THE INQUISITION  IMPEACHMENT


Due to the fast moving impeachment investigation it is almost impossible to keep up with all the testimony, news and truth surfacing about our fake, corrupt, and disgusting president, and the liar and con man he is…  

Whats worse is having to listen to the lying jerkoffs like Pompeo, Pence, Graham Nunes, Meadows and Jordan, who support him to save their own asses…  

It’s just like magnetism, the scumbags are attracted to each other… the GOP on this committee
( Goose-Stepping Oligarch Pr*cks) is nothing but a clan of greedy bastards… playing a fool’s party line…


CNN HIGHLIGHTS FOR TRUTH

Fake President = Fake Diplomacy = Collateral Damage 

(CNN) Frida Ghitis - The praise or condemnation President Donald T-RUMP is drawing for the latest US actions in the Middle East in no way diminishes the power of the legal bombshell that just exploded in the United States with new evidence of his behavior regarding Ukraine.

Newly revealed documents paint an incriminating picture, showing administration officials anxiously struggling to follow orders from Trump himself despite concerns that the order could go against the national security interests of the United States and warnings from the Pentagon that it could be illegal.

The emails are the portrait of a corrupt policy and an effort to conceal it -- a tug of war between two sets of government officials, one side trying to protect American security and follow the law, another working to enforce direct orders of the President of the United States.

The documents, obtained through the work of the Center for Public Integrity and later, in their unredacted versions, revealed by the online legal forum Just Security, show that administration officials knew Trump was ordering them to do something possibly illegal.

Just hours after Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- the one Trump absurdly calls "perfect" during which he requested a "favor" from Ukraine -- Michael Duffey, at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), emailed the Pentagon to put a hold on aid to Ukraine and said to keep the decision secret "given the sensitive nature of the request."

Pentagon lawyers and others appeared to grow increasingly anxious. Duffey later writes, "Clear direction from POTUS to hold," again making it clear this was the President's doing.

NEW UKRAINE REVELATIONS TURN UP HEAT ON SENATE TRIAL SHOWDOWN

On July 26, the "Ukraine Deputies Small Group" met. The National Security Council's top Ukraine experts -- Trump's own team -- declared "unanimous support" for restarting military funding as Russia's allies continued their assault on eastern Ukraine.

As the clock ticked toward a disbursement deadline, aides increasingly raised the legality of the issue.  And rightly so. The decision didn’t just run against national security, it violated the law.  Under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA), the administration is obligated to spend the money as directed by Congress. If it doesn’t, it is required to inform Congress that it is doing so and why.  In a draft letter by the Pentagon to the OMB, top Defense Department officials noted, "We have repeatedly advised OMB officials" that the suspension of aid jeopardizes "the Department's ability" to comply with the ICA.

With the deadline for compliance nearing, the infighting and finger pointing intensified. Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon's acting controller, asked Eric Chewning, the chief of staff of Defense Secretary Mike Esper, "Do you believe DOD is adequately protected from what may happen?" 

Eventually, the secret came out. Politico broke the story of the aid freeze. Congress began asking questions. Impeachment was on the horizon.   What could be worse than a President sacrificing national security for personal political gain, and violating the law in the process?

What makes it worse is that the administration, working hand in glove with the US Department of Justice, did everything in its power to conceal the latest batch of information even after a court ordered it released. The Trump administration is engaged in what looks very much like a coverup. In Nixon's Watergate case, it became cliché to note that the coverup was worse than the crime. In this case, the crime and the coverup are both extremely serious, even if most members of the Trump-era Republican party refuse to acknowledge it.

White House budget official told Pentagon that order to hold Ukraine aid came from Trump, national security site reports

The administration has refused to release the documents demanded by Congressional investigators and has tried to prevent key witnesses from testifying. But these emails came after a judge ordered their release in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Center for Public Integrity. That's when the Justice Department tried to have it both ways, releasing the documents but hiding the most incriminating pieces, blacking out big chunks of conversations.

Then came the work of Just Security, the online legal forum, which reviewed the unredacted documents, pulling the pin on this political grenade.

Now we know why Trump refuses to put forward a real defense as he faces an impeachment trial. He has no defense. Every shred of information we have seen so far is thoroughly consistent with what we heard from witnesses during the House impeachment hearings: Trump ordered his team to withhold military aid from Ukraine -- urgently needed to defend against a Russian-backed invasion -- as he pressured Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into his chief Democratic rival in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden.

If Trump had a coherent explanation, a viable defense, he would put it forward. He doesn't. The more we learn, the guiltier he looks. That’s why he blocks every release of information, and his team blacks out key pieces in court-ordered document releases.   His defense strategy amounts to shouting "Witch Hunt!" He has nothing better.

The documents curiously show that at no point in the discussions between the officials was there any explanation of why Trump abruptly halted aid. We know why from the White House summary of the call with Zelensky, from Trump's rants about Biden and Ukraine, from Giuliani's statements, and from the officials who spoke in the impeachment hearings. Trump, as his own diplomats declared, conditioned the release of the aid on Ukraine announcing an investigation of Biden and his son.

As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff noted, these documents amount to a small fraction of what the House has subpoenaed. The Trump administration refuses to provide more information. It's pretty clear why. Every piece of information adds to overwhelming evidence of corruption, of abuse and misuse of power by the President of the United States. 

What's happening in the Middle East matters, but we should not let it divert us from holding this President to account.



UPROAR AND CONSEQUENCES MOUNT 

FOR TRUMP AFTER SOLEIMANI KILLING 

President Donald Trump’s claim that the drone strike last week made Americans safer is being challenging by cascading events that appear to leave the US more vulnerable and isolated.  The administration's basis for the attack also came under renewed suspicion after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN that it was not "relevant" for him to reveal how imminent the attacks on US interests were that Trump said Soleimani was planning.

