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The Rude Pundit: Impeachment Is a Chance for Democrats to Take Back Patriotism


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Impeachment Is a Chance for Democrats to Take Back Patriotism


The country is primed to wrench its primary identity away from Republicans. Nancy Pelosi couched the impeachment inquiry announcement in very specific terms to appeal to patriotism, with its hearkening to our founders and the Constitution. Adam Schiff did the same in his opening remarks at the House Intelligence Committee hearing last Thursday.

Essentially, they are saying, "You want to be a real patriots? Then fuck these traitors up." That's a powerful message. It's one that a majority of Americans are responding to, with a clear majority supporting the inquiry and a 10% jump in support for the removal of Trump from office. Democrats are the ones upholding the laws and traditions of the nation. Republicans are merely aiding and abetting a criminal, if they're not doing crimes themselves. That's as crystal-fuckin'-clear as it gets.

For the first time in I can't remember how long (maybe since the Affordable Care Act), Democrats are leading the charge on something, and they're telling Republicans to get the fuck on board this train or fuck off and get run over.

And maybe the happy-clappy end result of this is that we take back the American story and try to make the country great. Not again. But for once.

(Note: Whatever optimism I have here is not that Trump will be removed. It's that Democrats will successfully set the terms for 2020 and that Trump will keep punching himself in the face along the way.)
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Oct 1, 2019, 08:51 AM (2 replies)

GOP Defenses for Trump Collapse Under Scrutiny


GOP Defenses for Trump Collapse Under Scrutiny
October 1, 2019 at 7:25 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

John Harwood: “The Republican defenses for President Trump’s conduct on Ukraine simply don’t hold up.”

“At first glance, that can be hard to discern. Trump, his aides and select allies in Congress have feverishly sought to redirect a whistleblower’s complaints toward Democratic adversaries.”

“Yet even cursory scrutiny of evidence that has emerged so far knocks down assorted GOP arguments like shanties in a hurricane.”

The Week: Late night hosts are comically underwhelmed with the GOP’s weak Trump-Ukraine defenses.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Oct 1, 2019, 07:54 AM (0 replies)

Freewheeling Trump was often unprepared for foreign leader calls, had to be coached by staff

More confirmation he's a moron.

Freewheeling Trump was often unprepared for foreign leader calls, had to be coached by staff
By Jamie Gangel and Maegan Vazquez, CNN
Updated 6:24 PM ET, Mon September 30, 2019

(CNN)President Donald Trump was often so unprepared for calls with foreign leaders that he was coached by several staff members and advisers as the calls took place to avoid veering off track, a source familiar with the calls through White House chief of staff John Kelly's tenure, which ended in December 2018, told CNN.


According to the source familiar with how foreign leader calls were conducted under Kelly's watch, Trump often had to be reeled in by White House staff during calls with foreign leaders, adding that Kelly would sometimes mute the call so staffers in the room could give the President guidance or advise him against saying something he shouldn't say.

"Kelly always wanted a bunch of us to be there in the Oval (Office) ... to just babysit on these calls," the source said.

During the first year months of Trump's presidency, foreign leaders were often caught off-guard by these phone calls and the President's style.

"He would go on random tangents about the Mueller investigation with foreign leaders ... it was unnecessary and unhelpful," the source said. "And sometimes he just wouldn't have his facts straight and he would really rattle some of the foreign leaders with whom he spoke."

The source added: "Eventually they figured it out and they adjusted, but those calls were nothing like what a normal call would be between presidents."


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 09:19 PM (3 replies)

At Time of Trump-Zelensky Call, Mulvaney Was Already Under Notice...Not to Hide Records


At Time of Trump-Zelensky Call, Mulvaney Was Already Under Notice From Cummings, Engel and Schiff Not to Hide Records
September 30, 2019/31 Comments/in Impeachment /by Jim White
Note the byline.

In perusing the House Oversight Committee website while looking for something else, I ran across this remarkable letter dated February 21, 2019. It is addressed to Mick Mulvaney as Acting White House Chief of Staff and is from Elijah Cummings, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Eliot Engel, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The letter is part of an ongoing effort by Congress to obtain records from meetings between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin that occurred in Hamburg on July 7, 2017 and in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.

The letter reprises press reports of Trump confiscating notes from interpreters and having a general reputation for tearing up documents. Although prompted by their frustration in getting records from these two meetings, the three committee chairmen expand the scope of their direction to Mulvaney to preserve records:

Recall that the Trump-Zelensky phone call took place on July 25, 2019, just over five months after the letter was sent. It seems particularly on point that the letter warned Mulvaney against “relocation” as well as “intentional handling which would foreseeably make such records incomplete or inaccessable”. Certainly, by relocating the Situation Room’s transcript to the code-word level computer system, Mulvaney (or other actor(s) in the White House) did indeed make the record incomplete and essentially inaccessible until the whistleblower complaint forced the publication of a partial transcript.

