Patterico's Pontifications

11/20/2019

Impeachment Hearings: Yesterday and Today

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am



Gordon Sondland is testifying today, and so far he has made it clear that there was indeed a quid pro quo (at least for a White House meeting) and that everyone was acting at Trump’s direction. Meanwhile, I have a few thoughts on the parts of yesterday’s hearing I was able to see or listen to.

First, in excellent questioning by the Democrat counsel, it was made clear that Trump didn’t really care about corruption in Ukraine as a general matter — a legitimate concern that is part of U.S. foreign policy. All he cared about was Burisma and the Bidens — an illegitimate and corrupt concern, based purely on selfish political motives, that is improper to raise as a condition to giving military aid. Lt. Col. Vindman testified that when Trump first called the Ukraine president in April to congratulate him on his election, Trump’s talking points included a reference to the importance of rooting out corruption.

Trump didn’t mention it.

This issue that was supposedly so important to him that he withheld military assistance over it? Not mentioned at all in his first call with the Ukraine president.

It was only once Trump had the apparatus set up to have Rudy G. make very specific appeals to investigate a very specific political opponent that Trump began to care about investigations — and even then, he cared only about investigations into two very specific things. First, an investigation into a loony conspiracy theory that would let Russia off the hook for the DNC hack, and second, an investigation into his (then) likely opponent for the presidency in 2020.

In the face of that evidence, what did the Republicans have?

They repeatedly tried to out the whistleblower, on a day when Trump himself was insulting one of the witnesses (Vindman) who still works for the federal government.

They complained about hearsay, on a day when two people testified who had actually heard Trump’s call and found it inappropriate, even (in the case of Vindman) shocking.

Republican Senators have already made up their minds. This is wholly a proceeding for the benefit of the American people, to show what Republicans will not only tolerate but full-throatedly defend, should the people re-elect Donald Trump in 2020.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

161 Responses to “Impeachment Hearings: Yesterday and Today”

  1. ”They complained about hearsay, on a day when two people testified who had actually heard Trump’s call and found it inappropriate, even (in the case of Vindman) shocking.“

    As the Constitution makes clear: “High crimes, misdemeanors and things inappropriate or shocking.”

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  2. I think there is also something to be said for showing how far the Dems are willing to go in beclowning themselves in the House.

    Gryph (08c844)

  3. Trump is safe up to the point that McConnell decides he’d be better off without him.

    John B Boddie (31ccf0)

  4. Is shifty Schiff putting his own false statements to Congress in as testimony?

    NJRob (4d595c)

  5. The entire intelligence community concurs that it was Russia who meddled in US elections; Repubs continuing to assert that it was Ukraine. Just a flat lie.

    JRH (52aed3)

  6. The entire intelligence community concurred that Trump peed on a bed in Moscow.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  7. https://twitter.com/KellyO/status/1197182854364618753?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    So his entire testimony amounts to telling Schiff over and over that he didn’t mention Biden as a condition for releasing funds and then the rest is gossip.

    Leftists= Don Quixote.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  8. #5 is a exaggeration.
    #6 is a flat lie. But typical of person that wrote it.

    So far no comments on the topic of the post, or the validity of the allegations based on the testimony.

    I guess Trump supporters really have given up on defending this and it’s all misdirection, lies, and attempts to change the subject.

    Time123 (ea2b98)

  9. Still don’t know how Schiff can protect a person, he has no idea of their identity.

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  10. Time123 (ea2b98) — 11/20/2019 @ 8:45 am

    LOL

    The fact that the post details allegations of inappropriateness, rather than high crimes and misdemeanors, must be frustrating to you — but please don’t take it out on me.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  11. I think the abuse of power that’s alleged is a ‘high crime or misdemeanor’.

    Time123 (653992)

  12. It’s pretty easy to picture Don (Corleone) Trump saying, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

    Spin it as you wish, but that’s a bit stronger than a straightforward quid pro quo.

    John B Boddie (31ccf0)

  13. 8. I’ll rebute charges as soon as some are levied.

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  14. Trump State Dept deals with Ukraine vs. Obama State Dept deals with Bengahzi

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  15. Sondland couldn’t contradict Morrison’s testimony that Sondland told Yermak “that the Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition with respect to having the aid lifted.”
    For “investigations”, read Biden, per his deposition where he “realized” that the “president’s interest and Giuliani’s interest in the Bidens” was driving their advocacy.
    It won’t be a good day for Trump no matter how this is spun.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  16. @13 That’s a reasonable position actually.
    @14 Obama screwed up Benhazi and his administration lied about it. But that’s not an abuse of power. It’s doing a bad job.

    That’s the key difference.

    If the house had been able to show that Obama was involved in targeting their political enemies for IRS audits that would be a reasonable parallel. But they weren’t. They tried really hard but came up dry.

    Either he didn’t do that, or they weren’t able to find evidence similar to what’s being testified to today. If either were false he should have been impeached. (he should also have been impeached for what he did on DACA but the GOP house at the time didn’t agree with me.)

    Time123 (dba73f)

  17. @15 For everyone in the same boat as John Dean every day that ends in y isn’t a good day for Trump. For everyone else not so much.

    frosty (f27e97)

  18. You don’t have to call me Mr, mister. The whole world calls me Frank!

    What a snippy, entitled, mole faced bureaucrat dweeb.

    Matador (39e0cd)

  19. Ken Starr: GOP Senators Might Consider Having to ‘Make a Trip’ to the White House After Sondland’s Testimony

    Moments before Wednesday’s impeachment hearings and right after U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland’s opening statement was released, Fox News contributor Ken Starr wondered aloud whether Sondland flipping on President Trump would cause GOP senators to push Trump to resign. “The real issue is the senators are watching,” Starr said. “Are senators going to now say in light of what we hear today, it’s going to be a long day even with the ambassador alone, in light of what we have heard, ‘We need to make a trip down to the White House’? That historic example set during the Nixon presidency. From what I’ve been able to glean I don’t think that’s going to happen. But obviously what happens today could—has the potential to be a game-changer.”
    …….
    During a break in the hearings a few hours later, Starr was just as emphatic in his belief that this could spell bad news for Trump. Noting that “articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up” over Sondland’s testimony, Starr concluded by saying “this obviously has been one of those bombshell days.”

    Rip Murdock (ff876c)

  20. “Trump State Dept deals with Ukraine vs. Obama State Dept deals with Bengahzi”

    I’m sure you thought Obama should have been impeached, so what’s your point? Obama got away with an impeachable offense, so Trump gets a pass?

    The Republican (at the time) House decided to not impeach him, preferring to instead hold hearing after hearing. They clearly made a decision that this was a better use of their time. The current Democratic House has come to a different decision.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  21. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

    Any political coalition has different factions, right? One of the factions in Trump’s coalition are people who believe that the government, and large corproations, have been captured by a self-serving elite who confuse their own interest with the national (or corporate) interest, and who abuse their position of power to establish structures which reinforce their power and their economic advantage, and who believe that Trump’s presidency is an opportunity to get rid of them.

    I think they have a point on the first half of that (the existence of this elite and their abuse of power) and that they’re insane to think that Trump is the guy to root it out, but *my* view doesn’t matter at the moment.

    Trump has always been the kind of guy who exaggerates his accomplishments and his qualities, who talks big and repeats the large talk over and over again. He says things this faction wants to hear, and everyone who says he’s a con artist or a liar can just be painted as part of the corrupt self-serving elite, so it’s next to impossible to convince the people who want him to do this that he’s lying about it.

    That faction looks at what’s going on and thinks, *of course* Trump is just going after the corrupt elite, yay, that’s what we wanted him to do. He should be rewarded.

    Meanwhile, those of us who think he’s a con man look at what’s going on and think he’s obviously *claiming* to be going after corruption while actually simply painting his political opposition as corrupt in order to get rid of his political opposition — maybe they’re corrupt and maybe they aren’t, and if they are, it’s coincidental, because Trump doesn’t care about corruption per se, he just cares about opposition to him.

    So pretty much *everyone* is looking at the testimony through the lens of their preconceptions, and interpreting all data to reinforce the beliefs they already have.

    aphrael (458f1d)

  22. ‘General Public’ needs an army wielding machetes to wade through these weeds. No Haldeman nor Ehrlichman; no Dean nor Butterfield; no Baker nor Ervin; no Dash nor Thompson.

    Vindman soiled his uniform- and his overall credibility- when he stated he was “an advisor to the President…” — yet had never met him. A bit of an Al Haig wannabe with obvious and natural biases influencing his judgment regarding Ukraine. But the ‘Daddy note’ was quaint. Commenter Nic properly characterized Vindman several threads ago.

    The rest were classic Foggy Bottom bureaucrats, perturbed with anyone questioning their methods and procedures or attempting end runs around their established protocols. Because, you know, they know better– after all, they’re “State.”

    Sondland projects a case study for an argument against patronage.

    Such a waste of time and taxpayer resources. All you have to do is switch off the spinning cable TeeVee and radio pundits [with visions of “Wood-Stein” in their heads] and listen to the public calling into CSPAN. They’re tired of the crap.

    Censure him and be done with it. But no, they’ll follow party lines, vote to impeach and it’ll end w/Senate acquittal. And re-election.

    “… these proceeding take on all the dignity of a very bad Gilbert and Sullivan.” – Senator Ray Clark[Edmond O’Brien] ‘Seven Days In May’ 1964

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  23. The Trump kiss of death:

    Trump dismisses Sondland’s testimony: ‘I don’t know him very well’

    President Donald Trump sought to downplay bombshell testimony Gordon Sondland delivered to impeachment investigators that tied the president even closer to a quid pro quo involving Ukraine and investigations into Trump’s political rivals.

    “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much,” Trump told reporters, according to a White House pool report. “This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy, though.” ….

