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The Pronk Pops Show 1390, February 3, 2020, Story 1: Bearded Rush Limbaugh Announces His Advanced Lung Cancer Diagnosis — Videos — Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Bernie Sanders Surges Ahead in Iowa — Story 3:President Trump’s Legal Team Senate Impeachment Trial Closing Arguments —  Vindicate The Right To Vote, Vindicate The Constitution and Vindicate The Rule of Law By Rejecting These Articles of Impeachment — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1390 February 3, 2020

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Pronk Pops Show 1386 January 28, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1385 January 27, 2020

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Pronk Pops Show 1375 December 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1374 December 12, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1368 December 4, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1367 December 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1366 December 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1365 November 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1364 November 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1363 November 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1362 November 19, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageKen StarrPatrick PhiblinImage result for trump's leagal team closing arguments today 2 February 2020Image result for trump's leagal team closing arguments today 2 February

Story 1: Bearded Rush Limbaugh Announces His Advanced Lung Cancer Diagnosis — Videos

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Rush Limbaugh announces he has ‘advanced lung cancer’ EIB Network

Rush Limbaugh announces he has ‘advanced lung cancer’

RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, this… This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today. Now, I’m sure that you all know by now, I really don’t like talking about myself, and I don’t like making things about me other than in the usual satirical, parodic, joking way.

I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us. The one thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that has developed between all of you and me. Now, this program’s 31 years old, and in that 31 years, there are people — you hear them call all the time — who have been listening the whole time. They’ve been listening 30 years or 25 years.

I just had somebody say they’ve been here three years. But, whatever, it is a family-type relationship to me, and I’ve mentioned to you that this program and this job is what has provided me the greatest satisfaction and happiness that I’ve ever experienced, more than I ever thought that I would experience. So I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you.

It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t escape… Even though people are telling me it’s not the way to look at it, I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th. I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, January 12th.

I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, ’cause I don’t like making things about me. But there are going to be days that I’m not gonna be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what’s going on.

And the worst thing that can happen is when there is something going on and you try to hide it and cover it up. It’s eventually gonna leak, and then people are gonna say, “Why didn’t you just say it? Why’d you try to fool everybody? ” It’s not that I want to fool anybody. It’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it, and I haven’t wanted to. But it is what it is. You know me; I’m the mayor of Realville.

So this has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I’ve had so much support from family and friends during this that it’s just been tremendous. I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about.

But I do, and I have been working that relationship (chuckles) tremendously, which I do regularly anyway, but I’ve been focused on it intensely for the past couple of weeks. I know there are many of you in this audience who have experienced this, who are going through it yourselves at the same time. I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms other than… Look, I don’t want to get too detailed in this.

What led to shortness of breath that I thought might have been asthma or — you know, I’m 69 — it could have been my heart. My heart’s in great shape, ticking away fine, squeezing and pumping great. It was not that. It was a pulmonary problem involving malignancy. So I’m gonna be gone the next couple days as we figure out the treatment course of action and have further testing done. But, as I said, I’m gonna be here as often as I can.

And, as is the case with everybody who finds themselves in this circumstance, you just want to push ahead and try to keep everything as normal as you can, which is something that I’m going to try to do. But I felt that I had to tell you because that’s the kind of relationship I feel like I have with those of you in this audience. I say it every Christmas, which is when I feel more thankful than at Thanksgiving.

And I feel thankful at Thanksgiving, but Christmas it really gets to me. But over the years, a lot of people have been very nice telling me how much this program has meant to them. But whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me. And I can’t describe this. But I know you’re there every day. I can see you. It’s strange how, but I know you’re there.

I know you’re there in great numbers, and I know that you understand everything I say. The rest of the world may not when they hear it expressed a different way, but I know that you do. You’ve been one of the greatest sources of confidence that I’ve had in my life. So, I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days.

But we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled. We’re at full-speed ahead on this, and it’s just now a matter of implementing what we are gonna be told later this week. So, I’ll be back here. I hope I’ll be back Thursday. If not, it will be as soon as I can — and know that every day I’m not here, I’ll be thinking about you and missing you. Thank you very much.

 

Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh, 69, stuns his listeners by announcing he has advanced lung cancer

  • The radio personality told listeners the news live on his show Monday afternoon
  • Limbaugh said he first noticed something was wrong after suffering shortness of breath over the weekend of January 12 and was diagnosed eight days later 
  • The host told listeners he will not be on the air for some days due to treatment  
  • Breaking the news he called it ‘one of the most difficult days in recent memory’
  • Staunch Republican Limbaugh is a friend of President Donald Trump and the pair have been spotted golfing together on a number of occasions 
  • Limbaugh is thought to have started smoking when he was 16 but quit in the early 80s after a ‘real bad case of bronchitis, almost like walking pneumonia’ 
  • He has also spoken of his love of smoking cigars in the past, saying they are ‘just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life’

Rush Limbaugh has announced that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

The radio personality, 69, broke the news live on his show on Monday afternoon, explaining to his millions of listeners that he will not be on the air for some days due to treatment.

Limbaugh said he first noticed something was wrong after suffering from shortness of breath over his birthday weekend of January 12 and was diagnosed on January 20. He said he had thought about not telling anyone of the news.

But the staunch Republican, who is a friend of President Donald Trump, added: ‘There are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here.’

He has also spoken of his love of smoking cigars in the past, saying they are ‘just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life’.

Rush Limbaugh announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer

Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh at Mar-A-Lago in April 2019. Limbaugh has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions

The radio host is pictured with his fourth wife Kathryn Rogers

Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh at Mar-A-Lago in April 2019, left. Limbaugh has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions. The radio host is pictured with his fourth wife Kathryn Rogers, right

The radio personality is pictured speaking with President Donald Trump in 2018

Limbaugh started his radio career in 1971 as a DJ on a Pennsylvania radio station. He has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions.

Trump announced the host had signed a new four year contract on his show at a rally in Miami last month, telling supporters: ‘We have great people. Rush just signed another four-year contract. He just wants four more years, OK?’

Limbaugh said Monday: ‘This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming.

‘I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me.

‘One thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me. It is a family type relationship to me.’

He added: ‘I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.’

How The Rush Limbaugh Show became the voice for conservative politics

Rush Limbaugh started his radio career in 1971 as a DJ on a Pennsylvania radio station.

He started the trend of conservative talk radio in 1988, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

He started his first national radio show from New York, later relocating to Palm Beach, Florida.

Since then his show made him a household name with an estimated 14 million listeners in 2015.

The hyper-partisan broadcaster has dominated talk radio with a raucous, liberal-bashing style that made him one of the most influential voices of American right-wing politics and inspired other conservative broadcasters including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.

‘It’s shocking to the industry, and it should be shocking to the political establishment,’ said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, the trade industry publication for talk radio.

‘But we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled. We’re at full-speed ahead on this, and it’s just now a matter of implementing what we are gonna be told later this week. So I’ll be back here. I hope I’ll be back Thursday. If not, it will be as soon as I can — and know that every day I’m not here, I’ll be thinking about you and missing you. Thank you very much.’

Following the news Megyn Kelly tweeted: ‘Just heard the news about Rush Limbaugh, a man who loves this country and his listeners dearly, and is a tireless warrior for things he holds dear. Wishing him strength and tenacity as he takes on this new battle w/advanced lung cancer. Do what you do so well, Rush – FIGHT.’

Liz Cheney added: ‘Prayers for @rushlimbaugh. No one has been a stronger or more effective warrior for the conservative cause and for the future of our country. No one has had a bigger impact. We’re in this fight with you, Rush.’

Limbaugh told listeners in 2013: ‘I started smoking when I was 16. I went to electronics school in Dallas at age 16. Anyway, I was the youngest in this school by four or five years and everybody smoked.

‘So I started smoking. I was 16. Let’s see, it was 1980, ’81, ’82, somewhere around there when I quit.

‘One day I got a real bad case of bronchitis, almost like walking pneumonia, so I could not smoke a cigarette without coughing spasms.

‘So I said, ‘Well, I’m never gonna have a better time than now to quit when I can’t smoke.’ So I quit then.’

WHAT IS LUNG CANCER?

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer.

Around 228,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the US.

There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but many people with the condition eventually develop symptoms including:

– a persistent cough

– coughing up blood

– persistent breathlessness

– unexplained tiredness and weight loss

– an ache or pain when breathing or coughing

You should see a doctor if you have these symptoms.

Treating lung cancer

Treatment depends on the type of mutation the cancer has, how far it’s spread and how good your general health is.

If the condition is diagnosed early and the cancerous cells are confined to a small area, surgery to remove the affected area of lung may be recommended.

If surgery is unsuitable due to your general health, radiotherapy to destroy the cancerous cells may be recommended instead.

If the cancer has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy to be effective, chemotherapy is usually used.

There are also a number of medicines known as targeted therapies.

They target a specific change in or around the cancer cells that is helping them to grow.

Targeted therapies cannot cure lung cancer but they can slow its spread.

Source: NHS

His producer Bo Snerdley tweeted: ‘Those of you who are listening to the Rush Limbaugh show now. Pray with us. Thank you. God Bless you Rush Limbaugh. Love you so much Rush.’

The president was seen enjoying lunch with Limbaugh three days before Christmas at Trump’s West Palm Beach golf club. The two also spent Good Friday together last year during a break in the Sunshine State.

Conservative radio host Limbaugh has been one of the president’s most vocal supporters, claiming Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was ‘bogus from the beginning’.

He called the probe into possible collusion with the Russians a ‘manufactured coup’.

In 2015 he defended smokers, telling a listener: ‘There ought to be some measure of appreciation for people who buy tobacco products, despite the forces arrayed against them;

‘It’s getting harder and harder to use tobacco products, unless you want to call marijuana tobacco, and you can do that anywhere, for the most part.

‘But the fact of the matter is they have to endure a lot, the public hates them, they’re despised, they can’t smoke in places of comfort anymore, can’t even smoke outside in a park! And yet their actions and their taxes and their purchases are funding children’s health care programs.

‘I’m just saying there ought to be a little appreciation shown for them, instead of having them hated and reviled. I would like a medal for smoking cigars, is what I’m saying.’

Limbaugh’s announcement come at a tumultuous political time, as the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial nears.

The hyper-partisan broadcaster has dominated talk radio with a raucous, liberal-bashing style that made him one of the most influential voices of American right-wing politics and inspired other conservative broadcasters including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.

‘Rush you are in our prayers,’ Beck tweeted. ‘We live in a time of modern miracles. Millions are praying you find one.’

Kate Rogers and Rush Limbaugh attend the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida

From left to right: Jack Nicklaus and Rush Limbaugh pictured with Rudy Guiliani and Marvin Shanken during at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida

From left to right: Jack Nicklaus and Rush Limbaugh pictured with Rudy Guiliani and Marvin Shanken during at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida

The media figure’s endorsement and friendship is a conservative political treasure. His idol, Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter that Limbaugh read on the air in December 1992 and which sealed his reputation among conservatives: ‘You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism in our country,’ Reagan wrote.

Two years later, Limbaugh would be so widely credited as key to Republicans’ takeover of Congress for the first time in 40 years, he was deemed an honorary member of the new class.

Limbaugh has frequently been accused of hate-filled speech, including bigotry and blatant racism through his comments and sketches such as ‘Barack the Magic Negro,’ a song featured on his show that said Obama ‘makes guilty whites feel good’ and that the politician is ‘black, but not authentically.’

Rush Limbaugh shares his cancer diagnosis with listeners, telling them: ‘We are a family’

The full transcript from Rush Limbaugh as he shares his cancer diagnosis with listeners on his show on Monday afternoon:

‘Ladies and gentlemen, this… This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today. Now, I’m sure that you all know by now, I really don’t like talking about myself, and I don’t like making things about me other than in the usual satirical, parodic, joking way.

‘I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us. The one thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that has developed between all of you and me. Now, this program’s 31 years old, and in that 31 years, there are people — you hear them call all the time — who have been listening the whole time. They’ve been listening 30 years or 25 years.

‘I just had somebody say they’ve been here three years. But, whatever, it is a family-type relationship to me, and I’ve mentioned to you that this program and this job is what has provided me the greatest satisfaction and happiness that I’ve ever experienced, more than I ever thought that I would experience. So I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you.

‘It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t escape… Even though people are telling me it’s not the way to look at it, I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th. I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, January 12th.

‘I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, ’cause I don’t like making things about me. But there are going to be days that I’m not gonna be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what’s going on.

‘And the worst thing that can happen is when there is something going on and you try to hide it and cover it up. It’s eventually gonna leak, and then people are gonna say, ‘Why didn’t you just say it? Why’d you try to fool everybody? ‘ It’s not that I want to fool anybody. It’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it, and I haven’t wanted to. But it is what it is. You know me; I’m the mayor of Realville.

‘So this has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I’ve had so much support from family and friends during this that it’s just been tremendous. I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about.

‘But I do, and I have been working that relationship (chuckles) tremendously, which I do regularly anyway, but I’ve been focused on it intensely for the past couple of weeks. I know there are many of you in this audience who have experienced this, who are going through it yourselves at the same time. I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms other than… Look, I don’t want to get too detailed in this.

‘What led to shortness of breath that I thought might have been asthma or — you know, I’m 69 — it could have been my heart. My heart’s in great shape, ticking away fine, squeezing and pumping great. It was not that. It was a pulmonary problem involving malignancy. So I’m gonna be gone the next couple days as we figure out the treatment course of action and have further testing done. But as I said, I’m gonna be here as often as I can.

‘And as is the case with everybody who finds themselves in this circumstance, you just want to push ahead and try to keep everything as normal as you can, which is something that I’m going to try to do. But I felt that I had to tell you because that’s the kind of relationship I feel like I have with those of you in this audience. I say it every Christmas, which is what I feel more thankful than as Thanksgiving.

‘And I feel thankful at Thanksgiving, but Christmas it really gets to me. But over the years, a lot of people have been very nice telling me how much this program has meant to them. But whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me. And I can’t describe this. But I know you’re there every day. I can see you. It’s strange how, but I know you’re there.

‘I know you’re there in great numbers, and I know that you understand everything I say. The rest of the world may not when they hear it expressed a different way, but I know that you do. You’ve been one of the greatest sources of confidence that I’ve had in my life. So I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days.

‘But we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled. We’re at full-speed ahead on this, and it’s just now a matter of implementing what we are gonna be told later this week. So I’ll be back here. I hope I’ll be back Thursday. If not, it will be as soon as I can — and know that every day I’m not here, I’ll be thinking about you and missing you. Thank you very much.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7962489/Rush-Limbaugh-69-reveals-diagnosed-advanced-lung-cancer.html

Rush Limbaugh

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Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Limbaugh in 2019
Born
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III

January 12, 1951 (age 69)

Nationality American
Alma mater Southeast Missouri State University (did not graduate)
Occupation Radio host, political commentator
Years active 1967–present
Net worth US$500 million (2016)
Spouse(s)
Roxy Maxine McNeely
(m. 1977; div. 1980)
Michelle Sixta
(m. 1983; div. 1990)
Marta Fitzgerald
(m. 1994; div. 2004)
Kathryn Rogers (m. 2010)
Website rushlimbaugh.com

Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (/ˈlɪmbɔː/ LIM-baw; born January 12, 1951) is an American radio personality, conservative political commentator, author, and former television show host. He is best known as the host of his long running radio show The Rush Limbaugh Show, which entered national syndication on AM and FM radio stations in 1988. The show has aired live from Limbaugh’s home studio in West Palm Beach, Florida since 1996. Limbaugh began his career in 1967 as a radio DJ at various stations in Pittsburgh and Missouri. After a brief hiatus, Limbaugh returned to radio in 1984 at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California, adopting a talk, political commentary, and listener phone-in format to his show. In 1988, Limbaugh started at WABC-AM in New York City where he became a prominent media figure.

In addition to his radio show, Limbaugh hosted a national television show from 1992 to 1996. He has written seven books; his first two, The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993), made The New York Times Best Seller list. Limbaugh is among the highest-paid radio figures. In 2008, he signed an eight-year deal with Clear Channel Communications worth $400 million to continue his radio show on its network.[1] In 2018, Forbes listed his earnings at $84.5 million [2], up slightly from 2017 when he was ranked as the 11th highest-earning celebrity.[3] In 2015, Talkers Magazine estimated that Limbaugh’s show attracted a cumulative weekly audience of 13.25 million listeners to become the most-listened-to radio show in the US.[4][5] Limbaugh has mentioned his audience has continued to grow to 14 million listeners each day and 27 million each week.[6] He is a critic of liberalism in the US and liberal bias in the widespread media.

Contents

Early life

Limbaugh was born on January 12, 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to parents Rush Hudson Limbaugh Jr. and Mildred Carolyn (née Armstrong) Limbaugh. He and his younger brother David were born into the Limbaugh family; his father was a lawyer and a U.S. fighter pilot who served in the China Burma India Theater of World War II. His mother was from Searcy, Arkansas. The name “Rush” was originally chosen for his grandfather to honor the maiden name of a family member, Edna Rush.[7]

Limbaugh is partly of German ancestry.[8] The family includes many lawyers, including his grandfather, father and brother; his uncle, Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr., was a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. His cousin, Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., is a judge in the same court, appointed by George W. Bush. Limbaugh’s grandfather, Rush Limbaugh Sr., was a Missouri prosecutor, judge, special commissioner, member of the Missouri House of Representatives in the 1930s and longtime president of the Missouri Historical Society.[9]

In 1969, Limbaugh graduated from Cape Girardeau Central High School.[citation needed] He played football.[10][11] During this time, at age 16 he worked his first radio job at KGMO-AM, a local radio station in Cape Girardeau. He used the airname Rusty Sharpe having found “Sharpe” in a telephone book.[7][12] Limbaugh later cited Chicago DJ Larry Lujack as a major influence on him, “the only person I ever copied.”[13] Because of his parents’ desire to see him attend college, he enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University but dropped out after two semesters. According to his mother, “he flunked everything […] he just didn’t seem interested in anything except radio.”[7][14]Biographer Zev Chafets believes that a large part of Limbaugh’s life has been dedicated to gaining his father’s respect and approval.[15]

Career

1971–1988: Early radio career

In February 1971, after dropping out of university, the 20-year-old Limbaugh accepted an offer to DJ at WIXZ-AM, a Top 40 station in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He adopted the airname “Bachelor Jeff” Christie and worked afternoons before moving to morning drive.[16] The station’s general manager compared Limbaugh’s style at this time to “early Imus.”[17] In 1973, after eighteen months at WIXZ, Limbaugh was fired from the station due to “personality conflict” with the program director. He then started a nighttime position at KQV-AM in Pittsburgh, succeeding Jim Quinn.[18] In late 1974, Limbaugh was dismissed after new management put pressure on the program director to fire him. Limbaugh recalled the general manager telling him that he would never land success as an air personality and suggested a career in radio sales.[19] After rejecting his only offer at the time, a position in Neenah, Wisconsin, Limbaugh returned to living with his parents in Cape Girardeau.[18] During this time, he became a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.[20][21][22]

In 1975, Limbaugh began an afternoon show at the Top 40 station KUDL in Kansas City, Missouri. He soon became the host of a public service talk program that aired on weekend mornings which allowed him to develop his style and present more controversial ideas.[23] In 1977, he was let go from the station but remained in Kansas City to start an evening show at KFIX. The stint was short-lived, however, and disagreements with management led to his dismissal weeks after.[24] By this time, Limbaugh had become disillusioned with radio and felt pressure to pursue a different career. He looked back on himself as “a moderate failure […] as a deejay”.[25] In 1979, he accepted a part-time role in group sales for the Kansas City Royals baseball team which developed into a full-time position as director of group sales and special events. He worked from the Royals Stadium.[26] There he developed a close friendship with then-Royals star third baseman and future Hall of Famer George Brett; the two remain close friends.[27] Limbaugh claimed that business trips to Europe and Asia during this time developed his conservative views as he considered these countries having lower standards of living than the US.[28]

In November 1983, Limbaugh returned to radio with a year’s stint at KMBZ-AM in Kansas City. He decided to drop his on-air moniker and broadcast under his real name.[29] He was fired from the station, but weeks later he landed a spot on KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California, replacing Morton Downey Jr. The show launched on October 14, 1984.[30] The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine—which had required that stations provide free air time for responses to any controversial opinions that were broadcast—by the FCC on August 5, 1987 meant stations could broadcast editorial commentary without having to present opposing views. Daniel Henninger wrote, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, “Ronald Reagan tore down this wall (the Fairness Doctrine) in 1987 … and Rush Limbaugh was the first man to proclaim himself liberated from the East Germany of liberal media domination.”[31]

1988–1990s: WABC New York City and syndication

Limbaugh at The Phil Donahue Show in 1991

In July 1988, after his success in Sacramento caught the attention of former ABC Radio President Edward McLaughlin, Limbaugh started a new show at WABC-AM in New York City.[32] He debuted just weeks after the Democratic National Convention, and just weeks before the Republican National Convention. Limbaugh’s radio home in New York City was the talk-formatted WABC (AM), and this remained his flagship station for many years, even after Limbaugh moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., from where he continues to broadcast his show.[7] Limbaugh’s show moved on January 1, 2014 to WABC’s cross-town rival WOR (AM), its current New York outlet.[citation needed]

By 1990, Limbaugh had been on his Rush to Excellence Tour, a series of personal appearances in cities nationwide, for two years. For the 45 shows he completed that year alone, he was estimated to make around $360,000.[13]

In December 1990, journalist Lewis Grossberger wrote in The New York Times that Limbaugh had “more listeners than any other talk show host” and described Limbaugh’s style as “bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudevillian.”[13] Limbaugh’s rising profile coincided with the Persian Gulf War, and his support for the war effort and his relentless ridicule of peace activists. The program was moved to stations with larger audiences, eventually being broadcast on over 650 radio stations nationwide.

In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States. Limbaugh satirized the policies of Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, as well as those of the Democratic Party. When the Republican Party won control of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections, the freshman Republican class awarded Limbaugh an honorary membership in their caucus believing he had a role in their success.[33]

2000s

Limbaugh had publicized personal difficulties in the 2000s. In late 2001, he acknowledged that he had become almost completely deaf, although he continued his show. He was able to regain much of his hearing with the help of a cochlear implant in 2001.

In 2003, Limbaugh had a brief stint as a professional football commentator with ESPN. He resigned a few weeks into the 2003 NFL season after making comments about the press coverage for quarterback Donovan McNabb that caused controversy and accusations of racism on the part of Limbaugh. His comment about McNabb was:

I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.[34]

The sportwriter Peter King construed the comment as “boneheaded”.[35] The sports analyst Allen Barra wrote Limbaugh’s viewpoint was shared by “many football fans and analysts” and “it is … absurd to say that the sports media haven’t overrated Donovan McNabb because he’s black”.[36]

In 2003, Limbaugh stated that he was addicted to pain medication, and sought treatment.[37] In April 2006, Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities, on a warrant issued by the Palm Beach County state attorney‘s office, and was arrested “on a single charge of prescription fraud“.[38] His record was later expunged.[39]

2010s

In 2013, news reports indicated that Cumulus Media, some of whose stations carried Limbaugh’s program in certain major markets, including New York, ChicagoDallasWashington D.C. and Detroit, was considering dropping his show when its contract with Limbaugh expired at the end of that year, reportedly because the company believed that its advertising revenues had been hurt by listener reaction to controversial Limbaugh comments.[40] Limbaugh himself said that the reports were overblown and that it was a matter of routine dollars-and-cents negotiations between Cumulus and his network syndication partner, Premiere Networks, a unit of Clear Channel Communications. Ultimately, the parties reached agreement on a new contract, with Limbaugh’s show moving from its long-time flagship outlet in New York, the Cumulus-owned WABC, to the latter’s cross-town rival, the Clear Channel-owned WOR, starting January 1, 2014, but remaining on the Cumulus-owned stations it was being carried on in other markets.[40]

The Rush Limbaugh Show

Limbaugh’s radio show airs for three hours each weekday beginning at noon Eastern Time on both AM and FM radio. The program is also broadcast worldwide on the Armed Forces Radio Network.

Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity. Limbaugh’s show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM’s decline. Limbaugh’s popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on AM radio. The show increased its audience in the 1990s to the extent that even some FM stations picked it up, even though AM’s poor sound quality and lack of stereo make AM preferable for a talk show like Limbaugh’s. As of January 2019 about half of Limbaugh’s affiliate stations are on the FM dial.

In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore became the first major market radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio program.[41] In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him No. 1 in its “Heavy Hundred” most important talk show hosts.

Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) Network, trademarked in 1990. In the beginning, his show was co-owned and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC, who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh’s show as his first product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today, Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Networks.

According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year.[42] In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million.[43] A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation, garnering 12.5 percent of poll responses.[44]

Limbaugh signed a $400 million, eight-year contract in 2008 with what was then Clear Channel Communications, making him the highest-paid broadcaster on terrestrial radio. On August 2, 2016, Limbaugh signed a four-year extension of the 2008 contract.[45] At the announcement of the extension, Premiere Radio Networks and iHeartMedia announced that his show experienced audience growth with 18% growth in adults 25–54, 27% growth with 25–54 women, and ad revenue growth of 20% year over year.[45]

In 2018, Limbaugh was the world’s second (behind Howard Stern) highest-paid radio host, reportedly earning $84.5 million. [46]

On January 5, 2020, Limbaugh renewed his contract again. Though media reports said it was “a long-term” renewal, (with no length specified), according to Donald Trump it was a four-year deal.[47]

Television show

Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour television show from 1992 through 1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The show discussed many of the topics on his radio show, and was taped in front of an audience. Rush Limbaugh says he loves doing his radio show,[48] but not a TV show.[49]

Other media appearances

Limbaugh’s first television hosting experience came March 30, 1990, as a guest host on Pat Sajak‘s CBS late-night talk show, The Pat Sajak Show.[50] ACT UP activists in the audience[51] heckled Limbaugh repeatedly; ultimately the entire studio audience was cleared. In 2001, Sajak said the incident was “legendary around CBS”.[52]

On December 17, 1993, Limbaugh appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.[53] Limbaugh also guest-starred (as himself) on a 1994 episode of Hearts Afire. He appeared in the 1995 Billy Crystal film Forget Paris, and in 1998 on an episode of The Drew Carey Show.

In 2007, Limbaugh made cameo appearances on Fox News Channel‘s short-lived The 1/2 Hour News Hour in a series of parodies portraying him as the future President of the United States. In the parodies, his vice president was fellow conservative pundit Ann Coulter. That year, he also made a cameo in the Family Guy episode “Blue Harvest“, a parody of Star Wars in which Limbaugh can be heard on the radio claiming that the “liberal galactic media” were lying about climate change on the planet Hoth, and that Lando Calrissian‘s administrative position on Cloud City was a result of affirmative action. More recent Family Guy appearances have happened in the 2010 episode “Excellence in Broadcasting“, and 2011’s “Episode VI: It’s a Trap!“, a parody of Return of the Jedi.

Influence and legacy

Limbaugh has become widely recognized as one of the premiere voices of the conservative movement in the United States since the 1990s. In a 1992 letter, President Reagan thanked him, “for all you’re doing to promote Republican and conservative principles … [and] you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country.”[54][55] In 1994, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives made Limbaugh an honorary member.[56]

In 1995, Rush Limbaugh was profiled on the PBS series Frontline in a one-hour documentary called “Rush Limbaugh’s America.” Limbaugh refused to be interviewed, but his mother, brother and many Republican supporters took part, as well as critics and opponents.[57]

Since the 1990s, Limbaugh has become known for his love of cigars, saying, “I think cigars are just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life.”[58] During his syndicated television program from 1992 to 1996, he also become known for wearing distinctive neckties. In response to viewer interest, Limbaugh launched a series of ties[59] designed primarily by his then-wife Marta.[60] Limbaugh is also known for using props, songs and photos to introduce his monologues on various topics. On his radio show, news about the homeless has often been preceded with the Clarence “Frogman” Henry song “Ain’t Got No Home.”[13] For a time, Dionne Warwick‘s song, “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again” preceded reports about people with HIV/AIDS.[61] These later became “condom updates” preceded by Fifth Dimension‘s song, “Up, Up and Away”.[13] For two weeks in 1989, on his Sacramento radio show, Limbaugh performed “caller abortions” where he would end a call suddenly to the sounds of a vacuum cleaner and a scream. He would then deny that he had “hung up” on the caller, which he had promised not to do. Limbaugh claims that he used this gag to illustrate “the tragedy of abortion” as well as to highlight the question of whether abortion constitutes murder.[62] During the Clinton administration, while filming his television program, Limbaugh referred to media coverage of Socks, the Clintons’ cat. He then stated, “But did you know there is also a White House dog?” and a picture of Chelsea Clinton was shown. When questioned about it, Limbaugh claimed that it was an accident and that without his permission some technician had put up the picture of Chelsea.[63][64]

Limbaugh was awarded the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year by the National Association of Broadcasters five times – 1992, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2014 (given by the National Association of Broadcasters).[65][66] He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998.[67][68] By 2001, he inked a $285 million contract for eight years, which was renewed in 2008 for another eight years at $400 million.[69] By 2017, Limbaugh was the second highest paid radio host in the United States, earning an annual salary of $84 million – second only to Howard Stern.[70] Talkers Magazine ranked him as the greatest radio talk show host of all time in 2002,[71] and in 2017, he was the most-listened-to radio host in the United States with 14 million listeners.[72]

Limbaugh was awarded the inaugural William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence by the Media Research Center, a conservative media analysis group in 2007.[73] Conservative magazine Human Events also announced Limbaugh as their 2007 Man of the Year.[74]Later that same year, Barbara Walters featured Limbaugh as one of the most fascinating people of the year in a special that aired on December 4, 2008.[75]

On February 28, 2009, following his self-described “first address to the nation” lasting 90 minutes, carried live on CNN and Fox News and recorded for C-SPAN, Limbaugh received CPAC‘s “Defender of the Constitution Award”, a document originally signed by Benjamin Franklin, given to someone “who has stood up for the First Amendment … Rush Limbaugh is for America, exactly what Benjamin Franklin did for the Founding Fathers … the only way we will be successful is if we listen to Rush Limbaugh.”[76]

In his 2010 book, Rush Limbaugh: An Army of OneZe’ev Chafets cited Limbaugh as, “the brains and the spirit behind” the Republican Party’s resurgence in the 2010 midterm elections in the wake of the election of President Obama.[77] Chafets pointed, among others, to Sen. Arlen Specter‘s defeat, after being labeled by Limbaugh as a “Republican in Name Only”, and to Sarah Palin, whose “biggest current applause line – Republicans are not just the party of no, but the party of hell no – came courtesy of Mr. Limbaugh.” Limbaugh has argued the party-of-no Ronald Reagan conservative course for the Republicans vigorously, notably since six weeks after the Obama inauguration, and has been fundamental to, and encouraging to, the more prominently noted Tea Party movement.[78]

Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians on May 14, 2012, in a secret ceremony announced only 20 minutes before it began to prevent negative media attention.[79] A bronze bust of Limbaugh is on display at the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, along with 40 other awardees. Limbaugh’s bust includes a security camera to prevent vandalism.[80][81]

Views

In his first New York Times best seller, Limbaugh describes himself as conservative, and is critical of broadcasters in many media outlets for claiming to be objective. He has criticized political centristsindependents, and moderate conservatives, claiming they are responsible for Democrat Barack Obama‘s victory over Republican John McCain in the 2008 United States presidential election and inviting them to leave the Republican Party. He calls for the adoption of core conservative philosophies in order to ensure the survival of the Republican Party.[82][83][84] Limbaugh is a proponent of American exceptionalism, and he often criticizes politicians he sees as rejecting this notion as unpatriotic or anti-American.[28]

Abortion

Limbaugh considers Roe v. Wade “bad law” and supports overturning it. He has compared support for abortion with Nazism, saying that abortion is “a modern-day holocaust” and that for feminists abortion is “a kind of sacrament for their religion/politics of alienation and bitterness”. During the 2008 Republican Party vice presidential candidate selection Limbaugh strongly opposed Tom Ridge due to his pro-abortion views.[85]

Minorities

Limbaugh is known for making controversial race-related statements with regard to African-Americans. He once opined that all newspaper composite pictures of wanted criminals resembled Jesse Jackson, and another time that “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.”[86][87] While employed as what he describes as an “insult-radio” DJ, he used a derogatory racial stereotype to characterize a black caller he could not understand, telling the caller to “take that bone out of your nose and call me back,” although he expressed guilt over this when recounting it.[87] In March 2010, Limbaugh used the similarity of recently resigned Rep. Eric Massa‘s surname to the slavery-era African-American pronunciation of “master” to make a pun on the possibility that Gov. David PatersonNew York‘s first African-American governor, would pick Massa’s replacement: “Let’s assume you’re right [caller]. So, David Paterson will become the massa who gets to appoint whoever gets to take Massa’s place. So, for the first time in his life, Paterson’s gonna be a massa. Interesting, interesting.”[88]

Limbaugh has asserted that African-Americans, in contrast with other minority groups, are “left behind” socially because they have been systematically trained from a young age to hate the United States because of the welfare state.[89]

Limbaugh has argued that liberal politicians have encouraged immigration from Latin America but have discouraged their assimilation to deliberately create racial inequality to manipulate as a voter base, and that their continued admission will cause a collapse of representative democracy and rule of law in the United States. He has criticized the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 for this reason.[90]

Limbaugh, who has expressed anti-LGBT rhetoric in the past and views homosexual sexual practices as unhygienic, made serophobic statements about HIV/AIDS victims in the 1990s, and called the virus “Rock Hudson‘s disease” and “the only federally-protected virus.” Limbaugh claimed in 2007 while defending President Reagan’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the 1980s that it did not “spread to the heterosexual community.” Limbaugh, who still opposes homosexuality, has since called his statements “the single most regretful thing I have ever done.”[91][92] In 2013, Limbaugh commented on same-sex marriage by saying, “This issue is lost. I don’t care what the Supreme Court does. This is inevitable. And it’s inevitable because we lost the language on this. As far as I’m concerned, once we started talking about gay marriage, traditional marriage, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, hetero marriage, we lost. It was over.”[93][94]

Capital punishment

Limbaugh supports capital punishment. Referring to Robert Alton Harris, who was escorted to the gas chamber before receiving a fourth stay of execution, Limbaugh wrote “the only thing cruel about the death penalty is last-minute stays.”[95]

Sexual consent

Limbaugh dismisses the concept of consent in sexual relations. He views consent as “the magic key to the left.”[96] In 2014, Limbaugh criticized a policy at Ohio State University encouraging students to obtain verbal consent, saying “How many of you guys . . . have learned that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used these statements to advocate a boycott of Limbaugh’s show and advertisers, claiming that the statements were tantamount to an endorsement of sexual assault. Limbaugh denied this, and his spokesman Brian Glicklick and lawyer Patricia Glaser threatened a defamation lawsuit against the DCCC .[97]

Drug policy

Limbaugh has been an outspoken critic of what he sees as leniency towards criminal drug use in America. On his television show on October 5, 1995, Limbaugh stated, “too many whites are getting away with drug use” and illegal drug trafficking. Limbaugh proposed that the racial disparity in drug enforcement could be fixed if authorities increased detection efforts, conviction rates, and jail time for whites involved in illegal drugs.[98] He defended mandatory-minimum sentencing as an effective tool against the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s.[99] Limbaugh has accused advocates of legalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States of hypocrisy due to their advocacy of tobacco control and backlash against electronic cigarettes, and compared the advocates for its legalization in Colorado to Big Tobacco.[100]

Environmental issues

Limbaugh is critical of environmentalism and climate science.[101] He rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, and the relationship between CFCs and depletion of the ozone layer, saying the scientific evidence does not support them.[95] Limbaugh has argued against the scientific consensus on climate change saying it is “just a bunch of scientists organized around a political proposition.”[102] He has also argued that projections of climate change are the product of ideologically-motivated computer simulations without the proper support of empirical data, a claim which has been widely debunked.[103][104] Limbaugh has used the term “environmentalist wacko” when referring to left-leaning environmental advocates.[105] As a rhetorical device, he has also used the term to refer to more mainstream climate scientists and other environmental scientists and advocates with whom he disagrees.[106] Limbaugh opposed pollution credits, including a carbon cap-and-trade system, as a way to disproportionately benefit major American investment banks, particularly Goldman Sachs, and claimed that it would destroy the American national economy.[107]

Limbaugh has written that “there are more acres of forestland in America today than when Columbus discovered the continent [sic] in 1492,” a claim that is disputed by the United States Forest Service and the American Forestry Association, which state that the precolonial forests have been reduced by about 24 percent or nearly 300 million acres.[108][109]

Limbaugh strongly opposed the proposed Green New Deal and its sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.[110]

Feminism

Limbaugh is critical of feminism, which he views as advancing only liberals and not women in general.[91] During an interview with Time magazine during the 1992 presidential election he stated that it “was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”[111] He has criticized Democratic congressmen calling for more women in Congress as hypocritical due to their opposition to female Republican candidates.[91] He has also regularly used the term “feminazi“, described by The New York Times in 1994 as one of his “favorite epithets for supporters of women’s rights”.[33] According to Limbaugh in 1992, for certain feminists, the “most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur.”[112] He also used the term referring to the half-million large 2017 Women’s March as the “Deranged Feminazi March”.[113] He credited his friend Tom Hazlett, a professor of law and economics at George Mason University, with coining the term.[114]

Middle East

Limbaugh first rose to prominence in 1991 for his vocal support for the Persian Gulf War and criticism of opponents of the war. Limbaugh later accused the media, in particular Sam Donaldson, of deliberately overestimating in their predictions of the amount of American casualties caused by the war and overstating the Iraqi Armed Forces’s military preparedness.

Limbaugh was supportive of the Iraq War, and first suggested bombing Ba’athist Iraq in 2002 in revenge for the September 11 attacks.[115] Even after no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were found, he supported theories that they had existed.[115] On the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, Limbaugh said, “This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation … And we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time.”[116][117] Speaking at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, Limbaugh accused Democratic congressional leaders such as Harry Reid of deliberately undermining the war effort.[118]

In 2018, Limbaugh speculated that evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had been fabricated by the U.S. intelligence community to embarrass President Bush.[119]

During the 2019-20 Persian Gulf crisis, Limbaugh praised the 2020 Baghdad International Airport drone strike that resulted in the death of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps‘s commander Major General Qasem Soleimani, and accused opponents of the strike of supporting Iran over the United States.[120] On January 6, 2020, he held an interview with President Donald Trump on his show commending him for the strike.[121]

Trade

In 1993, Limbaugh supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, joking in response to claims that it would lead to a transfer of unskilled labor to Mexico that this would only leave the United States with better jobs.[122] During a 1993 televised debate against H. Ross Perot over NAFTA, Vice President Al Gore complimented Limbaugh as one of the “distinguished Americans” who pushed NAFTA forward in spite of the intense animosity between Limbaugh and the administration of President Bill Clinton.[123] He later became more critical of NAFTA and trade agreements in general, claiming that they had reduced national sovereignty by “subordinating” America to “world tribunals, like the World Trade Organization and the International Criminal Court and this kind of thing.”[124] He also claimed that promises to stem mass migration by invigorating the Latin American economy had failed.[125][124] He supported a renegotiation of NAFTA and the eventual United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.[124]

Limbaugh defended the Trump tariffs and the China–United States trade war as a legitimate response to predatory Chinese trade practices and its Communist command economy.[126][127]

Barack Obama

Rush Limbaugh strongly opposed Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election. Limbaugh predicted that Obama would be unable to win the election. On January 16, 2009, Limbaugh commented on the then-upcoming Obama presidency, “I hope he fails.”[128]Limbaugh later said that he wants to see Obama’s policies fail, not the man himself.[129] Speaking of Obama, Limbaugh said, “He’s my president, he’s a human being, and his ideas and policies are what count for me.”[128] Limbaugh later discouraged efforts to impeach Barack Obama as politically unrealistic.[130]

Limbaugh accused Obama of using his race to prevent criticism of his policies, and said he was successful in his first year in office only because conservative members of the 111th Congress feared accusations of racism.[131][132] Limbaugh featured a recurring skit in which his colleague James Golden, who described himself as an “African-American-in-good-standing-and-certified-black-enough-to-criticize-Obama guy,” appeared in a cameo as the “Official EIB Obama Criticizer.”[133]

Limbaugh blamed Obama’s foreign policy, including the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, for allowing the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[134] Limbaugh also claimed that the 2012 Benghazi attack occurred due to a secret arms trafficking operation to the Syrian opposition authorized by Obama and coordinated by Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, speculating that the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak would reveal evidence of it.[135] Limbaugh also criticized the Russian reset, seeing Vladimir Putin‘s rule in the Russian Federation as a thinly-veiled continuation of the Soviet Union and Marxism–Leninism.[28] He was also critical of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including of Obama’s decision to ratify it as an executive agreement, and claims that it was used as a pretext for surveillance against Obama’s political opponents.[136] Limbaugh argued that side agreements of the JCPOA limited transparency and would obligate the United States to militarily defend Iran against an Israeli offensive, including a preemptive strike to prevent nuclear weapons development.[137]

During the West African Ebola virus epidemic, Limbaugh blamed Obama for allowing the spread of the disease to the United States in 2014, claiming that he should have stopped air travel to West Africa. He claimed that both the media and the government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deliberately downplayed its symptoms, expressing skepticism over the scientific consensus that the disease could be spread only through contact with bodily fluids and was not aerosol transmissible.[138] When David Quammencriticized the idea of ending air travel to West Africa by pointing out that Liberia was founded due to slavery in the United States on Anderson Cooper 360°, Limbaugh suggested in response that the Obama administration was deliberately allowing Ebola to be transmitted to the United States due to its guilt over slavery, stating “People at the highest levels of our government say ‘Why, why shouldn’t we get it? Why should only those three nations in Africa get it? We’re no better than they are.’ And they have this attitude, ‘Well, if they have it in Africa, by God, we deserve to get it, because they’re in Africa because of us and because of slavery.'”[139][140][141]

Donald Trump

Limbaugh with President Donald Trump at the Trump International Golf Club in 2019.

Limbaugh has been consistently supportive of the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump, although he endorsed Ted Cruz during the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries and took issue with Trump’s treatment of Cruz.[142] Limbaugh later criticized Cruz’s hesitance to endorse Trump after his nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention, comparing it to Ted Kennedy’s lukewarm support of Jimmy Carter at the 1980 Democratic National Convention.[143] After the election he became supportive of deep-state conspiracy theories, claiming that the United States has entered a “Cold Civil War” in which the Democratic Party is attempting to illegitimately overturn the election results and that it is part of a trend of Democrats contesting elections beginning with the 2000 Florida election recount intended to eventually eliminate free elections in the United States.[144][145][146]

In December 2018, Limbaugh criticized Trump for preparing to accept a continuing resolution that would fund the government through February 8, 2019, but included no funding for a border wall on the Mexico–United States border, a campaign promise repeatedly emphasized by Trump.[147] Trump would subsequently make a surprise telephone call to Limbaugh announcing his intent to veto the bill, a decision that would lead to the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown.[148] Limbaugh would go on to support the shutdown, stating “We have a president keeping promises left and right. And isn’t it interesting to see how trivial Washington thinks that is?”[149][150] After Trump declared the National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States and the 116th Congress failed in its attempt to override it, Limbaugh called on him to completely close the border with Mexico.[151]

Limbaugh has been dismissive of controversies over links between Trump associates and Russian officials. He claims that the FBI investigations of Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort as well as the subsequent Special Counsel investigation directed by Robert Mueller were orchestrated by Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency and constituted an illegal coup d’état.[152][153] Limbaugh claimed that George Papadopoulos was entrapped by the FBI, which he claims Joseph Mifsud was an informant for, through Stefan Halper as part of an “insurance policy” against Trump’s election by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.[154]Limbaugh has advocated a full presidential pardon for all suspects indicted or convicted by the investigation.[151] After the release of the Mueller Report, he disputed its conclusion that WikiLeaks obtained the Democratic National Committee’s emails from the Russian government and its depiction of Donald Trump Jr.‘s Trump Tower meeting.[155] He claimed that allegations of obstruction of justice were leveled at Trump due to the Report’s conclusion that Trump did not directly collude with Russian officials and that Trump’s intent to fire Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were legitimate.[153]

Limbaugh supported the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity as well as Trump’s claims that he lost the popular vote due to voter impersonation by illegal immigrants.[156]

After the House of Representatives commenced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump due to the scandal over a 2019 telephone call to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky pressuring his government to prosecute Biden shortly after a freeze of military aid, Limbaugh argued that the two events were unrelated since Trump had made a decision to withhold military funds a month in advance. He additionally claimed that Trump’s desire for the Ukrainian government to prosecute Biden was legally justified by a 1999 mutual legal assistance treaty with Ukraine and “was following the law to the letter when it comes to unearthing the long-standing corruption that has swirled in Ukraine and allegedly involves powerful Democrats like Joe Biden.”[144][157]

Alleging false flag attacks

In 2010, after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Limbaugh speculated on his show that eco-terrorists deliberately destroyed the oil well to justify President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium.[158] Limbaugh also claimed that the media was exaggerating the environmental effects of the disaster.[159]

After the Unite the Right rally and vehicle-ramming attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, Limbaugh defended Trump’s controversial response to the rally and claimed that the violence had been provoked by Black Lives Matter activists, Antifa, and Robert Creamer.[160] He also claimed without evidence that the police response had been deliberately restrained by Terry McAuliffe as a botched attempt to start a presidential bid in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, and that it was part of a campaign by “international financiers” such as George Soros to start a second civil war in the United States to remove its status as a global superpower.[161][162][163] After attention on Trump’s comments renewed when Joe Biden criticized them in the announcement of his 2020 presidential campaign, Limbaugh again defended them by repeating claims that some of the protesters were not white supremacists and were protesting the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee.[164]

Limbaugh claimed that the October 2018 United States mail bombing attempts were perpetuated as a false-flag operation to draw public attention away from Central American migrant caravans.[165][166] He reiterated these claims two weeks after the arrest of the primary suspect Cesar Sayoc, a registered Republican.[167][168]

On his show, Limbaugh has said that the Christchurch mosque shootings of March 2019 may have been a false-flag operation. Limbaugh described “an ongoing theory” that the shooter was actually “a leftist” trying to smear the right. Despite providing no source or evidence, Limbaugh continued: “… you can’t immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy.”[169][170]

Controversies and claims of inaccuracy

The July–August 1994 issue of Extra!, a publication of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), alleges 50 different inaccuracies and distortions in Limbaugh’s commentary.[171][172] Comedian Al Franken, who later became a Senator, wrote a satirical book (Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations) in which he accused Limbaugh of distorting facts to serve his own political biases.[173]

Of Limbaugh’s controversial statements and allegations they have investigated, Politifact has rated 84% as ranging from “Mostly False” to “Pants-On-Fire” (a signification for extremely false), with 5% of Limbaugh’s contested statements rising to the level of “Mostly True” and 0% rated “True.”[174] These debunked allegations by Limbaugh include suggestions that the existence of gorillas disproves the theory of evolution, that Ted Kennedy sent a letter to Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov seeking to undercut President Reagan, that a recent lack of hurricanes disproves climate change, and that President Obama wanted to mandate circumcision.[175][176][177][178]

Limbaugh has been criticized for inaccuracies by the Environmental Defense Fund. A defense fund report authored by Princeton University endowed geoscience professor Michael Oppenheimer and professor of biology David Wilcove lists 14 significant scientific facts that, the authors allege, Limbaugh misrepresented in his book The Way Things Ought to Be.[179] The authors conclude that “Rush Limbaugh … allows his political bias to distort the truth about a whole range of important scientific issues.”

