintenance and operations get the short end.)

    • Stephen says:

      Um – because that is totally irrelevant to the matter at hand? In other words: sure, open all the investigations you want, just keep them separate. Hunter may belittle better than Eric or Javanka but their shenanigans have nothing to do with the abuse of power by POTUS.

    • cavenewt says:

      Back to the original question. I’m not as well-versed as the rest of you in the deeper aspects of this, but it seems to me:
      1. Announcing a Biden investigation would be doing exactly what Trump wanted Ukraine to do, providing headline fodder for the base.
      2. If the Bidens are found innocent, Republicans would just claim it was an illegitimate investigation.

  7. Fran of the North says:

    Perhaps the wind blows from a new direction?

    20 minutes (call it 9:15 Eastern) ago Steve Inskeep from NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed LA’s Congressman Mike Johnson. Rather than allow Johnson to spew talking points unchallenged, Inskeep kept calmly correcting the questions and asking VERY pointed questions.

    Take a listen if you can. While frustrating to hear the dissembling and obfuscation, it is heartening to hear someone actually have a spine and ask tough questions.

    If the rest of the press starts adding 2 + 2, perhaps the falsehoods can be exposed and the truth will spread. You can find the stream at NPR dot org.

    • Greg Hunter says:

      Yes it was and Steve made sure he got in the last word. I think we need to remember that it is not Congress that is the problem, it is the voters that refuse to understand that we are actually throwing away the rule of law. It seems suicidal to be so short sighted.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think that’s victim blaming, nor is it that black and white. Moscow Mitch and Paul Ryan have a lot to answer for, as does Trump. If the IC community is correct – that Russia worked hard to help elect Trump – he is president only because he cheated. And he’s planning to do it again.

        • e.a.f. says:

          of course he is. Russia still wants him as president. there is a lot of money for the russian oligarchs to make. expect facebook to comply with any requests the republicans and trump make. russia will be able to run all the scams they want. more career employees with be fired and replaced by “party” people, just like in the U.S.S.R and China. Putin is out to destroy the U.S.A. and he needs trump to help him. things have not ended nor will an election help. before this is all over, I do expect the republicans to try to charge not only Clinton but Obama.

          I believe i gave the wrong email address on prior comments. my apologies.

    • BobCon says:

      I was surprised to hear it that bluntly — NPR has been a bastion of NY Times-style both sides narratives.

      I suspect there has been a lot of unhappiness brewing beneath the surface at NPR between old guard types and people wanting more honest reporting, similar to the generational fight that is happening at the NY Times. NPR reporters finally started calling Trump racist on air this summer, over the objections of their VP for diversity, while Dean Baquet still fights against using that label.

      Related to the NPR-NY Times management brain freeze, Michael Oreskes, former senior editor at the NY Times and NPR is in the news again. Oreskes was ousted from NPR after management finally acknowledged his history of harrassment, and last year took a job at LaCorte News, founded by former Fox News exec Ken LaCorte. LaCorte evidently killed the network’s reporting on Trump and Stormy Daniels.

      The NY Times has just released a pretty chilling backgrounder on LaCorte News, under the headline “A Former Fox News Executive Divides Americans Using Russian Tactics”

      Oreskes, before he was canned at NPR, was the architect of the network’s policy of refusing to report that Trump was lying, basing it on the specious dodge of a narrow reading of a dictionary definition. Baquet, by the way, is still enforcing a general policy of refusing to call Trump a liar in the news pages.

  8. sand says:

    I would like to take the “2 + 2 = 4” soundbite from the Sondland hearing and pound it on the GOP for a few days. Also Hill’s “false Russian narrative” phrase, which does an excellent job describing most of the timeline and interpretation lies told by the GOP. Can we get some Republicans on the Sunday shows to try to defend their nonsense and put their wilfull ignorance on display? If so, they need to be consistently brought back to the idea that there’s no reasonable interpretation of Trump’s actions that is defensible.

    Soundbite politics is no fun, but it may be the best way to move the needle on anyone who may be wavering on the propriety of Trump’s actions. Here are my simple examples:

    R: Trump said he didn’t want anything from Zel.
    D: C’mon, he put the aid on hold then told Zel he’d have to do him a favor. 2+2=4.

