Pat Cipollone Believes the Golden Rule Is for Chumps

The question and answer phrase of the Senate trial is far more interesting than the presentation of the cases. Both parties are obviously feeding their own side questions to rebut the other, or posing questions they think will make the other stumble (Chief Justice John Roberts has reportedly censored only one kind of question: any question that probes for the whistleblower’s name).

Later last night, the questioning became interesting for the whip count. There were a couple of questions posed by large numbers of Senators on record supporting Trump, including vulnerable swing state Senators like Martha McSally, Thom Tillis, and Cory Gardner, and it was interesting to see who else jumped on questions that obviously served only to suck up to Trump.

Over the course of several questions, there was a discussion on whether Roberts could rule on the appropriateness of witnesses or Executive Privilege. Pat Philbin argued that he could not, on EP (contrary to the rules), in response to which Schiff came back and said he could. Schiff argued that the Democrats would accept Roberts’ views without challenge. Jay Sekulow piped in to say Republicans would not. I keep thinking about how Roberts will be ruling on some of these issues on other appeals, and I think Schiff is playing to him on some questions as much as to the Senate.

Questions being asked by leaners (people like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, who have asked a number together, though it seems like Mitt Romney went from leaning to supporting questions) are of particular interest. At one point, Collins asked why the House didn’t include bribery in its articles. Hakeem Jeffries gave an answer that Collins visibly responded to by saying, “he didn’t answer my question,” but Schiff came in shortly after and did answer it, pointing out that all the elements of bribery are included in the abuse of power article. Collins also asked the President’s lawyers what Trump had done on corruption in Ukraine prior to last year, which Philbin didn’t answer and then, when the question was re-asked by Democrats, said he couldn’t answer because it’s not in the record (though he has relied on non-public information elsewhere).

Then there are the alarming answers. Alan Dershowitz was asked, after he argued that if the President thought something that benefitted him personally was good for the country, whether that extended to nuking democratic states because he believed his reelection was good for the country and he agreed in theory.

Pat Philbin answered a question about whether it was okay to accept dirt to win an election. He said it was.

I was most interested, however, in a response Sekulow gave to a question offered by Marco Rubio and others, people who presumably were just feeding softballs to strengthen the President’s argument. They referenced a claimed principle espoused by Dersh and Sekulow, wherein you should always imagine how it would feel if the other party were impeaching a president of your party on the same fact set, which was originally a way to excuse Dersh’s flip-flop on abuse of power and impeachment. Rubio and others asked where the limiting factors on this would be — basically an invitation to repeat what Trump’s lawyers have said in the past, that you shouldn’t impeach within a year of an election or some such thing. Except Sekulow would not offer general principles. Instead of referencing the election — the right answer to the softball question — he focused on the claimed uniqueness of this impeachment (which is bullshit in any case). In other words, given an opportunity to answer a question about principles that would adhere beyond this impeachment, Sekulow answered that his Golden Rule only applies ot this impeachment.

136 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sekulow admits what every congresscritter knows: there is No set of rules for the GOP, and a harsh set of rules for Democrats. Glad he made that clear.

  2. Badger Robert says:

    Is saying the President can do anything he believes is in his interest really a legal argument? A person can utter those sentences, but it negates the entire Constitution. I guess they think 2016 was the last Presidential election and the impeachment is a wake.

  3. Herringbone says:

    Alan Dershowitz was asked, after he argued that if the President thought something that benefitted him personally was good for the country, whether that extended to nuking democratic states because he believed his reelection was good for the country and he agreed in theory.

    Wait, what? Did Dershowitz say it would be okay to nuke blue states? Or is this snark?

    • Ruthie says:

      I read that to mean other countries, even democracies. I haven’t read or watched coverage of it, though.

    • IValueMyPrivacy says:

      Snark, surely. Dersh qualified that it’s fine as long as it’s not illegal. His argument is wrong, but he is correct that public and self interest on the part of politicians is difficult to disentangle. It maybe is even dangerous to try, until it’s so obvious that everyone agrees, e.g. Trump hands Turkey a win, and we learn that it’s because Turkey threatened to seize or demolition Trump Tower Istanbul

      • RobertJ says:

        “Dersh qualified that it’s fine as long as it’s not illegal.” Haven’t we been hearing arguments for some years to the effect that anything the President does is legal? I have an uncomfortable feeling that we are getting into Fuhrerprinzip teritory.