On October 14, 2011, Limbaugh questioned the U.S. military initiative against Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), based on the assumption that they were Christians. “They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them.” Upon learning about the accusations leveled against Kony, which included kidnapping whole schools of young children for use as child soldiers, Limbaugh stated that he would research the group.[180][181]The show’s written transcript on his website was not changed.[181][182]

Michael J. Fox

In October 2006, Limbaugh said Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, had exaggerated the effects of his affliction in a political TV advertisement advocating for funding of stem cell research. Limbaugh said that Fox in the ad had been “shameless” in “moving all around and shaking”, and that Fox had not taken “his medication or he’s acting, one of the two”.[183] Fox said “the irony of it is I was too medicated,”[184] adding that there was no way to predict how his symptoms would manifest. Limbaugh said he would apologize to Fox “bigly, hugely … if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act.”[185] In 2012, Fox said Limbaugh in 2006 had acted on “bullying instincts” when “he said I faked it. I didn’t fake it,” and said Limbaugh’s goal was to have him marginalized and shut down for his stem cell stance.[186]

Phony soldiers

In 2007, Media Matters‘ reported that Limbaugh had categorized Iraq War veterans opposed to the war as “the phony soldiers.” Limbaugh later said that he was speaking of Jesse MacBeth, a soldier who falsely claimed to have been decorated for valor but, in fact, had never seen combat. Limbaugh said Media Matters was trying to smear him with out-of-context and selectively edited comments. After Limbaugh published what he claimed was the entire transcript of phony soldiers discussion, Media Matters said that over a minute and 30 seconds of the transcript was omitted without “notation or ellipsis to indicate that there is, in fact, a break in the transcript.”[187][188] Limbaugh said during the minute and a half gap Media Matters had pointed out, he was waiting for relevant ABC news copy on the topic, and the transcript and audio edits were “for space and relevance reasons, not to hide anything.”[189] Senator Harry Reid and 41 Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, signed a letter asking the CEO of Clear Channel to denounce Limbaugh. Instead, he gave the letter to Limbaugh to auction. It raised over $2 million for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.[190]

Sandra Fluke

On February 29, 2012, Limbaugh, while talking about contraceptive mandates, included remarks about law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and “prostitute.” Limbaugh was commenting on Fluke’s speech the previous week to House Democrats in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives. Limbaugh made numerous similar statements over the next two days, leading to the loss of 45[191] to “more than 100”[192] local and national sponsors and Limbaugh’s apology on his show for some of his comments. Susan McMillan Emry co-organized a public relations campaign called Rock the Slut Vote as a response to Limbaugh’s remarks.[193]

Charitable work

Leukemia and lymphoma telethon

Limbaugh holds an annual fundraising telethon called the “EIB Cure-a-Thon”[194] for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.[195] In 2006, the EIB Cure-a-Thon conducted its 16th annual telethon, raising $1.7 million,[196] totaling over $15 million since the first cure-a-thon.[197]According to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society annual reports, Limbaugh personally contributed between $100,000 and $499,999 from 2000–2005 and 2007,[198] and Limbaugh said that he contributed around $250,000 in 2003, 2004 and 2005.[199] NewsMax reported Limbaugh donated $250,000 in 2006,[200] and the Society’s 2006 annual report placed him in the $500,000 to $999,999 category.[198] Limbaugh donated $320,000 during the 2007 Cure-a-Thon,[201] which the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society reported had raised $3.1 million.[202] On his radio program April 18, 2008, Limbaugh pledged $400,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after being challenged by two listeners to increase his initial pledge of $300,000.[203]

Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation

Limbaugh conducts an annual drive to help the Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation collect contributions to provide scholarships for children of Marines and law enforcement officers and agents who have died in the line of duty.[204][205] The foundation was the beneficiary of a record $2.1 million eBay auction in October 2007 after Limbaugh listed for sale a letter critical of him signed by 41 Democratic senators and pledged to match the selling price.[206] With the founding of his and his wife’s company Two if by Tea, they pledged to donate at least $100,000 to the MC–LEF beginning in June 2011.[207]

Tunnel to Towers Foundation

In July 2019 Nike announced a special Fourth of July edition of their Air Max 1 Quick Strike sneaker that featured the thirteen-star Betsy Ross flag. The company withdrew the sneaker after their spokesman Colin Kaepernick raised concerns that the symbol represented an era of black enslavement.[208] In response Limbaugh’s radio program introduced a t-shirt imprinted “Stand up for Betsy Ross” with sale proceeds to benefit the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. As of December 2019 the sales have earned over $5M USD for the foundation.[209]

Personal life

Limbaugh has had four marriages, three divorces, and no children.[210] He was first married at the age of 26 to Roxy Maxine McNeely, a sales secretary at radio station WHB in Kansas City, Missouri. The couple married at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Limbaugh’s hometown of Cape Girardeau on September 24, 1977.[211] McNeely filed for divorce in March 1980, citing “incompatibility.” They were formally divorced on July 10, 1980.[7]

In 1983, Limbaugh married Michelle Sixta, a college student and usherette at the Kansas City Royals Stadium Club. They divorced in 1990, and she remarried the following year.[7]

On May 27, 1994, Limbaugh married Marta Fitzgerald, a 35-year-old aerobics instructor whom he met on the online service CompuServe in 1990.[212] They married at the house of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who officiated.[213] The couple separated on June 11, 2004.[214] Limbaugh announced his divorce on the air. It was finalized in December 2004.[215] In September 2004, Limbaugh became romantically involved with then-CNN news anchor Daryn Kagan; the relationship ended in February 2006.[216]

Limbaugh has lived in Palm Beach since 1996. A friend recalls that Limbaugh “fell in love with Palm Beach … after visiting her over Memorial Day weekend in 1995.”[217] Unlike New York, Florida does not tax income, the stated reason Limbaugh moved his residence and established his “Southern Command”.[218]

On December 30, 2009, while vacationing in HonoluluHawaii, Limbaugh was admitted to Queen’s Medical Center with intense chest pains. His doctors attributed the pain to angina pectoris.[219]

He dated Kathryn Rogers, a party planner from Florida, for three years[220] before he married her on June 5, 2010.[221][222] During the wedding reception after the ceremony, Elton John entertained the wedding guests for a reported $1 million fee; however, Limbaugh himself denied that the $1 million figure was accurate on his September 7, 2010, radio show.[223][224]

Through a holding company, KARHL Holdings (KARHL meaning “Kathryn and Rush Hudson Limbaugh”), Limbaugh launched a line of bottled iced tea beverages called “Two if by Tea”,[225] a play on the line from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s “Paul Revere’s Ride” “one if by land, two if by sea”. KARHL Holdings features a Rush Revere website where children can send notes to Liberty, the time-traveling, talking horse.[226]

Prescription drug addiction

On October 3, 2003, the National Enquirer reported that Limbaugh was being investigated for illegally obtaining the prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone. Other news outlets quickly confirmed the investigation.[227] He admitted to listeners on his radio show on October 10, 2003, that he was addicted to prescription painkillers and stated that he would enter inpatient treatment for 30 days, immediately after the broadcast.[228] Limbaugh stated his addiction to painkillers resulted from several years of severe back pain heightened by a botched surgery intended to correct those problems.

A subsequent investigation into whether Limbaugh had violated Florida’s doctor shopping laws was launched by the Palm Beach State Attorney, which raised privacy issues when investigators seized Limbaugh’s private medical records looking for evidence of crimes. Roy Black, one of Limbaugh’s attorneys, stated that “Rush Limbaugh was singled out for prosecution because of who he is. We believe the state attorney’s office is applying a double standard.”[229] On November 9, 2005, following two years of investigations, Assistant State Attorney James L. Martz requested that the court set aside Limbaugh’s doctor–patient confidentiality rights and allow the state to question his physicians.[230] Limbaugh’s attorney opposed the prosecutor’s efforts to interview his doctors on the basis of patient privacy rights, and argued that the prosecutor had violated Limbaugh’s Fourth Amendment rights by illegally seizing his medical records. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in agreement and filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Limbaugh.[231][232] On December 12, 2005, Judge David F. Crow delivered a ruling prohibiting the State of Florida from questioning Limbaugh’s physicians about “the medical condition of the patient and any information disclosed to the health care practitioner by the patient in the course of the care and treatment of the patient.”[233]

On April 28, 2006, a warrant was issued for his arrest on the charge of doctor shopping. According to Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the sheriff, during his arrest, Limbaugh was booked, photographed, and fingerprinted, but not handcuffed. He was then released after about an hour on $3,000 bail.[234][235][236] After his surrender, he filed a “not guilty” plea to the charge. Prosecutors explained that the charges were brought after they discovered he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion. In 2009, after three years of prolonged discussion regarding a settlement, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Limbaugh paid $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation, completed an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician, submitted to random drug testing, and gave up his right to own a firearm for eighteen months.[237] Limbaugh agreed to the settlement, though he continued to maintain his innocence of doctor shopping and asserted that the state’s offer resulted from a lack of evidence supporting the charge.[238]

Before his addiction became known, Limbaugh had condemned illegal drug use on his television program, stating that “Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country … And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”[239][240]

Viagra incident

In June 2006, Limbaugh was detained by drug enforcement agents at Palm Beach International Airport. Customs officials confiscated Viagra from Limbaugh’s luggage as he was returning from the Dominican Republic. The prescription was not in Limbaugh’s name.[241]After he was released with no charges filed, Limbaugh joked about the incident on his radio show, claiming that he got the Viagra at the Clinton Library and was told they were blue M&M’s. He also stated that “I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about it.”[241]

Health issues

Rush Limbaugh has described himself as being “100 percent, totally deaf.”[242] In 2001, Limbaugh announced that he had lost most of his ability to hear: “I cannot hear television. I cannot hear music. I am, for all practical purposes, deaf – and it’s happened in three months.” He said that the condition was not genetic.[243] He was diagnosed with autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) and medications failed to work. On December 19, 2001, doctors at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles were able to successfully restore a measure of his hearing through cochlear implant surgery. Limbaugh received a Clarion CII Bionic Ear.[244]

When questioned whether Limbaugh’s sudden hearing loss was caused by his addiction to opioids, his cochlear implant doctor, otolaryngologist Jennifer Derebery, said that it was possible but that there is no way to know for sure without performing tests that would destroy Limbaugh’s hearing completely. “We don’t know why some people, but apparently not most, who take large doses may lose their hearing”.[245]

In 2005, Limbaugh was forced to undergo “tuning” due to an “eye twitch,” an apparent side-effect of cochlear implants.[246]

On April 8, 2014, on his radio program, Limbaugh announced his decision to ‘go bilateral.’ “I’m going to get an implant on the right side,” he said.[247] After bilateral tuning, there was 100% improvement. “Coming from total deafness, it is miraculous! How can you not believe in God?” Limbaugh said in his national daily broadcast.[248]

Limbaugh was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on January 20, 2020, after first experiencing shortness of breath on January 12.[249] He announced the diagnosis on air during his radio show on February 3; conceding that he would miss airtime to undergo treatment, he stated that he planned to continue the program “as normally and competently” as he could while undergoing treatment.[250]

Bibliography

In 1992, Limbaugh published his first book, The Way Things Ought to Be, followed by See, I Told You So, the following year. Both titles were number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for 24 weeks.[251] His first book was dictated by himself, and transcribed and edited by Wall Street Journal Journal writer John Fund.

In 2013, Limbaugh authored his first children’s book entitled, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel with Exceptional Americans. He received the Author of the Year Award from the Children’s Book Council for this work.[252] Limbaugh’s second children’s book was released the following year, entitled, Rush Revere and the First Patriots: Time-Travel with Exceptional Americans. This book was nominated as an author-of-the year finalist for the annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards.[253] Limbaugh’s third children’s book was released later this same year, written with his wife, Kathryn, and entitled Rush Revere and the American Revolution. The Limbaugh’s dedicated this to the U.S. military and their families.[254]

References…

Sources

Further reading

  • Arkush, Michael (1993). Rush!. New York: Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-77539-5.
  • Davis, J. Bradford (1994). The Rise of Rush Limbaugh Toward the Presidency. Norcross, Ga.: MacArthur Publishing Group. ISBN 0-9642619-0-1.
  • Derych, Jim. Confessions of a Former Dittohead. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Ig Publishing. ISBN 0-9752517-8-3.
  • Evearitt, Daniel J. (1993). Rush Limbaugh and the Bible. Camp Hill, Pa.: Horizon House Publishers. ISBN 0-88965-104-3.
  • Franken, Al (1996). Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-14-101841-6.
  • Jacobs, Donald Trent. The Bum’s Rush: The Selling of Environmental Backlash: Phrases and Fallacies of Rush Limbaugh. Boise, Idaho: Legendary Publishing Company. ISBN 0-9625040-5-X.
  • Keliher, Brian (1994). Flush Rush. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-89815-610-6.
  • Kelly, Charles M. (1994). The Great Limbaugh Con: And Other Right-Wing Assaults on Common Sense. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Fithian Press. ISBN 1-56474-102-8.
  • King, D. Howard (1994). Rush to Us. New York: Windsor Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7860-0082-1.
  • Layne, Tom (2006). The Assassination of Rush Limbaugh. Kirkland, Wash.: Red Ginger Publishing Company. ISBN 0-9768515-0-4.
  • Mahurin, Cecil (1993). A Public Rebuttal to Rush Limbaugh. New York: Vantage Press. ISBN 0-533-10766-0.
  • Perkins, Ray Jr (1995). Logic and Mr. Limbaugh: A Dittohead’s Guide to Fallacious Reasoning. Chicago: Open Court Publishing. ISBN 0-8126-9294-2.
  • Rahman, Michael. Why Rush Limbaugh is Wrong, or: The Demise of Traditionalism and the Rise of Progressive Sensibility as Perceived. Santa Monica, Calif.: Mighty Pen Publishing. ISBN 0-9647470-0-6.
  • Rendall, Steven; Naureckas, JimCohen, Jeff (1995). The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error: Over 100 Outrageously False and Foolish Statements from America’s Most Powerful Radio and TV Commentator. Written for FAIR. New York: The New Press. ISBN 1-56584-260-X.
  • Seib, Philip M. (1993). Rush Hour: Talk Radio, Politics, and the Rise of Rush Limbaugh. Fort Worth, Tex.: Summit Group. ISBN 1-56530-100-5.
  • Tucker, R. K. (1997). The Rules According to Rush: The American people vs. Rush Limbaugh. Chapel Hill, NC; Bowling Green, Ohio: OptimAmerica; Professional Press. ISBN 1-57087-339-9.
  • Varon, Charles (1997). Rush Limbaugh In Night School. New York: Dramatists Play Service. ISBN 0-8222-1534-9.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rush_Limbaugh

 

 

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‘He will not change. And you know it’: Adam Schiff pleads for Republicans to remove Donald Trump as closing arguments end in impeachment trial – but defense attorney Ken Starr says prosecution just wants to make the 2016 election ‘null and void’

  • Each side wrapped up their closing arguments in Donald Trump’s trial
  • Both sides had two hours to finish arguing before the Senate 
  • ‘You can’t trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute,’ Adam Schiff told senators 
  • ‘President Trump’s constitutional crimes, his crimes against the American people and the nation remain in progress,’ Rep. Val Demings said 
  • Demings led the Democrats’ main argument that Trump committed the two articles of impeachment
  • Republicans charged Democrats with playing politics 
  • ‘This was the first totally partisan presidential impeachment in our nation’s history,’ Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow charged 
  • ‘At the end of the day, this is an effort to overturn the results of one election and to try to interfere in the coming election’ Pat Cipollone said
  • Trump’s lawyers argued Democrats were acting in a partisan way to try and overturn the 2016 election 
  • Trump is expected to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate
  • Republicans have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, meaning there’s nowhere near the two-thirds votes needed for Trump’s conviction in the Wednesday vote 

Adam Schiff made a passionate plea for the Senate to remove Donald Trump for office, arguing to senators it was the only way to stop his abuse of power, while defense attorney Ken Starr accused the Democrats of wanting to declare the 2016 election ‘null and void.

The dueling arguments played out on the Senate floor Monday afternoon ahead of Wednesday’s vote on whether to convict or acquit President Trump of the two articles of impeachment against him.

Schiff, the lead impeachment manager who the president has dubbed ‘Shifty Schiff,’ made the final case for his side as the odds were against them.

The president is expected to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled chamber where it would take a two-thirds vote to convict him.

'You can't trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute,' Adam Schiff told senators

Both sides made their closing arguments in Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Monday

Schiff, in his 26-minute speech, warned senators the president can’t be trusted.

‘You can’t trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change. And you know it,’ he said.

He warned acquittal could bring about absolute power for Trump.

‘Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let Jared Kushner run the country, delegating to him the decision whether to go to war. Because those things are not necessarily criminal, this argument would allow he could not be impeached for such abuses of power. Of course this would be absurd. More than absurd, it would be dangerous,’ he added.

And he warned senators they could be the president’s next victim.

‘They’ll hack your opponents’ emails, mount a social media campaign to support you, announce investigations of your opponent to help you, and all for the asking. Leave Donald Trump in office after you have found him guilty and this is the future that you will invite,’ he said.

‘History will not be kind to Donald Trump. I think we all know that. Not because it will be written by Never-Trumpers but because whenever we have departed from the values of our nation we have come to regret it, and that regret is written all over the pages of our history,’ he said in a passionate final plea to the 100 senators who decide the president’s fate.

‘Every single vote, even a single vote by a single member can change the course of history. It is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say enough?,’ he added.

‘Truth matters little to him. What’s right matters even less. And decency matters not at all. I do not ask you to convict him truth or right or decency matter matters nothing to him but because we have proven our case and it matters to you. Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are,’ he told the senators.

The president’s defense team focused on the politics with deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin calling impeachment a ‘partisan political process.’

And White House Counsel Pat Cipollone asked the Senate to ‘end the era of impeachment once and for all.’

Rep. Val Demings made the Democrats case that President Trump committed the two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of justice

President Trump has denied all charges

President Trump has denied all charges

Trump lawyer Sekulow plays video of Dems calling for impeachment

‘This was the first totally partisan presidential impeachment in our nation’s history,’ Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow charged. ‘And it should be our last. What the House Democrats have done to this nation, to the constitution, to the office of the president, to the president himself and to this body is outrageous. They have cheapened the awesome power of impeachment.’

He played a video – complete with pulsing beat of ominous music – of an array of Democratic figures calling for the president’s impeachment back in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Sekulow went on to add: ‘The bottom line is that the president’s opponents don’t like the president and they really don’t like his policies.’

Starr echoed an argument the president and his allies have long made: Democrats were trying to overturn the last presidential election.

He said a vote for impeachment would give the message that ‘your vote in the last election is hereby declared null and void. And by the way, we are not going to allow you – the American people – to sit in judgment on this president and his record.’

Cipollone made the same point and said the only conclusion the senators could come to was to impeach the president.

‘At the end of the day, the key conclusion, we believe the only conclusion based on the evidence and based on the articles of impeachment themselves and the Constitution, is that you must vote to acquit the president,’ Cipollone said. ‘At the end of the day, this is an effort to overturn the results of one election and to try to interfere in the coming election that begins today in Iowa.’

‘Leave the choice of the president to the American people,’ he said, referring to the upcoming November election.

And deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin warned that a vote for impeachment could upset the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches.

He argued that anything a president does that Congress doesn’t like ‘and a time they don’t like can be treated as an impeachable offense. That’s an incredibly dangerous assertion. Because if it were accepted, it would fundamentally alter the balance between the different branches of our government,’ he said.

‘This was a purely partisan political process,’ Philbin said. ‘It was imposed by partisans in the House. It was done not to persuade anyone, to get to the truth or go by past presidents. It was done to get done by Christmas on a political timetable. And it’s not something this chamber should condone. That in itself provides a sufficient and substantial reason for rejecting the articles of impeachment.’

Ken Starr
Pat Cipollone

Jay Sekulow

Patrick Phiblin

President Trump’s attorneys – Ken Starr, Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekulow and Patrick Philbin – argued Democrats were acting in a partisan way to try and overturn the 2016 election

Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida outlined the role Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani played in the allegations against the president.

‘Donald Trump was the central player in the corrupt scheme assisted principally by his private attorney Rudy Giuliani,’ she said.

And she said he was still doing it.

‘As I stand here today, delivering the House’s closing argument, President Trump’s constitutional crimes, his crimes against the American people and the nation remain in progress,’ Demings said.

In her 20 minute argument, Demings made the most detailed case for Democrats.

She charged the president with trying to ‘cheat in the next election’ and alleged that he ‘weaponized our government.’ She told senators that Trump ‘violated his oath of office’ and committed a ‘grave abuse of power.’

Demings led the Democrats’ main argument that Trump committed the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – and it warranted his conviction and removal from office.

‘The House has presented to you overwhelming and unconverted evidence that President Trump has committed grave abuses of power that harmed our national security and were intended to defraud our elections,’ she said.

She then went through the history of the Democrats’ central argument against the president – that he with held U.S. aid from the Ukraine in exchange for that country to investigate his political rivals, Joe and Hunter Biden.

She rewove the Democrats’ case, bringing together all the bits of the story that have played out over the House investigation and trial in the Senate: the freeze on aid to the Ukraine, the campaign against the U.S. ambassador, Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president that sparked the impeachment inquiry, and the work of Giuliani.

Demings, who was the first female police chief in Orlando before running for Congress, minced no words when it came to Giuliani’s actions in the Ukraine. The president’s personal attorney was running a shadow foreign policy with the country, State Department aides testified during the impeachment investigation, for the political benefit of the president.

She accused Giuliani of working with Ukrainians ‘to fabricate and promote phony investigations of wrongdoing’ against Joe Biden.

Schiff urges Senate to convict as he presents closing arguments
Rep. Demings didn't hold back when she talked about Rudy Giuliani's actions in the Ukraine

Rep. Demings didn’t hold back when she talked about Rudy Giuliani’s actions in the Ukraine

Demings brought up Giuliani's work with Lev Parnas, who faces charges of illegal campaign contributions to Trump

Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas together at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in September 2019

She retraced the House Democrats’ case, pointing out how Giuliani worked with his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to first get rid of then-U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and then how Trump tried to get Giuliani a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Parnas and Fruman both face charges of illegal campaign contributions.

Demings then brought up Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who Democrats wanted to call to testify but Senate Republicans defeated that proposal in 51-49 vote on Friday. Parnas has also said he would testify.

‘According to reports about Ambassador Bolton’s account, soon to be available if not to this body, then to bookstores near you, the president also unsuccessfully tried to get Bolton to call the new Ukrainian president to ensure he would meet with Giuliani. The desire for Ukraine to announce these phony investigations was for a clear and corrupt reason. Because President Trump wanted the political benefit of a foreign country announcing that it would investigate his rival,’ she said.

In his forth coming memoir, Bolton claimed the president told him U.S. aid to the Ukraine was being held up to pressure the country into investigating the Bidens.

Trump has denied the charge.

‘The desire for Ukraine to announce these phony investigations was for a clear and corrupt reason. Because President Trump wanted the political benefit of a foreign country announcing that it would investigate his rival. That is how we know, without a doubt, that the object of the president’s scheme was to benefit his re-election campaign. In other words, to cheat in the next election,’ Demings declared.

‘President Trump weaponized our government and the vast powers entrusted to him by the American people and the constitution to target his political rival and corrupt our precious elections,’ she said.

‘He put his personal interests over those of the country,’ she continued. ‘And he violated his oath of office in the process. But the president’s grave abuse of power did not end there. In conduct unparalleled in American history, once he got caught, President Trump engaged in categorical and indiscriminate obstruction of any investigation into his wrongdoing.’

And she said he acted guilty.

‘The president’s obstruction was unlawful and unprecedented, but it also confirmed his guilt. Innocent people don’t try to hide every document and witness, especially those that would clear them. That’s what guilty people do. That’s what guilty people do,’ she said.

Trump took to Twitter during the Democrats’ closing argument to repeat his complaint he was the victim of a ‘hoax.’

‘I hope Republicans & the American people realize that the totally partisan Impeachment Hoax is exacty that, a Hoax. Read the Transcripts, listen to what the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said (‘No Pressure’). Nothing will ever satisfy the Do Nothing, Radical Left Dems!,’ he wrote.

Democratic Rep. Jason Crowe made a similar argument about the reputation of the Senate, quoting from the Harry Potter book series.

‘The quote is from Professor Dumbledore, who said, it is our choices that show who we truly are for more than our abilities. This trial will soon be over, but there will be many choices for all of us in the days ahead, the most pressing of which is how each of us will decide to fulfill our oath. More than our words, our choices will show the world who we really are, what type of leaders we will be and what type of nation we will be,’ he said.

Closing arguments began Monday even as President Trump is expected to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate.

But there is plenty of drama in the works leading up to Wednesday afternoon’s vote on the matter that is likely to have reverberations on relations between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for the remainder of President Trump’s time in the White House.

Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday he could see the ‘hatred’ from Democrats. The president had strong words for his political foes and didn’t sound a hopeful tone about future relations between the two branches of government.

‘It’s pretty hard when you think about it because it’s been such, I use the word witch hunt – I use the word hoax,’ Trump said when asked about working with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer after the trial’s conclusion.

‘I see the hatred,’ he added. ‘They don’t care about fairness. They don’t care about lying.’ 

Closing arguments began Monday in Donald Trump's impeachment trial - he's seen leaving for Mar-a-Lago on Friday with first lady Melania Trump

Trump said it will be hard to work with Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the trial

The president will be in the same room with Pelosi and Schumer before his trial ends, on Tuesday evening for his annual State of the Union address. The speaker will be seated behind him in the House chamber and Schumer will be in the audience during the joint session of Congress.

