James Comey

The Pronk Pops Show 1366, December 2, 2019, Story 1: The Day of Reckoning Is Approaching And Not A Word Is Spoken — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Trying To Talk and Tank The Economy Into a Recession — Big Failure — Economy Still Growing — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve Intervenes and Adds More Liquidity or Money Into Economy — Overnight and 42-Day Term Repos Madness Bubble — Return of Quantitative Easing? –Videos — Story 4: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz Report Will Be Released on December 9 and Horowitz Will Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee December 11, 2019 — Videos — Story 5: Lisa Page Role in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Warrant Application Process? — Videos

Posted on December 4, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Abortion, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Anthropology, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Sciences, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: The Day of Reckoning Is Approaching And Not A Word Is Spoken — National Debt More Than $23 Trillion — Plus Unfunded Obligations  Estimates Over $100 Trillion to Over $200 Trillion — Videos —

 

U.S. National Debt Clock

https://www.usdebtclock.org/

See the source image

The National Debt Is Now More than $23 Trillion

Financials are spinning out of control in Washington: David Walker

Dec 22, 2017
Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker on the need to reduce the government debt.

With low interest rates, pressure of national debt goes away: Brookings Institution’s Wessel

Ray Dalio: US has a real problem in terms of the quantity of debt we are going to have to sell to…

Keiser Report 1467

Peter Schiff Predicts US Bankruptcy – Is He Right? (ANSWER REVEALED)

How Negative Interest Rates Work (And What They Would Mean for the Economy)

What Would Negative Interest Rates Mean For Consumers And The Economy?

Negative Rates ‘Distort’ Everything: Warren Buffett | CNBC

10 Myths About Government Debt

Deficits and debt | AP Macroeconomics | Khan Academy

 

Story 2: Democrats Trying To Talk & Tank The Economy Into a Recession — Big Failure — Economy Still Growing — Videos

Ingraham: An animated series of failures

How the Fed creates free money for big banks, CEOs and billionaires

 

 

 

Trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and hardly a voice of caution to be heard

In the old days, a decade or so ago, Democrats would have assailed Donald Trump‘s failure on federal deficits; instead of eliminating it, as promised, the deficit has doubled to a trillion dollars as far as the eye can see.

Republicans would be in full fury over the spending schemes of Democratic presidential candidates; even the mainstream moderates propose huge increases for health care, education and the social safety net for the disadvantaged.

Yet deficits, as a political issue, are dead.

The political impact always was exaggerated, but out-of-control deficits were a staple of opposition rhetoric. There invariably was some budget-balancing blue-ribbon group, the most famous being the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

For Democrats, the pressing urgency of unmet needs in health care, education, infrastructure and the social safety net far outweigh any rising debt. They favor tax hikes, mainly on the rich, to reverse the huge 2017 Republican tax cuts, but there’s less premium on the green eyeshade test of paying for all spending initiatives.

Most Republicans strongly want to keep those tax cuts — the only significant achievement of three years of party rule — and have little interest in tackling politically popular entitlements. In the years the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, it focused only on gutting the Affordable Care Act.

This has become the Trump Party, which overshadows the old Republican battle lines between budget balancers and tax cutters. This Republican executive is a tax cutter and budget buster.

As well as the politics, Democrats have a strong policy basis for their position. Early this year, the two most prominent Democratic economists — former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, both under Barack Obama — wrote an influential article citing structural declines in interest rates. This means that “policymakers should reconsider the traditional fiscal approach that has often wrong-headedly limited worthwhile investments in such areas as education, health care and infrastructure,” they said.

“Politicians and policymakers should focus on urgent social programs, not deficits,” they advised.

They don’t go as far as the Modern Monetary Theorists who basically argue the sky is the limit on debt unless inflation takes off. Instead, Summers and Furman claim a key is that the federal debt — as a percentage of the economy — stays at a relatively stable 3 percent to 4 percent, where it has been for the past five years.

The Republican deficits hawks, most recently former House Speaker Paul Ryan, have been rendered obsolete, as least as long it’s the party of Trump.

Even back in the 1970s, however, some Republicans embraced what supply-side propagandist Jude Wanniski called the “Two-Santa Theory” — namely, to counter Democrats’ support for popular spending programs, Republicans should favor huge tax cuts without concern for the deficit. (Ronald Reagan once joked he didn’t worry about the deficit, as it was “big enough to take care of itself.”)

Moreover, the Republican cries about the evils of big deficits have been more rhetorical than real, although the general perception of Democrats as more fiscally profligate is a canard.

Under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the federal budget deficit doubled. The deficit was $255 billion when Bill Clinton came into office; at the end of his term, there were four straight small surpluses. (This along with the surplus at the end of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency are the only ones in the last 60 years.)

The deficit also soared under George W. Bush, especially at the end of his term, with the economic crisis.

Obama inherited a massive $1.4 trillion shortfall and in eight years cut it by 60 percent.

The shortfall has doubled under Trump.

As a percentage of the economy, however, it has risen from 3 percent in the final Obama year to a bit more than 4 percent now.

Even Washington’s most stalwart and consistent fiscal hawk, Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, acknowledges the budget deficit isn’t a top policy concern right now “as low interest rates buy us some time.”

However, she cautions that the fiscal situation “is the worst it has been since just after World War II,” adding, “No one knows when the tipping point is or what it looks like, but those are questions we shouldn’t want to find the answers to.”

Albert R. Hunt is the former executive editor of Bloomberg News. He previously served as reporter, bureau chief and Washington editor for the Wall Street Journal. For almost a quarter-century he wrote a column on politics for The Wall Street Journal, then the International New York Times and Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter @alhuntdc.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/472480-trillion-dollar-deficits-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see-and-not-a-voice-of

Story 3: Federal Reserve Intervenes and Adds More Liquidity or Money Into Economy — Overnight and 42-Day Term Repos Madness Bubble — Return of Quantitative Easing? –Videos —

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Fed is in a ‘lose, lose, lose situation,’ says Mohamed A. El-Erian

Repo Madness: Up to $300 Billion Per Day As First 42 Day Term Repo Kicks In Going Into 2020!

Repo: How Roughly $1 Trillion Moves Overnight | WSJ

How the Fed creates free money for big banks, CEOs and billionaires

The ‘repo’ market explained

The Central Banks’ Monetary Policy Is Backfiring (w/ Simon White)

 

New York Fed Adds Liquidity Amid Heavy Demand for Year-End Funding

Interventions ensure markets have enough liquidity and short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intervened in financial markets again Monday. PHOTO: EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York again saw very strong demand for liquidity aimed at helping financial markets navigate the turn of the year.

The demand once again arrived as the Fed added temporary liquidity to financial markets Monday. All together the central bank pumped in $97.9 billion in two parts. One was via overnight repurchase agreements, or repos, that totaled $72.9 billion. The other was via 42-day repos.

While the Fed took all the securities that dealers offered it for the overnight repo, the longer-term operation saw eligible banks offer $42.55 billion in securities versus the $25 billion the Fed took. That level of interest was a replay from the last 42-day repo operation held Nov. 25, when eligible banks submitted $49.05 billion in securities against the $25 billion the central bank accepted.

The robust demand for year-end liquidity could alter the path of future longer-term Fed interventions and induce the central bank to increase their size. Central banks want to ensure that markets remain well behaved over year end, and they have signaled they will be flexible in achieving that. The Fed has already increased the size of other temporary operations, making it possible future term operations could be bigger as well.

The Repo Market, Explained

The Repo Market, Explained
The repo market shook the financial world in September when an unexpected rate spike choked short-term lending, spurring the Federal Reserve to intervene. WSJ explains how this critical, but murky part of the financial system works, and why some banks say the crunch could have been prevented. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds for The Wall Street Journal

Fed repo interventions take in Treasury and mortgage securities from eligible banks in what is effectively a short-term loan of central-bank cash, collateralized by the securities.

The Fed’s interventions are aimed at ensuring that the financial system has enough liquidity and that short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved, with the central bank’s federal-funds rate staying within the 1.5%-to-1.75% target range. The effective fed-funds rate stood at 1.56% on Friday. The broad general collateral rate for repo trading stood at 1.62%, also for Tuesday.

The Fed has been intervening in markets in the current fashion since mid-September, when short-term rates unexpectedly shot up on a confluence of factors, although it has used similar operations for decades to manage short-term rates.

Since the large interventions started, money-market rates have been well-behaved. The Fed is using temporary operations to tamp down any possible volatility, while purchasing Treasury bills to build up reserves in the banking system. It hopes that by buying Treasury bills it will be able to cut back on repo interventions at the start of next year.

The Fed currently expects to buy Treasury bills through the middle of next year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-fed-adds-97-9-billion-to-markets-11575301812

Write to Michael S. Derby at michael.derby@wsj.com

Story 4: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz Report Will Be Released on December 9 and Horowitz Will Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee December 11, 2019 — Videos —

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‘They Tried to Overthrow the Presidency’: Trump Says Results of IG’s Report Could be ‘Historic’

FBI official allegedly altered document in Russia probe: Report

 

DOJ Inspector General to testify on alleged 2016 campaign spying

IG Horowitz to testify on Russia probe, FISA abuse

TRUMP PROBE REPORT AND HEARING – DECEMBER 9/11, 2019

DiGenova: Comey, Clapper and Brennan will have to pay the ‘Barr bill’

 

Jason Chaffetz: FBI deep state clear – will FISA report finally lead to action?
Jason Chaffetz By Jason Chaffetz | Fox News

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Watch Jason Chaffetz discuss this op-ed and much more on “Mornings with Maria” on Monday, December 2.

Following a series of four damning inspector general reports over the last two years, there is little doubt the senior leadership of the Obama-era FBI was weaponized in the service of the Democratic Party. But as America awaits what many expect to be the most damning investigation of all, it’s fair to ask what has been done to rein in our rogue FBI.

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The report on FISA abuse set for release on Dec. 9 is expected to show how the FBI used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on American citizens affiliated with the Trump campaign in 2016. As damning as such a conclusion would be, it will only be the latest in a series of explosive revelations from the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, some of which got muted coverage from the mainstream press. Advance leaks suggest the upcoming report will, at a minimum, show an FBI lawyer illegally altered documents to justify a FISA application.

Even before next week’s anticipated release, we already have IG reports implicating the FBI director, assistant director, deputy assistant director, and chief of the counterintelligence section. Though none of them remain at the bureau, we have seen little reassurance from current FBI Director Christopher Wray that the culture they created has changed.

REPS. BIGGS & PERRY: IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY SHOWS DEEP STATE CONTINUES TO UNDERMINE TRUMP

Thus far, no one has been prosecuted, despite a long string of damaging reports and referrals. An IG can make a recommendation but it is up to the DOJ to prosecute, even if it is one of their own.

A 63-page report released last month found “numerous issues” with the FBI’s use of confidential sources during a period that included the 2016 election. That report revealed that the FBI lacked appropriate procedures to vet and maintain oversight of sources like the ones used against the Trump campaign. This created a security risk for the United States. Yet no prosecutions have been announced.

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Last August, an even more serious finding was released when the IG determined that the FBI director himself had violated FBI policy and the terms of his own employment agreement in disseminating classified information for release to the media. Though the DOJ could have prosecuted based on the report’s findings, it declined to do so.

More from Opinion

A May 2019 IG report implicated the FBI deputy assistant director for unauthorized contacts with the media, illegally disclosing sealed court documents and other sensitive information to the media, and accepting gifts from the media. The DOJ declined to prosecute. But why? The IG recommended prosecution.

The IG’s June 2018 probe into the Hillary Clinton email investigation implicated the FBI’s head of counterintelligence, Peter Strzok, of repeatedly articulating a strong political bias even as he headed up the investigation of Clinton’s exposure of classified information. The 500-page report, which reviewed 1.2 million documents and included interviews with more than 100 witnesses, documented numerous questionable decisions that benefited Clinton or damaged Trump, though the IG acknowledged the parties denied their political bias impacted their decisions.

The FBI is in shambles and there has been little to no public acknowledgment of the crisis by the current director. No work by him to stem this tide of political bias is evident to the public.

The report also highlighted an interoffice affair between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, both of whom worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations. Next week’s IG report is also expected to document an affair between two other FBI lawyers who worked together on the FISA applications.

What is going on at the FBI and why no consequences for such blatant violations of internal policy and the law? And why did these vulnerabilities exist for so long without detection? No doubt adversarial intelligence agencies could have figured this out quite easily, making our intelligence operations vulnerable to exploitation.

Finally, an April 2018 report implicated FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe of inappropriately authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and repeatedly lying to investigators about it. The report found McCabe lied four times, three under oath, and that it was done “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership.” Though McCabe was fired, he wasn’t prosecuted.

What message does it send when the Justice Department protects its own?

The FBI is in shambles and there has been little to no public acknowledgment of the crisis by Director Wray. No work by him to stem this tide of political bias is evident to the public.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

With the release of next week’s FISA report, we must demand action by Wray. Given the well-documented wrongdoing by the previous FBI director, deputy director, deputy assistant director, the chief of counterintelligence, and evidently DOJ counsel, the American people are right to question the legitimacy of America’s federal law enforcement apparatus.

If the American people are going to regain confidence in the senior leadership of the FBI, the Justice Department will need to prosecute wrongdoing as they would if it weren’t one of their own. Until then, questions of imbalance, favoritism and bias in one direction will persist. Certainly, we deserve better.

https://www.foxnews.com/person/c/jason-chaffetz

 

Story 4: Lisa Page Role in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Warrant Application Process? — Videos

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Lisa Page Breaks Silence On Trump’s DISGUSTING Behavior

Trump viciously mocks Strzok, Page at Minneapolis rally

Rep. Biggs: Lisa Page once engaged in FBI cabal, now playing the victim

Whitaker: Lisa Page made calculated move to front run IG report

 

Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All’

STRIKING BACK

The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say.

It’s not often that you interview a subject who has no interest in being famous. But recently, I did just that when I sat down with Lisa Page the week before Thanksgiving in my hotel room in Washington, D.C. Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.

For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.

How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

Page, 39, is thin and athletic. She speaks in an exceedingly confident, clear, and lawyerly way. But having been through the MAGA meat grinder has clearly worn her down, not unlike the other women I’ve met who’ve been subjected to the president’s abuse.  She is just slightly crumbly around the edges the way the president’s other victims are.

My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.

“It’s almost impossible to describe” what it’s like, she told me. “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”

“But it’s also very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he’s still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. To try to further destroy my life. It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me.”

Does it affect you in your normal day-to-day life?

“I wish it didn’t,” she said. “I’m someone who’s always in my head anyway—so now otherwise normal interactions take on a different meaning. Like, when somebody makes eye contact with me on the Metro, I kind of wince, wondering if it’s because they recognize me, or are they just scanning the train like people do? It’s immediately a question of friend or foe? Or if I’m walking down the street or shopping and there’s somebody wearing Trump gear or a MAGA hat, I’ll walk the other way or try to put some distance between us because I’m not looking for conflict. Really, what I wanted most in this world is my life back.”

Rising Through the Ranks

Lisa Page did not aspire to fame or fortune. She was, she says, “one of those nerdy kids who from very early on knew I wanted work for the government and make the world a better place.” Born in the San Fernando Valley, she and her family moved to Ohio in her teens. She went to American University in Washington, D.C., and then moved back home to central Ohio to attend law school, living with her parents so she could save money.

After graduating from law school, she was one of an elite group selected for admission in the Department of Justice Honors Program in 2006—and the only woman in her class of five entering the Criminal Division. She worked as a federal prosecutor for six years before moving across the street to the FBI’s office of general counsel. Soon after her arrival, the deputy general counsel over national-security law hired her for a new special-counsel-type position in 2013.

Once there, her path begins to be set.

“I start [in the role] in early 2013, and there are two big events that kind of set the trajectory for the rest of my career at the FBI: the Boston bombing in April 2013, and Edward Snowden’s leaks in June of the same year,” she told me. “And those are both significant in their own ways, because the Boston bombing introduces me to Andy McCabe, who at the time was the head of the counterterrorism division at the FBI. Two months later, the Snowden leaks hit, which became a transformative moment for the intelligence community, setting off a series of reforms by the Obama administration with respect to the legal authorities that we rely on to collect intelligence.”

Eventually, she was asked to lead that effort, “which gives me a lot of exposure to senior FBI executives, as well as leaders through the IC, DOJ, and White House.”

Page continued to rise through the ranks of the FBI and was assigned to more significant and substantive work. She became close with McCabe. Eventually she became McCabe’s special counsel.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/lisa-page-speaks-theres-no-fathomable-way-i-have-committed-any-crime-at-all?ref=home

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The Pronk Pops Show 1363, November 20, 2019, Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

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Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

Impeachment Inquiry: Here’s What Nobody Understands About the Rules of Evidence, Hearsay and Perjury

Trump responds to Sondland’s testimony: ‘I turned off the television’

Trump vehemently denies quid pro quo after Sondland testimony: ‘I want nothing’

Tucker’s big takeaways from the Trump impeachment saga

Ingraham: Storytime with Adam Schiff

Ambassador Gordon Sondland Complete Opening Statement

WATCH: All the key moments from Gordon Sondland’s Trump impeachment hearing in 15 minutes (Day 4)

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

Rep. Maloney and Ambassador Sondland have tense exchange

WATCH: Rep. Peter Welch’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Sondland declines to say whether he believed Trump when he said ‘no quid pro quo’

CONTRADICTING TESTIMONIES: Mike Turner RIPS into Amb. Sondland

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

 

WATCH: Democratic counsel’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

Sondland Screws Trump

Rep. Adam Schiff Closing Statement: “Is there any accountability?”

WATCH: Sondland testimony provides ‘zero evidence’ of Trump crimes in Ukraine, Nunes says

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the testimony by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, provided “zero evidence of any of the crimes that have been alleged” of President Donald Trump with regard to Ukraine. In closing statements after Sondland testified in a public hearing on Nov. 20, Nunes accused Democrats of contributing to a “conspiracy theory” against Trump. Sondland testified that there was a “quid pro quo” in which U.S. aid and a White House meeting were contingent on Ukraine agreeing to investigate the 2016 elections and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where the son of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, Hunter, sat on the board.

Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is? 1969

 

Gordon Sondland

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Gordon Sondland
Gordon Sondland official photo.jpg
United States Ambassador to the European Union
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony L. Gardner
Personal details
Born
Gordon David Sondland

July 16, 1957 (age 62)
Mercer IslandWashington, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Durant
Alma mater University of Washington

Gordon David Sondland (born July 16, 1957)[1][2] is an American diplomat and businessperson. He is the United States Ambassador to the European Union.[3] Sondland is also the founder and former chairman of Provenance Hotels and co-founder of the merchant bank Aspen Capital.