        • P J Evans says:

          I think Nixon was the first to try that argument, when he claimed that it’s not illegal if the President does it.

        • e.a.f. says:

          that is so ridiculous. So if the President murders his wife because its cheaper than a divorce its O.K.? its O.K. for him to take up robbing banks, its O.K. Drunk driving, why not, walking into a Cabinet meeting and shooting the lot of them, its O.K. Don’t these people get it, the U.S.A. is a democracy. when the U.S.A. had a revolution it was to get rid of an absolute monarchy and now they want to re establish one again, except one with no manners or ability to dress appropriately.

        • P J Evans says:

          The GOP stopped supporting democracy back around 1964, when they discovered that the majority of people think that civil rights and voting shouldn’t be restricted to white males.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Dershowitz completed his circular argument by saying that if a politician acts in the belief that his election is a public good, what he does cannot be illegal, or at least impeachable.

          He didn’t qualify it by demanding that the belief be objective, reasonable, or made in good faith. A mad belief would do – because every politician he knows thinks their election is a necessary and saving grace for the body politic.

          Dershowitz might be attempting to distract from the charges, by arguing as outrageously as his client acts. To score a win for his client, he would happily throw out democratic government. His argument is a bargain with the Devil, who never hesitates to collect his due.

        • Badger Robert says:

          Dershowitz states the necessary conclusion, that the President’s election is in the national interest, as an element in the premise.
          Sure a President could undertake a public policy decision to lend war material to an ally, which he thinks will help him the election, by going to the public and letting Congress know, in return for increased public support.
          But that isn’t close to what Trump did, and the benefit wasn’t increased public support. Instead it was a secret innuendo that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden were involved in the shady deals happening in Ukraine.

  4. Badger Robert says:

    Under Dershowitz’ theory the President could just suspend voting in states were he could not fix the vote and lower the number needed to create an EC majority. And I think that is the ground he is plowing.

    • Peter Tobias says:

      Voting is organized by the states (which delegate most of it to local bodies). How could a president suspend voting? States don’t need to follow his commands. Or do you suspect Trump will let tanks roll?

      • P J Evans says:

        Trmp has made it clear that if he could, he’d wall off NYC, Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, Baltimore…. (Read Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” for a view of what that might be like.) He’s made it clear that “his people” are the rural voters who want things to never change for themselves. Cities and towns – even in rural areas – are more liberal and less likely to buy his lies.

  5. rcthweatt says:

    Dershowitzs’ and Philbins’ comments are rich, indeed, given Barrs’ world tour seeking to discredit foreign information provided by our intelligence partners, and all the whining and crying about “tapping my wires”, the “dodgy dossier”, Fusion GPS, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
    By Dershowitzs’ logic, totally ok if in 2015 Obama became concerned about the risk Trump posed to the country and arranged for SDNY to prosecute him for tax fraud, banking fraud, money laundering…and Hiliary is president, and Trump is in prison. That’s where I would have gone if I were Schiff.

  6. Jenny says:

    “When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.” —President Richard Nixon, in a 1977 interview with David Frost

  7. PeterS says:

    Dershowitz said “if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

    Now this man isn’t stupid (though his ego may be bigger than his brain) so he must mean something vaguely plausible in a legal sense.

    I think he accepts that a quid pro quo involving a million dollars is the kind of quid pro quo that can result in impeachment. Similarly, I assume, as regards a bag of diamonds worth a million dollars. But information about a rival cannot be worth a million dollars?

      • Badger Robert says:

        It prepares the ground for the next crop to be sown: the election was illegal and the President has the right set aside the election.
        The comparable precedent was the Supreme Court saying, Congress cannot prevent slavery in the territories. That was preparation for ruling states cannot regulate the use of slave ownership within their borders.
        And the nation dissolved just before it happened.