In proliferating signs of the deepening crisis, Iran on Sunday announced that it was shaking off restrictions on its uranium enrichment under the Obama-era nuclear deal. Iraq's parliament voted to expel US troops. A US exit could imperil its fight against extremism and consolidate Iranian influence in Baghdad. Dissent emerged inside the administration over the President's vow to strike cultural sites — or civilian targets — if Iran mounts reprisal strikes. Administration claims that the elimination of Soleimani, Iran's Middle East terror chief, sparked celebration in Iran were confounded by Tehran's orchestrating of Soleimani's funeral rites to launch a propaganda campaign to heal national divides.

Skepticism mounts over evidence of ‘imminent’ threat that Trump says justified Soleimani killing.  Washington's European allies, meanwhile, distanced themselves from Trump's assault. The US-led ISIS coalition temporarily stopped action against the terror group to protect Iraqi bases from Iranian-backed militias. And in a new sign of widening gaps between Iraq and the US, Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said he had been scheduled to meet Soleimani on the day he was killed to discuss an initiative to ease Iran-Saudi tensions.

SIDE NOTE:  In Kenya, three Americans were killed in an attack on a military base by Al-Shabaab, a jihadist group. The group follows a Sunni strand of Islam while Iran has a Shiite Muslim majority and there was no immediate link to the killing of Soleimani. But the attack was a reminder of both the vulnerability of US personnel to terror attacks and a sign that other US adversaries might try to take advantage of the tumult for their own ends.

The growing international tumult was matched by a worsening confrontation at home with Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans becoming even more estranged over the President’s impeachment trial, a drama that was triggered by Trump’s handling of another foreign policy issue -- Ukraine -- and his efforts to use his power to coerce political dirt on his domestic opponents.

WERE 176 LIVES THE PRICE OF KILLING SOLEIMANI?

After receiving credit when it appeared the crisis was over, David Frum writes for The Atlantic that President T-RUMP now ought to shoulder some responsibility for the lives of 176 Ukraine International Airlines passengers and crew, amid news that US and Canadian officials believe Iran mistakenly shot down the plane that crashed in Tehran on Wednesday—and a video that appears to show a missile striking it.

Blame lies with Iran, Frum writes in a scathing column, but Trump’s escalation led to a situation in which Iran may have perceived a threat in its skies. “That’s the way it is with unintended consequences—and why governments are supposed to weigh carefully the decision to employ deadly force,” Frum writes. “President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama both flinched from doing justice to Soleimani, because they asked, ‘And what will happen next?’ Trump did not ask that question. Families across half the world are now grieving a consequence that Trump’s ego forbade him to imagine or ponder.”

THE ‘AMERICA FIRST’ TRAP

After he campaigned on skepticism of foreign wars, the Soleimani strike revealed a contradiction in President Trump’s foreign policy: As former under secretary of defense Michèle Flournoy put it to NPR’s Tamara Keith, T-RUMP mixes “wanting to appear the tough guy that nobody’s gonna mess with … but also genuinely having an isolationist streak that says, ‘Why are we in the Middle East?’”

It might not be a personal tic. In the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh argues the paradox is endemic to Trump’s “America first” ethos, which produces both isolationism and a tendency to lash out at national insults. A prime example: Trump’s threat to sanction Iraq if it forces US troops to leave—something T-RUMP himself seemed to want. “ All it took was an impudent framing of the same idea—by a sovereign parliament—to make him reach for harsh measures to save American face,” Ganesh writes.

Nativism “can have its chest-beating sense of honor or it can have its dream of a quiet life in a world of sovereign states minding their affairs,” Ganesh writes—but it can’t have both. One upshot, he argues, is that any similarly nationalist successor will get caught in the same trap.

AMERICA’S ‘NARCISSISTIC’ SELF-CRITICS

On the American left, criticism of the Soleimani strike is veering into national narcissism, Shadi Hamid argues at The Atlantic. Qasem Soleimani aided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign against civilians, Hamid reminds us; posing Iran as a righteous victim, he writes, means drawing a false moral equivalency and assuming an outsized American importance in the region. Middle East-based experts are not only less “alarmist” but are “less fixated on Trump himself and less likely to put the United States at the center of their analysis.” It’s worth remembering, in Hamid’s view, that while Trump deserves some criticism for the impulsiveness of his decisions, not “everything is America’s fault; others are sometimes to blame; and no one, not even the weaker parties, are devoid of agency or freed of responsibility.”


T-RUMP STRATEGY UNDER SCRUTINY  ( DOOMED TO FAILURE)

The deepening fallout over Iran renewed a focus on Trump’s leadership style and the question of how carefully he had considered the consequences of the attack.  The administration is resisting giving a public accounting of the intelligence that led it to attack Soleimani. Democrats in Congress have said they were not consulted in advance and that the White House has only offered a classified explanation of its action.  There is also no obvious sign of a long-term strategy to head off Iranian reprisals — apart from Trump's increasingly belligerent tweets.

“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any US person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner," Trump wrote Sunday.


'YOU'RE NOT A DICTATOR': DEMOCRATS CRITICIZE TRUMPS TWEET

But there was dismay within the administration over Trump's earlier threat to attack "cultural" sites in Iran if the Tehran regime went after Americans to avenge Soleimani. An attack on cultural sites like a religious or historic monument might endanger civilians and could violate several international treaties and would likely be considered a war crime.

“Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites," one official told CNN's Jim Sciutto.   But T-RUMP reiterated his threat to reporters on Air Force One as he flew back to Washington from his vacation in Florida.  "They're allowed to kill our people, they're allowed to torture and maim our people, they're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we're not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn't work that way," the President said according to a pool report.