    R: We don’t know that he put it on hold.
    D: Testimony was that OMB put it on hold at Mulvaney’s specific direction from Trump. Trump blocked Mulvaney’s testimony. 2+2=4.

    R: Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
    D: The intelligence community conclusively proved it was Russia. You’re peddling a false Russian narrative. Stop it.

    R: Ukraine is corrupt, and Trump just wanted to check them out.
    D: Trump was working with the corrupt parties in Ukraine to undermine anti-corruption efforts. You’re peddling a false Russian narrative. Stop it.

    I’m no politico, but I suggest pounding back on the Republican attempts to confuse people with simple arguments.

    • Beryl says:

      The arguing point of the GOP saying that Ukraine is a corrupt country drives me up the wall. If this is such a corrupt country, why do they also use it’s president as support for Trump. Like, hey, the president of this hella corrupt country says Trump didn’t do anything wrong isn’t really the most solid defense in my opinion.

      (back to lurking in the shadows. I love this site!)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Exactly. If Zelensky were that corrupt, his investigation of Biden would have no propaganda value. Trump’s problem is that his principal lieutenants and many who follow him are corrupt.

        Your screen name reminds me of the Beryl Coronet. Please, de-lurk often.

  9. Pete T says:

    I’d like to see a collaborative effort here, perhaps starting with an open post, whereby the article(s) of impeachment are outlined in detail leading to a drafting of the core article(s) (by EW authors if not Marcy herself) to include the supporting evidence referenced. It seems to me that from some of Marcy’s comments this week that important aspects of the case never came up or were not fully fleshed out. Who has a better command of the detail facets and can thread the together than Marcy. No one I know of.

    • 200Toros says:

      Rayne has been working on that actually, but it’s a near-impossible task, since, as she says, the orange hell-beast keeps committing impeachable offenses on a daily basis!

  10. PeterS says:

    Articles of Impeachment.

    1, Bribery: the WH meeting for Biden investigations. 

    2, Obstruction of justice: withholding evidence about the hold on security assistance.

    The hold on security assistance can’t go in 1 because of lack of evidence – evidence deliberately withheld- hence 2.

    Keep it simple.

    • bmaz says:

      Whut? Please, do tell why far more should not be charged, were that available under current (and wrong) DOJ guidelines (which it is obviously not). And also explain what that has to do with impeachment parameters. A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

      Also, too, since there will never be a senate conviction and removal, how about we play and explain out all the offenses of Trump instead of just limited baloney?

      • cavenewt says:

        I’m afraid the Democrats might want to keep it short for a couple of reasons. First, to keep it simple so us simple-minded mere mortals can understand it. Second, so as not to take too much time away from campaigning for their bevy of presidential hopefuls.

        Both of those reasons I find terribly disappointing.

        This man (I can’t bring myself to call him our president) commits crimes regularly. Many of them were detailed, with court-worthy evidence, in the Mueller Report. I’ll bet the Democrats won’t want to bring that up because the simple-minded mere mortals think the Mueller Report was debunked. I saw his administration described today as “criminal syndicate”. Sounds about right.

    • Rayne says:

      The impeachment process, which belongs solely to the House, is the equivalent of a grand jury and subsequent indictment. But because it’s not a judicial process, it doesn’t require a codified crime. Former federal prosecutor De La Vega explains it simply:

      The abuse of power is a ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ (technically speaking, a ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ is whatever the House says it is).

      And I feel strongly the campaign finance violation should be included; Trump is in the White House because of campaign finance violations, is trying to cheat the 2020 election with campaign finance violations, and history should know that we saw this for what it is and it needs to be treated as serious offense against the republic.

      • Cathy says:

        “…history should know that we saw this for what it is and it needs to be treated as serious offense against the republic. (@Rayne)”

        I’d like to think that’s why Speaker Pelosi changed her mind about impeachment. That she has this in common with Dr. Hill: “We can’t let this stand.”

      • Scott says:

        But the Senate convicts or acquits and we all know the fix is in. You’re stuck with your corrupt POTUS for at least 5 more years.

        • Rayne says:

          “you’re” and “your” tell me you don’t have any skin in the game. Let me check…yup, you’re a Canadian.

