Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sondland says he's heading back to work at the State Department. Ambassadors typically resign when they feel they can no longer be an effective/credible representative of the president who appointed them. By not resigning, Sondland is breaking long established diplomatic norms

We just walked to @senatemajldr’s office to demand #GunReformNow. It’s been 265 days since the @HouseDemocrats passed gun safety legislation. Every day that Mitch McConnell obstructs, we lose American lives.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney: "It bothers me that Ambassador Bolton is selling a book deal when three of his deputies are up here at risk of their professional careers telling the truth. I think that's disgraceful."

Sondland confirmed that his talk with Trump from a cell phone on a restaurant terrace in Kyiv was held on an open line—and that Trump “was aware it was an open line as well.” The acknowledgment raises fresh questions about Trump’s security practices

Schiff is a great closer.

“Thank God,” Putin told an economic forum in the Russian capital on Wednesday, “no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore; now they’re accusing Ukraine.”

Fiery exchange as @RepSeanMaloney tries to pin down Sondland on investigation. SONDLAND: I’ve been very forthright, and I resent what you’re trying to do. MALONEY: All due respect sir, we appreciate your candor, but let’s be really clear what it took to get it out of you.

Q: "You would agree that...foreign interference in our democracy is, or can be, a threat to our democracy?" Sondland: "Always." Q: "Do you believe that it is ever appropriate to invite, press, bribe or coerce foreign interference in our elections?" Sondland: "No."

"Who would benefit from an investigation of the Bidens?" Dem. Rep. Maloney asks repeatedly. "I assume President Trump would," Sondland eventually answers. "There we have it!" Maloney says sarcastically. "Did hurt a bit, did it?"

A lawyer representing Lt. Col. Vindman has sent a letter to Fox News requesting a retraction for a "deeply flawed and erroneous" segment on Laura Ingraham's show in which a guest seemed to raise possibility he committed espionage

MALONEY: Who would benefit from an investigation of the president's political opponent? SONDLAND: Well, presumably the person who asked for the investigation. MALONEY: Who is that? SONDLAND: If the president asked for the investigation, it would be he.

"If you asked a foreign government leader to investigate your political opponent, leveraged a White House meeting, and leveraged security assistance, in this hypothetical you agree all three of those are wrong?" "Yes, all are wrong."

Giuliani puts GOP counsel on blast: "I would appreciate his apology"

CASTOR: You testified that Giuliani was expressing the desires of POTUS, correct? SONDLAND: Yup CASTOR: But how did you know that? SONDLAND: Well, when POTUS says, 'talk to my personal attorney,' we assume it's coming from the president

Oh yes you do. You want Pence to pardon you.

Rep. Turner: Amb. Volker testified that a White House meeting was not tied to Burisma investigations. Amb. Sondland: Oh I strongly disagree, otherwise we would have just had the meeting

The vice president. The Secretary of State. The acting White House chief of staff. Rudy Giuliani. Even Ron Johnson, the Republican senator from Wisconsin. Sondland wrapped every one of them in dynamite.

Sondland says he told Pence that Ukraine military aid appeared conditioned on political investigations

Gordon Sondland says he does not dispute the testimony of Bill Taylor and Tim Morrison that Trump told him in September that Zelensky needed to publicly announce investigations before aid would be released.

Schiff: "You testified that pretty much everyone could put 2 and 2 together and made 4 and understood the military assistance was also conditioned on the public announcement of these two investigations, correct?" Sondland: "That was my presumption, yes."

President #DonaldTrump holds notes while speaking to the media before departing the White House for Texas

Statement from Marc Short, Pence chief of staff: “The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations."

Giuliani deletes tweet saying he had "VERY little contact" with Sondland

Sooner or later, @Noahbierman writes, every Trump aide confronts the choice -- defend him, or save themselves. Sondland chose to save himself.

Ken Starr: "There will be articles of impeachment, I think we've known that ... It's over ... This is his position, we now know that the president, in fact, committed the crime of bribery ... Articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven't already been drawn up."

