Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


Off to New York to share Thanksgiving with my son and his family.

Best wishes for a peaceful Thanksgiving to my P.E. friends and commenters. 

Have a safe holiday.

(I'll be checking in here from time to time.)










Monday, November 25, 2019

BREAKING NEWS!




A judge rejected the Trump administration’s argument that senior White House officials are immune from congressional subpoenas.




Don McGahn, the former top lawyer at the White House, must testify to congressional impeachment investigators, a federal judge ruled Monday. 

 In a decision that could reshape the balance of power between Congress and the executive branch, U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that McGahn, who spent 30 hours talking to special counsel Robert Mueller's team, can't hide behind President Donald Trump's claim that he is "absolutely immune" from speaking to Congress. 

 The decision is expected to put pressure on other reluctant Trump administration witnesses to also appear before Congress as lawmakers prepare their articles of impeachment.

AMERICAN CORRUPTION: GIULIANI AND TRUMP

"Rudy Giuliani, who was behind the Ukraine operation, has said publicly that he was seeking investigations damaging to Mr. Trump’s political rival in his capacity as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and to advance Mr. Trump’s personal interests."



I'll be leaving for New York soon, but first I want to post a photo of the corrupt Republican president* and his corrupt personal lawyer.



AMERICAN CORRUPTION: GIULIANI AND TRUMP


After last week's testimonies from career diplomats who chosen by and work or worked for Trump and who showed an allegiance to America and not a corrupt, venal POTUS, it's clear that Trump betrayed his oath of office in his illegal scheme to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 elections in order to benefit Trump.

If anyone were to write a script for a movie about a lying, cheating, mafia-boss type crooked POTUS, they would not be believed if they were to write what Trump and his henchmen have been doing.

But that's where we are.

The facts:

"Rudy Giuliani, who was behind the Ukraine operation, has said publicly that he was seeking investigations damaging to Mr. Trump’s political rival in his capacity as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and to advance Mr. Trump’s personal interests.

 Multiple impeachment witnesses have testified that Mr. Trump did not care about systemic corruption in Ukraine, a longstanding focus of American foreign policy, including in the Trump administration.

On Thursday, David Holmes, a career diplomat working in the embassy in Kyiv, testified that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, agreed that Mr. Trump didn’t care about Ukraine and that he only cared about “big stuff,” like investigating the Bidens.

 Then there’s the fact that, as noted in the Lawfare blog, Mr. Trump approved military aid to Ukraine in 2017 and 2018, even though Hunter Biden’s role as a director of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma was well-known at the time.

Mr. Trump and his Republican allies now say that it’s in the national interest to get to the bottom of how it could be that Hunter Biden was serving for five years, at great financial benefit to himself, on the Burisma board.

What's driving Trump's interest in Hunter Biden and Burisma is the fact that Joe Biden is a threat to Trump's re-election, and that has nothing to do with corruption.

It is Trump's and Giuliani's corruption that led to wanting to investigate the Bidens and Burisma at this time. Trump has all the levers of power in 2017 through the end of 2018, and he did not look into the Bidens and Burisma then."



From Lawfare blog:


"...while the definition of bribery under the Impeachment Clause is not reliant on federal statutory law, there, too, the solicitation and offering of a bribe is bribery. As a federal appeals court explained, the statute “is violated even though the official offered a bribe is not corrupted, or the object of the bribe could not be attained, or it could make no difference if after the act were done it turned out that there had been actually no occasion to seek to influence any official conduct.” 

In other words, as many criminal law experts pointed out when Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham suggested that attempted bribery did not rise to the level of impeachability, the modern crime of bribery includes attempted bribery. 

 This is as it should be. If the [Wall Street]Journal’s argument were correct that the Impeachment Clause carves out efforts by a public official to obtain a bribe, the consequences would be absurd. Under the view of Trump’s defenders, it would apparently be fine for Trump to have asked Zelensky to wire $1 million in cash to Trump’s personal bank account in exchange for Trump releasing U.S. military aid so long as Trump was caught before the payment ever reached his account. That cannot possibly be either legal or acceptable behavior from a president—and yet that’s effectively what happened here."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

SUNDAY "HOW TO TURN PEOPLE OFF RELIGION" BLOG



Of course he's crazy, but the people in his district keep sending him to the Washington state legislature!

