On Thursday, as the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump were being debated by the House Judiciary Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) met privately with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to discuss rigging Trump’s Senate trial to guarantee acquittal. As has become routine in the Trump era, this brazenly corrupt act was not meant to be kept secret. A few hours later, McConnell was on Fox News boasting about it to Sean Hannity, the right-wing outlet’s most strident propagandist.
McConnell told Hannity he would remain in “total coordination” with Trump during the trial. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” McConnell said. “There’s no chance the president will be removed from office.”
After 77 days of formal investigation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with the chairs of the investigative committees, announced Democrats’ intent to impeach Donald Trump on two charges: abuse of power related to his attempt to extort the government of Ukraine into announcing an investigation into the son of Trump’s political rival, former V.P. Joe Biden, and obstruction of Congress related to his refusal to provide witnesses and documents for the investigation.
One of the key lines in the House Democrats’ impeachment report distills the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a simple idea: “[T]he impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.”
And in the report’s preface, the Democrats place Trump’s Ukrainian caper within the larger context of foreign intervention in US elections, namely Russia’s covert attack on the 2016 contest, which was mounted in part to help Trump win the White House: “we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.”
The point was clear. Trump muscling Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to produce political dirt that could influence the 2020 election for Trump’s personal advantage was a continuation of Trump’s behavior in 2016. This contextualization brings back into the spotlight Vladimir Putin’s clandestine assault on American democracy—and how Trump encouraged and exploited that attack. So now, as Trump is under scrutiny for pressing Ukraine to influence the 2020 race, it’s a good time to review all the ways that Trump aided and abetted a foreign adversary’s scheme to subvert a US election the last time the nation was choosing a president.
Every Friday late in the afternoon, East Coast time, an anonymous Twitterer with the handle @AngrierWHStaff but known simply as “Angry Staffer” answers questions from readers about goings-on behind the scenes at the Trump White House. Because the writer is anonymous, it’s impossible to verify what Angry says — and yet it all has the ring of plausibility.
One of Angry’s central thesis is that Trump will resign before the next election, either later this month or by March. We can only hope!
What does it take to make Donald Trump go away? The answer apparently is mockery. Trump reportedly left the NATO summit in London this week because world leaders were caught on tape laughing at him. The Biden campaign released this ad today, less than 24 hours after Trump fled Europe.
Key Points: Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukainian energy company, in April 2014. His five-year term ended in April this year.
Burisma was founded in 2002 by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. In 2010, Zlochevsky was appointed minister of ecology and finance under newly elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich.
There appears to be an inherent conflict of interest in the appointment of an energy baron to head the Ecology and Finance Ministry, and Zlochevsky and Burisma have been investigated many times over the years for tax violations, money-laundering and self-dealing via the ministry.
In 2016, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that there was never a hint that either Hunter Biden or Joe Biden did anything wrong in relation to Burisma. He repeated this in a May 16, 2019, interview with Bloomberg News. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing,” Lutsenko said, “A company can pay however much it wants to its board.”
Trump and Kim just can’t debate like adults.
They’ve flung epithets in the past, with varying results.
For a while they’ve been quiet,
But Kim’s just about had it —
Don’t call him “rocket man” or he’ll crank up the insults..
“The threat posed to our democracy by Fox News is multifaceted: First and most simply, it’s clearly advancing and giving voice to narratives and smears backed and imagined by our foreign adversaries. Second, its overheated and bombastic rhetoric is undermining America’s foundational ideals and the sense of fair play in politics. Third, its unique combination of lies and half-truths has built a virtual reality so complete that it leaves its viewers too misinformed to fulfill their most basic responsibilities as citizens to make informed choices about the direction of the country.”
“It’s important not to make the same mistake twice. Some people underestimated Barr’s ruthless partisanship before. No one should do that again. Like Trump, Barr is capable of doing anything he can get away with— and that includes interfering in the 2020 election, if we let him.”
— Walter Shaub, former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, called Attorney General William Barr a “threat to democracy” and warned he may try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to benefit President Trump, the HuffPost reports.
“For quite long periods, at any rate, people can remain undisturbed by obvious lies, either because they simply forget what is said from day to day or because they are under such a constant propaganda bombardment that they become anaesthetized to the whole business.”
“You have to vote for me, you have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. … You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax. Let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away. No, no. Even if you don’t like me — and some of you don’t, some of you I don’t like at all actually — and you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes.”
— “President Trump told a conference of American Jews Saturday night that he did not have to worry about getting their votes, because they would cast ballots with business interests in mind,” the Times of Israel reports.“The comments, made during a speech to the Israeli American council, were quickly derided as anti-Semitic.”
“Mike Bloomberg will donate $10 million Thursday to defend vulnerable Democratic House members against paid Republican attacks on their support for impeachment proceedings against President Trump,” the Washington Post reports. “The money, which is meant to even an arms race on the 2020 congressional battlefield, was cheered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has been fielding concerns from some of her members over a costly Republican advertising offensive as the House moves toward an impeachment vote next week.”
“Andrew Yang has qualified for next week’s Democratic debate, bringing the lineup to seven and ensuring that the candidates onstage will not all be white, though the lineup still does not include any black or Latino candidates,” the New York Times reports.
David Wasserman: “When President Trump was inaugurated in 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House. Since then, 104 of them (43%) have either retired, been defeated, or are forgoing reelection in 2020.”
Politico: “President Trump had a quiet Sunday schedule, with just one afternoon event in the Blue Room. But by midnight, he had fired off 105 tweets and retweets, going for the usual suspects — Democratic rivals, the impeachment inquiry and allegations of fake news by the mainstream media.”