SCHIFF: We've had a lot of argumentation here, 'well, the Ukrainians didn't know the aid was withheld', but the Ukrainians found out and then it was made abundantly clear ... if they wanted that aid, they were going to have to make these statements, correct? SONDLAND: Correct.

GOLDMAN: [David Holmes] also testified that you confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky, quote, 'loves your ass.' Do you recall saying that? SONDLAND: It sounds like something I would say.

Based on what Gordon Sondland just said, it looks like the entire friggin’ Trump administration may end up being impeached!!!

Chairman Schiff: "Let me get to the top line here, Ambassador Sondland." That's the White House meeting being a quid pro quo in exchange for investigations. "Correct," Sondland said. Q: And everybody knew it. A: Correct.

Sondland just got to a core issue - Trump didn’t want the Biden investigation, just the *announcement* of the investigation: “(Pres. Zelensky) had to announce the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do them.”

SONDLAND says that he told VP Pence ahead of a Warsaw meeting with President Zelensky: "It appears that everything is stalled until this statement gets made, words to that effect ... The vice president nodded that he heard what I said."

Game over for @realDonaldTrump

‘Devastating for Trump’: Former White House lawyer says president’s defense ‘has entirely collapsed’ with Sondland testimony

Nothing like having your government exposed as an organized crime syndicate in real time on live television.

Ambassador Sondland: "Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo... Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President."

“at the express direction of the president of the United States”

SONDLAND: My lawyers and I have made multiple requests to the State Department and the White House for these materials. Yet, these materials were not provided to me. They have also refused to share these materials with this Committee. These documents are not classified.

"Are senators going to now say, in light of what we hear today....we need to make a trip down to the White House—that historic example set during the Nixon presidency." Ken Starr on the implications of Sondland's damning testimony:

—> Nunes just asked for CLOSED DOOR depositions!! Wasn’t he storming the SCIF just 4 weeks ago (the morning of my uncle’s funeral)? — Christine Pelosi

“Jim Jordan’s an asshole.”—Speaker John Boehner


Devin Nunes *desperately* needs some new material

"The American people sent us to Washington to solve problems not to wage scorched earth political warfare against the other party." Devin Nunes delivers a scathing denunciation of Trump & the rest of the Republican Party without realizing it.

Earth to @DevinNunes: This is impeachment hearing is not about Russia collusion. So bizarre. Nunes can't defend Trump on charges of extorting Ukraine, so he is defending him from other charges.

Schiff: "If the president abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency"

NEW: Sondland will describe quid pro quo - say WH meeting with Zelenksy conditioned on political probes and “everybody was in the loop” (Mulvaney, Pompeo) to satisfy Trump. Will say he told Pence of “concerns” aid was “tied to the issue of investigations”

Ukraine Is Still Waiting on $35 Million of U.S. Military Aid, Says Report

Watch live on WBZ-TV or stream: House begins day 4 of public impeachment hearings

LIVE: @HouseIntel Hearing with Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Sondland testified that the President’s scheme “kept getting more insidious as [the] timeline went on, and back in July, it was all about just corruption.” Hear from him in his own words:

BREAKING: Gordon Sondland will tell lawmakers there was a quid pro quo for a White House meeting &, he later came to learn, the military aid, too, according to his opening statement we obtained. “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” FULL OPENER

When Pluto Met Saturn: Astrologers on How Trump’s Impeachment Could End ‘Explosively’ With the Saturn-Pluto conjunction and impeachment hearings, astrologists say Trump’s presidency may end dramatically—with “an exact hit from a solar eclipse on his birth asteroid.”

Boom there it is: "Sondland is pointing the finger at President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton in explosive public testimony on Wednesday in which he says explicitly there was a "quid quo pro

NEW: Sondland will describe quid pro quo - say WH meeting with Zelenksy conditioned on political probes and “everybody was in the loop” (Mulvaney, Pompeo) to satisfy Trump. Will say he told Pence of “concerns” aid was “tied to the issue of investigations”

Cue the tweets reminding that @SpeakerPelosi is the most effective Speaker in modern times. Every Trump hit is a Pelosi boost and a Trump bust because he doesn't understand with whom he's dealing.

