Friday, November 15, 2019

I encourage everyone to read Bill Barr’s viciously partisan speech to @FedSoc. Its hackery and intellectual dishonesty is an utter embarrassment to the DOJ, @FedSoc, and to all of us (yes, me, too) who try to be intellectually honest about textualism & original public meaning.

Breaking News: The Texas parole board unanimously voted to recommend that the governor delay Rodney Reed’s execution after new evidence drew attention to the case

The party—during which Parnas and Fruman slipped out of a reception room packed with hundreds of Trump donors to have a private meeting with the President and Giuliani—was the day after Giuliani brought Parnas as his guest to the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush

Sondland is caught in about as clear a lie as you will find. He told the committee he never discussed investigating Biden with anyone at the WH or State Dept. According to this testimony, he did both.

Having served on active duty as a JAG, it was clear to me that military judges & juries were fair and professional. Every conviction was also reviewed by the commander for clemency. Today @realDonaldTrump slapped them in the face. And he is weakening our military justice system.

“He made a mistake,” @SpeakerPelosi says on Trump's tweet about Yovanovitch during her testimony. “I think part of it is his own insecurity as an impostor...he knows full well he's in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”

The President’s action in pardoning those who are charged with committing war crimes - despoiling the professionalism of those who abide by the rules of land warfare - is despicable and disgusting.

Turns out, this thing that Trump has been spinning, he's spinning it exactly the way that Vladimir Putin has been spinning it -and the way that Russian intelligence was feeding it to his now-imprisoned campaign chairman who was talking to Rudy Giuliani about strategy.

READ: State Department aide David Holmes' opening statement

At least two other witnesses - beyond David Holmes - overheard the Trump-Sondland call in which Trump was pressing for investigations into the Bidens, we are told

That spontaneous applause & cheering that erupted after today’s hearings is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Fuck, I started applauding & cheering. Thank you Adam Schiff!!

An appeals court ruled the House Oversight and Reform Committee has the right to ask for Trump’s financial information

This is the most important takeaway from today

Marie Yovanovitch’s Testimony Showcases Donald Trump’s Obsession With Revenge

Here is the video of Ambassador Yovanovitch’s well-deserved moment, which will live in the pantheon of history. I believe she acquitted herself well against the GOP’s circus-act and Trump’s witness intimidation.

@DanaBashCNN is all of us when John King reads off Trump praising Zelensky for Ukraine's Miss Universe contestants.

NEW: Trump's private lawyers have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay an appeals court decision giving a House committee permission to subpoena the president's personal and business financial records

AND WE’RE DONE: Yovanovitch has left after six hours of testimony. She received an ovation from the public (and some Dem lawmakers in the crowd) as she exited, not something you see often at public hearings

SCHIFF concludes Yovanovitch hearing with this: "Read the transcript ... [Trump] praises the corrupt! Lutsenko. He condemns the just -- you. And then he asks for an investigation of the Bidens. There is no camouflaging that corrupt intent. We are adjourned."

SCHIFF: "The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn't make it any less bribery, doesn't make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it wasn't successful."

Ex-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: "I obviously don't dispute that the president has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time for any reason, but what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation falsely?"

Full Hearing: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies on Impeach Inquiry before House Intelligence Cmte

Rep. Adam Schiff to Rep. Jim Jordan: "Mr. Jordan I have indulged you with extra time, but that indulgence is wearing out ... there is a question though right?" Jordan: "Our indulgence wore out with you a long time ago, Mr. Chairman, I'll tell you that."

Trump blows up effort to blunt impeachment damage

Pres Trump said he did not tamper or try to intimidate the witness. He said “tampering is when a guy like shifty Schiff doesn’t let us have lawyers“ & GOP given no due process.” Note: There is a GOP lawyer asking Qs today & Yovanovitch says she felt intimidated by Trump tweets.

“I’m very angry about how…the most powerful person on the face of the Earth would remove you from office after your stellar service and somehow feel compelled to characterize you as ‘bad news,’” Rep. Denny Heck says to former Ambassador Yovanovitch.

DEMINGS: "Did you speak publicly and privately about your disdain for the Trump administration?" YOVANOVITCH: "No." DEMINGS: "Why do you think the president would want to push such a lie?" YOVANOVITCH: "I don't know."