Early life and education

Sondland was born to a Jewish family[4][5] in Mercer Island, Washington,[6] the son of Frieda (Piepsch) and Gunther Sondland.[7][8] His mother fled Germany before the Second World War[9] to Uruguay, where after the war she reunited with his father, who had served in the French Foreign Legion. In 1953, the Sondlands relocated to Seattle where they opened a dry-cleaning business.[10] Sondland has a sister 18 years his senior.[10] He attended the University of Washington but dropped out and became a commercial real estate salesman.[10]

Career

In 1985, Sondland raised $7.8 million from friends and his wealthy brother-in-law and purchased the Roosevelt Hotel, a bankrupt Seattle hotel.[10]

Sondland’s company, Provenance Hotels, owns and manages hotels throughout the United States, including the Hotel Max and Hotel Theodore in Seattle, Washington; Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WashingtonHotel deLuxeHotel LuciaSentinel Hotel, Dossier, and Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon; The Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tennessee; and Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans, Louisiana.[11]

In 1998, Sondland purchased and redeveloped four hotels in Seattle, Portland, and Denver including Seattle’s Alexis Hotel in partnership with Bill Kimpton. Sondland also is a principal in Seattle’s Paramount Hotel.[12][13] Through Provenance Hotels, Sondland is developing hotel projects throughout the US, including in SeattleHermosa Beach, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Provenance Hotels specializes in adaptations of old buildings such as with the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, which used to be a conference Sheraton, but now includes glass art by 46 artists including Seattle’s Dale Chihuly.[14] Provenance is also known for designing or remodeling each hotel around themes that contain elements that relate to a location’s history, art, culture, and local businesses.[15][16]

In 2013, Sondland and Provenance completed a renovation of Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, renaming it Sentinel.[17] In December 2015, Sondland and Provenance announced the establishment of the company’s first real estate investment fund, Provenance Hotel Partners Fund I. The $525 million fund was created specifically for hotel real estate investment and, at the time of its announcement, was the fourth largest fund ever launched in the state of Oregon.[18]

Following his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union by President Trump, Sondland’s name was removed from the Provenance Hotels’ website and replaced with that of his wife, who is now listed as the chairman.[19]

Political involvement

Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.[20] He was appointed the commission’s chair in 2002 and has served in that capacity until 2015.[21] During his tenure on the film board, Sondland was instrumental in bringing the production of such television series as LeverageThe Librarians, and Grimm to Oregon[22] and presided over the state securing the production of feature-length films such as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Thumbsucker starring Tilda Swinton, and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts. At the 2015 Oregon Film Annual Governor’s Awards, Sondland received the “Achievement in Film Service Award” for his role in growing Oregon’s film industry.[23]

Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. As an advisor to Kulongoski, Sondland suggested appointing Ted Wheeler as state treasurer, which Kulongoski did in 2010.[24] In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.[25] Sondland collaborated with President Bush and Jay Leno on an annual charitable auction of an autographed vehicle, with proceeds benefitting the Fisher House Foundation and the George W. Bush Foundation’s Military Service Initiative.[26] He was a bundler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign, and in 2012, Sondland was selected to serve as a member of Mitt Romney‘s presidential transition team.[2]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan.[2] In April 2017, it was revealed that four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee.[27][28][29]

United States ambassador to the European Union

Sondland at the United States–EU Energy Council meeting in Brussels on July 12, 2018

In March 2018, it was reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union.[30][31] [32][3] [33] Sondland’s nomination received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing and he was confirmed on June 28, 2018.[4] [4][5]

As ambassador, Sondland has said that strengthening US-EU trade relations is a top priority.[34] He has supported using a strong US-EU economic partnership to counter what Sondland has called “economic aggression and unfair trade practices” from China.[35][36] In pursuit of this end, Sondland has promoted the idea of giving European governments access to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow them to better screen investors.[34]

Sondland has worked on data protection rules regarding U.S. compliance with the EU-US privacy shield.[37] He has also pledged to work with the EU to address global security threats.[38] He has been the Trump Administration’s lead in talks with EU member countries on the U.S.’s decertification and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.[39][40] Sondland has repeatedly criticized EU member countries’ creation of a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to bypass reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling the SPV a “paper tiger.”[39][41][42]

Sondland has been a vocal opponent of the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport gas across the Baltic Sea to the EU.[43] He has argued that the pipeline would leave the EU dependent upon Russia for its energy needs and increase Russia’s leverage on key U.S. allies in NATO.[44] Sondland argued that “Putin uses energy as a political weapon. The EU should not rely on a bare-chested version of the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort as a supplier, even if his gas is a bit cheaper.”[45]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

U.S. Delegation at May 20, 2019 Ukrainian inauguration – U.S. Photo

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of the whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between United States President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.[46] In this document, Ambassador Sondland, along with U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker were described as having “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelensky”.[47] After further investigation, The Washington Post concluded that Sondland had “seized control of the Ukraine portfolio to help Trump.”[48]

In the complaint released by the Select Committee on Intelligence, Sondland’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s activity was outlined in a text conversation with the interim chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor:

[12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: 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.[49]

Closed-door testimony relating to Sondland

On October 8, the Trump administration attempted to block Sondland from testifying in the impeachment inquiry.[50] Sondland testified October 17, 2019.[51][52][53][54][55][56]

Three weeks later on November 5, and following the testimony of other senior national security officials who told lawmakers that security assistance was also used to try to compel the Ukrainians to open investigations that might be of benefit to the Trump 2020 campaign, Sondland provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening an investigation of Trump’s political rivals as desired by the President. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials.[57]

In early November, Fiona Hill testified that Sondland, as a newcomer unaccustomed to diplomatic protocols, exhibited behavior that was “comical” but “deeply concerning,” and his lack of adherence to security protocols made him a “counterintelligence risk.” Hill testified that in July, Sondland attended a meeting with Ukrainian officials and told them that an Oval Office meeting with Trump would occur if investigations began. She testified, “Ambassador Sondland blurted out: ‘Well, we have an agreement with the Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney) for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start,'” and that John Bolton ended the meeting abruptly and later told her, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”[58]

On November 13, William Taylor, the acting head of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified that a staff member who was later identified as David Holmes told him that he overheard a phone conversation about Ukraine “investigations” between Sondland and the president at a restaurant in Kyiv. The call was made the day following Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which he asked Zelenskiy to investigate corruption. Taylor said there were two other people having lunch in the restaurant, and they heard the conversation as well.[59] Appearing in a closed-door inquiry on November 15, in a written opening statement Holmes said he heard Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” and Sondland replied, “he’s gonna do it” adding Zelensky will do “anything you ask him to.” Holmes also testified that Sondland later told him that Trump “did not give a shit about Ukraine” and “only cared about the big stuff … the big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.” In the same conversation, Sondland was also heard to characterize President Zelensky’s strongly favorable view of President Trump, informing the latter that Zelenskiy “loves [his] ass.” [60] U.S. security experts were alarmed by the fact that Sondland called a U.S. president on an unsecured line in a public place, particularly in Ukraine, where calls are assumed to be monitored by Russia.[61]

On November 16, the House impeachment investigators released the closed-door testimony of former National Security Council official Tim Morrison. Morrison voiced concerns saying that during the time that he had worked with Sondland he was not following the normal diplomatic process as used by other personnel but rather was on “a second track,” chiefly led by Sondland, “where Rudy Giuliani’s name would come up.” Morrison also testified that he had heard from Sondland that “US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.” Morrison said that on September 7, Sondland told him of a phone call he’d had from Trump in which the president said, “that there was no quid pro quo, but President Zelensky must announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it.”[62] During his public testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on November 19, 2019, Morrison stated that Sondland confirmed to him that there was indeed a quid pro quo for US aid to Ukraine and Sondland told him this following a telephone conversation Sondland had with Ukraine official Andriy Yermak on September 1, 2019.[63]

Public testimony

External video
 Testimony of Sondland to the House Intelligence Committee, November 20, 2019C-SPAN

In his public testimony on November 20, Sondland said it was at the “express direction of the president” that he, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry, commonly referred to as “the three amigos,” worked with Giuliani on Ukraine matters even though they were uncomfortable with Giuliani’s role. He said that the leadership of the State Department and the National Security Council, including Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, were fully informed of their activities and Giuliani’s, adding “Everyone was in the loop.”[64] He said that Trump, through Giuliani, was clearly demanding a public commitment by Zelensky to investigate Bursima (a Ukrainian gas company where Vice President Joe Biden’s son had sat on the board) and the 2016 election as a prerequisite to receive a White House invitation or phone call. “Was there a ‘quid pro quo? The answer is yes,” he said in his opening remarks.[65] He said it was “his personal guess” that the aid to Ukraine was also being withheld to achieve that goal, but that he never heard Trump say so. Sondland also confirmed that he had conversed by phone with Trump on July 26, as previously reported by other witnesses, adding that he “had no reason to doubt” that the subject had included investigations but “had no recollection” of discussing the Bidens.[64] Sondland testtified to Deven Nunas that he remains “a proud member of the three amigos,” and said that he would have objected to the Bursima investigation if he had connected it to the Bidens. In her testimony on the following day Fiona Hill was asked, “Is it credible to you that Mr. Sondland was completely in the dark about this [connection] all summer?” she replied, “It is not credible to me that he was oblivious.”[66]

Philanthropy

Sondland founded the Gordon Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation in 1999, which was established to “help families and boost communities”; it has given money to various non-profits including $1,000,000 to the Portland Art Museum to endow permanent access for children under the age of eighteen.[67] The Foundation helped establish a Distinguished Chair in Spine for pediatric orthopedic spine research at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2012.[citation needed] In 2014, the Foundation gave a $1,000,000 endowment to Oregon Health & Science University to establish the Sondland-Durant Distinguished Research Conference, a cancer research summit to begin in 2016.[68] In 2017, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University was created with the support of the Foundation.[citation needed]

In November 2019, the Portland Business Journal noted that following Sondland’s appointment as Ambassador, the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation modified its website by removing a biography tab for Sondland and adding two new ones for the couple’s children.[69]

Personal life

In 1993, Sondland married Katherine Durant,[10] who is the founder and managing partner of Atlas/RTG, a holding company with a portfolio of shopping centers throughout Oregon.[citation needed] Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund.[70] They have two children, Max and Lucy.[71]

References…

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1360, November 15, 2019, Story 1: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch Testifies — No Impeachable Offense Evidence — 2016 Ukraine Government Interfered with 2016 U.S. Election Favoring Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton — Ambassadors Serve At The Pleasure of The President — Move On — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General William Barr Addresses The Federal Society’s National Lawyer Convention — Videos

Posted on November 25, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Eating, Economics, Economics, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Fifth Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Genocide, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, James Comey, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Networking, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Psychology, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Sciences, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch Testifies — No Impeachable Offense Evidence — 2016 Ukraine Government Interfere with 2016 U.S. Election Favoring Candidate Hillary Clinton — Ambassadors Serve At The Pleasure of The President — Move On — Videos

House Impeachment Inquiry – Yovanovitch Testimony

WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full opening statement in Amb. Yovanovitch hearing

WHAT IS GOING ON? Devin Nunes Questions Why Marie Yovanovitch Is Even Testifying

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik questions Amb. Yovanovitch about Burisma

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, questioned Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in a public hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. At the end of his questioning, Wenstrup said the president has the right to make their own foreign policy decisions. Yovanovitch responded, saying she didn’t dispute that the president has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time, for any reason, “But what I do wonder is: Why it was necessary to smear my reputation?” “Well I wasn’t asking about that,” Wenstrup responded. The impeachment probe centers around a July phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Yovanovitch has testified that she was forced out of her position after Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, engineered a smear campaign against her.

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Amb. Yovanovitch’s full opening statement | Trump impeachment hearings

Highlights From Yovanovitch’s Impeachment Testimony | NBC News Now

Ousted ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is given standing ovation after impeachment hearing during which Schiff called out Trump for ‘witness intimidation’ after he tweeted during her testimony: ‘Everywhere Marie went turned bad’

  • Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified Friday on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee in the second televised impeachment hearing 
  • Yovanovitch said she felt threatened, shocked and devastated by remarks Donald Trump made about her in his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky 
  • In the phone call, Trump called her a ‘bad ambassador’ who was going to ‘go through some things’ 
  • Trump tweeted his criticism of Yovanovitch during the hearing, writing: ‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad’, which were then brought up by Chairman Adam Schiff in real time during the hearing 
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff accused President Trump of trying to intimidate Yovanovitch with his tweets 
  • ‘What we saw was witness intimidation in real time by the President of the United States,’ he said 
  • Trump denied that was his motive: ‘I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do’ 
  • Yovanovitch was removed from her post after Giuliani and his allies spread information, swatted down by a series of witnesses, that she was working against Trump 
  • Yovanovitch also slammed Rudy Giuliani for orchestrating a ‘smear campaign’ against her and said she found it difficult to understand why Trump was influenced by ‘foreign and private interests’   
  • In his opening remarks, Schiff praised her stance on fighting corruption and argued it was her dedication to that fight that ending up ‘pissing off’ the wrong people in the Trump administration
  • This comes after top diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and George Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, gave their testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday 

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was given a standing ovation by members of the audience at the end of Friday’s hearing during which she said she felt threatened by remarks Donald Trump made about her in his July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart, while Rep. Adam Schiff charged the U.S. president with witness intimidation for tweeting criticism of her during her testimony.

Yovanovitch recalled in stark, personal terms how she felt when she was attacked by Trump associates and later disparaged by the president himself in his phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky.

‘I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner where President Trump said that I was bad news to another world leader and that I would be going through some things,’ Yovanovitch said during her public testimony in Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

‘It sounded like a threat,’ she noted.

As Democrats were questioning her about a smear campaign against her, President Trump took to Twitter to wage a fresh round of insults against the former ambassador – a move House Intelligence Committee Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called ‘witness intimidation.’

‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,’ Trump wrote on the social media platform while Yovanovitch sat at the witness table on Capitol Hill. ‘It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.’

Schiff accused the president of trying to intimidate Yovanovitch and other potential witnesses. House Democrats will hold a series of public hearings next week with more officials scheduled to discuss the impeachment inquiry.

‘What we saw was witness intimidation in real time by the President of the United States. Once again going after this dedicated and respected career public servant – in an effort to not only chill her but to chill others who may come forward. We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of inquiry very seriously,’ Schiff told reporters outside the hearing room during a break in the proceedings.

He did not respond to a question as to whether witness intimidation is an impeachable offense.

The president denied intimidation was his motive.

‘I don’t think so at all,’ he told reporters at the White House.

‘It’s a political process. It’s not a legal process. So if I have somebody saying — I’m allowed to speak up. If somebody says about me – we’re not allowed to have any kind of representation. We’re not allowed to have almost anything, and nobody’s seen anything like it. In the history of our country there has never been a disgrace like what’s going on right now. So you know what? I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do. But they’ve taken away Republicans’ rights,’ Trump noted.

Trump’s tweet gave the hearing a moment of high drama as Schiff interrupted questioning from the Democrats’ own counsel to ask Yovanovitch to respond to the tweet in real time.

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is testifying Friday on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee in the second televised impeachment hearing

The five-hour questioning saw members of the audience jump up and give the ambassador a round of applause - an unusual display in a Congressional hearing

The five-hour questioning saw members of the audience jump up and give the ambassador a round of applause – an unusual display in a Congressional hearing

The longtime diplomat was removed from her post after Giuliani and his allies spread information, swatted down by a series of witnesses, that she was working against Trump, she claimed

The longtime diplomat was removed from her post after Giuliani and his allies spread information, swatted down by a series of witnesses, that she was working against Trump, she claimed

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the acting chair of the House Oversight Committee, joined the audience in the standing ovation, as Republican members including Reps. Mark Meadows and Lee Zeldin got up to leave.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Conaway shouted objections over the clanking of Schiff’s and the round of applause.

‘You’ve disparaged those members on this side of the aisle, we should have a chance to respond,’ Rep. Conway objected

Trump’s tweets on Friday were a notable move from the president who bragged he didn’t watch Wednesday’s public hearing, which featured public testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.

‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. 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,’ he wrote. Mogadishu was one of Yovanovitch’s postings early in her career but she was a young State Department staffer at the time and not at ambassador level.

Trump then argued he’s done more for the Ukraine than Barack Obama.

‘They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President.’ The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O,’ Trump wrote. 

Yovanovitch said the president was crediting her with too much power.

‘I don’t think I have such powers not in Mogadishu and Somalia and not in other places. I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better,’ she said.

Schiff asked her if tweets like these from the president would intimidate other witnesses from testifying.

‘Ambassador, you’ve shown the courage to come forward today and testify. Notwithstanding the fact that you were urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier the president implicitly threatened you in that call record, and now the president in real time is attacking you, what effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing in,’ Schiff asked her.

‘It’s very intimidating,’ she replied.

‘It’s designed to intimidate, is it not?,’ Schiff said.

‘I mean, I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is trying to be intimidating,’ she replied.

Schiff said Trump’s tweet on Yavonovitch was part of a ‘pattern’ of obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense.

In strong language, the chairman called it an ‘incriminating pattern of conduct’ on the president’s part.

‘This is not something that we view in isolation, this is part of a pattern of the president of the United States,’ he told reporters after the hearing was over.

‘And it’s also part of a pattern to obstruct the investigation. It was also a part, frankly, of the pattern to obstruct justice. So we need to view the President’s actions today, as part of a broader and incriminating pattern of conduct,’ he added.

 

President Trump tweeted during Friday's hearing bashing Yovanovitch, saying everywhere she 'went turned bad'. The tweet gave the hearing a moment of high drama as Schiff interrupted questioning from the Democrats' own counsel to ask Yovanovitch to respond to the tweet in real time

Republicans refused to address the president’s tweets in their post hearing press conference.

‘We’re not here to talk about tweets,’ Rep. Elise Stefanik said. ‘We’re here to talk about impeachment.’

‘I don’t know it was an attack on the witness,’ added in Rep. Mark Meadows, who is one of the president’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill. He called it a ‘characterization of her resume.’

Schiff, who has been trying to get other administration officials to testify – several of whom are obeying the president’s request to ignore their congressional subpoenas –  said witness intimidate is taken ‘very seriously.’

‘I want you to know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very seriously,’ he said.

The White House shot down a charge from Democrats the president’s tweets were witness intimidation.

‘The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to. This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process—or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the President. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Yovanovitch said she first learned Trump mentioned her in his phone call with Zelensky when she read the transcript of the July 25 call in September, which is when the White House released it.

She choked up a bit when describing her reaction to the president’s words.

‘A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face,’ she said.

'A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face,' Yovanovitch said of learning President Trump badmouthed her in his July phone call with the Ukrainian president

Yovanovitch was given a standing ovation by members of the audience at the end of Friday's hearing by members of the audience

She expressed her disbelief she was a topic of conversation between the two world leaders.