    • Rayne says:

      Imagining Dershowitz in ruby slippers clicking his heels together as he says three times, “There’s no place like home…”

      No matter how much he believes otherwise, the man and his client are blights on humanity.

      • P J Evans says:

        I think it should be pointed out, every time Dersh pontificates upon the Constitution and its meaning, that he’s a *criminal* attorney, is speaking outside his field, and should not be treated as an expert on it.

        • Rayne says:

          This *is* criminal law, though — we’re talking about Richard Nixon’s criminal behavior underpinning the Watergate break-in and the subsequent conspiracy and obstruction to cover up the crime.

          Nixon was told in a unanimous decision by the 1974 SCOTUS the president is not above the law and executive privilege does not convey unqualified, unlimited immunity shielding unlawful acts by the executive.

          Beyond the question of criminal or constitutional law, this goes to the core of this country’s existence as a democratic republic: the revolution was fought against a monarch claiming unlimited power. The United States of America exists because the founders rejected monarchical autocracy in principle. This is American History and American Government, grade school edition.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          Thanks, Rayne, and apologies for making more work for you–will be more vigilant going forward! Just thought it was interesting that Gates (whose company was just awarded a huge government “cloud” contract–i.e. taxpayer money–which Bezos’ company is contesting) showed up with a bunch of Trumpettes to kiss Bezos’ ring Saturday night.

        • P J Evans says:

          yes, but Dersh is talking about the Constitution and what was intended, which is not something he seems to be familiar with, but that’s his role in this lot of bad legal advisors.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Dershowitz, echoing Donald Trump and Roy Cohn, believes that in service to a client, there are no limits to what a defense lawyer can do or argue if it gets his client off. In turn, he argues that there are no limits to what a politician might do to seek or retain office.

      Dershowitz would impose a Gresham’s law on politics. If a politician can do no wrong, because he believes his election would serve a public interest, it would attract the most venal, the most deluded, the most violent people into government.

      The violence of Dershowitz’s argument is as profound as the corruption of his client. The votes may favor Trump, because he has already corrupted his party. But that albatross should hang around the necks of the GOP for a generation, condemning them to wander in the wilderness lamenting their crimes.

      • Peter Tobias says:

        Well written.
        I disagree with the last sentence though. While I wish the GOP a long regeneration in opposition, it would induce corruption if Dems could rule for 20 years or more. Either GOP turns around faster, or we need a third party.

        • Rayne says:

          We have other parties. Their leaders and members don’t seem to grasp the concept that organization is fundamental to their growth. The Green Party has nearly been de-listed in a number of states because its numbers are so thin and no one in those states is doing the necessary organizing.

          Bernie Sanders is a perfect example of what happens to Democratic Socialists (~50K members) and Greens (~250K members) who don’t want to do the work of building a party; same for Rand Paul, who’d rather be a Libertarian (~512K members) but can’t be arsed to do what’s needed to build that party. They hover around the fringes of existing parties to act as spoilers, using the existing two major parties’ infrastructure without having to do more work on their own.

          It’s also faster to subsume a hollowed-out party; progressives did it in 2006-2008 to the Democratic Party, but the DNC fucked them by simply killing what got Obama elected. Tea Party did the same to the GOP in 2009-2010, but once their shadow impetus for organizing was removed — Obama — the Tea Party forgot all about taxes. These should serve as keys to fixing this mess, assuming Team Trump doesn’t figure out how to drive a stake through what remains of American democracy.

    • BobCon says:

      Top editors at the NY Times and NPR have said this is their official policy.

      It’s even worse in practice, actually. They say that without a smoking gun of intent to lie, Trump cannot be called out on a lie.

      Which is a more stringent standard than needed in court — if an accountant claims a fictional kid as a dependent on his taxes, there is no need to get a recording of him admitting that he is pretending Harry Potter is his third kid to defraud the IRS.

    • Peter Tobias says:

      Isn’t that the standard definition of lie: make others believe something you know isn’t true? If the last condition is missing, you know less but you ain’t lying.