It’s unclear if the president will mention his trial in his remarks.

A senior administration official wouldn’t say when asked about it during a Friday briefing at the White House.

‘I’m not going to get ahead of what the president will say,’ the person said.

And Trump told reporters during his Super Bowl party at his West Palm Beach golf club Sunday night: ‘We’re really looking to giving a very very positive message’ when he gives his speech.

Trump – the head of the executive branch – and Pelosi – the powerful speaker of the House who can make or break his legislative agenda on Capitol Hill – will have to work together when the impeachment trial concludes.

Congress must pass a budget to fund the government before the end of the fiscal year in October and both sides have expressed an interest in lower prescription drug costs and working on infrastructure.

That move signaled a rapid conclusion of the trial was on hand for the president.

There will be four hours for closing arguments – two for the prosecution and two for Trump’s defense team.

Afterward, there will be time for senators to make remarks on the Senate floor about the case.

The final vote on Wednesday will conclude the Democrats’ three-month investigation into allegations Trump with held nearly $400 million in military aid to the Ukraine in exchange for that country to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, his political rivals.

Trump denies the charges but House Democrats vote in December to charge him with two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Doug Jones

Three Democratic senators – Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – all represent states the president carried in the 2016 election and have stayed quiet about how they intend to vote on impeachment

A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found the majority of voters believe that Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress, but they are split on whether he should be removed from office.

In the poll, released on Sunday, 46 per cent said the president should be removed from office while 49 per cent said he should remain.

Republicans have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, meaning there’s nowhere near the two-thirds votes needed for Trump’s conviction and removal from office.

The focus of Wednesday’s vote, however, will be if the president gets a bipartisan all-clear.

Three Democratic senators – Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – all represent states the president carried in the 2016 election and have stayed quiet about how they intend to vote. 

Just one Democratic voting in his favor would give the president something to crow about.

And while Trump’s trial is rolling toward a close on Wednesday, the spectra of the Ukraine may not.

Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence panel chairman and lead Democratic impeachment manager, wouldn’t rule out subpoenaing John Bolton in the future.

Democrats wanted to hear from the president’s former National Security Adviser about excerpts published from his forth coming memoir.

‘I don’t want to comment to this point on what our plans may or may not be with respect to John Bolton,’ Schiff said Sunday on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation. ‘But I will say this: whether it’s before- in testimony before the House or it’s in his book or it’s in one form or another, the truth will come out as- will continue to come out.’

Schiff also said ‘there’s nothing that I can see that we could have done differently’ in presenting their case against the president to the Senate.

Adam Schiff wouldn't rule out subpoenaing John Bolton in the future

Democrats wanted to hear from John Bolton  about excerpts published from his forth coming memoir

Meanwhile, some Democrats are already shifting their attention to their next battle with the president: the November election.

Democrats finally begin voting for their party’s nominee on Monday when Iowa holds is caucuses – the first nominating contest.

Four contenders for the Democratic nomination – Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet – have missed out on valuable campaign time due to Trump’s trial.

And all will be back in Washington D.C. on Wednesday for the final vote on the president’s fate.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7961341/Closing-arguments-begin-TODAY-Donald-Trumps-impeachment-trial-heads-conclusion.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1388, January 30, 2020, Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: Trump’s Legal Team Concludes Opening Arguments With Three Presentations — The Fools on The Hill — Long and Winding Road to Election Day November 3, 2020 — Power To The People — Videos — Story 2: Advance Estimate of The U.S. Economy’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth Rate  in Fourth Quarter 2020 Is 2.1% — Failure of Big Government Parties To Balance The Budget and Live Within The Means of American People –Videos

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Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: Trump’s Legal Team Concludes Opening Arguments With Three Presentations — The Fools on The Hill  –Long and Winding Road to Election Day November 3, 2020 and People Power — Videos

Trump defense concludes opening arguments in Senate impeachment trial Day 7

WATCH: Dershowitz says charges against Trump are ‘outside’ of impeachment offenses

Helen Reddy The Fool On The Hill

The Fool on the Hill

Helen Reddy

[Verse 1]
Day after day, alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him, they can see that he’s just a fool
And he never gives an answer[Chorus]
But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head see the world spinning around[Verse 2]
Well on the way, head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice[Chorus]
But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head see the world spinning around{Instrumental bridge}

[Verse 3]
And nobody seems to like him, they can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

The Long And Winding Road (Remastered 2009)

The Long and Winding Road

The Beatles

Verse 1]
The long and winding road that leads to your door
Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door[Verse 2]
The wild and windy night that the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears, crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way[Bridge]
Many times I’ve been alone, and many times I’ve cried
Anyway, you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried[Verse 3]
And still they lead me back to the long and winding road
You left me standing here a long, long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door[Orchestral Solo]

[Verse 3]
But still they lead me back to the long and winding road
You left me standing here a long, long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here (Don’t keep me waiting)
Lead me to your door

 

Story 2: Advance Estimate of The U.S. Economy’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth Rate  in Fourth Quarter 2020

Is 2.1% — Failure of Big Government Parties To Balance The Budget and Live Within The Means of American People —Videos

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, Thursday, January 30, 2020
BEA 20—04

Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Year 2019 (Advance Estimate)

Two Years After Trump Said The Economy Can Hit 6 Percent, GDP Growth

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.1 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 3). The “second” estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on February 27, 2020.

Real GDP: Percent change from proceeding quarter

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), federal government spending, state and local government spending, residential fixed investment, and exports, that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased (table 2).

Real GDP growth in the fourth quarter was the same as that in the third. In the fourth quarter, a downturn in imports, an acceleration in government spending, and a smaller decrease in nonresidential investment were offset by a larger decrease in private inventory investment and a slowdown in PCE.

Current dollar GDP increased 3.6 percent, or $191.7 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $21.73 trillion. In the third quarter, GDP increased 3.8 percent, or $202.3 billion (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.4 percent in the third quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.6 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.3 percent, compared with an increase of 2.1 percent.

 

Personal Income

Current-dollar personal income increased $148.7 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $162.6 billion in the third quarter. The smaller increase reflected decelerations in proprietors’ income, personal current transfer receipts, and personal dividend income that were partly offset by a smaller decrease in personal interest income and an acceleration in compensation (table 8).

Disposable personal income increased $127.4 billion, or 3.1 percent, in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $179.5 billion, or 4.5 percent, in the third quarter. Real disposable personal income increased 1.5 percent, compared with an increase of 2.9 percent.

Personal saving was $1.29 trillion in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.30 trillion in the third quarter. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 7.8 percent in the third quarter.

 

2019 GDP

Real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2019 (from the 2018 annual level to the 2019 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.9 percent in 2018 (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in 2019 reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, state and local government spending, and private inventory investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment. Imports increased (table 2).

The deceleration in real GDP in 2019, compared to 2018, primarily reflected decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and PCE and a downturn in exports, which were partly offset by accelerations in both state and local and federal government spending. Imports increased less in 2019 than in 2018.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $848.8 billion, in 2019 to a level of $21.43 trillion, compared with an increase of 5.4 percent, or $1,060.8 billion, in 2018 (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.6 percent in 2019, compared with an increase of 2.4 percent in 2018 (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.4 percent, compared with an increase of 2.1 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.6 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent (table 4).

Measured from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, real GDP increased 2.3 percent during the period. That compared with an increase of 2.5 percent during 2018. The price index for gross domestic purchases, as measured from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, increased 1.5 percent during 2019. That compared with an increase of 2.2 percent during 2018. The PCE price index increased 1.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 1.6 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent (table 6).

Source Data for the Advance Estimate

Information on the source data and key assumptions used for unavailable source data in the advance estimate is provided in a Technical Note that is posted with the news release on BEA’s Web site. A detailed “Key Source Data and Assumptions” file is also posted for each release. For information on updates to GDP, see the “Additional Information” section that follows.

*          *          *

Next release: February 27, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Year 2019 (Second Estimate)

*          *          *

Release Dates in 2020
Estimate  2019 Q4 and
Year 2019   
2020 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3
Gross Domestic Product
Advance Estimate January 30, 2020 April 29, 2020 July 30, 2020 October 29, 2020
Second Estimate February 27, 2020 May 28, 2020 August 27, 2020 November 25, 2020
Third Estimate March 26, 2020 June 25, 2020 September 30, 2020 December 22, 2020
Corporate Profits
Preliminary Estimate May 28, 2020 August 27, 2020 November 25, 2020
Revised Estimate March 26, 2020 June 25, 2020 September 30, 2020 December 22, 2020

https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/gross-domestic-product-fourth-quarter-and-year-2019-advance-estimate

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The Pronk Pops Show 1379, January 16, 2020, Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: President Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement With Communist China — Will It Be Fully Enforceable? — Time Will Tell — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s  United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Bill Passes Senate — On It Way For President Trump’s Signature  — Big Win For Trump and American People — Videos — Story 3: REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist) Show Trial In House is Over — An American Fair Trial Begins Next Tuesday in Senate — Acquittal of President Trump Expected In 30 Days or Less —  Videos — Story 4: Capitalism vs. Socialism or Trump vs. Sanders Not Lying Loser Warren — Capitalism and Trump Winners — Videos

Posted on January 16, 2020. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Amy Klobuchar, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bernie Sander, Bernie Sanders, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Canada, Cartoons, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Diet, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, Euro, European History, European Union, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Food, Food, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Medicare, Mexico, Middle East, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Nuclear, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, Oil, Overweight, People, Pete Buttigieg, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Treason, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to ChinaSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

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Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: President Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement With Communist China — Will It Be Fully Enforceable? — Time Will Tell — Videos

Trump speaks before signing “Phase One” of China trade deal

Larry Kudlow breaks down the implications of the US-China trade deal

Trump signs phase one of US-China trade deal

Trump signs partial trade deal with China l ABC News

Mnuchin: US won’t lift China tariffs until phase two of trade deal

Jamie Dimon praises Trump economy, China trade deal in exclusive interview

US Trade Rep. Lighthizer on historic ‘phase-one’ China trade deal

Wilbur Ross: China trade deal, USMCA total $2 trillion in trade

 

Donald Trump signs ‘phase one’ of trade deal with China which ends escalation of his trade war—and complains about the ‘impeachment hoax’ at White House ceremony with Xi Jinping’s deputy looking on

  • Donald Trump took a victory lap as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House – as his impeachment sped ahead at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue
  • He touted his economy and launched attack after attack on his enemies at packed East Room ceremony, railing against the ‘impeachment hoax’
  • Trump has vowed that he would ink a trade deal with China for more than two years and imposed steep tariffs to bring Beijing to the table
  • Signing is for ‘phase one’ and the White House promises more segments in the future
  • Xi Jinping didn’t come for the signing but sent a lower-level official, vice-premier Liu He and Trump said he will go back to China soon to ‘reciprocate’
  • It’s unclear what he’s reciprocating for, since Xi didn’t come 
  • East Room press credentials didn’t have a date printed on them, suggesting the White House wasn’t confident the event would happen on schedule
  • President urged House members in the audience to leave early if they needed to cast a vote on sending impeachment articles to the Senate 

Donald Trump took a victory lap on Wednesday as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House as his impeachment sped towards the Senate on Capitol Hill.

He boasted to an audience of dignitaries that a new trade deal with China will bring ‘a future of fair and reciprocal trade,’ then complained about the ‘impeachment hoax,’ and praised a string of Republican senators who he needs to vote for his acquittal.

The president has long complained about a massive trade deficit between Washington and Beijing. He pledged during the 2016 campaign to come down hard on China.

‘We are righting the wrongs of the past,’ he said Wednesday, observing that ‘our negotiations were tough, honest, open and respectful.’

‘This is the biggest deal anyone’s ever seen,’ he said, because ‘China has 1.5 billion people.’

The president spent nearly a half-hour acknowledging business leaders and lawmakers who crowded into the East Room to watch. And he noted that some House members might have to leave early in order to vote on a motion to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

Some of the congressmen may have a vote—it’s on the impeachment hoax—so if you want, you go out and vote. … It’s not going to matter becausae it’s gone very well. But I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you, okay?’ he said with a grin.

‘They have a hoax going on over there. Let’s take care of it.’

Trump was not accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sent Vice Premier Liu He in his place. Xi’s absence left some with the impression that Washington wants the deal more than Beijing does.

Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to China

Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to China

Signed, sealed, delivered: China's vice-premier Liu He and Donald Trump show their signatures in the completed phase one trade deal

Signed, sealed, delivered: China’s vice-premier Liu He and Donald Trump show their signatures in the completed phase one trade deal

East room ceremony: Donald Trump hosted the Chinese vice-premier Liu He in the East Wing in front of an audience of Republican senators and Congressmen and figures from the American business world - almost all of whom he named

East room ceremony: Donald Trump hosted the Chinese vice-premier Liu He in the East Wing in front of an audience of Republican senators and Congressmen and figures from the American business world – almost all of whom he named

President Donald Trump stood alongside China's vice premier Liu He, not its president Xi Jinping, when he signed a landmark trade deal on Wednesday

President Donald Trump stood alongside China’s vice premier Liu He, not its president Xi Jinping, when he signed a landmark trade deal on Wednesday

Awkward exchange: Donald Trump moved to shake hands with China's vice-premier Liu He, who extended his left hand instead

Awkward exchange: Donald Trump moved to shake hands with China’s vice-premier Liu He, who extended his left hand instead

Unusual handshake: After Liu He extended his left hand, Donald Trump grasped two of his fingers in an attempt to shake his hand

The president announced that he will ‘be going back to China in the not-too-distant future to reciprocate,’ but it’s unclear what he would be reciprocating for.

Vice President Mike Pence said the deal would guarantee $40-50 billion in Chinese purchases of American agriculture products.

And Trump said China will stop forcing American companies to share proprietary technologies with Chinese partners. ‘You don’t have to give up anything anymore. Just be strong,’ he said to business leaders in the room.

The White House’s guests included top executives from UPS, Boeing, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Mastercard, VISA, Citibank, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, eBay and Ford Motor Company; casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who aims to see markets opened to him in China; television commentator Lou Dobbs; and Trump’s ambassador in Beijing, Terry Branstad.

Second time lucky: After Liu He spoke through a translator, the two succeeded in shaking hands

Second time lucky: After Liu He spoke through a translator, the two succeeded in shaking hands

Trump acknowledged lawmakers and businessmen in the East Room including casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson

Trump acknowledged lawmakers and businessmen in the East Room including casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson

Chinese representative: President Xi Jinping sent vice-premier Liu He, who spoke through a translator (left)

Chinese representative: President Xi Jinping sent vice-premier Liu He, who spoke through a translator (left)

Packed: The East Room was fool for the invited audience of business leaders, White House aides and congressional Republicans

Packed: The East Room was fool for the invited audience of business leaders, White House aides and congressional Republicans

Everyone gets a mention: Chuck Grassley, the Iowa senator was asked to stand, while Trump claimed that Grassley had 'made [James] Comey choke like a dog'

Official delegation:Donald Trump is flanked by as Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer

First daughter: Ivanka Trump was followed into the East Room by Robert O'Brien, the National Security Advisor

Branstad, a longtime Iowa governor before coming to Washington, got the job because of his deep ties to global agriculture.

While Wall Street will carefully examine the fine print, the trade deal will allow businesses around the globe to breathe a sigh of relief.

After a nearly two-year battle, the signing could give Trump an election-year boost as well. Still, tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in imports remain in place, leaving many Americans to foot the bill.

Reporters covering the East Room event on Wednesday wore White House credentials with no date printed on them. That unusual feature suggests Trump’s trade negotiators weren’t certain whether the event would happen as scheduled.

Journalists shoot shoulder-to-shoulder, including a contingent of dozens from Chinese media outlets.

The ‘phase one’ agreement—which includes pledges from China to beef up purchases of American crops and other exports—also comes just as Trump faces an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, giving him a victory to trumpet at least in the short term.

As he is about the face an impeachment trial, President Donald Trump will be able to tout a trade deal with China

It's unclear which country will get the better end of the deal, but Trump has trumpeted every development that is favorable to the United States

It’s unclear which country will get the better end of the deal, but Trump has trumpeted every development that is favorable to the United States

China-US trade has diminished in both directions since Trump began venting about an imbalance of hundreds of billions of dollars wach year

The easing of US-China trade frictions has boosted stock markets worldwide in recent weeks, as it takes the threat of new tariffs off the table for now.

And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump’s negotiating stance led to a ‘fully enforceable deal’ which could bring additional tariffs.

If China fails to abide by the agreement, ‘the president has the ability to put on additional tariffs,’ Mnuchin said on CNBC Wednesday as part of a media blitz promoting the new pact.

However, the most difficult issues remain to be dealt with in ‘phase two’ negotiations, including massive subsidies for state industry and forced technology transfer.

But Mnuchin said the deal puts pressure on Beijing to stay at the negotiating table and make further commitments, including on cyber-security and other services to win relief from the tariffs that remain in place.

‘In phase two there will be additional roll backs,’ Mnuchin said. ‘This gives China a big incentive to get back to the table and agree to the additional issues that are still unresolved.’

Still, elements of the deal the administration has touted as achievements effectively take the relationship between the two powers back to where it was before Trump took office.

The US-China phase-one deal is essentially a trade truce, with large state-directed purchases attached,’ economist Mary Lovely said in an analysis.

Even so, ‘The truce is good news for the U.S. and the world economy.’

Still, the trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, cautioned that ‘we will continue to see the impact of this in slower investment and higher business costs.’

U.S. officials have said they will release details of the agreement set to be signed at a White House ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

After announcing the deal December 13, the U.S. canceled a damaging round of new tariffs that were due to kick in two days later and promised to slash in half the 15 percent tariffs on $120 billion imposed September 1 on consumer goods like clothing.

Mnuchin dismissed a Bloomberg report that the initial agreement could include provisions to roll back more tariffs on China after the election.

‘The tariffs will stay in place until there is a phase two. If the president gets phase two quickly, he will consider releasing tariffs. If not, there won’t be any tariff relief,’ Mnuchin said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV.

‘It has nothing to do with the election or anything else.’

Washington said Beijing agreed to import, over two years, $200 billion of U.S. products above the levels in 2017, before Trump launched his offensive.

Trump has repeatedly touted the trade pact as a boon for American farmers, saying China will buy $40 to $50 billion in agricultural goods.

U.S. farmers were hit hard by the tariff war—notably on soybeans which saw exports to China plunge to just $3 billion from more than $12 billion in 2017. The Trump administration paid out $28 billion in aid to farmers in the last two years.

But many economists question whether they have the capacity to meet that demand.

And Lovely raised a question about the wisdom on relying so heavily on the Chinese market.

‘It also means Chinese retaliation could be reinstated, dampening farmers’ willingness to invest to meet the very hard export targets in the deal.’

U.S. and Chinese officials say the agreement includes protections for intellectual property and addresses financial services and foreign exchange while including a pr.ovision for dispute resolution, which Mnuchin said will be binding for the first time.

Trump in August formally accused China of manipulating its currency to gain an advantage in trade and offset the impact of the tariffs.

The label, which had no real practical impact, was removed earlier this week.

The deal also restores a twice-yearly dialogue process that previous administrations conducted regularly but that Trump scrapped.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7889301/US-China-set-sign-vital-trade-truce.html

 

U.S. and China tiptoe around holes in new trade agreement

by Reuters
Thursday, 16 January 2020 00:46 GMT

By Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The United States and China signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of U.S. products, defusing an 18-month row between the world’s two largest economies but leaving a number of sore spots unresolved.

Beijing and Washington touted the “Phase 1” agreement as a step forward after months of start-and-stop talks, and investors greeted the news with relief. Even so, there was skepticism the U.S.-China trade relationship was now firmly on the mend.

The deal fails to address structural economic issues that led to the trade conflict, does not fully eliminate the tariffs that have slowed the global economy, and sets hard-to-achieve purchase targets, analysts and industry leaders said.

While acknowledging the need for further negotiations with China to solve a host of other problems, President Donald Trump hailed the agreement as a win for the U.S. economy and his administration’s trade policies.

“Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families,” Trump said in rambling remarks at the White House alongside U.S. and Chinese officials.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He read a letter from President Xi Jinping in which the Chinese leader praised the deal as a sign the two countries could resolve their differences with dialogue.

The centerpiece of the deal is a pledge by China to purchase at least an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. farm products and other goods and services over two years, above a baseline of $186 billion in purchases in 2017, the White House said.

Commitments include $54 billion in additional energy purchases, $78 billion in additional manufacturing purchases, $32 billion more in farm products, and $38 billion in services, according to a deal document released by the White House.

Liu said Chinese companies would buy $40 billion in U.S. agricultural products annually over the next two years “based on market conditions.” Beijing had balked at committing to buy set amounts of U.S. farm goods earlier, and has inked new soybean contracts with Brazil since the trade war started.

Key world stock market indexes climbed to record highs on hopes the deal would reduce tensions, before closing below those highs, while oil prices slid on doubts the pact will spur world economic growth and boost crude demand.

Soybean futures, which traded 0.4% lower throughout much of the deal signing ceremony, sank even further after Liu’s remarks, a sign that farmers and traders were dubious about the purchase goals.

The deal does not end retaliatory tariffs on American farm exports, makes farmers “increasingly reliant” on Chinese state-controlled purchases, and does not address “big structural changes,” Michelle Erickson-Jones, a wheat farmer and spokeswoman for Farmers for Free Trade, said in a statement.

Trump and his economic advisers had pledged to attack Beijing’s long-standing practice of propping up state-owned companies and flooding international markets with low-priced goods as the trade war heated up.

Although the deal could be a boost to U.S. farmers, automakers and heavy equipment manufacturers, some analysts question https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N29J26S China’s ability to divert imports from other trading partners to the United States.

“I find a radical shift in Chinese spending unlikely. I have low expectations for meeting stated goals,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group in Minneapolis. “But I do think the whole negotiation has moved the football forward for both the U.S. and China.”

Trump, who has embraced an “America First” policy aimed at rebalancing global trade in favor of U.S. companies and workers, said China had pledged action to confront the problem of pirated or counterfeited goods and said the deal included strong protection of intellectual property rights.

U.S. Speaker of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s China strategy had “inflicted deep, long-term damage to American agriculture and rattled our economy in exchange for more of the promises that Beijing has been breaking for years,” in a statement.

Earlier, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News the agreement would add 0.5 percentage point to U.S. gross domestic product growth in both 2020 and 2021.

Aviation industry sources said Boeing Co was expected to win a major order for wide-body jets from China, including its 787 or 777-9 models, or a mixture of both. Such a deal could ease pressure on the 787 Dreamliner, which has suffered from a broad downturn in demand for large jets, forcing the planemaker to trim production late last year.

CCTV, China’s state-run television outlet, said the deal would satisfy China’s increasingly demanding consumers by supplying products like dairy, poultry, beef, pork, and processed meat from the United States.

TARIFFS TO STAY

The Phase 1 deal, reached in December, canceled planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made cellphones, toys and laptop computers and halved the tariff rate to 7.5% on about $120 billion worth of other Chinese goods, including flat-panel televisions, Bluetooth headphones and footwear.

But it will leave in place 25% tariffs on a $250-billion array of Chinese industrial goods and components used by U.S. manufacturers, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on over $100 billion in U.S. goods.

Market turmoil and reduced investment tied to the trade war cut global growth in 2019 to its lowest rate since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said in October.

Tariffs on Chinese imports have cost U.S. companies $46 billion. Evidence is mounting that tariffs have raised input costs for U.S. manufacturers, eroding their competitiveness.

Diesel engine maker Cummins Inc said on Tuesday the deal will leave it paying $150 million in tariffs for engines and castings that it produces in China. It urged the parties to take steps to eliminate all the tariffs.

Trump, who has been touting the Phase 1 deal as a pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign, said he would agree to remove the remaining tariffs once the two sides had negotiated a “Phase 2” agreement.

“They will all come off as soon as we finish Phase 2,” said Trump, who added that he would visit China in the not-too-distant future.