‘I mean, shocked, appalled, devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state, and it was me,’ she said.

The call transcript, which kicked off the scandal that led to House Democrats opening up an impeachment inquiry, included a back-and-forth between Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky where the American president said Yovanovitch, ‘the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in Ukraine were bad news.’ She had been recalled to the United States at that point.

Zelensky agreed.

He asked Trump to provide ‘any additional information’ he might have about Yovanovitch ‘for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine.’

In the call transcript, which isn’t verbatim, Zelensky butchers Yovanovitch’s name.

‘It was great that you were the first one who told me she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent,’ Zelensky goes on. ‘Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous president and she was on his side.’

Yovanovitch shot down Republican efforts to pull her into questions longtime Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa

Yovanovitch shot down Republican efforts to pull her into questions longtime Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa

‘She would not accept me as the new president well enough,’ Zelensky added.   

At that, Trump responded, ‘Well, she’s going to go through some things.’

Yovanovitch on Friday testified she thought Trump’s words were a threat against her.

‘She’s going to go through some things. It didn’t sound good. It sounded like a threat,’ she said.

‘Did you feel threatened?,’ Daniel Goldman, the Democrats’ Counsel on the Intelligence panel, asked her.

‘I did,’ she replied. ‘I didn’t know exactly. It’s not a very precise phrase, but I think – it didn’t feel like I was – I really don’t know how to answer the question any further except to say that it kind felt like a vague threat and so I wondered what had that meant. It was a concern to me.’

Yovanovitch, in her testimony, conceded the past few months have been a ‘difficult time.’

‘I mean, I’m a private person. I don’t want to put all that out there, but it’s been a very, very difficult time because the president does have the right to have his own or her own ambassador in every country in the world,’ she said.

She declined to talk about her family was affected.

‘I really don’t want to get into that. Thank you for asking,’ she told Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell.

She also told Sewell that ‘no,’ she was not a ‘Never Trumper’ when the congresswoman asked her about it.

Yovanovitch also described the advice EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland gave her when she was struggling to stay ambassador to the Ukraine.

‘Well, he suggested that I needed to go big or go home and he said that the best thing to do would be to, you know, send out a tweet, praise the president, that sort of thing,’ she said.

‘My reaction was that I’m sure he meant well, but it was not advice that I could really follow. It felt partisan. It felt political and that was not something that I thought was in keeping with my role as ambassador as a foreign service officer,’ she added.

Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley asked her of Sondland: ‘Did he give you suggestions what to say to the president of the United States? Or just say something nice about him?’

‘Just praise him,’ Yovanovitch replied.

Republicans used their question time to query Yovanovitch about her time in the Ukraine during the 2016 election and about allegations – pushed by President Trump and Giuliani – that the Ukraine interfered in that contest.

She pushed back against those questions and pointed out American intelligence agencies found it was Russia who sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Steve Castor, the Republican counsel who led the questioning, asked her if she heard of any ‘indication of Ukrainians trying to advocate against then-candidate Trump?’

‘Actually, there weren’t. We didn’t really see it that way,’ she replied.

Yovanovitch also shot down Republican efforts to pull her into questions longtime Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa.

Republicans want Chalupa to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Chalupa reportedly worked with a small group of Ukrainian bureaucrats who allegedly researched former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s Russia ties during the 2016 election.

Castor quizzed the former ambassador about Chalupa’s reported actions in the 2016 election.

‘Well, I was the ambassador in Ukraine starting in August of 2016. And what you’re describing, if true, as you said, what you’re describing took place in the United States. So if there were concerns about what Ms. Chalupa was doing, I think that would have been handled here,’ Yovanovitch replied.

She was also quizzed about Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian journalist that Giuliani accused of exposing Manafort’s work for the Ukraine. That work – for which Manafort did not register as a foreign agent – led to convictions against the former Trump campaign manager.

Leshchenko published the so-called ‘black ledgers’ that showed payments to Manafort and his firm.

Yovanovitch said she felt threatened, shocked and devastated by remarks Donald Trump made about her in his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ranking committee member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, questions former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump

A tweet from President Donald Trump was displayed on a monitor during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents

‘About Mr. Leschenko, he is an investigative journalist, as you said, and he got access to the black ledger and he published it, as I think journalists would do, and again, I’m not sure that – I don’t have any information to suggest that that was targeting President Trump,’ Yovanovitch said.

‘At the end of the day, President Trump won the election,’ she pointed out.

She was also asked about posts from former Ukrainian Minister for Internal Affairs Arsen Borysovych Avakov, who wrote criticisms of Trump on social media during the 2016 election.

‘Sometimes that happens in social media. Are you asking me whether it’s appropriate? Probably not,’ she said.

‘I can’t speak for what President Trump thought or what others thought. I would just say that those elements that you’ve recited don’t seem to me to be the Ukranian kind of a plan or a plot of the Ukranian government to work against President Trump or anyone else. I mean, they’re isolated incidents. We all know, I’m coming to find out myself, that public life can be — people are critical. That does not mean that someone is or a government is undermining either a campaign or interfering in elections. I would just remind again that our own U.S. Intelligence committee has conclusively determined that those who interfered in the election were in Russia,’ Yovanovitch said.

She also said she doesn’t think the president accepted any bribes or has been involved in any criminal activity.

Top U.S. diplomats accused Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of running a 'smear' campaign to force out Yavonovitch, who was recalled from her post to Washington. She says no reason was ever provided for her ouster

Republicans attempted to start their questioning of Yovanovitch with a move that would allow the only Republican lawmaker on the Intelligence panel – Rep. Elise Stefanik – question the former ambassador.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, tried to yield his time to Stefanik.

But Schiff pointed out the rules only allow the ranking member to yield time to the Republican counsel.

‘You are not recognized,’ he told Stefanik.

‘This is the fifth time you have interrupted,’ Stefanik complained to Schiff.

He ignored her and told Nunes to yield to his GOP Counsel or question Yovanovitch himself.

Nunes ultimately yielded to Castor.

But the top Republican used his time to argue the intelligence committee has become the impeachment committee.

‘I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today. This is the House intelligence committee that’s now turned into the House impeachment committee. This seems more appropriate for the subcommittee on human resources at the foreign affairs committee. If there’s issues with employment, it seems like that would be a more appropriate setting instead of an impeachment hearing where the ambassador is not a material fact witness to any of the accusations that are being hurled at the president for this impeachment inquiry,’ he said.

Democrats went first in Friday’s hearing and used their time to question Yovanovitch to lay out a ‘smear’ campaign against her by Trump allies, particularly former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.

She repeated what she had said in her closed door testimony to lawmakers last month – that she had been warned by Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was up to something with Yuriy Lutsenko, the former top prosecutor in the Ukraine.

Asked who else was involved in the ‘smear’ campaign, she said: ‘There were some members of the press and others in Mayor Giuliani’s circle.’

She also said Lutsenko and his predecessor Viktor Shokin were involved on the Ukrainian side.

Shokin is the prosecutor that then Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire because he wasn’t doing enough to root out corruption.

That action by Biden has become part of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Trump is being investigated for allegations he with held nearly $400 million in military assistance from the Ukraine unless officials agreed to investigate the Bidens and unproven allegations about the 2016 election.

The president has denied any wrong doing and the money eventually made it to the Ukraine.

Republican staff attorney Steve Castor, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listen to former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testify

Republican staff attorney Steve Castor, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listen to former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testify

Rep. Devin Nunes tried to yield his time to Rep Elise Stefanik (pictured), but Schiff pointed out the rules only allow the ranking member to yield time to the Republican counsel. 'You are not recognized,' he told Stefanik

Rep. Devin Nunes tried to yield his time to Rep Elise Stefanik (pictured), but Schiff pointed out the rules only allow the ranking member to yield time to the Republican counsel. ‘You are not recognized,’ he told Stefanik

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee listen as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee listen as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies

Yovanovitch, 61, is one of the central figures in the Democrats investigation. Trump recalled her May of this year after what other diplomats called a coordinated smear campaign against her, which included articles in conservative friendly media and tweets from Republican allies.

Giuliani, in a statement on Friday, said he obtained his information about her from numerous sources.

‘The information I obtained about Yovanovitch was in the nature of evidence from a number of witnesses. All of them — some allies, some opponents — agreed on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s wrongdoing, from telling people that Trump will be impeached, to getting the George Soros case and others dismissed, to her embassy’s partisan involvement in the 2016 election,’ he said.

Yovanovitch, meanwhile, said she felt terrible when she was recalled and was told the president lost confidence in her ability to do the job.

‘Terrible honestly. I mean, after 33 years of service to our country it was terrible. It’s not the way I wanted my career to end,’ she said of her recall.

She also described her concern when talked about the ‘smear’ campaign against her that led up to that moment, which included tweets from Donald Trump Jr., Sean Hannity and others that cited John Solomon, who then wrote for The Hill newspaper. Solomon wrote several pieces that pushed for her removal and he was a regular on Fox News.

‘I was worried,’ she said of the campaign.

She also offered political cover to Biden in the coming presidential race when she said he was supporting U.S. and international policy when he came to the Ukraine as vice president to push for Shokin’s removal as prosecutor general.

‘Official U.S. policy and that was endorsed and was the policy of a number of other international stakeholders, other countries, other monetary institutions, financial institutions,’ she said of Biden’s request to the Ukrainians.

‘And in fact if he helped to remove a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor general who was not prosecuting enough corruption, that would increase the chances that corrupt companies in Ukraine would be investigated, isn’t that right?,’ Goldman, the Democratic counsel, asked her.

‘One would think so,’ she said.

‘And that could include Burisma, right?,’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ she replied.

In her first two hours in the chair, the focus was on the smear campaign against Yovanovitch, who slammed Giuliani for orchestrating it and said she found it difficult to understand President Donald Trump was influenced by ‘foreign and private interests’ in regards to her removal.

In her opening statement, Yovanovitch outlined her long diplomatic career, defended her work in the Ukraine, pushed back against allegations against her, and emphasized the importance of fighting corruption in the Ukraine.

She denied any politics were at work in her service in the Ukraine, which occurred while both President Barack Obama and President Trump were in office.

Yovanovitch addressed the Trump administration’s concerns about the Bidens work in the Ukraine by saying she had never had any dealings on the matter. She noted she’s never met Hunter Biden nor had contact with him. She also said while she has met former Vice President Joe Biden he never discussed Burisma – the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden used to set on its board – with her.

Trump, Giuliani and others have pressed the Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s work in the Ukraine and what role Joe Biden played in the matter when he was vice president.

A transcript of a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence impeachment inquiry

A transcript of a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence impeachment inquiry

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., give opening remarks at the start of the hearing. Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, used his opening statement to berate Democrats for focusing on the impeachment inquiry and not on passing legislation

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., give opening remarks at the start of the hearing. Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, used his opening statement to berate Democrats for focusing on the impeachment inquiry and not on passing legislation

‘I have never met Hunter Biden, nor have I had any direct or indirect conversations with him. And although I have met former vice president Biden several times over the course of our many years in government service, neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me,’ Yovanovitch said.

She said she met Giuliani three times and none of those interactions were related to the issues being discussed at Friday’s hearing. And then she said she didn’t understand why the former mayor pushed for her firing.

‘I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me. Clearly no one at the State Department did. What I can say is there Mr. Giuliani should have known these claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,’ she said.

She pushed back on allegations against her, saying she never told Ukrainian officials to ignore President Trump because he may be impeached nor did she work against his campaign in the 2016 election.

‘Also untrue are unsourced allegations that I told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump’s orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason,’ she said.

‘I did not, and I would not say such a thing. Such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a foreign service officer and my role as an ambassador. The Obama administration did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign. Nor would I have taken any such steps if they had,’ she said.

She also expressed her confusion President Trump listened and acted upon allegations against her.

‘I have always understood that I served at the pleasure of the president, I still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine U.S. interests in this way,’ she said.

‘As various witnesses have recounted, they shared baseless allegations with the president and convinced him to remove his ambassador despite the fact the State Department fully understood the allegations were false and the sources highly suspect. These events should concern everyone in this room. Ambassadors are the symbol of the United States abroad. They are the personal representative of the president. They should always act and speak with full authority to advocate for U.S. policies,’ she added.

‘It was not surprising that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me. What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. Ambassador. How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign, corrupt interests could manipulate our government?,’ she noted.

She closed with a warning, complaining about the lack of leadership at the State Department and the ‘degradation’ of the Foreign Service.

‘At the closed deposition, I expressed grave concerns about the degradation of the foreign service over the past few years and the failure of State Department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy. I remain disappointed that the department’s leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong. This is about far, far more than me or a couple of individuals. As foreign service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. This will soon cause real harm if it hasn’t already,’ she said.

Yovanovitch’s testimony launched the second day of public hearings into the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Shortly before she entered the committee room, the White House released the transcript of President Donald Trump’s first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – in April of this year – which showed no mention of the Bidens or the 2016 election.

In his opening statement, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff focused on Yovanovitch’s professional accomplishments and painted her as a victim of scheming by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney.

‘Ambassador Yovanovitch has been in the foreign service for 33 years and served much of that time in the former Soviet Union. Her parents have fled Stalin and later Hitler before settling in the United States. She is an exemplary officer who was widely praised and respected by her colleagues. She is known as an anti-corruption champion whose tour in Kiev was viewed as very successful,’ Schiff said.

Yovanovitch held back tears as she testified Friday about how she felt 'threatened' by President Trump

Yovanovitch held back tears as she testified Friday about how she felt ‘threatened’ by President Trump

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrived Friday to Capitol Hill in the second public impeachment hearing by the House Intelligence Committee

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrived Friday to Capitol Hill in the second public impeachment hearing by the House Intelligence Committee

Yovanovitch, 61, is one of the central figures in the Democrats investigation. Trump recalled her May of this year after what other diplomats called a coordinated smear campaign against her, which included articles in conservative friendly media and tweets from Republican allies

Yovanovitch, 61, is one of the central figures in the Democrats investigation. Trump recalled her May of this year after what other diplomats called a coordinated smear campaign against her, which included articles in conservative friendly media and tweets from Republican allies

Marie Yovanovitch is sworn into the Trump impeachment hearing

Schiff called her removal ‘a stunning turn of events for this highly regarded career diplomat who had done such a  remarkable job fighting corruption in Ukraine that a short time earlier she had been asked by the state department to extend her tour.’

He praised her stance on fighting corruption and argued it was her dedication to that fight that ending up ‘pissing off’ the wrong people in the Trump administration.

‘Ambassador Yovanovitch was tough on corruption. Too tough on corruption for some and her principled stance made her enemies as George Kent told this committee on Wednesday, ”you can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.” And Ambassador Yovanovitch did not just piss off corrupt Ukrainians, like the corrupt former prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko but certain Americans like Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, and two individuals now indicted who worked with him, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas,’ Schiff said, naming two Giuliani business associates who have been charged with campaign finance violations related to their work in the Ukraine.

Schiff berated President Trump for not defending Yovanovitch when Giuliani and his allies turned against her.

‘That tells you a lot about the president’s priorities and intentions,’ he said.

‘Some have argued that a president has the ability to nominate or remove any ambassador he wants. That they serve at the pleasure of the president. And that is true. The question before us is not whether Donald Trump could recall an American ambassador with a stellar reputation for fighting corruption in Ukraine, but why would he want to? Why did Rudy Giuliani want her gone? And why did Trump? And why would Donald Trump instruct the new team he put in place, the three amigos – Gordon Sondland, Rick Perry and Kurt Volker – to work with the same man, Rudy Giuliani, who played such a central role in the smear campaign against her,’ Schiff noted.

Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted 'all you need to know' about Friday's hearing

Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted ‘all you need to know’ about Friday’s hearing

The chairman argued Trump wanted Yovanovitch gone to help him win the 2020 election by convincing the Ukrainians to launch an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

‘Getting rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch helped set the stage for an irregular channel that could pursue the two investigations that mattered so much to the president. The 2016 conspiracy theory and, most important, an investigation into the 2020 political opponent he apparently feared most, Joe Biden. And the president’s scheme might have worked but for the fact that the man who would succeed Ambassador Yovanovitch, whom we heard from on Wednesday, acting Ambassador Taylor, would eventually discover the effort to press Ukraine into conducting these investigations and would push back. But for the fact also that someone blew the whistle,’ he said.

Devin Nunes used his opening statement to berate Democrats for focusing on the impeachment inquiry and not on passing legislation.

He also complained about the Democrats not letting Republicans call the whistleblower in for testimony. The whistleblower revealed Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky that started the formal impeachment inquiry.

‘It’s unfortunate that today and for most of next week we will continue engaging in the Democrats’ day-long TV spectacles instead of solving the problems we were all sent to Washington to address,’ Nunes said.

He capped off by reading the transcript of Trump’s first call with Zelensky in April.

The transcript showed a conversation about Zelensky’s upcoming inauguration, which Zelensky invited Trump to attend.

The president said he would look into and invited his Ukrainian counterpart to the White House.

‘When you are settled in and ready, I would like to invite you to the White House. We’ll have a lot of things to talk about’ Trump told him on the call.

A demonstrator holds signs outside Longworth House Office Building, Friday ahead of Yovanovitch's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in the second public impeachment hearing of Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponent

A demonstrator holds signs outside Longworth House Office Building, Friday ahead of Yovanovitch’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in the second public impeachment hearing of Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponent

Schiff (L) gives opening statements flanked by (L-R) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes(R-CA), Republican Counsel Stephen Castor, and Representative Jim Jordan

Schiff (L) gives opening statements flanked by (L-R) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes(R-CA), Republican Counsel Stephen Castor, and Representative Jim Jordan

Pedestrians stroll by as demonstrator hold a sign outside Longworth House Office Building, where former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is testifying

President Trump was watching Nunes read the transcript of the first call, according to the White House.

‘The President will be watching Congressman Nunes’ opening statement, but the rest of the day he will be working hard for the American people,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Schiff praised Trump for releasing the transcript and asked for other material to be released – including documents from the State Department that are being with held at the administration’s request.

‘I’m grateful the president has released the call record,’ he said.

‘I would now ask the president to release the thousands of other records that he has instructed the State Department not to release, including Ambassador Taylor’s notes, cable, including George Kent’s memo, including documents from the office of management and budget about why the military aid was withheld,’ he said.

While Wednesday’s impeachment witnesses Bill Taylor and George Kent played to the head – the duo of long-time public servants talked at length about American foreign policy in Ukraine – Yovanovitch’s testimony is expected to tug at the heart.

Democrats see her as yet another in their line of credible witnesses – a longtime government official who has worked under presidents of both parties.

They paint her as the victim of the Trump administration – a career official who had her work derailed by the forces against her.