From Sondland statement “We followed the president’s orders”.

Sondland's opening statement says State Department leadership knew exactly what he was doing. "“Our efforts were reported and approved. Not once do I recall encountering objection"

Gonna be lit

Amb. Gordon Sondland has arrived on Capitol Hill for his 9AM hearing

Sondland on his overheard phone call with Trump: It is true that the President speaks loudly at times. It is also true that we discussed A$AP Rocky. It is true that the President likes to use colorful language"

Ivanka Trump said that sexual harassment in the workplace “can never be tolerated.” That statement provoked some outrage, considering that her father, President Donald Trump, was recorded saying about women: “Grab ’em by the pussy.

So @NikkiHaley **purposely** sending CLASSIFIED information using unsecured email disqualifies her from becoming @POTUS, right

Inside the National Security Council, officials expressed wonderment that Rudy Giuliani was running his "irregular channel" of Ukraine diplomacy over open cell lines and communications apps in Ukraine that the Russians have deeply penetrated.

A White House Now ‘Cannibalizing Itself’

It is entirely up to President @realDonaldTrump and @SenateMajLdr McConnell to decide if we are going to make progress on a topic like infrastructure or if the Senate will continue to be a graveyard for commonsense ideas to help the American people.

EXCLUSIVE: Nikki Haley used system for unclassified material to send "confidential" information

Even Volker doesn’t believe Trump This is the GOP’s hand-picked witness

This. I would add Volker is an example of the "grown ups" failing. He is like Rosenstein. Had an opportunity to stand up for the country and decided to just play along. In the end, they were just cowards


Boom! Breaking just before he testifies! Sondland Kept Pompeo Informed on Ukraine Pressure Campaign

Unsecured server you say? I seem to remember the trump campaign being obsessed with unsecured servers.

A lot of Americans -- not just Democrats -- have had enough of Bill Barr's "holier than thou" Opus Dei act while he covers fro Trump's crimes, obstructs justice and ignores subpoenas. He should be removed from office or resign.

Gordon Sondland said in an interview just one day after Trump's July phone call with the president of Ukraine that the United States would increase its support of Ukraine if it undertook "promised" reforms

Fox News commentator Sean Hannity appears to be knee-deep in Trump’s Ukraine scandal — despite his denials

This is your signal to sell or short Boeing stock.

Even Republicans’ preferred witnesses are implicating Trump

They’re charging a 13-year-old child for murder after he unintentionally shot and killed his friend instead of the gun owner who negligently left a loaded gun in his a car. The @NRA has stripped from most state laws the responsibilities that should go along with gun rights

Sondland, a wealthy Portland, Oregon hotelier and Trump donor, is expected to offer a first-hand account of Trump's aims in Ukraine

Revealed: Nikki Haley sent confidential information about North Korea nuke scare over system meant only for unclassified communications -

Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

Jeffrey Epstein accuser Maria Farmer says Ghislaine Maxwell threatened her life, FBI "failed" her

"This is textbook abuse of power. The witnesses continue to confirm that the national security interests of the United States of America have been undermined." - Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

The Navy is considering stripping Eddie Gallagher of his SEAL status, setting up a confrontation with the White House

“... as a U.S. judge ponders whether to unseal more than 3,000 pages of new evidence about Epstein’s alleged crimes.”

The big moment. Tim Morrison confirms that the Trump Administration conditioned military aid on launching an investigation into Trump's political rival, Joe Biden.

U.S. Senate unanimously passes bill on Hong Kong

The Russians returned the body of Ukrainian POW Roman Bezpaliy. He'd been tortured to death. His internal organs were removed.

Volker is a great example of how Trump corrupts people. I'm sure he convinced himself that his actions were appropriate as long as he maintained this fiction, but in fact he was giving in when he should've fought back.

Who believes Melanie calls Trump "darling"?