          We have an election in 2020. We also have a sick old man in the White House. The next five years are a crap shoot, but the fact more than half this country’s voters didn’t vote for that sick old man AND there is a groundswell of anger driving a sustained blue wave suggests the crap shoot may not be all that random come November 2020.

          I suggest you focus on your own backyard because what’s going on here will spread. Just look at Brexit and Boris fucking Johnson — it’s the same forces driving US and UK into crises which are beginning to work on Canada. And don’t tell me Canada doesn’t have problems with race or misogyny that can’t be used against it as social wedges.

          • Mitch Neher says:

            Trump will not stop abusing the power of the office of the president so long as he holds that office. The day after the Republican Senate acquits Trump of abuse of power etcetera, Trump will immediately abuse power all over again and again.

            Trump is an incorrigible recidivist driven by forces beyond his control to tempt fate with so many Bronx cheers until he finally meets The Fates face to face.

            IOW, there’s plenty of time left on the calendar for voters to get damned mad and stop taking it anymore.

          • rntaylor says:

            I am Canadian and I agree with you 100%. Our countries are so closely tied together that what happens to you will happen to us. What your Country is going through right now scares the living “s–t” out of me. I have two young grand kids and I worry about what kind of screwed up world my generation is leaving behind.

    • pjb says:

      I really do not understand why anyone who presumably wants to see justice done and the truth to be known who says the House should just button up the Ukraine bribery/extortion scheme and send it to the Senate for prompt burial.

      If you think it a foregone conclusion the Senate will hold an acquittal with a brief mini-trial staged first (which I actually don’t, opinion is fluid and nothing is foregone) or that the Senate is planning to put on a play based on a work of fiction involving Joe Biden, It seems clear that a purpose of the House proceeding (in addition to their Constitutional duty of course) must be to educate the electorate as to what this guy is actually doing in his official function so they have a factual basis for their vote in November.

      So, lay it all out there (without getting bogged down and boring people). Who knows, maybe we will get some favorable Court rulings in the meantime.

      • TXphysicist says:

        Exactly. There’s no reason for the House to punt this out the door when almost every hour (certainly true tonight) brings another piece of evidence that implicates Trump or his enablers. Keep hammering each new revelation, linking it to the greater narrative, and see whether or not public opinion moves. Hold more hearings. Get Parnas, like, Monday, after negotiating with SDNY. Then call Nunes to the stand. Issue public statements. Go on a PR circuit that actually includes Fox News, where all of the talking heads can be destroyed by anyone knowledgeable on the facts surrounding Trump’s treason.

        The worm turned on Wednesday with Sondland, keep the momentum going with the House inquiry.

    • sand says:

      In addition to any other offenses, I’d like to see Trump’s articles of impeachment include the details for which Bill Clinton was impeached, considering that he committed these offenses. If Senators can be asked to rule on each detailed offense, then this would create a clear historical record of the expected hypocrisy. Articles excerpted from and lightly edited below.

      In his conduct while President of the United States . . . in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of the President . . . has . . . undermined the integrity of his office . . . betrayed his trust as President . . . and acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law by:
      – willfully corrupting and manipulating the judicial process of the United States for his personal gain and exoneration
      – willfully committing perjury by providing false and misleading testimony to the [Special Counsel, in relation to his campaign’s interactions with foreign nationals]
      – willfully committing perjury by providing false and misleading testimony to the [Special Counsel] in relation to prior perjurious testimony []
      – allowing his attorney to make false and misleading statements in the same [] action [and in subsequent congressional investigations]
      – attempting to influence witness testimony and slow the discovery of evidence in that [] action [and in subsequent congressional investigations]

      Has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice by:
      – encouraging a witness to give a perjurious affidavit
      – encouraging a witness to give false testimony if called to the stand
      – allowing and/or encouraging the concealment of subpoenaed evidence
      – attempting to sway a witness testimony by providing a job for that witness
      – allowing his attorney to make misleading testimony
      – giving false or misleading information to influence the testimony of a potential witness []
      – giving false or misleading information to influence the testimony of a witness in a grand jury investigation [and in congressional investigations]

  11. 200Toros says:

    Does anyone know if at any time during the hearings, Dems rolled tape of trump calling for both the Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens, while standing on the WH lawn? Seems to be the perfect answer to the many, many times Repub reps tried to say it was about Corruption, had absolutely nothing, zero, to do with Biden. A point which I’m sad to say I’ve heard MAGAts repeat many times since. As good cult members are wont to do.