Republicans, however,  down play the actions against Yovanovitch, and argue the president has the right to fire whatever ambassador he wants.

‘Respectfully, this is all you need to know about Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony. She admits she can’t bring any firsthand knowledge to: – The 7/25 phone call – Discussions surrounding phone call – Discussions surrounding delay of aid And this is the Democrats second witness,’ GOP Congressman Mark Meadows tweeted during her testimony. He is not on the committee but is one of Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.

Other diplomats, in their testimony, praised Yovanovitch’s professional work and called her the victim of a ‘smear’ campaign.

In October, Yovanovitch sat down with lawmakers from the three committees tasked with impeachment proceedings and told the story of her dismissal.

She brought that closed door testimony public on Friday.

Yovanovitch’s tenure in Ukraine came to a dramatic end.

First on April 24 and then into the early hours of April 25, Director General of the Foreign Service Carol Perez made two calls to Yovanovitch. In the first she advised Yovanovitch to board the ‘next plane home to Washington.’

And hour later Perez called again.

‘There were concerns up the street and she said I needed to get – come home immediately. Get on the next plane to the U.S., and I asked her why, and she said she wasn’t sure but there were concerns about my security. Asked her my first security because sometimes Washington knows more than we do about these things and she said, no, we hadn’t gotten that impression that it was a physical security issue, but they were concerned about my security and I needed to come home right away,’ Yovanovitch testified Friday.

‘I did specifically ask whether this had to do with the Mayor Giuliani allegations against me and so forth and she shade she didn’t know. It didn’t even actually appear that she seemed to be aware of that. No reason was offered,’ she added.

Marie Yovanovitch arrives at the Trump impeachment hearing

Photographers await the arrival of Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump

‘Did you have any understanding why secretary Pompeo was no longer able to protect you?,’ Goldman asked.

‘No. It was just a statement made, that he was no longer able to protect me,’ she said.

She said she told Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, upon her return to the United States, that she was worried about how her removal would look to the Ukrainians.

‘I asked him how are you going to explain this to people in the State Department, the press, the public, Ukrainians because everybody is watching, and so if people see somebody who — and, of course, it had been very public, frankly, the attacks on me by Mayor Giuliani and others and Mr. Lutsenko in Ukraine. If people see I who have been, you know, promoting our policies on anti-corruption, if they can undermine me and get me pulled out of Ukraine, what does that mean for our policy? Do we still have that same policy? How are we going to affirmatively put that forward number one. Number two, when other countries, other actors and other countries see that private interests, foreign interests can come together and get a U.S. Ambassador removed, what’s going to stop them from doing that in the future in other countries,’ she said.

Yovanovitch was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Ambassador to Ukraine in May 2016 and unanimously confirmed by Senate in July 2016 by voice vote.

She served in that post until she was recalled in May by the Trump Administration.

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7689897/Former-Ambassador-Ukraine-Marie-Yovanovitch-testifies-second-day-impeachment-hearings.html

Story 2: Attorney General William Barr Addresses The Federal Society’s National Lawyer Convention — Videos

Barr speaks at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention
WashingtonDC

~

Friday, November 15, 2019

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good Evening.  Thank you all for being here.  And thank you to Gene [Meyer] for your kind introduction.

It is an honor to be here this evening delivering the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture.  I had the privilege of knowing Barbara and had deep affection for her.  I miss her brilliance and ebullient spirit.  It is a privilege for me to participate in this series, which honors her.

The theme for this year’s Annual Convention is “Originalism,” which is a fitting choice — though, dare I say, a somewhat “unoriginal” one for the Federalist Society.  I say that because the Federalist Society has played an historic role in taking originalism “mainstream.”  While other organizations have contributed to the cause, the Federalist Society has been in the vanguard.

A watershed for the cause was the decision of the American people to send Ronald Reagan to the White House, accompanied by his close advisor Ed Meese and a cadre of others who were firmly committed to an originalist approach to the law.  I was honored to work with Ed in the Reagan White House and be there several weeks ago when President Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  As the President aptly noted, over the course of his career, Ed Meese has been among the Nation’s “most eloquent champions for following the Constitution as written.”

I am also proud to serve as the Attorney General under President Trump, who has taken up that torch in his judicial appointments.  That is true of his two outstanding appointments to the Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; of the many superb court of appeals and district court judges he has appointed, many of whom are here this week; and of the many outstanding judicial nominees to come, many of whom are also here this week.

***********

I wanted to choose a topic for this afternoon’s lecture that had an originalist angle.  It will likely come as little surprise to this group that I have chosen to speak about the Constitution’s approach to executive power.

I deeply admire the American Presidency as a political and constitutional institution.  I believe it is, one of the great, and remarkable innovations in our Constitution, and has been one of the most successful features of the Constitution in protecting the liberties of the American people.  More than any other branch, it has fulfilled the expectations of the Framers.

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we have seen steady encroachment on Presidential authority by the other branches of government.  This process I think has substantially weakened the functioning of the Executive Branch, to the detriment of the Nation.  This evening, I would like to expand a bit on these themes.

I.

First, let me say a little about what the Framers had in mind in establishing an independent Executive in Article II of the Constitution.

The grammar school civics class version of our Revolution is that it was a rebellion against monarchial tyranny, and that, in framing our Constitution, one of the main preoccupations of the Founders was to keep the Executive weak.  This is misguided.  By the time of the Glorious Revolution of 1689, monarchical power was effectively neutered and had begun its steady decline.  Parliamentary power was well on its way to supremacy and was effectively in the driver’s seat.  By the time of the American Revolution, the patriots well understood that their prime antagonist was an overweening Parliament.  Indeed, British thinkers came to conceive of Parliament, rather than the people, as the seat of Sovereignty.

During the Revolutionary era, American thinkers who considered inaugurating a republican form of government tended to think of the Executive component as essentially an errand boy of a Supreme legislative branch.  Often the Executive (sometimes constituted as a multi-member council) was conceived as a creature of the Legislature, dependent on and subservient to that body, whose sole function was carrying out the Legislative will.  Under the Articles of Confederation, for example, there was no Executive separate from Congress.

Things changed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  To my mind, the real “miracle” in Philadelphia that summer was the creation of a strong Executive, independent of, and coequal with, the other two branches of government.

The consensus for a strong, independent Executive arose from the Framers’ experience in the Revolution and under the Articles of Confederation.  They had seen that the War had almost been lost and was a bumbling enterprise because of the lack of strong Executive leadership.  Under the Articles of Confederation, they had been mortified at the inability of the United States to protect itself against foreign impositions or to be taken seriously on the international stage.  They had also seen that, after the Revolution, too many States had adopted constitutions with weak Executives overly subordinate to the Legislatures.  Where this had been the case, state governments had proven incompetent and indeed tyrannical.

From these practical experiences, the Framers had come to appreciate that, to be successful, Republican government required the capacity to act with energy, consistency and decisiveness.  They had come to agree that those attributes could best be provided by making the Executive power independent of the divided counsels of the Legislative branch and vesting the Executive power in the hands of a solitary individual, regularly elected for a limited term by the Nation as a whole. As Jefferson put it, ‘[F]or the prompt, clear, and consistent action so necessary in an Executive, unity of person is necessary….”

While there may have been some differences among the Framers as to the precise scope of Executive power in particular areas, there was general agreement about its nature.  Just as the great separation-of-powers theorists– Polybius, Montesquieu, Locke – had, the Framers thought of Executive power as a distinct specie of power.  To be sure, Executive power includes the responsibility for carrying into effect the laws passed by the Legislature – that is, applying the general rules to a particular situation.  But the Framers understood that Executive power meant more than this.

It also entailed the power to handle essential sovereign functions – such as the conduct of foreign relations and the prosecution of war – which by their very nature cannot be directed by a pre-existing legal regime but rather demand speed, secrecy, unity of purpose, and prudent judgment to meet contingent circumstances.  They agreed that – due to the very nature of the activities involved, and the kind of decision-making they require – the Constitution generally vested authority over these spheres in the Executive.  For example, Jefferson, our first Secretary of State, described the conduct of foreign relations as “Executive altogether,” subject only to the explicit exceptions defined in the Constitution, such as the Senate’s power to ratify Treaties.

A related, and third aspect of Executive power is the power to address exigent circumstances that demand quick action to protect the well-being of the Nation but on which the law is either silent or inadequate – such as dealing with a plague or natural disaster.  This residual power to meet contingency is essentially the federative power discussed by Locke in his Second Treatise.

And, finally, there are the Executive’s powers of internal management.  These are the powers necessary for the President to superintend and control the Executive function, including the powers necessary to protect the independence of the Executive branch and the confidentiality of its internal deliberations.  Some of these powers are express in the Constitution, such as the Appointment power, and others are implicit, such as the Removal power.

One of the more amusing aspects of modern progressive polemic is their breathless attacks on the “unitary executive theory.”  They portray this as some new-fangled “theory” to justify Executive power of sweeping scope. In reality, the idea of the unitary executive does not go so much to the breadth of Presidential power.  Rather, the idea is that, whatever the Executive powers may be, they must be exercised under the President’s supervision.  This is not “new,” and it is not a “theory.”  It is a description of what the Framers unquestionably did in Article II of the Constitution.

After you decide to establish an Executive function independent of the Legislature, naturally the next question is, who will perform that function?  The Framers had two potential models. They could insinuate “checks and balances” into the Executive branch itself by conferring Executive power on multiple individuals (a council) thus dividing the power.  Alternatively, they could vest Executive power in a solitary individual.  The Framers quite explicitly chose the latter model because they believed that vesting Executive authority in one person would imbue the Presidency with precisely the attributes necessary for energetic government.  Even Jefferson – usually seen as less of a hawk than Hamilton on Executive power – was insistent that Executive power be placed in “single hands,” and he cited the America’s unitary Executive as a signal feature that distinguished America’s success from France’s failed republican experiment.

The implications of the Framers’ decision are obvious.  If Congress attempts to vest the power to execute the law in someone beyond the control of the President, it contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person, the President.  So much for this supposedly nefarious theory of the unitary executive.

II.

We all understand that the Framers expected that the three branches would be jostling and jousting with each other, as each threatened to encroach on the prerogatives of the others.  They thought this was not only natural, but salutary, and they provisioned each branch with the wherewithal to fight and to defend itself in these interbranch struggles for power.

So let me turn now to how the Executive is presently faring in these interbranch battles.  I am concerned that the deck has become stacked against the Executive.  Since the mid-60s, there has been a steady grinding down of the Executive branch’s authority, that accelerated after Watergate.  More and more, the President’s ability to act in areas in which he has discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches.

When these disputes arise, I think there are two aspects of contemporary thought that tend to operate to the disadvantage of the Executive.

The first is the notion that politics in a free republic is all about the Legislative and Judicial branches protecting liberty by imposing restrictions on the Executive.  The premise is that the greatest danger of government becoming oppressive arises from the prospect of Executive excess.  So, there is a knee-jerk tendency to see the Legislative and Judicial branches as the good guys protecting society from a rapacious would-be autocrat.

This prejudice is wrong-headed and atavistic.  It comes out of the early English Whig view of politics and English constitutional experience, where political evolution was precisely that.  You started out with a King who holds all the cards; he holds all the power, including Legislative and Judicial.  Political evolution involved a process by which the Legislative power gradually, over hundreds of years, reigned in the King, and extracted and established its own powers, as well as those of the Judiciary.  A watershed in this evolution was, of course, the Glorious Revolution in 1689.

But by 1787, we had the exact opposite model in the United States.  The Founders greatly admired how the British constitution had given rise to the principles of a balanced government.  But they felt that the British constitution had achieved only an imperfect form of this model.  They saw themselves as framing a more perfect version of separation of powers and a balanced constitution.

Part of their more perfect construction was a new kind of Executive.  They created an office that was already the ideal Whig Executive.  It already had built into it the limitations that Whig doctrine aspired to.  It did not have the power to tax and spend; it was constrained by habeas corpus and by due process in enforcing the law against members of the body politic; it was elected for a limited term of office; and it was elected by the nation as whole.  That is a remarkable democratic institution – the only figure elected by the Nation as a whole.  With the creation of the American Presidency, the Whig’s obsessive focus on the dangers of monarchical rule lost relevance.

This fundamental shift in view was reflected in the Convention debates over the new frame of government.  Their concerns were very different from those that weighed on 17th century English Whigs.  It was not Executive power that was of so much concern to them; it was danger of the legislative branch, which they viewed as the most dangerous branch to liberty.  As Madison warned, the “legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.”  And indeed, they viewed the Presidency as a check on the Legislative branch.

The second contemporary way of thinking that operates against the Executive is a notion that the Constitution does not sharply allocate powers among the three branches, but rather that the branches, especially the political branches, “share” powers.  The idea at work here is that, because two branches both have a role to play in a particular area, we should see them as sharing power in that area and, it is not such a big deal if one branch expands its role within that sphere at the expense of the other.

This mushy thinking obscures what it means to say that powers are shared under the Constitution.  Constitution generally assigns broad powers to each of the branches in defined areas.  Thus, the Legislative power granted in the Constitution is granted to the Congress.  At the same time, the Constitution gives the Executive a specific power in the Legislative realm – the veto power. Thus, the Executive “shares” Legislative power only to the extent of the specific grant of veto power.  The Executive does not get to interfere with the broader Legislative power assigned to the Congress.

In recent years, both the Legislative and Judicial branches have been responsible for encroaching on the Presidency’s constitutional authority.  Let me first say something about the Legislature.

A.

As I have said, the Framers fully expected intense pulling and hauling between the Congress and the President.  Unfortunately, just in the past few years, we have seen these conflicts take on an entirely new character.

Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration.  Now, “resistance” is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power.  It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate.  This is a very dangerous – indeed incendiary – notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic.  What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.

A prime example of this is the Senate’s unprecedented abuse of the advice-and-consent process.  The Senate is free to exercise that power to reject unqualified nominees, but that power was never intended to allow the Senate to systematically oppose and draw out the approval process for every appointee so as to prevent the President from building a functional government.

Yet that is precisely what the Senate minority has done from his very first days in office.  As of September of this year, the Senate had been forced to invoke cloture on 236 Trump nominees — each of those representing its own massive consumption of legislative time meant only to delay an inevitable confirmation.   How many times was cloture invoked on nominees during President Obama’s first term?  17 times.  The Second President Bush’s first term?  Four times.  It is reasonable to wonder whether a future President will actually be able to form a functioning administration if his or her party does not hold the Senate.

Congress has in recent years also largely abdicated its core function of legislating on the most pressing issues facing the national government.  They either decline to legislate on major questions or, if they do, punt the most difficult and critical issues by making broad delegations to a modern administrative state that they increasingly seek to insulate from Presidential control.  This phenomenon first arose in the wake of the Great Depression, as Congress created a number of so-called “independent agencies” and housed them, at least nominally, in the Executive Branch.  More recently, the Dodd-Frank Act’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Branch, a single-headed independent agency that functions like a junior varsity President for economic regulation, is just one of many examples.

Of course, Congress’s effective withdrawal from the business of legislating leaves it with a lot of time for other pursuits.  And the pursuit of choice, particularly for the opposition party, has been to drown the Executive Branch with “oversight” demands for testimony and documents.  I do not deny that Congress has some implied authority to conduct oversight as an incident to its Legislative Power.  But the sheer volume of what we see today – the pursuit of scores of parallel “investigations” through an avalanche of subpoenas – is plainly designed to incapacitate the Executive Branch, and indeed is touted as such.

The costs of this constant harassment are real.  For example, we all understand that confidential communications and a private, internal deliberative process are essential for all of our branches of government to properly function.  Congress and the Judiciary know this well, as both have taken great pains to shield their own internal communications from public inspection.  There is no FOIA for Congress or the Courts.  Yet Congress has happily created a regime that allows the public to seek whatever documents it wants from the Executive Branch at the same time that individual congressional committees spend their days trying to publicize the Executive’s internal decisional process.  That process cannot function properly if it is public, nor is it productive to have our government devoting enormous resources to squabbling about what becomes public and when, rather than doing the work of the people.

In recent years, we have seen substantial encroachment by Congress in the area of executive privilege.  The Executive Branch and the Supreme Court have long recognized that the need for confidentiality in Executive Branch decision-making necessarily means that some communications must remain off limits to Congress and the public.   There was a time when Congress respected this important principle as well.  But today, Congress is increasingly quick to dismiss good-faith attempts to protect Executive Branch equities, labeling such efforts “obstruction of Congress” and holding Cabinet Secretaries in contempt.

One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of “shredding” constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law.  When I ask my friends on the other side, what exactly are you referring to?  I get vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the Travel Ban or some such thing.  While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him.  What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts.  The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.

Indeed, measures undertaken by this Administration seem a bit tame when compared to some of the unprecedented steps taken by the Obama Administration’s aggressive exercises of Executive power – such as, under its DACA program, refusing to enforce broad swathes of immigration law.

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.  This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day.  It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.

In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion.  Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.  Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end.  They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications.  They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise.  We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing.  This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard.  The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying, in a given circumstance was universalized – that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?

For these reasons, conservatives tend to have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel that the ends justify the means.  And this is as it should be, but there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy far, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media.

B.

Let me turn now to what I believe has been the prime source of the erosion of separation-of-power principles generally, and Executive Branch authority specifically.  I am speaking of the Judicial Branch.

In recent years the Judiciary has been steadily encroaching on Executive responsibilities in a way that has substantially undercut the functioning of the Presidency.  The Courts have done this in essentially two ways:  First, the Judiciary has appointed itself the ultimate arbiter of separation of powers disputes between Congress and Executive, thus preempting the political process, which the Framers conceived as the primary check on interbranch rivalry.  Second, the Judiciary has usurped Presidential authority for itself, either (a) by, under the rubric of “review,” substituting its judgment for the Executive’s in areas committed to the President’s discretion, or (b) by assuming direct control over realms of decision-making that heretofore have been considered at the core of Presidential power.

The Framers did not envision that the Courts would play the role of arbiter of turf disputes between the political branches.  As Madison explained in Federalist 51, “the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.”  By giving each the Congress and the Presidency the tools to fend off the encroachments of the others, the Framers believed this would force compromise and political accommodation.

The “constitutional means” to “resist encroachment” that Madison described take various forms.  As Justice Scalia observed, the Constitution gives Congress and the President many “clubs with which to beat” each other.  Conspicuously absent from the list is running to the courts to resolve their disputes.

That omission makes sense.  When the Judiciary purports to pronounce a conclusive resolution to constitutional disputes between the other two branches, it does not act as a co-equal.  And, if the political branches believe the courts will resolve their constitutional disputes, they have no incentive to debate their differences through the democratic process — with input from and accountability to the people.  And they will not even try to make the hard choices needed to forge compromise.  The long experience of our country is that the political branches can work out their constitutional differences without resort to the courts.

