Patterico's Pontifications

1/16/2020

GAO: Trump Administration Violated the Law by Withholding Ukraine Funds

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am



#FAKENEWSBEZOSPOST:

The White House violated federal law in its hold on security aid to Ukraine last year, according to a decision by a congressional watchdog released on Thursday and reviewed by The Washington Post.

The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency that reports to Congress, found the Trump administration violated a law that governs how the White House disburses money approved by Congress.

The GAO decision comes as the Senate prepares for the impeachment trial of President Trump, a process set to begin Thursday.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the decision states. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act.”

Saying the withholding was done for a “policy reason” is not really true, but if you read the GAO’s memorandum you see they are just taking OMB at its word.

Meanwhile, a bunch of new documents have emerged from the House Intelligence Committee, suggesting that Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen might have had the Ukranian ambassador they hated so much (because they are corrupt and she opposed corruption) under surveillance. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) The documents also further undermine the Trump administration claim that Giuliani was acting as some sort of official emissary conducting the business of the United States. Quotable, from a letter penned by Giuliani to Zelensky: “Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as President of the United States.” Uh, yeah.

So the case is getting stronger and stronger, even as the impartial jurors prepare to disregard all evidence.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

145 Responses to “GAO: Trump Administration Violated the Law by Withholding Ukraine Funds”

  1. Glad to see the GAO taking a break from touting Obamacare to pose as an Article III entity.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  2. “henchmen”

    harkin (d6cfee)

  3. Senator Ron Johnson did not seem too concerned about it. (which surprised me a little bit)

    He was only concerned about the possibility of the appropriation being lost entire;y and he didn’t seem to think that could happen. He thought the biggest problem with the hold was the signal it sent.

    https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/11/johnson-responds-to-house-republicans-request-for-information-on-ukraine

    [On Sept. 5 in a meeting in Kyiv] As much as Zelensky was concerned about losing the military aid, he was even more concerned about the signal that would send. [He told Zelensky they should say] Even if President Trump and the deficit hawks within his administration decided not to obligate funding for the current fiscal year, Congress would make sure he had no option in the next fiscal year — which then was only a few weeks away…

    …Congress came back into session on Sept. 9. During a vote early in the week, [Nte: Sept 9 was a Monday] I approached one of the co-chairs of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin. I briefly described our trip to Ukraine and the concerns Zelensky and his advisers had over the hold on military support. According to press reports, Senator Durbin stated that was the first time he was made aware of the hold. I went on to describe how I tried to minimize the impact of that hold by assuring Ukrainians that Congress could restore the funding in fiscal year 2020. I encouraged Durbin, as I had encouraged Murphy, to use his membership on the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore the funding.

    Also according to a press report, leading up to a Sept. 12 defense appropriation committee markup, Durbin offered an amendment to restore funding. On Sept. 11, the administration announced that the hold had been lifted. I think it is important to note the hold was lifted only 14 days after its existence became publicly known, and 55 days after the hold apparently had been placed.

    I have a suspicion that Senator Johnson;s lack of concern abot a law violation could be because this kind of a law violation has happened any number of times in previous Administrations It would be interesting to find that out.

    It should be noted that while Trump gave orders for an indefinite hold, the way this was implemented was by OMB placing up to dozen separate short term holds on varying grounds. This could have been made grounds for impeachment, without trying to determine President Trump’s reasons for the secret hold, but it wasn’t. Probably because it would never get the votes, if for no other reason.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  4. So the case is getting stronger and stronger

    The case is NOT getting stronger and stronger, because all new details reveal that what happened is not consisted with what is outlined in the articles of Impeachment.

    It doesn’t make Trump and his loyalists and his administration look very good, but it also undermines the specific impeachment case they have charged him with.

    You can’t say: “Oh – something that doesn’t look good = bolsters the impeachment case.”

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  5. “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the decision states. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act.”

    Pfft.

    “I have an Article II where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.”
    – King Donald

    Dave (1bb933)

  6. Here’s an article about the hold:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/us/politics/trump-ukraine-military-aid.html

    It finishes with Hose Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Congressman Eliot Engel talking about why it was that the aid was finally released

    “I have no doubt about why the president allowed the assistance to go forward,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “He got caught.”

    But actually they had four, count ’em four – whistle blowers who told them about it in the middle of July!

    That same day, [July 18, when OMB told a whole lot of people[ aides on the House Foreign Affairs Committee received four calls from administration sources warning them about the hold and urging them to look into it.

    And they did…nothing.

    Except maybe send a few polite letters from time to time.

    No, it is not because Trump got caught. It is because Congress was going to do something about it, and make it a political issue.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  7. saying the withholding was done for a “policy reason” is not really true

    a policy reason, as opposed to a technical reason or whatever special reasons are allowed.

    A policy reason = because the president opposed the giving the aid in principle, not because some obstacle had arisen.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  8. administration lawyers were working on tryng to come up with an all purposes legal justification for the hold:

    By late summer, top lawyers at the budget office were developing a proposed legal justification for the hold, based in part on conversations with White House lawyers as well as the Justice Department.

    Their argument was that lifting the hold would undermine Mr. Trump’s negotiating position in his efforts to fight corruption in Ukraine.

    The president, the lawyers believed, could ignore the requirements of the Impoundment Control Act and continue to hold the aid by asserting constitutional commander in chief powers that give him authority over diplomacy. He could do so, they believed, if he determined that, based on existing circumstances, releasing the money would undermine military or diplomatic efforts.

    But divisions within the administration continued to widen; Mr. Bolton was opposed to using an argument proffered by administration lawyers to block the funding….

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  9. Good to know that the GAO confirmed the obvious.
    Perhaps Mulvaney could tell the Senate under oath what that “policy reason” was.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  10. The Senators are NOT jurors. Saying so is misleading. Their vote has several aspects:

    Are the charges crimes?
    Did the president commit them?
    Is removal from office an appropriate penalty?

    Failing any one of those questions, they must vote to acquit. A “juror” only has to answer the second question. In any event Rehnquist ruled, in response to a Democrat objection in 1999, that Senators were NOT jurors. I think that’s pretty much law now.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  11. Impartial senators would unanimously vote to acquit on the second charge. They won’t.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  12. “The Senators are NOT jurors. Saying so is misleading. Their vote has several aspects:

    Are the charges crimes?
    Did the president commit them?
    Is removal from office an appropriate penalty?”

    The first item is not necessary. “Misdemeanors” includes non-criminal malfeasance.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  13. #5: Gollee! Faithful execution of the laws. Now, explain Obamacare’s spending of unallocated funds, Obama waiving multiple sections of immigration law, or Bill Clinton’s conduct of the Kosovo War after Congress refused to pass an AUMF.

    It’s merely an ideal anymore.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  14. The first item is not necessary. “Misdemeanors” includes non-criminal malfeasance.

    The Senator has to consider them crimes. “Misdemeanor” includes a lot of things. Unpresidential tweeting, for example.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  15. So, the President of the United States is a servant of the House?

    I’m going to go with BS on that.

    MJN1957 (6f981a)

  16. Senators not jurors

    Mike Lee, not a big Trump fan:

    On Jan. 15, 1999, near the end of the second day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, Impeachment Manager Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., made a lengthy presentation during which he referred to the senators in his audience as “jurors” no fewer than six times.

    At the close of Barr’s speech, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, raised an objection with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was presiding over the trial. “I object to the use and the continued use of the word ‘jurors’ when referring to the Senate sitting as triers in a trial of the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Harkin said.

    After a lengthy argument from the senior senator from Iowa, Rehnquist sustained Harkin’s objection. “The chair is of the view that the objection of the senator from Iowa is well taken,” Rehnquist replied, “that the Senate is not simply a jury; it is a court in this case. Therefore, counsel should refrain from referring to the senators as jurors.”

    Not a single senator objected to Rehnquist’s ruling (even though the Senate could have overruled it by a simple majority vote). And no impeachment manager was allowed to refer to the Senate as a jury after Harkin’s objection. The ruling was correct because, according to both the Constitution and historical precedent, senators are absolutely not jurors.

    But read the whole thing.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  17. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency that reports to Congress…

    I’ll wait for the nonpartisan NPR to confirm this.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  18. As for considering them crimes or not, it’s ludicrous to say that Senators don’t make that determination since EVEN TODAY the case is still being argued (e.g. this post) that the behavior was criminal.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  19. I’ll wait for the nonpartisan NPR to confirm this.