    Rip Murdock (ff876c)

  24. Only a matter of time before Rudy, Mick, and Pence are tossed under the bus. “Giuliani? Sounds familiar but can’t say I’ve met anyone by that name.”

    JRH (52aed3)

  25. What the public sees: One group of corrupt politicians accuses another group of corrupt politicians of being corrupt politicians.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  26. oh and pompeo of course.

    JRH (52aed3)

  27. @23
    Any thoughts on if Trump used the power of his office to try and force Ukraine into announcing an investigation of Joe Biden? There’s been a lot of testimony about that and you clearly follow it somewhat closely.

    Time123 (653992)

  28. Most Americans Think Trump Committed An Impeachable Offense

    As Democrats press forward with the first phase of their impeachment inquiry, they must try to convince a deeply divided American public that President Trump committed impeachable offenses. And according to our impeachment polling tracker, they might be up against tough odds. Overall support for impeachment has been remarkably steady since October, and Americans’ appetite for impeaching and removing Trump may have even started to plateau.

    So we wanted to go one step deeper and understand the state of public opinion beneath those top-line numbers — is there a group of persuadable Americans who are still on the fence about impeachment? And will Americans’ views about what constitutes an impeachable offense shift as Democrats present their case against Trump? …….

    The initial wave of our survey found that even before articles of impeachment against Trump have been drafted, 56 percent of Americans agree that he has committed an impeachable offense. (We didn’t ask whether respondents believe he should be impeached or removed from office as a result.)

    Few Republicans see an impeachable offense
    Share of respondents in an Ipsos/FiveThirtyEight poll who said they think Trump has committed an impeachable offense, by party
    All 56.2%

    Democrats 88.7

    Republicans 18.8

    From a poll with 2,088 respondents, conducted from Nov. 13 to Nov. 18

    Unsurprisingly, though, there’s an enormous gulf between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats are nearly unanimous in their belief that Trump has committed an impeachable offense, whereas 4 out of 5 Republicans believe that he hasn’t.

    That doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t room for public opinion to shift as the hearings move forward. The survey also indicated, crucially, that a significant chunk of Americans are still persuadable when it comes to impeachment. While 42 percent of respondents say they are absolutely certain about their position on impeachment, about a quarter still say they’re either “somewhat” or “not at all certain” about whether Trump committed an impeachable offense.

    …. Over half (57 percent) of Americans in our survey said they’re following the impeachment proceedings somewhat or very closely, with Democrats a bit more likely to say they’re following closely. ….

    Rip Murdock (ff876c)

  29. When asked what the impeachable offense was, the most often given answer was “I don’t like him.”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  30. The only result of this attempt, whether it succeeds or fails, is to limit the power of all presidents to negotiate with other powers.

    Michael Keohane (947544)

  31. 22 I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

    Any political coalition has different factions, right? One of the factions in Trump’s coalition are people who believe that the government, and large corproations, have been captured by a self-serving elite who confuse their own interest with the national (or corporate) interest, and who abuse their position of power to establish structures which reinforce their power and their economic advantage, and who believe that Trump’s presidency is an opportunity to get rid of them.

    I think they have a point on the first half of that (the existence of this elite and their abuse of power) and that they’re insane to think that Trump is the guy to root it out, but *my* view doesn’t matter at the moment.

    Trump has always been the kind of guy who exaggerates his accomplishments and his qualities, who talks big and repeats the large talk over and over again. He says things this faction wants to hear, and everyone who says he’s a con artist or a liar can just be painted as part of the corrupt self-serving elite, so it’s next to impossible to convince the people who want him to do this that he’s lying about it.

    That faction looks at what’s going on and thinks, *of course* Trump is just going after the corrupt elite, yay, that’s what we wanted him to do. He should be rewarded.

    Meanwhile, those of us who think he’s a con man look at what’s going on and think he’s obviously *claiming* to be going after corruption while actually simply painting his political opposition as corrupt in order to get rid of his political opposition — maybe they’re corrupt and maybe they aren’t, and if they are, it’s coincidental, because Trump doesn’t care about corruption per se, he just cares about opposition to him.

    So pretty much *everyone* is looking at the testimony through the lens
    of their preconceptions, and interpreting all data to reinforce the beliefs they already have.

    aphrael (458f1d) — 11/20/2019 @ 10:21 am

    You just described a form of confirmation bias…

    I totally agree with your description in this case… either side will find nuggets that substantiate their positions.

    Expect more spin from both intractable sides.

    I’m just worried about the norms being shaken with regards to impeachment politics. Does anyone object to the idea that if Biden/Warren/Sanders/etc wins the White House next year, that the GOP will announce impeachment “inquiry” efforts shortly after inauguration?

    whembly (51f28e)

  32. @23. No issue w/looking into the tentacles of Barisma corruption– and by coincidental extension, HB. As JoeyBee said, Hunter’s ‘a grown man’ capable of making his own decisions. But Joe knows it’s simply blatant, old school influence peddling and word games won’t change that. The ‘did nothing wrong’ smoke doesn’t extinguish the flames of impropriety or conflict of interest. It may be ‘legal,’ but it looks bad. Anybody who believes VP Daddy didn’t discuss the 50+K/month gig w/his son- a gig he wasn’t qualified for- has the deed to a bridge to Brooklyn waiting for them at Gracie Mansion.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  33. ^ for #28.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  34. ”Most Americans Think Trump Committed An Impeachable Offense“
    Rip Murdock (ff876c) — 11/20/2019 @ 11:11 am

    We care what Americans think unless it’s an election.

    Munroe (b913ba)

  35. Who commits suicide first, Prince Andrew or Epstein’s guards?

    harkin (337580)

  36. We care what Americans think unless it’s an election.

    I must have missed how Donald Trump was blocked from taking office in January 2017.

    Radegunda (539c00)

  37. Memo to Grady Sutton [aka Adam Schiff]:

    Yes, dummy, in your own words: “this is the world we live in.”

    Get over it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  38. ”I must have missed how Donald Trump was blocked from taking office in January 2017.”
    Radegunda (539c00) — 11/20/2019 @ 12:47 pm

    Good to know you’re going to let the people decide come next November.

    What’s all this impeachment stuff about then? So confused.

    Munroe (b913ba)

  39. @33
    So you claim to believe he was really trying to fight corruption and it’s therefore ok. Seems unlikely but ok. Thank you for answering.

    Time123 (f39b19)

  40. 39. “This impeachment stuff” is by its very nature political for both dems and repubs. Seen through that lens, it tends to make a lot more sense.

    Gryph (08c844)

  41. Republican senators represent their states and most republicans support trump and loathe never trumpers.

    asset (f80e0f)

  42. “There was no quid quo pro!”

    Now… get moving and get me these investigations. Or else.

    noel (4c40fe)

  43. “I don’t know him very well” Trump said of Sondland today.

    Damn. That is funny. Does he have any idea how many times we have seen this act before?

    noel (4c40fe)

  44. Good to know you’re going to let the people decide come next November.
    What’s all this impeachment stuff about then? So confused.

    I’ll clear it up for you:
    1. Presidential elections occur on a regular schedule.
    2. Impeachment is a constitutional remedy for abuse of presidential power.
    3. The regular schedule of presidential elections does not foreclose the use of impeachment when power is abused.
    4. Impeachment, whether followed by removal from office or not, does not cancel the next election.

    Radegunda (539c00)

  45. 5. Impeachment does not override the previous election, since it hands the presidency to the president’s handpicked second-in-line.

    Radegunda (539c00)

  46. Impeachment does not override the previous election,

    Curiously enough, the Democrats in 1998 were saying that impeachment was going to reverse/nullify/override the results of the previous election.

    Funny how little has changed.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  47. No Quid Pro Quo is what I heard that piece of schiff on the witness stand say.

    mg (ebf6c2)

  48. Once the DCSCA dream plan is activated, this is how Herr Drumpf will deal with subcontinent Angie Harmon:

    http://news.yahoo.com/philippines-duterte-blasts-scatterbrain-vp-173918514.html

    urbanleftbehind (56af07)

  49. Radegunda (539c00) — 11/20/2019 @ 1:30 pm

    Ohhhhhh, so my @35 was spot on.

    Why didn’t you just say so?

    Munroe (b913ba)

  50. @40. No, Didn’t say that; you’ve said that.

    The coincidence was an advantage any savvy pol would tap– and Biden’s error; poor old school judgment.

    As stated several times on this forum, as far as I’m concerned, this guy should have had censure proceeding initiated the day after Helsinki. But did the Ds and Rs do anything? No.

    Both these parties have been manipulating the electorate– all of us– and voters are just tired of it. One looks the other way and tallies up judgeships; the other works to expand majorities while both wring their hands to placate the public. Now, all of a sudden, one wants to nail this dude on a Trump-style phone call; good luck w/that: “catch him if you can.” He’s been beating raps all his life. Felicity Huffman did more time than Trump ever will– or Nixon ever did.

    Nancy and Mitch had the goods in the Mueller Report six months ago and did nothing; Nancy stalled and wants the voters to do her dirty work while hoping to reap bennies by expanding majorities at the polls while Mitch just kept adding judges. Pelosi’s objective is to damage, not remove; she knows impeachment will die in McConnell’s Senate– he’s not going to crater his own party’s president in the first term– and he needs to keep that majority. Meanwhile, the people’s business doesn’t get done. Three mass shootings last week; infrastructure desperate for repair, etc., etc., and these people are pissing around about Trump and Ukraine. Caring about $400 million given to Ukraine, borrowed money from China, is a hard sell to people in crumbling Detroit or mourning kin killed at a Walmart. Both these major parties just plain suck. And Putin smiles…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  51. You know what the difference is between Citizen Trump implying President Obama was an illegitimate president and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, #3 in the line of succession, stating flatly that President Trump is an impostor?

    Nothing.

    Except, of course, long-time elected public official Pelosi should know better than to say that. Especially as 63 million Americans voted for him.