In any event, the prospect that courts can meaningfully resolve interbranch disputes about the meaning of the Constitution is mostly a false promise.  How is a court supposed to decide, for example, whether Congress’s power to collect information in pursuit of its legislative function overrides the President’s power to receive confidential advice in pursuit of his executive function?  Nothing in the Constitution provides a manageable standard for resolving such a question.  It is thus no surprise that the courts have produced amorphous, unpredictable balancing tests like the Court’s holding in Morrison v. Olson that Congress did not “disrupt the proper balance between the coordinate branches by preventing the Executive Branch from accomplishing its constitutionally assigned functions.”

Apart from their overzealous role in interbranch disputes, the courts have increasingly engaged directly in usurping Presidential decision-making authority for themselves.  One way courts have effectively done this is by expanding both the scope and the intensity of judicial review.

In recent years, we have lost sight of the fact that many critical decisions in life are not amenable to the model of judicial decision-making.  They cannot be reduced to tidy evidentiary standards and specific quantums of proof in an adversarial process.  They require what we used to call prudential judgment.  They are decisions that frequently have to be made promptly, on incomplete and uncertain information and necessarily involve weighing a wide range of competing risks and making predictions about the future.  Such decisions frequently call into play the “precautionary principle.”  This is the principle that when a decision maker is accountable for discharging a certain obligation – such as protecting the public’s safety – it is better, when assessing imperfect information, to be wrong and safe, than wrong and sorry.

It was once well recognized that such matters were largely unreviewable and that the courts should not be substituting their judgments for the prudential judgments reached by the accountable Executive officials.  This outlook now seems to have gone by the boards.  Courts are now willing, under the banner of judicial review, to substitute their judgment for the President’s on matters that only a few decades ago would have been unimaginable – such as matters involving national security or foreign affairs.

The Travel Ban case is a good example.  There the President made a decision under an explicit legislative grant of authority, as well has his Constitutional national security role, to temporarily suspend entry to aliens coming from a half dozen countries pending adoption of more effective vetting processes.  The common denominator of the initial countries selected was that they were unquestionable hubs of terrorism activity, which lacked functional central government’s and responsible law enforcement and intelligence services that could assist us in identifying security risks among their nationals seeking entry.  Despite the fact there were clearly justifiable security grounds for the measure, the district court in Hawaii and the Ninth Circuit blocked this public-safety measure for a year and half on the theory that the President’s motive for the order was religious bias against Muslims.  This was just the first of many immigration measures based on good and sufficient security grounds that the courts have second guessed since the beginning of the Trump Administration.

The Travel Ban case highlights an especially troubling aspect of the recent tendency to expand judicial review.  The Supreme Court has traditionally refused, across a wide variety of contexts, to inquire into the subjective motivation behind governmental action.  To take the classic example, if a police officer has probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, his subjective motivations are irrelevant.  And just last term, the Supreme Court appropriately shut the door to claims that otherwise-lawful redistricting can violate the Constitution if the legislators who drew the lines were actually motivated by political partisanship.

What is true of police officers and gerrymanderers is equally true of the President and senior Executive officials.  With very few exceptions, neither the Constitution, nor the Administrative Procedure Act or any other relevant statute, calls for judicial review of executive motive.  They apply only to executive action.  Attempts by courts to act like amateur psychiatrists attempting to discern an Executive official’s “real motive” — often after ordering invasive discovery into the Executive Branch’s privileged decision-making process — have no more foundation in the law than a subpoena to a court to try to determine a judge’s real motive for issuing its decision.  And courts’ indulgence of such claims, even if they are ultimately rejected, represents a serious intrusion on the President’s constitutional prerogatives.

The impact of these judicial intrusions on Executive responsibility have been hugely magnified by another judicial innovation – the nationwide injunction.  First used in 1963, and sparely since then until recently, these court orders enjoin enforcement of a policy not just against the parties to a case, but against everyone.  Since President Trump took office, district courts have issued over 40 nationwide injunctions against the government.  By comparison, during President Obama’s first two years, district courts issued a total of two nationwide injunctions against the government.  Both were vacated by the Ninth Circuit.

It is no exaggeration to say that virtually every major policy of the Trump Administration has been subjected to immediate freezing by the lower courts.  No other President has been subjected to such sustained efforts to debilitate his policy agenda.

The legal flaws underlying nationwide injunctions are myriad.  Just to summarize briefly, nationwide injunctions have no foundation in courts’ Article III jurisdiction or traditional equitable powers; they radically inflate the role of district judges, allowing any one of more than 600 individuals to singlehandedly freeze a policy nationwide, a power that no single appellate judge or Justice can accomplish; they foreclose percolation and reasoned debate among lower courts, often requiring the Supreme Court to decide complex legal issues in an emergency posture with limited briefing; they enable transparent forum shopping, which saps public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; and they displace the settled mechanisms for aggregate litigation of genuinely nationwide claims, such as Rule 23 class actions.

Of particular relevance to my topic tonight, nationwide injunctions also disrupt the political process.  There is no better example than the courts’ handling of the rescission of DACA.  As you recall, DACA was a discretionary policy of enforcement forbearance adopted by President Obama’s administration.  The Fifth Circuit concluded that the closely related DAPA policy (along with an expansion of DACA) was unlawful, and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision by an equally divided vote.  Given that DACA was discretionary — and that four Justices apparently thought a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful —President Trump’s administration understandably decided to rescind DACA.

Importantly, however, the President coupled that rescission with negotiations over legislation that would create a lawful and better alternative as part of a broader immigration compromise.  In the middle of those negotiations — indeed, on the same day the President invited cameras into the Cabinet Room to broadcast his negotiations with bipartisan leaders from both Houses of Congress — a district judge in the Northern District of California enjoined the rescission of DACA nationwide.  Unsurprisingly, the negotiations over immigration legislation collapsed after one side achieved its preferred outcome through judicial means.  A humanitarian crisis at the southern border ensued.  And just this week, the Supreme Court finally heard argument on the legality of the DACA rescission.  The Court will not likely decide the case until next summer, meaning that President Trump will have spent almost his entire first term enforcing President Obama’s signature immigration policy, even though that policy is discretionary and half the Supreme Court concluded that a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful.  That is not how our democratic system is supposed to work.

To my mind, the most blatant and consequential usurpation of Executive power in our history was played out during the Administration of President George W. Bush, when the Supreme Court, in a series of cases, set itself up as the ultimate arbiter and superintendent of military decisions inherent in prosecuting a military conflict – decisions that lie at the very core of the President’s discretion as Commander in Chief.

This usurpation climaxed with the Court’s 2008 decision in Boumediene.  There, the Supreme Court overturned hundreds of years of American, and earlier British, law and practice, which had always considered decisions as to whether to detain foreign combatants to be purely military judgments which civilian judges had no power to review.  For the first time, the Court ruled that foreign persons who had no connection with the United States other than being confronted by our military on the battlefield had “due process” rights and thus have the right to habeas corpus to obtain judicial review of whether the military has a sufficient evidentiary basis to hold them.

In essence, the Court has taken the rules that govern our domestic criminal justice process and carried them over and superimposed them on the Nation’s activities when it is engaged in armed conflict with foreign enemies.  This rides roughshod over a fundamental distinction that is integral to the Constitution and integral to the role played by the President in our system.

As the Preamble suggests, governments are established for two different security reasons – to secure domestic tranquility and to provide for defense against external dangers.  These are two very different realms of government action.

In a nutshell, under the Constitution, when the government is using its law enforcement powers domestically to discipline an errant member of the community for a violation of law, then protecting the liberty of the American people requires that we sharply curtail the government’s power so it does not itself threaten the liberties of the people.  Thus, the Constitution in this arena deliberately sacrifices efficiency; invests the accused with rights that that essentially create a level playing field between the collective interests of community and those of the individual; and dilutes the government’s power by dividing it and turning it on itself as a check, at each stage the Judiciary is expressly empowered to serve as a check and neutral arbiter.

None of these considerations are applicable when the government is defending the country against armed attacks from foreign enemies.  In this realm, the Constitution is concerned with one thing – preserving the freedom of our political community by destroying the external threat.  Here, the Constitution is not concerned with handicapping the government to preserve other values.  The Constitution does not confer “rights” on foreign enemies. Rather the Constitution is designed to maximize the government’s efficiency to achieve victory – even at the cost of “collateral damage” that would be unacceptable in the domestic realm. The idea that the judiciary acts as a neutral check on the political branches to protect foreign enemies from our government is insane.

The impact of Boumediene has been extremely consequential.  For the first time in American history our armed forces is incapable of taking prisoners.  We are now in a crazy position that, if we identify a terrorist enemy on the battlefield, such as ISIS, we can kill them with drone or any other weapon.  But if we capture them and want to hold them at Guantanamo or in the United States, the military is tied down in developing evidence for an adversarial process and must spend resources in interminable litigation.

The fact that our courts are now willing to invade and muck about in these core areas of Presidential responsibility illustrates how far the doctrine of Separation of Powers has been eroded.

III.

In this partisan age, we should take special care not to allow the passions of the moment to cause us to permanently disfigure the genius of our Constitutional structure. As we look back over the sweep of American history, it has been the American Presidency that has best fulfilled the vision of the Founders.  It has brought to our Republic a dynamism and effectiveness that other democracies have lacked.

At every critical juncture where the country has faced a great challenge –

– whether it be in our earliest years as the weak, nascent country combating regional rebellions, and maneuvering for survival in a world of far stronger nations;

– whether it be during our period of continental expansion, with the Louisiana Purchase, and the acquisition of Mexican territory;

– whether it be the Civil War, the epic test of the Nation;

– World War II and the struggle against Fascism;

– the Cold War and the challenge of Communism;

– the struggle against racial discrimination;

– and most recently, the fight against Islamist Fascism and international terrorism.

One would have to say that it has been the Presidency that has stepped to the fore and provided the leadership, consistency, energy and perseverance that allowed us to surmount the challenge and brought us success.

In so many areas, it is critical to our Nation’s future that we restore and preserve in their full vigor our Founding principles.  Not the least of these is the Framers’ vision of a strong, independent Executive, chosen by the country as a whole.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-19th-annual-barbara-k-olson-memorial-lecture

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1359, November 14, 2019, Story 1: Story 1:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Accuses President Trump of Bribery — Equating Quid Pro Quo Phrase With Bribery — Have Not Made A Decision to Impeach — Utter Nonsense — Foreign Aid and Military Security Assistance Always Has Conditions — This Is Not Evidence of Bribery But A Quid Pro Quo — Joe Biden’s Iconic Quid Pro Quo: Fire Ukraine Prosecutor and Ukraine Will Get United States Aid and Loan Guarantees — Done Deal — Was This Bribery? — Videos

Posted on November 23, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Economics, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, IRS, Islam, James Comey, Joe Biden, Language, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Mental Illness, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Networking, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Psychology, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Rifles, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Science, Social Sciences, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Story 1:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Accuses President Trump of Bribery — Equating Quid Pro Quo Phrase With Bribery — Have Not Made A Decision to Impeach — Utter Nonsense — Foreign Aid and Military Security Assistance Always Has Conditions — This Is Not Evidence of Bribery But A Quid Pro Quo — Joe Biden’s Iconic Quid Pro Quo: Fire Ukraine Prosecutor and Ukraine Will Get United States Aid and Loan Guarantees — Done Deal — Was This Bribery? —  Videos

See the source image

Iconic Quid Pro Quo As Well As A Bribe

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

President Trump questions Former VP Joe Biden’s ties to Ukraine

#QUIDPROJOE: THE BIDEN VIDEO IS THE GOLD STANDARD OF QUID PRO QUO?

Trump explodes at Reuters reporter asking about Ukraine

Democrats move from ‘quid pro quo’ to ‘bribery’

Quid pro quo, explained

Impeachment Take Two: Bribery, Not Quid Pro Quo

Gidley: Pelosi is turning American judicial system upside down

Nancy Pelosi accuses Trump of bribery

Pelosi: Impeachment Hearing Found ‘Evidence of Bribery’ by Trump

‘That’s Bribery’: Speaker Pelosi Says Trump Committed Bribery, An Impeachable Offense | MSNBC

‘That’s Bribery’: Speaker Pelosi Says Trump Committed Bribery, An Impeachable Offense |

PBS NewsHour West Live Episode, Nov. 14, 2019

The Trump administration’s shifting message on quid pro quo

Clip: Biden on the Obama Administration’s Response to Russia

Foreign Affairs Issue Launch With Joe Biden

Ukraine: Black Sea region strategically important for NATO, says Stoltenberg

Russia returns seized Ukrainian naval ships | DW News

Why this American is on the frontlines of Ukraine’s long war

Fear of war in Ukraine – Power struggle for the Sea of Asov | DW Documentary

Ukraine: its Donbass conflict

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

DNC CORRUPTION: What’s on the hacked Democrat server in Ukraine?

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government/public official or employee. In general, bribes can take the form of gifts or payments of money in exchange for favorable treatment, such as awards of government contracts. Other forms of bribes may include property, various goods, privileges, services and favors.

Bribery: An Overview

Bribes are always intended to influence or alter the action of various individuals and go hand in hand with both political and public corruption. No written agreement is necessary to prove this crime, but a prosecutor generally must show corrupt intent. In most situations, both the person offering the bribe and the person accepting can be charged.

Another crime often associated (and sometimes confused) with bribery is extortion. The difference is that bribing someone involves offering a positive reward for compliance, whereas extortion uses threats of violence or other negative acts in exchange for compliance.

Elements of a Bribery Charge

At the most fundamental level, charges of bribery need only to prove that an agreement for the exchange of something of value (political influence, for example) for a sum of money or something else of value. While a written agreement isn’t required, prosecutors must be able to prove that an agreement was actually made. For example, a taped phone call between a politician and the party offering the bribe may be sufficient evidence. Similarly, a police body cam video of a driver handing the officer cash before being let go would suffice.

The federal government, however, has very specific elements that it uses to prosecute cases of bribery against federal employees. These include the following:

  1. The individual being bribed is a “public official,” which includes rank-and-file federal employees on up to elected officials;
  2. A “thing of value” has been offered, whether it’s tangible (such as cash) or intangible (such as the promise of influence or official support);
  3. There’s an “official act” that may be influenced by a bribe (such as pending legislation that may have a direct impact on the party offering the bribe);
  4. The public official has the authority or power to commit the official act (for instance, the official is a senator who is voting on a particular piece of legislation);
  5. There must be the establishment of intent on the part of the bribing party to get a desired result (the intent to sway the vote by handing over an envelope full of cash); and
  6. The prosecution must establish a causal connection between the payment and the act meaning there must be more than just a suspicious coincidence.

Examples of Bribery

Bribery can happen in many different spheres of influence. In the sporting world, for example, one boxer might offer another a payoff to “throw” (deliberately lose) an important fight. Or a gambler may offer to pay a basketball player to “shave” points off the score so a team loses by more points.

In the corporate arena, a company could bribe employees of a rival company for recruitment services. It’s important to note that even when public officials are involved, a bribe doesn’t need to be harmful to the public interest in order to be illegal. Depending on the jurisdiction, a conviction can result in a fine and/or prison time.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977 makes it unlawful for a United States citizen, as well as certain foreign issuers of securities, to pay a foreign official in order to obtain business with any person. In 1998 a provision to the Act was added which applies to any foreign firms or foreign-born persons who take any act in furtherance of a corrupt payment while in the United States.

Let an Attorney Help You Defend Against Bribery Charges

An alleged act of bribing someone could result in charges in a wide variety of courts, and the evidence or statements that come out in one court might be used against you in another. As such, an organized and forward-looking strategy for defense should be developed. Contact a qualified, local criminal defense attorney today to learn more

https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/bribery.html

Why the Democratic pivot from quid pro quo to ‘bribery’ is a bust

 

""
Republicans have repeatedly refused to say whether it was appropriate for President Trump to ask foreign governments to investigate his political rival. (JM Rieger/The
Washington Post)

.

The core of the impeachment question has always rested on a quid pro quo: Did President Trump threaten to withhold congressionally approved aid to a foreign government to harm his domestic political foe? Instead, the Democrats attempted to shift their rhetoric to christen the crime as “bribery,” and the pivot bombed fantastically.

For starters, the term “quid pro quo” is the more accurate shorthand for the allegation involved, but, more importantly, that’s the exact term that Trump used to deny such an arrangement, according to besieged Ambassador Gordon Sondland. It’s the term that Trump and his entire team have spent weeks using in their public denials, even as the evidence belies them, and it’s the term the public has on alert.

Impeachment proceedings require ample public support to result in removal from office and at least modest backing to not entirely backfire on the prosecuting party. In the constant chaos of the Trump era, the difficulty of capturing the public’s attention is only surpassed by keeping it. Given the immediate spike in public support for impeachment after the release of the July 25 call transcript between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred debate over a quid pro quo, clearly the term stuck, at least more than any point of two years of Mueller mania.

But the Democrats decided to rebrand to “bribery,” and Tuesday’s open-door impeachment testimony illustrated just how much the pivot weakened their case.

The term “quid pro quo” arises 16 times in the transcript of Sondland’s closed-door testimony and 20 times in Ambassador William Taylor’s. “Bribery” does not appear in one. Republicans leveraged this to their advantage.

Witnesses are called to provide objective testimony, not their legal analysis, and even if the central allegation did fit the definition of bribery (it doesn’t really, though), it wouldn’t undermine the Democrats’ argument if witnesses didn’t brand the allegation as such. But Ratcliffe’s stunt was politically effective, and Democrats still need to gain public support if they want their proceedings to go down as more than an embarrassing footnote in history. Furthermore, the public won’t remain patient for long, and if they lose the “quid pro quo” question, they’ve lost those who they’re trying to win over with their legalese.

Keep “bribery,” and lose the narrative, Dems.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/why-the-democratic-pivot-from-quid-pro-quo-to-bribery-is-a-bust

Story 2: Hiding Democrat and George Soros Real Conspiracies in Ukraine and United States From American People — The Phony Whisle-Blower Must Be Compelled To Testify In Public –Videos —

UPDATED November 19, 2019

UKRAINE SCANDAL: Trump, the ‘Deep State,’ and how the Democrats STOLE our government

NEW Ukraine Whistleblower: GEORGE SOROS wanted Shokin gone, Joe Biden and Chalupa Corrupt

Oct 16, 2019

Glenn recaps part of his interview with a NEW Ukraine whistleblower, Andrii Telizhenko. He was an adviser to the former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin (who was trying to investigate Burisma, where Hunter Biden was on the board). The Obama administration — including Joe Biden — said for years that Shokin was corrupt, but Telizhenko says the opposite. He says that a George Soros funded NGO wanted Shokin GONE, and Joe Biden put the pressure on until he was fired. And, Telizhenko says, diplomats at the Ukrainian embassy were told to cooperate with DNC researcher Alexandra Chalupa, because they believed it would bring them favor once Hillary Clinton was elected president.

ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT? Does the Deep State exist, and is Ukraine its proof?

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

WATCH: All the key moments from Day 1 of the Trump impeachment hearings in less than

15 minutes

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

“As one falls, two more will take their place.” Democracy does die in darkness and is being strangled in secret, back-door arrangements. In the third part of Glenn’s special series on the REAL Ukraine scandal, the team’s research exposes a much bigger story of what Democrats were doing in Ukraine. Disturbing details and explosive documents reveal how the Obama Deep State allowed the theft of a country and has set the stage for devastating consequences in our democracy today. Glenn explains how it’s all happening under the nose of the president and, more importantly, without the approval of the American people.

How the Obama State Dept. funded Soros group’s activities

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: Devin Nunes Opening Statement

WATCH: George Kent’s full opening statement on first day of Trump impeachment hearings

George Kent: Smears Against Yovanovitch Promoted By Rudy Giuliani | NBC News

Devin Nunes begins Republican questioning of Taylor and Kent

WATCH: Bill Taylor’s full opening statement on first day of Trump impeachment hearings

Republican counsel Steve Castor’s full questioning of George Kent and Bill Taylor

What William Taylor and George Kent shared during public impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Bill Taylor | Trump impeachment hearings

JIM JORDAN FIRED UP: During President Trump Impeachment Hearing

UKRAINE SCANDAL: Trump, the Deep State, and how the Democrats STOLE our Government

UKRAINE, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: Jim Jordan vs. William Taylor is a “FIASCO” says BILL O’REILLY

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

“As one falls, two more will take their place.” Democracy does die in darkness and is being strangled in secret, back-door arrangements. In the third part of Glenn’s special series on the REAL Ukraine scandal, the team’s research exposes a much bigger story of what Democrats were doing in Ukraine. Disturbing details and explosive documents reveal how the Obama Deep State allowed the theft of a country and has set the stage for devastating consequences in our democracy today. Glenn explains how it’s all happening under the nose of the president and, more importantly, without the approval of the American people.

Tucker: Democrats have no actual plan for impeachment

Rand Paul: No law stops me from saying whistleblower’s name

Image result for eric ciaramella

Bill O’Reilly on the Identity of the Whistleblower

Alleged Whistleblower Named

EXPOSED: Glaring Issues in the Whistleblower Complaint I America with Eric Bolling

USA: Whistleblower is an ‘Obama person’ and ‘should be revealed’ – Trump

Eric Ciaramella: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

 

ric Ciaramella is a CIA analyst and former National Security Council staffer who has served in both the Obama and Trump administrations as a career intelligence officer. Senator Rand Paul tweeted a link to an article by Real Clear Investigations that named Ciaramella as possibly being the whistleblower who came forward with concerns about President Donald Trump’s interactions with the president of Ukraine, leading to an official impeachment inquiry.

Ciaramella was named on social media in early October and by Real Clear Investigations on October 30, after weeks of speculation about his identity. According to the conservative-leaning Real Clear Investigations, Ciaramella’s name has been an open secret in Washington D.C. His name has since been spread by conservative pundits and websites, including the Washington Examiner and The Federalist. Senator Paul called for the whistleblower to be subpoenaed to testify under oath. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz also shared a link to the RCI article on Twitter.

Ciaramella’s name appears in the transcript of a closed-door Congressional session as part of the impeachment inquiry. The transcript of the October 22 deposition of Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, was released by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on November 6. Attorney Steve Castor, a lawyer for Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee asked Taylor about the whistleblower complaint. During the questioning, Castor asked, “Does a person by the name of Eric Ciaramella ring a bell for you?” Taylor responded, “It doesn’t.” Castor then asked Taylor if, to his knowledge, he had ever had communication with Ciaramella. Taylor responded, “Correct.”

Ciaramella could not be reached for comment by Heavy. The whistleblower’s attorneys issued a statement saying they neither confirm nor deny Ciarmella is the whistleblower. Ciaramella’s father told Real Clear Investigations he doubts his son is the whistleblower, saying, “He didn’t have that kind of access to that kind of information. He’s just a guy going to work every day.”

The whistleblower’s attorneys and Democrats have fought to keep his identity concealed, while Trump and his Republican allies have called for him to be identified publicly, saying he should be questioned about why he came forward and possible political bias because of his background. The existence of whistleblower complaint regarding Trump’s conduct with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was first revealed in September.

After Real Clear Investigation’s report, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose nationally syndicated show reaches millions of listeners, named Ciaramella on air.

While Fox News has banned its hosts and contributors from mentioning Ciaramella’s name, according to CNN, one of the network’s guests, syndicated radio host Lars Larson, said the name during a segment on November 7 on “Outnumbered Overtime” with Harris Faulkner. She did not respond or mention his use of Ciaramella’s name.

Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, the attorneys who are representing the whistleblower, issued a statement about Ciaramella being identified as possibly being their client, “Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Ciaramella is currently detailed by the CIA to the National Intelligence Committee, where he works as a deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia. He reports to Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire. He likely works closely with Alexander Vindman, the impeachment inquiry witness who is now Ukraine director for the NSC, Ciaramella’s former role.

A former Trump official told the Examiner, “It is close to a mathematical certainty that (Vindman and the whistleblower) know one another and that (the whistleblower) is being used to provide analytical support to the National Security Council on the topics of Russia and Ukraine. And that is where they would have crossed paths. They would know who one another are.” Another former Trump official said Vindman and Ciaramella both spent time at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine during the Obama administration. And they have both been working on Ukraine issues for several years.

Vindman said during his Congressional deposition, “I want the committee to know I am not the whistleblower who brought this issue to the CIA and the committee’s attention. … I do not know who the whistleblower is, and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.” Vindman testified that he listened in on the July 25 call at question in the impeachment inquiry and was concerned. ““I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” he testified.

Here’s what you need to know about Eric Ciaramella:


1. Ciaramella Is a Ukraine Expert for the CIA Whose Background Matches Details About the Whistleblower Previously Reported by The New York Times

Senator Rand Paul

@RandPaul

It is being reported that the whistleblower was Joe Biden’s point man on Ukraine. It is imperative the whistleblower is subpoenaed and asked under oath about Hunter Biden and corruption. https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/10/30/whistleblower_exposed_close_to_biden_brennan_dnc_oppo_researcher_120996.html 

The Beltway’s ‘Whistleblower’ Furor Obsesses Over One Name | RealClearInvestigations

By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigationsOctober 30, 2019, 4:21 PM Eastern For a town that leaks like a sieve, Washington has done an astonishingly effective job keeping from the American public the…

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Eric Ciaramella, 33, is a Ukraine expert and his background matches the biographical details reported by The New York Times and other media outlets about the whistleblower. According to The Times, the whistleblower is a CIA officer who was detailed to work at the White House before returning to the CIA. The Times wrote, “His complaint suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.”

The whistleblower raised concerns that Trump had asked Zelensky during a July 2019 phone call to investigate former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump is accused of forcing a quid pro quo in which aid to Ukraine would only be released if an investigation was launched.

Yamiche Alcindor

@Yamiche

New statement from the whistleblower’s attorneys: “We neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower. Our client is legally entitled to anonymity.” Adds that revealing identity is the “pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

In September, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment, a redacted version of the whistleblower’s complaint and a summary of Trump’s call with Zelensky were made public. The complaint revealed that the whistleblower was not on the call, but learned of concerning information from others with direct knowledge about it.

In the weeks since, several current and former State Department and other government officials have testified behind closed doors before House committees, with many providing verification of the whistleblower’s claims, according to multiple reports. Sources told Real Clear Investigations that Ciaramella’s name has been mentioned as the whistleblower during the closed-door testimony.

Ciaramella has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years and was assigned to the White House during the end of the Obama administration. He worked closely with Biden in his role as an expert on Ukraine. Ciaramella also has ties to Sean Misko, a former NSC co-worker who now works for Representative Adam Schiff and the Intelligence Committee. According to The New York Times, the whistleblower first went to a CIA lawyer and then to an unnamed Schiff aide before filing the whistleblower complaint. The aide told the whistleblower to follow the formal process, but conveyed some of the information he learned from him to Schiff, without revealing his name, The Times reported.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Schiff, told The Times.

The whistleblower’s ties to Democrats, including Biden, Schiff, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of Intelligence James Clapper and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, have created controversy, with Trump and Republicans using his past work with them in an attempt to discredit him. Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told a local radio station in his home state of Texas that many in Washington D.C. knew the whistleblower’s identity, calling him a “staunch Democrat,” and former “point person on Ukraine,” who never called out corruption in the Eastern European country.

Ciaramella has been in the crosshairs of Republicans previously, after some on the far right tied him to the Obama-associated “deep state” in 2017, accusing him of undermining Trump while he was working in the White House.

Mark S. Zaid

@MarkSZaidEsq

I can confirm this fundraising effort for the by @wbaidlaw is completely legit.

We would appreciate any and all support US citizens can give. https://twitter.com/wbaidlaw/status/1177035961357807617 

Whistleblower Aid@wbaidlaw

We are working with anonymous intelligence officer whistleblower’s legal team to raise money for their defense — please give now, tax-deductible:http://www.HelpTheWhistleblower.org https://gofundme.com/f/support-anonymous-intelligence-official 

View image on Twitter
The whistleblower’s attorneys have received more than $220,000 in donations to a GoFundMe campaign set up by the group Whistleblower Aid in support of his attorneys, Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj.

“A U.S. intelligence officer who filed an urgent report of government misconduct needs your help. This brave individual took an oath to protect and defend our Constitution. We’re working with the whistleblower and launched a crowdfunding effort to support the whistleblower’s lawyers,” the GoFundMe states. “These whistleblowers took great personal risks, not for politics or personal gain, but to defend our democracy. We need to have their backs.”

The GoFundMe adds, “If we raise more than we need, Whistleblower Aid will use the money to help more brave whistleblowers stand up to executive overreach.”


2. Eric Ciaramella Grew Up in Connecticut, Studied at Yale & Harvard & Worked at the World Bank

eric ciaramella

Eric Ciaramella.

After high school, Ciaramella attended Yale University, graduating in 2008 as a Russian and East European studies major. In 2007, he was awarded a grant by the Yale Macmillan Center for European Union Studies to “research on the perceptions of the EU among rural Italian residents.”

While at Yale, Ciaramella, who speaks Russian, Ukrainian and Arabic, led a protest over the departure of an Arabic department professor, according to the Yale Daily News. The student newspaper wrote, “Students convened outside Silliman at 9 a.m., all dressed in white to symbolize their future goal of bridging the gap between the United States and the Middle East through the use of the Arab language, said Eric Ciaramella ’08, one of the students who led the protest.”

Ciaramella also studied at Harvard University, focusing on Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, according to the school’s website. He received a grant in 2009 for research on “Language in the Public Sphere in Three Post-Soviet Capital Cities,” Tbilisi, Georgia; Yerevan, Armenia; Baku, Azerbaijan. Ciaramella was additionally a corresponding author for Harvard’s Department of Linguistics and wrote a paper in 2015 titled, “Structural ambiguity in the Georgian verbal noun.”

Ciaramella worked at the World Bank after college, according to a 2011 publication by the international financial institution. In the World Bank report, “Russia: Reshaping Economic Geography,” published in June 2011, Ciaramella is listed in the acknowledgments for making “important contributions” to the research. On a now-deleted Linkedin profile, he described himself as being a “Consultant, Poverty Reduction/Economic Management” at World Bank. Ciaramella also deleted his Facebook profile page and does not appear to have any other social media.

Inspector General Michael Atkinson wrote, “Further although the ICIG’s preliminary reviewed identified some indicia of bias of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate, such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible’ particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review.”

Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower tweeted in response to the story, “We won’t comment on identifying info but if true, give me a break! Bias? Seriously? Most (people) are.” Another attorney for the whistleblower, Andrew Bakaj, told CNN that the whistleblower had “contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials — not as candidates,” and said the whistleblower “has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party.


3. Ciaramella Was Detailed to the National Security Council at the White House in 2015 After Joining the CIA as an Analyst Focusing on Ukraine & Russia

susan rice

GettySusan Rice.

Eric Ciaramella joined the Central Intelligence Agency at some point during President Obama’s second term. According to reports by The Washington Post and The New York Times about the whistleblower, prior to Ciaramella being named, and online records, Ciaramella was detailed to the White House to serve as a Ukraine expert with the National Security Council in 2015. He worked under National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The NSC is made up of analysts and staffers from various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, who are detailed to the White House for a period of time, before eventually returning to their parent agencies.

During his time with the National Security Council, Ciaramella also worked with then-Vice President Biden, who was working closely on Ukraine issues at the end of Obama’s time in office. Ciaramella is also listed as a guest at a 2016 luncheon to honor the prime minister of Italy, along with Biden.

In November 2015, Ciaramella is named as one of the officials who attended a White House meeting with Ukrainian religious leaders, along with his boss, Charles Kupchan. The Ukrainian religious leaders delivered a letter appealing to President Obama for aid for their country. Ciaramella is listed as the “NSC Director for Ukraine.” That position is now held by Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the impeachment inquiry, who listened to the call between President Trump and President Zelensky.

Ciaramella also has ties to former Democratic National Committee operative and opposition researcher Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who has been targeted by some conservatives as being behind an effort to accuse the Trump campaign of Russian collusion. Chalupa, then with the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee, was also in attendance at the November 2015 meeting with Ukrainian religious leaders, according to public records.

While Republicans have accused Chalupa of being a leader of a conspiracy to bring down Trump with false accusations of collusion with Russia, Democrats have said Chalupa was among the first to bring forward credible information about wrongdoing by Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign and say she has been smeared because of that.


4. Ciaramella Remained at the NSC During the Earlier Months of the Trump Administration & an Email Ciaramella Sent While He Was Still Assigned to NSC Was Cited in the Mueller Report

Katie McMaster, HR McMaster wife, Kathleen Trotter McMaster

GettyNational Security Adviser H. R. McMaster speaks during a briefing at the White House on May 16, 2017.

Eric Ciaramella did not leave the National Security Council at the end of the Obama administration. He remained in place during the first few months of the Trump White House. The NSC staff was at a barebones level at the time after the resignation of Lt. General Michael Flynn, who had been Trump’s first National Security Adviser. Ciaramella worked on Eastern European issues along with another Obama administration holdover, Fiona Hill.

When Lt. General H.R. McMaster was named Trump’s new national security adviser, Ciaramella served as McMaster’s personal aide. In the summer of 2017, Ciaramella returned to the CIA, where he is still an active employee.

An email sent by Ciaramella while he was still assigned to the NSC was cited as a footnote in Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump investigation. The email was titled “(5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.),” but details of the email are not included in the redacted report.

Officials who worked with Ciaramella told Foreign Policy he is known for his professionalism and taking a nonpartisan stance, telling Foreign Policy he is a “seasoned pro” and “one of the best that the civil service has.” His former boss, Charles Kupchan, told Foreign Policy, Ciaramella is one of the, “worker bees of the federal government. They want to serve the nation, and they care deeply about the issues they’re working on.”

Kupchan said Ciaramella was brought in to work on Ukraine, but, “He did such an impressive job, I asked him to help share the burden on the counter-ISIL portfolio.”

Trump administration officials also praised Ciaramella, telling Foreign Policy,”“H.R. thought he did a good job. Everybody was happy with his performance. He wouldn’t have been there if he weren’t trusted.”


5. Ciaramella Was the Target of Trump Supporters in 2017 When He Was Accused of Leaking to the Media Because of His Ties to Susan Rice & the Obama Administration

Susan Rice Eric Ciaramella

President Obama and Ambassador Susan Rice pictured together in November 2015.

Ciaramella is no stranger to drawing the ire of Trump supporters. He was named by the far-right as a supposed member of the “deep state” in 2017 and was the subject of baseless accusations accusing him of leaking information to the media, simply because of his ties to former members of the Obama administration, including ex-National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who has often been accused of trying to undermine Trump.

His ties to Rice, Brennan, Clapper and Obama made him an easy target for the right. He was accused of leaking information to the media about Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, without any evidence.

Ciaramella was also accused of being a major leaker while working with McMaster. Several far-right personalities waged an open war on social media and on pro-Trump websites against McMaster during his time as national security adviser, constantly claiming he was undermining Trump and had too many former Obama aides on his team. McMaster also worked with Abigail Grace and Sean Misko, both also Obama holdovers. Grace and Misko are now aides to Rep. Schiff. McMaster’s staffers were frequently accused of being behind leaks of embarrassing details about Trump’s calls to foreign leaders. None of those accusations were ever proven.

According to a March 2019 article in Politico:

Trump political appointees were believed to frequently talk to journalists who worked for conservative media outlets. For months, those outlets published names of career Civil and Foreign Service officers in the NSC and other government agencies whose loyalties they deemed suspect. Career staffers who had joined the U.S. government many years, sometimes decades, earlier were suddenly cast as Obama loyalists determined to derail Trump’s agenda as part of a “deep state.” The people targeted included a State Department civil servant of Iranian descent who’d joined the government under the George W. Bush administration; a highly respected Foreign Service officer who dealt with Israeli issues; and an NSC staffer who dealt with European and Russian issues. The latter, Eric Ciaramella, reportedly left the NSC after receiving death threats.

Ciaramella was outed in a Medium article by the far-right figure Mike Cernovich in June 2017, claiming that the former Obama aide wanted to “sabotage” Trump. Foreign Policy wrote in 2017, “The piece described Eric Ciaramella as ‘pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia’ and alleged, with no evidence, that he was possibly responsible for high-level leaks. Cernovich wrote, “Nothing in his résumé indicates that Ciaramella will put America First. His entire life arc indicates he will sabotage Trump and leak information to the press whenever possible.”

The response to the piece included online threats of violence against Ciaramella, which contributed to his decision to leave his job at the National Security Council a few weeks early, according to two sources familiar with the situation.”

Charles Kupchan, who was the senior director for European Affairs on the NSC, was Ciaramella’s boss for two years during the Obama administration. Kupchan, a key Obama adviser, told Foreign Policy the alt-right led an “unprecedented” attack on civil servants, calling the “systematic hostility” against the “deep state” as “misplaced” and “dangerous.”

As speculation about whether Eric Ciaramella is the whistleblower spreads online and in conservative media and circles, elected Republican officials are calling for his identity to be revealed.

“Well, as far as that particular person, regardless of whether or not he’s a whistleblower, he apparently worked for [former CIA Director John] Brennan. He worked for H.R. McMaster. He worked for Biden. He was tasked to the National Security Council on Ukraine,” Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told the Washington Examiner. “And, gee, sounds like he’s got bigger problems than being a whistleblower, regardless of whether he is or not.”