So GOP doesn’t think Russia is a threat? They claim to be pro military? I call bs June 2019

Prince Andrew 'considering second interview' to 'put right things he didn't say', claims sources Prince Andrew's interview with Newnight's Emily Maitlis has been labelled a "car crash" and a "disaster", but he apparently wants to "put right the things he didn’t say"

Morrison just testified that the July 25th call summary transcript was placed in highly secure server by mistake.

Ohio's proposed abortion ban would require doctors to reimplant ectopic pregnancies, but that's not possible

There is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 US election. Lt. Col. Vindman: "This is a Russian narrative that Putin has promoted." In spreading these conspiracy theories, President Trump harms our national security

Our team walked out of discussions and South Korea signed with China. This is a crisis of epic proportions, folks

It is inconceivable to me that @SenateMajLdr is saying his colleagues think it's OK to ask foreign governments for assistance in winning our elections. You swore an oath. Keep it.

BREAKING: Israeli kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman refuses to endorse a candidate for prime minister, pushes nation toward new election

Senate hopeful Amy McGrath, a Democrat, wants to take on Mitch McConnell by making the case to Kentucky voters that the majority leader is preventing many of Trump’s central 2016 campaign promises from becoming reality

Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker was widely seen as Republicans' impeachment ace in the hole. On Tuesday on Capitol Hill, it didn't work out that way.

70% of Americans believe President Trump's actions with Ukraine were wrong, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Are @EliseStefanik’s constituents also concerned about Ivanka’s many Chinese patents?The idea that the @GOP cares about corruption is so laughable. They are corruption on parade. They have no interest in seeking the truth. This is about our national security.

Let’s be honest. Donald Trump was not looking for a genuine investigation, he wanted a televised announcement to smear Biden and to take the heat off Putin

I’m pretty sure that If you look up “quite full of himself” in the dictionary you see a picture of Newt Gingrich

Just in case it wasn't absolutely clear to you what a cud chewing beef stick @DevinNunes is... Here he is attempting to shame career foreign service professionals on the poor TV ratings their testimony has brought.

The United States Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would require an annual review of the special treatment Hong Kong receives under US law, following almost six months of unrest in the city.

Our alliances are not charity or protection rackets. They enhance our security and promote our values. Storming out of a negotiation may be good TV, but it undermines our interests and our long history of friendship with South Korea and Japan.

Morrison's position seems to be that the call was fine and yet he went to the NSC lawyers to talk about it and was worried how bad it would look if it leaked.

In a letter Omar questions, "who are we as a nation if we respond to the threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves?" and argues that a severe sentence would not "rehabilitate him."

Analysis: Senate tax bill cuts taxes of wealthy and hikes taxes on families earning under $75,000 over a decade

Vindman: In the country that I served, right matters

Republican defenses break down during impeachment hearings

Fact-checking Tim Morrison’s claims about Trump-Zelenskiy call transcript

A former U.S. envoy to Ukraine testifies that Trump should not have pursued allegations against Biden and his son.

A lawyer for Andrew Favorov, an executive at the state-owned gas provider in Ukraine, confirmed Tuesday that Favorov is scheduled to meet voluntarily with the U.S. Justice Department.

Navy officials are expected to notify Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher that they are launching an administrative review of his fitness to continue to serve as a SEAL, days after Trump reversed Gallagher's demotion for posing for a photo with a dead ISIS prisoner

Environmental and political activists will ask a federal judge to block $3.6 billion in border wall funding from the Defense Department

It’s a fateful day for Benjamin Netanyahu, his political future hanging on whether his political rival will unseat him by forming a government

Devin Nunes just insisted that Morrison and Volker were called by the Democrats, but in his 11/9/19 letter to Schiff, Nunes requested them himself. You can read his letter here. #5 and #7 on his own list

If the president cares so deeply about rooting out corruption, why did he bring Erdogan to the White House just last week & why would he meet with Putin privately on multiple occasions? His investigation was never about corruption. It was always about personal, political gain.

Official White House twitter account attacking a current White House official in the middle of that official's testimony before Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wants to flee the sinking Trump Train and go back to Kansas as if nothing ever happened. I think it's WAY too late for that.#HistoryWillRememberTrump as a tyrant, but Pompeo's lot is to be his squishy sycophant

"For Sama" is a horrifying account of the Syrian war. It’s also a love letter from mother to daughter.