T-RUMP also threatened to impose stringent sanctions on Iraq if US troops were forced to leave.  Pompeo, appearing on CNN’s "State of the Union," insisted that Soleimani's demise made the world safer — despite the US telling its citizens to leave Iraq.  "The Middle East was unstable. We are creating a place and an opportunity for that stability," Pompeo said.

“I know that the risk to America over the long run is much reduced as a result to the actions President Trump and our administration has taken in these last three years," he said.  The Secretary of State also improbably claimed that the Obama administration "kicked off" a war with Iran with its deal that froze Iran's enrichment activity and halted what the US says was a march towards a nuclear bomb.

"It told the Iranians that they had free rein to develop a Shia crescent that extended from Yemen to Iraq to Syria and into Lebanon, surrounding our ally Israel, and threatening American lives as well," Pompeo said. The Trump administration argues that the nuclear deal was too limited and didn't curtail Iran's support for extremist groups in the Middle East or the threat from the Islamic Republic's missile program.

Critics warned that while Soleimani was a malignant force, as wrangler of Iran's terrorist proxies, and was responsible for advanced weaponry that killed hundreds of US soldiers in Iraq, the costs of killing him may outweigh the benefits.

"I don't know what the President's motivation here is but I think it was a reckless decision that increased the risk to Americans all around the world, not decreased it," House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff told CNN.

Late Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would introduce a "War Powers Resolution to limit the President's military actions regarding Iran," saying Congress' first responsibility is to "keep the American people safe."

"Last week, the Trump Administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials. This action endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran," Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats announcing the resolution.

But one of Trump's top congressional allies, Sen Lindsey Graham, R-SC, backed the strike, calling Iran the "cancer of the Middle East" in an interview of Fox News.

The administration insists it does not want war with Iran. But its claims it is not seeking regime change were undermined by its elimination of Soleimani — the most powerful Iranian leader barring Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The fear now is that a military response to Soleimani’s killing by Iran will set off a cycle of escalation that could lead to the two sides to the cusp of a disastrous war.


IRAN CRISIS ABROAD, IMPEACHMENT IMBROGLIO AT HOME

The events of the past few days have seemed inevitable given the hardline Trump policy toward Iran, and the lack of a realistic diplomatic off ramp that might ease tensions.

When Trump took office, Iran's uranium enrichment program was frozen. The President's decision to ditch the nuclear deal and "maximum pressure" campaign brought Iran's economy to its knees. Far from halting what the US says is Tehran's malicious regional activity, the policy seems to have exacerbated it, leading to Iranian attacks on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a Saudi oil refinery and a militia strike that killed an American contractor in Iraq and prompted Trump to take down Soleimani.

The showdown with Iran is deepening as another crisis caused by Trump's disruptive choices — his impeachment over his demand for political favors from Ukraine — tests national unity at home.

Recent days have seen a widening dispute between the House and the Senate over the shape of Trump's impeachment trial and damaging new revelations strengthening the case that the President abused his power.

Impeachment uncertainty clouds Trump's legal defense plans

Both crises reflect the trends that drive the Trump presidency -- including questionable administration standards of trust, transparency and truth, a hyper-political approach to foreign policy and the impulsive personality of an commander-in-chief who acts on instinct and accepts few limits on his power.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Sunday questioned the timing of the attack on Soleimani.

Asked on "State of the Union" whether she believes Trump is trying to distract from his impeachment in Congress, Warren responded: "I think it is a reasonable question to ask particularly when the administration immediately after having taken this decision offers a bunch of contradictory explanations for what is going on."

One of Warren's rivals for the Democratic nomination, former vice president Joe Biden, warned that the President's tweets and threats reflect his unsuitability to be commander-in-chief. And he said he was the most suitable candidate to replace him.

"We need to provide a steady, stable, experienced leadership. With all due respect, I think I'm best prepared than of anybody running for president right now," Biden said at an event in Des Moines, Iowa.

His comments showed how the sudden escalation of the crisis with Iran, along with tensions that are unlikely to quickly ebb, could emerge as a major issue in the Democratic primary race and provide an opening for the party's eventual presidential nominee.


IMPEACHMENT  

The House officially impeached President Trump. Votes for the two articles of impeachment were mostly split along party lines, with two Democrats voting against both and one splitting on the two. No Republicans voted in favor of the articles. 

While all this was going down, President Trump was at a "Merry Christmas" rally in Michigan, where he blasted Democrats for the impeachment push. The articles are supposed to go now to the Senate, but curiously, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stalled on the move. 

Some Democrats want to make sure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to the Senate trial procedures Dems have requested. As the full picture of last night's historic decision comes into focus, you can follow today's live updates and check out these other impeachment resources:

  • How are Republicans reacting? One lawmaker said T-RUMP was given fewer rights than Jesus before his crucifixion.  Come on , lets not get too Evangelical!  Our suggestion for this comparison, and a proper test would be let’s crucify T-RUMP on a cross on the White House lawn, bury him in Arlington and if he rises in two days exonerate him from being impeached.  Simple…