    Or PBS or the League of Women Voters.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  20. #4

    The case is NOT getting stronger and stronger, because all new details reveal that what happened is not consisted with what is outlined in the articles of Impeachment.

    First, impeachment is a political process. So anything that makes the political case for removing Trump stronger does strengthen the case for the Senate actually removing him.

    Second, the critical article of impeachment says this:

    Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation.

    Evidence that ties the President to the Ukraine decisions, Giuliani’s antics strengthens the case against him. And makes you work even harder at trying to say that Trump didn’t try to use aid for political dirt, because he was against giving aid in the first place.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  21. First, impeachment is a political process. So anything that makes the political case for removing Trump stronger does strengthen the case for the Senate actually removing him.

    But only if they find he committed a crime as charged. Suppose damning but exculpatory information emerged, showing, say, that he couldn’t have done something charged because he was with his mistress? Do you convict him of a charge that he is proven not guilty of because you think he’s a turd? Which oath does that obey?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  22. “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” is why DACA is going to get struck down. Smile! Be happy!

    nk (dbc370)

  23. Too many princesses around who want to eat their cake and have it too, these days.

    nk (dbc370)

  24. #21 —

    Interesting thought. But, in the real world, no Court would intervene to reverse a removal of a President by the Senate.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  25. BTW, I agree with Kevin. Instead of voting for either Trump or Hillary in 2016, we should have tarred and feathered both of them and run them out of the country on a rail, and kept Obama for another four years.

    nk (dbc370)

  26. “Faithful execution of the law …” is why DACA is going to get struck down.

    So, impeach Obama retroactively?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  27. BTW, I agree with Kevin. Instead of voting for either Trump or Hillary in 2016, we should have tarred and feathered both of them and run them out of the country on a rail, and kept Obama for another four years.

    Well, I’d rather get W out of storage. He was at least cable of learning. As for 2016, I voted for the same guy Patterico did.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  28. Too many princesses around who want to eat their cake and have it too, these days.

    I want seconds, too.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  29. @2 WattaboutWattaboutWattaboutWattaboutWattaboutWattaboutWattabout
    @22 In 3 years, with control of both houses of congress the GOP hasn’t put forward a proposal to address DACA.
    @26, DACA would have been valid grounds for impeachment. The GOP didn’t want to stop it.

    Time123 (14b920)

  30. New evidence never makes Trump look less corrupt on the Ukraine. That’s probably because he’s guilty of using government funds to extort them into announcing an investigation of a political rival and his Thumb-Headed Henchmen are too incompetent and disloyal to cover it up.

    Time123 (14b920)

  31. edit

    @22 In 3 years, with control of both houses of congress the GOP for 2 of them hasn’t put forward a proposal to address DACA.

    I’ll go on to say that i think there are things that the GOP could have offered early on to get a deal here.

    Time123 (14b920)

  32. “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” is why DACA is going to get struck down. Smile! Be happy!

    I don’t think it’s a very good analogy. When congress appropriates money, it passes a law that says (in so many words) that the government “shall” spend it as spelled out.

    I don’t think there is any comparable mandate requiring the government to prosecute every person for every violation of every law. Does the law against speeding require that every person who violates the speed limit by any amount must be cited and fined?

    In the case of DACA, deferred action, and the administrative discretion to grant work permits to people subject to it, has been in the Federal Register since Reagan put it there.

    Dave (1bb933)

  33. Oh, you want Reagan, eh? Who doesn’t?

    nk (dbc370)

  34. Does the law against speeding require that every person who violates the speed limit by any amount must be cited and fined?

    Pretty much, yes, to the limits of the resources allocated for the purpose, and to the extent that we do not want to mess the citizenry around so much that they become restless and maybe kick us out of our cinchy jobs.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. @33. Jane Wyman for starters.

    He’s fine ‘right’ where he is.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  36. ‘So the case is getting stronger and stronger, even as the impartial jurors prepare to disregard all evidence.’

    The consequences of ‘urgency.’ Mitch’s Senate is not about to do Nancy’s House-work.

    ‘Rush To Judgment’ was Mark Lane’s bailiwick.

    He’s gonna beat the rap[s].

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. @16. Mike Lee isn’t tired of winning under Trump – POLITICO

    http://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/30/mike-lee-endorse-trump-2020-1075490

    Mike Lee isn’t tired of winning under Trump The Utah Republican fiercely opposed Trump in 2016. Now he’s ready to endorse the president in 2020 after finding success in the Trump era.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  38. The American Presidency. The Oath of Office: 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.

    I will grant, that Kellyanne should have long ago explained to Trump that “execute the Office of President of the United States” did not mean a choice between lethal injection or the electric chair.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. Peruse the list of Republicans who opposed the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, particularly the Senators who are still in office, and see how many of them vote will vote to convict in Mitch’s Senate:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Republicans_who_opposed_the_2016_Donald_Trump_presidetial_campaign

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. Peruse the list of Republicans who opposed the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, particularly the Senators who are still in office, and see how many of them vote will vote to convict in Mitch’s Senate:

    Right, because opposing someone’s election, and removing them from office after they are duly elected, are exactly the same thing.

    Just like “I won’t grant you an interview today” is exactly the same thing as “I am jailing you for writing something critical of me.”

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  41. @38. Uh-huh. The American Bedroom: The Rule of Law — pillow and mattress tags read “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law Except by the Consumer.” too.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. Better add this to the articles:

    GAO: Trump administration violated law to keep parks open during shutdown

    https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2019/09/05/gao-trump-parks-shutdown-3795674?__twitter_impression=true

    H/t CPInst
    __

    harkin (d6cfee)

  43. @41. Their asses are tied to his; there are no patriots in Congress.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. Right, because opposing someone’s nomination, and removing them from office after they are duly elected, are exactly the same thing.

    FIFY

    Kevin M (19357e)

  45. @43. Deny, fight it — then ask, what’s the fine.

    “Roger– pay the two dollars.” – Clara Thornhill [Jessie Royce Landis] North By Northwest 1959

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the decision states.

    Gosh, where was the GAO when the Obama Administration was picking and choosing which parts of the ACA they wanted to enforce and which parts to ignore?

    JVW (54fd0b)

  47. You would think that the CJ could get a better hairpiece.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  48. move along nothing to see here
    nothing is sticking to teflon don

    mg (8cbc69)

  49. Now on CSPAN 2: Senators getting ‘booked.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  50. Please God, stop with the Obama “whataboutism”. Obama is not president and it does not entitle Trump to do the same things conservatives criticized Obama for. We are supposed to be more law abiding and responsible than the Socialist/Democrats. No wonder Trumps collection of Generals couldn’t stay long working for him since He put them in this kind of bind all the time.

    dirtyjobsguy (96cdc8)

  51. Yeah Trump ‘Broke the law” but so did Obama. And no one cared. In fact, Putin smiled.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  52. Meanwhile, Sanctuary Cities and states violate the immigration laws to applause of the Entire Establishment. and then there are the violations of the drug laws.

    But yeah, violating “the law” is so important.

    Yep.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  53. Didn’t Comey and McCabe and Brennan violate “The Law”?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  54. IF everyone else violates a law, and no one cares, that shouldn’t stop of us from Caring when Trump does it. Because Trump is different. We don’t like him.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  55. JVW (54fd0b) — 1/16/2020 @ 11:09 am

    I don’t care so much about the BO days. Where was this non-partisan group when the house was investigating this? It seems odd they’d drop the news on the first day with the Senate when a big issue is whether we need to hear more evidence.

    frosty (f27e97)

  56. Legal Precedent = whataboutism.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  57. Please God, stop with the Obama “whataboutism”.

    No.

    It’s absolutely legitimate to ask why one side is continually forced to play by “the rules” while the other side has carte blanche to ignore them. I’m sorry if that concept is uncomfortable for you, but it is worth mentioning.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  58. Didn’t Comey and McCabe and Brennan violate “The Law”?

    If they did the Trump DOJ hasn’t issued any indictments yet. Given the amount of energy that’s been devoted to investigating McCabe and Comey I’m going to conclude they did not. Looks like the media was mistaken about that.

    Time123 (b53270)

  59. Please God, stop with the Obama “whataboutism”.

    No.