    Piss on both these major parties.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. While this is going on, it might be overlooked that the 4th Democratic debate is tonight at 9 pm EST.

    One Democrat tried, and succeeded after awhile, in getting Gordon Sondland to agree that Donald Trump would be the beneficiary of an investigation of Joe Biden. That is not correct.

    The true answer is: Michael Bloomberg. Or Bernie Sanders. Or Pete Buttigieg. Or somebody else.

    Who benefitted from Joe Biden dropping out of the presidential race in 1987? In the end, it was Michael Dukakis – but if you really think about it, it was Bill Clinton, who, got behind Michael Dukakis after he dropped out himself [claimed reason: to spend more time with his 7-year old daughter, Chelsea. Red herring reason told maybe ten years later: Bimbo eruptions. Real reason: Because he saw no path to the White House if Al Gore remained in the race, because he would then not be the only southern candidate and would not benefot from Super Tuesday, which he had created. Even with Jesse Jackson soaking up the black vote] because to get another chance in 1992, the democrat had to lose, and who had a better chance of losing than aMassachusetts liberal?

    In the same way, all of the seven dwarfs in 1988 benefitted from Gary Hart dropping out the first time. (Gary Hart could get no traction when he dropped back in in the fall.)

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  53. @53. Probably not in their best interest.

    Hard to believe anybody is going to chance dining out on any of those weenies when they already have a Trump steak going on the coals– gristle and all.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  54. There are a number of important points here to notice but not enough time for me to wite them right now.

    Biggest take: John Bolton was wrong about Mulvaney and Sondland cooking up something. Or at least taykor was wrong about the 3 amigos being an irregular channel.

    Sondland was quite at pains to say he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foggy Bottom apprised of everything he did. What they didn’t do is keep Acting Ambassador Bill Taylor fully in the loop.

    Second take: Corrections to the call record of the July 25, 2019 phone call, some of which I had heard before. I forgot that they said Burisma was said by Zelensky. I think thsi may be a mistake. Burisma could easily be in the notes but “the company that you mentioned” and “this case” might have been said but not put in the notes. Vindman wanted to say video but corrected himself to recording.

    Third ranking take: The Republican defense is

    1) the whisteblower complaint was co-ordinated wth the Democrats (maybe true but not too r

    2) There were goiod grounds to investigate Ukraine 2016 (maybe bt not Crowdstrike)

    3. There were good grounds to investigate Hunter Biden (maybe but not the accusations Trump made)

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  55. Imposter has to do with the Imposter syndrome. This is actually kind to Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  56. I’m sure it’s just coincidental that the Foundation’s best year for grants and contributions was the year that Hillary became SecState. And that it’s been two years of substantial losses since she lost the 2016 election.
    Yup, just a coincidence.

    https://freebeacon.com/politics/clinton-foundation-money-loss/

    ColoComment (a5d387)

  57. Sergii Leshchenko corrects the record: Republicans keep lying about me at impeachment hearings.
    I hope that clears things up.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  58. “I’m sure it’s just coincidental that the Foundation’s best year for grants and contributions was the year that Hillary became SecState. And that it’s been two years of substantial losses since she lost the 2016 election.”

    Now do Trump’s foundation.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  59. Actually, don’t bother. I don’t know why you think “But Hillary…”is relevant in this thread.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  60. 4) Kurt Volker said he knew Joe Biden for 24 years and could not suspect him of anything unethical

    5) Yes, there are problems with David Holmes testimony, although it seems to be usually regarded as true.

    Chairman Adam Schiff did not include it in his opening remarks.

    he white House made its record available. The call was made. Or a call was made, lasting up to 5 minutes, which was probably less since he had to be on hold for a minute or two.

    Gordon Sondland disputed two or three points, the first not heavily.

    First, he doesn’t think he put the cellphone aay from his ear. So that;s alittle problem.

    Second. he never mentioned, nor could have mentioned at that time, “Biden” as a subject of an investigation, only Burisma.

    Third, in his meeting with Zelensky the subject of investigations never came up, so he couldn’t have truthfully told Trump anything about it, although it might have been mentioned in passing in ameeting with another Ukrainian. He is not a notetaker but other people took notes, but he has not had access to anything the State Department has (although he has the text messages Volker supplied and some e-mail he sent.)

    Gordon Sondland did not remember the call at all until the fact that he talked about ASAP Rocky with Trump (the rock star arrested and imprisoned in Sweden) was mentioned. This of couse leaves very little time for talking about investigations)

    He did not dispute, bt also he not confirm, anything David Holmes said, although everything else was possible, and some of it (like using bad language with Trump) was consistent with what he did.

    He said it was an open air cafe. He brought his entire staff with him. (But Holmes was not part of his staff)

    He said (in general) that a call with a president would be memorable for someone else, but he talked to important people every day so they all flowed into each other.

    He said that, in addition to food (or lunch?), he might have provided David Holmes with entertainment.

    I kind of think most of what David Holmes said was made up. Trump,if he asked anyting at all, would have asked about how the prospects of a meeting between Ukrainians and Giuliani were shaping up.

    But there was some basis for it. Maybe events were heavily researched, and the lies designed to be consistent with everything they know but they think they can add some legal or evidentiaryelement.
    Then they find one person out of 20 or 30 willing to perjure themselves.

    There’s probably no record of the content of the call. Only calls with foreign leaders or diplomats are reduced to writing. Everything else is not recorded because of the Nixon tapes. But every email is supposed to be preserved. (Because of the different history of the two modes of communication.)

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  61. 44. Trump also said that Sondlad proved him innocent – that the est evidence was ognored = that he tols Sondland on Sept 9 that he wants nothing from Ukraine. (but he didn’t say it twice – he’s not relying on memory)

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  62. Davethulhu, you are ABSOLUTELY right!

    I had thought that it might be useful to remind folks what a real appearance of political corruption looks like as reflected in the variance in amounts of “charitable” contributions to a family foundation before and after the matriarch held one high position, and then campaigned for (but lost) another. But you’re right and I was wrong. It’s completely irrelevant to this thread about corruption, abuse of power, quid pro quo, and bribery.

    So, since I cannot delete my comment, let’s just pretend it’s not there. Just ignore it, please. And thank you so much for pointing out my error.

    ColoComment (a5d387)

  63. Ohhhhhh, so my @35 was spot on.

    No it wasn’t. You implied that the constitutional impeachment process is an attack on elections. It is no such thing.

    Once again:
    The fact that Trump was elected doesn’t mean he should never be impeached.
    The fact that another election will happen as scheduled doesn’t mean that the sitting president should not be impeached.

    Moreover, given that these hearings are about Trump’s attempt to extort another country to damage the person he expected to be his main rival in the upcoming election, it’s even more absurd to say that the upcoming election is the only appropriate way to judge the issue.

    Radegunda (539c00)

  64. @62-
    Everything else is not recorded because of the Nixon tapes.

    Trump can always ask Putin for recording. Two of three wireless carriers in Ukraine are owned by Russian companies.

    Rip Murdock (ff876c)

  65. @61. Volker not suspect Biden of anything unethical????

    Start w/ plagiarism.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  66. Don’t forget that Biden hung around a lot with Obama’s Boys From Chicago, and might have learned a thing or two. Here’s how it works:

    Biden sees a company called Burisma that has lots of money. Biden threatens to withhold $1 billion in foreign aid unless the Ukrainians fire the prosecutor who is not investigating Burisma to his satisfaction. The Ukrainians fire the prosecutor and get the $1 billion. Then Burisma hires Biden’s son at $50K a month and you never saw a more honest company who has nothing to fear from a prosecutor or US sanctions than Burisma in your life.

    Capisce?

    nk (dbc370)

  67. Moreover, none of this would be happening if Bill Clinton had not cozened Ukraine into giving up its nukes. So, you see, it is all Clinton’s and Obama’s fault.

    nk (dbc370)

  68. @67.Yeah, that JoeyBee ‘got hizself a custom Continental; an Eldorado, too; a 32-gun in hiz pocket for fun and a razor in hiz shoe.’ 😉

    Only twit on Earth who gives aviator sunglasses a bad name.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  69. @65 I think something like that was mentioned by one of the guys on the committee today. It was awkwardly worded but it sounded like he said foreign governments are interested in those calls, we’ve got good people, we’ll probably get a recording of the call soon.

    frosty (f27e97)

  70. Classic.
    I don’t know what’s funnier, that Nunes hired a Giuliani minion like the indicted Lev Parnas to do his investigative work, or that Nunes actually did investigative work.

    Paul Montagu (e08479)

  71. Hey look, it’s Steppe Nomad with another alias. Some say he’s a Russian disinformation bot, other’s claim an idiot, but two things can be true at once.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  72. Fiona Hill will be saying what I’ve been saying since 2016 about Russia and Ukraine, which is basically that Ukraine is the victim and Putin’s Russia is the bad guy, and that a GOP that had at one time pushed back hard against the Soviets, too many are now supporting Putin’s efforts by parroting his propaganda, Trump included. To me, this part of her opening statement is worth cutting and pasting:

    This relates to the second thing I want to communicate. Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
    The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.
    The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.
    U.S. support for Ukraine—which continues to face armed Russian aggression—has been politicized.
    The Russian government’s goal is to weaken our country—to diminish America’s global role and to
    neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian interests. President Putin and the Russian security services aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine, where Moscow wishes to reassert political and economic dominance.
    I say this not as an alarmist, but as a realist. I do not think long-term conflict with Russia is either desirable or inevitable. I continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with Moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us. Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.
    As Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades, Ukraine is a valued partner of the United States, and it plays an important role in our national security. And as I told this Committee last month, I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.
    These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes. President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a Super PAC. They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.
    I respect the work that this Congress does in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, including in this inquiry, and I am here to help you to the best of my ability. If the President, or anyone else, impedes or subverts the national security of the United States in order to further domestic political or personal interests, that is more than worthy of your attention. But we must not let domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish us harm.