We'll always have extremist whackos with us.





"A Washington state lawmaker who moonlights as a wannabe theocrat has stumbled into FBI scrutiny over a how-to guide he wrote on killing non-believers and establishing a Christian theocracy. 

Five-term Washington state Rep. Matt Shea has been circulating a manual for holy war in the United States, the Seattle Times reported. The four-page document, titled “Biblical Basis for War,” goes point-by-point over how a Christian theocratic movement could – and should – exterminate its opposition in a battle to win a hypothetical holy war."

Saturday, November 23, 2019

SATURDAY NIGHT FUNNIES




Why Trump Must Be Impeached



It's turkey week. I'm getting ready to leave and spend it with the family in New York.

I hope you all will take a moment out of this busy time to read conservative columnist for the New York Times, Bret Stevens (the column is behind a paywall, so I put the entire piece here):

Why the president must be impeached and removed.

Donald Trump ought to be impeached and removed from office. This isn’t what I thought two months ago, when the impeachment inquiry began. I argued that the evidence fell short of the standards of a prosecutable criminal act. I also feared impeachment might ultimately help Trump politically, as it had helped Bill Clinton in 1998. That second worry might still prove true.
But if the congressional testimonies of Marie Yovanovitch, Bill Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Alexander Vindman and especially Fiona Hill make anything clear, it’s that the president’s highest crime isn’t what he tried to do to, or with, Ukraine.
It’s that he’s attempting to turn the United States into Ukraine. The judgment Congress has to make is whether the American people should be willing, actively or passively, to go along with it.

More below:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Gordon Sondland's Testimony Today


SONDLAND this morning in his testimony: "Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes."








Gordon D. Sondland will testify that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction,” and with signoff from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The ambassador also says he raised concerns with Mike Pence about an apparent linkage between Ukraine’s military aid and the investigations.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Smoking gun...



delivered at this morning's hearing by national hero, Lt.Col. Vindman:



"Don't worry, I will be fine for telling the truth." --Lt.Col. Vindman to his father at the end of his testimoney.


A former U.S. Attorney says Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has delivered “smoking gun” evidence of a quid pro quo BRIBERY arrangement between President Donald Trump and Ukraine. 

 The National Security Council staffer told a House impeachment inquiry that he was aware of — and alarmed by — efforts as early as March to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, which he believed were conducted to deliver a political benefit the president.




‘Smoking gun so hot it’s still on fire’: Ex-US Attorney astonished by text shown in Vindman testimony

A former U.S. Attorney says Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has delivered “smoking gun” evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement between President Donald Trump and Ukraine. 

 The National Security Council staffer told a House impeachment inquiry that he was aware of — and alarmed by — efforts as early as March to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, which he believed were conducted to deliver a political benefit the president. 

The counsel for House Democrats then showed a text sent 30 minutes before Trump’s July 25 call to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, which shows the special envoy Kurt Volker dangling a White House visit to a Zelensky aide in exchange for an investigation.

TEXT:
“Good lunch — thanks. Heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington. Good luck! See you tomorrow – kurt.”



This is what the 30 percenters do to military heroes they say they support. Trump supporters are a disgrace to America:



US Army prepared to move Vindman to secure location: report

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ambassador Marie Yovanovich


In a country where its leaders are drowing in a swamp of corruption, smears, lies, disloyalty, and duplicity, hearing Ambassador Marie Yovanovich's testimony on Friday was a breath of clean, patriotic, truthful fresh air.

Amb. Yovanovich is everything Donald J. Trump and his corrupt administration is not: Honest, decent, courageous, and working in the best interests of America. 

If she were to run for president, she would win overwhelmingly. She is a model of what it means to be faithful and loyal to the Constution of the United States -- not to a corrupt president and his minions.

There will be more coming forth this week to corroborate what Amb. Yovanovich testified to, under oath, last Friday.

We salute her. Well done!








A bad day for the president, from Roger Stone’s criminal conviction to Marie Yovanovitch’s moral conviction.