Trump added that those negotiations would start soon, though in a Fox Business Network interview that aired on Wednesday evening, Vice President Mike Pence said: “We’ve already begun discussions on a Phase 2 deal.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal and Dave Lawder Additional reporting by Echo Wang, Lisa Lambert, Susan Heavey Lisa Lambert and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Tim Aeppel in New York, Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Se Young Lee and Stella Qui in Beijing and Tim Hepher in Paris; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Paul Simao, Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)

http://news.trust.org/item/20200115222233-ea7xk

Story 2: President Trump’s  United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Bill Passes Senate  89 to 10 Vote– On It Way For President Trump’s Signature  — Big Win For Trump and American People — Videos —

Senate passes USMCA trade deal

U.S. Senate passes USMCA trade agreement

Donald Trump’s USMCA trade pact finally passes through both houses of Congress as he touts China truce as ‘one of the greatest trade deals ever made’ but Democrats’ impeachment overshadows everything

  • NAFTA replacement will go to Trump’s Oval Office desk for his signature
  • President has pushed the plan for months but it languished in Democrat-run House of Representatives
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it on the agenda a day after her caucus impeached the president
  • That sent it to the Senate, which will try the impeachment cases beginning next week
  • Trump inked a major trade deal with China on Wednesday but even that has been overshadowed by impeachment 

Donald Trump tried to nudge the news cycle away from impeachment on Thursday as his long-languishing U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement finally passed in the Senate.

The final tally was 89-10. Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two of the presidential primary front-runners, took different approaches. Warren voted yes, Sanders no.

The vote was a rare moment of bipartisanship, a blipp on senators’ radar as they prepared for weeks of wrangling during Trump’s impeachment trial.

The president said farmers in America are ‘really happy’ with both the USMCA and a broad trade truce he signed Wednesday with China. 

Impeachment politics also overshadowed the House’s vote to green-light the USMCA, which came just one day after Democrats led a vote to charge Trump with two constitutional crimes.

The U.S. Senate passed the U.S> Mexico Canada Agreement on Thursday just before launching full bore into impeachment procedures

President Donald Trump got a double trade victory after his deal with China on Wednesday but all eyes were on the impeachment ceremonies

President Donald Trump got a double trade victory after his deal with China on Wednesday but all eyes were on the impeachment ceremonies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) had to wait to put the USMCA on the Senate floor for a vote until the House passed it; Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the trade treaty for months

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) had to wait to put the USMCA on the Senate floor for a vote until the House passed it; Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the trade treaty for months

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the pact as a ‘major win for the Trump administration, a major win for those of us who are already ready to move past this season of toxic political noise.’ 

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa called the USMCA ‘a major achievement for President Trump and a bipartisan deal for the American people.’

Democrats scrambled to take credit for upgrading the USMCA’s environmental and worker-protection clauses. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden claimed he and his colleagues gave the plan ‘a trade enforcement regime with real teeth.’

He also praised Trump’s chief negotiator Robert Lighthizer as ‘the hardest working man in the trade business.

Trump blamed the current trade pact with Canada and Mexico, the Bill Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, for sending millions of manufacturing jobs to low-wage plants south of the U.S. border. His administration secured changes that aim to have more cars produced where workers earn an average of at least $16 an hour. 

Pelosi held onto the USMCA until she could deny Trump a positivev news cycle, letting impeachment overshadow it completely

It also secured changes that require Mexico to change its laws to make it easier for workers to form independent unions, which should improve worker conditions and wages and reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate their plants.

While the administration completed its negotiations with Canada and Mexico more than a year ago, Democrats in the House insisted on changes to the pact that they say make it more likely Mexico will follow through on its commitments.

As part of those negotiations, the administration agreed to drop a provision that offered expensive biologic drugs—made from living cells—10 years of protection from cheaper knockoff competition.

The biggest holdouts are environmental groups, which continue to oppose the measure because it doesn´t address climate change. Indeed, they contend the agreement would contribute to rising temperatures.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., marveled Wednesday at how leaders of organized labor and farm groups in his state appeared together to support the pact.

‘They both agree that this USMCA trade agreement is a step forward, an improvement over the original NAFTA,’ Durbin said. ‘I think we´ve added to this process by making it truly bipartisan.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7895471/Trumps-USMCA-trade-pact-finally-passes-China-deal-signing-impeachment-overshadows-all.html

 

Congress

Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.

The vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement occurred after the Senate voted to waive budget restrictions. Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., argued on the floor, as he did in the Budget Committee, that the bill included appropriations that violate budget rules.

The Democrat-controlled House approved the bill on Dec. 19 with a bipartisan vote of 385-41. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House Democrats had negotiated several changes to the USMCA to make it acceptable.

Key changes for Democrats included enforcement of labor provisions they believe will make it more difficult and expensive for U.S. manufacturers, particularly auto makers, to shift production to Mexico. The changes won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, but other unions such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers oppose it.

The pact also would give technology companies provisions to address e-commerce, which did not exist when NAFTA was negotiated. A chapter based on Section 230 of a 1996 telecommunications law (PL 104-104) gives companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter immunity from liability for user content posted on their platforms.

Trump is expected to tout the vote in his reelection campaign as a promise kept. In 2016, he vowed either to revamp the 1994 trade agreement or to withdraw the U.S. from the pact. As president, Trump caused anxiety among businesses large and small and his base of farm support with threats to pull out of NAFTA if Canada and Mexico did not make concessions.

Business groups say congressional approval of the USMCA implementing bill makes it less likely Trump will try to upend a trade agreement negotiated and renamed by his administration.

The bill now goes to Trump for signing, but the Canadian Parliament still must ratify the USMCA before the agreement can take effect. Mexico has already approved the new pact.

The implementing legislation provides the framework and mechanisms the Trump administration will use to enforce labor rights and environmental standards with a focus on Mexico. For example, an interagency task force on labor will be established 90 days after the bill takes effect.

The USMCA will replace NAFTA, an agreement credited with building the three nations into a $1.2 trillion-a-year trading bloc and blamed for contributing to the loss of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs to low-wage Mexico.

Trump campaigned against NAFTA as the “worst trade deal ever made.”

In committee reviews, floor comments and statements, several senators cited the absence of environmental provisions addressing climate change as one reason for voting against the implementing bill.

Environmental concern

It seemed unlikely the administration would have pursued climate change, not only because of Trump’s skepticism of the science behind it, but also because a trade-negotiating objective Congress approved in 2015 says trade agreements are not to establish obligations for the U.S. regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The language is part of a customs enforcement law that added several negotiating guidelines to the Trade Promotion Authority statute, which sets the ground rules for trade deals sent to Congress for approval.

Democratic presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Michael Bennet of Colorado voted for the pact. Sanders, another candidate, said in a written statement that it should be rewritten because it does not guarantee that companies will stop shifting jobs to Mexico.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the USMCA will increase U.S. government revenue by $2.97 billion from fiscal 2020 to 2029 due to higher expected duty revenue on car and truck parts that do not meet stricter rules.

Some vehicles and parts would no longer qualify for duty-free treatment because they don’t meet new requirements that 75 percent of content in cars and auto parts come from North America and that 40 percent of car content and 45 percent of truck content be made by workers earning $16 an hour.

The CBO also estimates that the agreement would reduce the federal deficit by $3 billion over a 10-year period. The agency estimates that appropriations not subject to emergency status would total $833 million in outlays from fiscal 2020 to 2029.

Under the USMCA, U.S. dairy, poultry and egg products would gain greater access to Canadian markets, and Canada will adopt a new quality-grading system for U.S. wheat.

Canada also will end pricing schemes the U.S. dairy industry says keep Canadian skim milk powder prices at artificially lower levels, giving domestic producers an edge in sales to Canadian cheese-makers over U.S. high-protein ultrafiltered milk.

The International Trade Commission, an independent agency, said the trade agreement, “if fully implemented and enforced,” over several years would increase real GDP by $68.2 billion, or 0.35 percent, and would add 176,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

House Democrats’ negotiations with the Trump administration in 2019 resulted in the removal of provisions that would have given pharmaceutical companies a 10-year pricing monopoly on biologic drugs in Mexico and Canada. The U.S. has 12-year pricing exclusivity for biologics, and Democrats worried that keeping the provisions in the USMCA would prevent future Congresses from reducing the U.S. timeframe to less than 10 years.

https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/senate-passes-usmca-trump-win-trade-ahead-impeachment-trial

Story 3: REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist) Show Trial In House is Over — An American Fair Trial Begins Next Tuesday in Senate — Acquittal of President Trump Expected In 30 Days or Less As Hoax Exposed — Trump Goes On Offense — Videos

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Trump Impeachment Trial Begins as Senators Are Sworn In

House managers read charges as watchdog faults president’s hold on Ukraine aid and Kyiv probes whether U.S. envoy was tailed

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial against President Trump. PHOTO: SENATE TELEVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—The Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Trump on Thursday with Chief Justice John Roberts swearing in the senators, who pledged to deliver impartial justice, and the formal reading of the two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Hours before the senators took their oath, the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency, determined that Mr. Trump’s administration violated the law when it withheld aid to Ukraine, an issue at the heart of the impeachment case against the president.

Democrats allege that Mr. Trump, a Republican, improperly withheld the aid to pressure Kyiv to launch investigations that would help him politically in the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing, calling the case against him a “big hoax” on Thursday. He is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The GAO wrote that the White House Office of Management and Budget improperly froze Ukraine funding over the summer for policy reasons. It was later released after pressure from Congress. A spokeswoman for OMB said it disagreed with the GAO finding.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities opened a criminal probe into whether U.S. citizens placed the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine under surveillance, as text messages suggest, before she was removed from her post last year by Mr. Trump. The information came to light after House Democrats released documents Tuesday showing that an associate of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was sent text messages about tracking Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine.

Democratic and GOP lawmakers continued to wrangle on Thursday over whether new witnesses and evidence will be allowed in the trial. Those issues aren’t expected to be decided until well after the trial begins in earnest on Tuesday.

“If any of my colleagues had doubts about the case for witnesses and documents in a Senate trial, the stunning revelations this week should put those to rest,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said it wasn’t the Senate’s job to shore up the case the House built in what he called a “slapdash inquiry.” The Senate won’t “redo their homework and rerun the investigation,” he said

Chief Justice Roberts and Senators Sworn In for Impeachment Trial

Chief Justice Roberts and Senators Sworn In for Impeachment Trial
The impeachment trial of President Trump opened in the U.S. Senate as Chief Justice John Roberts and senators were sworn in. Photo: Associated Press

Mr. McConnell is set to release his plans for a trial framework on Tuesday, but Senate Republicans and White House officials said the contents of the resolution have largely been settled. Republicans briefed on the resolution have said they expect it to include a guaranteed vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents, as requested by some moderate Republicans.

GOP leaders believe they can keep Republicans united to block any efforts by Democrats to subpoena witnesses at the outset of the trial, according to people familiar with their plans. A vote on witnesses would be held later, after the House managers and Mr. Trump’s legal team present their cases, a process expected to stretch over two weeks.

A guaranteed vote to dismiss the charges won’t be built into the trial rules, according to these people. The White House and Senate Republicans are discussing holding a vote on a motion to dismiss after Democrats present their case but before Mr. Trump’s team addresses the Senate, according to an administration official.

At least two-thirds of the senators would have to vote to convict Mr. Trump to remove him from office.

By noon on Thursday, the fighting over the scope of the Senate trial took a pause. Every senator was seated at his or her desk, a rare sight during the ordinary legislative business, when it is common to see senators delivering speeches to an empty chamber. Senators typically don’t sit in their assigned seats even during roll call votes, preferring to stroll around and chitchat.

As they waited for the formal “exhibition” of articles, some senators scrolled on their cellphones or talked quietly to each other.

At 12:05 p.m., House managers, who will act as prosecutors during the trial, arrived at the ornate doors of the Senate. They walked in two-by-two, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.). Freshman Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D., Texas) trailed as the seventh. A Democratic aide said the order was chosen according to seniority.

All managers carried large blue folders containing their own copy of the articles of impeachment passed by the House last month and the resolution passed on Wednesday authorizing them as managers.

Silence fell and phones disappeared as the sergeant at arms warned senators to keep quiet “on pain of imprisonment.” Then Mr. Schiff, the lead manager, began reading the articles aloud from the well of the Senate.

“Resolved, that Donald John Trump, president of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors,” he said.

The House managers make their way to the Senate before the reading of the two articles of impeachment, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.. PHOTO: ALYSSA SCHUKAR FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The senators watched, with stony faces, as Mr. Schiff spoke. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) stifled a cough. Next to her, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) sat motionless with her hands folded in her lap. Sens. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) scribbled notes.

At 12:22, when Mr. Schiff had finished, the managers departed. They briefly huddled outside the chamber, once again got in order, and marched back toward the House side of the Capitol.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Chief Justice Roberts was escorted into the Senate by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.).

Everyone in the chamber rose. The only sound was the scratching of reporters’ pens.Then Chief Justice Roberts spoke: “Senators, I attend the Senate in conformity with your notice for the purpose of joining with you for the trial of the President of the United States. I am now prepared to take the oath.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the Senate’s president pro tempore, asked him to raise his right hand, place his left hand on the Bible, and swore him in.

Chief Justice Roberts then administered an oath to senators, who will act as the jury. “Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?”

“I do,” the senators said.

Senators were then called in alphabetical order to the Senate clerk’s desk to sign their names in an oath book. As the lawmakers waited to sign, there were flashes of bipartisan bonhomie. Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) warmly shook Mr. Grassley’s hand. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) patted the shoulder of Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), and the two shared a laugh with Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.). Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) gave Mr. Portman’s arm a squeeze.

All of the senators were present for the swearing-in except for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is at home with a family member facing a medical issue, according to his office. He plans to be sworn in next week, before the trial begins in earnest.

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment
The Senate accepted the articles of impeachment against President Trump, marking the official start of the trial. Photo: Associated Press

After the swearing-in, the Senate formally notified the White House of the pending trial and summoned Mr. Trump, who will be given until Saturday evening to reply.

Mr. McConnell also said the House has until Saturday at 5 p.m. to file a trial brief with the secretary of the Senate, and Mr. Trump has until noon on Monday to do so. The deadline for the House’s rebuttal is noon on Tuesday. The Senate trial was then adjourned until Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Although historic, Thursday entailed mostly pomp and circumstance. The trial won’t get under way substantively until the Senate reconvenes after the holiday weekend.

All 100 senators agreed on rules for the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial’s initial phase. There is no such bipartisan agreement now, and while Mr. McConnell says all 53 Republicans in his caucus are united on the path forward, he hasn’t released the text of his resolution laying out the procedures agreed upon by GOP senators.

In 1999, a resolution dealing with witnesses passed a few weeks into the trial, along party lines. Three witnesses, including Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Mr. Clinton admitted an inappropriate relationship, were deposed privately in the presence of a senator from each party. Excerpts were shown by video during the trial.

There are 15 senators now serving who also voted in the Clinton impeachment trial, including Messrs. McConnell and Schumer.

“I remember the solemnity of this, when you see the chief justice sitting in the chair with his august robes, when you hear your name called and you hear the charges, your hair sort of stands on end,” Mr. Schumer said in a recent interview.

Throughout the trial, all senators will be expected to be present and seated at their assigned desks. They won’t be allowed to talk.

Any deliberations among senators likely will be held in closed session, meaning that no press or cameras will be allowed. The rest of the trial will be open.

“It is a solemn feeling when you’re sitting in the seat, and you’re listening closely to what’s going on,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R., Ind.).

Mr. Braun said he and other senators are worried about the precedent being set. “Many senators have on their minds: Is this the new dynamic? Having two impeachments within 20 years of one another?” he said. “I don’t think anybody likes that feeling.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/senators-to-be-sworn-in-as-trump-impeachment-trial-begins-11579177831

 

Constitutional Law Prof. Stuns Dems on Impeachment: ‘It’s YOUR Abuse of Power’

WATCH: Jonathan Turley’s full opening statement | Trump impeachment hearings

Republican Witness Jonathan Turley: ‘This Is Not How You Impeach An American President’ | NBC News

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of legal experts | Trump impeachment hearings

Jonathan Turley On His Impeachment Testimony

NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley about his testimony on Wednesday

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she is instructing her committee chairs to draft articles of impeachment to remove President Trump from office. She framed her decision as a historic moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

NANCY PELOSI: The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when he says and acts upon the belief, Article II says I can do whatever I want. No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution.

MARTIN: Pelosi says the impeachment process has shown the public how the president has abused his power. Yesterday, four constitutional experts laid out the standards for and against impeachment in front of the House Judiciary Committee. One of them was Jonathan Turley. He’s a law professor at George Washington University. We spoke with him earlier today.

JONATHAN TURLEY: Well, first of all, my testimony, I said, as I did in the Clinton impeachment, that a president could be impeached for a noncriminal act and that President Trump could be impeached for abuse of power. You just have to prove it. He can also be impeached for obstruction of Congress.

The problem with the obstruction of Congress claim, in my view, is that it’s based on a very short period of investigation. This is one of the shortest we’ve had. It depends how you count the days between this and the Johnson impeachment, but it’s a very short period of investigation.

And what Congress is saying is that if the president invokes executive privilege or immunities and goes to court, he can be impeached for that – that he has to just turn over the information to Congress. Now, that’s a position that was maintained during the Nixon impeachment. In fact, it was the basis of the third article of impeachment. I’ve always disagreed with it. It’s not that you can’t impeach a president for withholding documents and witnesses. You can, and President Trump could well be the next one to be impeached on those grounds.

MARTIN: Mmm hmm.

TURLEY: What I was telling Congress is that they’ve burned two months. They should have gone to court over people like John – I’m sorry, subpoenaed and gone to court over people like John Bolton and gotten a court order. That would make it a stronger case.

MARTIN: So let’s talk about what you just laid out here. I mean, you are saying that because the White House has refused to allow certain people to come and testify, refused to hand over certain documents that the committees have requested and is fighting this in court, you’re saying that that process should be allowed to play out, that Congress is making an impeachment argument that is weak because they’re not waiting for the courts to weigh in?

TURLEY: I’m saying that this case could be much stronger. No one has really explained why they have to have a vote by the end of December rather than…

MARTIN: Well, isn’t the case about election interference? I mean, isn’t that the answer, that the central query here is about the interference of U.S. elections and 2020’s coming right up?

TURLEY: Well, 2020 is coming right up. But the problem is that when you look at how fast this has unfolded, the record remains thin. It remains conflicted. You have about 12 witnesses. You have other witnesses with direct evidence. And more importantly, you have a lot of defenses that have not been fully addressed. It’s not a fully developed record.

And all I’m saying is that before you give that record to the Senate, you should deal with some of those conflicts and some of those gaps. And this is an example of one of those, that I think the president could very well be impeached and removed for obstruction based on these acts. But by the way, that record is – conflicts in other respects. We had 12 witnesses. Many of those witnesses correctly appeared before Congress. They did so against the wishes of the president, but they remain in federal employment. They have not been disciplined. And does that…

MARTIN: But you’re saying their testimony is insufficient to prove obstruction or abuse of power.

TURLEY: Well, it’s insufficient because there remain conflicts. You know, part of the problems I have with the arguments made by my esteemed colleagues on the panel is that they kept on using the terms inference and circumstantial evidence. Those actually can be used in an impeachment, but it’s problematic if there’s information out there you can still get. This is not a question of the unknowable. This is using the peripheral. This is using information that could be strengthened. That’s what I’m arguing.

MARTIN: Although they pointed to the Mueller report as evidence of obstruction. Presumably, you don’t believe that the Mueller report conclusions are true then.

TURLEY: Well, I never said I didn’t think they were true, but the obstruction claim was rejected by the Department of Justice – not just Attorney General Bill Barr, but by Rod Rosenstein, who is a respected deputy attorney general. And I agree with their decision on that.

MARTIN: All right. Jonathan Turley, one of the constitutional scholars testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. Thank you.

TURLEY: Thank you.

https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/784994918/jonathan-turley-on-his-impeachment-testimony

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.

William Russo, a spokesman for Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden did not respond to email messages Monday seeking comment. The phone number at Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC in Washington was no longer in service on Monday.

The timing of Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s appointment to Burisma’s board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor’s probe of Burisma and his son’s role. They noted that:

  • Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma;
  • Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;
  • Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.

President Obama named Biden the administration’s point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine’s Crimea territory.

According to Schweizer’s book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma’s legal team.

But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden’s effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clintonwas running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.”

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.

Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.

The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.

As for Joe Biden’s intervention in getting Lutsenko’s predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: “Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.”

As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.

Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

 

 

Solomon: These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden’s Ukraine story

Former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has locked into a specific story about the controversy in Ukraine.

He insists that, in spring 2016, he strong-armed Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor solely because Biden believed that official was corrupt and inept, not because the Ukrainian was investigating a natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, that hired Biden’s son, Hunter, into a lucrative job.

There’s just one problem.

Hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative.

And they raise the troubling prospect that U.S. officials may have painted a false picture in Ukraine that helped ease Burisma’s legal troubles and stop prosecutors’ plans to interview Hunter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For instance, Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered “an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced.

In addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.

The memos raise troubling questions:

1.)   If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma’s American legal team refer to those allegations as “false information?”

Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) since the summer of 2018, fearing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws. First, they hired a former federal prosecutor to bring the information to the U.S. attorney in New York, who, they say, showed no interest. Then, the Ukrainians reached out to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told Trump in July that he plans to launch his own wide-ranging investigation into what happened with the Bidens and Burisma.

“I’m knowledgeable about the situation,” Zelensky told Trump, asking the American president to forward any evidence he might know about. “The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.”

Biden has faced scrutiny since December 2015, when the New York Times published a story noting that Burisma hired Hunter Biden just weeks after the vice president was asked by President Obama to oversee U.S.-Ukraine relations. That story also alerted Biden’s office that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin had an active investigation of Burisma and its founder.

Documents I obtained this year detail an effort to change the narrative after the Times story about Hunter Biden, with the help of the Obama State Department.

Hunter Biden’s American business partner in Burisma, Devon Archer, texted a colleague two days after the Times story about a strategy to counter the “new wave of scrutiny” and stated that he and Hunter Biden had just met at the State Department. The text suggested there was about to be a new “USAID project the embassy is announcing with us” and that it was “perfect for us to move forward now with momentum.”

I have sued the State Department for any records related to that meeting. The reason is simple: There is both a public interest and an ethics question to knowing if Hunter Biden and his team sought State’s assistance while his father was vice president.

The controversy ignited anew earlier this year when I disclosed that Joe Biden admitted during a 2018 videotaped speech that, as vice president in March 2016, he threatened to cancel $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, to pressure Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko to fire Shokin.

At the time, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma. Shokin told me he was making plans to question Hunter Biden about $3 million in fees that Biden and his partner, Archer, collected from Burisma through their American firm. Documents seized by the FBI in an unrelated case confirm the payments, which in many months totaled more than $166,000.  

Some media outlets have reported that, at the time Joe Biden forced the firing in March 2016, there were no open investigations. Those reports are wrong. A British-based investigation of Burisma’s owner was closed down in early 2015 on a technicality when a deadline for documents was not met. But the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s office still had two open inquiries in March 2016, according to the official case file provided me. One of those cases involved taxes; the other, allegations of corruption. Burisma announced the cases against it were not closed and settled until January 2017.

After I first reported it in a column, the New York Times and ABC News published similar stories confirming my reporting.

Joe Biden has since responded that he forced Shokin’s firing over concerns about corruption and ineptitude, which he claims were widely shared by Western allies, and that it had nothing to do with the Burisma investigation.

Some of the new documents I obtained call that claim into question.

In a newly sworn affidavit prepared for a European court, Shokin testified that when he was fired in March 2016, he was told the reason was that Biden was unhappy about the Burisma investigation. “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin testified.

“On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation,” Shokin added.

Shokin certainly would have reason to hold a grudge over his firing. But his account is supported by documents from Burisma’s legal team in America, which appeared to be moving into Ukraine with intensity as Biden’s effort to fire Shokin picked up steam.

Burisma’s own accounting records show that it paid tens of thousands of dollars while Hunter Biden served on the board of an American lobbying and public relations firm, Blue Star Strategies, run by Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, who both served in President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Just days before Biden forced Shokin’s firing, Painter met with the No. 2 official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington and asked to meet officials in Kiev around the same time that Joe Biden visited there. Ukrainian embassy employee Oksana Shulyar emailed Painter afterward: “With regards to the meetings in Kiev, I suggest that you wait until the next week when there is an expected vote of the government’s reshuffle.”

Ukraine’s Washington embassy confirmed the conversations between Shulyar and Painter but said the reference to a shakeup in Ukrainian government was not specifically referring to Shokin’s firing or anything to do with Burisma.

Painter then asked one of the Ukraine embassy’s workers to open the door for meetings with Ukraine’s prosecutors about the Burisma investigation, the memos show. Eventually, Blue Star would pay that Ukrainian official money for his help with the prosecutor’s office.