  • Choice is important:  To rid ourselves of T-RUMP we can do the following:
    • 25th Amendment  ( Slow partisan driven)
    • Impeach  (Active)
    • Censure him to forty years of CNN reruns in a locked room with McConnell, Pence, Jordan and Meadows
    • Kill his Twitter Account, he’ll soon die of self inflicted hearsay…( talking to himself…)
    • Vote him out, and send the Evangelicals who elected him to retraining camps for reality training ( False Gods)
    • Have a Military Coup, let the generals he berated teach him some respect for real hero’s…  ( Firing squad Raffled)
    • Put Arsenic in his hair spray, it’s slow but works… ( could be faster due to the amount he uses)
    • Lock him in a room with Sara Palin and Hip-Hop Music, cheap furniture, and soul food… ( till they both go crazy)  
    • Tell Melania he’s sleeping with Kelly Ann Conway  ( not in her league) 
    • Clone his father:  Get a time machine, go back and give his dad condoms
    • Let the Russians have him, ( gulag style)  but no golf!  Or the Chinese, ( maybe a work farm)  or the N. Koreans and    ( flamethrowers) and ask them to treat him humanely… he, he, he … last but not least the most efficient method…

ASSASSINATION:   One bullet - Most cost efficient with bonus points, it gets rid of family and cabinet at the same time, best buy for the buck…


T-RUMP LETTTER TO NANCY PELOSI DRAFT BY JR. SCUMBAG MILLER 

Stephen Miller helped draft President Trump's "really sick" letter to Speaker Pelosi: report

White House lawyers were reportedly left out of the drafting of President Donald Trump’s scorching, six-page letter delivered Tuesday to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.  The rambling letter, which accused Pelosi and House Democrats of engaging in a three-year crusade to undermine the results of the 2016 election, was allegedly drafted last week by some of the president's closest advisers.

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller,  ( a devoted white nationalist scumbag prejudiced piece of sh*t ) director of the Office of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland and Michael Williamson from the chief of staff’s office produced a draft of the letter, without the input of White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, even though he is expected to play a large role in a likely Senate trial. Trump was also revealed to have been very involved in the process.

A couple of days after it was first generated, the White House Counsel's office was reportedly given a copy of the document last week and recommended edits and changes. It is unclear if the president incorporated any of the inputs from Cipollone.

Senior White House officials told The Washington Post that White House lawyers "were not pleased" that the letter was released a day before the House of Representatives is expected to vote on whether to impeach the president.5/House Democrats have unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

  • At the heart of the charges are the president’s purported efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his domestic political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and his decision to temporarily withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.
  • In the letter, T-RUMP accused Pelosi of having "cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment" and claimed that she was "declaring an open war on American Democracy" by pursuing his impeachment.
  • "You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme — yet your spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America's founding and your egregious conduct threatens to destroy that which our Founders pledged their very lives to build," Trump wrote. “ t is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!"
  • The president declared that he had been "deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process" from "the beginning of this impeachment scam." He alleged that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials."
  • Moments after releasing the letter publicly, Trump told reporters inside the Oval Office that he did not take any responsibility for conduct which has led to the House's planned vote Wednesday on his impeachment. The president denied any wrongdoing and insisted that Democrats’ actions would leave a "mark on this country."
  • "The whole impeachment thing is a hoax. We look forward to getting on to the Senate. We are not entitled to lawyers. We are not entitled to witnesses. We are not entitled to anything in the House, it's a total sham," Trump told reporters. “This has been a total sham from the beginning — everybody knows it."
  • Pelosi, meanwhile, told reporters Tuesday night that she had not “ Fully read" the letter, but that it was "ridiculous" and "really sick."  "I don't have a reaction. It's ridiculous," she said. "I mean, I haven't fully read it.  We've been working. I've seen the essence of it.  It’s really sick.


CARDS LETTERS AND PRAYERS

  • In one ramble,  T-RUMP accused Ms Pelosi about lieing about her prayer time for the good of the President. That he was in all her prayers ( She is devout Catholic, upbringing and practicing) a rightous life in a tough job carried by her love of America and what it stands for.  To be so disrespected by a mediocre sick putz like T-Rump of her faith is a disgrace.

  • NOTE:  T-RUMP  Version 2.6 is a bullsh*t Pentecostal, Baptist, Fake Prophet or whatever TV Evangelist phony money laundering schemes sponsored by Paula White who converted T-RUMP to Jesus which by all means after a long survey of 1000 real persons of faith denounced as frickin bullsh*t since he does not walk the talk.   


  • ED: NOTE:  Donald though is in all my prayers.  Being Jewish and dealing direct with the great Kahuna, everyday my stuff goes directly through to the real boss, no middle man needed.  I ask for help for the sick and the needy, peace and love in the world and may Donald be struck in the head by a carefully errant golf ball, lightning, or a Lapua .338 with severe consequence.  

  • And as he promised one day,  Donald will go too far and be dealt with.  Then, he will get his parade, fifty-two of New York’s finest garbage trucks marching down fifth avenue followed by fifty-thousand cheering mourners (?) They will drive to the pier and he will be interned on a garbage scow headed for China. Thats where New York dumps all it’s garbage.  


HOW LOW CAN THIS FAKE PRESIDENTIAL SCHMUCK GO 
Just when you think that Captain Bone Spurs Von Jerk-off  could stoop no lower than his six page letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, a letter that made the pages of infantile stupidity, lies and insults…Trump’s vile smear of John Dingell and mocking Debbie Dingell radiates as the new low norm for that scumbag fraud.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., had a scathing response to President T-RUMP after he criticized the former congressman John Dingell, D-Mich., by suggesting that he might be “looking up” after his death.  ( Meaning Hell)  

"It's moments like these that we are reminded that the president is not only a criminal, he is impulsively cruel and truly rotten to the core," Yarmuth tweeted on Thursday. "Hell will be too good for him."

Trump lodged that attack during a Wednesday rally in Michigan after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him. He took special aim at Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., the former congressman's wife, after she voted to impeach him.

“Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty,” T-RUMP said to a rapt crowd that booed the mention of Dingell's name. They booed John Dingell and they should all rot in hell for their ignorance of who he was and who they support.  The president said he gave the late Dingell the “A+ treatment” after his death last February and his wife had called him to say “it’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened, thank you so much.  John would be so thrilled. 

He’s looking down from heaven.  But silence. GOP, FOX, Evangelicals went nuts when Barron’s name was mentioned in testimony.  Trump is a terrible human being. Where’s GOP, FOX, Melania, Ivanka, Evangelical conservatives or “ so called Christians” condemning T-RUMPS hell remark about John Dingell.

John Dingell was a veteran, a dedicated public servant, and a true patriot. He was a better man on his worst day than Donald T-RUMP has ever been since he was born.REP. DINGELL RESPONDS AFTER TRUMP ATTACKS LATE HUSBAND: WE NEED TO TREAT EACH OTHER WITH 'DIGNITY AND RESPECT'

“I said, 'That's OK. Don't worry about it.' Maybe he's looking up. I don't know," he quipped to mixed reactions from the audience. “Maybe, but let’s assume he’s looking down.”   Rep. Dingell responded on Wednesday night via Twitter. 

"Mr. President, let’s set politics aside. My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service,” she said.  "I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder."

“But I'm going to keep doing my job and I'm going to work with Republicans and Democrats, as I always do."  She added that "compromise isn't a dirty word," and "we need to listen to each other" and "respect each other."”Treat each other with dignity and respect and you can get things done," she stated.

 

WHAT WILL BE - WILL BE 
Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, is pushing for a trial to include new testimony from White House officials and new documents. Many Republicans, though, would like to get it all over with quickly. GOP leaders need 51 votes for things to go their way, but they don't have that yet – which means it’s still unclear how a trial would play out.

Public hearings in the impeachment investigation may be over for now, but a few revelations in the case have shed new light on who knew what about the Ukraine scandal and when. The House released a testimony transcript from Mark Sandy, a senior career official at the Office of Management and Budget. Sandy said that after the White House froze aid to Ukraine, officials there waited months before telling him the move was because of concerns over other countries’ contributions to Ukraine. 

That's been the official White House reason for withholding the aid, but Sandy's timeline -- and concerns he says he and others had about the legality of withholding the aid -- throws that story into doubt. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported President Trump actually knew about the whistleblower report when he released the aid money to Ukraine. The question is: Did one event beget the other?


T-RUMP SINKS THE NAVY TO A NEW LOW

Captain Blowhard ( T-RUMP for you Evangelicals) stuck his nose where it does not belong)   The Pentagon made a very unusual move yesterday and forced Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to resign for his part in ongoing tensions between the White House and the Pentagon over the discipline of a Navy SEAL. Spencer allegedly went outside his chain of command to propose a "secret agreement with the White House" to end the standoff, according to a senior defense official. President Trump has vocally supported the SEAL, Eddie Gallagher, who is one of three service members facing war crimes allegations. Gallagher posed with the dead body of an ISIS fighter, which is against regulations, and could be kicked out of the force as a result. Trump has openly criticized the Navy's handling of Gallagher's case and said he would not let the Navy discipline him. Against advice from the Pentagon, he officially restored Gallagher's rank last week and pardoned the two other service members. However, yesterday military officials announced the White House will not intervene in the review. 


WHISTLEBLOWER

T-RUMP does not have to look very far for a whistle blower.  Just go over to the other bedroom in the White House where she sleeps and seek the whistle blower you married, she’ll blow your whistle…she has to, she scared to death of you… and afraid what you would do to her and her child…


GORDON SONDLAND

(CNN) by Scott Jennings
Ambassador Gordon Sondland caught the Republicans flat-footed at Wednesday’s hearing of the House Intelligence committee with his lengthy opening statement, which some have interpreted as confirming the Democratic case that President Donald T-RUMP himself ordered a quid pro quo scheme: a visit to the White House for Ukraine’s new president — and release of held-up aid to Ukraine, Democrats say -- in exchange for his country publicly launching investigations into both Burisma and a conspiracy theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. ( More Bullsh*t Distractions) 

But then, later in questioning, Sondland muddied those waters by flatly stating that "No one told me the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was." Sondland's "best guess" and "presumption" gave the Republicans an important opening from which to operate during the afternoon, as did the fact that some of what Sondland said was contradictory. 

This will help the White House keep the GOP in line, even as the media portrays Sondland as a modern-day John Dean. He wasn’t.   Sondland also gave credence to an idea that many Republicans hold — it was a terrible plan to have Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the middle of this situation. 

Sondland's testimony is more damning to Giuliani than Trump, as Sondland claimed to have received clear instructions about the conditions for a prospective Trump-Zelensky meeting from Giuliani, but unclear and perhaps even exculpatory instructions from Trump ("I want nothing, no quid pro quo," Sondland recalled the President saying in a conversation after the White House learned about the whistleblower complaint). 


THE GALLUP POLE PROVES STUPID LOVES STUPID

A Gallup poll, also released Wednesday, showed that 90% of Republicans continue to support the President, and that his marks on the economy are at a record high for his presidency, with 57% of people saying they approve of his handling of that matter.  

ED:  Schmucks ( Yiddish for Stupid People) only care about their money and their own greed.  Money, everything else T-RUMP  has destroyed doesn’t count. Few accomplishments, tariffs, constant distractive tactics, his people choices for the cabinet screw things up, people, races and allies like the KURDS, immigration, world standings, and the joke of it is the Evangelicals… God lovers and Jesus followers who probably never read Mathew…For some religion is a nice substitute for intelligence and awareness…  They talk the talk but don’t really walk the walk…we call that ignorance…

                                  Matthew 7:15-20      A Tree and Its Fruit

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Over 100 cabinet and WH staff have left the White House, some from scams, some with total incompetence, many fear of their careers to be associated with such a bad President and smartly got out.


