Patterico's Pontifications


WSJ: Trump Repeatedly Pressured Ukrainian President To Reopen Biden Investigation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Have at it:

President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.

“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of U.S. aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on any investigation.

Mr. Giuliani in June and August met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation, he said in an interview. The Trump lawyer has suggested Mr. Biden as vice president worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden. A Ukrainian official earlier this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son.

Good point:

The surprise in this story is that he supposedly didn’t threaten to withhold the $250 million in military aid that Ukraine had been promised if President Zelensky refused to reopen the Biden probe, at least as far as the Journal’s sources know. But of course Zelensky knew that that money hadn’t been approved yet by the White House when he and Trump had their phone call. And Trump knew that he knew. If you’re waiting on a life-and-death loan from the bank and the head of the bank calls you up asking for a personal favor, does he need to literally say the words “do it or you won’t get your loan” for you to understand the consequences if you decline?

Interestingly, neither the White House, nor Joe Biden have commented on this. Further, President Trump is scheduled to meet with Zelensky next week.

This from the Daily Beast:

Ukraine is ready to investigate the connections Joe Biden’s son Hunter had with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, according to Anton Geraschenko, a senior adviser to the country’s interior minister who would oversee such an inquiry.

Geraschenko told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview that “as soon as there is an official request” Ukraine will look into the case, but “currently there is no open investigation.”

“Clearly,” said Geraschenko, “Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.” Among the counts on which Manafort was convicted: tax evasion. “We do not investigate Biden in Ukraine, since we have not received a single official request to do so,” said Geraschenko.

And I’ll just throw this up here for kicks:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Dear Mom and Dad: Your Kids Aren’t Experts in Science

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:09 pm

[guest post by JVW]

About a decade or so ago I was clued in to a hilarious website called I Am Better Than Your Kids. The premise of it is that the cute artwork that your preschooler or early-gradeschooler brings home isn’t very good, even if you take to hanging it on the refrigerator or framing it and hanging it in your office. The humor isn’t for everyone; you have to see through his sometimes cruel assessment of children’s artistic efforts and realize that the butt of the joke really is snowflake culture (though we hadn’t yet fully identified it at that point) and parents who are certain their little one is the next Renoir or Matisse, albeit with a nose full of boogers. The site is still active, and parents still apparently submit their tyke’s doodlings for evaluation, knowing full well that the effort will be eviscerated. Clearly they too are in on the joke. I’m guessing this kind of humor isn’t as widely tolerated as it was a decade ago, but it’s nice to know it’s still out there.

Anyway, I thought of this site for the first time in ages when I noticed today that all of the wokest parents’ kids are preparing for the worldwide Climate Strike. Perhaps you have seen it on social media: pictures of little Emma and Noah holding up signs declaring the Earth is in a crisis and imploring — nay, demanding — that Bad Orange Man do something about it. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Stockholm has become for environmentalism what David Hogg is to gun control, the self-righteous scold repeating the same old worn-out tropes that have yet to move the needle beyond the current crop of true believers. Nevertheless, Miss Thunberg like Mr. Hogg does not want for adoring media coverage hailing her as a young oracle for a more just future. Those of us who also had solved all of the answers to the world’s problems when we were in our mid-teens ought to be at least somewhat forbearing of this youthful aggrandizement. So with that in mind, I want to send a simple message out to their parents:

Your kids don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

Oh, it may turn out that your kids are right. Perhaps there really is a cataclysmic doom directly head of us and these are the last possible moments in which we can act, but your seven-year-old has no idea whether or not that is true, even if she has already aced the times tables up to the twelves. Your high school freshman, precocious though he may be, hasn’t read all of the pro-doom research and checked it over to ensure that the science is replicable, let alone read any research that counters the dominant narrative that we’re hurtling along to our ultimate destruction. They simply aren’t that smart.

Stop filling up impressionable young minds with your ugly disaster scenarios. Stop sending them to bed with nasty visions of a truncated life due to unimaginable catastrophe. What kind of sick society does this to children? I’ve joked about this in the past, but it’s getting less and less funny: I feel like a terrific investment would be to open a bunch of youth psychiatry clinics in order to handle the mass anxiety and depression that we’ve shoved into this young generation’s callow minds. Shame on us for ruining their childhoods with our selfish crusades.

Here endeth the rant.


John Bolton Unleashed

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:28 am

[guest post by Dana]

Clearly, he’s got nothing to lose:

John Bolton…harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying that inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees.

All the North Koreans and Iranians want to do is negotiate for relief from sanctions to support their economies, said Bolton, who was speaking before guests invited by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank.

“He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times,” said one attendee. Bolton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.

At one point, Bolton, a previous chairman of Gatestone, suggested that had the U.S. retaliated for the drone shootdown, Iran might not have damaged the Saudi oil fields.

Coincidentally, Bolton’s comments came on the same day that Trump announced Bolton’s replacement would be Robert C. O’Brien, with whom he had “good chemistry”.

Trump pushed back on Bolton’s comments concerning a “high authority, at the very last minute” choosing not to go through with planned retaliatory strikes against the Iranians because Tucker Carlson, among others, warned that it was not a good idea:

“Well, I was critical of John Bolton for getting us involved with a lot of other people in the Middle East,” he told reporters during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego. “We’ve spent $7.5 trillion in the Middle East and you ought to ask a lot of people about that.“

“John was not able to work with anybody, and a lot of people disagreed with his ideas,” Trump added. “A lot of people were very critical that I brought him on in the first place because of the fact that he was so in favor of going into the Middle East, and he got stuck in quicksand and we became policemen for the Middle East. It’s ridiculous.“

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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