At the time, Blue Star worked in concert with an American criminal defense lawyer, John Buretta, who was hired by Burisma to help address the case in Ukraine. The case was settled in January 2017 for a few million dollars in fines for alleged tax issues.

Buretta, Painter, Tramontano, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s campaign have not responded to numerous calls and emails seeking comment.

On March 29, 2016, the day Shokin’s firing was announced, Buretta asked to speak with Yuriy Sevruk, the prosecutor named to temporarily replace Shokin, but was turned down, the memos show.

Blue Star, using the Ukrainian embassy worker it had hired, eventually scored a meeting with Sevruk on April 6, 2016, a week after Shokin’s firing. Buretta, Tramontano and Painter attended that meeting in Kiev, according to Blue Star’s memos.

Sevruk memorialized the meeting in a government memo that the general prosecutor’s office provided to me, stating that the three Americans offered an apology for the “false” narrative that had been provided by U.S. officials about Shokin being corrupt and inept.

“They realized that the information disseminated in the U.S. was incorrect and that they would facilitate my visit to the U.S. for the purpose of delivering the true information to the State Department management,” the memo stated.

The memo also quoted the Americans as saying they knew Shokin pursued an aggressive corruption investigation against Burisma’s owner, only to be thwarted by British allies: “These individuals noted that they had been aware that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine had implemented all required steps for prosecution … and that he was released by the British court due to the underperformance of the British law enforcement agencies.”

The memo provides a vastly different portrayal of Shokin than Biden’s. And its contents are partially backed by subsequent emails from Blue Star and Buretta that confirm the offer to bring Ukrainian authorities to meet the Obama administration in Washington.

For instance, Tramontano wrote the Ukrainian prosecution team on April 16, 2016, saying U.S. Justice Department officials, including top international prosecutor Bruce Swartz, might be willing to meet. “The reforms are not known to the US Justice Department and it would be useful for the Prosecutor General to meet officials in the US and share this information directly,” she wrote.

Buretta sent a similar email to the Ukrainians, writing that “I think you would find it productive to meet with DOJ officials in Washington” and providing contact information for Swartz. “I would be happy to help,” added Buretta, a former senior DOJ official.

Burisma, Buretta and Blue Star continued throughout 2016 to try to resolve the open issues in Ukraine, and memos recount various contacts with the State Department and the U.S. embassy in Kiev seeking help in getting the Burisma case resolved.

Just days before Trump took office, Burisma announced it had resolved all of its legal issues. And Buretta gave an interview in Ukraine about how he helped navigate the issues.

 Today, two questions remain.

One is whether it was ethically improper or even illegal for Biden to intervene to fire the prosecutor handling Burisma’s case, given his son’s interests. That is one that requires more investigation and the expertise of lawyers.

The second is whether Biden has given the American people an honest accounting of what happened. The new documents I obtained raise serious doubts about his story’s credibility. And that’s an issue that needs to be resolved by voters.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/463307-solomon-these-once-secret-memos-cast-doubt-on-joe-bidens-ukraine-story

The full Trump-Ukraine
impeachment timeline

The House of Representatives is engaged in a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. It is focused on his efforts to secure specific investigations in Ukraine that carried political benefits for him — including aides allegedly tying those investigations to official U.S. government concessions.

Below is a timeline of relevant events.

The timeline is sortable. “Trump” refers to events in which Trump himself was involved. “Quid pro quo” is events that involve government concessions being tied to investigations. “Ukraine” tracks what Ukrainian officials were doing, while “Giuliani” does the same for Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and “Biden” tracks every event in which Joe or Hunter Biden were invoked.

How much detail would you like?

Key events An in-depth look Everything

Which topics are you interested in?

All topics Trump Ukraine Quid pro quo Biden Giuliani

Unrest in Ukraine

2014-2016

February 22, 2014

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is ousted from power during a popular uprising in the country. He flees to Russia. After his ouster, Ukrainian officials begin a wide-ranging investigation into corruption in the country.

March 7, 2014

Lev Parnas, eventually an associate of former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, has his first known interaction with Donald Trump at a golf tournament in Florida.

March 1, 2014

Russia invades the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, annexing it.

May 13, 2014

KEY EVENT Hunter Biden, a son of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Bidenjoins the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. It is owned by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, one of several subjects of the Ukrainian corruption probe.

May 25, 2014

Petro Poroshenko is elected president of Ukraine.

February 10, 2015

Viktor Shokin becomes Ukraine’s prosecutor general.

Early 2015

Top State Department aide George Kent raises concerns about Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma, as he later testifies. Biden’s office turns him away and explains that the vice president does not have the “bandwidth” to deal with the issue at a time when his other son, Beau Biden, is dealing with cancer, according to Kent’s testimony.

September 24, 2015

Then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt blasts Shokin in a speech in Odessa, Ukraine. He points to a “glaring problem” that threatens the good work regional leaders are doing: “the failure of the institution of the prosecutor general of Ukraine to successfully fight internal corruption.” He adds: “The United States stands behind those who challenge these bad actors.”

October 8, 2015

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland testifies to the Senate that Shokin’s “office has to be reinvented as an institution that serves the citizens of Ukraine, rather than ripping them off.”

December 8, 2015

KEY EVENT In Kyiv, Biden tells Ukrainian leaders to fire Shokin or lose more than $1 billion in loan guarantees. Biden joins many Western leaders in urging Shokin’s ouster.

February 10, 2016

The International Monetary Fund threatens to halt a bailout program for Ukraine unless the country addresses its corruption issues.

February 11, 2016

Biden speaks with Poroshenko by phone and emphasizes the urgency of rooting out corruption.

February 18, 2016

Biden speaks with Poroshenko again.

March 28, 2016

Paul Manafort is hired as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman, where he is chiefly in charge of securing delegates at the Republican National Convention. Manafort formerly worked for Yanukovych‘s Party of Regions in Ukraine.

March 29, 2016

Shokin is ousted from his position by Ukraine’s parliament.

April 14, 2016

Biden and Poroshenko speak again.

May 12, 2016

Yuri Lutsenko becomes Ukraine’s new prosecutor general, replacing Shokin.

May 13, 2016

The White House says it “welcomes” Lutsenko‘s appointment and the addition of an independent counsel in Lutsenko’s office, and declares it will guarantee the $1 billion in loans.

June 3, 2016

The U.S. government guarantees the loan.

June 20, 2016

Manafort becomes the head of Trump’s campaign after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is fired.

August 14, 2016

Ukrainian officials reveal the existence of a handwritten “black ledger” suggesting Manafort had received millions in off-the-books payments from Yanukovych‘s party. These payments will ultimately be part of criminal charges filed against Manafort in the United States.

August 19, 2016

Manafort is forced out of Trump’s campaign.

November 8, 2016

KEY EVENT Trump is elected president, defeating Hillary Clinton.

Seeds of a conspiracy theory

2017-April 2019

January 11, 2017

KEY EVENT Politico reports Ukrainian officials “helped Clinton‘s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers” during the campaign. It said they were also trying to make amends after questioning Trump’s fitness for office and disseminating the Manafort documents. The article notes, however, that there is no indication of an effort originating within the leadership of the Ukrainian government itself.

January 12, 2017

Ukraine’s probes of Burisma are finalized and closed, according to the company, though Lutsenko later tells Bloomberg that one sale of an oil storage terminal will still be investigated.

February 6, 2017

Trump and Poroshenko speak by phone, during which time they “discussedplans for an in-person meeting in the future,” according to the White House.

April 21, 2017

Trump for the first time floats a conspiracy theory that Ukraine might have played a role in falsely fingering Russia for its 2016 election interference. “[The Democrats] get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server,” Trump tells AP, adding, “They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based. That’s what I heard. I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian.”

April 28, 2017

Trump again brings up the conspiracy theory in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

June 8, 2017

Giuliani, who would later become Trump’s personal lawyer, meets with Poroshenko and Lutsenko, according to a later-released House investigation.

June 9, 2017

Lutsenko’s office joins in an existing investigation into the black ledger, which had been under the control of an independent anti-corruption bureau. Critics allege the effort is intended to stifle the investigation.

June 14, 2017

European reports indicate Poroshenko will meet with Trump in the White House.

June 20, 2017

Poroshenko visits the White House to meet with Vice President Pence, but receives only a brief audience with Trump.

July 25, 2017

Trump tweets about “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign” and asks: “So where is the investigation A.G.” — referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

December 20, 2017

The Trump administration approves the sale of lethal arms to Ukraine for the first time.

January 23, 2018

KEY EVENT At an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden describes his pressure campaign in Ukraine. “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’ ” Biden says. “Well, son of a b—-. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Early April

Ukrainian officials close their Manafort probes and have also decide to stop assisting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s Russia investigation out of concern that doing so would harm their relationship with Trump’s administration and jeopardize military assistance, according to the New York Times.

April 19, 2018

KEY EVENT The Washington Post reports Trump has hired Giuliani as his personal lawyer, initially focused on seeing out the Russia investigation.

April 2018

Two Soviet-born business associates of GiulianiParnas and Igor Fruman, attend an event for a pro-Trump super PAC at Trump’s Washington hotel. While speaking with Trump, they badmouth U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Trump immediately suggests she be fired, according to Parnas.

April 30, 2018

Poroshenko announces the first shipment of Javelins from the United States have arrived.

May 1, 2018

Parnas and Fruman meet Trump at the White House, according to later-deleted Facebook photos.

May 4, 2018

Three Democratic senators — Robert Menendez (N.J.), Richard J. Durbin(Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) — write to Lutsenko, urging him to continue working with Mueller.

May 9, 2018

Parnas posts a photo of him and his business partner David Correia meetingwith Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) in Sessions’s Capitol Hill office. The two men commit to raise $20,000 for Sessions, according to their later indictments.

May 9, 2018

That same day, Pete Sessions writes to the State Department seeking the dismissal of Yovanovitch. Sessions says he has “received notice of concrete evidence” that she had “spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current Administration.”

May 17, 2018

Parnas and Fruman contribute $325,000 to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action through a newly formed business named Global Energy Producers, which is supposedly a liquefied natural gas company. In their later indictments, prosecutors will say the funds actually came from a $1.26 million private lending transaction that occurred two days earlier.

May 21, 2018

Parnas posts a picture on Facebook showing him and Fruman at breakfast with Donald Trump Jr. in Beverly Hills, Calif.

December 5, 2018

Giuliani meets with former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, according to a lobbying database. They talk about “security issues, including the escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the US assistance to our country,” according to a Ukrainian report.

Late 2018

Giuliani speaks with Shokin, according to a later-revealed complaint from an anonymous whistleblower.

January

Giuliani and Lutsenko meet in New York, as Bloomberg News later reports.

Mid-February

Giuliani again meets with Lutsenko, this time in Warsaw, according to the whistleblower.

February 1, 2019

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov tells Yovanovitch that the country is worried about being wrapped up in U.S. political campaigns, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony. He cites the Manafort situation and both the Bidens and Trump’s conspiracy theory involving Ukraine’s role in 2016 election interference.

March 6, 2019

Yovanovitch gives a speech in Ukraine in which she targets Lutsenko. “To ensure the integrity of anticorruption institutions, the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor must be replaced,” she says. “Nobody who has been recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges can be trusted to prosecute those very same cases.”

March 20, 2019

In an interview with pro-Trump journalist John SolomonLutsenko alleges that Yovanovitch gave him “a list of people whom we should not prosecute.” The State Department calls the claim an “outright fabrication,” but Trump promotes the story in a tweet. It is later revealed that Parnas facilitated the interview.The whistleblower later notes that Lutsenko was working for the incumbent, Poroshenko, who had been trailing challenger Volodymyr Zelensky in the upcoming March 31 election. Zelensky had pledged to replace Lutsenko. Yovanovitch later speculates, in congressional testimony, that Lutsenko was hoping Trump would endorse Poroshenko.

March 24, 2019

Trump Jr. attacks Yovanovitch on Twitter, saying: “We need more ⁦[Germany Ambassador] @RichardGrenell‘s and less of these jokers as ambassadors.”

March 26, 2019

Giuliani speaks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to State Department emails.

March 29, 2019

Giuliani speaks with Pompeo again, according to the State Department emails. The call lasts about four minutes.

March 31, 2019

The first round of Ukraine’s presidential election is held. Poroshenko and Zelensky head to a runoff.

April 1, 2019

After speaking with Lutsenko, Solomon reports that a probe into Joe Biden’s push to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor is underway. Lutsenko tells Solomon that he wants to present his evidence to Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mid-April

Hunter Biden‘s term as a Burisma board member ends.

April 18, 2019

Lutsenko retracts his claim that Yovanovitch gave him a list of people not to prosecute.

April 18, 2019

Separately, Mueller releases his report on the Russia investigation. Mueller finds no illegal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but says he decided not to reach a firm conclusion on potential obstruction of justice by Trump. William Barr later opts not to accuse Trump of obstruction, despite extensive evidence laid out in the Mueller report.

April 21, 2019

KEY EVENT Zelensky, a former TV comedian, is elected president of Ukraine with 73 percent of the vote.

Ahead of a Trump phone call with Zelensky, Vindman writes talking points that indicate Trump should bring up “corruption” with the president-elect, according to Vindman’s later testimony, and a White House readout is drafted declaring Trump did so, according to Washington Post reporting. But Trump does not mention corruption on the call, according to a transcript released later by the White House.

April 23, 2019

Giuliani tweets about a Ukrainian investigation into alleged foreign collusion by the Democrats. “Now Ukraine is investigating Hillary campaign and DNC conspiracy with foreign operatives including Ukrainian and others to affect 2016 election,” he says. “And there’s no [former FBI director James B.]Comey to fix the result.”

April 24, 2019

Foreign Service Director General Carol Perez speaks with Yovanovitch at 1 a.m. and urges her to come back to Washington immediately, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony. “I was like, what? What happened?” Yovanovitch would later testify. “And she said, ‘I don’t know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately. You need to come home on the next plane.’ ” Once home, she says she meets with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who informs her that her time as ambassador is being curtailed. “He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the Summer of 2018,″ Yovanovitch says in her testimony. “He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

April 25, 2019

In an interview with Fox News, Trump addresses the suggestion that Ukraine interfered in 2016. “I would imagine [William Barr] would want to see this,” he says. “People have been saying this whole — the concept of Ukraine, they have been talking about it actually for a long time.”

April 25, 2019

Joe Biden announces his presidential campaign.

The anti-Biden effort becomes public

May-June 2019

May 1, 2019

KEY EVENT The New York Times publishes a story tying Joe Biden’s pressure campaign in Ukraine to Shokin having investigated Burisma, portraying it as a potential liability in his 2020 campaign.

May 7, 2019

Bloomberg News casts doubt on the Times report, citing Ukrainian officials who say the Burisma investigation had long been dormant when Joe Biden applied pressure on Ukraine’s government.

May 7, 2019

KEY EVENT It is reported that Yovanovitch has been recalled by the State Department, two months before her scheduled departure date. Democrats allege a “political hit job” aimed at creating a pretext to remove her.

May 7, 2019

Zelensky holds a meeting with top advisers that is supposed to be about energy policy. According to AP, though, most of the three-hour meeting winds up being devoted to how to navigate Giuliani‘s efforts and avoid being wrapped up in U.S. politics.

May 9, 2019

KEY EVENT Giuliani tells the New York Times that he will travel to Ukraine to push for investigations related to the Bidens and the 2016 election “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

May 11, 2019

Giuliani cancels his Ukraine trip, acceding to the pressure.

May 11, 2019

Separately, Lutsenko and Zelensky meet for two hours, according to the whistleblower, with Lutsenko requesting to stay in his position.

Early May

Former Ukrainian prosecutor Kostiantyn H. Kulyk tells the Times that Yovanovitch had thwarted his efforts to deliver damaging information about the Bidens to the FBI by denying his visa request.

May 13, 2019

William Barr announces a probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, which Trump and his congressional allies had pushed for by alleging a coup attempt. He appoints U.S. attorney John Durham to lead it.

Mid-May

The whistleblower is told that officials, including Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, had spoken with Giuliani to “contain the damage” he was doing, according to their complaint.

Mid-May

Parnas and Fruman, the Giuliani associates, travel to Ukraine and meet with Sergey Shefir, who later became an aide to Zelensky, and Ivan Bakanov, who is now the head of Ukraine’s secret police. Parnas’s lawyer later claimsParnas told Ukrainian officials that they had to announce the investigations of the Bidens or else Vice President Pence would skip Zelensky’s inauguration and the United States would freeze aid to Ukraine.

Mid-May

Trump tells Pence not to attend Zelensky‘s inauguration, according to the whistleblower. Instead, Energy Secretary Rick Perry attends. The whistleblower says it was “made clear” to them that “the President did not want to meet with Mr. Zelensky until he saw how Zelensky ‘chose to act’ in office.”

May 14, 2019

Giuliani tells a Ukrainian journalist that Yovanovitch was “removed . . . because she was part of the efforts against the president.”

May 16, 2019

Lutsenko says there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.

May 19, 2019

KEY EVENT In an interview with Fox News, Trump explicitly references Biden’s efforts in Ukraine. “Biden, he calls them and says, ‘Don’t you dare persecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor’ — The prosecutor was after his son,” Trump says. “Then he said, ‘If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be okay. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, ‘We’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?” Trump makes the allegation even though there was no evidence the investigation focused on any actions by the Bidens.

May 20, 2019

KEY EVENT Zelensky is inaugurated as president of Ukraine. Shortly after his inauguration, Giuliani meets with Lutsenko allies who made the allegations included in Solomon’s reporting.

May 23, 2019

The administration notifies Congress that it intends to release hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid to Ukraine.

May 23, 2019

At a White House meeting with Trump and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyPerrySondland and Volker—who later dub themselves the “three amigos” — debrief the president on Zelensky’s inauguration and their views of the new Ukrainian leader. Trump is skeptical, telling them that Ukraine is “not serious about reform” and “tried to take him down,” according to later testimony from Sondland. Trump puts them in charge of a back-channel diplomacy effort in Ukraine, according to the later testimony of Kent, instructing them to “talk with Rudy” as they did so.

May 28, 2019

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. meets with Pompeo, who encourages him to become the top diplomat to Ukraine — also known as a chargé d’affaires. Despite reservations, which he later recounts in his testimony, including about Giuliani, Taylor takes the job, effectively replacing Yovanovitch.

May 29, 2019

Trump sends Zelensky a congratulatory letter inviting him to a White House meeting.

Some time in May

Giuliani meets with a top Ukrainian anti-corruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky, in Paris, according to Kholodnytsky. Kholodnytsky, who had clashed with Yovanovitch, has declined to comment on what he and Giuliani discussed, but he said the Burisma investigation should be reopened.

June 13, 2019

KEY EVENT In an interview with ABC News, Trump says he might accept electoral assistance from a foreign government, if offered. “I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump says. “If somebody called from a country, Norway — ‘We have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” The chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission subsequently points out on Twitter that this would be illegal.

June 18, 2019

The Department of Defense publicly announces $250 million in military aid to Ukraine.

June 19, 2019

Trump begins asking questions about the military aid after seeing news reports, according to the testimony of Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy.

June 19, 2019

In an interview with Fox News, Trump again links Ukraine and the effort to hack the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election — a link that the whistleblower and later reporting show does not exist.

June 21, 2019

Giuliani tweets that Zelensky is “still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery of Pres Poroshenko.”

June 27, 2019

Sondland tells Taylor that Zelensky needs to make clear to Trump that he is not impeding “investigations,” as Taylor will later testify.

June 28, 2019

SondlandVolkerTaylor and Perry participate in a call ahead of a planned call with Zelensky. According to Taylor, before Zelensky is added to the call, Sondland expresses a desire to keep regular interagency officials off the call. Sondland says he does not want anyone monitoring or transcribing the call, according to Taylor. Also on the call, Volker tells the participants that he intends to be explicit with Zelensky during an upcoming meeting in Toronto about what Zelensky needs to do to secure a White House meeting, according to Taylor. But Volker does not say specifically what he will request.

On the call, it is “made clear that some action on a Burisma/Biden investigation was a precondition for an Oval Office meeting,” Taylor tells one of his aides, David Holmes, according to Holmes’s later testimony.

Internal discord and a presidential call

July-August 2019

July 3, 2019

Aid to Ukraine is put on hold, according to three administration officials. Word of the hold is not widely known until later in the month.

July 10, 2019

KEY EVENT Top Ukrainian defense official Oleksandr Danyliuk meets with SondlandVolkerPerry and White House national security adviser John Bolton in Washington. (Taylor says top Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak was also present.) According to Vindman’s testimony and the testimony of fellow NSC aide Fiona Hill, Bolton cuts the meeting short when Sondland begins requesting specific investigations in exchange for a meeting between Trump and Zelensky. Sondland also states that he coordinated the quid pro quo with Mulvaney, according to Vindman and Hill.

According to Vindman, Sondland in a later meeting emphasizes “the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma,” and Vindman and Hill both reprimand him for his “inappropriate” requests. Vindman contacts NSC lawyers, according to his testimony, and Hill contacts NSC lawyer John Eisenberg, according to her testimony. According to Taylor, Vindman and Hill tell him later that Bolton said they should have nothing to do with domestic politics and that Hill should “brief the lawyers.” Bolton decries the arrangement as a “drug deal,” according to Hill.

July 10, 2019

Taylor meets in Ukraine with Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Bohdan, and foreign policy adviser Vadym Prystaiko. According to Taylor, they tell him Giuliani had told them a phone call between Trump and Zelensky was unlikely to happen. Taylor relays their disappointment to U.S. officials.

July 12, 2019

Axios reports that Trump and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coatsare at odds, with Trump telling confidants that he wants to remove Coats from his position.

July 18, 2019

KEY EVENT Trump’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine is communicated to the State and Defense departments. Members of Congress are told that the hold is part of an “interagency delay.” Taylor later says an Office of Management and Budget official did not explain why, but said that the decision was relayed through Mulvaney.

July 19, 2019

Volker texts Sondland about the upcoming Zelensky call with Trump. “Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation,” Volker says.

July 19, 2019

Volker texts Giuliani to connect him with Yermak. Giuliani would later say on Fox News that the State Department had asked for his help. “I didn’t know Mr. Yermak on July 19,” Giuliani said. “You see it right there, 2019 at 4:48 in the afternoon I got a call from Volker. Volker said ‘Would you meet with him? It would be helpful to us. We really want you to do it.’ ” Giuliani added: “They basically knew everything I was doing.”

July 19, 2019

Vindman and Hill inform Taylor that they are not aware of an official change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine, but that Mulvaney is skeptical of the country, according to Taylor’s testimony.

July 20, 2019

Taylor confronts Volker about Hill‘s claim that Volker met with Giuliani, according to Taylor, and Volker does not respond.

July 20, 2019

Sondland tells Taylor that he encouraged Zelensky to tell Trump that he would “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to “investigations,” according to Taylor.

July 20, 2019

Danyliuk tells Taylor that Zelensky does not want to be used as a pawn for a U.S. reelection campaign, also according to Taylor.

July 21, 2019

Taylor relays that concern to Sondland via text. “President Zelensky is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously,” he writes, “not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.”

July 22, 2019

Shokin alleges to The Post that he was removed as prosecutor general over the Biden issue. “I will answer that the activities of Burisma, the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden, and the [prosecutor general’s office] investigators on his tail, are the only — I emphasize, the only — motives for organizing my resignation,” he says. Other Ukrainian officials have said this is untrue.

July 22, 2019

Yermak and Giuliani schedule a meeting in early August, according to Giuliani.

July 23, 2019

The OMB reiterates that aid to Ukraine is suspended.

July 24, 2019

Mueller testifies before Congress about his report and its findings.

July 25, 2019

KEY EVENT Before a scheduled call between Trump and ZelenskyVolkertexts with Yermak and again expresses the importance of Zelensky saying he will launch investigations. For the first time on-record, he also ties this to a potential White House meeting for Zelensky. “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,” Volker says.

That message followed outreach from Sondland who, about half an hour prior, had left Volker a message. Sondland had spoken with Trump that morning and would later testify that he believed Volker’s text to Yermak was a message that he had “likely” received from Trump on that call.

July 25, 2019

KEY EVENT Trump and Zelensky speak. As we later find out from a rough transcript released by the White House, Trump repeatedly notes how “good” the United States is to Ukraine and then proceeds to ask Zelensky to open two investigations. One investigation involves CrowdStrike, an Internet security company that probed the Democratic National Committee hack in 2016, and the other involves the Bidens and Burisma.