    It’s absolutely legitimate to ask why one side is continually forced to play by “the rules” while the other side has carte blanche to ignore them. I’m sorry if that concept is uncomfortable for you, but it is worth mentioning.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 1/16/2020 @ 12:01 pm

    There was plenty of attention given to Obama’s abuses of discretion.
    But the point here is not the Trump violated this law and is thus not a worthy of impeachment.
    The point is that the GAO has found there wasn’t a legitimate reason to withhold the funds to Ukraine. That’s relevant because it undercuts Trump’s defense that this is just a policy disagreement within the bounds of normal politics.

    Time123 (b53270)

  60. “Legal Precedent = whataboutism.”
    rcocean (1a839e) — 1/16/2020 @ 11:59 am

    It’s called “prosecutorial discretion”, and it’s a good thing. Because unelected prosecutors are there to protect us from whoever the rabble votes for.

    Munroe (9bf19c)

  61. @57 Legal precedent applies to similar acts. Which foreign government did Obama extort to get them to damage a political rival? I don’t remember that one.

    @61 Impeachment is voted on by representative and senators. They are elected. It’s in the constitution. You should look it up.

    Time123 (b53270)

  62. here you go Munroe, just to make your research project easier

    Time123 (c9382b)

  63. The point is that the GAO has found there wasn’t a legitimate reason to withhold the funds to Ukraine.

    Right. And all I am asking is where was the GAO eight years ago when the Obama Administration was ignoring aspects of the ACA that they found controversial to implement. I mean, if I am supposed to grant credibility to the GAO’s ruling with respect to Trump and Ukraine, it would help if I had the sense that GAO was consistent in how they applied their authority across both Republican and Democrat administrations.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  64. Some day, perhaps after Trump’s second term, these twits will realize the problem isn’t ‘The Donald’–it’s the ineffective structure and staid ideologies of these two major parties over the pst 40 years or so voters are finally rebelling against. Fewer and fewer people identify themselves as party members. The number of people who took that ‘poll’ on the other thread and discovered they agree a great deal with a genuine autocrat and consummate corporatist, Billionaire Bloomie, speaks volumes. Herr Bloomberg has been a D, a R, an I and whatever was necessary in the moment to attain his goals and implement his dictates.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  65. @ 59 Two cars a speeding down a highway. One gets pulled over and ticketed. “What about the other guy? He was speeding too! Why wasn’t he pulled over?” That is not a defense in any court of law.

    Only two other presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. The difference between them was that Johnson was not elected, while Clinton had been reelected. The charges against both were trivial; Johnson for firing an appointed cabinet member, and Clinton for lying about an affair with an intern. Neither seriously impacted national security or the democratic process, and both were acquitted and not removed from office.

    Trump has been accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. These are actual high crimes and misdemeanors, and the evidence against him is overwhelming. Saying, “What about Obama, or Bush, or Clinton?” just because you disagree with some of their policies, is not a defense. They were the speeders that kept on speeding down the highway. Trump is the speeder who got pulled over and ticketed. His offenses are far more serious than theirs, by the way.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  66. Kevin M,

    Thank you for the interesting information regarding Rehnquist’s ruling. Of course they are more like a court than the normal juror and I understand that and do not believe anyone was misled by my use of the term. My only point was that they have sworn to do impartial justice but of course will not.

    I think it is misleading to say they have to judge it to be a crime. They don’t.

    Please be more careful about accusing me of misleading people, and please stop misleading c people. Thanks.

    Patterico (8cb84e)

  67. ‘Two cars a speeding down a highway. One gets pulled over and ticketed. “What about the other guy? He was speeding too! Why wasn’t he pulled over?” That is not a defense in any court of law.’
    Gawain’s Ghost (b25cd1) — 1/16/2020 @ 12:33 pm

    LOL

    The point being, if you’re an off-duty cop, DA, legislator or part of the brotherhood it most likely wouldn’t even get to a court of law.

    Munroe (9bf19c)

  68. @64 i found a GAO report that found Obama violated the Hyde amendment and a GAO report the highlighted the problems with the roll out.

    According to their website

    Requests for GAO reports and testimonies must come from congressional committees, subcommittees, or members of Congress. In conjunction with Members of Congress, GAO developed its Congressional Protocols which outline policies and procedures for accepting and completing work. Here’s an overview of our report process. Members of Congress can also learn more about the process and timing of GAO reports in our quick guide to requests (PDF, 1 page).

    I assume that no one requested a report on that, but it’s a big assumption honestly.

    My Understanding, and I could be wrong, is that when congress wants something researched they can task it to the GAO who goes and does the research project. I don’t think they do projects on their own volition. Anyone know differently?

    Time123 (b53270)

  69. @68 your point has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    Time123 (b53270)

  70. Now that i think about it, that applies to most of your comments.

    Time123 (b53270)

  71. The charges against both were trivial; Johnson for firing an appointed cabinet member, and Clinton for lying about an affair with an intern.

    Don’t rewrite history, Gawain’s Ghost. Bill Clinton was charged with obstructing justice by suborning perjury from Betty Curie, among others. And frankly, there was plenty of evidence to support this charge. It’s a repeated trick of the Clintonistas to try and claim that Bubba was impeached merely “for lying about sex,” and it never ceases to amaze me how many people who really ought to know better repeat that stale contention.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  72. @66. The offenses by The Big Dick and his ‘henchmen’ his Plumbers and so forth were far worse and it took Senate Republicans– his own party– to finally pull the chair out from under him– but really only days after ‘The Smoking Gun’ tape surfaced– to force his resignation to avoid certain impeachment and removal from office in 1974. People who try to use the ‘fitness for office’ wedge need only listen to the Nixon tapes; yet the man was elected Vice President and President twice– the last time in a landslide. Alas– there are no patriots amidst the Senate Republicans of 2020. Even Tedtoo and Lee are now so far up Trump’s butt, they’re gazing out his nostrils.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  73. @72. Article I, charging Clinton with perjury, alleged in part that:

    On August 17, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth before a federal grand jury of the United States. Contrary to that oath, William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning one or more of the following:

    1.the nature and details of his relationship with a subordinate government employee;

    2.prior perjurious, false and misleading testimony he gave in a federal civil rights action brought against him;

    3.prior false and misleading statements he allowed his attorney to make to a federal judge in that civil rights action; and

    4.his corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence in that civil rights action.

    T’was about the sex– and today he’s as popular as ever. Americans do love their ‘Bad Boys.’

    Hence, Trump.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  74. @72, 100% yes. While I didn’t care at the time if he cheated on Hillary what he did was

    -Suborn Perjury
    -Lie under oath
    -Have an affair with a young woman who worked for him.

    IMO all three of these are bad, 2 are clearly criminal, and holding the powerful to account is why we have laws.

    The solution to the guy you don’t like getting away with something isn’t to insist that the guy you do like also be able to break the law. It’s to improve the system so that it doesn’t happen in the future.

    Time123 (b53270)

  75. “your point has nothing to do with the topic at hand.”
    Time123 (b53270) — 1/16/2020 @ 12:47 pm

    Sorry, Time. I veered off the OrangeManBad rails.

    Munroe (9bf19c)

  76. I mean, if I am supposed to grant credibility to the GAO’s ruling with respect to Trump and Ukraine, it would help if I had the sense that GAO was consistent in how they applied their authority across both Republican and Democrat administrations.

    There are a number of GAO reports critical of various aspects of Obamacare in that time frame.

    I just checked.

    Dave (4caaee)

  77. Time123 (b53270) — 1/16/2020 @ 12:57 pm

    The solution [is] to improve the system so that it doesn’t happen in the future.

    We aren’t doing that here. We’re turning impeachment into a vote of no confidence or a recall. That won’t improve the system so stop pretending this is for some higher goal.

    Gawain’s Ghost (b25cd1) — 1/16/2020 @ 12:33 pm

    Trump has been accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. These are actual high crimes and misdemeanors, and the evidence against him is overwhelming.

    The obstruction of Congress charge is ridiculous. It’s neither a high crime or a misdemeanor. The evidence on Ukraine isn’t overwhelming. It’s not even regular whelming. You can keep saying it as much as you want while clicking your silver slippers together but it won’t take you anywhere.

    frosty (f27e97)

  78. There are a number of GAO reports critical of various aspects of Obamacare in that time frame.

    Did any of them ding the administration for choosing to ignore aspects of the law that had been duly passed by Congress?