Jordan suggesting it was legitimate for Trump for be concerned about sending tax dollars to Ukraine because he was concerned they didn't like him. The problem is that isn't up to Trump. Congress appropriated the funding. It isn't Trump's to withhold as he wishes.

When you’re NOT having a good day at the House impeachment hearing.

Jeez. @Jim_Jordan goes on about how important it is to not have foreign powers involved in US elections. But all he references are Ukrainian officials who badmouthed Trump publicly in 2016. He has NOTHING to say about Russia’s sweeping/systematic attack on the US election. #Tool

Our intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in the 2016 election. Yet the President and his allies continue to push conspiracy theories about a Ukrainian plot to hurt Trump's campaign. Ambassador Yovanovitch sets the record straight:

SWALWELL: "Are the president's smears going to stop you from fighting corruption?" YOVANOVITCH: "Well, I will continue with my work." SWALWELL: "And if your country asks you again to fight corruption, will you still do that despite the smears?" YOVANOVITCH: "Yes."

Since the whistleblower's complaint became public, nearly every claim has been confirmed. But the president & his allies in Congress continue to launch dangerous attacks on this individual, who fears for their safety. The law is clear: the whistleblower is entitled to anonymity.

REP. HECK to Yovanovitch on Trump: "Here's my message to you: There is nothing, Ambassador Yovanovitch, nothing he can say or do, not a thing, that will in any way diminished the nature and quality of the service you have rendered to our great nation. Not a thing."

GOP's attorney Steve Castor asked a series of questions about Ukrainian corruption. Yovanovitch notes that such corruption is endemic to post-Soviet states, but in Ukraine, there is at least the ability to broach a conversation about how to confront it. Unlike Russia, she adds

Castor’s questioning Yovanovitch like she’s an intriguing woman he ran into on an elevator.

Steve Castor is not good at this. There doesn't seem to by any point to his line of questioning.

This was my favorite moment of the day: Nunes tries to do a flea-flicker to Stefanik because Castor clearly can't run the ball and Schiff tackles them both simltaneously.

The jury on Roger Stone's criminal trial went home after more than 6hrs of deliberations yesterday with no verdict on whether the longtime Trump adviser lied to Congress and obstructed justice. They sent these two questions to the judge.

Trump intimidated a witness during testimony about witness intimidation

Castor asks Yovanovitch if she finds her new job at Georgetown "rewarding" and she looks at him stunned and says that she's grateful to have the position given what happened.

Steve Castor, House GOP attorney, starts his questioning of Yovanovitch saying, "Thirty-three years, an extraordinary career, a remarkable tenure at the State Department." This is a MUCH different message than what @realDonaldTrump put out this morning. @ImpeachmentHearings

NUNES intentionally violates the impeachment inquiry rules by yielding to STEFANIK. They know this violates the process set out for the impeachment inquiry and then pretend to be shocked when Schiff gavels them down.

And witness tampering Donnie. Let's see if you have the balls to pardon him during impeachment hearings :)

Reminder: Devin Nunes didn’t attend Yovanovitch’s closed-door testimony.

WSJ: Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Rudy Giuliani stood to personally profit from Ukrainian natural-gas business pushed by 2 associates who also aided his efforts there to launch investigations that could benefit Pres. Trump

Roger Stone Is Found Guilty in Trial That Revived Trump-Russia Saga

NEW: Prosecutors have asked the judge to take Roger Stone into custody immediately. They alleged last night he violated his gag order and communicated with a member of the press. The allegation came after the judge said Stone will be sentenced on Feb 6.

Paul Manafort Rick Gates Michael Flynn George Papadopoulos Michael Cohen Roger Stone ...the company you keep.

Adam Schiff breaking into Goldman’s line of questioning to get Yovanovitch to admit on the Congressional record that she felt intimidated by Trump’s tweet was absolutely brilliant because having the witness confirm they felt intimidation is a necessary element to prove the crime.

A reminder: Stone's fate is also Wikileaks' fate, Assange's fate, Putin's fate...and Trump's fate. GOODBYE, MOBSTERS!

BREAKING: Jury: Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone guilty of lying to the US Congress, obstructing justice and witness tampering.

SCHIFF: So Trump and Fruity G and The Three Cabrones all conspired to shank a champion against corruption for their Mob bosses. They then used fifth-rate Mobster tactics to smear her. Now, here's Secret Agent Dipshit Cowpoke - I got that from Game Theory Guy.