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump says before floating the CrowdStrike investigation.

He later adds: “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. . . . It sounds horrible to me.”

Trump repeatedly suggests William Barr will be involved in working with the Ukrainian government on the investigation. Zelensky tells Trump that his yet-to-be-named new prosecutor general “will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue” — apparently referring to Burisma.

Trump says Yovanovitch “was bad news, and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that.” When Zelensky thanks Trump for previously warning him about Yovanovitch, Trump responds: “Well, she’s going to go through some things.”

The Post would later report that at least four national security officials raised concerns about Trump’s Ukraine efforts with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after the Zelensky call. Eisenberg moves a transcript of the call to a classified server that is generally reserved for sensitive national security information, according to multiple witnesses, though Vindman and Morrison said not for nefarious reasons.

July 25, 2019

After the call, Yermak texts Volker back, saying: “Phone call went well. President Trump proposed to choose any convenient dates. President Zelenskiy chose 20,21,22 September for the White House Visit.”

July 25, 2019

State Department staff circulate emails indicating the Ukrainian embassy is asking about U.S. military assistance and appears to be aware of the “situation” involving the aid, according to later testimony by State Department official Laura Cooper.

July 26, 2019

Volker and Sondland travel to Kyiv and meet with Zelensky and other politicians. There, the whistleblower writes, they “reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of” Zelensky. Zelensky tells Volker and Taylor that he was happy with the call and asks about the Oval Office meeting Trump offered in the May 29 letter, according to Taylor’s later testimony.

July 26, 2019

KEY EVENT Holmes, while in Ukraine with Sondland, overhears a phone call between Trump and Sondland, in which Trump inquires about investigations, according to Taylor’s and Holmes’s later testimonies. Sondland later tells Holmes that Trump doesn’t care about Ukraine as a country and that he just wants the investigations, according to Taylor and Holmes. Sondland later says he doesn’t recall mentioning Biden but otherwise doesn’t contradict their testimony.

Days following July 25

The whistleblower writes: “I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

The whistleblower claims to have been told by White House officials that they were directed by White House lawyers to move the transcript from the normal documentation archive and to “a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature” — a move one official called an “act of abuse.”

In an appendix, the whistleblower adds that officials said “this was ‘not the first time’ under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information.”

July 28, 2019

Trump announces that Coats will resign in August.

July 31, 2019

Trump holds a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The call is first reported by the Russians; the White House does not confirm it until late in the evening. The Russians, in a much more substantial readout than the United States, claim Trump and Putin spoke about restoring full diplomatic relations one day.

Early August

Mulvaney asks acting OMB director Russell Vought for an update on the legal rationale for withholding the Ukraine aid and how much longer it could be delayed, according to Washington Post reporting.

August 2, 2019

Giuliani travels to Madrid, where he meets with YermakParnas is also in the meeting, according to YermakAccording to the New York Times, the meeting involves Giuliani encouraging Zelensky‘s government to investigate Hunter Biden.

August 3, 2019

Zelensky says he plans to travel to the United States in September to meet with Trump in Washington.

August 8, 2019

Trump announces Joseph Maguire will take Coats‘s job as director of national intelligence, in an acting capacity. In doing so, he bypasses Sue Gordon, who had been Coats’s No. 2 at the directorate of national intelligence and who was a career intelligence official with bipartisan support. Gordon would later resign.

August 8, 2019

Giuliani tells Fox News that Durham, the Justice Department official investigating the Russia probe’s origins, is “spending a lot of time in Europe” to investigate what happened in Ukraine.

August 9, 2019

Trump says of Zelensky: “I think he’s going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine. And I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”

August 9, 2019

Volker and Sondland text with one another about a statement Ukraine might be asked to issue about the investigations. Sondland also indicates that Trump “really wants the deliverable.” Volker and Sondland consult Giulianiabout what the statement should say.

August 10, 2019

Yermak emphasizes that Ukraine would like to lock down a date for Zelensky‘s visit before making the statement. “I think it’s possible to make this declaration and mention all these things,” Yermak says. “Which we discussed yesterday. But it will be logic to do after we receive a confirmation of date. We inform about date of visit and about our expectations and our guarantees for future visit.”

August 11, 2019

Sondland emails top State Department aides Ulrich BrechbuhlLisa Kenna and says, “Kurt & I negotiated a statement from Ze to be delivered for our review in a day or two. The contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. Ze plans to have a big presser on the openness subject (including specifics) next week.” Kenna responds, “I’ll pass to S. Thank you.”

August 12, 2019

KEY EVENT The whistleblower files a complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson will later determine the complaint to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern,” which would trigger a legally required disclosure to the House and Senate intelligence committees.

August 13, 2019

Volker and Sondland text about what language should be included in Ukraine’s statement.

August 15, 2019

Coats and Gordon officially leave their positions.

August 16, 2019

Volker tells Taylor via text that Yermak asked the U.S. government to submit an official request for the Burisma investigation, according to Taylor’s later testimony. Taylor gives Volker a deputy assistant attorney general to contact regarding whether such a request would be proper.

August 17, 2019

Sondland asks Volker if “we still want Ze[lensky] to give us an unequivocal draft with 2016 and Boresma [sic]?” Volker responds, “That’s the clear message so far …”

August 21, 2019

Taylor asks Brechbuhl whether there is an official change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine, according to Taylor, and Brechbuhl says there is not.

August 22, 2019

NSC aide Tim Morrison tells Taylor it “remains to be seen” whether U.S. policy toward Ukraine has changed, according to Taylor, and says the “president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”

August 22, 2019

Sondland emails Pompeo and Kenna, saying “Should we block time in Warsaw for a short pull-aside for Potus to meet Zelensky? I would ask Zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once Ukraine’s new justice folks are in place ([in] mid-Sept[ember), that Ze should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to Potus and to the US. Hopefully, that will break the logjam.” Pompeo replies, “Yes.”

Questions swirl around withheld aid

Early September 2019

August 27, 2019

Bolton meets with Zelensky in Kyiv. According to Taylor, the withheld military aid is not discussed.

August 28, 2019

KEY EVENT Politico posts a story about the Trump administration withholding $250 million in military aid from Ukraine, the first time it has been reported publicly. (Before this point, it was not clear Ukraine even knew the aid was being withheld.)

August 29, 2019

Yermak texts Volker a link to the story and says: “Need to talk with you.” Volker responds: “Hi Andrey — absolutely. When is good for you?” Yermak also contacts Taylor to express his deep concern, according to Taylor, and Taylor says he is “embarrassed” that he has no explanation.

August 29, 2019

Taylor writes a cable to Pompeo, at Bolton‘s urging, decrying the “folly” of withholding the funds at a time when Russia is breathing down Ukraine’s neck.

Late August

Lawmakers raise concerns about Ukraine aid being withheld, citing its importance to defend the former Soviet republic from Russia.

August 30, 2019

Sondland tells Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that Trump was withholding the Ukraine military aid to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 — if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending,” according to Johnson’s later recollection.

August 31, 2019

Johnson tries to get Trump to release the military aid. He later says Trump explained that part of the reason for the delay was his concern about Ukraine’s role in 2016 election interference. “I didn’t succeed,” Johnson explains later. “But the president was very consistent on why he was considering it. Again, it was corruption, overall, generalized — but yeah, no doubt about it, what happened in 2016 — what happened in 2016, as relates? What was the truth about that?”

September 1, 2019

KEY EVENT Sondland tells Yermak at a meeting in Warsaw that the military aid would not arrive until Zelensky promises to pursue the Burisma investigation, as Taylor, Kent, Morrison and Sondland later confirm. Sondland says in clarified testimony that he “presumed” the two issues were connected “in the absence of any [other] credible explanation.” But he emphasizes that Trump did not directly convey it to him and later explicitly denied a quid pro quo.

September 1, 2019

Taylor tells Kent that Sondland had told Yermak that “POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to [a] microphone and say ‘investigations,’ ‘Biden,’ and ‘Clinton,’ ” according to Kent’s later testimony.

September 1, 2019

Zelensky and Pence also meet in Warsaw for a ceremony commemorating World War II. (Trump had originally been slated to attend the ceremony but remained in the United States to monitor Hurricane Dorian.) Taylor informs Danyliuk before the meeting that if the military aid is not released by the end of the month, the funds would expire because that is the end of the fiscal year, according to Taylor.

At the meeting, Pence tells Zelensky he will talk to Trump about the military aid, according to a readout from Morrison that Taylor says he received. Pence also says Trump wants Europe to do more to support Ukraine and that he wants Ukraine to do more to root out corruption, according to Morrison’s readout, as relayed by Taylor.

September 1, 2019

KEY EVENT Taylor texts Sondlandasking: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland responds, “Call me.” The two speak, according to Taylor, and Sondland explains that Trump wants Zelensky to say publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and the conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s alleged role in the 2016 election interference. Sondland tells Taylor that he regrets not telling Ukrainian officials that “everything” relied on their announcement of the investigations — both a meeting and military aid — according to Taylor.

September 2, 2019

Pence says he did not discuss Biden with Zelensky, but that he did suggest that aid was conditioned on rooting out corruption. “As President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption,” Pence said. “The president wants to be assured that those resources are truly making their way to the kind of investments that will contribute to security and stability in Ukraine.”

September 2, 2019

Danyliuk expresses concern to Morrison that U.S. officials are not able to provide answers about the withheld military aid, according to Taylor, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk raises similar concerns with Taylor.

September 5, 2019

Johnson and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) meet in Ukraine with Zelensky, with Taylor hosting the meeting. Zelensky’s first question is about the military aid, according to Taylor. Murphy later tells NBC’s Chuck Todd that Zelensky had expressed concerns about Giuliani‘s overtures.

September 5, 2019

KEY EVENT The Post’s editorial board writes that it had been “reliably told” that Trump was “attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.”

September 7, 2019

Trump tells Sondland that he is not asking for a “quid pro quo” but insists Zelensky make the announcement about the two investigations, according Morrison’s testimony and Taylor’s testimony about his conversations with Morrison. Morrison informs NSC lawyers about the call, according to both of them.

September 8, 2019

Sondland tells Taylor that Trump is adamant that Zelensky “clear things up and do it in public,” according to Taylor. Sondland also tells Taylor that he told Zelensky and Yermak that it wasn’t a quid pro quo, but that if they didn’t “clear things up” publicly, there would be a “stalemate,” according to Taylor.

Sondland also explains to Taylor that Trump is a businessman, and that before a businessman signs a check, he expects someone who owes him something to pay up, according to Taylor. (Taylor said Volker had said something similar.)

September 8, 2019

Taylor texts Volker and Sondland, saying: “The nightmare is they give the interview and don’t get the security assistance. The Russians love it. (And I quit.)”

September 9, 2019

Taylor texts Sondland again about the idea that the military aid is being withheld in some kind of quid pro quo. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor says.

Sondland speaks with Trump via phone and, during which Trump tells him something similar to, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing,” according to Sondland’s testimony.

Sondland then responds to Taylor‘s text, “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.” (Sondland will later explain that he was simply relaying Trump’s denial, rather than vouching for it.)

A whistleblower, a transcript and impeachment

Sept. 9-present

September 9, 2019

The Democrat-controlled House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees announce an investigation into Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine and the administration’s decision to halt aid.

Atkinson notifies the House and Senate intelligence committees that a whistleblower has filed a complaint, but he does not reveal its contents or substance.

September 10, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) writes to Maguire demanding Congress receive the complaint.

September 10, 2019

Trump announces on Twitter that Bolton has resigned. Trump says it came at his request; Bolton quickly counters by saying he offered first.

September 11, 2019

KEY EVENT The Trump administration releases the Ukraine aid it had been withholding. Taylor informs Zelensky and Prystaiko.

September 12, 2019

Taylor becomes worried that Zelensky will announce the investigations in a planned CNN interview he learned about from Sondland, as he later testifies. He tries to confirm with Danyliuk that Zelensky won’t do such an interview, and Danyliuk confirms. Taylor asks the same question of Yermak, whom he later describes as being “uncomfortable” with the question. But Danyliuk again confirms there would be no CNN interview, Taylor later testifies.

September 13, 2019

Schiff subpoenas Maguire to compel him to disclose the whistleblower complaint. According to Schiff, the DNI’s office, in a letter from counsel, indicates the whistleblower complaint is being withheld because of confidential and potentially privileged communications by people outside the intelligence community. It is assumed that this refers to Trump.

September 17, 2019

Maguire says he will not testify or hand over the whistleblower complaint. Schiff says Maguire told him he couldn’t “because he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.”

September 18, 2019

The Post reports that the complaint involves Trump’s communications with a foreign leader and some kind of “promise” that was made.

September 18, 2019

Pence holds a call with Zelensky, which U.S. officials tell The Post was somewhat perfunctory. During Vindman’s later public testimony, though, Pence’s office says the call is classified and can’t be discussed in an open setting.

Around Sept. 18 or 19

Zelensky cancels a planned CNN interview, according to the network.

September 19, 2019

Atkinson briefs Congress in a closed-door session, telling them the complaint involved multiple events and not a single communication. The Post reports the complaint involves Ukraine.

September 19, 2019

Giuliani appears on CNN and denies any wrongdoing by Trump. But he also suggests it would be okay if Trump withheld aid in exchange for Ukraine investigating the Bidens. “The reality is the president of the United States has every right to say to another leader of a foreign country, ‘You got to straighten up before we give you a lot of money,’ ” Giuliani says. “It is perfectly appropriate for [Trump] to ask a foreign government to investigate this massive crime that was made by a former vice president.”

September 23, 2019

Trump suggests aid to Ukraine may have been withheld over “corruption” issues — without citing the Bidens. “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?” Trump said. “. . . So it’s very important that, on occasion, you speak to somebody about corruption.”

September 24, 2019

Trump confirms he withheld the funding but suggests it was because other European countries should pay for Ukraine’s military aid. Trump later says he will release a transcript of his phone call with Zelensky.

September 24, 2019

KEY EVENT House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announces her supportfor a formal impeachment inquiry for the first time, setting that process in motion.

September 25, 2019

KEY EVENT The White House releases a rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, including the details described above.

September 25, 2019

Trump meets with Zelensky at the United Nations. Zelensky maintains he didn’t feel “pressure” to pursue investigations and that he didn’t interfere in his country’s law enforcement process. “We have an independent country and independent [prosecutor general],” he says. “I can’t push anyone. That is the answer. I didn’t call somebody or the new [prosecutor general]. I didn’t ask him. I didn’t push him.”

Zelensky also pointedly notes that, despite repeated invitations, Trump has never actually identified a date for a White House visit.

September 26, 2019

KEY EVENT The White House declassifies the whistleblower complaint, and Schiff releases it. The complaint focuses on Trump’s call with Zelensky but also alleges an effort to cover it up and alludes to substantial concern within the administration about Trump’s actions.

At a hearing later that day, Schiff paraphrases the Trump-Zelensky call, prompting criticism from Republicans.

September 26, 2019

Maguire testifies to the House Intelligence Committee that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel downgraded the inspector general’s determination that the whistleblower complaint was of “urgent concern,” which eliminated the requirement that it be shared with Congress. Democrats allege a conflict of interest, noting that the complaint names William Barr — the head of the Justice Department — as being potentially involved.

September 27, 2019

Volker abruptly resigns.

September 27, 2019

More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials sign a statement supporting House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

September 28, 2019

A top Pompeo aide, Michael McKinley, rallies support for a State Department statement strongly defending Yovanovitch, according to his testimony, but department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus informs McKinley that Pompeo decides against releasing such a statement — in part to “not draw undue attention to her.”

October 1, 2019

Pompeo sends House Democrats a letter declaring that five State Department employees who had been summoned for depositions would not appear. Pompeo calls the inquiry “an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”

October 2, 2019

The New York Times reports — and The Post confirms — that the whistleblowerhad approached a staffer for Schiff‘s committee early in the process, contradicting some of Schiff’s claims.

October 2, 2019

State Department Inspector General Steve Linick shares with Congress documents that had been sent to the State Department that include conspiracy theories about the Bidens. Giuliani indicates he was responsible for some of the materials, which were apparently sent to State from the White House.

October 3, 2019

Volker submits to a deposition, sharing text messages (as described above) with TaylorSondlandGiuliani and Yermak. He says he never had a quid pro quo communicated to him.

October 3, 2019

“Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?” Trump is asked by a reporter.

“Well,” he replies, “I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens.  It’s a very simple answer.”

He tells reporters that he also thinks China should launch an investigation involving the Bidens. “And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump says.

October 3, 2019

Kent confronts State officials about the claims in Pompeo‘s letter, calling them inaccurate, according to his later testimony. He tells one official whose name is redacted: “I said, well, you say that the career foreign services are being intimidated. . . . And I asked him, about whom are you speaking? And he said, you’re asking me to reveal confidential information. And I said, no, I’m not. There are only two career Foreign Service officers who subject to this process. I’m one of them. I’m the only one working at the Department of State, and the other one is Ambassador Yovanovitch, who is teaching at Georgetown.”

October 3, 2019

The State Department informs Congress that it has approved the sale of 150 Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine — a type of weaponry Zelensky mentioned on the July 25 call with Trump — at a cost of $39.2 million.

October 6, 2019

Lawyers for the whistleblower indicate they are representing a second whistleblower — this one with firsthand knowledge of some of the key events. They say the second whistleblower has spoken with Atkinson.

October 8, 2019

After blocking Sondland‘s testimony, White House counsel Pat Cipolloneinforms Congress that the White House will not cooperate with any facet of its impeachment inquiry, making curious arguments about the lack of “due process.”

October 10, 2019

Giuliani‘s two Soviet-born business associates, Parnas and Fruman, are arrested shortly before they are set to leave the country. They are indicted on campaign finance charges, with the Southern District of New York accusing them of funneling foreign money into U.S. politics to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.

October 10, 2019

McKinley resigns over Pompeo‘s alleged failure to support State Department officials ensnared in the Ukraine controversy.

October 11, 2019

Yovanovitch testifies to Congress, alleging a politicized effort to remove her as ambassador to Ukraine.

October 12, 2019

The Post reports Sondland will tell Congress that his Sept. 9 text message stating there was no quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine was based on assurances from Trump and that he is not certain Trump’s denial was accurate. Trump and his allies had hailed Sondland’s text as proof there was no quid pro quo.

October 14, 2019

Hill testifies.

October 15, 2019

Kent testifies.

October 16, 2019

McKinley testifies and explains his resignation. “I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents,” McKinley says. “I was convinced that this would also have a serious impact on Foreign Service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.”

October 17, 2019

Sondland testifies, saying any pressure he applied on Ukraine to investigate Burisma came before he knew the case involved the Bidens. (He claims this despite Giuliani‘s efforts and the Bidens’ proximity to them being in the news by early May.) Sondland says he is making that distinction “because I believe I testified that it would be improper” to push for such political investigations. Asked whether it would be illegal, Sondland says: “I’m not a lawyer, but I assume so.”

October 17, 2019

Trump announces Perry will resign by the end of the year.

October 17, 2019

KEY EVENT Mulvaney in a news conference momentarily confirms a quid pro quo with Ukraine. “[Did Trump] also mention to me, in the past, that the corruption related to the DNC server?” Mulvaney said. “Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money. . . . The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.” Mulvaney later issues a statement trying to reverse course, saying there actually was no connection.

October 22, 2019

Taylor testifies.

October 23, 2019

Cooper testifies, but not before the proceedings are delayed for five hours as House Republicans storm the secure room where the depositions are being held. The Republicans expressed concern about the secrecy of the process.

October 29, 2019

Vindman testifies.

October 30, 2019

State Department officials Catherine Croft and Christopher Andersontestify separately, describing the dim view of Ukraine taken by Trump and those around him.

October 30, 2019

In his confirmation hearing to become ambassador to Russia, Sullivan says he was aware of a “smear” campaign against Yovanovitch and that he believed Giuliani was a part of it. He also says it was appropriate to remove Yovanovitch, though, because Trump had lost confidence in her.

October 31, 2019

Morrison testifies, corroborating Taylor‘s testimony that Sondlandcommunicated a quid pro quo to Ukraine. Morrison says he raised concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, but that he did not think it contained anything illegal.

October 31, 2019

The House votes to formalize its impeachment inquiry and open up its hearings, amid GOP criticism that the process was too secretive. No House Republicans vote in favor of the inquiry, and two Democrats vote against it.

November 4, 2019

The House releases the first of the closed-door deposition transcripts, from Yovanovitch and McKinley.

November 4, 2019

Sondland clarifies his testimony to acknowledge he communicated the quid pro quo to Ukraine on July 10, but that he was acting on what he presumed to be the case rather than a direct order from Trump.

November 5, 2019

The House releases Sondland’s and Volker’s depositions, including the clarification.

November 6, 2019

The House releases Taylor’s deposition.

November 7, 2019

The House releases Kent’s deposition.

November 8, 2019

The House releases Vindman’s and Hill’s depositions.

November 8, 2019

Bolton‘s lawyer tells Congress in a letter that his client was “part of many relevant meetings and conversations” pertaining to the impeachment inquiry that aren’t yet public, but reinforces that Bolton will appear only if ordered to by a judge.

November 10, 2019

Parnas‘s lawyer discloses the quid pro quo he allegedly communicated to Ukrainian officials in May.

November 13, 2019

Taylor and Kent testify in an open hearing.

November 15, 2019

Yovanovitch testifies in an open hearing, during which Trump tweets an attack on her. “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he said. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.” Democrats accuse Trump of witness intimidation.

Holmes testifies in a closed deposition.

November 19, 2019

Vindman, Williams, Volker and Morrison testify in two consecutive open hearings.

November 20, 2019

Sondland testifies in an open hearing, in which he says top administration officials including Pence and Pompeo were aware of the quid pro quo and that it was clear Giuliani was acting on Trump’s wishes when he pushed for it. Sondland’s testimony is followed by Hale and Cooper in their own hearing.

November 21, 2019

Hill and Holmes round out the public impeachment hearings. Hill criticizes efforts by Republicans to draw an equivalence between Russia’s interference in 2016 and the actions of Ukrainians during the campaign. Holmes notes that the pressure felt by Ukraine during its interactions with Trump since Zelensky’s inauguration is on-going, given that Ukraine still seeks to demonstrate that it maintains the U.S.’ support.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/politics/trump-impeachment-timeline/

Moscow Trials

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The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held in the Soviet Union at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There were three Moscow Trials: the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center (ZinovievKamenev Trial, aka “Trial of the Sixteen,” 1936), the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center (PyatakovRadek Trial, 1937), and the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” (BukharinRykov Trial, aka “Trial of the Twenty-One,” 1938). The defendants of these were Old Bolshevik party leaders and top officials of the Soviet secret police. Most defendants were charged under Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code with conspiring with the Western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union, and restore capitalism.

The Moscow Trials led to the execution of many of the defendants. They are generally seen as part of Stalin’s Great Purge, an attempt to rid the party of current or prior oppositionists, especially but not exclusively Trotskyists, and any leading Bolshevik cadre from the time of the Russian Revolution or earlier, who might even potentially become a figurehead for the growing discontent in the Soviet populace resulting from Stalin’s mismanagement of the economy.[1] Stalin’s hasty industrialization during the period of the First Five Year Plan and the brutality of the forced agricultural collectivization had led to an acute economic and political crisis in 1928-33, a part of the global problem known as the Great Depression, and to enormous suffering on the part of the Soviet workers and peasants. Stalin was acutely conscious of this fact and took steps to prevent it taking the form of an opposition inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to his increasingly totalitarian rule.[1]

Contents

Background

Grigory ZinovievLev Kamenev, and Joseph Stalin formed a ruling triumvirate in early 1923[2] after Vladimir Lenin had become incapacitated from a stroke. In the context of the series of defeats of communist revolutions abroad (crucially the German revolutions of 1919 but also later the Chinese Revolution of 1927) which left the Russian Revolution increasingly isolated in a backward country, the triumvirate was able to effect the marginalization of Leon Trotsky in an internal party political conflict over the issue of Stalin’s theory of Socialism in One Country. It was Trotsky who most clearly represented the wing of the CPSU leadership which claimed that the survival of the revolution depended on the spread of communism to the advanced European economies especially Germany. This was expressed in his theory of permanent revolution.[3]

A few years later, Zinoviev and Kamenev joined the United Front in an alliance with Trotsky which favored Trotskyism and opposed Stalin specifically.[4] Consequently, Stalin allied with Nikolai Bukharin and defeated Trotsky in a power struggle. Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929 and Kamenev and Zinoviev temporarily lost their membership in the Communist Party. Zinoviev and Kamenev, in 1932, were found to be complicit in the Ryutin Affair and again were temporarily expelled from the Communist Party. In December 1934, Sergei Kirov was assassinated and, subsequently 15 defendants were found guilty of direct, or indirect, involvement in the crime and were executed.[5] Zinoviev and Kamenev were found to be morally complicit in Kirov’s murder and were sentenced to prison terms of ten and five years, respectively.[6]

Both Kamenev and Zinoviev had been secretly tried in 1935 but it appears that Stalin decided that, with suitable confessions, their fate could be used for propaganda purposes. Genrikh Yagoda oversaw the interrogation proceedings.

Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center

Conspiracy and investigation

In December 1935, the original case surrounding Zinoviev began to widen into what was called the Trotsky-Zinoviev Center.[7] Stalin allegedly received reports that correspondences from Trotsky were found among the possessions of one of those arrested in the widened probe.[8] Consequently, Stalin stressed the importance of the investigation and ordered Nikolai Yezhov to take over the case and ascertain if Trotsky was involved.[8] The central office of NKVD that was headed by Genrikh Yagoda was shocked when it was known that Yezhov (at that time a mere party functionary)[a][9] has discovered the conspiracy,[9] due to the fact that they (NKVD) had no relations to the case.[9] This would have led to inevitable conclusion about unprofessionalism of the NKVD leaders who completely missed the existence of the conspiratorial Trotskyist center.[9] In June 1936, Yagoda reiterated his belief to Stalin that there was no link between Trotsky and Zinoviev, but Stalin promptly rebuked him.[10] Bewilderment was strengthened by the fact that both Zinoviev and Kamenev for a long time were under constant operational surveillance and after the murder of Kirov were held in custody.[9] A key role in investigating played a chief of the Secret-political department of the NKVD Main Directory of State Security (a predecessor of KGB), State Security Commissar of the 2nd Class Georgiy Molchanov.[9]

The basis of the scenario was laid in confession testimonies of three arrested: NKVD agent Valentin Olberg (ru:Ольберг, Валентин Павлович) who was teaching at the Gorky Pedagogic Institute and two former participants of the internal party opposition and Soviet statesmen Isaak Rejngold and Richard Pikel.[9] Wherein Rejngold firmly believed that participating in the case fabrication about mythical conspiracy he executes the party’s task.[9] In relation to their composition, the testimonies looked standard conspiratorial activity, murder of Kirov, preparation to assassination attempts against the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, seizure of power in the Soviet Union with the aim of “restoration of capitalism”.[9]

In July 1936, Zinoviev and Kamenev were brought to Moscow from an unspecified prison.[10] They were interrogated and denied being part of any Trotsky-led conspiracy.[11] Yezhov appealed to Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s devotion to the Soviet Union as old Bolsheviks and advised them that Trotsky was fomenting anti-Soviet sentiment amongst the proletariat in the world. Throughout spring and summer of 1936 the investigators were requesting from the arrested “to lay down arms in front the party” exerting a continuous pressure on them.[9] Furthermore, this loss of support, in the event of a war with Germany or Japan, could have disastrous ramifications for the Soviet Union.[12] To Kamenev specifically, Yezhov showed him evidence that his son was subject to an investigation that could result in his son’s execution.[13] According to one witness, at the beginning of the summer the central heating was turned on in Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s cells. This was very unpleasant for both prisoners but particularly Zinoviev who was asthmatic and couldn’t tolerate the artificially increased temperatures.[9] Finally the exhausted prisoners agreed to a deal with Stalin who promised them, on the behalf of Politburo, their lives in exchange for participation in the anti-Trotskyist spectacle.[9] Kamenev and Zinoviev agreed to confess on condition that they receive a direct guarantee from the entire Politburo that their lives and those of their families and followers would be spared. When they were taken to the supposed Politburo meeting, they were met by only Stalin and Kliment Voroshilov.[13] Stalin explained that they were the “commission” authorized by the Politburo, and Stalin agreed to their conditions in order to gain their desired confessions.[14] After that the future defendants were given some medical treatment and food.[9]

The Trial (aka Trial of the Sixteen)

The trial was held from August 19 to August 24, 1936 in the small October Hall of the House of the Unions (chosen instead of the larger Hall of Columns, used for earlier trials)[15] and there were 16 defendants.[16]

The main charge was forming a terror organization with the purpose of killing Joseph Stalin and other members of the Soviet government. They were tried by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR, with Vasili Ulrikh presiding. The Prosecutor General was Andrei Vyshinsky, a former member of the Mensheviks who in 1917 had signed an order to arrest Lenin.[17]

Defendant Ivan Nikitich Smirnov was blamed by his co-defendants for being the leader of the Center which planned Kirov’s assassination. He, however, had been in prison since January 1933 and refused to confess.[18]

Another defendant, the Old Bolshevik Eduard Holtzman, was accused at the Trial of the 16 of conspiring with Trotsky in Copenhagen at the Hotel Bristol in 1932, where Trotsky was giving a public lecture. A week after the trial it was revealed by a Danish Social Democratic newspaper that the hotel had been demolished in 1917.[19]

All the defendants were sentenced to death and were subsequently shot in the cellars of Lubyanka Prison in Moscow.[citation needed]

The full list of defendants is as follows:

  1. Grigory Zinoviev
  2. Lev Kamenev
  3. Grigory Yevdokimov
  4. Ivan Bakayev
  5. Sergei Mrachkovsky, a hero of the Russian Civil War in Siberia and the Russian Far East
  6. Vagarshak Arutyunovich Ter-Vaganyan, leader of the Armenian Communist Party
  7. Ivan Nikitich SmirnovPeople’s Commissar for communications
  8. Yefim Dreitzer
  9. Isak Reingold
  10. Richard Pickel
  11. Eduard Holtzman
  12. Fritz David
  13. Valentin Olberg
  14. Konon Berman-Yurin
  15. Moissei Lurye
  16. Nathan Lurye

Parallel anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center

Prosecutor General Vyshinskiy (centre), reading the indictment, in 1937

The second trial occurred between January 23 and January 30, 1937.[20]

This second trial involved 17 lesser figures including Karl RadekYuri Pyatakov and Grigory SokolnikovAlexander Beloborodov was also arrested and intended to be tried along with Radek, but did not make the confession required of him, and so he was not produced in court. Thirteen of the defendants were eventually executed by shooting. The rest received sentences in labour camps.[21][22] Radek was spared as he implicated others, including Nikolai BukharinAlexei Rykov, and Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, setting the stage for the Trial of Military and Trial of the Twenty One.

Radek provided the pretext for the purge on a massive scale with his testimony that there was a “third organization separate from the cadres which had passed through [Trotsky’s] school”[23] as well as “semi-Trotskyites, quarter-Trotskyites, one-eighth-Trotskyites, people who helped us, not knowing of the terrorist organization but sympathizing with us, people who from liberalism, from a Fronde against the Party, gave us this help.”[24]

By the third organization, he meant the last remaining former opposition group called Rightists led by Bukharin, whom he implicated by saying: “I feel guilty of one thing more: even after admitting my guilt and exposing the organisation, I stubbornly refused to give evidence about Bukharin. I knew that Bukharin’s situation was just as hopeless as my own, because our guilt, if not juridically, then in essence, was the same. But we are close friends, and intellectual friendship is stronger than other friendships. I knew that Bukharin was in the same state of upheaval as myself. That is why I did not want to deliver him bound hand and foot to the People’s Commissariat of Home Affairs. Just as in relation to our other cadres, I wanted Bukharin himself to lay down his arms.”[23]

At the time, many Western observers who attended the trials said that they were fair and that the guilt of the accused had been established. They based this assessment on the confessions of the accused, which were freely given in open court, without any apparent evidence that they had been extracted by torture or drugging. Joseph E. Davies, the U.S. ambassador, wrote in Mission to Moscow:

In view of the character of the accused, their long terms of service, their recognized distinction in their profession, their long-continued loyalty to the Communist cause, it is scarcely credible that their brother officers … should have acquiesced in their execution, unless they were convinced that these men had been guilty of some offense.[*] It is generally accepted by members of the Diplomatic Corps that the accused must have been guilty of an offense which in the Soviet Union would merit the death penalty.


* The Bukharin trial six months later developed evidence which, if true, more than justified this action. Undoubtedly those facts were all full known to the military court at this time.[25]

Trial of the Generals and the Tukhachevsky Affair

The Tukhachevsky Affair was a secret trial before a military tribunal of a group of Red Army generals, including Mikhail Tukhachevsky, in June 1937.

It featured the same type of frame-up of the defendants and it is traditionally considered one of the key trials of the Great PurgeMikhail Tukhachevsky and the senior military officers Iona YakirIeronim UborevichRobert EidemanAugust KorkVitovt PutnaBoris Feldman, and Vitaly Primakov were accused of anti-Communist conspiracy and sentenced to death; they were executed on the night of June 11/12, immediately after the verdict delivered by a Special Session of the Supreme Court of the USSR. This trial triggered a massive purge of the Red Army.

Trial of the Twenty-One

The third show trial, in March 1938, known as The Trial of the Twenty-One, tied together all the loose threads from earlier trials. It included 21 defendants alleged to belong to the so-called “Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites”:

  1. Nikolai Bukharin – Marxist theoretician, former head of Communist International and member of Politburo
  2. Alexei Rykov – former premier and member of Politburo
  3. Nikolai Krestinsky – former member of Politburo and ambassador to Germany
  4. Christian Rakovsky – former ambassador to Great Britain and France
  5. Genrikh Yagoda – former head of NKVD
  6. Arkady Rosengolts – former People’s Commissar for Foreign Trade
  7. Vladimir Ivanov – former People’s Commissar for Timber Industry
  8. Mikhail Alexandrovich Chernov – former People’s Commissar for Agriculture
  9. Grigori Grinko – former People’s Commissar for Finance
  10. Isaac Zelensky – former Secretary of Central Committee
  11. Sergei Bessonov
  12. Akmal Ikramov – Uzbek leader
  13. Fayzulla Khodzhayev – Uzbek leader
  14. Vasily Sharangovich – former first secretary in Belorussia
  15. Prokopy Zubarev
  16. Pavel Bulanov – NKVD officer
  17. Lev Levin – Kremlin doctor
  18. Dmitry Pletnyov – Kremlin doctor
  19. Ignaty Kazakov – Kremlin doctor
  20. Venyamin Maximov-Dikovsky
  21. Pyotr Kryuchkov

The fact that Yagoda was one of the accused showed the speed at which the purges were consuming its own. Meant to be the culmination of previous trials, it now alleged that Bukharin and others had conspired to assassinate Lenin and Stalin numerous times after 1918 and had murdered Soviet writer Maxim Gorky by poison in 1936. The group also stood accused of espionage. Bukharin and others were claimed to have plotted the overthrow and territorial partition of the Soviet Union in collusion with agents of the German and Japanese governments, among other preposterous charges.

Even sympathetic observers who had stomached the earlier trials found it hard to swallow the new charges as they became ever more absurd, and the purge had now expanded to include virtually every living Old Bolshevik leader except Stalin.

The preparation for this trial was delayed in its early stages due to the reluctance of some party members to denounce their comrades. It was at this time that Stalin personally intervened to speed up the process and replaced Yagoda with Yezhov. Stalin also observed some of the trial in person from a hidden chamber in the courtroom. On the first day of the trial, Krestinsky caused a sensation when he repudiated his written confession and pleaded not guilty to all the charges. However, he changed his plea the next day after “special measures”, which dislocated his left shoulder among other things.[26]

Anastas Mikoyan and Vyacheslav Molotov later claimed that Bukharin was never tortured, but it is now known that his interrogators were given the order, “beating permitted,” and were under great pressure to extract confessions out of the “star” defendant. Bukharin held out for three months, but threats to his young wife and infant son, combined with “methods of physical influence” wore him down. But when he read his confession, amended and corrected personally by Stalin, he withdrew his whole confession. The examination started all over again, with a double team of interrogators.[27]

Bukharin’s confession in particular became the subject of much debate among Western observers, inspiring Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon and a philosophical essay by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in Humanism and Terror among others. His confessions were somewhat different from others in that, while he pleaded guilty to general charges, he denied knowledge of any specific crimes. Some astute observers noted that he would allow only what was in his written confession and refused to go any further. The fact that he was allowed to write in prison (he wrote four book-length manuscripts including an autobiographical novel, How It All Began, a philosophical treatise, and a collection of poems – all of which were found in Stalin’s archive and published in the 1990s) suggests that some kind of deal was reached as a condition for his confession. He also wrote a series of emotional letters to Stalin, protesting his innocence and professing his love for Stalin, which contrasts with his critical opinion of Stalin and his policies as expressed to others and with his conduct in the trial.

There are several possible interpretations of Bukharin’s motivation (besides coercion) in the trial. Koestler and others viewed it as a true believer’s last service to the Party (while preserving a modicum of personal honor), whereas Bukharin’s biographers Stephen Cohen and Robert Tucker saw traces of Aesopian language, with which Bukharin sought to turn the tables and conduct a trial of Stalinism (while still keeping his part of the bargain to save his family). Bukharin himself speaks of his “peculiar duality of mind” in his last plea, which led to “semi-paralysis of the will” and Hegelian “unhappy consciousness“.

The result was a curious mix of fulsome confessions and subtle criticisms of the trial. After disproving several charges against him (one observer noted that he proceeded to demolish, or rather showed he could very easily demolish, the whole case[28]), Bukharin said that “the confession of the accused is not essential. The confession of the accused is a medieval principle of jurisprudence”, his point being that the trial was solely based on coerced confessions. He finished his last plea with “the monstrousness of my crime is immeasurable, especially in the new stage of the struggle of the U.S.S.R. May this trial be the last severe lesson, and may the great might of the U.S.S.R. become clear to all.”[29]

Romain Rolland and others wrote to Stalin seeking clemency for Bukharin, but all the leading defendants were executed except Rakovsky and two others (they were killed in prison in 1941). Despite the promise to spare his family, Bukharin’s wife, Anna Larina, was sent to a labor camp, but she survived.

Aftermath

Communist Party leaders in most Western countries denounced criticism of the trials as capitalist attempts to subvert Communism.[30]

A number of American communists and progressive “fellow travellers” outside of the Soviet Union signed a Statement of American Progressives on the Moscow Trials. These included Langston Hughes[31] and Stuart Davis,[32] who would later express regrets.

Some contemporary observers who thought the trials were inherently fair cite the statements of Molotov, who while conceding that some of the confessions contain unlikely statements, said there may have been several reasons or motives for this – one being that the handful who made doubtful confessions were trying to undermine the Soviet Union and its government by making dubious statements in their confessions to cast doubts on their trial. Molotov postulated that a defendant might invent a story that he collaborated with foreign agents and party members to undermine the government so that those members would falsely come under suspicion, while the false foreign collaboration charge would be believed as well. Thus, the Soviet government was in his view the victim of false confessions. Nonetheless, he said the evidence of mostly out-of-power Communist officials conspiring to make a power grab during a moment of weakness in the upcoming war truly existed.[citation needed] This defense collapsed after the release of Khrushchev’s Secret Speech to the Twentieth Congress.

In Britain, the lawyer and Labour MP Denis Nowell Pritt, for example, wrote: “Once again the more faint-hearted socialists are beset with doubts and anxieties,” but “once again we can feel confident that when the smoke has rolled away from the battlefield of controversy it will be realized that the charge was true, the confessions correct and the prosecution fairly conducted”, while socialist thinker Beatrice Webb “was pleased that Stalin had ‘cut out the dead wood'”.[33] Communist Party leader Harry Pollitt, in the Daily Worker of March 12, 1936, told the world that “the trials in Moscow represent a new triumph in the history of progress”. The article was ironically illustrated by a photograph of Stalin with Yezhov, himself shortly to vanish and his photographs airbrushed from history by NKVD archivists.[34]

In the United States, left-wing advocates such as Corliss Lamont and Lillian Hellman also denounced criticism of the Moscow trials, signing An Open Letter To American Liberals in support of the trials for the March 1937 issue of Soviet Russia Today.[35] In the political atmosphere of the 1930s, the accusation that there was a conspiracy to destroy the Soviet Union was not incredible, and few outside observers were aware of the events inside the Communist Party that had led to the purge and the trials.

However, the Moscow trials were generally viewed negatively by most Western observers including many liberals. The New York Times noted the absurdity in an editorial on March 1, 1938: “It is as if twenty years after Yorktown somebody in power at Washington found it necessary for the safety of the State to send to the scaffold Thomas Jefferson, Madison, John Adams, Hamilton, Jay and most of their associates. The charge against them would be that they conspired to hand over the United States to George III.”[36]

For Bertram Wolfe, the outcome of the Bukharin trial marked his break with Stalinism.[37]

In May 1937, the Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, commonly known as the Dewey Commission, was set up in the United States by supporters of Trotsky, to establish the truth about the trials. The commission was headed by the noted American philosopher and educator John Dewey, who led a delegation to Mexico, where Trotsky lived, to interview him and hold hearings from April 10 to April 17, 1937. The hearings were conducted to investigate the allegations against Trotsky who publicly stated in advance of them that if the commission found him guilty as charged he would hand himself over to the Soviet authorities. They brought to light evidence which established that some of the specific charges made at the trials could not be true.

The Dewey Commission published its findings in the form of a 422-page book titled Not Guilty. Its conclusions asserted the innocence of all those condemned in the Moscow Trials. In its summary the commission wrote: “Independent of extrinsic evidence, the Commission finds:

  • That the conduct of the Moscow Trials was such as to convince any unprejudiced person that no attempt was made to ascertain the truth.
  • That while confessions are necessarily entitled to the most serious consideration, the confessions themselves contain such inherent improbabilities as to convince the Commission that they do not represent the truth, irrespective of any means used to obtain them.”
  • That Trotsky never instructed any of the accused or witnesses in the Moscow trials to enter into agreements with foreign powers against the Soviet Union [and] that Trotsky never recommended, plotted, or attempted the restoration of capitalism in the USSR.

The commission concluded: “We therefore find the Moscow Trials to be frame-ups.”

For example, in Moscow, Pyatakov had testified that he had flown to Oslo in December 1935 to “receive terrorist instructions” from Trotsky. The Dewey Commission established that no such flight had taken place.

In Britain, the trials were also subject to criticism. A group called the British Provisional Committee for the Defence of Leon Trotsky was set up. In 1936, the Committee published an open letter in the Manchester Guardian calling for an international inquiry into the Trials. The letter was signed by several notable figures, including H. N. BrailsfordHarry WicksConrad NoelFrank Horrabin and Eleanor Rathbone.[38][39] The Committee also supported the Dewey Commission. Emrys Hughes, the British MP, also attacked the Moscow Trials as unjust in his newspaper Forward.[38]

Legacy

All of the surviving members of the Lenin-era party leadership except Stalin and Trotsky, were tried. By the end of the final trial Stalin had arrested and executed almost every important living Bolshevik from the Revolution. Of 1,966 delegates to the party congress in 1934, 1,108 were arrested. Of 139 members of the Central Committee, 98 were arrested. Three out of five Soviet marshals (Alexander Ilyich YegorovVasily BlyukherTukhachevsky) and several thousands of the Red Army officers were arrested or shot. The key defendant, Leon Trotsky, was living in exile abroad, but he still did not survive Stalin’s desire to have him dead and was assassinated by a Soviet agent in Mexico in 1940.

While Khrushchev’s Secret Speech denounced Stalin’s personality cult and purges as early as 1956, rehabilitation of Old Bolsheviks proceeded at a slow pace. Nikolai Bukharin and 19 other co-defendants were officially completely rehabilitated in February 1988. Yagoda, who was deeply involved in the great purge as the head of NKVD, was not included. In May 1988, rehabilitation of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, and co-defendants was announced.

After the death of Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev repudiated the trials in a speech to the Twentieth Congress of the Russian Communist Party:

The commission has become acquainted with a large quantity of materials in the NKVD archives and with other documents and has established many facts pertaining to the fabrication of cases against Communists, to glaring abuses of Socialist legality which resulted in the death of innocent people. It became apparent that many party, Government and economic activists who were branded in 1937–38 as ‘enemies,’ were actually never enemies, spies, wreckers, etc., but were always honest Communists … They were only so stigmatized and often, no longer able to bear barbaric tortures, they charged themselves (at the order of the investigative judges – falsifiers) with all kinds of grave and unlikely crimes.[40]

It is now known that the confessions were given only after great psychological pressure and torture had been applied to the defendants. From the accounts of former GPU officer Alexander Orlov and others the methods used to extract the confessions are known: repeated beatings, torture, making prisoners stand or go without sleep for days on end, and threats to arrest and execute the prisoners’ families. For example, Kamenev’s teenage son was arrested and charged with terrorism. After months of such interrogation, the defendants were driven to despair and exhaustion.[41]

In January 1989, the official newspaper Pravda reported that 25,000 persons had been posthumously rehabilitated.

The trials in literature

See also

Notes

References…

Bibliography

Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Conquest, Robert (1990). The Great Terror: A Reassessment. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505580-2.
  • Leno, Matthew L. (2010). The Kirov Murder and Soviet History. New Haven: Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-11236-8.
  • Orlov, Alexander (1953). The Secret History of Stalin’s Crimes. Random House, Inc.
  • Redman, Joseph, The British Stalinists and the Moscow Trials. Labour Review Vol. 3 No. 2, March–April 1958
  • Rogovin, Vadim Z. (1998). 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror. Oak Park, MI: Mehring Books, Inc. ISBN 0-929087-77-1.
  • Snyder, Timothy (2010). Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00239-9.
  • Tucker, Robert C. (1973). Stalin as Revolutionary, 1879–1929: A Study in History and Personality. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-05487-X.
  • Wolfe, Bertram David (1990). Breaking with Communism: The Intellectual Odyssey of Bertram D. Wolfe. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 0-8179-8881-5.

Further reading

  • Getty, J. Arch and Naumov, Oleg V. (2010). The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932–1939. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10407-3.
  • Goldman, Wendy Z. (2011). Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-19196-8.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Trials

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The Pronk Pops Show 1247, April 30, 2019, Story 1: Vive Venezuelan Revolution Regime Change — Send In Trump’s Private Army — Central Intelligence Agency — Takeover Oil Fields and Restore Democracy — Cubans and Russians Deported To Country of Origin — Videos — Story 2: Babbling Biden Bowel Movement — A Few Dozen Union Leaders Show Up — Not Very Impressive — Videos — Story 3: Biden Surges in Rigged Polls — Videos — Story 4: A Whole Lot of Unmasking Going On — Artifact of Attempted Deep State Coupe? — Videos

Posted on May 1, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Applications, Bernie Sander, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Labor Economics, Life, Lying, Media, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Software, South America, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Venezuela, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 201

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1218 March 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1217 February 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1216 February 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1215 February 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1214 February 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1213 February 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1212 February 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1211 February 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1210 February 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1209 February 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1208 February 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1207 February 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1206 February 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1205 February 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1204 February 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1203 February 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1202 February 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1199 January 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1198 January 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1197 January 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1196 January 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1195 January 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1194 January 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1193 January 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1192 January 8, 2019

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Story 1: Vive Venezuelan Revolution Regime Change — Send In Trump’s Private Army — Central Intelligence Agency — Takeover Oil Fields and Restore Democracy — Cubans and Russians Deported To Country of Origin — Videos

 

Venezuela’s Guaidó calls for uprising against Maduro

Guaido initiates ‘final phase’ of uprising in Venezuela

Erik Prince Wants A Private Army Sent To Venezuela

Venezuela Collapse Explained

Venezuela Crisis Explained (Short Documentary 2017)

Pompeo warns Russia to get out of Venezuela

Venezuela’s President Maduro ‘had a plane on the tarmac’ yesterday and was ready to flee to Cuba before RUSSIA intervened to stop him leaving, US claims after tens of thousands of people hit the streets in support of his rival Juan Guaido sparking violent clashes with military

  • Juan Guaido called for uprising against Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday from the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
  • Mike Pompeo claims Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela as uprising began until the Kremlin intervened 
  • Guaido made the announcement surrounded by troops who then began setting up a defensive perimeter
  • Maduro’s forces fired tear gas before a heavy exchange of gunfire, with protesters caught in the middle
  • Video footage shows a Venezuelan National Guard armoured vehicle plough into a group of protesters
  • Trump administration backs Guaido and his uprising while Putin backs Maduro during talks with top officials