Good luck moving Republican senators off the President when their entire party loves him, and nearly 60% of Americans believe him to be doing a good job on the most important issue in the upcoming election.

I have believed from the beginning that the final Republican position here will be some form of blaming this Ukrainian business on Giuliani, expressing varying degrees of disapproval of the bad judgment displayed by various people, but concluding that it falls short of impeachment. 

The Democrats’ position has not changed -- they will impeach the President, as most members of their party have desired to do since the earliest days of his presidency.  Folks are still in their corners, and that's not likely to change over Sondland or anyone else.


THE PAST THREE DAYS HAVE GONE BAD FOR REPUBLICANS   (CNN’s Chris Cillizza)
The public impeachment hearings were never going to be a good thing for Trump -- given that the proceedings were controlled by the House Democratic majority and we knew, from a series of closed-door depositions over the past month, that the witnesses who would be called had a) expressed deep misgivings about President Donald Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 and b) suggested that there was a not-so-secret quid pro quo in place that unless the Ukrainians announced an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden they would not get the White House meeting with the President they so desired.

But even by those standards, what happened over the past 72 hours was a disaster the likes of which not even the most pessimistic Republican could have predicted. The Wednesday testimony of US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was obviously the pivot point of the week. Going into Sondland's testimony, no one was quite sure what he would do. Spill the beans? Plead the Fifth? Something in between? Sondland, who was one of the witnesses that Republicans had pushed for, wound up opting to save himself -- at the expense of everyone from presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the President himself.

Sondland's opening statement is one for the history books, as he made clear that not only was there an understood quid pro quo (a White House meeting in exchange for Zelensky announcing an investigation into the Biden's  but that everyone in the Trump inner circle was entirely up to speed on it.

While Sondland's testimony was the bombshell, the testimony of the likes of former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, National Security Council Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, former top T-RUMP Russia expert Fiona Hill and Defense Department aide Laura Cooper-- among others -- served to tell a consistent and compelling story about what happened in and around that July 25 call, and why they believed it to be inappropriate. 

With each passing hour, it seemed as though another Republican talking point was exploded by a witness. Volker, who testified behind closed doors on October 3, acknowledged that much new information had come to light that had forced him to reassess a series of assertions he had initially made. Perhaps the most important: Volker initially said that investigations into Trump's conspiracy theories and the release of almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine were not mentioned in a July 10 meeting at the White House. But on Tuesday, Volker said he now knows that the investigations were mentioned.

  • Cooper, who followed Sondland in testifying on Wednesday, provided a trio of emails that made clear the Ukrainians had begun asking about the $400 million in held-up military aid as soon as July 25 — the same day that Zelensky and Trump talked.

  • Hill, the star witness on Thursday, went out of her way to debunk the conspiracy theory being pushed by Rep. Devin Nunes (California), the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee that Ukraine was, in fact, meddling in the 2016 election to help Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and hurt T-RUMP  
    "Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did," Hill said in her opening statement. “ his is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."

  • Taken together, the three days of public testimony amounted to a series of body blows delivered to both the Trump White House and congressional Republicans. While Trump took to Twitter to insist he had been fully exonerated by Sondland and that the other witnesses were simply operating from hearsay and the likes of Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) tried to poke holes in the witnesses’ testimony, it was abundantly clear to any quasi-neutral observer that these hearings were an absolute rout for Democrats.

  • How much will what happened over the past three days in Washington change how the public perceives whether Trump deserves to be impeached? Or how Republicans in the House or Senate choose to answer that same question? Who knows -- although there's little debate that many minds were already made up.

The Point: Whether or not the public impeachment hearings move poll numbers -- or GOP members votes -- there is no question that what we saw on display over the past three days was a nightmare scenario for Republicans that further complicates their already difficult task of continuing to defend this President and his actions.


REVENGE OF THE BLOB?
Impeachment hearings are vindicating “the Blob,” a nickname the US foreign-policy establishment acquired under the Obama administration, Stephen M. Walt writes for Foreign Policy. Having criticized the foreign-policy elite in a book, Walt writes that the testimony of diplomats has caused him to rethink things, in particular his opinion of career officials. He writes: “One need not regard the Blob as infallible to recognize that some of its members are genuine patriots acting not from self-interest but from love of country. And that’s who Congress is hearing from this week.”

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was the latest figure to testify in the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation on Tuesday. He recounted to congressional investigators that he had been troubled by President Trump’s conduct in connection to Ukraine policy. Here’s what you need to know about him:  He’s a Ukrainian Jewish refugee:

Alexander and his twin brother Yevgeny came to America from Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) when they were three years old, in 1979, along with their older brother, father and grandmother after the death of their mother. Vindman said in his prepared testimony that his father worked multiple jobs while learning English at night.

“I think their father felt they would do better in the United States as Jews,” Carol Kitman, a photographer who befriended the family when they arrived in America, told The New York Times..   This isn’t his first time in front of the cameras:

The Vindman twins were even featured as children in a 1985 Ken Burns documentary about immigrants and the Statue of Liberty.

“We came from Kyiv,” Alexander told the camera. “And then our mother died, so we went to Italy. Then we came here.”

And Kitman has photographed the Vindman family for decades, featuring her work on their website. As children, they were used as models for her children’s book “One Mezuzah: A Jewish Counting Book.” Kitman also took photos of Alexander Vindman’s wedding, during which he and his wife Rachel were wrapped in a tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl.