And how did the White House respond to the letter? The return letter came from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone exactly one month later, blowing off the request for records from the two Trump-Putin meetings in its entirety, citing a claim that the President alone conducts foreign policy. And yet, the letter claimed that the White House fully complies with the Presidential Records Act, under which the three committee chairmen had submitted their request.

I’m wondering if this letter, with its highly specific warning, will increase the legal difficulties for Mulvaney once the impeachment investigation spotlight begins to point his direction.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 08:45 PM (1 replies)

Pierce: "...the entire executive branch might end up collapsing into a mud pile."


William Barr and Mike Pompeo Are Now Fully Implicated in Trump's Trainwreck
The office of the president*, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice are now all involved.
By Charles P. Pierce
Sep 30, 2019

Stop the news. I want to get off. First, from the Wall Street Journal via Reuters:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in a July phone conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that is at the heart of a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

This opens up Pompeo for a lot of questions. Can he verify the whistleblower's complaint, and how involved was the Secretary of State with the decision to stash the call onto the Secret Server? Moreover, it appears that the entire executive branch might end up collapsing into a mud pile. From The New York Times:

President Trump initiated the discussion in recent weeks with Mr. Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia’s help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation, according to the two people with knowledge of the discussion. Mr. Barr requested that Mr. Trump speak to Mr. Morrison, one of the people said. It came only weeks after Mr. Trump seemed to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on Mr. Zelensky doing him the “favor” of helping Mr. Barr with his work...

Mr. Barr flew to Italy last week and met with Italian government officials on Friday. The Justice Department spokeswoman would not say whether he discussed the election inquiry in those meetings, but former Justice Department officials said that Mr. Barr would need to ask foreign countries for cooperation in turning over documents pertaining to the 2016 election.

And, in case if you were wondering how far up shit-creek Barr has gone, well, if the Washington Post is accurate, he's found the headwaters at the very least.

Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter...

Barr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter. It was not Barr’s first trip to Italy to meet intelligence officials, the person said. The Trump administration has made similar requests of Australia, these people said.

It's become plain at this point that the ongoing "review" of the origins of the investigation into the Russian ratfcking of the 2016 election has as one of its primary purposes developing an alternative narrative to the plain fact that the Russians wanted to help the president* become president*, and that he accepted their help, and that this alternative narrative then will be used to discredit the revelations in the whistleblower's complaint, and that this project now commands the attention of, at the very least, the office of the president*, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice. The line for the rollercoaster at Depositionland is getting longer by the minute.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 08:15 PM (12 replies)

Stalled aid to Ukraine was a bipartisan, urgent mystery to Congress for months


Stalled aid to Ukraine was a bipartisan, urgent mystery to Congress for months
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Monday September 30, 2019 · 7:05 PM EDT

Congress was at a low simmer for most of this year, CNN reports, over what had happened to aid to Ukraine that it had authorized, and that concern and confusion was bipartisan. It had appropriated about $400 million in combined military and other aid early in the year that was supposed to have been released starting as early as February. It wasn't, because Donald Trump was withholding it, using it as extortion to get Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to manufacture dirt against Trump political rival Joe Biden.

A plethora of senators were regularly contacting the Defense Department, Department of State, and White House about the aid—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, Rob Portman, as well as Democrats Bob Menendez, Dick Durbin, Chris Murphy, Jeanne Shaheen, and Richard Blumenthal. House members got involved, too, with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and the committee's top Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul, pushing the White House—specifically Mick Mulvaney, who emerges at the center of this because of his dual roles as Office of Management and Budget director and Trump's acting chief of staff.

CNN conducted more than a dozen interviews with members of Congress and top aides, who said that, "while they don't remember the exact timeline of when they became aware there was an issue with Ukraine funding, there was a growing sense at the end of August that Congress needed to push the administration harder when it returned from its August recess to release it." Contemporaneous reporting from ABC backs that up. "Enough is enough. President Trump should stop worrying about disappointing Vladimir Putin and stand up for U.S. national security priorities," said Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in August. "We have a responsibility to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and deter Russia from further aggression." The Pentagon was supposedly conducting a review of the funding, but had completed it by then, and no one knew what the hold-up was. At the time, "A State Department official declined to discuss internal deliberations and deferred questions to the White House. OMB did not respond to requests for comment."

At the time, Murphy recalls, "Everything I had heard was that this was a decision made by the President. It was his decision and it was his decision alone." The administration was also keeping Congress out of the loop on that decision. "We would have expected congressional notification that in fact monies were being held, and that would have elicited from us a briefing and normally we would have gotten a briefing," Menendez told CNN.

"We'd been given signals twice by the administration that they were going to release the funds then nothing happened. In August we were told the OMB is holding it," Durbin said. "They were withholding these funds that had been appropriated and signed into law by the President until the last two weeks of the fiscal year. That's crazy. It hardly ever happens."