    A side effect of trump – it unmasks the idiots around you, who were hiding in plain sight.

  12. PSWebster says:

    Schiff is too smart to fall for a rush to a vote with the Repubs clearly signaling they want it to shut things down, to clear the air and show how fair they are. Schiff is perhaps smarter than Fiona Hill but not by much..Christ she was great with her diplomatic ripostes to the snarly queries for the last 3-5 minute repubs maligning statements. That focking doctor got his balls nailed and was “proper fucked” with her beautiful response.
    Schiff’s last two closings were inspirational. Love that guy.
    Oh: Trump went on a one hour rant on Fox this am and even Fox was questioning him: are you sure of that Mr. President? The worm is turning.

    • P J Evans says:

      Quite a few people are pointing out that he was very, very loud on that call, so it’s entirely believable that Sondland’s lunch companions could hear everything that Trmp said.

      • Cathy says:


        Was it Ratcliffe trying to sell the idea that if the entire lunch call wasn’t overheard then none of it could have been overheard, suggesting that overhearing just the part about Ukraine was too convenient to be true?

        How about, if we accept Sondland as a hapless braggard, then I’d buy that he’d takes pains to let the whole call be overheard.

        But if we think of him as a dealmaker, in light of Trump’s ongoing interest in Ukraine he might want to establish a position there of legitimacy independent of Guiliani and used the phone call to that end.

        He’d just done an end run around the Embassy in his meeting with the Ukrainians that morning and the lunch was an opportunity for relationship-building with staff that might come in useful to him in the future. If he was deliberately using the call as a way demonstrate his dominance (“Hey – just so you know – I work for your boss’ boss’ boss’ boss”), then the only piece he needed his lunch mates to hear was the bit that ultimately concerned them: Ukraine.

  13. Scott says:

    The GOP jury though will spin those facts into “less than impeachable” in nature. So the point is somewhat moot.

    • Rayne says:

      Look, Canuck, our Constitution says impeachment is solely a power of the House, not the Senate. The Senate conducts a trial and votes to convict or not based on its trial.

      If you want to say the GOP’s senators aren’t like to convict Trump, fine — but the Senate doesn’t impeach or make determination as to what is or isn’t impeachable.

  14. Terry Mroczek says:

    Thanks EW for highlighting the fact that all of Trump’s actions were intended to result in defrauding the American people. I don’t think this gets enough coverage.
    Per the testimony I saw, he wanted a public statement from Z to point to and say, “Look, the Bidens are corrupt. They are being investigated by Ukraine.” And all of us would have thought that Ukraine found some probable cause, not knowing it was orchestrated by him, and he forced Ukraine’s hand through the intervention of his personal lawyer and a cadre of people inside and outside of government. The fact that Ukraine never did announce any investigations even after they got the money is proof that they were being forced into doing something that had no merit.
    If we are to be a democracy, we must have the truth as we consider who to vote for. We must have transparency. Good and accurate information is essential to good decisions. Bad and false information leads to bad decisions Otherwise, our democracy is a sham and sadly, that is the overall message that Putin wants the world to believe about democracy.
    Just my humble opinion.

  15. Doug C says:

    I’m tempted to think the rapid impeachment process might not provide enough time for public opinion to catch-up. The Watergate investigations and hearings lasted for several years and the change in public opinion was glacial. I realize the rapid pace is designed to overwhelm the competing narratives and disinformation campaigns, but now that the hearings are over, the disinformation will continue to be amplified while the facts fade from memory. The house could send to the Senate one article of impeachment for bribery, and then, while that trial is under way in the senate, continue to hold public hearings for a second article of impeachment for obstruction, to be sent to the Senate after the first trial.

    • Geoff says:

      short version : Dem leadership is f-ing it up. If we don’t force the courts to deal with the subpoenas, it’s a total fail. Rushing this through is what I always worried Pelosi would do, since she didnt want to deal with it in the first place. If her strategy is to rush this, then have Biden be the candidate, we are utterly screwed.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Dem leadership knows what parallel construction is. Is it unaware of parallel tracks? Have they no sense that an important investigation can proceed along them? They do, yet they stubbornly eat their peas with a knife, when a fork sits comfortably beside their plate.