Gohmert mentioned Ciaramella’s name, out of the blue, during an open House hearing on unrelated issues on October 22.

Gohmert Questions Ukraine’s Former Minister of Finance in House Natural Resources CommitteeCongressman Louie Gohmert (TX01) questioned Ms. Natalie Jaresko, Executive Director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, in a House Natural Resources hearing. He inquired about her previous position as Ukraine’s Minister of Finance from December 2014 until April 2016 and how she acquired her new position.2019-10-22T17:10:01.000Z

Gohmert was questioning Natalie Jaresko, who is the executive director of a fiscal board that oversees Puerto Rico’s debt, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing. Jaresko was previously Ukraine’s finance minister. Gohmert asked Jaresko, if, in her previous role, she was, aware of “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dispatching Olga Bielkova or any other Ukrainian official to the U.S. in order to conduct an influence campaign on the 2016 election here in the United States?” He then asked, “Are you aware of Ukrainian parliamentarian Bielkova’s April 12 meetings with Liz Zentos and Eric Ciaramella of the Obama National Security Council?”

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters, “I can’t tell you what happens in the depositions, but I can tell you there’s one person in one’s group of staff members who know who the whistleblower is and that is Adam Schiff, and so you need to ask him whether this guy is the real deal.”

Senator Rand Paul tweeted, “It is being reported that the whistleblower was Joe Biden’s point man on Ukraine. It is imperative the whistleblower is subpoenaed and asked under oath about Hunter Biden and corruption.”

Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and the former chief of staff for the National Security Council, told Real Clear Investigations, “Everyone knows who he is. CNN knows. The Washington Post knows. The New York Times knows. Congress knows. The White House knows. Even the president knows who he is. They’re hiding him. They’re hiding him because of his political bias.”

Democrats have sought to keep the name concealed and have criticized efforts by Republicans to name the whistleblower. Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, of Rhode Island, tweeted, “If you spent part of today Tweeting the name of a person you think is the whistleblower, you probably need to re-evaluate your life.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters it would be “unpatriotic” to reveal the whistleblower’s identity:

The Hill

@thehill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Outing the whistleblower is an unpatriotic action. They shouldn’t even go near that.”

Embedded video

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor turned CNN legal analyst, tweeted, “Today Trump’s allies spread the name of a man they believe is the whistleblower. Some call for his prosecution. They’re ruining the life of a public servant who may not be the right guy. Plus there’s no evidence he did anything wrong. This is so desperate and irresponsible.”

Eric Ciaramella: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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The Pronk Pops Show 1355, November 8, 2019, Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos –Story 2: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — “Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos —

 

Nowhere Man

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, the world is at your command
He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all
Nowhere man don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all ’til somebody else
Lends you a hand
Ah, la, la, la, la
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You

The Beatles – Nowhere Man (live!)

 

Trump: Democrats are trying to find people that hate me

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

What The World Never Knew About The Beatles

I am the Walrus The Beatles

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I’m crying
Sitting on a corn flake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you’ve been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Mr. City policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I’m crying
I’m crying, I’m crying, I’m crying
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog’s eye
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Sitting in an English garden
Waiting for

 

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Oct. 4, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. CDT

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

 Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sept. 17

We recently took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task for misleading reporters about the fact that he was a participant in the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was the subject of a whistleblower complaint and now an impeachment inquiry in Congress. He earned Four Pinocchios for being disingenuous in his remarks to reporters to obscure his firsthand knowledge of what took place.

But politicians spin all across Washington, often to deflect uncomfortable facts. Now let’s look at comments by Schiff, who is heading the impeachment inquiry, as reporters probed about the whistleblower before the details of the allegation were revealed.

 Schiff’s answers are especially interesting in the wake of reports in the New York Times and The Washington Post that the whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee staff member for guidance before filing a complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general. The staff member learned the “very bare contours” of the allegation that Trump has abused the powers of his office, The Post said.

When the Fact Checker asked what “bare contours” meant, a committee spokesman pointed to an exchange of letters. In a Sept. 13 letter to the committee, the general counsel of the director of national intelligence said that “complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” In his own letter that day, Schiff wrote that because of that language, and because the DNI refused to affirm or deny that White House officials were involved in the decision not to forward the complaint, the committee can conclude only that “the serious misconduct involves the president of the United States and/or other senior White House or administration officials.”

Our suspicion is that the unidentified staff member learned the potential complaint involved “privileged” communication, which is code for something having to do with the president.

So, with this new information, let’s look back at how Schiff handled questions about his knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

The Facts

Sept. 16, interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN

Cooper: “Just to be clear, you don’t know who this alleged whistleblower is or what they are alleging?”
Schiff: “I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower.”
Cooper: “And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?”
Schiff: “I don’t want to get into any particulars. I want to make sure that there’s nothing that I do that jeopardizes the whistleblower in any way.”

This is a classic dodge — “don’t want to get into any particulars” — and Cooper failed to follow up. Notice how Schiff quickly answered whether he knew the identity of the whistleblower — “I don’t know” — but then sidestepped the questions about whether the committee had been contacted. But in doing so, he managed not to mislead; he just simply did not answer the question.

Sept. 17, interview on “Morning Joe”

Sam Stein: “Have you heard from the whistleblower? Do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower?” …
Schiff: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”

This is flat-out false. Unlike the quick two-step dance he performed with Anderson Cooper, Schiff simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true.

“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” a committee spokesman told The Fact Checker. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting DNI as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
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The spokesman pointed to an interview with Schiff by the Daily Beast, in which he said that he “did not know definitively at the time if the complaint had been authored by the same whistleblower who had approached his staff.” But he added that he “should have been much more clear.”

Sept. 19, meeting with reporters at the Capitol

Schiff: “In the absence of the actions, and I want to thank the inspector general, in the absence of his actions in coming to our committee, we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern.”

Here’s some more dissembling. Schiff says that if not for the IG, the committee might never have known about the complaint. But his committee knew that something explosive was going to be filed with the IG. As the New York Times put it, the initial inquiry received by the committee “also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

Schiff, however, does qualify that this was a complaint alleging “an urgent concern,” and it’s not clear whether the initial inquiry had tipped off the committee staff that it would rise to that level. Still, Schiff’s phrasing was misleading because he gives no hint that the committee was aware a potentially significant (“privileged”) complaint might have been filed.

“As Chairman Schiff has made clear, he does not know the identity of the whistleblower, has had no communication with them or their attorney, and did not view the whistleblower’s complaint until the day prior to the hearing with the DNI when the ODNI finally provided it to the Committee,” the spokesman said. “Whistleblowers frequently come to the committee. Some whistleblowers approach the IG without notice to the Committee, and some who do go to the IG do not necessarily file a complaint. However, this was the first whistleblower complaint provided to the Committee this year that the IC IG determined to be of ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible,’ and Chairman Schiff would have raised the alarm regardless when it was illegally withheld.”

The spokesman added: “The focus should not be on the whistleblower, but rather the complaint which the IC IG determined was credible and urgent and which has been thus far confirmed by the call record released by the White House and statements by the President and his personal attorney.”

The Pinocchio Test

There are right ways and wrong ways to answer reporters’ questions if a politician wants to maintain his or her credibility. There’s nothing wrong with dodging a question, as long as you don’t try to mislead (as Pompeo did).

But Schiff on “Morning Joe” clearly made a statement that was false. He now says he was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the IG’s office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication.

The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity.

Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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Story 2: Billionaire”The Nanny” Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos —

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Trump on Bloomberg: ‘He’s got some personal problems’

What impact could Michael Bloomberg have on the presidential race?

Bloomberg opens door to 2020 presidential bid

RAW VIDEO] Trump to Bloomberg: ‘Little Michael will fail’

Varney: Bloomberg is a huge problem for Biden

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Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

PHONY SCAM: President Trump Says Democrat “Witch Hunt” MUST END

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1351, November 4, 2019, Story 1: Two Trump Administration National Security Council Lawyers and Two White House Staff Refuse To Testify and House Releases Chairman Schiff Selected Five Hundred Pages of Testimony From House Intelligence Committee — All U.S. Ambassador Serve At The Pleasure of The President — Can Be Fired At Any Time — Elections Have Consequences — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Answers Press Questions on Whistle-blowers, Lying Adam Schiff and Barr and Durham Investigation — The Name of Hearsay Phony Whistle-Blower and Leaker of Classified Information is Eric Ciaramella, Partisan Democrat and Advised Joe Biden on Ukraine — Videos

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Story 1: Two Trump Administration National Security Council Lawyers and Two White House Staff Refuse To Testify and House Releases Chairman Schiff Selected Five Hundred Pages of Testimony of From House Intelligence Committee — All U.S. Ambassador Serve At The Pleasure of The President — Can Be Fired At Any Time — Elections Have Consequences — Videos — 

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House Dems begin releasing transcripts of closed-door testimony

House Democrats release first transcripts of closed-door testimony

 

The House committees leading the impeachment probe released the first set of transcripts of testimony by witnesses who appeared behind closed doors last month. Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and Michael McKinley, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both told lawmakers about their experiences with U.S. policy toward Ukraine.

November 4, 2019 – PBS NewsHour full episode

Jim Jordan speaks out on his possible move to House Intel Committee

Steve Bannon predicts Trump impeachment fallout in Fox News exclusive

Over 100 House Republicans back bill to censure Adam Schiff

Jim Jordan makes explosive accusation against Schiff

Giuliani claims he has Ukrainian docs showing ‘collusion’ with top Dems

Giuliani slams ‘swamp media’, says it’s time to fight back against Dems

Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign work

Joe Biden’s son’s firm linked to Chinese government: New book

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

Clip: Biden on the Obama Administration’s Response to Russia

Foreign Affairs Issue Launch With Joe Biden

White House officials refusing to testify Monday in impeachment inquiry: report

White House officials refusing to testify Monday in impeachment inquiry: report
© Getty Images

Four White House officials will not show up for scheduled closed-door depositions on Monday as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President TrumpCNN reports.

An unidentified source told the network that National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis will not testify.

Two other officials, Robert Blair, assistant to the president and senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources energy and science at the Office of Management and Budget, had already declined to testify, outlets reported Saturday.

Blair’s attorney, Whit Ellerman, also told Politico his client would still not show up if subpoenaed, adding that “direction from the White House and advice from [the Department of Justice] cover subpoena.”

Two other Office of Management and Budget officials, Michael Duffey and Russell Vought, will not show up to testimonies later this week, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry refused to a request to testify Wednesday as part of the inquiry, a spokeswoman for his department, Shaylyn Haynes, told The Hill on Friday.

The White House did not immediately respond for comment in response to the officials not testifying.

The House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas on Sunday for Ellis and Blair to appear before the panel, according to an official familiar with the inquiry.

House Democrats have called in witnesses to testify in closed-door depositions before three House committees leading the probe for weeks. The House voted last week largely along party lines in favor of an impeachment resolution, with just two Democrats joining all Republicans in voting against the measure.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat leading the inquiry, has said public testimonies will begin soon but has not given a specific timeline.

The inquiry is centered around Trump’s alleged solicitation of foreign interference in the 2020 election, with a focus on the president’s communications with Ukraine. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/468797-white-house-officials-refuse-to-testify-in-impeachment-inquiry

‘Go big or go home’: Impeachment inquiry transcripts reveal how Ukraine ambassador was told to tweet her support for Donald Trump by his hotel millionaire EU ambassador – then was ousted when she didn’t

  • Democrat-led House committees released first two transcripts of interviews
  • Testimony was behind closed doors, offering Trump a chance to complain about fairness and transparency
  • First transcripts cover testimony from former ambassador to Ukraine and a former aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo 
  • Former ambassador: Trump wanted me out and no one at State stood up for me 
  • Ambassador to the EU told her ‘Go big or go home’ and told her to praise the president publicly, which she didn’t

The Democrat-led House committees in charge of an impeachment inquiry targeting Donald Trump released two transcripts on Monday, the first records of closed-door interviews about the president’s links with Ukraine.

They painted a picture of a U.S. ambassador in a former Soviet republic with no defenders after she failed to praise the president – and who told lawmakers she felt ‘threatened’ by the president, her ultimate boss.

U.S. ambassador to the European Union told then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, she told lawmakers, to ‘Go big or go home,’ meaning that she should publicly profess her support for the president.

She didn’t, alienating Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani who led a push to oust her. Yovanovitch went home when Trump recalled her in June, ending her diplomatic career.

The president tweeted Sunday night that he suspected transcripts reaching the public could be altered by the Democrats who want to oust him – especially California Rep. Adam Schiff.

Witnesses before congressional committees are permitted to review transcripts of their testimony and approve them before their release.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is the driving force behind the impeachment inquiry targeting President Donald Trump; his committee released two transcripts from interviews held behind closed doors

Trump, pictured Sunday talking to reporters at the White House, believes he's being railroaded by partisans in a 'witch hunt'

Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sat with committee members and staff in October.

The transcript of Yovanovitch’s interview shows her telling lawmakers that the Trump-appointed ambassador to the European Union, hotelier Gordon Sondland, advised her to tweet out her support for President Trump.

‘He said, you know, you need to go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the President, and that all these are lies and everything else,’ she said of one conversation.

‘And, you know, so, you know, I mean, obviously, that was advice. It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an Ambassador, and as a Foreign Service Officer.’

She was asked: ‘Did he actually say, ‘support President Trump’? Was that his advice, that you publicly say something to that effect?’

Yovanovitch responded: ‘Yes. I mean, he may not have used the words ‘support President Trump,’ but he said: You know the President. Well, maybe you don’t know him personally, but you know, you know, the sorts of things that he likes. You know, go out there battling aggressively and, you know, praise him or support him.’

Ultimately Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani led a push to have her removed.

Ukrainian officials had warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other allies of President Donald Trump were planning to ‘do things, including to me’ and were ‘looking to hurt’ her, she said.

The former envoy, who was pushed out of her job in May on Trump’s orders, testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that ‘I really needed to watch my back.’

Yovanovitch she said was told by Ukrainian officials last November or December that Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was in touch with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, ‘and that they had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me.’

She said she was told Lutsenko ‘was looking to hurt me in the U.S.’

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified on October 11 that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani led a campaign to oust her and that she was advised to become an outwardly fawning cheerleader for the president

Michael McKinley, the former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, fielded questions from the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committeees on October 16

Yovanovitch told the investigators that the campaign against her, which included an article that was retweeted by Donald Trump Jr., undermined her ability to serve as a ‘credible’ ambassador and she wanted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to issue a statement defending her. But no statement was issued.

She testified that a State Department official named Philip Reeker told her that as Giuliani’s campaign wore on, Pompeo conveyed he could no longer insulate her from Trump’s desire to send her packing.

‘Mr. Reeker said that I, you know, I would need to leave. I needed to leave as soon as possible. That apparently, as I stated in my statement, the President had been – had wanted me to leave since July of 2018 … and that the Secretary had tried to protect me but was no longer able to do that,’ she said in her testimony.

‘Who had concerns as of July 2018?’ a lawmaker asked her. ‘President Trump,’ she responded.

‘And was that the first that you had heard of that?’ the lawmaker followed up. Yovanovitch said it was, and ‘I was shocked.’

At one point in April, Yovanovitch said she received a call from Carol Perez, a top foreign service official, at around 1 a.m. Ukraine time, abruptly telling her she needed to immediately fly back to Washington. Yovanovitch said when she asked why, Perez told her, ‘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.’

Yovanovitch said she didn’t think Perez meant it was to protect her physical security. Instead, Yovanovitch said, Perez told her it was for ‘my well-being, people were concerned.’

 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
What State Department official told Marie Yovanovich

The former envoy stressed to investigators that she was not disloyal to the president.

‘I have heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told our embassy team to ignore the President’s orders since he was going to be impeached,’ she said. ‘That allegation is false.’

She answered ‘no’ when asked point blank if she’d ever ‘badmouthed’ Trump in Ukraine, and said she felt U.S. policy in Ukraine ‘actually got stronger’ because of Trump’s decision to provide lethal assistance to the country, military aid that later was held up by the White House as it pushed for investigations into Trump’s political foes.

Under friendly questioning from Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Yovanovitch said she considered herself good at her job and had been there more than three years and that her bosses at the State Department wanted to extend her tour.

‘It seems to me they threw you to the wolves. Is that what happened?’ Maloney asked.

Yovanovitch replied: ‘Well, clearly, they didn’t want me in Ukraine anymore.’

Long hours into her testimony, Yovanovitch was asked why she was such ‘a thorn in their side’ that Giuliani and others wanted her fired.

‘Honestly,’ she said, ‘it’s a mystery to me.’

Yovanovitch was also asked about the call between Trump and Zlensky which took place after she was removed from her post and was released by the White House after the whistleblower complaint was made public.

In it Trump told the Ukrainian president: ‘The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, 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.’

She told the Democratic majority’s counsel: ‘I was shocked. I mean, I was very surprised that President Trump would—first of all, that I would feature repeatedly in a Presidential phone call, but secondly, that the President would speak about me or any ambassador in that way to a foreign counterpart.’

Yovanovitch was asked if she felt threatened and said: ‘Yes.’

She added: ‘ I was wondering you know, soon after this transcript came out there was the news that the IG [Inspector General of the Intelligence Community] brought to this committee, all sorts of documentation, I guess, about me that had been transferred to the FBI.

‘You know , I was wondering, i s there an active investigation against me in the FBI? I don’t know.’ She added that friends were ‘very concerned’ for her personal safety.

Yovanovitch said that she was generally shocked by the way the Trump administration threw the State Department into chaos.

‘You know … you’re going to think that I’m incredibly naive, but I couldn’t imagine all of the things that have happened over the last 5 or 7 months,’ she said. ‘I just couldn’t imagine it.’

She pushed back robustly on claims made by Republican questioners that she was biased against Trump and that she ordered the ‘monitoring’ of a string of conservative figures.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says his panel and others are releasing the transcripts so ‘the American public will begin to see for themselves’ what evidence exists that Trump may have committed an impeachable offense.

President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that transcripts coming out of Democrat-led committees could be doctored to make him look worse; witnesses are invited to read and approve of such records before their release by Congress

President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that transcripts coming out of Democrat-led committees could be doctored to make him look worse; witnesses are invited to read and approve of such records before their release by Congress

Republicans have called for the release of the transcripts, which they believe will show Trump acted appropriately and lawfully during a now-famous July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump claimed Sunday that ‘[i]f Shifty Adam Schiff, who is a corrupt politician who fraudulently made up what I said on the ‘call,’ is allowed to release transcripts of the Never Trumpers & others that are & were interviewed, he will change the words that were said to suit the Dems purposes.’

‘Republicans should give their own transcripts of the interviews to contrast with Schiff’s manipulated propaganda,’ the president urged.