REP. SWALWELL: "By attacking the witness, the president continues to act guilty ... We are looking at this as a consciousness of guilt ... We have strong evidence of obstruction of justice through intimidating a witness and tampering with a witness's testimony."

Ken Starr on Fox News: “The president was not advised by counsel in deciding to do this tweet. Extraordinarily poor judgment… Obviously this was quite injurious.”

‘Wow, little man’: Trump shredded by the internet for attempt to intimidate Yovanovitch as she described corruption

Why is @realDonaldTrump engaging in witness intimidation of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while she testifies during the #ImpeachmentHearings? Because her testimony is devastating to @POTUS.

.@RepAdamSchiff reads President Trump tweets about Marie Yovanovitch. Marie Yovanovitch: "It's very intimidating." Schiff: "Some us here take witness intimidation very very seriously. Watch LIVE here:

Counsel: who are the corrupt officials in Ukraine the US wanted out? Yovanovitch: Lutsenko & Shokin. Counsel: And who was Giuliani working with? Yovanovitch: Lutsenko & Shokin...and Parnas & Furman, who were recently indicted.

Chris Wallace on Fox News: "If you were not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, you don’t have a pulse. … This wasn’t just testimony about the past; this played out in real time. … It seems to me that this has been very powerful testimony this morning."

Amb. Michael McFaul: "It obviously underscores the president of the United States doesn't understand what diplomats do, doesn't understand what ambassadors do."

I'd like to thank Trump for validating her testimony completely. Remember, he's not a genius. There is no strategy. There is no multidimensional chess game. He's an undisciplined, day trading, con man ruled by his impulses.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): "The president in real time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?" Former Amb. Yovanovitch: "Well, it is very intimidating."

‘Witness intimidation in real time’: Schiff and Yovanovitch respond to Trump moments after he launches Twitter attacks

That exchange between @RepAdamSchiff & Marie Yavonovitch about @realDonaldTrump’s shameless real-time attempt at twitter witness intimidation was perfection. Unscripted, sincere, chilling.

We are also getting a clearer picture today of just how venal and dangerous the President is. These hearings are making him into an epic villain. Those who have enabled him and his dark acts will join him in furious infamy, today and in history.

Yovanovitch on the fact that Russia began pushing the "Ukraine interfered in 2016" narrative in December 2016: "It's classic for an intel officer [Putin] to try to throw off the scent and create an alternative narrative that might get picked up and gain some credence.”

Yovanovitch says that she couldn’t get a statement of support from the State Department against false attacks because Trump could TWEET and undercut that statement. So they were hamstrung, she indicates

"I didn't know what to think but I was very concerned…it sounded like a threat." Former Ukrainian Ambassador Yovanovitch details her reaction, emotionally and physically, of when she read the call-record between Presidents Trump & Zelensky.

@RepAdamSchiff responds: "Some of us here take witness intimidation very seriously."

Taylor and Kent were sober and compelling. Yovanovitch is riveting.

YOVANOVITCH responds to Trump's tweet this morning attacking her: "I don't think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia, and not in other places. I actually think that where I've served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better for the U.S."

Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch details the call she received that led to her being recalled back to the US saying she thought it was about concerns of her security.

And there it is. The Toddler couldn't help himself. Because of course he couldn't.

The GOP is only upset because she violated their "Benghazi Copyright."

TRUMP slams Yovanovitch while she testifies -- even as she's been defended by his current ambassador to Ukraine and other senior aides serving in his state department and NSC.

The Republican attempts to create “point of order” chaos at beginning of hearing proves Republicans know how successful the 1st hearing was for Democrats. Chaos is their strategy to distract news media.

GOLDMAN: "Was the allegation that you were badmouthing President Trump true?" YOVANOVITCH: "No." GOLDMAN: "Was the allegation that you had created a 'do not prosecute' list to give to the prosecutor general in Ukraine true?" YOVANOVITCH: "No."

When she heard Trump say “She’s going to go through some things” it sounded like a threat says Yovanovich.

This is disgusting and no one in the Republican Party will care

YOVANOVITCH: "I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads up state in such a manner ... It was a terrible moment. A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face."