    • Dude says:

      Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo ran an article today–“Read This” which is a letter from a former AUSA–which suggests there may be a method to what the Dems are doing by heading staight into the Senate without having a court decision on their subpoenas. I am not a lawyer and this synopsis isn’t precise, but I gather idea is this: Justice Roberts is the presiding judge in a Senate impeachment trial, and he would likely allow the Dems to call for relevant testimony from witnesses. The impeachment rules (the writer says) allow only one other choice—to let the Senate vote on whether to allow or disallow relevant witnesses to testify. The AUSA speculates the latter course would be embarrassing for the Senate Republicans and invite some ugly debate. So the Dem Senators may get their witnesses called in an impeachment without waiting for the normal courts outside the Senate to rule on the original subpoenas.


      • Arj says:

        For the lawyers, please: can the Senate compel testimony in that event – more effectively than the House subpoenas currently in question?

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Several sites are reporting that Trump and key GOP Senators have been meeting to go over impeachment strategy, leading to Trump’s newfound optimism and his demand that Moscow Mitch hold a “real” trial for him in the Senate.

    Presumably, that’s because Donald has been assured he has the votes to win, regardless of the facts that come out at trial. So much for disinterested Republican jurors not wanting to prejudge a case before they hear it. I wish I could sneeze bullshite in writing. It’s such a perfect response.

  17. RWood says:

    “The GOP wants people to forget Trump used his office for the purposes of campaign work — while not a Hatch Act violation, certainly an abuse of office.”

    IANAL, but doesn’t that violate 18 U.S. Code § 607, “Place of solicitation” ?

    (How you lawyers remember all this is beyond me, its worse than pediatric drug dosages.)

  18. Molly Pitcher says:

    So apparently, Trump went on Fox this morning and was slamming Ambassador Yovanovitch again. He was howling about her in part because she refused to hang his portrait in the Embassy.

    “The ambassador, the woman, she wouldn’t even put up my picture in the embassy,” he said. “This was not an angel, this woman…This was not a baby that we’re dealing with.”

    Daily Beast, WaPo, Newsweek, Politico, et al. say that it was 57 min of extra unhinged ranting. So much so that even the Fox lapdogs were trying to push back a bit.

    I am looking forward to some football and alcohol and family and some more alcohol and some alcohol next week. I have moral outrage fatigue.

    • 200Toros says:

      Refusing to put up a picture of Dear Leader on the wall should certainly get you fired, and worse.

      In North Korea.

      • P J Evans says:

        They had pics of himself, Pence, and someone else (Secretary of State, I think) put up, like all the other embassies. Himself was told that lie by someone who is trying to cause trouble. He’s too stupid to know that it is a lie.

    • harpie says:

      8:20 AM – 22 Nov 2019

      I was in charge of the US embassy in London for much of Trump’s first year. We didn’t hang his picture either. Why? It took the WH almost 15 months to get official photos sent to embassies to hang. And we were instructed not to print other photos.

      7:52 AM – 22 Nov 2019

      A person connected to Amb. Marie Yovanovich’s legal team, to @NBCNews’s @GeoffRBennett:
      “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State as soon as they arrived from Washington, DC.”

      • Cathy says:

        “Himself was told that lie by someone who is trying to cause trouble. (@P J Evans)”

        Trying to cause trouble or (LOL) trying to C their A for not getting portraits out earlier (after convincing Himself he didn’t want the gov’t to use the TIMES magazine covers after all).

    • sand says:

      I think Trump is confused. The picture that Yovanovitch refused to hang was not the official photo. It was a painting of himself that he bought at a Mar-a-Lago auction. She didn’t want to hang it up in the embassy because she wanted to make sure it was used for a charitable purpose. I hear it’s hung in a home for retired prostitutes in Kyiv with a sign that says, “Please be aware that STD testing is offered free of charge.”

  19. Vince says:

    Dr. Hill versus the Congressional Repubs, courtesy Hall & Oates:

    (Oh-oh, here she comes)
    Watch out boys, she’ll chew you up
    (Oh-oh, here she comes)

  20. aliris says:

    I’m almost an “average person” out here; at the least you-all’s sharp understanding of what’s going on always blows me away and leaves me speechless. And grateful. So I want to chime in possibly to counter the very cynical and hopeless stretch of this thread that started last night (evening of the good Doctor’s testimony).