    Amen sister. David French makes a good case about the importance of being on Ukraine’s side. I’ll say this again: Ukraine is the victim.

    Paul Montagu (114730)

  73. Your comment should be reprinted as a post, Paul.

    DRJ (15874d)

  74. Golly Paul, Congress is a waste and they should all be in chains. Including every no trumpers Jesus – Paul fricking Ryan.

    Mg (cbc277)

  75. .

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

    The fictional narrative is the one she is buying into. In all of the hearings where the topic came up the Republicans made it abundantly clear that they accept and agree with the conclusion that Russians, like they have done for decades, ran a “campaign against our country.” The Republicans have never suggested the contrary. Democrats have claimed that they have and the Republicans have responded multiple times to clarify this.

    The Republicans have argued that more than one bad actor has campaigned against this country and the democrats won’t let them call witnesses to defend that position. People should watch the hearings in order to avoid making such ignorant assertions.

    BuDuh (966daa)

  76. Should this thing ever go to the Senate, and if the Trumpablicans can be restrained from hijacking the proceeding in order to showboat and bloviate, the Republicans, with CJ Roberts presiding, can call all the witnesses they want and make their case, and a record, there.

    nk (dbc370)

  77. Thank you, DRJ. I’m going to take advantage of your indulgence by adding another long cut-and-paste from the G-File, because I don’t see a link and can only get it by email, and it concerns quid pro quo as well as Volker/Sondland failing to link Burisma to Hunter Biden.

    First, there’s the “perfect” phone call. Here’s David French’s useful summary from a couple weeks ago:

    First, Trump complains about a lack of reciprocity in America’s relationship with Ukraine.
    Second, Zelensky mentions that Ukraine is “almost ready” to purchase Javelin missiles.
    Third, the very next words out of Trump’s mouth are “I would like you to do us a favor
    though,” and he proceeds to ask for ask for Ukrainian assistance in investigating bizarre a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election.
    Fourth, Zelensky responds by saying, “[I]t is very important, and we are open for any
    future cooperation.”
    Fifth, Trump asks Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani, says, “The other thing” (implying
    this is still part of his favor) and asks Ukraine to “look into” matters involving Joe and Hunter Biden.
    Sixth, Zelensky responds favorably, saying that his new prosecutor “will look into the situation.

    As David notes, Trump wasn’t asking Zelensky to cooperate with a lawful independent investigation by the Justice Department—no such investigation existed, as Attorney General William Barr was quick to clarify. He was asking Zelensky to work with his off-book personal emissary, Rudy Giuliani.
    There’s the mysterious halting of the military aid, despite the fact the “corruption” certification had already been issued.
    Then there was the time when Trump said, straight into a camera, that he wanted Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens.
    Then there’s the New York Times story from last May in which Rudy Giuliani said he was lobbying the Ukrainians to go after the Bidens.
    Plus, the CNN interview in which Giuliani admitted he did it.
    Plus, there’s the fact that when you talk to elected Republicans away from the cameras, they almost to a person agree that Trump wanted a quid pro quo.
    I could go on longer than Joe Biden giving “brief” remarks. But you get the point.
    Today’s testimony from Sondland puts a lot of this to rest. There was a quid pro quo.

    On the obvious dots between Burisma and Biden that Volker/Sondland didn’t connect for months.

    None of them saw the Times’ stories? And just to be clear, this how the May 10 front-page story begins:

    WASHINGTON — Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, is encouraging Ukraine to wade further into sensitive political issues in the United States, seeking to push the incoming government in Kiev to press ahead with investigations that he hopes will benefit Mr. Trump.
    Mr. Giuliani said he plans to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump.
    One is the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.
    Mr. Giuliani’s plans create the remarkable scene of a lawyer for the president of the United States pressing a foreign government to pursue investigations that Mr. Trump’s allies hope could help him in his re-election campaign. And it comes after Mr. Trump spent more than half of his term facing questions about whether his 2016 campaign conspired with a foreign power.

    The Biden stuff isn’t even below the fold!

    Paul Montagu (8e9162)

  78. Golly Paul, Congress is a waste and they should all be in chains.

    Um, yeah, sure, that’s what I said, mg. Uh, right.
    At least Paul Ryan is patriotic enough not to parrot Putin’s narratives.

    Paul Montagu (8e9162)

  79. Nunes just embarrassed everyone who shared Fiona Hill’s false premise regarding Republicans and Russians.

    BuDuh (966daa)

  80. I’ll put my patriotism up against yours any fricking day, pauly boy.

    Mg (cbc277)

  81. Paul Ryan should never be let out of his fenced and walled house. Just like Assange. He is the most pitiful human to ever be speaker of the house.

    mg (cbc277)

  82. I didn’t question your patriotism, Mg. I do question Trump’s patriotism, with good reason.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  83. 83. Worse than pe-louse-i?

    Gryph (08c844)

  84. Line Feeder/Steppe Nomad comment gone.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  85. Worse than pe-louse-i?

    Pelosi didn’t try to secretly work a real estate deal with a hostile foreign power while running for federal office. Trump did, which is unpatriotic and un-American, IMO.
    Pelosi didn’t seek to enlist a foreign government to take down her chief political opponent. Trump did, which is unpatriotic and un-American.
    I don’t want to say that Pelosi is more patriotic than this president, but she is, especially while Trump has repeatedly pissed over our Constitution while in office.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  86. … the Republicans made it abundantly clear that they accept and agree with the conclusion that Russians, like they have done for decades, ran a “campaign against our country.”

    If everyone accepts it, then why did Trump ask the Russians to find dirt on Hillary in 2016? Why did Trump say he is open to getting help from foreign governments in 2020? And why are Trump and his defenders fine with asking a neighboring foreign government to help get dirt on the Bidens?

    Those facts suggest that Trump Republicans don’t see any danger from foreign governments, as long as they help Trump.

    DRJ (d18ca6)

  87. Deleting the troll’s comment changed the numbering. Gryph’s now #84 was directed at mg’s now #82 formerly #83.

    Personally, I respect and admire Paul Ryan (as much as I can respect and admire any politician) as a person, Congressman, Speaker, and VP candidate. But I guess some people just can’t have enough Trump butt-gerbils in DC. And that’s what I admire Ryan the most, for refusing to run again in 2018 (he would have won reelection easily) with the corrupt criminal traitor daffodil in the White House.

    nk (dbc370)

  88. Nepotism bad!

    Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew gets $90,700 a year as Sports Liaison for the White House. His job is coordinating professional athletes visiting Trump. His relevant experience? He golfs.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  89. He golfs.

    With Trump.

    nk (dbc370)

  90. So Sondland testified, it had zero effect and he admitted that he had no evidence, just feelings even though the President specifically said he didn’t have anything attached to the funding.

    But some still feel Trump must burn. He’s a witch. They know it in their bones.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  91. This is maybe too much on one little thing (that the Democrats are making a lot out if, though it doesn’t really lend itself to that) because there were a lot of insights to be gained from the testimony, but I want to point out:

    79.

    Fourth, Zelensky responds by saying, “[I]t is very important, and we are open for any future cooperation.”

    Fifth, Trump asks Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani, says, “The other thing” (implying this is still part of his favor) and asks Ukraine to “look into” matters involving Joe and Hunter Biden.

    Sixth, Zelensky responds favorably, saying that his new prosecutor “will look into the situation.

    So why does Trump need to ask Sondland the next day if they are moving ahead with the investigations??

    He’s already been told yes!

    He’d further been told that, at least as far as the Burisma investigation is concerned, that could or would only start in September. BTW, the Ukrainians felt that Zelensky would have to deal with that when he met Trump in Poland on September 1.

    Now here’s another thing:

    SONDLAND DID NOT IN FACT DISCUSS INVESTIGATIONS WITH ZELENSKY ON JULY 26.

    So I think Holmes has Sondland lying to Trump, or maybe you could say, misleadingly reassuring him.

    IF Sondland was misleading Trump, then, ipso facto, he was not doing everything on Trump’s instructions.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  92. So Sondland testified, it had zero effect and he admitted that he had no evidence, just feelings even though the President specifically said he didn’t have anything attached to the funding.

    But some still feel Trump must burn. He’s a witch. They know it in their bones.

    NJRob (4d595c) — 11/21/2019 @ 9:16 am

    This isn’t even a remotely honest summary of Sondland’s testimony.

    from his opening statement, delivered under oath.

    I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues
    in the form of a simple question: Was there a “quid pro quo?” As I testified previously, with
    regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.
    M
    r. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker, and others that President
    Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of
    Burisma and the 2016 election. Mr. Giuliani expressed those requests directly to the Ukrainians.
    Mr. Giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us. We all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and White House meeting reflected President Trump’s
    desires and requirements.

    Time123 (53ef45)

  93. Fiona Hill ripped a new hole into Trump and Nunes:

    Fiona Hill tells impeachment inquiry about a ‘fictional narrative’ on Ukrainian interference

    Fiona Hill, the former White House adviser on Russia, opened her testimony before the impeachment inquiry Thursday with withering criticism of Republican attempts to sow doubt that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services,” Hill said in her opening statement.
    ….
    “ Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country,” she said…..

    “The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions,” Hill said. “It is beyond dispute.” ….

    Hill said she sees such claims as a dangerous distortion of what happened in 2016, while warning that Russia is continuing to seek to take advantage of divisions in U.S. politics.
    “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia — attacked us in 2016,” she said.

    She described the United States as “being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career Foreign Service is being undermined.” At the same time, she said, “Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2016 election. We are running out of time to stop them.” ….