Yovanovitch is as credible a witness and decent a public servant as you could find. That Republicans are planning on tearing this woman down simply to protect a knowingly corrupt president is a fucking travesty.

Read the opening statement of former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. She is the third impeachment inquiry witness to testify publicly.

Yovanovitch and Kent have both testified that former Ukraine prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, whom Biden pushed to oust, was corrupt. Trump has publicly described Shokin as "tough," and, on the call with Zelensky, "very good" and "very fair."

MARIE YOVANOVITCH: “I did not tell Mr. Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute. … Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives”

"I do not understand Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me," Marie Yovanovitch says. Watch her testimony LIVE


SCHIFF: "In the face of this smear campaign, did colleagues at the State Department try to get a statement of support for you from Secretary Pompeo?" YOVANOVITCH: "Yes." SCHIFF: "Were they successful?" YOVANOVITCH: "No."

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch describes a “crisis in the State Department,” says the policy process is “visibly unraveling” and the department is being “hollowed out from within.”

After repeatedly shutting down Rep. Jordan, Schiff responds to Trump's released call record: "I'm grateful the president has released the call record. I would now like the president to release the thousands of other records he has instructed the State Department not to release."

Yovanovitch just made an important point about American national interests— pulling an ambassador right after Zelensky election could not have been at a worse time.

Yovanovitch: "Which country's interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been criticizing is allowed to prevail? Such conduct undermines the U.S., exposes our friends, and widens the playing field for autocrats like President Putin."

Yovanovitch's testimony suggests @RudyGiuliani was in league with corrupt scoundrels. If the Republicans on the committee want the full story, they should demand Giuliani appear as a witness. He's far more relevant than the whistleblower!

Marie Yovanovitch: "Although, then and now, I have always understood that I served at the pleasure of the President, I still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine U.S. interests in this way."

After repeatedly shutting down Rep. Jordan, Schiff responds to Trump's released call record: "I'm grateful the president has released the call record. I would now like the president to release the thousands of other records he has instructed the State Department not to release."

Marie Yovanovitch: "How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government? Which countries interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been criticizing is allowed to prevail."

Yovanovitch: I still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine US interests in this way

Yovanovitch: "What continues to amaze me is [corrupt Ukrainians] found Americans willing to partner ... they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. Ambassador. How could our system fail? ... How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our govt?"

Turkey's state-run media says an American man suspected of being an Islamic State group member remains in no man's land on the border between Turkey and Greece for a fifth day.

Bill Taylor > John Dowd 💯

Conspiracy is a mindset and if you believe one you will seek out others. Hence the danger of what Republicans are consciously doing with conspiracy theories.

Judge lashes out at prosecutors for failing to fish or cut bait on McCabe prosecution: 'Not hard' decision except 'maybe politically'

And there you have it - begrudgingly - from Trump's own CBP commissioner himself: *ZERO* miles of new wall have been built. It never ceases to amaze me just how stupid Trump treats his own supporters

There’s no doubt Trump can properly be charged with demanding a bribe from Ukraine’s president — gimme dirt on Biden if you want arms to fight Putin’s aggression — and that the Constitution says anyone convicted of bribery “shall be removed from office.”

(Whispers) "No one *has* to book her."

“A neutered Republican Party cannot be rebirthed if it lacks the political courage to find its backbone.”

Executors of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate are proposing a fund to compensate his alleged victims

Today’s pro-Kremlin press portrays Russia as a strong country (Putin on the world stage, “naval power growing”). Other papers here paint a very different picture (Russians in debt, houses without hot water, thieving) In today’s #ReadingRussia...two different Russias.

Opinion: We heard three impeachable acts from just one public hearing

The Supreme Court won’t touch this case — unless they’re crazy too. Cert. denied. Trump asks Supreme Court to block subpoena for tax returns

Dear @realDonaldTrump enablers: You look down on me when you denigrate my education. You condescend towards me when you lie to me. You disrespect me when you impose your religion on me. But I'm not going to complain like you. I'm going to stand strong & #DefendOurDemocracy

Kennedy has a degree from Magdalen College, Oxford, founded in 1458. It has its own private deer park. Students are assigned a housekeeper known as a “scout.” C.S. Lewis was a professor. Oscar Wilde graduated.