  8. Peterr says:

    My favorite moment was late in the day when Roy Blunt (R-MO & #4 in the GOP leadership) sent a question to the Chief Justice, “on behalf of myself, Senator McCaskill, . . .” and laughter immediately consumed the chamber. “Senator McSALLY,” he went on, correcting himself, no doubt rather red-faced.

    It occurred to me that the laughter went on a bit too long, suggesting that everyone was pretty punchdrunk and happy for a bit of unintentional levity.

  9. harpie says:

    I was only half listening yesterday, but reacted strongly to Cipollone’s fear mongering “argument” using his made up theory that there is a “golden rule of impeachment”.
    I found it this morning: [my transcription, emphasis in original]
    1:17:51 [about 8:43 PM ET]
    SASSE question to CIPPOLLONE:

    CIPOLLONE: In elaborating on the golden rule of impeachment, I would say principal number one, if we listen to what the Democratic senators said in the past and the House managers and other members of the House, that should guide us.

    And that principal is…and it’s a principal based in precedence, that you shouldn’t have, you shouldn’t have a partisan impeachment.

    If you have a partisan impeachment, that in and of itself is a danger sign. Because that means that there’s not the bipartisan support that even the speaker of the house has said you would need to even begin to consider the impeachment of a president because it is the overturning of an election.
    They don’t dispute that. It is the overturning of an election.

    • harpie says:

      I think the DANGER to our Republic lies in the fact that EVERY Republican senator is AFRAID to step outside the party line.

      I guess they have reason to BELIEVE the HEADS ON PIKES threat.

      • e.a.f. says:

        That is what I don’t get. what are they afraid of? they might be voted out of office next election, but lots of politicians have been and had good lives after that.
        Are they afraid some one is going to beat them up? well a beating you can get over, trust me. It hurts like hell, but you live.
        Now if its the head on a pike? Like really, they haven’t done that in years O.K. decades and perhaps a century or more. In a country with as many guns as there are in the U.S.A. I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of that, just walk around with a shot gun. all is good. if people bury their principles because they are afraid, the world would/will be a very bad place. You have to stand up or the thugs win. Its always been my position. the worst they can do is kill you. That isn’t the worst thing which can happen. Its all over then, why worry.

        Back some decades ago, Australian politicians voted for gun control knowing some of them would loose the next election. They did what they thought was right for their country. Guess some Aussies had more integrity and principles than Republicans.

    • P J Evans says:

      The follow-up question to that should have been, and if he says it again should be, “Who becomes president when the sitting president is convicted and removed from office?” Because most of us know the answer is “the vice-president”.

      • Peter Tobias says:

        The problem is, however, that Pence seems to have been in the loop, knowing which laws were broken and not saying anything against it in public. If Trump is impeached for his crimes, could Pence be a successful candidate in November?

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Schiff, responding to Dershowitz’s argument: “His would be a descent into constitutional madness.”

    • BobCon says:

      That’s the goal — a self-perpetuating coalition of right wing senators, state governments and judges using a hollowed out Constituion to rule autocratically, preferably but not necessarily with the help of a president and the House.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Useful to remember that Dick Cheney spent a career trying to undo the restraint imposed on Richard Nixon and the forcing of him from office lest he face formal impeachment and removal. Dick Cheney’s minority response to the House’s Iran-Contra report in 1987 was a blueprint for how to do it, starting with Just Saying No to Congress.

    Also a blueprint was Bill Barr’s success in stonewalling from 1989-1993 Lawrence Walsh’s formal investigation of Iran-Contra. That included Barr persuading George Bush Sr. to pardon not one or two of his intimates, but six of them. They included the former SecDef, National Security Adviser, Asst. SecState for Central America, and three senior CIA officials.

    That happily avoided Bush also having to pardon himself, or to step down early and have the competence-challenged Vice President Dan Quayle do it, in the manner of Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.

    What we’ve got here is not failure to communicate. It is a Republican Party that has been metastasizing into this thing for decades.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Not to be repetitive and boring, but as the Gaslight Nation Gals (Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior) have been saying seemingly forever, the GOP is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Transnational Crime Syndicate.

  12. harpie says:

    11:15 AM · Jan 30, 2020

    The president’s lawyers keep saying that Zelensky felt no pressure from Trump. That’s simply not true.