He’s a decorated military veteran:   Both Vindman’s are active-duty lieutenant colonels in the United States Army. Alexander Vidman served as an infantry officer in Germany and South Korea, before being deployed to Iraq, where he was wounded by a roadside bomb and received the Purple Heart. CNN reported that he still carries shrapnel in his body from the attack.


WORK IS A FAMILY AFFAIR:

Vindman continued to rise up the ranks, joining the National Security Council in 2018 as the director of European affairs. Yevgeny also works for the NSC, as a lawyer handling ethics issues. Their offices are right next to each other in the West Wing of the White House. Alexander Vindman brought his brother along to meet with top NSC lawyer John Eisenberg and share his concerns about Trump’s conduct.

He was concerned about President Trump’s approach to Ukraine:  Alexander Vindman was one of the people who listened to Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Biden family.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a US citizen,” he wrote in his prepared testimony, “and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.” He added that he believed it was a quid pro quo tied to Trump’s holdup of congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine and informed others on the National Security Council of his concerns.

Some Republicans have tried to use his past against him:  Conservatives on Fox News and CNN have cast aspersions on Vindman, claiming that his Ukrainian heritage meant that he could have been more interested in helping Ukraine than the United States.  ( TYPICAL LOW CLASS SCUMBAG GOP COMMENT) 

“We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from,” former Republican Rep. Sean Duffy told CNN, adding, “He has an affinity, I think, for the Ukraine. He speaks Ukrainian. He came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.” When asked by CNN host John Berman if he thought Vindman was looking out for America first, Duffy refused to say yes.

HIS STATEMENT
“I sit here, as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant,” he wrote. “I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics.”


DONALD  “ F*CK-NUTS JR”  OPENS HIS MOUTH
“ America hired @realDonaldTrump  to fire people like the first three witnesses we’ve seen,” the President’s son,  Donald “ F*CK-NUTS” T-RUMP Jr., tweeted as Yovanovitch began her testimony. "Career government bureaucrats and nothing more."

A day later, Trump himself suggested on Twitter he'd already fired the three State Department employees who have appeared in public impeachment hearings, quoting the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

"You elected Donald Trump to drain the Swamp, well, dismissing people like Yovanovitch is what that looks like.  Dismissing people like Kent and Taylor, dismissing everybody involved from the Obama holdover days trying to undermine Trump, getting rid of those people, dismissing them, this is what it looks like," Trump tweeted, citing Limbaugh. 

He was referring to George Kent, the current deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Bill Taylor, the current top US diplomat in Ukraine.

The message left the impression that Trump was fulfilling a campaign promise by removing those who'd testified about their concerns. But as of Monday, all three of the people named in his tweet remain employed by his administration. Kent and Taylor are still in their posts, and while Yovanovitch took a position at Georgetown University after being recalled, she remains a State Department employee.

Trump has not taken formal steps to order those officials' removal from government, according to administration officials, who say instead he has vented at how they were allowed to work for him in the first place. In the case of Taylor, Trump has lashed out at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who personally encouraged Taylor to come out of retirement when Yovanovitch was recalled. 

Asked at a news conference Monday whether the President had confidence in Taylor, Pompeo demurred. 

"The State Department is doing a fantastic job. I think we've delivered in a way that the Obama Administration has not delivered on Ukraine," Pompeo said, declining otherwise to state whether the top envoy in Ukraine was still in the President's good graces.

He did offer blanket support for his staff as they withstand attacks from the President and his allies.

"I always defend State Department employees. This is the greatest diplomatic corps in the history of the world. Very proud of the team,” he said, without rebutting any of Trump's claims.


WARNED AGAINST ACTION
Most important takeaways from the Marie Yovanovitch impeachment hearing Early in the impeachment proceedings, as witnesses came to deliver closed depositions on Capitol Hill, Trump's advisers warned him against taking steps to fire those speaking out. His actions could be perceived as retaliation, they cautioned, and could be used by Democrats as they compiled articles of impeachment.

But now, the strength of that advice is being tested by televised hearings and the public release of the private interviews. Trump has watched the hearings intermittently and consumed hours of news coverage afterward.

On Sunday, Trump lashed out at another witness, Jennifer Williams, a State Department employee on loan to the vice president's office as a foreign policy adviser. On Twitter, the President wrote, “ tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, and  see the just released statement (sic) from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumper’s,  (smarter people) who I don’t know and mostly never even heard of, and work out a better presidential attack!”

Asked about the tweet, Vice President Mike Pence's spokeswoman said only: "Jennifer is a State Department employee." The State Department didn't comment.

Despite Pence's office distancing themselves from Williams in public, White House sources said Williams still has the support of his team, including chief of staff Marc Short and Williams' boss, Gen. Keith Kellogg, who serves as Pence's national security adviser.

"She is just as key a part of the team," a White House official said.

For now, the expectation is that Williams, who was detailed to Pence's office from the State Department earlier this year, will remain in her post. However, there's "no chance" Pence will step forward to defend Williams, the official added.  “In the press it has been pretty clear that he is distancing himself from 'the deep state,' " the official said.


VINDMAN’S FATE
Less clear is the fate of Vindman, who will appear in a public hearing on Tuesday morning alongside Williams. The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, Vindman raised concerns about Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's President to National Security Council lawyers.

Additional testimony from Tim Morrison, the council's former senior director for European and Russian, suggested internal concerns about Vindman's suitability for the job. Morrison said he was warned about Vindman's judgment from his predecessor, Fiona Hill.

Like many National Security Council staffers, Vindman is detailed to the agency from the Defense Department, where he served as a foreign area officer. His twin brother Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman is also assigned to the council as a lawyer, and accompanied Alexander Vindman when he brought his concerns to White House lawyers.

