Day Two focused on a Giuliani-run smear campaign and Trump’s passion for settling scores—real or imagined.
The blood drained from her face as Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat removed as the US ambassador to Ukraine, read the reconstructed transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the day it was released. There was the president referring directly to her: “The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news,” Trump told the Ukrainian leader. And as Yovanovitch read on, she came across another Trump statement that seemed menacing: “She’s going to go through some things.” Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday morning as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Yovanovitch recalled how she had been “shocked,” “appalled,” and “devastated” to see a president undermine and threaten a US ambassador. And about the same time as she was telling the committee this, Trump was blasting Yovanovitch, claiming, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” This was a shocking move that even a Fox News anchor likened to witness intimidation.
Giuliani will be thrown under a bus (ODT)
Trump ― the man who was obsessed with the fact that Hillary Clinton used a private email server as secretary of state ― continues to use a personal cellphone, despite warnings from security experts. The practice also, conveniently, allows him to avoid extra public scrutiny.
Trump’s cellphone does not have security features to shield his communications from espionage, and he has reportedly resisted measures to make his phone more secure.
he took a call with Trump in a restaurant. The call was about the Ukraine situation, and people at the restaurant table were able to hear it was Trump and some of the content of the call. (If this was Sondland’s personal phone you can bet the Russians heard it, too.)
Criminal investigations, as Chuck and I know, you build by taking these depositions, getting their testimony. Now Sondland has already had to come back once and say, oh, I forgot some stuff, here it is. Now he’s going to have to come back and say, oh, I forgot about that call I had with the President of The United States on my cellphone.
“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified, referring to the presidential lawyer and former New York City mayor, who had been conducting a back-channel effort in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf.
Character assassination is what Fox News does. The problem for Trump when it comes to the impeachment scandal is that Fox News has too many characters it needs to assassinate.
Lindsey Graham says Trump’s Ukraine policy was incoherent. It wasn’t. He knew what he wanted. But the strategy to defend the president in this impeachment proceeding is certainly incoherent at this point. He will probably survive a trial in the Senate, but none of his defenders are going to come out looking any better than he does. The central fact they can’t accept is that his behavior was indefensible.
Bill Taylor, George P Kent and Marie Yovanovitch will tell complementary parts of the story and how it affects national security
A key witness in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry has reversed his evidence, indicating he did believe there was a quid pro quo in which US military aid would be denied to Ukraine unless it publicly launched a corruption investigation into Joe Biden.
Republicans have called for the release of the transcripts as Democrats have held the initial interviews in private, though Republican lawmakers have been present for those closed-door meetings.
Laying out the anatomy of a chilling smear campaign, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House investigators in a transcript released on Monday that Ukrainian officials warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other allies of President Donald Trump were planning to “do things, including to me” and were “looking to hurt” her.
The former envoy, who was pushed out of her job in May on Trump’s orders, testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really need to watch my back.”
But doesn’t name them. 18% of Republican Voters don’t oppose impeachment or his removal and could vote either way in 2020. (ODT)
Republicans and even Trump was wrong in thanking Tim Morrison (ODT)
Trump still contends that the summary of the July call released by the White House clears him of any wrongdoing, a claim that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has distanced himself from and that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has effectively contradicted.
The second whistleblower poses a threat to the president’s attempts to downplay the scandal because the second person supposedly has first-hand knowledge of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
As the impeachment saga gathers pace, even some Republicans fear that we’re looking at the ’doomsday president’
Tuesday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) affirmed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, saying “what he has already admitted to is an impeachable offense.”
Surrounded by a flurry of reporters, the New York Democrat was asked if the caucus had been too slow to move on impeachment. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t take the bait: “We can’t ask ourselves about whether we move too slow or too quickly. We have to ask ourselves what we’re doing right now.”
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Mere days after the Democratic firebrand called out her own party for abetting the president’s continued behavior, Ocasio-Cortez lent her support to the Speaker’s decision: “I think we have to hold this president accountable and we have to protect our democracy.”
It’s important to uphold the constitution through impeachment – even if it goes nowhere, even if it’s unpopular with many voters, even if it’s politically risky
In the past there have frequently been discussions on the left about what was called a crisis of legitimacy within the countries of democratic capitalism. Most of these discussions have been misleading or exaggerated. In the case of the new US president this is not the case; the legitimacy wolf is finally at the door. Concerning the illegitimacy of the new US president it is, however, important to be precise. The presidency of Donald Trump is not illegitimate because he received three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes has cut the odds on Donald Trump leaving office early due to impeachment or resignation amid mounting controversy about how he will manage his business interests after becoming America’s 45th President. Ladbrokes opened the market at 3-1, cutting it to 5-2, and again to 9-4 in the wake of a flurry of bets on the back of a growing consensus among law professors that the controversial Republican is heading for trouble.