    JVW (54fd0b)

  79. I’m plowing through the GAO’s website after searching on “PPACA,” and while I see lots of materials on inefficiencies in spending on Medicaid and Medicare and a few criticisms of how hard it is to choose and purchase a plan, I’m not finding that report that demands that the Obama Administration stop delaying and/or cancelling certain aspects of the program.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  80. We aren’t doing that here. We’re turning impeachment into a vote of no confidence or a recall.

    We disagree. I think using military aid to pressure another country into announcing an investigation that isn’t based on a reasonable suspicion, or being investigated by our own justice system is a big deal. I also think there is a lot of evidence that he did this.

    Time123 (b53270)

  81. @80 JVW do you know if they can launch their own reports or are their studies initiated by members of congress? Because if that would have an impact. If they launch their own I think you have a good point. If they study as requested I think your point isn’t as strong.

    Time123 (b53270)

  82. Forgot to add investigation of a political rival

    Time123 (c9382b)

  83. @80 JVW do you know if they can launch their own reports or are their studies initiated by members of congress?

    Looks like it is largely requested by Congress:

    GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

    Our work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is statutorily required by public laws or committee reports, per our Congressional Protocols.

    So I guess it can now be a weapon in the ongoing warfare between the parties.

    But that doesn’t answer the question as to whether there is consistency between how GAO treats Administrations irrespective of party. I would hope they would be a neutral arbiter, but after what we saw with the IRS I have less and less faith in permanent government entities.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  84. Time123 (b53270) — 1/16/2020 @ 1:38 pm

    Is it the reasonable suspicion part?

    It’s not using military aid to get another country to do something since we do that all the time.

    You’ve mentioned the DOJ part before and I’m positive that if Trump called up the AG and told him to investigate the Biden’s and Burisma he’d be in this exact same boat so it’s not that.

    There are a lot of people reiterating the same line about there being a lot of evidence for this and citing that as evidence for their being a lot of evidence. It’s the same circle we saw with Warren leaking to CNN about Bernie and then CNN saying it was confirmed because they asked Warren if it happened. It’s a matryoshka of echo chambers.

    frosty (f27e97)

  85. It’s a matryoshka of echo chambers.

    Actually in this case we have a smoking gun readout of the incriminating conversation, released by the perpetrator.

    Dave (4caaee)

  86. what about drunk ted killing mary jo.

    mg (8cbc69)

  87. Ehh…another nothing burger.

    In the past, the GAO has made the same determination against at least the last four Presidents. No one, until now, has ever suggested it as an impeachable offense.

    Furthermore, this is a civil issue between branches of the government. From the Washington Post…

    No potential criminal penalties are associated with violating the Impoundment Control Act, meaning there will be no prosecution of officials for the violation. The GAO has found at least half a dozen violations of the Impoundment Control Act in the past, including in previous administrations….In cases of a violation, the most the GAO can do is sue the administration to release money, which has happened only once– in the 1970s. The lawsuit was later dismissed when the funds were released.

    Finally…I’m doubtful that the any actual violation occurred. As long as the money is disbursed during the fiscal year in which it is appropriated, which it was in this case, it is hard to see how the Impound Control Act is violated. I could be wrong, but I have yet to see any evidence that the ICA requires funds to be distributed on any particular time schedule, as long as it is distributed in the appropriate fiscal year.

    Calfed (f67f21)

  88. Please God, stop with the Obama “whataboutism”.

    When we go for years with a wink and a nod as the Rule of Law is trashed beyond recognition by the Powers That Be, this breathlessness regarding Trump is unseemly. It gets one thinking that his challenge to the Establishment is the real reason, not any particular crime of which he is charged.

    Trump is a boor, a scoundrel and a lying sack of sh1t. But the real question is how we got so far that only a person like him would throw down against a rotten system. That the rotten system would attempt to discredit him (hard to do actually, considering) isn’t surprising. What IS surprising is how many Fellow Travelers the rotten system has.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  89. https://www.gao.gov/products/B-330330

    We conclude that the ICA does not permit the impoundment of funds through their date of expiration. The plain language of the ICA permits only the temporary withholding of budget authority and provides that unless Congress rescinds the amounts at issue, they must be made available for obligation. Amounts proposed for rescission must be made available for prudent obligation before the amounts expire, even where the 45-day period provided in the ICA approaches or spans the date on which funds would expire.

    I believe that the funds “expire” at the end of the fiscal year in which they are appropriated.

    Calfed (f67f21)

  90. @80 JVW do you know if they can launch their own reports or are their studies initiated by members of congress?

    Looks like it is largely requested by Congress:

    GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

    Our work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is statutorily required by public laws or committee reports, per our Congressional Protocols.

    So I guess it can now be a weapon in the ongoing warfare between the parties.

    But that doesn’t answer the question as to whether there is consistency between how GAO treats Administrations irrespective of party. I would hope they would be a neutral arbiter, but after what we saw with the IRS I have less and less faith in permanent government entities.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 1/16/2020 @ 1:54 pm

    JVW… I distinctly remember the GAO ding the Obama Administration over PPACA, DAPA and DACA (I also wanna say over the IRS ordeal as well). Much in the same way as the GAO dinging the Trump administration over Ukraine (which I think it’s a bit overwrought since it was disbursed before the deadline).

    The difference is that folks are acting as if it is unique only to the Trump administration and its the worse thing ever.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  91. It’s absolutely legitimate to ask why one side is continually forced to play by “the rules” while the other side has carte blanche to ignore them.

    Similar are complaints about “driving while black.” When the police power is used disproportionately, it really needs to be pointed out.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  92. Additionally, I absolutely refuse to believe that the GAO is non-partisan. At least during the Obama administration, they stretched their report as favorably as possible to what the Obama administration wanted. Particularly when estimating the cost of certain Democrat-favored plans.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  93. It’s absolutely legitimate to ask why one side is continually forced to play by “the rules” while the other side has carte blanche to ignore them. I’m sorry if that concept is uncomfortable for you, but it is worth mentioning.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 1/16/2020 @ 12:01 pm

    It’s great to be a Democrat…huh?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  94. I think it is misleading to say they have to judge it to be a crime. They don’t.

    If they don’t, what is the point of this post? That the GAO is calling what Trump did illegal, and that you choose to blog about it, would suggest that there IS (or was) some question about whether Trump’s alleged actions were illegal. Why is that not a q

    Still to be shown is whether he actually did what he is accused of, and whether they were serious enough to warrant removal.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  95. Cut off: Why is that not a question for the Senate if it is still worth blogging about?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  96. Its very simple. President Trump put a hold on the aide to address corruption in the Ukraine. Well within his Article II powers. Yes, appropriate agencies had already signed off on the corruption compliance. That does not prevent the President from pausing the aide to revisit the examination.

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  97. @22 In 3 years, with control of both houses of congress the GOP for 2 of them hasn’t put forward a proposal to address DACA.

    I’ll go on to say that i think there are things that the GOP could have offered early on to get a deal here.

    Time123 (14b920) — 1/16/2020 @ 9:46 am

    I disagree. GOP couldn’t overcome Senate cloture threshold, especially since the #Resistance Democrats were grounding everything to a halt. Democrats were not interested in any compromise on DACA.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  98. Trump should take every dime spent protecting foreign trash and pay down the debt.
    Or make Mexico pay for it!

    mg (8cbc69)

  99. Patterico,

    I am sorry if saying your comment about “jurors” was misleading seemed accusatory. I doubt you intended to mislead.

    But I point out that similar references to Senators as jurors in 1999 were felt to be misleading enough that a senior senator stood up and made a lengthy point of order and was upheld.

    My point is made by this contemporaneous Slate article from 1999.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  100. @ 59 Two cars a speeding down a highway. One gets pulled over and ticketed. “What about the other guy? He was speeding too! Why wasn’t he pulled over?” That is not a defense in any court of law.

    No, but if the cop only tickets black people for speeding, it is. Besides, cops know how to pull over both cars; I’ve seen it done.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  101. By the way, My answers to the three questions I posed are:

    Yes, it was a crime.
    Yes, he did it.
    No, it does not rise to the level where removal is required.