In the wake of his testimony, some officials at the White House have explored moving both men back to the Pentagon, according to people familiar with the matter. But it's not clear when that might occur. And Alexander Vindman's lawyer said recently his detail to the National Security Council does not expire until next summer.

Speaking on CBS earlier this month, national security adviser Robert O'Brien said Vindman would likely return to the Pentagon but framed the move as part of his larger efforts to reduce the size of the National Security Council.

"We're streamlining the National Security Council. There are people that are detailed from different departments and agencies. My understanding is that Colonel Vindman is detailed from the Department of Defense," he said. "So everyone who's detailed at the NSC, people are going to start going back to their own departments."

He didn't specify whether the move would occur earlier than planned, and insisted it did not amount to retaliation for Vindman's testimony.

“I never retaliated against anyone," O'Brien said.


TRUMP AND THE TURK MURDERER

T-RUMP and Erdoğan Keep It in the Family - With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visiting the White House today, the invitation may seem odd, given the bipartisan backlash over Turkey’s incursion into Syria and congressional ire over Turkey's purchase of a Russian missile system. 

But The New York Times' David D. Kirkpatrick and Eric Lipton offer one explanation as to how President T-RUMP and Erdoğan have maintained their relationship: A backchannel involving three sons-in-law.

Ties have been maintained by Trump' son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, Erdoğan's son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, and Mehmet Ali Yalcindag (who helped conclude a deal between Trump and his tycoon father-in-law, in which Trump licensed his name to two Istanbul towers), Kirkpatrick and Lipton report; their discussions have included issues like the Russian-missile-system purchase. It's a common denominator for Trump and Erdoğan, Kirkpatrick and Lipton write: empowering family over bureaucracies they don't trust.


RODGER THE TRUTH DODGER IS GUILTY

Prosecutors closed their criminal trial of Republican political strategist Roger Stone on Wednesday. Stone is on trial for charges that include lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional proceeding. Yesterday, prosecutors ended their argument by saying, in no uncertain terms, that they believe Stone lied about his involvement with WikiLeaks in 2016, and that he did so with the singular motivation of protecting Donald Trump. Stone's attorney claims his client didn't know that Russians were behind the 2016 hack into Democratic Party servers, and that he had no motivation to lie.    Stone pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him. The jury will begin deliberations Thursday morning.

UPDATE:   Lawyers for Roger Stone, an ally of President Donald T-RUMP who recently was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering, on Thursday asked a judge to delay his criminal sentencing by at least one month until sometime after March 9.

Stone’s lawyers in a court filing said they want a delay in order to have more time to assemble financial records and other information needed to prepare the pre sentence report in his case.  The records “are extensive and not all immediately available,” lawyers wrote in their motion filed in US District Court in Washington, DC.

Federal prosecutors have told Stone’s legal team they will oppose a delay of the 67-year-old Republican operative’s sentencing beyond the currently scheduled date of Feb. 6, defense lawyers wrote.

But they also noted that a federal probation officer assigned to prepare the presentence investigation report for Judge Amy Berman Jackson had advised Stone’s lawyers to seek a delay because probation officials will not be able to submit a draft of that report by a Jan. 9 deadline set by the judge.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia did not have an immediate comment when asked if the office would oppose the requested postponement.

TRUMP ALLY ROGER STONE FOUND GUILTY OF LYING TO CONGRESS AND WITNESS TAMPERING

Stone, a self-described political trickster, was convicted Nov. 15 of all seven criminal counts after a trial.  Trump criticized the verdict later that day, calling it “a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country,” suggesting that the president’s political and legal foes had escaped prosecution for lying.

The charges against Stone related to claims by special counsel Robert Mueller that he misled Congress about his contacts with the document disclosure group WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, and to Stone’s efforts to get his associate, comedian Randy Credico, to back up his lies.

WikiLeaks during the 2016 election released emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief that had been stolen by Russian agents. The emails were seen as potentially damaging to the campaign of Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee, against Trump.

NBC News legal analyst Mimi Rocah has said that federal guidelines will recommend a prison sentence for Stone of between 15 and 21 months.  During Stone’s trial, former top T-RUMP campaign official Rick Gates testified that T-RUMP talked to Stone about WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.   Gates testified that less than a minute after finishing a July 2016 call from Stone, T-RUMP indicated  “ more information would be coming” from Wikileaks.  That testimony contrasted with Trump’s claim last November that he did not recall speaking to Stone about WikiLeaks.

In a written response to Mueller in November 2018, Trump said, “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with” Stone, “nor do I recall Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with my campaign.”

But T-RUMP also said, “I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.”  The president’s written responses were requested by Mueller last year as part of his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the question of whether Trump’s campaign had coordinated with Russians.

Gates himself was sentenced by Jackson on Tuesday to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation for conspiracy and making a false statement.

On Monday, another federal judge in Washington, Emmet Sullivan, said he will sentence Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn on Jan. 28 for his crime of lying to FBI agents about the nature of his discussions with Russia’s U.S. ambassador in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration.

Both Gates and his former business associate Paul Manafort — a one-time T-RUMP campaign chief — originally were charged with financial crimes related to their consulting work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, which was performed prior to their roles on the T-RUMP campaign.  

Gates pleaded guilty to reduced charges in 2018.   Manafort was convicted at trial and also pleaded guilty in another court to multiple crimes. He is now serving a 7½-year prison term.

Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is serving a three-year federal prison term for financial crimes, campaign finance violations related to hush money payments to women who claim to have had sex with Trump and lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Trump denies having sex with either of the women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen has said he facilitated payments to both women at Trump’s direction to prevent them from going public with their claims and harming his chances of winning the White House

06-07-2019 aljacobsladder.com