    I found Fiona Hill’s testimony finally explained it to me. I’m not so dumb as to not have gotten “it” in some sense all along, of course (the outrage on so many fronts of DJT). But I didn’t really. She absolutely crystallized it. And I think it’s possible she may have for others too. I guess … it has to be said I’m not “average” enough to be part of the crowd who needs reaching. But I am of average ignorance about history and legalities and even, seemingly, morality (that part requires a lawyers sharp delineation of right and wrong that I think a lot of “average” people, like me, just cannot see).

    I agree with sand’s “2+2=4” post. That’s the level this needs to be broadcast. And not in reduced form as suggested by others above and notably, among Dem leadership. “Average” people are plenty real enough to hold a heap of “yeah-buts” in store; and there just needs to be the overwhelming cascade of responses ready. There’s double-strategic need for this, denial is like telomeres just doubling at random – the “yeah-buts” are like sharks teeth just waiting to fill in the gap: more and more and more and more. And the double-strategic bit is that the R’s work overtime to furnish ever more of these to the masses operating in denial: there’s a need for “yeah-buts”, a will to use them and a factory churning them out.

    Meanwhile there is an overwhelming set of “2+2=4″s so I agree it would be very helpful for the smart, sharp people from EW here to generate them. Molded by the impeachment articles; the rest of us need them. Please generate more. Lay them in a pile the way a quilt is constructed – simple pieces, molded for stitching together at the end.

    Here’s some more (I’m not good at this):

    R: There’s no proof POTUS exerted pressure.
    D: Zel canceled the scheduled press conference – after and only after the aid was released. The presser was cancelled because the need to fulfil DJT’s “favor” was obviated: the money had been released. The pressure was off. 2+2=4. [You lawyers: make this better! Imagine you are talking to the plainest of juries. I know you can do this well!!!!!!!]

    R: Politicians ask for favors all the time, politics is all scratching your back so mine will get scratched too.
    D: The backs scratched in international politics are the backs of country’s interests. Not personal interests. You can’t mix these up. And when you do, that’s using governmental affairs to do personal business – that’s an abuse of power, and violation of the oath of office (i.e., treason). We elect public officials to do the PUBLIC’s business. Using state tools of persuasion (the people’s tax money) to extract a personal favor is against why we elected the politician. [Lawyers: I used 50 words here!!!! You need to make this 12 please!]

    ….etc. This stuff like sand did above is really, really good (imho). Please yall do it better.

    BUT … what was so great about Hill’s testimony and I think just may with time flip “average” people like me, if the tie-in to Russia, elections, elections meddling, and the point that that was then, sure — but this is now and up-coming. This is what in-process meddling looks like.

    D: OK, Russia interfered with our elections. We’re all over that now, right?
    R: No. This is what elections-interference in 2020 looks like in real time. This is what it looks like when it is happening again. 2+2=4.

    D: Wait, what is: I don’t see any elections interference.
    R: The POTUS wandering over the WH front lawn, using the bully pulpit of his day-job to suggest foreign powers keep his personal campaign affairs in the investigative lime-light. For China, etc, to investigate the Bidens, would be elections interference. That’s bad enough. For the POTUS to exert the pressure of his governmental position to call for it – that’s abuse. 2+2=4. [again, lawyers do this way better; I know you can. Max 20 words].

    R: I don’t care about the Ukraine. America first and all those Eastern-European (satellite USSR) countries are cess pools anyway; who can see through it (pox on em all).
    D: The enemy of your enemy may be your friend. Russia is your enemy. They have been for a long while. They still are: most recently they undermined democracy’s sacred One Vote in USA elections. They are not your friend. Russia cares about the Ukraine; you don’t have to. But they do. They want the Crimea because it is important for their oil and energy needs. Even though there was a treaty that said they would not, they went ahead and stole that piece of land for themselves. Ukrainians are dying while defending it right now. That’s what this is all about. Our enemy is aggressively taking land that they said (that we made them say) they would not do. This is not in America’s interest. 2+2=4.