    When Sen. Johnson and I met with Zelensky last fall, the Ukrainian president did not dispute that he was being pressured and promised not to interfere in U.S. elections. [VIDEO]

    2] [John Hudson is now on Pompeo’s trip to UKRAINE “My latest from Air Force Mike“:
    12:10 PM · Jan 30, 2020

    New nugget: A top aide to Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, is angling to become his new chief of staff, and has urged his government to embrace a pro-Trump line during Pompeo’s visit for the sake of U.S.-Ukraine relations, according to diplomats familiar with the deliberations

    By simply repeating his no “pressure” line, Zelensky will be giving Pompeo a valuable deliverable at at a critical time in the impeachment trial. “From the Ukrainian point of view, they just want a joint presser with the secretary of state saying the U.S. supports Ukraine.”

    • P J Evans says:

      I really wished that Roberts had admonished the Senators, after getting that question again today, that they will be excused from further participation in the trial if they persist in asking for legally-barred information.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Herschmann is gagging when trying to explain how Donald Trump has “the best interests of the American people in mind.”

    Herschmann: God Bless Him. Keep Doing It. Stop Harassing Him. Join US. This, about the most divisive, self-obsessed, greedy, incompetent president to sit on the throne since the Robber Barons ruled the West.

    No wonder Herschmann couldn’t read his script without gagging.

  14. Vicks says:

    Holy crap!
    Gardener must have opened his eyes long enough to read some emails and listened to some messages.
    He asked a decent question.
    I think Nadler missed a moment

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The fatal deficiency, Mr. Cipillone, is in the Senate’s procedures that deprive it of access to fact witnesses, documents, and other evidence, which would allow it to do its constitutional duty. The faults you ascribe to the House are nothing in comparison. Your manner, in fact, is more insulting to the Senate than the House’s claimed failings.

  16. harpie says:

    Philbin: refers to the president as the “chief law enforcement officer“.

    I don’t remember hearing that before these proceedings.

  17. Frank Probst says:

    I still think McConnell’s got this wrapped up, but this is just fucking insane. I think there’s a chance–a small one, granted, but that’s more than I thought 24 hours ago–that this might be so crazy that if I were a Republican Senator, I’d want to go through the Kabuki of calling a few witnesses just to put some time between this and the final vote. At a minimum, I’d think about kicking the final vote to Monday, but then that would leave the media with the whole weekend to splice this all together into a bite-sized form that every voter would be able to sit through. Jesus.

    • vicks says:

      I would assume that they need to wrap this up immediately.
      Their master has a Hannity interview during the superbowl on Sunday and these loyal soldiers know that if they fail to give the thing in the white house a glorious win for his tv time there are things far worse in store for them than having their heads on a pike.
      There is also a slight chance for shoes to start dropping from the sky.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’d like the ghosts of Franklin, Jefferson, and Madison to visit all of the senators who are going to vote against witnesses and for acquittal. Tonight, staying until sunrise. Preferably with their walking sticks.

  18. Ern says:

    Im amazed that a supposedly smart guy like Dersch can spout that crap with a straight face. I guess we ought to be happy that at least he left his underwear on.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Dersh’s fantastic arguments have long made him an outlier. But every one of these defense counsel is following his lead, to the effect that there is little or nothing a defense lawyer cannot do to get his client off the hook,

  20. Zinsky says:

    Consider: Nixon won in 1968 by treacherously undercutting the Viet Nam peace talks and in 1972 with the help of a team of shady characters and “plumbers”. Reagan/Bush I only won the elections in 1980, 84 and 1988 due to treachery involving Iran/Contra and Iraqgate and the kneecapping of Gary Hart and Ted Kennedy. Roger Stone was involved in many of the dirty tricks of this era. Bush II lost the popular vote in 2000 and only got Florida’s electoral votes through the treachery of Kathleen Harris and his brother, Jeb! Electoral hijinks in Ohio gave Bush II a narrow victory in 2004 over Kerry and of course, fatass Trump lost the popular vote bigly in 2016 but ‘won’ thanks to Russian social media onslaughts in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

    In summary, Republicans have not won a presidential election, fair and square without cheating like Hell, since Dwight Eisenhower won election in 1956!!