    Having said that, I feel that Pelosi and the House could have brought several other charges where I would have answered YES to all three. They did not, and I don’t think that uncharged behavior should be used to set the penalty for what is charged.

    I admit that question three might be read as: “Is it in the national interest to remove this person from power?” and if so, then perhaps Trump should be gone. But if so, why charges and a trial?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  102. Republican failure to hold Obama accountable for his manifold crimes does not mean that Trump gets a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  103. David French remarks that the “back-channel diplomats to Ukraine were a virtual traveling Mos Eisley cantina.”

    Let’s first talk about Lev Parnas. Since the first days after this scandal broke, I’ve been shouting from the mountaintops that the Ukraine affair isn’t just about corruption, it’s about fitness. The president of the United States was conducting diplomacy in one of the most sensitive and volatile regions of the world in part motivated by an utterly baseless, frequently debunked conspiracy theory—namely that there exists an (entirely mythical) Crowdstrike server in Ukraine that could debunk the entire narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 election. While there are aspects of Ukrainian involvement in 2016 that are worthy of investigation and inquiry, Trump’s belief is faked-moon-landing level nonsense, and he explicitly linked it to military aid in his conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky.
    That is not the action of a man who has a grasp on facts or a grasp on the responsibilities of his office.
    But fitness questions are about more than Trump’s obsession with conspiracy theories. There are additional questions about his basic judgment. Rudy and his “team” (including Lev Parnas) were a virtual traveling Mos Eisley cantina of crooks, grifters, and amateurs. They were broadcasting to anyone who would listen that they were operating on behalf of the actual president of the United States, and they were interacting with an ally locked in a shooting war with arguably our nation’s chief geopolitical foe.
    Parnas’s documents don’t just provide additional evidentiary support for the narrative that Trump was focused on pushing Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden (one of Parnas’s notes helpfully states, “Get Zelensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated), they also paint the picture of an utterly slapdash clown-car version of international diplomacy. For example, a WhatsApp exchange with a Republican activist and congressional candidate named Robert Hyde implies that Hyde was tracking the movements of then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. But Parnas himself says he doesn’t believe this was true. Why? Because Hyde was “drunk all the time.”
    America, meet your back-channel diplomats.
    In addition to raising the fitness question once again, the documents undermine a key Trump substantive defense. Trump’s advocates have maintained that there is no real, direct link between the president himself and the real-world multi-pronged effort to coerce Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens. A key part of Parnas’s document dump includes what appears to be a copy of a signed letter from Rudy Giuliani to President Zelensky. Giuliani requests a meeting with Zelensky and states that he is not only acting as Trump’s personal attorney, he’s also acting “with his knowledge and consent.” Was Rudy going rogue? Not according to Rudy.
    Ordinarily, an assertion from counsel that he’s acting with his client’s knowledge and consent would be virtual slam-dunk evidence that his client was aware of and directing his lawyer’s actions. But Rudy is no ordinary lawyer, and his behavior is erratic enough for Trump’s defenders to cling to a shred of hope that Rudy had gone rogue. Except, of course, let’s remember Trump’s own words in his “perfect” call with President Zelensky. After Zelensky promises to look into Trump’s Crowdstrike conspiracy theory, Trump says this:
    Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me. (Emphasis added.)

    So, Rudy says he is acting with his client’s knowledge and consent. His client tells Zelensky to talk to Rudy about his requested investigations. It’s growing harder and harder to argue that Rudy went Rogue.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  104. Republican failure to hold Obama accountable for his manifold crimes does not mean that Trump gets a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    Nor does it mean that any infraction is the crime of the century when myriad more serious ones by his opponents have been ignored. It smacks of “finding the crime to fit the man” and an abuse of Law, not its defense.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  105. Paul (104):

    Then fracking CHARGE him with being unfit. That might fly. God knows there are reasons to think so. Then again senators may know just how unfit many of their fellows are and not be impressed.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  106. Hey Frosty, thank you for the questions.

    Is it the reasonable suspicion part?

    Yes. Investigations should be based on reasonable suspicion, and their should be more than that before they’re made public. Sometimes the public finds our too soon, leaks etc. but there’s good reason that’s the standard.

    It’s not using military aid to get another country to do something since we do that all the time.

    It’s using military aid to get something that’s only of benefit to Trump personally. Had he done this to get them to support a legitimate policy goal it would be fine. That policy goal could have been to support an active DOJ investigation.

    You’ve mentioned the DOJ part before and I’m positive that if Trump called up the AG and told him to investigate the Biden’s and Burisma he’d be in this exact same boat so it’s not that.

    Yes, the tradition is that we don’t launch investigations for political advantage or personal reasons. But if there were evidence that there was a crime to be investigated and it was in line with past practice and procedures that’s OK. In this case the executive branch (Trump) has all the records from the Obama administration about their Ukraine policy. If there wasn’t evidence that Biden’s actions at that time were in accordance with official policy they’d know, and I suspect we’d know. In fact there are a number of contemporaneous news articles about how corrupt Shorkin was and how western powers wanted him gone.

    There are a lot of people reiterating the same line about there being a lot of evidence for this and citing that as evidence for their being a lot of evidence. It’s the same circle we saw with Warren leaking to CNN about Bernie and then CNN saying it was confirmed because they asked Warren if it happened. It’s a matryoshka of echo chambers.

    No, there was evidence presented under oath. I read / watched a lot of it. It’s been talked about on other threads. I’m not basing my thoughts on the CNN summary.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  107. Did Parnas reveal on Ritz-Carlton stationery he was really Elmo ‘Grassy’ Knoll, a mysterious hitman known to haunt the hobgoblin minds of Dallas bars and internet chatrooms, too? Awaiting w/baited breath David French’s take on such gutsy, not-under-oath, TeeVee confessions to cable news opinionators and pundits. Beats Man From U.N.C.L.E. reruns on MeTV.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  108. Off-topic: Did you know that a new Heinlein novel will be published soon?

    https://www.amazon.com/Pursuit-Pankera-Parallel-Novel-Universes-ebook/dp/B082838YYY

    Kevin M (19357e)

  109. So I guess it can now be a weapon in the ongoing warfare between the parties.

    But that doesn’t answer the question as to whether there is consistency between how GAO treats Administrations irrespective of party. I would hope they would be a neutral arbiter, but after what we saw with the IRS I have less and less faith in permanent government entities.

    My understanding is that they do non-partisan research. The government can give them a loaded question, and they’ll come back with what the data shows. Based on the time I spent looking for the report you asked for (10 minutes) it seems like they’re mostly doing pretty dull technical stuff.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  110. Its very simple. President Trump put a hold on the aide to address corruption in the Ukraine.

    No one has yet provided any evidence under oath that this statement is True. In fact Trump has prevented people that might be able to provide such evidence from doing so.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  111. “Rudy is a great crime-fighter. Rudy is the best mayor in the history of New York City.” – President Donald Trump. The fantasy lives: Batman is a great Gotham City crime-fighter, Donald.

    You do know why there’s an airport in Noo Yawk named LaGuardia, and not Giuliani, right, Captain, sir?!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  112. Kevin how is there a new Heinlein book that i didn’t know about?!? this is great news.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  113. IF everyone else violates a law, and no one cares, that shouldn’t stop of us from Caring when Trump does it. Because Trump is different. We don’t like him.

    That only makes us potential Trump supporters. The Orange Horde has been excusing behaviors from their Khan which if by other people would accumulate to decades in prison.

    nk (dbc370)

  114. 109. Off-topic: Did you know that a new Heinlein novel will be published soon?

    Gotta ask, how so, as he been dead since 1988, but very much alive as a panelist in some old ABC News video coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing from July, 1969.

    Personally, prefer the prescient writings of Arthur C. Clarke. Aside from his predictions of geocentric communication satellite systems, his epilogue to First Men On The Moon 50 years ago predicted bustling, commercial LEO development allowing government to focus on BEO exploration projects of scale.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  115. Time123 (c9382b) — 1/16/2020 @ 4:13 pm

    This is simply not a true statement. You, and you aren’t alone here, have started with the basic assumption that Trump can’t do anything for other than selfish reasons and anything that contradicts that view or that would have a dual role is simply ignored.