‘House Republicans must have nothing to do with Shifty’s rendition of those interviews. He is a proven liar, leaker & freak who is really the one who should be impeached!’

Members of Congress can be investigated for ethics violations, and they can be expelled by a vote of their peers, but they cannot be impeached.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7648543/Democrats-impeachment-inquiry-releases-hundreds-pages-transcripts-two-witnesses.html

This Impeachment Subverts the Constitution

It’s nakedly political and procedurally defective, and so far there’s no public evidence of high crimes.

Rep. Adam Schiff speaks beside Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill, Oct. 15. PHOTO: CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has directed committees investigating President Trump to “proceed under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” but the House has never authorized such an inquiry. Democrats have been seeking to impeach Mr. Trump since the party took control of the House, though it isn’t clear for what offense. Lawmakers and commentators have suggested various possibilities, but none amount to an impeachable offense. The effort is akin to a constitutionally proscribed bill of attainder—a legislative effort to punish a disfavored person. The Senate should treat it accordingly.

The impeachment power is quasi-judicial and differs fundamentally from Congress’s legislative authority. The Constitution assigns “the sole power of impeachment” to the House—the full chamber, which acts by majority vote, not by a press conference called by the Speaker. Once the House begins an impeachment inquiry, it may refer the matter to a committee to gather evidence with the aid of subpoenas. Such a process ensures the House’s political accountability, which is the key check on the use of impeachment power.

The House has followed this process every time it has tried to impeach a president. Andrew Johnson’s 1868 impeachment was predicated on formal House authorization, which passed 126-47. In 1974 the Judiciary Committee determined it needed authorization from the full House to begin an inquiry into Richard Nixon’s impeachment, which came by a 410-4 vote. The House followed the same procedure with Bill Clinton in 1998, approving a resolution 258-176, after receiving independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s report.

Mrs. Pelosi discarded this process in favor of a Trump-specific procedure without precedent in Anglo-American law. Rep. Adam Schiff’s Intelligence Committee and several other panels are questioning witnesses in secret. Mr. Schiff has defended this process by likening it to a grand jury considering whether to hand up an indictment. But while grand-jury secrecy is mandatory, House Democrats are selectively leaking information to the media, and House Republicans, who are part of the jury, are being denied subpoena authority and full access to transcripts of testimony and even impeachment-related committee documents. No grand jury has a second class of jurors excluded from full participation.

Unlike other impeachable officials, such as federal judges and executive-branch officers, the president and vice president are elected by, and accountable to, the people. The executive is also a coequal branch of government. Thus any attempt to remove the president by impeachment creates unique risks to democracy not present in any other impeachment context. Adhering to constitutional text, tradition and basic procedural guarantees of fairness is critical. These processes are indispensable bulwarks against abuse of the impeachment power, designed to preserve the separation of powers by preventing Congress from improperly removing an elected president.

House Democrats have discarded the Constitution, tradition and basic fairness merely because they hate Mr. Trump. Because the House has not properly begun impeachment proceedings, the president has no obligation to cooperate. The courts also should not enforce any purportedly impeachment-related document requests from the House. (A federal district judge held Friday that the Judiciary Committee is engaged in an impeachment inquiry and therefore must see grand-jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but that ruling will likely be overturned on appeal.) And the House cannot cure this problem simply by voting on articles of impeachment at the end of a flawed process.

The Senate’s power—and obligation—to “try all impeachments” presupposes that the House has followed a proper impeachment process and that it has assembled a reliable evidentiary basis to support its accusations. The House has conspicuously failed to do so. Fifty Republican senators have endorsed a resolution sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham urging the House to “vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry and provide President Trump with fundamental constitutional protections” before proceeding further. If the House fails to heed this call immediately, the Senate would be fully justified in summarily rejecting articles produced by the Pelosi-Schiff inquiry on grounds that without a lawful impeachment in the House, it has no jurisdiction to proceed.

The effort has another problem: There is no evidence on the public record that Mr. Trump has committed an impeachable offense. The Constitution permits impeachment only for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Founders considered allowing impeachment on the broader grounds of “maladministration,” “neglect of duty” and “mal-practice,” but they rejected these reasons for fear of giving too much power to Congress. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” includes abuses of power that do not constitute violations of criminal statutes. But its scope is limited.

Abuse of power encompasses two distinct types of behavior. First, the president can abuse his power by purporting to exercise authority not given to him by the Constitution or properly delegated by Congress—say, by imposing a new tax without congressional approval or establishing a presidential “court” to punish his opponents. Second, the president can abuse power by failing to carry out a constitutional duty—such as systematically refusing to enforce laws he disfavors. The president cannot legitimately be impeached for lawfully exercising his constitutional power.

Applying these standards to the behavior triggering current calls for impeachment, it is apparent that Mr. Trump has neither committed a crime nor abused his power. One theory is that by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Kyiv’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential corruption by Joe Biden and his son Hunter was unlawful “interference with an election.” There is no such crime in the federal criminal code (the same is true of “collusion”). Election-related offenses involve specific actions such as voting by aliens, fraudulent voting, buying votes and interfering with access to the polls. None of these apply here.

Equally untenable is the argument that Mr. Trump committed bribery. Federal bribery statutes require proof of a corrupt intent in the form of a quid pro quo—defined by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Sun-Diamond Growers (1999), as a “specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.” There was no quid pro quo in the call. Mr. Zelensky has said he felt no pressure, and the purported quid (military aid to Ukraine) was not contingent on the alleged quo (opening an investigation), because the former materialized within weeks, while the latter—not “something of value” in any case—never did.

More fundamentally, the Constitution gives the president plenary authority to conduct foreign affairs and diplomacy, including broad discretion over the timing and release of appropriated funds. Many presidents have refused to spend appropriated money for military or other purposes, on grounds that it was unnecessary, unwise or incompatible with their priorities.

Thomas Jefferson impounded funds appropriated for gunboat purchases, Dwight Eisenhower impounded funds for antiballistic-missile production, John F. Kennedy impounded money for the B-70 bomber, and Richard Nixon impounded billions for highways and urban programs. Congress attempted to curtail this power with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, but it authorizes the president to defer spending until the expiration of the fiscal year or until budgetary authority lapses, neither of which had occurred in the Ukraine case.

Presidents often delay or refuse foreign aid as diplomatic leverage, even when Congress has authorized the funds. Disbursing foreign aid—and withholding it—has historically been one of the president’s most potent foreign-policy tools, and Congress cannot impair it. Lyndon B. Johnson used the promise of financial aid to strong-arm the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea to send troops to Vietnam. The General Accounting Office (now called the Government Accountability Office) concluded that this constituted “quid pro quo assistance.” In 2013, Barack Obama, in a phone conversation with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, said he would slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance until Cairo cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism goals. The Obama administration also withheld millions in foreign aid and imposed visa restrictions on African countries, including Uganda and Nigeria, that failed to protect gay rights.

In addition, the president’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” implies broad discretion to investigate and prosecute crimes, even if they involve his political rivals. Investigating Americans or Ukrainians who might have violated domestic or foreign law—and seeking the assistance of other nations with such probes, pursuant to mutual legal-assistance treaties—cannot form a legitimate basis for impeachment of a president.

It’s legally irrelevant that a criminal investigation may be politically beneficial to the president. Virtually all exercises of constitutional discretion by a president affect his political interests. It would be absurd to suggest that a president’s pursuit of arms-control agreements, trade deals or climate treaties are impeachable offenses because they benefit the president or his party in an upcoming election.

Using a private party such as Rudy Giuliani to carry out diplomatic missions is neither a crime nor an abuse of power. While the State Department’s mandarins have always lamented intrusions on their bureaucratic turf, numerous U.S. presidents have tapped people to conduct foreign-policy initiatives whose job—whether in the government or private sectors—did not include foreign-policy experience or responsibility. George Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate the “Jay Treaty” with Britain. Woodrow Wilson used American journalist Lincoln Steffens and Swedish Communist Karl Kilbom as special envoys to negotiate diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. A close Wilson friend, Edward House, held no office but effectively served as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I.

Nor is it illegal or abusive to give a diplomatic assignment to a government official whose formal institutional responsibilities do not include foreign affairs, such as the energy secretary. JFK relied on Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to negotiate with Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis.

Although the impeachment inquiry has been conducted in secret, what we know suggests it has become a free-ranging exploration of Mr. Trump’s foreign-policy substance and process, with the committees summoning numerous State Department witnesses. Congress could properly undertake such an inquiry using its oversight authority, but by claiming that it is proceeding with an impeachment inquiry, it has forfeited this option.

If the House impeaches Mr. Trump because it disapproves of a lawful exercise of his presidential authority, it will in effect have accused him of maladministration. The Framers rejected that amorphous concept because it would have allowed impeachment for mere political disagreements, rendering the president a ward of Congress and destroying the executive’s status as an independent, coequal branch of government. If the House impeaches on such grounds and the Senate concludes it has jurisdiction to conduct an impeachment trial, it should focus first and foremost not on the details of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy, but on the legal question of whether the conduct alleged is an impeachable offense.

Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 1835: “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.” What House Democrats are doing is not only unfair to Mr. Trump and a threat to all his successors. It is an attempt to overrule the constitutional process for selecting the president and thus subvert American democracy itself. For the sake of the Constitution, it must be decisively rejected. If Mr. Trump’s policies are unpopular or offensive, the remedy is up to the people, not Congress.

Mr. Rivkin and Ms. Foley practice appellate and constitutional law in Washington. He served at the Justice Department and the White House Counsel’s Office during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations. She is a professor of constitutional law at Florida International University College of Law.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-impeachment-subverts-the-constitution-11572040762

Senior Ukrainian official says he’s opened probe into US election interference

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told Hill.TV’s John Solomon in an interview aired on Wednesday that he has opened a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials are aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk.

“We have always emphasized the need for deep, comprehensive, and timely reforms that respond to the demands the Ukrainian people made during the Revolution of Dignity: an end to systemic corruption, faster economic growth, and a European future for all Ukrainians,” a State spokesperson told Hill.TV.

“We have consistently said that Ukraine’s long-term success and resilience depends on its commitment to reform, in particular the fight to address corruption. To succeed, Ukraine needs committed government officials and strong anti-corruption institutions. The United States is committed to engaging with our partners in Ukraine, including on efforts to roll back the persistent corruption that continues to threaten Ukraine’s national security, prosperity, and democratic development.”

NABU issued a statement on Friday, calling Lutsenko’s comments “not true and is an absurd effort to discredit an independent anti-corruption agency.”

Hill.TV has also reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and Clinton’s spokesperson for comment.

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko said.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” he continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.”

— Hill.TV Staff

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/434892-senior-ukrainian-justice-official-says-hes-opened-probe-into-us-election

 

 

Story 2: President Trump Answers Press Questions on Whistle-blowers, Lying Adam Schiff and Barr and Durham Investigation — The Name of Hearsay Phony Whistle-Blower and Leaker of Classified Information is Eric Ciaramella, Partisan Democrat and Advised Joe Biden on Ukraine — Videos

Press Gaggle: Donald Trump Speaks to the Press After Marine One Arrival – November 3, 2019

Donald Trump speaks to the press after returning to The White House from New York on November 3, 2019.

Rep. Jim Jordan: The Whistleblower ‘Has A Bias Against The President’ | NBC News

Hannity: GOP must find out if whistleblower is a deep state operative

Washington Post calls out Schiff over false whistleblower comments

WATCH: Devin Nunes Sarcastically Compliments Democrats on Witch Hunts During Whistleblower Hearing

WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full questioning of acting intel chief Joseph Maguire | DNI hearing

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The Pronk Pops Show 1349, October 31, 2019, Story 1: Democrat Party Cover-up of Spy-gate — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Continues With Passage of House Rule Resolution For Behind Closed Door Kangaroo Court — Videos — Story 2: Big Lie Media Spinning and Lying About Tim Morrison Testimony About Trump Phone Call With Ukraine — Nothing Illegal Was Discussed and No Quid Pro Quo — Videos — Story 3: Long Term China Trade Deal Not Likely Any Time Soon With Chinese Communist Party — Short Term Deal Only — Maximum Pressure Required — Trust But Verify — Enforcement of Any Agreement Is Essential and Chinese Will Never Comply With Any Enforcement Language — Escalating Trade War Between United States and Chinese Communist Party  Leading to Total Embargo of Trade With Communist China — U.S./Communist Trade Agreement: All Talk and More Talk But No Long Term Enforceable Trade Deal — Time To Walk Out — Videos

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See the source imageSee the source image

Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite SleptSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: Democrat Party Cover-up of Spy-gate — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Continues With Passage of House Rule Resolution For Behind Closed Door Kangaroo Court — Videos —

Impeachment witness says Trump-Ukraine call wasn’t illegal

Jim Jordan makes explosive accusation against Schiff

Tom Fitton reacts to the upcoming House vote on the impeachment probe

Tucker: Schiff is obsessed with impeachment

TRUMP RALLY: Whistleblower

POSSIBLE UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER: CIA Eric Ciaramella worked WITH DNC “operative” Brennan, Chalupa

OAN gives alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella the opportunity to deny media claims

Rep.Louie Gohmert Essentially Names Eric Ciaramella As Ukraine Whistleblower

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

Another Key Witness Confirms Trump Quid Pro Quo On Ukraine | Hardball | MSNBC

Rep. Collins’ warning to House Dems leading impeachment inquiry

“IMPEACHMENT SHAM” Republicans Say Impeachment Process Is A COUP

Lou Dobbs 10/31/19 | Breaking Fox News October 31, 2019

What’s next after the House vote on impeachment rules?

House passes Democrat-backed rules for impeachment inquiry

Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – October 31st, 2019 | NBC Nightly News

Top GOP lawmakers speak after House passes impeachment inquiry resolution

WATCH: House Votes To Pass Rules For Impeachment Probe | MSNBC

Leader McCarthy with Laura Ingraham: Democrats are Fixated on Impeachment

Russia probe review becomes a criminal investigation

DOJ criminal investigation into its own Russia probe a political win for Trump

‘The Five’ breaks down DOJ’s criminal inquiry into Russia probe

Fox News warns impeachment inquiry is Democratic ‘coup’ of Trump

See the source image

See the source image

]

Nancy Pelosi sets up ultra-partisan televised impeachment probe by jamming new rules through House without Republican backing – and two of her own side vote AGAINST new stage in investigating Donald Trump

  • House Democrats approved an impeachment inquiry into the president in a vote almost entirely along party lines
  • ‘What is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people,’ Speaker Pelosi said 
  • The vote was 232 in favor with 196 voting no; two Democrats rebelled and voted with Republicans
  • ‘The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’ Trump tweeted afterward
  • Trump spent morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters
  • He called on Republicans to stand together and back him
  • The resolution outlines how the impeachment investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it
  • Republicans complained about the lack of ‘due process’ for Trump and charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election 
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry
  • The vote comes as Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, testifies behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry

A divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to begin the next stage of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, taking the investigation from behind closed doors to Americans’ television screens with a series of public hearings.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers took to the House floor to engage in a bitter debate over the impeachment process before voting almost entirely along along party lines on the resolution.

Thursday’s vote was 232 in favor with 196 lawmakers voting no. There were two Democratic defections – Congressmen Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Both hold swing districts that Trump carried in the 2016 election. Trump carried Peterson’s district by over 30 points. Republicans had hoped more Democrats in vulnerable seats would vote against.

Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican who became an Independent, voted in favor of the resolution.

Nancy Pelosi was left with no fig leaf of bipartisanship when no Republican backed her case; the Republicans got two Democrats voting with them but not the up to a dozen they had hoped would rebel against the Speaker.

Steve Scalise, the Republican whip boasted afterwards about keeping his side united.

The contentious debate is likely a preview of the public hearings to come.

Democrats focused on their constitutional duty; they talked about following the law and protecting national security interests.

Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings, and accused their colleagues across the aisle of trying to overturn the 2016 election.

The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’ Trump tweeted after the vote was finished, using his favorite phrase to describe any investigation into him.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gavels the vote on the impeachment resolution to a close

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the vote and gaveled it to a close, announcing the final total.

She kept her words on the matter short: ‘On this vote the yeas are 232, the nays are 196. The resolution is adopted without objection.’

Four lawmakers did not vote. Three Republicans – Jody Hice of Georgia, John Rose of Tennessee, and William Timmons of South Carolina – and one Democrat: Donald McEachin of Virginia.

Rep. Hice tweeted he missed the vote because his father died but he would have voted no on the resolution if he had been present.

Democrats launched the formal impeachment inquiry in September after a whistleblower revealed concerns that President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe and Hunter Bidens, his political enemies, during a July 25 phone call.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the call ‘perfect.’

The weeks-long inquiry accumulated into Thursday’s five-minute vote. The House chamber was crowded with lawmakers as it took place. They chatted with each other on their respective sides of aisle.

After it was over, Democrats moved on to the next vote on the schedule while Republicans yelled in protest. ‘Order, order,’ they yelled, ‘we have rules.’

But Democrats, who control the chamber, moved on.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, as soon as the vote was over, charged House Democrats with an ‘obsession’ with impeaching the president.

‘The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,’ she said in a statement.

President Trump spent the morning before the House votes on an impeachment resolution into him tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters

President Trump spent the morning before the House votes on an impeachment resolution into him tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters

Trump spent Thursday morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters, calling on Republicans to stand by him in the upcoming vote.

‘The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!,’ he wrote shortly before the House started voting on the resolution against him.

Earlier he called on Republicans to stand by him during the proceedings.

‘Now is the time for Republicans to stand together and defend the leader of their party against these smears,’ Trump tweeted, quoting conservative talk host Laura Ingraham.

Pelosi, meanwhile, gaveled the House into order on Thursday morning as lawmakers took to the floor to debate the resolution.

Democrats talked about following the law and protecting national security interests. Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings.

‘It’s not a fair process. It’s not a transparent process. It’s not an open process. But instead it’s limited and a closed process with a pre-ordained outcome,’ argued Republican Rep. Tom Cole said on the House floor Thursday morning.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence panel, compared Democrats pursuing impeachment to a ‘cult,’ and their inquiry to a ‘show trial.’

‘They have always intended to transform the Intelligence committee into the impeachment committee,’ said Nunes, a California Republican who was himself accused of politicizing the Intelligence panel during the Mueller investigation.

‘Every one of their actions from the staff they hired to the Trump conspiracy theories they investigate … indicates this has been their plan from day one,’ he said on the House floor.

He accused Democrats of harboring a ‘bizarre obsession with overturning the results of the last presidential election.’

What we’re seeing among Democrats on the Intelligence Committees, down in the [secure Capitol facility] right now, is like a cult. These are a group of people loyally following their leader as he bounces from one outlandish conspiracy theory to another. And the media are the