    D: I still don’t care about Ukrainia [is this a word?].
    R: But Russia does. And Russia is your enemy. Russia has been destroying America from within (in part) because of the Ukraine. By furthering the idea that Ukrainia, not Russia, is responsible for elections interference, this makes us bicker over whether the Ukraine, which owns the land Russia wants, is worth defending. If Ukrainia is “bad” then we’ll just let Russia take that land. But it’s a lie that the Ukraine is “bad”: they didn’t interfere in our elections, Russia did. Our Russian enemy is pushing that lie – it serves Russia’s interest. America’s interest is to support our allies against aggressors. 2+2+2=6.

    R: How to know that election interference is Russia’s doing and not Ukraine’s. Fingering Russia is a Dem party political line.
    D: The professionals from 17 US governmental agencies are in agreement on this. They consider this matter indisputable.

    R: But if there were a deep state conspiracy against our country, this is what it would look like, 17 agencies aligned against our country’s true best interests.
    D: ?? – I don’t even know how to answer this but you-all will…. If there were a Russian conspiracy to undermine our country, this is what it would look like: our country’s citizens would challenge our country’s operations as not in our best interests. But is our country working against our best interest? How is it in America’s best interest to betray political allies? And how could you possibly get the hundreds or thousands of individuals from 17 separate agencies to agree on a conspiracy? Have you ever tried to throw a surprise birthday party for friends? These people are professional rivals – there is no collusion between those 17 agencies; there could never be. Life Happens.

    R: But it’s in Dem’s interest to say Russia interfered for DJT.
    D: Russia didn’t interfere for DJT. Russia interfered for Russia. It is in Russia’s interest to sow doubt among us – about our fellow citizens, about our elected officials, about Ukrainia, which Russia wants.

    THAT’S the piece that was an epiphany for me from Hill’s testimony. The goal is disinformation and uncertainty itself, not a specific outcome. I know this has been written of for decades now from within fiction to analysis. Hill’s testimony might just yet be a game-changer on that score. We’ll have to see.

    And I agree the polls I’ve seen are not asking the right questions … the elections have sure been answering them though.

    Please EW mavens – write, and answer more “2+2=4” super-simple points. Just not my bailiwick but it IS yours….

    • Cathy says:

      Nicely said. My household has definitely held a minority viewpoint in a deep-scarlet district. Often we thresh out the day’s political events, it seems, in order to have those thoughts ready for the onslaught at work the next day. Even just identifying fact v. gaslight on some minor point can turn a conversation. Lance a bit of The Dark.

  21. Pete T says:

    Thinking of moving to South Carolina just so I can vote against Lindsey Graham.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday requesting documents related to Joe Biden’s communications with Ukrainian officials. Graham’s inquiry focuses on any calls Biden may have had with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the firing of the country’s top prosecutor, or any calls that referenced Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Biden’s son Hunter sat on the board.

    Sorry Rayne, I really wanted to copy in the whole text – there isn’t much left. But I’m so pissed off.


  22. harpie says:

    Charges of Ukrainian Meddling? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says
    Moscow has run a yearslong operation to blame Ukraine for its own 2016 election interference. Republicans have used similar talking points to defend President Trump in impeachment proceedings.
    Nov. 22, 2019, 1:34 p.m. ET

    […] In a briefing that closely aligned with Dr. Hill’s testimony, American intelligence officials informed senators and their aides in recent weeks that Russia had engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election, according to three American officials. The briefing came as Republicans stepped up their defenses of Mr. Trump in the Ukraine affair. […]

    • harpie says:


      The Russian intelligence officers conveyed the information to prominent Russians and Ukrainians who then used a range of intermediaries, like oligarchs, [Deripaska is one] businessmen and their associates, to pass the material to American political figures and even some journalists, who were likely unaware of its origin, the officials said.

      That muddy brew worked its way into American information ecosystems, sloshing around until parts of it reached Mr. Trump, who has also spoken with Mr. Putin about allegations of Ukrainian interference. […]

    • harpie says:

      On the pending DOJ IG Report
      Russia Inquiry Review Is Said to Criticize F.B.I. but Rebuff Claims of Biased Acts
      A watchdog report will portray the pursuit of a wiretap of an ex-Trump adviser as sloppy, but it also debunks some accusations by Trump allies of F.B.I. wrongdoing.
      Nov. 22, 2019, 3:56 p.m. ET

      A thread by Kyle D. Cheney:
      1:03 PM – 22 Nov 2019

      The IG report coming out next month is expected to make no finding that COMEY, MCCABE or STRZOK acted on anti-Trump political bias in Russia probe, per NYT

      Per the Times, the IG report also indicates that MIFSUD is *not* an FBI informant and no evidence from CIA or Steele Dossier were used to open Russia probe — a claim Trump and allies have made for years.