    Rip Murdock (ff876c)

  94. DRJ, at 87 — sure. they believe that a electing a Democrat would destroy the republic, so accepting foreign assistance is preferable. The fact that the foreign assistance is almost certainly being offered because it furthers the national interests of our enemies is irrelevant; it’s better to accept that than to accept the destruction of our country that electing a Democrat would bring.

    aphrael (971fba)

  95. Speaking of not remotely honest…

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:56:18 Okay. Well after you testified, Chairman Schiff ran out and gave a press conference and said he gets to impeach the President of the United States because of your testimony, and if you pull up CNN today, right now their banner says Sondland ties Trump to withholding aid. Is that your testimony today Ambassador Sondland? That you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigations to the aid? Because I don’t think you’re saying that.

    Gordon Sondland: 00:56:41 I’ve said repeatedly Congressman, I was presuming. I also said that President Trump, [crosstalk 00:56:49]

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:56:49 Not just the President, Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you. Nobody. Pompeo didn’t tell you. Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations. Is that correct?

    Gordon Sondland: 00:57:04 I think I already testified-

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:57:05 No. Answer the question. Is it correct? No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigations. Because if your answer is yes, then the Chairman’s wrong, and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations, yes or no?

    Gordon Sondland: 00:57:23 Yes.

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:57:24 So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.

    Gordon Sondland: 00:57:36 Other than my own presumption.

    Honesty, it’s such a lonely word.

    PTw (894877)

  96. SONDLAND DID NOT IN FACT DISCUSS INVESTIGATIONS WITH ZELENSKY ON JULY 26.

    Not according to David Holmes.

    “So he’s gonna do the investigations?” Trump asked.
    Sondland reportedly said that Zelensky would — and that he would do “anything you ask him to.”
    After getting off the phone, Holmes asked Sondland if Trump cared about Ukraine. Trump, he was told, only cared about “big stuff” — like the “Biden investigation.”

    Paul Montagu (1ff718)

  97. The fact that the foreign assistance is almost certainly being offered because it furthers the national interests of our enemies is irrelevant; it’s better to accept that than to accept the destruction of our country that electing a Democrat would bring.

    Word. Preach, brother. Of course Obama wasn’t a Democrat.

    As he was leaning toward Medvedev in Seoul, Obama was overheard asking for time – “particularly with missile defense” – until he is in a better position politically to resolve such issues.

    “I understand your message about space,” replied Medvedev, who will hand over the presidency to Putin in May.

    “This is my last election … After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama said, expressing confidence that he would win a second term.

    “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” said Medvedev, Putin’s protégé and long considered number two in Moscow’s power structure.

    PTw (894877)

  98. Again, still focusing on one little thing: (when I’ve got about ten observatios to make)

    I think almost all of what David Holmes testified to today was true. Except maybe about the call, his subsequent conversation, and when he told others about it. (and I also think that, if he lied, about anything, he’d be extremely careful to not deviate from the truth on everything else, because the lie is supposed to be very important, although it doesn’t mean anything anyway, except for inserting falsity into the record.)

    Now he’s saying he told Taylor about it when he got back from vacation in early August, but I think Taylor testified that he first heard about it on November 8. I think there’s a contradiction here (compare Holmes and Taylor’s opening statements)

    Holmes claims the significance of what he says he overheard is that it proves Sondland was acting under Trump’s direction, (which nobody should have doubted)

    And he says that the idea that Sondland was a rogue elephant prompted him to think this information was important, but it doesn’t prove that was the case in everything Sondland did.

    Specifically, as to the quid pro quo. This doesn’t change that. It doesn’t mean that the idea of a quid pro quo came from any higher authority. Sondland consistently everywhere indicates he was guessing.

    In fact, according to Holmes’s testimony, you could say that Sondland was misleading Trump about what he learned from the Ukrainians (although we have that other meeting – I think it’s with Yermak without Zelensky – where Holmes says he was supposed to take notes but he didn’t know in advance, and so he was one flight of stairs behind Sondland and was denied admission and no notes were taken of that meeting. Does that check out?)

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  99. This isn’t even a remotely honest summary of Sondland’s testimony.

    from his opening statement, delivered under oath.

    I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues
    in the form of a simple question: Was there a “quid pro quo?” As I testified previously, with
    regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.
    Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker, and others that President
    Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of
    Burisma and the 2016 election. Mr. Giuliani expressed those requests directly to the Ukrainians.
    Mr. Giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us. We all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and White House meeting reflected President Trump’s
    desires and requirements.

    Time123 (53ef45) — 11/21/2019 @ 9:29 am

    So you agree he committed perjury which was proven under further questioning later in his testimony as was helpfully posted by PTw.

    Thanks.

    But your dishonesty, like Sondland’s when he claimed he ran out of space as to why he never mentioned his discussion with Trump exonerating him, is duly noted.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  100. Holmes in his testimony leaves a clue as to what really caused the aid freeze. Giuliani had said there were people against Trump surrounding Zelensky. You can also get this by carefully analyzing the July 25 phone call, and not being led astray by all the commentary about it.

    It wasn’t that Trump was holding the aid – or even a White House visit – for ransom – the ransom being investigations.

    As far as we know Trump never ever ever said that. What he wanted was for Zelensky to get rid of people around him whom Giuliani thought were bad, or at least anti-Trump. Trump noted that, according to him. Ambassador Marie Yovanovich had been associating with such people.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  101. 94. Devin Nunes, in his opening statement, said it was not true that Republicans said Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election. In fact the Republican members made a report about that which the Democrats refused to sign.

    93. The quid pro quo was Sondland’s idea and he kept on changing his opinion of what needed to be done in exchange for what.

    Trump froze the aid for entirely different reasons – not the one that Jom Jordan came up with, though..

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  102. One, Fiona Hill is a formidable witness.
    Two, Nunes just lied about Leshchenko providing info to FusionGPS and/or Nellie Ohr (link).

    Paul Montagu (1ff718)

  103. PTw and NJ,

    Trump used Rudy as a cut out.

    Based on the testimony so far,

    -Aid was being withheld pending an the announcement of the investigation of the Bidens.
    -Ukraine was aware of the previous fact.
    -Trump told people to follow Rudy’s directions in this matter.
    -Trump was aware. (We know due to the information in the 2nd phone call.)
    -The Sec State and VP were aware and neither tried to stop it. (Of if they did there is no evidence so far.

    What part of the above isn’t based on testimony & other evidence.

    Time123 (53ef45)

  104. David Holmes also now says he overheard only the fragment about Ukraine. But he didn’t hear Trump’s side of the conversation about ASAP Rocky (which definitely happened because he emailed a colleague in Sweden about it, and apparently this was discovered or disclosed – I missed the details; could maybe look it up) and that reminded Sondland about the conversation, but he still had no recollection about anything in that call about Ukraine.

    Holmes says there were just four people there, including Sondland, and he was sitting across the table from Sondland and Sondland’s two aides on his side.

    He says that, after being patched through – Holmes didn’t hear the other side of the conversation – Sondland’s facial expression changed and he guessed that now he was talking to Trump.

    Sondland opened up by saying he was calling from Kiev, and Trump (now he could hear him) opined that that that was in Ukraine. Sondland confirmed that fact. Then Trump asked about if the Ukrainians were going to do the investigations (if he did, he wasn’t paying any attention to what he heard in the call the previous day, not about their general willingness and not about the time frame. Or the other hand, Trump also needs to establish that Kiev is in Ukraine.) Then Sondland said words to the effect that the Ukrainians love him (which would have been a lie, and also evades the question, but happens to be completely consistent with what Zelensky said on the July 25 call..)

    And after that they talked about the rapper who was imprisoned in Sweden but Holmes could no longer hear what Trump was saying, but he doesn’t have any memory as to why not; that is, as to what was different now so that he could hear Trump no longer. Possible, but a negative indication as to truthfulness.

    What he quotes Sondland as saying about what Trump should do about ASAP Rocky sounds like the way Sondland has been quoted about other matters. Sondland advises Trump to let ASAP Rocky plead guilty, and then when he gets out of jail, let him play the racism card, and give him a ticker tape parade.

    Holmes probably wrote that description in his e-mail to a colleague in Sweden.

    Holmes also says that he asked Sondland, after he hung up, what Trump thinks about Ukraine. Sondland replies that he doesn’t care anything at all about it, but he only cares about “big stuff.” Holmes then says (or thinks) the war with Russia is pretty big stuff! And there are some other things. Sondland then replies he only cares about things that affect him personally (which is not in anyone’s definition of big stuff) like the Biden investigation. Except that Sondland says he could NOT have mentioned Biden because he didn’t know the connection between Burisma and Biden.

    This is something that Democrats express skepticism about, but it seems to be consistent in all the testimony about how this was discussed among U.S. officials – Morrison also says only Brisma was mentioned and he didn’t even know what Burisma was, and had to Google it to find the connection to Biden.

    So that’s very plausible, if Sondland didn’t read every edition of the New York Times (and he’s from the Pacific Northwest) or didn’t catch Giuliani on Fox in May. Now 2016 could be called big stuff, all by itself, because that deals with the entire election.

    Sondland has no recollection of this conversation with Holmes taking place, but he indicated that he wouldn’t expect to necessarily, and except for that mention of Biden it’s consistent with what he might say.

    The Democrats persistently misquote that alleged exchange between Sondland and Holmes – they even sometimes have Trump saying those words! And in any case have a tendency to misquote Sondland as saying, in one breath, something like “Big stuff that matters to him like Biden” (or whatever exact words Holmes has Sondland saying in two parts.)

    I also don’t see what any of this adds.

    One more thing: For what it’s worth, the whistleblower complaint writes about Sondland’s and Volker’s meetings with Ukrainians in July 26:

    On 26 July, a day after the call, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker visited Kyiv and met with president Zelensky and a variety of Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings by U.S> Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various U.S. officials, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to navigate” the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.