    There is no valid reason for Biden’s son to be on the board of a Ukrainian energy company and no reason to be on any board pulling down the money he was getting. Everything about that and Biden’s involvement in it is shady. Even without that there is every reason to question giving money to Ukraine given the level of corruption there. If this were any other president and it didn’t involve Biden it would make complete sense and the standard of evidence you’re requiring wouldn’t exist. At this point I don’t think anything would convince you that Trump cared about corruption because you’ve already decided it’s simply not possible for him.

    frosty (f27e97)

  116. While there are aspects of Ukrainian involvement in 2016 that are worthy of investigation and inquiry, Trump’s belief is faked-moon-landing level nonsense, and he explicitly linked it to military aid in his conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky.

    he didn’t link it to military aid in his conversation. That is getting close to fake moon level also.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  117. My students often tell me it isn’t fair they got into trouble when another student didn’t for doing a similar thing. Here’s what I tell them:

    Everybody sometimes does stuff a little against the rules, even straight A students. Most people never get caught. But if somebody does get caught a couple of times or gets caught doing something a lot against the rules, suddenly the teacher is paying close attention to them, so they are getting caught not just for the big stuff they do that’s against the rules, but also the medium stuff that could have gotten overlooked and the small stuff that everyone does sometimes and mostly gets away with.

    Trump held up a big freaking neon sign (maybe several signs, really) saying how he was going to break the rules. Now everyone is paying attention to him and so not only is he getting attention for the big stuff, but the little stuff, that most people do but don’t get caught for, is catching people’s attention too. He did it to himself.

    Nic (896fdf)

  118. Frosty, I don’t think I’ve ever treated you with other than respect. Please believe me when I say I’ve thought about the evidence and I think I’ve reached an honest conclusion based on what’s available.

    There is no valid reason for Biden’s son to be on the board of a Ukrainian energy company and no reason to be on any board pulling down the money he was getting.

    True, it’s unethical and I have to assume that at best Burisma did it to currey favor and gain some status.

    Everything about that and Biden’s involvement in it is shady.

    At best there is an appearance of impropriety. Biden should have recused himself from being point on Urkaine. It counts against him that he didn’t.

    Even without that there is every reason to question giving money to Ukraine given the level of corruption there.

    This question was asked by the administration and answered. No on has provided evidence that this is why Trump held up the money.

    If this were any other president and it didn’t involve Biden it would make complete sense and the standard of evidence you’re requiring wouldn’t exist.

    If Obama had tried to do this to Romney under some similar thin pretext I would feel the exact same way. If this level of evidence had been found in the IRS scandal Obama should have been impeached. It wasn’t.

    At this point I don’t think anything would convince you that Trump cared about corruption because you’ve already decided it’s simply not possible for him.

    Can you point to any example of Trump caring about corruption where it didn’t personally benefit him?
    Can you point to ANY evidence that Trump was motivated by fighting corruption in Ukraine? Anything under oath at all?

    Time123 (c9382b)

  119. I’m not asking for 3 witnesses and unicorn. I’m asking for just some basic testimony and substantiation.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  120. ”Trump held up a big freaking neon sign (maybe several signs, really) saying how he was going to break the rules.”
    Nic (896fdf) — 1/16/2020 @ 4:53 pm

    The sign must’ve been bigger than the one HRC was holding up.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  121. @121 The reality is that HRC was investigated by Republicans for 25 years for a rather large number of issues, nothing ever got pinned on her, and being involved in the process caused Trey Gowdy to bail out of politics in disgust. Either the investigators weren’t serious (and they sure seemed serious) or she was relatively clean and it was mostly trumped up crap (which is what Gowdy’s response has ultimately convinced me was the case).

    Nic (896fdf)

  122. Nic (896fdf) — 1/16/2020 @ 5:26 pm

    👍👍👍👍

    nk (dbc370)

  123. I think it is misleading to say they have to judge it to be a crime. They don’t.

    If they don’t, what is the point of this post? That the GAO is calling what Trump did illegal, and that you choose to blog about it, would suggest that there IS (or was) some question about whether Trump’s alleged actions were illegal. Why is that not a q

    Still to be shown is whether he actually did what he is accused of, and whether they were serious enough to warrant removal.

    Illegal is not the same thing as a crime. But it is an indication that he did something wrong that goes against what a President should do. Senators do have to believe he did something wrong in that sense.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  124. 88. Calfed (f67f21) — 1/16/2020 @ 2:32 pm

    Finally…I’m doubtful that the any actual violation occurred. As long as the money is disbursed during the fiscal year in which it is appropriated, which it was in this case, it is hard to see how the Impound Control Act is violated.

    They only managed to get 88% of the money appropriated for military aid obligated by Sept. 30 and the House Intelligence Committee took testimony to that effect.

    The remainder was re-appropriated in the continuing resolution.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  125. 112. DCSCA (797bc0) — 1/16/2020 @ 4:15 pm

    You do know why there’s an airport in Noo Yawk named LaGuardia, and not Giuliani, right, Captain, sir?!

    1. We’re past the point of naming airports (they were built some time ago)

    2. Giuliani is neither dead nor long retired from active politics.

    In the last decade (I don’t think it was longer) we had: (I’ll give the dates of election years.)

    1. The Queensborough Bridge renamed after former mayor Edward I. Koch. (1977-1989)

    2. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel renamed after former Governor Hugh L. Carey (1974-1982)

    3. The Triborough Bridge renamed after former Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.

    4 The replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge renamed for former Governor Mario M. Cuomo (1982-1994) It had previously been partially re-named for former Governor Malcolm Wilson (1973-1974 – long term Lt Gov. who became Governor when Nelson Rockefeller resigned bu failed to get elected himself. Rockefeller resigned one year before his 4th term ended, Later Gerald Ford nomnated him for vice president, but he did not quit to become vice president. He quit to get busy making copies of Old Masters so people less rich than him could have them – not making them personally

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  126. 4. 20.

    <i? The case is NOT getting stronger and stronger, because all new details reveal that what happened is not consisted with what is outlined in the articles of Impeachment.

    Appalled (1a17de) — 1/16/2020 @ 9:09 am

    First, impeachment is a political process. So anything that makes the political case for removing Trump stronger does strengthen the case for the Senate actually removing him.

    The general case, maybe, and that depends on whether what he actually did is worse than what he is accused of, but the Senate is bound to judge specific charges, not the question of his general unfitness for office.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  127. Continued:

    Second, the critical article of impeachment says this:
    Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.

    In the first place, Trump did NOT use the power of his high office in making the request, beyond his ability to get Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on the phone and in contact with Giuliani, plus of course the general interest Zelensky had in staying on Trump’s good side.

    In the second place, this is a dressed up and overbroad description of a few specific things he requested (only as a favor) and evades the issue of whether he asked them to do anything that ordinary people would call wrong (like smearing someone) and whether or not the requests were legitimate or the president thought it was.

    He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations

    “Included” is a nice weasel word. The business about only announcing investigations refers to the situation as it developed toward the end of the first week in September.

    Trump, at that point, almost certainly had no idea what any of them were doing. It was all done without consulting Donald Trump, and was guesswork on the part of Gordon Sondland as to what wuld cause Donald Trump to release the hold. And the scheme totally came to an end when Trump suddenly released the hold on September 11, 2019.

    It is the clearest attempt to force Ukraine to do anything, but also the clearest instance of non-involvement by Trump.

    that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.

    Missing from the charges here is the word “unjustifiably.” Apparently to preclude a possible defense.

    And it is also not clear that this would help his re-election prospects in the end.

    President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations.

    He did not. Gordon Sondland did that.

    When Trump heard about that, he disavowed it vehemently to Senator Ron Johnson. (R-Wis.) on Augist 31, which was about two days after Gordon Sondland had first tied the military ad to investigations.

    https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/11/johnson-responds-to-house-republicans-request-for-information-on-ukraine

    President Trump called me that same day.

    The purpose of the call was to inform President Trump of my upcoming trip to Ukraine and to try to persuade him to authorize me to tell Zelensky that the hold would be lifted on military aid. The president was not prepared to lift the hold, and he was consistent in the reasons he cited. He reminded me how thoroughly corrupt Ukraine was and again conveyed his frustration that Europe doesn’t do its fair share of providing military aid. He specifically cited the sort of conversation he would have with Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany….It was only after he reiterated his reasons for not giving me the authority to tell Zelensky the support would be released that I asked him about whether there was some kind of arrangement where Ukraine would take some action and the hold would be lifted. Without hesitation, President Trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, I quoted the president as saying, “(Expletive deleted) — No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” I have accurately characterized his reaction as adamant, vehement and angry — there was more than one expletive that I have deleted.