    • P J Evans says:

      You might want to be more careful: we didn’t hear about some of this stuff until after the elections were over.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jay Sekulow continues the defense counsel’s ploy of failing to distinguish between what is required at the indictment phase, and what’s required during the trial phase.

    It is irrelevant at the trial phase how many witnesses appeared during the indictment phase. Witnesses at the trial phase should be fact witnesses regarding the charges. Hunter and Joe Biden are not fact witnesses regarding the charges. John Bolton is. Plus, selecting witnesses at trial is not a function of bothsiderism – you get one, we get one. It’s a function of what the witnesses know relative to the charges in the indictment.

  22. harpie says:

    6:10 JEFFRIES: talks about all the conspiracy theories
    This is America’s most exclusive political club, and this is what you bring?

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ari Melber again raises Chris Matthews from the media grave. Does he hand out holy water and wafers, too, to his other panelists, in case Chris gets a little thirsty?

    Ironically, Matthews talks about “putting a stake” into the heart of this [Trump] administration. I’m waiting for Professor van Helsing, and waiting….

  24. harpie says:

    JEFFRIES: Why did the President wait until 2019 to pretend he had concerns about corruption in Ukraine?

  25. harpie says:

    9:07 BLUMENTHAL why did trump want to “take her out” [Yovanovitch]
    SCHIFF: Yovanovitch was at a ceremony for a dead anti-corruption fighter [a woman] when she was called home.

  26. Molly Pitcher says:

    NPR just reported that Susan Collins WILL vote for witnesses. Lisa Murkowski wants to “review her notes” before announcing her decision .

    • P J Evans says:

      That means McTurtle has the votes to prevent witnesses…unless several people change their mind before the vote is held.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yep. Collins would not have dared vote Yes unless McConnell had the votes to prevent calling witnesses. It’s another piece of performance art from the Maine Senator, who ought to be playing out her final term in government.

      • P J Evans says:

        Not a surprise, after that last question that Murkowski was also in on.
        Basically, he’s buying the Dersh theory of government. I want all these people out of government ASAP.

        • bmaz says:

          Exactly. McConnell has played the press like they are violins. It has all been bullshit from the start of Pelosi sending the idiotic limited “articles” of impeachment over.

          What a fucking joke. It is almost like people, and the credulous press do not understand just how hard and bad they have been jobbed.

          What a joke.

        • P J Evans says:

          What got me was Alexander’s statement, which ends with this paragraph:

          “Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.”

          Has he forgotten that he’s supposed to be representing the governed, the people he wants to do the deciding? Did every effing GOP-T senator forget what their job is and why they’re there?

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, that is the problem.

          Also, that is before even considering that “the consent of the governed” was in favor of Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.

          The argument that the popular vote screamed for Trump is one of the biggest lies in the history of humanity.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Alexander, who does not face the challenge of re-election, opted to stay in the middle of the GOP herd rather than contemplate life alone, without wingnut welfare. His argument is fatuous. He is a coward.

        • Vicks says:

          Funny you say that.
          I thought it was just me being me after after 1 beer more than my usual 1 beer, but after they read his statement I felt like I’d been gut punched and my first instinct was a bewildered “but what about us?”
          Now I am trying to remember when politics was really about us?
          70% of Americans want witnesses.
          Sure, some want Biden and the whistle blower but my point is 70% of Americans want to know what the hell happened.
          How dare they?

        • P J Evans says:

          AFAICT the GOP stopped supporting democracy in 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was passed. They stopped pretending to support democracy when Clinton got elected in 1992. And with Shrub, they started actively demolishing it.

        • Eureka says:

          Oh I knew we were getting jobbed, it’s just the specific language and claims they are all making, which is making me sick.

          But yes also the press and hanging on Susan Collins’ statement, like that means *anything* but bs, puts it over the top of ridiculousness.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Given what we saw after the Mueller testimony, and now with the execrable performance by the GOP here does anyone really believe that Individual-1 won’t do something else to show everyone he’s boss? It would be something on the order of pulling the USA out of NATO to align with Putin and Xi in an emperor’s club.