    That does not seem to be the case, and doesn’t comport with anything, although that’s true of other times that Charge and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. met with Ukrainians, repeatedly warning them that they should not get involved in U.S> politics and needed bipartisan support.

    The whistleblower is also not indicating which way Volker and Sondland allegedly advised the Ukrainians.

    Note he spells Kiev the new way, official U.S government/Ukrainain government way “Kyiv

    Holmes actually adds nothing to an impeachment case. He doesn’t prove anything with regard to a quid pro quo, and neither does Holmes add the fact that Trump was personally interested in investigations because we know that far better from the July 25 call.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  105. Time123, I will be willing to address your questions so long as you explicitly state that:

    1) The information on which you based your statement…wait, it’s actually an insult to NJRob….you said “This isn’t even a remotely honest summary of Sondland’s testimony.” So you accuse NJRob of making a statement that “isn’t even remotely honest”. How about you apologize to NJRob and acknowledge that you either knowingly or ignorantly misrepresented Sondland’s testimony?

    2) Ah…forgot what I was gonna say in 2. Let’s at least get past #1.

    PTw (894877)

  106. Time123 (53ef45) — 11/21/2019 @ 10:27 am

    Trump used Rudy as a cut out.

    No, I feel he used him because he felt (justifiably) that he was not in command of the facts.

    Also, the disinformation was coming from Rudy to Trump, and not from Trump to Rudy.

    It should also be said that Trump had some other sources as well as Rudy, but I don’t think Rudy was getting any of his information from Trump. Yes, a lawyer is supposed to be acting on behalf of his client but that doesn’t make the client always the mastermind.

    Anyway, Rudy was (after Mueller made his report) only Trump’s lawyer in order to have confidentiality between them – Rudy was working for Trump for free – he was really involved in all this as a friend and a political supporter.

    Rudy’s judgement was corrupted because he was taking money from two ex-Soviet fraudsters.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/20/us/politics/trump-fund-raisers-subpoenaed.html

    Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, has acknowledged accepting $500,000 for business and legal advice from Fraud Guarantee, and said that he represented Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman on a legal matter in Ukraine.

    Cf Deuteronomy 16:19:

    https://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0516.htm

    א-תַטֶּה מִשְׁפָּט, לֹא תַכִּיר פָּנִים; וְלֹא-תִקַּח שֹׁחַד–כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים, וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם. 19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons; neither shalt thou take a gift; for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

    Now this is for judges but the distortion of judgment applies to lawyers.

    What’s not true, I think, is that Rudy had investments in Ukraine or intended to. That was just more lies from the fraudsters to other people in Ukraine.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  107. 104. Time123 (53ef45) — 11/21/2019 @ 10:27 am

    Based on the testimony so far,

    -Aid was being withheld pending an the announcement of the investigation of the Bidens.

    This was Gordon Sondland’s opinion in September, but it wasn’t clear to him, at all. Taylor was worried that the Ukrainians could make an announcement and still not get the aid.

    -Ukraine was aware of the previous fact.

    They began to wonder about what was happening to the aid as far back as July 25, but they only became aware there was (possibly, according to Politico) a formal hold on the aid.

    Sondland did begin to tell Ukrainians that the investigations were connected to aid in early September, but he didn’t connect it to any progress on an investigation but to an announcement – this may have been an idea, some time back, of Rudy Giuliani. The announcement, not the quid oro quo, which was probably entirely Sondland’s idea.

    -Trump told people to follow Rudy’s directions in this matter.

    No, Trump told people to get more information from Rudy.

    -Trump was aware. (We know due to the information in the 2nd phone call.)

    Aware of what?? I can see the proposed subject of investigations. Aso the supposed badness of Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.

    -The Sec State and VP were aware and neither tried to stop it. (Of if they did there is no evidence so far.

    They did try to stop it, but they wanted to retain influence with Trump. Pompeo at one point even brought a cable from Ambassador Taylor into the Oval Office and read it to Trump. Bolton probably did mre to stop it and may have resigned over it.

    Pompeo tried to stop it the way Anonymous said:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

    …many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations….while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

    Now Pence, I think all he tried to do was nothing to jeopardize his eventual nomination for president.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  108. * but they only became aware there was (possibly, according to Politico) a formal hold on the aid on August 28.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  109. 103. Paul Montagu (1ff718) — 11/21/2019 @ 10:25 am

    Nunes just lied about Leshchenko providing info to FusionGPS and/or Nellie Ohr (link)

    The link doesn’t say that.

    The link says that Nellie Orr lied, not that Nunes lied about what Nellie Orr said.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  110. nk (dbc370) — 11/20/2019 @ 5:32 pm

    Biden sees a company called Burisma that has lots of money. Biden threatens to withhold $1 billion in foreign aid unless the Ukrainians fire the prosecutor who is not investigating Burisma to his satisfaction. The Ukrainians fire the prosecutor and get the $1 billion. Then Burisma hires Biden’s son at $50K a month and you never saw a more honest company who has nothing to fear from a prosecutor or US sanctions than Burisma in your life.

    No, try it this way:

    Investigating Burisma is a top priority of the U.S. government. Biden gets charged with lobbying Ukraine, to, among other things, get rid of a corrupt prosecutor. The company puts Hunter Biden on its board and also hires him as a consultant on corporate governance. (Hunter Biden, being from Delaware, can help with that. Even if he knows nothing himself he knows who to ask. The big issue with Burisma is who owns it. Leases can be revoked if the tre owner was the person who granted the leases.)

    Biden does nothing effective to get rid of the prosecutor. Eventually, the corrupt prosecutor gets replaced, but by someone who also will still protect the company. Biden has a role in selecting the replacement.(?) Don’t have any idea if the last could be true.

    Later, Biden falsely claims he made extraordinary efforts to get the first prosecutor fired, and succeeded.

    Still later, the whole thing, and Biden’s statement about how determined and effective he was in getting rid of the first prosecutor, gets twisted by corrupt people into Biden boasting of stopping an investigation of Burisma, or at least of getting rid of a good prosecutor, by people hoping to influence the next Administration to get and keep anti-corruption people away from power.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  111. “Our highly professional and career Foreign Service is being undermined.”- Dr. Fiona Hill.

    So opines an unelected bureaucrat.

    To all the thirsty cowboys sipping Lone Star long necks in West Texas; to all the weary Buckeyes mowing their lawns in Upper Sandusky, Ohio; to all the tired Detroiters sweeping snow from their crumbling city sidewalks and streets, remember, Ukraine is more important for America than Europe to aid; more important to borrow from China to help than you are; remember Dr. Fiona Hill knows better than you. Because, you know, … “State.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  112. #112

    There isn’t anyone cutting their grass in Upper Sandusky today…Or if they are, than yes, Dr. Fiona knows more than you. A pet rock knows more than you.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  113. @113. ‘More’ is not necessarily ‘better.’

    Thanks for playing.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  114. Oh, the musings of an unelected bureaucrat…

    Aside from gender, only difference between Dr. Hill and Dr. Kissinger is Henry has a cooler accent to mimic.

    Sing it, kids: “She’s just to good to be true; she’s so much better than you…”

    Because you know… “State.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  115. @89. More importantly, it’s a safe bet he can get staff Yankee, Giants, Jets, Knicks and Ranger tickets, too.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  116. … the Republicans made it abundantly clear that they accept and agree with the conclusion that Russians, like they have done for decades, ran a “campaign against our country.”

    87. DRJ (d18ca6) — 11/21/2019 @ 8:21 am

    If everyone accepts it, then why did Trump ask the Russians to find dirt on Hillary in 2016?

    Who else was going to find it? The reporters wanted him to agree that Russia had hacked the DNC. Finally he gave them that (as a probability I would say) but hoped to make them sorry for extracting that out of him by saying he hoped they could find Hillary’s deleted mails, and if they did, they would be greatly rewarded by our news media…

    Even Trump mostly agrees that Russia did the hacking.

    Why did Trump say he is open to getting help from foreign governments in 2020?

    Because if there is something bad about a political opponent that another country he wants to know that. He;s not goin to turn away negative information.

    And why are Trump and his defenders fine with asking a neighboring foreign government to help get dirt on the Bidens?

    They didn’t ask Mexico. Nobody n’t asked Ukraine for “dirt” Trump asked Ukraine to check out a wrongheaded) accusation that Rudy Giuliani had been told about Biden.

    It’s not like the House Intelligence Committee didn’t ask Ukraine for information that they thought might hurt Trump (a recording of the July 25 phone call, if they had one)

    And Republicans say that Adam Schiff seemed ready a year or two ago to get bad pictures of Trump from Ukrainians (actually Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians)

    Those facts suggest that Trump Republicans don’t see any danger from foreign governments, as long as they help Trump.

    So long as it’s truthful, maybe.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  117. #114

    If they are shoveling snow in Detroit, they are not manicuring the lawn in Upper Sandusky. (Which has the same weather, plus the opportunity for lake effect snow).

    As for your broader point, Trump will be impeached and not removed, and no Republican will vote to remove him, though most of them probably want to. Trump should be removed — he’s unfit, and this conduct is deeply corrupt behavior.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  118. 77. nk (dbc370) — 11/21/2019 @ 6:14 am

    Should this thing ever go to the Senate, and if the Trumpablicans can be restrained from hijacking the proceeding in order to showboat and bloviate, the Republicans, with CJ Roberts presiding, can call all the witnesses they want and make their case, and a record, there.

    There’s probably no great appetite for that among enough Republicans so that they would not have a majority of the Senate for it, (and this can be done now by any number of committees; Senator Lindsey Graham, now Chairman of Judiciary, punted to Foreign Relations, which also doesn’t want to hold hearings on Hunter Biden.)

    But Devin Nunes today invoked a House rule that he says was not superceded by the impeachment resolution that gives the minority party on a comittee a right to day of hearings on their own.