Friday, November 15, 2019

OFF FOR THE WEEKEND





Be excellent to each other and keep this in mind. It explains Trump's and his supporters' behaviors:



Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent said at one point on Wednesday: 

 "As I mentioned in my testimony, you can't promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people."



Wednesday, November 13, 2019

MORE FROM THE DONALD J. TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY HEARING




1) Trump didn’t stop aid to Ukraine until Biden announced his run. Then Trump used aid as leverage, 

2) Trump had to finally deliver the aid because the whistleblower complaint became known and forced him to, and 

3) Trump never mentioned corruption to Zelensky, only mentioned 2016 + Bidens

TRUMP CAN BE IMPEACHED FOR BRIBERY

UPDATE BELOW:

IMO, he can be impeached for other high crimes and misdemeanors: obstruction of justice, lying under oath, andmalfeasance of office, misprision of office,, but bribery and abuse of power will do for now.

To make it simple: Donald J. Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden and his son, for ocrruption OR ELSE.

Or else Ukraine would not receive the funds legally voted on a bipartisan basis by the Congress of the US to help Ukraine to fight the Russians who were killing Ukrainians on the Ukraine eastern border.

That's bribery:


Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute defines bribery as this:


Bribery 
Primary Definition 

Definition: Corrupt solicitation, acceptance, or transfer of something of value in exchange for official action. 

Overview 

Bribery refers to the offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving of any item of value as a means of influencing the actions of an individual holding a public or legal duty. This type of action results in matters that should be handled objectively being handled in a manner best suiting the private interests of the decision maker. 

Bribery constitutes a crime and both the offeror and the recipient can be criminally charged. Proof of bribery requires demonstrating a “quid pro quo” relationship in which the recipient directly alters behavior in exchange for the gift. 

Solicitation of a bribe also constitutes a crime and is completed regardless of whether the solicitation results in the receipt of a valuable gift.




The thing of value:  The foreign aid ($400 million)  legally voted on and authorized by the US Congress for Ukraine.

Influencing action: Donald J. Trump illegally withheld those funds, asking the president of Ukraine to open an investigation into Joe Biden, Trump's political rival and Joe Biden's son, Hunter. By asking for this "thing of value," Trump invited a foreign country to influence  America's upcoming presidential election.

That's all you need to know for now.

Much, much more:  abuse of power, malfeasance, misprision, and law-breaking will be revealed in the impeachment public hearings.

UPDATE:

Ambassador Taylor's testimony is very, very devastating to Trump, and it contains new facts. WOW!

One thing Amb. Taylor said UNDER OATH is that Trump was more interested in getting Ukraine to investigate, Biden, his political rival, than Trump was interested in the security of Ukraine. The security of Ukraine is tied into the security of the U.S., according to Amb. Taylor.

"Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden." --Amb. to EU, Sondland, to Amb. Taylor

"Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?" --Amb. Taylor

Sondland Answer:  "Call me."

Amb. Taylor: "Sondland told me he now recognized he made a mistake by earlier telling me that only a WH meeting with Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations."  "In fact," Sondland said, "EVERYTHING was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance, he said Trump wanted Zelensky in a PUBLIC BOX."

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Message to Trump Supporters





And don't forget:


With Trump confirming that Erdogan's visit is still on, I just want to remind folks that last time he was here, his goons beat peaceful protesters with impunity in the streets of our national capital. Nine people were hospitalized. Trump said nothing; forum.pictures/trump-loves-di

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Oh Dear...



President Quid Pro Quo seems to have lost his marbles in front of the news gaggle on Friday.

Here are just a few of his unhinged babblings:


The whistleblower should be exposed and the whistleblower’s lawyer “sued for treason.”

(Um, I don't think one can be "sued" for treason. But don't tell the Stable Genius. Just point and laugh.)

President Quid Pro Quo called for the public to release the name of the whistleblower (which would be against the law, but President QPQ doesn't mind breaking a few laws so he can get re-elected.

President QPQ also mused that he might endorse Jeff Session for Senator, since "he said a lot of nice things about me."  Yes, the malignant narcissist is considering endorsing his former AG, y'know, the one he publicly humiliated and forced to resign because Sessions recused himself from the Russian scandal investigation. If you want to get on President PQP's good side, lie about what a great preznit he is, and he's yours.