A White House official *SCREAMS* at reporters to get out of the Oval Office as Trump makes bizarre facial expressions

Tim Morrison's defense of Trump again falls apart, this time under questioning from @RepSwalwell

Is Mitch McConnell more interested in remaining Senate majority leader? Or in seeing the president acquitted on impeachment? The day those two goals diverge is a very bad day for Donald Trump

No, Sen. Kennedy. Impeachment is nothing like the inhumane Japanese American internment my family suffered through. What an ignorant and abhorrent thing to say. This “defense” is further proof of how morally bankrupt Trump’s Republican Party has become.

LT. COL. VINDMAN to JIM JORDAN (R): Let me just pull up the receipts.

imagine being a highly-decorated lifelong military officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, fluent in multiple languages, assigned to the National Security Council, and having to submit to an interrogation by some pissant conspiracy loon dipshit suing an imaginary cow

Republican impeachment antics backfire as GOP congresswoman Elise Stefanik sets her career on fire

The murderous war criminal Trump pardoned is attacking Lt. Col. Vindman.

Republican House investigators consistently questioned Lt. Colonel Vindman during his public hearing about his interactions with Oleksander Danylyuk, including whether the former Ukrainian national security official offered him the defense minister job

Trump's primary reason for pressuring Zelensky to *announce* a Biden investigation was to provide Trump's supporters w/ a pretext--unknowingly false to them--to chant one thing in reference to Biden: "Lock him up!" Hillary 2.0.

From my new @thedaily beast piece: The members of the committee know exactly what kind of monster they're feeding with these attacks. They know that in questioning Vindman’s reputation and service that they are putting him and his family in immediate danger.

NOW From the pool: Rick Perry in the cabinet room opened up the meeting with a prayer and said everyone was ordained to be there. then @realDonaldTrump said the GOP is "killing it" in the impeachment hearings and the media is "sick" for speculating on his health.

Two U.S. service members have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the U.S. military says.

Here's that closing statement from Schiff, via ABC. It's worth a watch. "My Republicans colleagues, all they seem to be upset about with this is not that the president sought an investigation of his political rival ... Their objection is he got caught."

Is now a good time to remind everybody @realDonaldTrump wanted to give Devin Nunes the Medal of Honor

Russia accidentally kills senior Islamic State leader while bombing hospital

It was a very, very, very bad day for Donald Trump.

The admiral in charge of the Navy SEALS is about to risk his career to discipline the war criminal who Trump just pardoned

Big change from Volker's first testimony to his opening statement today. Left: he says "no" when asked categorically whether investigations were brought up in July 10 meeting Right: He says Sondland did bring up investigations, and he found it "inappropriate"

An American solider and family are under government protection. Because they're under attack. Not by terrorists. Not by foreign enemies. They're under attack by the President of the United States.

SCHIFF: My Republicans colleagues all they seem to be upset about ... is not that the president sought an investigation of his political rival, not that he withheld a W.H. meeting and $400m in aid … their objection is he got caught. Their objection is someone blew the whistle.

Nunes’s use of “overthrow” today to describe impeachment troubles me. I think he used the word’s violent connotations deliberately to discredit and threaten the good faith investigation. Trump allies will keep kindling violence as they grow more desperate. It’s a dangerous game

Mr. Morrison, a former NSC official and Trump appointee who the Republicans requested as a witness, explains in this 20 second clip the bribery scheme of @realDonaldTrump. Thank you Mr. Morrison for telling the truth to the American people.

Fun fact: If 30 Republican senators refused to vote either for or against convicting Trump, Trump could be convicted without a single Republican voting to convict. 47 dems + 23 Reps = 70 votes 2/3 of 70 = 47

We see three classic personality types: Heroes (Vindman, Yovanovitch), villains (Rudy, Nunes, Trump) and weaklings (Volker, Morrison)

Opinion: Trump’s tax cut didn’t just disappoint. It flopped.