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  119. Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a) — 11/21/2019 @ 12:40 pm

    SF, thank you for the detailed balance that you bring to the blog’s comment threads.

    ColoComment (a5d387)

  120. If they are shoveling snow in Detroit, they are not manicuring the lawn in Upper Sandusky. (Which has the same weather, plus the opportunity for lake effect snow).

    Ooooh! Oooh, you’ve really got him there! You’ve run rings around him logically! I don’t see how he can ever recover. Down for the count! 1…2…

    Now if there was a lighthouse in Upper Sandusky…

    PTw (894877)

  121. SF, thank you for the detailed balance that you bring to the blog’s comment threads.

    Ditto. Don’t always agree with conclusions, but the facts are trustworthy within the timeframe of the comments.

    PTw (894877)

  122. PTw

    …You might actually see the lake… It being 20-30 miles away.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  123. 33. DCSCA (797bc0) — 11/20/2019 @ 12:09 pm

    . Anybody who believes VP Daddy didn’t discuss the 50+K/month gig w/his son- a gig he wasn’t qualified for- has the deed to a bridge to Brooklyn waiting for them at Gracie Mansion.

    The Triborough (now RFK) bridge? Or you mean the Brooklyn Bridge?

    Both Hunter Biden and his father now agree that Joe Biden asked his son if he was sure he knew what he was doing, and that Hunter Biden replied yes.

    Both Joe Biden and his older son, Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III (February 3, 1969 – May 30, 2015), who was Attorney General of the state of Delaware until his death, knew that Hunter Biden needed a lot of money. He spent a lot of money on women: strippers, prostitutes, and extramarital relationships, not to mention he had a cocaine problem. They must have been quite afraid he would do something illegal.

    They tried to get him into the naval reserve in 2013, for which he had to get two waivers, age and drug use, with Joe Biden administering the commissioning oath to him in a White House ceremony, but he got kicked out because he couldn’t stay completely away from cocaine. (Hunter Biden claimed he had been given cigarettes that were surreptitiously laced with cocaine and so avoided an further penalty than a discharge.)

    Sammy Finkelman (c95a5a)

  124. @118. Trump will be impeached and not removed…

    Of course. And reelected.

    He’s endlessly entertaining. You should know by now Americans don’t want to be governed, they wish to be entertained.

    Unless you believe the U.S. will elect one of the socialists– one older thn dirt, the other a librarian scold, a gay vet, a decrepit plagiarist, a senator with a name ment for a tropical storm, a senator who hit up ex-boyfriends for $17,000 in donations… either billionaire, an ex-governor with a voice higher than Wayne Newton’s… a fella who scares people simply with a button reading MATH– a lovely Russian bot from sunny Hawaii– or Spartacus.

    ‘He’s unfit.’

    Per the Constitution, he’s qualified. Unfitness is simply a matter of opinion. Once upon a time divorce would have kept a fella from office. Or worse, a Hollywood actor. Like Reagan.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  125. @118. Postscript; ‘They [Republicans] want to, but most of them probably won’t.’

    ‘Nuff said.

    “Courage.” -Dan Rather, CBS News, September, 1986

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  126. PTW,
    your request is fair

    Here’s how I see it.

    Sondland testified that aid was withheld pending the announcement of an investigation.
    He testified that Rudy was calling the play on the ground.
    He testified that everyone believed this to be what Trump wanted.
    He testified that no one explicitly told him Trump ordered aid be withheld pending the announcement of the investigation.

    These statements are consistent with each other.

    To say that this ‘exonerated’ Trump is not correct. Exonerate (verb): (especially of an official body) absolve (someone) from blame for a fault or wrongdoing, especially after due consideration of the case.

    If Sondland had provided testimony that Trump wasn’t involved or was unaware or had made honest efforts to stop this that would support describing it as ‘exonerated’.
    To say that if ‘failed to show Trump directly ordered the activities’ would be correct.

    I described it as ‘dishonest’ because I thought ‘stupid’ would be insulting, and I think NJRob is smart enough to know what a ‘cut out’ is. I think he’s just being dishonest because it supports his desired outcome.

    If you want to respond to my question that’s fine. If not I’ll understand. If you think my description of NJRob’s summary violates the rules of the blog ask one of the mods to ban me.

    Time123 (f5cf77)

  127. @121. ROFLMAO. Lawns are life in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

    Been there; saw that.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  128. Interesting fact. Not only had DoD “twice certified that Ukraine had made sufficient reforms to decrease corruption and increase accountability, and that the country could ensure accountability for U.S. provided military equipment,” but this:

    Finally, before the July 2019 hold, the Trump administration had approved sending foreign assistance to Ukraine nearly 50 separate times without ever holding it because of concerns that it would be diverted due to corruption.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  129. Hilarious: admirer and former Russian Ambassador McFaul made mention earlier on MSNBC that back in the day he met and worked w/Dr. Hill in Moscow on pro Russia democracy projects.

    Operation was a success but the patient died, eh, Doc?

    But then, she knows better than you because, you know… “State.”

    Bet she’s a riot on the Foggy Bottom cocktail party circuit after a few drinks doing her accented Dr. Kissinger impressions. Picture a tipsy Tallulah Bankhead slurring, ‘Vee beeleeve peece iz dat hand,’ dahling.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  130. But then, she knows better than you because, you know… “State.”

    Yeah, she probably does know better than you, because it’s her job.

    Kishnevi (54fe57)

  131. The link says that Nellie Orr lied, not that Nunes lied about what Nellie Orr said.

    Nunes repeated the lie.

    Paul Montagu (5db457)

  132. @132. Yes, unelected bureaucrats w/their own nests of interest to feather usually say they do and will tell you so– often at cocktail parties, diplomatically of course.

    Unfortunately, it’s the elected President who sets the policy, not the unelected bureaucrat- much to their consternation and chagrin; because, you know,… they’re “State.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  133. OT- Good news: another right winger nailed: Netanyahu indicted.

    Bye-bye, Bibi.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  134. DCSCA (797bc0) — 11/21/2019 @ 7:24 pm

    Poor man. You’ve become the thing you most hate: an old bore.

    Kishnevi (54fe57)

  135. @136. Now, now. Don’t be a sore loser. It’s a joy watching the Neocons and conservativ ideologues fidget in frustration.

    Welcome to 1964.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  136. Oh-no-Cuomo! CNN and, of all outlets, ET, conducted one of those ‘phone tests’ on air.

    Surprise- you can’t hear who is talking.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  137. Honestly, DCSCA and Kishnevi, I think that elections are the worst possible way to choose leaders, as is very evident right now right under our own eyes. My preferred method is to test children at a very young age, say around four, for inborn talent, ability and intelligence, and then train them, while continuously observing them and testing them, for positions in government until maturity. The best will go into the Inner Party, the middle to the Outer Party, the failures to the proles, and the antisocial and non-productive will be vaporized. It really is the most rational way.

    nk (dbc370)

  138. @139.ROFLMAO. In Britain they used simply A levels & O levels. Do well and you were on your way to an OBE; do poorly it was the tradesman’s entrance– and bricklaying for life.

    Or join the Army. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  139. @140
    That was in the pre Airstrip One days.

    Kishnevi (54fe57)

  140. @132.potscrip: BTW K, both you and I know “her job” better than she does– it’s to implement the President’s policies; he’s the boss; something both she and Walrus Gumbo were at odds with.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  141. Is Bricklaying in early 21st century Britain, more “protected”, i.e. still actual Limeys?

    urbanleftbehind (a5a437)

  142. A good leader knows how to use utilize people who are experts in their area and with whom he could never personally compete in that area, and get them to do what he wants and not what they want. For example, wheelchair-bound FDR commanding a 20 million-strong armed force; JFK who couldn’t even captain a 100-foot boat saying “Let’s go to the Moon”. But “good leader” and Trump do not belong in the same sentence.

    nk (dbc370)

  143. Public hearing are done?!?! All second, third, fourth and fifth-stringers. No Mulvaney, no Giuliani, no Pompeo, no Walrus Gumbo. And apparently they’re not willing to go to court to compel them to testify. So this isn’t about impeching to remove from office; it’s about impeaching for damage to prevent re-election. It’s weaponizing impeachment.

    Imagine pressing on to draft articles of impeachment on Nixon w/o hearing from Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell or Dean.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  144. @142 Not entirely. An ambassador’s first oath is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United states from enemies both foreign and domestic. And their job description also includes, “Cooperating with the U.S. legislative and judicial branches so that U.S. foreign policy goals are advanced; security is maintained; and executive, legislative, and judicial responsibilities are carried out;” ( https://ca.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/our-ambassador/the-role-of-an-ambassador/ )

    Nic (896fdf)

  145. Nk,

    Sounds like you’re a fan of Huxley’s Brave New World.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  146. > An ambassador’s first oath is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United states from enemies both foreign and domestic.

    isn’t that true of all public servants? i know that’s in the oath i swore during the brief period of time i worked for the university of california, and it’s in the oath i swore when i was an election officer.

    next question: what *should* a civil servant do if they have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and they earnestly believe the President to be a domestic enemy of the Constitution who is being helped by foreign enemies of the Constitution?

    aphrael (804a8f)

  147. @148 Yup, it’s the common oath. The President is not the King.

    If there is an appropriate path to report their concerns, they should do that. If there isn’t, they have a choice of going to Congress, or going to the media, or just resigning and shutting up. There are consequences for each of those choices.

    Nic (896fdf)

  148. @146. You’re fairly well keyed in on this, Nic. [You had Vindman pegged for sure.]

    But the ‘oath’ is in the context of getting- and wanting- to keep one’s gig. Ambassadorships are essentially a matter of patronage, subject to confirmation. But an administration, and a president, expects them to represent and implement the foreign policies of the administration that put them in place. Usually if they disagree in a policy dispute that goes public, they are reassigned, resign the post — or get recalled/fired. You don’t hire somebody to ‘sell at Macy’s and have them send customers to Gimbels’– except in the movies.