Now we know why, and Mulvaney is at the very center of it, along with Trump. He needs to be high up on the list of people hauled before Congress to explain.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 07:33 PM (1 replies)

Trump allies concerned he doesn't understand gravity of impeachment fight

womp womp

Trump allies concerned he doesn't understand gravity of impeachment fight
Kevin Liptak-Profile-Image
Kaitlan Collins byline
By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
Updated 2:37 PM ET, Mon September 30, 2019

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump and those close to him have lagged in mounting a viable defense nearly a week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would launch a formal impeachment inquiry.
Pelosi and her deputies have signaled they'll work quickly to depose key players in the Ukraine scandal, hoping for swift proceedings that won't spill into the 2020 election year. But Trump has been slow to cobble together a response, convinced he has no need for a separate impeachment team and confident in his own ability to counter-message Democrats, multiple sources close to the White House told CNN.

Six days after Pelosi's announcement, there is now a growing concern among the President's allies that he doesn't understand the implications of what lies ahead or how quickly it's moving.

Trump spent the weekend on the phone with aides and allies, railing against the whistleblower and those who provided the person with information related to his phone calls with foreign leaders, according to people familiar with the conversations.

He also waged battle on Twitter, calling for the outing of the whistleblower, demanding the House intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff be questioned for treason after he read a fictionalized version of the President's call with Zelensky and accusing officials who provided the whistleblower with information of spying.

Aside from the fervent tweeting, there were signs the White House would rely on its allies in Congress to defend the President as the impeachment inquiry heats up.

Yet the limits of that plan were apparent Sunday, as Republican lawmakers struggled to justify what Trump said to his Ukrainian counterpart during a July phone call. A whistleblower complaint alleges Trump abused his official powers "to solicit interference" from Ukraine on that call in the upcoming 2020 election, and that the White House took steps to cover it up.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 05:12 PM (9 replies)

Thornberry joins list of retiring Texas Republicans (#6)

Thornberry joins list of retiring Texas Republicans
By Juliegrace Brufke - 09/30/19 11:15 AM EDT

Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, on Monday announced that he will not seek reelection.

Thornberry's decision marks the sixth Texas Republican to retire from Congress this year. The GOP lawmaker was first elected to the lower chamber in 1994. His district is solidly Republican; President Trump attracted 80 percent of the vote there in 2016.

“It has been a great honor to serve the people of the 13th District of Texas as their congressman for the last 25 years. They have given me opportunities to serve the nation in ways I could have never imagined, including as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee," he said in a statement.

"We are reminded, however, that 'for everything there is a season,' and I believe that the time has come for a change. Therefore, I will not be a candidate for reelection in the 2020 election."


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 01:55 PM (3 replies)

What the Tide Turning on Trump Might Look Like


What the Tide Turning on Trump Might Look Like
The next couple of years could play out very differently thanks to what last week’s impeachment inquiry set in motion.
by Paul Waldman
September 30, 2019


Then the Republican Party will tear itself to pieces trying to assign blame for the whole debacle. Was it the fault of those who were insufficiently loyal to Trump, or those who so enthusiastically destroyed their own reputations to become pathetic lickspittles to this most debased of presidents? It will take years to resolve, with the most immediate effect being the merciful end of Mike Pence’s presidential ambitions.

For a decade to come, every Republican will be forced to explain their embarrassing words and actions through the Trump years. A suspicious number of them will claim that they opposed Trump all along. The public won’t buy it.

Although the hatreds and resentments Trump exploited will not disappear, they will not for the foreseeable future be so powerful as to seize control of the nation’s institutions of power. And because of all that Trump’s abuses revealed about the vulnerability of those institutions, we will see the passage of new anti-corruption measures strengthening the system against a future Trump.

As for the man himself, he will be branded forever as the one thing he worked his whole life to avoid being known as: a loser. He will keep bleating on Twitter as he fends off investigations into his lifetime of criminality, and finds himself uninvited to Republican celebrations and national commemorations. But fewer and fewer people will pay attention. With his reputation in tatters and no one seeking to buy his influence, even his business will wither. Sarah Palin, a kindred spirit in so many ways, will call him to commiserate.

Is it too much to believe that all this will come to pass? Perhaps. But none of it is fantastical or outside the realm of possibility. We should remember how one act of courage leads to another and another, and before you know it everything changes. A single government employee decides to blow the whistle, then a group of freshman members of Congress comes out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, then dozens of other members come off the fence, and within a few days the tide of history has shifted. Resistance is contagious.

For the first time in far too long, it’s starting to feel like we might be able to find our way out of the nightmare of the last three years. There’s nothing wrong with a little hope.

Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 12:39 PM (22 replies)

McConnell Confirms Senate Would Take Up Impeachment


McConnell Confirms Senate Would Take Up Impeachment
September 30, 2019 at 12:12 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed to CNBC that the Senate would have to take up impeachment of President Trump if the House effectively votes to charge the president.

Said McConnell: “I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you are on it is a different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up based on a Senate rule on impeachment.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 12:25 PM (12 replies)
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