    Based on his reaction, I felt more than a little guilty even asking him the question, much less telling him I heard it from Sondland. He seemed even more annoyed by that, and asked me, “Who is that guy”? I interpreted that not as a literal question — the president did know whom Sondland was — but rather as a sign that the president did not know him well. I replied by saying, “I thought he was your buddy from the real estate business.” The president replied by saying he barely knew him.

    Trump also told Gordon Sondland on or about September 6 that he was not interested in any quid pro quos and Sondland commnicated that contemporaneously to others.

    President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit.

    That would mean that he didn’t believe in the charges against Joe Biden, or the possibility of them being true, and that his interest in the history of the 2016 election was also corrupt.

    In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States

    That’s going too far.

    and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.

    Only if he wanted Ukraine to conduxt to lie or conduct a witch hut or a fishing expedition.

    He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation.

    Only if the preceding clause is true.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  128. Evidence that ties the President to the Ukraine decisions, Giuliani’s antics strengthens the case against him.

    The only way this can be said to tie Trump more to what Giuliani was doing is Giuliani saying in a general way that he is acting on behalf of Donald Trump.

    You cannot make that, by some feat of logic, into Trump directing all of Giuliani’s activities. That’s nonsense. The world doesn’t work that way.

    In fact I don’t even think they were on the same page.

    Trump was concerned about supposedly corrupt anti-Trump people in the Ukrainian government who had supposedly been involved in action against him in 2016 and were supposedly protected by recalled Ambassador Marie Yovanovich. Giuliani was already satisfied that was no longer a problem.

    And Giuliani wanted investigations, while Trump wanted to get the facts.

    And Giuliani being supported by Trump isn’t even news. Giuliani never claimed anything else than that he was acting on behalf of Trump, and we see, just from the July 25 telephone call, that Trump was impressed with and supported Rudy Giuliani. Again, that doesn’t mean he had any good sense of much of what Giuliani was doing. He knew Giuliani was investigating, and coming up with allegations.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  129. @#125 Sammy

    They only managed to get 88% of the money appropriated for military aid obligated by Sept. 30 and the House Intelligence Committee took testimony to that effect.

    The remainder was re-appropriated in the continuing resolution.

    So, was the 12% that wasn’t encumbered by the end of the fiscal year not encumbered because Trump was holding up 12% for some nefarious purpose or simply due to administrative inefficiency?

    Calfed (f67f21)

  130. @129 Your entire and ongoing premise is that Trump is an ignorant dupe of his hirelings and so he can’t be guilty. I don’t find that credible because 1. He requested that Zelensky look into Biden in the phonecall. 2. placed a hold on the money. 3. wasn’t looking into any other kinds of corruption at all. 4. Sent his various mouthpieces over to tell Zelensky his bidding. He doesn’t have plausible deniability, only implausible deniability.

    The only way he couldn’t know what was going on is if Melaina had hit him over the head with a lamp and he was lying in a coma on Andrews while his body double runs the country. Which is just as plausible an argument at this point as the argument that he didn’t know what was going one.

    Or he could be a romance novel heroine who is too stupid to live and is currently taking a leisurely nighttime stroll in his nightgown down a pirate ridden beach, alone, singing the theme from Frozen at the top of his lungs while his knee length blond hair streams out behind him, gleaming in the moonlight.

    Nic (896fdf)

  131. And makes you work even harder at trying to say that Trump didn’t try to use aid for political dirt, because he was against giving aid in the first place.

    It’s not only that.

    Also:

    o He never told Ukraine about the hold. In fact nobody did. And Giuliani didn’t know about it until he read about it in the New Yofk Times at the end of August.

    o Now Ukraine found out about it early on, but Sondland et al didn’t know that they knew until August 28, so he never tried to use it as leverage untl Septmeber.

    o In testimony before the Hose Judiciary Committee, Democratic and Republican counsel to the House Intelligence Committee disagreed as to the reason Ukraine did not complain.

    Democratic counsel said it was because they didn’t want Russia to know; Republican counsel said it was because only the ambassador of the previous president knew but people in Kyiv did not know. This is incorrect: that could explain the questions by the Ukrainian embassy n Washington as of July 25, but it was known more generally by mid-August, (and by the House Foreign Affairs Committee which had received calls from for [4!] whistleblowers on July 18, and possibly by others in Congress) but the American press was not aware of this.

    https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/preparing-for-the-us-ukraine-summit (dated Aug. 14)

    High on Kyiv’s to-do list while in Washington is getting the US to unlock the $115 million appropriated by Congress for Foreign Military Sales to Ukraine (FMF). The Office of Management and Budget is currently blocking those sales but has not advanced any public rationale to justify its actions. Zelenskyy and his ministers must persuade Trump to break the logjam as a matter of some urgency.

    I think both the Republican and Democratic counsel are wrong: Ukraine did not complain because they knew about it only because of a possibly illegal leak, and they cold be accused of spying if they showed that they knew that the aid was on hod (and also believed it probably was budget nonsense that would not last.) Zelensky, as a matter of fact, as of late last year was claiming to have become aware of it only on September 1, at the Warsaw summit. (even after the Aug 28 Politico story!) What that is, is when he first raised the issue (with vice president Mike Pence.)

    o Ukraine also got worried from the Politico story that the reason the aid was being withheld is that Trump was considering making some kind of a deal with Russia about Ukraine.

    o Only then (at the end of August) did Sondland link the military aid and the investigations together

    (Ambassador Taylor testified that sond;and told him in a telephone call on Sept 1 that he concluded that he had made a mistake i lnkng investigations to a meeting. In reality, he now thought, everything was dependent on investgations. Sondland later testified that he communicated that that day to Andriyy Yermak – this appears to be a mistake or a lie – he more probably only communicated that linkage later that week (but before that he told various people in the U.s. government, including Senator Johnson, maybe to test out the reaction.)

    o Until the Politico story appeared, Gordon Sondland only used the prospect of a White House or other meeting between Zelensky and Trump as leverage.

    o And also, according to the whistleblower, a telephone call. Which actually happened on July 25. Which would mean, if this is accurate that Zelensky had already agreed to do the investigations by July 25, and there are signs in the call that he did, or tried to satisfy Trump on that account, anyway.

    o And all throughout, Sondland acknowledged it was his own idea. (or, another way of looking at it, that he was trying to read Donald Trump’s mind!)

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/04/us/politics/ukraine-text-messages-volker.html

    [8/9/19, 5:35:53 PM] Gordon Sondland: Morrison ready to get dates as soon as Yermak confirms.

    [8/9/19, 5:46:21 PM] Kurt Volker: Excellent!! How did you sway him? :) [8/9/19, 5:47:34 PM] Gordon Sondland: Not sure i did. I think potus really wants the deliverable

    I quoted other text messages in other places.

    o Zelensky had already agreed in principle to do the investigations in July 25 phone call (he spoke only about Burisma, not Biden allegedly firing a good prosecutor, and he ignored that about 2016. He later told some people this wasa very sensitive subject)

    o But Ukraine in fact did not start an investigation of Burisma in September, but this is because they were discouraged from ding so by some state Department officials, and, on Sept. 5, by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) The whistleblower had the identities of the officials cautioning Ukraine to diistinguish between what they were getting from the official U.S. government and what was coming from someplace else completely wrong (He thought it was Sondland and Volker; in reality it was Taylor.)

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  132. 130. Calfed (f67f21) — 1/16/2020 @ 9:16 pm

    So, was the 12% that wasn’t encumbered by the end of the fiscal year not encumbered because Trump was holding up 12% for some nefarious purpose or simply due to administrative inefficiency?

    well, the OMB would blame the Pentagon claiming that there was enough time between September 11 and September 30.

    A point brought out by the GAO is that if an official recission request was made closer than 45 days to the expiration date of the appropriation (= the fiscal year) Congress would have to approve it in less than 45 days for that to effective.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  133. Nic (896fdf) — 1/16/2020 @ 9:22 pm

    1. He requested that Zelensky look into Biden in the phonecall.

    2. placed a hold on the money.

    But…

    1. He never linked the two together.

    2. Never told the Ukrainians the money was on hold.

    3. Zelensky already was agreeing to investigate Burisma in the July 25 call.

    THESE ARE FACTS.