President QPQ also claimed he didn't know Ambassador Sonderland, the guy who gave millions of $$$ to his inaugural committee and who Pres. QPQ appointed Ambassador to the EU, and who he met with several times. You do remember that Trump is a pathological liar , don't you?

"...witnesses have testified that Sondland was regularly in contact with Trump this year, however, and Trump called Sondland “a really good man and great American” just one month ago...".
I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public....

Trump stunned reporters by saying he might attend Russia’s May Day military parade.

Well, why not. We all know how President Quid Pro Quo loves him some Putin now and then and how he admires former Soviet KGB leaders and dreams of becoming a dictator himself right here in his own little dictatorship, the United States of Quid Pro Quo!



Thursday, November 7, 2019

MORE BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE GOP's CORRUPT PRESIDENT




BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump is told to pay $2 MILLION to non-profits for misusing his charitable foundation

  • A New York judge ordered Donald Trump to pay $2 million to a group of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit
  • Trump and his three oldest - Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric - were accused of using the Donald J. Trump Foundation for political and personal gain
  • The money must be paid by Trump himself 
  • The foundation was dissolved in December 

Remember how the Trump Cultists howled about the Clinton Foundation?  The Clinton Foundation still exists and does good things all over the world, and it is ranked at the top of charity ratings.

This is just one more incident of how the Trump Crime Family scams people and enriches itself.

Can anyone imagine anything more low-down-dirty, unethical and exploitive than pretending to be a "foundation" and taking people's money for political and personal gain? Well, that's just what the GOP's president and his grifting family did.

How do Trump Cultists live with themselves knowing they support such an unprincipled and venal man like Trump? How do the so-called Christian Evangelicals explain this to themselves?



From the above link: "A New York judge ordered Donald Trump to pay $2 million to a group of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit against his charitable foundation. The lawsuit alleged that President Trump and his three eldest children - Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric - used the Donald J. Trump Foundation for political and personal gain. 

 The four were accused of violating federal and state campaign finance laws and abusing the Donald J. Trump Foundation's tax-exempt status. But Thursday's order appears to bring the lawsuit to an end."

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

DEMOCRATS WIN BIG IN TUESDAY'S ELECTIONS



"And if you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can't let that happen to me!" @realDonaldTrump, 11/4/19



President "No Quid Pro Quo" begged Kentuckians at his rally on Monday night to "You can't let that happen to me!" That is, let incumbent Governor Matt Bevin lose.

Well Kentucky gave a large FU to Trump, upset the incumbent governor and voted for the Democrat.


Andy Beshear (Democrat) has won the Kentucky Governorship, defeating incumbent Matt Bevin (Republican) –– who @realDonaldTrump campaigned for at a rally Monday night. 

This is an enormous victory for Democrats and a warning sign to @senatemajldr #MoscowMitch.


Blue Wave Turns Virginia State Government Fully Democratic For First Time In 26 Years

BREAKING NEWS!


BREAKING:


Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, reversed himself in new testimony to House impeachment investigators, saying he does believe Ukraine military aid was contingent upon the launch of politically motivated probes. 

In his revised statement, Sondland said he now remembers telling a top Ukrainian official on Sept. 1 that hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the beleaguered U.S. ally would "likely" be held up unless the government announced investigations of Trump's political rivals. 


Sondland revealed the exchange in supplemental testimony he submitted to House impeachment investigators, saying he had failed to recall the episode when he testified in person last month.


Sondland testified under oath and his testimony directly contradicts Trump's claim lie that there was no quid pro quo.


What a surprise! The Liar-in-Chief lied about extorting Ukrainian President Zelensky.


Now what? Will the Goopers continue to support a POTUS who used his presidential power of office to extort a foreign government to get them to find dirt on his political opponent?


Yes. They. Will.


The present GOP has no honor and no decency. 




Maya Wiley on Twitter:

Smoking howitzer! At #Trump 5/23/19 direction, #Sondland admits he met w #Giluliani to meet his concerns in order to schedule #Ukraine meeting. BUT still withholding documents to corroborate his testimony at direction of the White House. #Obstruction