      ANd lastly, per NYT, report is likely to show FBI officials exaggerated Steele’s track record of aiding previous FBI investigations. Will also conclude Carter Page FISA effort was flawed but not necessarily unjustified.

      Of this third claim, Marcy tweets:
      1:14 PM – 22 Nov 2019

      This is the one claim that seems really problematic. Steele’s info would not be used in any affidavit. It would be parallel constructed.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If the Dems have finished their impeachment investigation of Donald J. Trump, they are fucking nuts. Rather than convict Capone for massive tax evasion, they would charge him with the illegal sale of a few barrels of beer. The jurors of Chicago might disagree about whether that’s enough of a crime to send a good man to jail.

    “Apart from not getting a refund on your tickets, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

    • P J Evans says:

      Worse than that: the jurors have already decided they won’t vote to convict, regardless of the evidence.

      • Vince says:


        That’s why the strategic move would be to, as Rep Rashida Tlaib so eloquently put it, “Impeach the mother****er!”, but then NOT send the Articles over to the Senate. The constitution requires the Senate to act if they receive Articles of Impeachment, but does not require the House to forward them to the Senate.

        So he’d be impeached, but deprived of the exoneration he so desperately needs, so he can run around campaigning saying he was found not guilty and it was a witch hunt by the Dems all along.

        My brother posted a piece we both worked on laying this out over at DK:

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Democratic leadership seems determined that nothing will get in the way of the 2020 election, not this impeachment crap, and not attempts to keep Russia or anyone else from interfering with it.

    • aliris says:

      Precisely. That’s what i was thinking of all through Sondland’s testimony: “Yes! Guilty As Charged … so do me”? Like Kavanaugh throwing things back at Klobuchar, asking her if *she* had a drinking problem. A high-tech lynching rejoinder. Just Go Big. Enactment of the Big Lie.

  24. harpie says:
    7:36 PM – 22 Nov 2019

    BREAKING: State Department releases Ukraine documents to American Oversight Documents show links between Pompeo, Giuliani, Oval Office [link to docs]
    7:55 PM – 22 Nov 2019

    Breaking: On Friday evening, the State Department released nearly 100 pages of records in response to ethics watchdog group American Oversight’s lawsuit seeking a range of documents related to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. […]

    Exec Director of American Oversight Austin Evers: “We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this info to Congress. It reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”

  25. harpie says:

    Some military brass are taking a stand:
    10:40 AM – 23 Nov 2019

    Breaking via NYT: The secretary of the Navy and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if plans to expel a commando from the elite unit in a war crimes case are halted by Trump, administration officials said.

    10:55 AM – 23 Nov 2019

    Breaking via NBC: Military leaders hoping to keep the Secretary of the Navy from quitting lobbied Trump aboard Air Force One to stop intervening in the case of a Navy SEAL accused of murder, say five current and one former military and defense officials.

    • harpie says:

      It’s NOW being reported that [via Aaron Weisburd]:
      12:21 PM – 23 Nov 2019

      BREAKING: @USNavy Secretary Spencer did NOT threaten to resign over Trump tweet telling Navy to drop disciplinary proceeding against recently pardoned SEAL, but Spencer won’t stop proceeding because doesn’t consider tweet a Presidential order, Spencer just told me

      • harpie says:

        …but that’s not what the articles said, From the ABC article:

        […] Four officials familiar with Spencer’s thinking say he is strongly considering resigning and will do so if Trump signs a written order to end the Navy probe. He conveyed those feelings to Pentagon leaders on Thursday. […]

      • P J Evans says:

        That doesn’t mean that others haven’t said they’d resign. And it really is a bad idea to leave the guy in the SEALs – which Trmp of course doesn’t get.

        • harpie says:

          It sounds like they [maybe] have a “commitment” from Trump to not interfere further. [ie: with a written order]

Comments are closed.