    The unelected bureaucrats, such as Dr. Hill, are simply hired advisors. Frankly, it was disturbing today, IMO, to actually watch her, an unelected bureaucrat, sit there and lecture the elected members of Congress of both parties, w/her opinions on how the cow eats the cabbage. She was miffed– and it was arrogant; the sort of thing we saw from Kissinger which ended up prolonging the Vietnam war. The sort of projection to Americans that said, “I know better than you, because, you know better than you… I’m “State.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  149. @150- last line, ^you know, I’m better that you… I’m “State.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  150. @149. Yep. You have a good take on this.

    @148. Read or watch ‘Seven Days In May.’

    Depending on your passions and POV, in this day and age, you could make a case for Scott’s motivation as well as Casey’s rationale.

    This evening, even John Dean, to the surprise of David Gergen and assorted CNN panelists, stated [because nobody ever asked him before] that he was surprised Nixon resigned- as he had not ‘mined’ the tapes and likely, from Dean’s POV after reviewing them, had enough strong evidence in them to present a case to defend himself in a Senate and possibly ‘beat the rap.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  151. Time123
    If you think my description of NJRob’s summary violates the rules of the blog ask one of the mods to ban me.

    Nah, that’s for chicken s little cowards. Homie don’t play dat. There’s no reason to ban anyone except in the most extreme of circumstances. A failure to deal with people logically, in a non-physical space, is an indication to me of a person who is likely to resort to more thuggish means to achieve their goal. A rather chilling place for civilized people to go.

    When at first you said your request is fair I was very inclined to express a significant degree of respect because I thought that would be followed by an actual admission that you were significantly wrong about something. Hey, it happens to all of us from time to time. With me, it’s usually on a Thursday. But alas, no such apology was forthcoming. In regards to honesty, I would regard your reply itself as disingenuous and dishonest as you originally said NJRob’s statement wasn’t “even remotely honest”. A pretty far cry from dishonest or even something with which you vehemently disagree. I’ll keep that in mind going forward.

    PTw (894877)

  152. SF: The link says that Nellie Orr lied, not that Nunes lied about what Nellie Orr said.

    133. Paul Montagu (5db457) — 11/21/2019 @ 7:09 pm

    Nunes repeated the lie.

    Did Nunes know it was a lie? Not that I suppose Nunes (especially) or Jordan or counsel Castor is being very careful about these things. They seem to often be telling half truths, or three-quarters truths and make the kind of claims, based on extending the facts, that they should know they should not. But they are three quarters truths or whatever, (and also sometimes can be semi-irrelevancies) and not lies. It’s just not what an honest person with good judgement would draw from the evidence. But it’s not like the Democrats are being honest brokers here. It’s not like if one side is wrong , the other side of the aisle is right, or has got to be impartial and fair. Proving something wrong on one side doesn’t make the other side honest.

    Do Democrats generally accept that Nellie Orr’s statement to Congress contained lies?

    Now Leshchenko doesn’t say that she lied. He acknowledges (and maybe it is farfetched) that it is possible that when Nellie Orr said he was a source of information, she meant was that she (or Fusion GPS) incorporated information from his public statements or what he said at press appearances. But he was never working” for Fusion GPS, as some Republicans have said, and he never met Ohr or anyone else involved with Fusion GPS, at least anybody who identified themselves that way, nor did set out to dig up derogatory information about candidate Donald Trump..

    He hasn’t been able to reach her so he could even ask her to explain how he was a source.

    One way he could be a source was his publicizing of the black ledger but, as far as Paul Manafort is concerned, that’s also really wrong, although it sounds to me like maybe the true leakers may have attempted to contrive a public perception that he was the source, and definitely tried to get other. people to be their front men. But he was only the source for something less important.

    https://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/sergii-leshchenko-republicans-keep-lying-about-me-at-impeachment-hearings.html

    I published the first portion of the “black ledger” on May 31, 2016. I published 22 pages from the secret manuscript of the Party of Regions, which was sent anonymously to my official email address at the parliament’s domain. The document listed under-the-table cash payments to Ukrainian politicians, lawmakers, judges and members of the Central Election Commission. However, Manafort was not mentioned there. His name was not in the 22 pages I obtained.

    I did not have any other pages except for these ones, although I now know it was an excerpt from more than 800 pages that the black ledger contained. Believe me, had Manafort’s name been in the pages I obtained, I would have published it, because I think Manafort helped establish one of the most outrageously corrupt regimes in the world, headed by Yanukovych.

    I learned that Manafort was featured in the full version of the black ledger only on Aug. 14, 2016 when the New York Times reported it. The day before, I was contacted by a Times’ journalist and asked if I knew anything about Manafort in Yanukovych’s records. I said I didn’t, and it was true. If I had that information, I would have been the first to publish it.

    Four days after the New York Times article, on Aug. 18, 2016, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, or NABU, officially confirmed that Manafort’s name appeared in the black ledger. According to it, he received cash payments of more than $12.7 million.

    The next day, on Aug. 19, 2016, I held a joint press conference with my colleagues Sevgil Musayeva-Borovyk, the chief editor of Ukrainska Pravda, a news outlet that published the leaked excerpt, and Anton Marchuk, an anti-corruption expert, where we called for the establishment of the truth about Manafort’s actions in the interests of Yanukovych.

    Thus, the conspiracy theory of congressmen Jordan, Nunes and counsel Castor is falling apart, as I was not the original source of information about Manafort’s shady payments in Ukraine. I wouldn’t mind being the first one to publish the information about Manafort, but I simply didn’t have it. I found out about it the same way that everyone else did — from a New York Times article.

    Sammy Finkelman (d530d0)

  153. Par for the course. If the Trumpablicans were more competent than the Democrats, they would still have the House. Losers!

    nk (dbc370)

  154. PTW, i maintain that characterizing Sonderland’s testimony, as a complete exoneration of Trump is dishonest.

    Is your exception to my use of the word remotely? If I had said “It’s not honest.” would you be agreeing with me?

    Time123 (797615)

  155. nic #146. > An ambassador’s first oath is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United states from enemies both foreign and domestic.

    148. aphrael (804a8f) — 11/21/2019 @ 10:27 pm

    isn’t that true of all public servants? i know that’s in the oath i swore during the brief period of time i worked for the university of california, and it’s in the oath i swore when i was an election officer.

    149. Nic (896fdf) — 11/21/2019 @ 10:41 pm

    Yup, it’s the common oath. The President is not the King.

    The president has a different oath than members of Congress and others.

    The oath that the president takes is:

    https://constitutionus.com

    :—“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    He does not swear to uphold the law, or even all provisions of the constitution. Taking Care that “the Laws be faithfully executed” is not in his oath </i?

    That's why Lincoln could suspend the write of habeus corpus, issue the Emancipation Proclamation etc. Protecting and defending the constitution had priority over keeping every last provision.

    As he wrote:

    From Abraham Lincoln's handwritten draft of a message to Congress, dated July 4, 1861:

    http://history.furman.edu/~benson/docs/lincoln.htm

    To state the question more directly, are all the laws but one to go unexecuted and the Government itself go to pieces lest that one be violated? Even in such a case would not the official oath be broken if the Government should be overthrown, when it was believed that disregarding the single law would tend to preserve it?

    PDF file: https://www.gilderlehrman.org/sites/default/files/inline-pdfs/Lincoln%20Response.pdf

    Sammy Finkelman (d530d0)

  156. i maintain that characterizing Sonderland’s testimony, as a complete exoneration of Trump is dishonest.

    Good Lord, this is flippin’ painful. This is the last thing I’m going to say about this because it’s become quite tiresome, as are many of your arguments…but wth…

    NJRob said, not that it should be my place to defend him but:

    So Sondland testified, it had zero effect and he admitted that he had no evidence, just feelings even though the President specifically said he didn’t have anything attached to the funding.

    But some still feel Trump must burn. He’s a witch. They know it in their bones.

    Where in that do you find “complete exoneration”? That word is nowhere on this page except in your own mischaracterizations. Sondland’s testimony is arguably quite tainted. To call what NJRob said not even remotely honest is disingenuous. And you continue to argue this. Are you trying to provoke? It’s a cowardly tactic but would not surprise me in the least. It’s how many of you folks roll.

    PTw (894877)

  157. You’re right that my statement was wrong. I got confused in my response. Saying it was completely dishonest was a mistake. I’m sorry that I characterized it that way, and sorry that i didn’t go back to double check what he actually said. Thank you for taking the time to make one more go at it.

    Time123 (797615)

  158. NP. Have a nice weekend.

    PTw (91d450)

  159. @150 They for sure serve at the pleasure of the President, but their responsibilities are not (theoretically) entirely to please the President. They have responsibilities to the Constitution and the legislature as well.

    As far as various government employees are concerned, my viewpoint is that anyone who has spent 20 years performing their job competently probably knows more about it than I do or than Congress does. If I had an accountant I wouldn’t be standing over his shoulder telling him how to do my taxes because he would know more about it. A person doesn’t become incompetent just because the government signs their paycheck. So, while Fiona Hill should be sure to be respectful to the position of a congressperson in general, I wouldn’t tend to assume she’s incompetent at her job and I don’t think it was “I’m better than you because I’m state.” I think it was “Listen, I know what I’m talking about.”

    @152 Thanks. I spent some time as a teenager on the military edge of the diplomatic corp. Nobody particularly protects the kids from the reality and the stuff that is talked about openly is talked about openly around them. If they are old enough, no officer’s kid or diplomats kid comes out of that situation ignorant, unless they’ve chosen to be.

    @157 I think you misread me. I didn’t mean it was the President’s oath because he’s not the King, I meant it was the civil service oath because the President is not the king. Ultimately their loyalty has to be to the Constitution, not the President.

    Nic (896fdf)

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