    3. wasn’t looking into any other kinds of corruption at all.

    Basically, true. On the other hand what he was told was pretty important, if true, and not just to him.

    4. Sent his various mouthpieces over to tell Zelensky his bidding.

    Ask. And he didn’t know what they were telling him. I’d say Giuliani was very much of a self-starter and was calling Trump. His big cause, early in 2019, was firing the Ambassador. Hia second interest: Finding out the truth about the 2016 election. Finding out if that story about Biden was true was further down the list.

    The only way he couldn’t know what was going on is if Melaina had hit him over the head with a lamp and he was lying in a coma on Andrews while his body double runs the country. Which is just as plausible an argument at this point as the argument that he didn’t know what was going one.

    You think he’s great executive?

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  134. @nic

    The only way he couldn’t know what was going on is if Melaina had hit him over the head with a lamp and he was lying in a coma on Andrews while his body double runs the country.

    Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.— Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar. Written by Mark Twain.

    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/07/15/truth-stranger

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  135. Ukraine and the United States State Department is investigating something out of Dungeons and Dragons or computer word games (the claim in text messages that someone sent to Lev Parnass about live surveillance of Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich),

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  136. Illegal is not the same thing as a crime. But it is an indication that he did something wrong that goes against what a President should do. Senators do have to believe he did something wrong in that sense.

    Yes. I agree with this, and I’m sorry that I was imprecise. The charge has to be either something illegal, or something unacceptable. In theory, they could impeach Trump for being a gaping azzhole. Ideally it is something disprovable.

    And each Senator needs to evaluate whether the behavior met this test (and later, should they decide he did it, whether they care enough to remove him).

    Kevin M (19357e)

  137. Gotta ask, how so, as he been dead since 1988, but very much alive as a panelist in some old ABC News video coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing from July, 1969.

    You could click the link I provided.

    The short version: When RAH was writing The Number of the Beast, he wrote a completely different version of the book that was more in line with his older work and less “World as Myth.” For copyright reasons (both books contain the basic start),it was never published. Those rea$on$ have been overcome and the alternate version is forthcoming.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  138. Also, I believe that Barsoom was not yet in the public domain.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  139. I do wish that the House had included the charge:

    “By numerous actions that have brought the Presidency into disrepute, Donald Trump has demonstrated his unfitness for the office. THerefore he should be removed and barred from holding any office of trust or responsibility under this Constitution.”

    But they didn’t. Not even in the month they sat on their hands. I’m not sure they can bring it up now.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  140. @134 Zelensky put forth several possibilities of working together and Trump dismissed them entirely to talk about the favor he wanted. Sure, Zenesky couldn’t put any of that together. And they did know the money was being witheld.

    “On the other hand what he was told was pretty important, if true, and not just to him.” Not really, no.

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that everyone around Trump was just leaving him out of the loop. “Oh, hey, I just won’t tell my boss what I’m saying in his name, that’s a great idea.”

    “You think he’s great executive?”

    I think Trump believes that government works like the corrupt business he’s done through-out his life and is ignorant of how it really works. I do not think he’s stupid.

    Nic (896fdf)

  141. “Therefore he should be removed and barred from holding any office of trust or responsibility under this Constitution.”

    I think the penalty is up to the Senate. I am nit sure of the way it works, but it ought to be known from the cases of impeachment of judges.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  142. Nic (896fdf) — 1/17/2020 @ 5:52 pm

    @134 Zelensky put forth several possibilities of working together and Trump dismissed them entirely to talk about the favor he wanted.

    Let me see.

    Whle Zelensky talks about other matters and co-operation in general he does speak a lot about investigations. I think it’s fair to say that Trump is not responsive to what Zelensky says about anything else, (which is mostly in general terms) and Zelensky is not very responsive to Trump’s specifics with regard to investigations.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Unclassified09.2019.pdf

    Zelensky first assures Trump about personell:

    … we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the
    old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government .. You are a great teacher for us and in that. [this is flattery]

    The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that….

    Trump then goes on to say that the Unites States is doing a lot more than the European countries and

    I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily [that is Ukraine is not doing a lot for the United States] because things are happening that are not good [probably anti-Trump stuff he’s been hearing from Giuliani] but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.

    Zelensky then says he agrees with Trump not just 100% but 1000% about how Angela Merkel and the European Union need to do more to help Ukraine and then points to sanctions on the Russian Federation (Trump had been talking about the amount of money given to Ukraine – possibly Zelensky thought Trump had a better understanding of the matters at issue than he did)

    He then remembers to mention that Ukraine has just about the decided to use some of the money given to it as military aid to buy American made Javelins (Zelensky thinks he’s dealing with Trump’s concerns about the trade deficit here. It has been claimed, against all reason, that here Zelensky s asking for money but he’s not. He’s telling Trump how he’s going to spend some of it.)

    The subject of Ukrainian help for the United States having been brought up, Trump mentions some help he would really appreciate:

    I would like you to do us a favor though

    and mentions the 2016 election

    There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it…but they. say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you. do it
    if that’s possible.

    Because Trump doesn’t know if Zelensky can get to the bottom of it. He’s not asking for made up, or inaccurate, stories. (Of course, what he’s telling Zelensky about Crowdstrike and the servers is off the wall. And probably coming from corrupt Ukrainians allied with Russia via Lev Parnass and Giuliani and others.)

    Zelensky says yes it is very important and then talks about other things, including personnel and how he has nothing but friends there. He mentions Giuliani – that one of his aides recently spoke to Giuliani and he hopes that Giuliani will come to Ukraine and they can meet in person. He promises not just the 2016 investigation but all investigations will be done openly and candidly. [So why does Trump ask next day about whether they are going to do investigations? A. David Holmes is lying about overhearing that]

    Then Trump mentions the Biden allegation and circles back to praising Giuliani because he had not expected that Zelensky would be willing to meet with Giuliani. He’s talking both about the former U.S. Amassador to Ukraine and about Biden. As I said, there are three issues Trump has with Ukraine: personnel, 2016 (which are linked in his mind) and Biden.

    Zelensky later talks about meetin with Trump and Trump does respond to that.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  143. Zelensky tells Trump he’s going to have a new prosecutor

    Sure, Zelenky couldn’t put any of that together.

    Trumpp makes some obviously wrongheaded allegations and Zelensky can’t tell him he’s wrong, or he hasn’t figured out how..

    And they did know the money was being witheld.

    But not why, or for how long and they were not officially informed. Their U.S. sources can’t tell them why because nobody knows. Gordon Sondland’s telling them a meeting with Trump is contingent on investigations.

    And we have here Zelensly telling Trump they’ll look into what Trump mentioned:

    Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor .general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start, as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.

    Note: Vindmann says the name Burisma was mentioned in the lost words. Note Zelensky does not say anything about the allegation that Biden fired a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, but he will allude to that shortly.

    At this point he assures Trump Ukraine has its own reasons for investigating Burisma, i.e. there’s no need to pressure Ukraine about this because they’re not doing it because of pressure:

    The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of.that and will work on the investigation of the case.

    Now, he adds, if Trump has information, [meaning this recording of Biden saying he caused the firing of the prosecutor to stop an investigation] they’ll be glad to get it:

    On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to µs, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)

  144. SF:> “On the other hand what he was told was pretty important, if true, and not just to him.”

    I think your response is to another idea. I don’t see here a disagreement with that.

    Nic:

    Not really, no. I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that everyone around Trump was just leaving him out of the loop. “Oh, hey, I just won’t tell my boss what I’m saying in his name, that’s a great idea.”

    Somebody wrote a whole op-ed piece in the New York Times about people around Trump doing precisely this: (working around him)

    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..

    I think the attempts to pressure Ukraine was indeed done without his knowledge.

    Trump had soured on Ukraine in general sometime between late April and the middle of May due to disinformation supplied to him. Gordon Sondland (at the instigation of Mick Mulvaney?) was trying to get the hold reversed – and for this to work, it was actually important for Trump to think Ukraine did it on its own.

    What they needed to do was change Trump’s opinion of Ukraine’s government, and a Ukraine that does the right thing for its own reasons is much better than a Ukraine that gets pressured into agreeing to do something that it may not actually do.

    Sammy Finkelman (2cb3c3)


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