          The GOP will do what they are told because the Soviet assistance in the last two elections only needs to be broadcast widely for the pitchforks to come out. So, it is really about self-preservation, but let’s remember they put themselves there and throw them a lifeline with an anvil.

        • Rugger9 says:

          I also think that the investigations go on and the House renews the impeachment process during the summer. It’s not like they wouldn’t have something serious to talk about given Individual-1’s threats to Schiff, Parnas, Bolton, the stuff they left out this time, new bombshells etc., and it’s worth billions in attack ads. I also think that even Pelosi understands that the GOP wants to rule, not govern, and MMMcT has something like 400 bills to work on after these passed the House. Pelosi can just say they’re waiting until the Senate catches up.

          Make the courts rule on privilege, make the Palace and their GOP toadies publicly show their true colors on the record and preferably under oath. It will make electing the Ds much easier.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Apologies if someone else pinged on this, but apparently Cipillone was present for the Bolton meeting, according to Bolton. IANAL, but it would seem to me that it’s not unknown to have compromised lawyers in corruption cases like this, even if all that was done was to float the idea to see if it was legal.

          With that said, though, I would guess that Mr. Schiff would like to summon Cipillone for a chat and possible criminal referral for lying to the Senate (at least).

  27. e.a.f. says:

    some of those questions and answers were the best comedy routines I’ve heard in years. These people graduated from first tier universities? Must have forgotten their history lessons. OMG it was funny, at some level. At another level, it scary as hell. What they were basically saying its o.k. to have an absolute monarchy, with Trump as the king. Now I may be a Canadian but I do know why the Americans had a revolution and that old King Charles lost his head to an axe/sword and why. it is beyond me why “leaders” of a country would want to subvert their own political system to keep Trump in office. don’t these idiots know how to stage a bloodless revolution, you vote out the one who is a danger to your country. Nothing to loose, just do it.

    Some of those answers, if the President deems it in the best interest of the country????? Does a President speak to God. Only England still sort of has that type of thing, i.e. the monarch is the head of the Church of England. Trump isn’t some brilliant individual, he can’t remember who invented what, gets lost in his conversations and can’t even remember all his lies. First thing I ever was taught, its always to tell the truth, don’t have to remember lies. If you’re going to be a liar, you have to have an excellent memory. because you can’t write them down to remember them. This guy has told over 16K lies since he came to office. How can the Republicans support some one like that?

    I truly don’t know how the U.S.A. will get through this and how things will go in the next federal election. Sitting just a few miles from the border it is scary from time to time. Then of course you hear other American politicians and you know its going to be o.k.

    O.K. I’m over the rant, thank you for this blog and the articles and comments.

    When I was young used to hear LBJ passed leg. because he had the dirt on the politicians, so it leaves that me wondering what does Trump have on these bozos. (O.k> that isn’t professional, but having seen some of the questions and answers it boggles the mind. It just blows me away. How did the U.S.A. get to this point? I now how it got to this point, watched it, but just the same,

    • P J Evans says:

      I don’t know: I assume it’s a combination of kompromat and straight-up bribery. And they are probably very much afraid of what Trmp and his followers can do to them if they don’t toe that line.

      • e.a.f. says:

        I figured out as a kid the worst which could happen was verbal abuse and getting beat up. Both are survivable.

        As an adult I realized they could kill you, but really, then its over. With any luck if they kill you, they go to jail, oh right it o.k. if you’re the president and kill some one, well from what the president’s lawyers are trying to peddle.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      My guess is that Trump sees only one of two choices. He can cheat like hell to win, and join the other dictators running the Philippines, Brazil, and Russia.

      Or, he can risk losing and leave office in the normal course. He might then have to contemplate further investigation, prosecution, and imprisonment. His orange makeup would be replaced by an orange jumpsuit and shaven head. Unlike Wilson Fisk, his status and wealth would swirl down the drain, along with his sanity.

      I think Donny would rather nail himself to the cross. At least then, he could claim to have joined the other gods who pretended to be human in order to do his father’s bidding.