Trump’s “spiritual advisor” Paula White sells prosperity seeds for $1144.00. Yet, she bankrupted her last church for $29 million dollars. Her current husband is Jonathan Cain from Journey. Between them all, they have 9 marriages, faithfully.

I don’t understand. Why would someone who was happy to release his tax returns but only couldn’t because he was being audited & therefore didn’t want to break the law now suddenly be trying to literally change the law just so he doesn’t have to release his tax returns?

This stunning revelation at the #ImpeachmentHearings shows the unacceptable lack of cybersecurity by the @realDonaldTrump Administration. Any foreign power can listen in on a cell phone by exploiting a flaw known as "SS7." Look it up. It will scare you.

Wow, it kind of sounds like Boris also has a nefarious relationship with Vladimir Putin

FEMA nominee says he does not know the causes of climate change

Meet Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador at the center of the Ukraine controversy

Impeachment Hearings Continue With Marie Yovanovitch, Ex-Ambassador To Ukraine

Sorry, Republicans, but Paul Manafort really was corrupt

Vladimir Putin says it would be a “right step” if Donald Trump accepts his invitation to attend the upcoming military parade in Red Square in May

Barr praises the DOJ IG for being “fiercely independent” & conducting the Russia investigation “in the most professional way” as Barr does the least independent & professional thing by discussing the investigation with Trump.

Sen. Menendez denounces the company's “failure to stem the tide of dangerous myths about vaccinations” and urges the company to be accountable for “harmful lies” that are amplified on its platform

Ex-‘Simpsons’ Writer Bill Oakley Torches GOP For Stealing Trump Defense From Sideshow Bob

New reporting from @WMUR9_Politics shows that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman accompanied Rudy Guiliani as he stumped for candidates in New Hampshire in 2018

Turkish media paints White House visit as Erdoğan triumphing over Trump, Lindsey Graham, & the U.S.

A key European lender cuts off cash to all fossil fuels, a plan hailed as a "game changer" in the fight against climate change

Exclusive: Giuliani Ally Pete Sessions Was Eyed for Top Slot in Ukraine Pete Sessions received millions from a PAC funded in part by indicted Giuliani cronies. He joined Rudy in speaking out against Yovanovitch—and was even floated as her replacement.

The president's personal attorney joked on a call with The Guardian that he has "insurance" if Trump ever throws him under the bus

Fareed Zakaria writes in Opinions: Zelensky was planning to announce Trump’s "quid pro quo" on my show. Here’s what happened.

BREAKING: In its effort to sell off the lease to the Trump International Hotel in Washington the Trump Organization has put together a glossy investor brochure that lists the hotel's biggest selling point as profiting off foreign governments.

There are also handmaids standing outside the Federalist Society-Brett Kavanaugh dinner. As Federalist Society members pass by them in tuxedos.

Walmart's supply chain runs a year ahead, you dolt.

Besieged on all sides, Gordon Sondland clings to power: "He has no intention of resigning.”

Trump can be seen talking to AG Barr and WH Counsel Cipollone prior to departing WH for his rally in Louisiana this evening.

New: Per two sources familiar--including one Ukrainian official on the July 25 Trump/Zelensky call -- the Ukrainians had no idea what Trump was talking about when he mentioned Crowdstrike, and had to Google it afterwards

The Marine combat veteran was held by ICE for three days because the agency wrongly suspected he was an undocumented immigrant

These hearings are of historic importance regardless of the outcome. The truth they are exposing will forever define what Trump’s presidency was all about: “Once upon a time, America installed a president who used the office solely to benefit himself.”

@Paula_White "Wherever I go, God rules. When I walk on White House grounds, God walks on White House grounds," adding, "I have every right and authority to declare the White House as holy ground because I was standing there and where I stand is holy.

Jeff Sessions: He was humiliated & mocked by Trump for two years publicly and privately and ousted via tweet. He also wants to win his old seat back in Alabama. Watch this.

NEW: Pete Sessions joined Giuliani and his indicted cronies in speaking out against the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Then he was eyed as her replacement.

Some revealing news here. Including Sondland confirms his involvement in a Trump plan to boost immigration from Europe, a project he worked on with Stephen Miller that his colleagues in Brussels viewed as racially motivated and unethical. He denies that was the motivation.

I just received a call from @VP's office requesting this article be changed. Problem is: everything I reported is accurate. Make sure you don't miss it!