      If nothing else, this sham of an impeachment trial is a reminder that we need to put on a large pot of coffee and buckle up for a bumpy ride. It’s likely to be more Nantucket sleigh ride than Currier and Ives print.

      • Eureka says:

        It seems like every day, something alarming happens. Incursions on liberties, rights, entitlements here, transnational extortion there.

        Then the rhetoric these past two days just ties all the prior acts, large and small, up in a bundle of Way Fucking Worse. For us to carry on that bumpy sleigh ride, I guess.

        • Eureka says:

          One item from today: Marcy retweeted this mega-thread on all of the creative ways Trump admin seeks to destroy Medicaid, and the lives of those who might depend upon it, by a thousand cuts:

          Nicholas Bagley: “The big-picture view is that states can: 1. slash provider payments w/o seeking permission 2. limit access to prescription drugs 3. share in savings if they agree to a cap on medicaid spending”

        • Eureka says:

          Also things like:

          Yamiche Alcindor: “ICYMI, cause I sure did. Allies of Pres Trump have begun holding events in black communities where they praise the president as they hand out *tens of thousands of dollars in cash* to attendees. First giveaway took place last month in Cleveland. [link to: Trump allies are handing out cash to black voters – POLITICO ]”

          “A Trump campaign spokesperson tells @meredithllee of events where allies of Pres Trump are handing out cash in black communities: “These events are not affiliated with or sanctioned by the President’s campaign.””

          Sidenote: hmm, I wonder why Ohio…


          Kyle Griffin: “The Treasury Department announced earlier this week that it was lifting sanctions on three companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is an ally of Vladimir Putin. [Bloomberg link]”

          Plus, the butterfly habitat savior was found dead in a well in Mexico.

        • Eureka says:

          (link re butterfly guy:)

          David Beard: “There are only a few hilltops in Mexico where the monarch butterflies go. Homero Gómez González spent years trying to protect their habitat from loggers and criminal groups. “It hasn’t been easy,” he said last month His body was just discovered in a well….”

          “As mayor, Homero Gómez González watched his monarch paradise become a @UNESCO World Heritage Site, and he worked with the @WWF to protect it, in hopes of developing it for ecotourism, not logging. #RIP…”

          ^ thread has links to WaPo, tweet video by Homero Gómez González

        • e.a.f. says:

          They might want to check the money. Trevour Noah was having fun with the news that the police found a million dollars in counterfiet money, all in $1 bills, all made in China. omg,
          Given how cheap Trump is, is the money real? My first question would be.

        • P J Evans says:

          I wouldn’t think they’d bother with $1s. $20s, even $10s, would give them much more of a return on that investment.

      • P J Evans says:

        Trmp doesn’t care, because for him it’s another opportunity to show himself off to the peasants his adoring followers.

  28. Yohei72 says:

    Slightly off topic, but can anyone explain what the frothers are frothing about when they froth about Schiff and the Atkinson transcript? I did a google search but all that came up were stories on frothy right “news” sources like Town Hall and the Washington Examiner and such. Thanks in advance.

  29. klynn says:

    Not even one patriot remaining on the GOP side or someone on the inside that will do the right thing and expose the criminal behavior.

    I wish there was at least one who would speak or free up documents that need sunlight.

    • P J Evans says:

      And when did Rudy start working for the State Department?
      This lot needs to be turfed out and put behind bars.

    • harpie says:

      “After pushing out Yovanovitch…During the Oval Office conversation, [Giuliani] also mentioned a State Department official with the last name of Kent, whom Bolton wrote he did not know. Giuliani said he was hostile to Trump and sympathetic to George Soros”

    • harpie says:

      Great thread about this from Susan Simpson
      12:12 PM · Jan 31, 2020

      For more background on this, check my recent post on the events that led up to Giuliani’s failed meeting with Zelensky – and how it resulted in Lev Parnas having an emergency meeting with a Zelensky advisor instead […]
      But the pressure from Giuliani/Parnas/Fruman wasn’t JUST about the Biden investigation – it was Biden investigation + giving control over Ukraine’s state-owned gas company to people who could help steer contracts to Giuliani’s clients. ABC News link] […]


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