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The Pronk Pops Show 1367, December 3, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Trade Deal With Communist China After 2020 Election — Videos –Story 2: Going, Going, Gone – Larry Page and Sergey Brin — Sundar Pichai Takes Over — Videos — Story 3: Going, Going, Gone — Kamala Harris — Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1367 December 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1366 December 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1365 November 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1364 November 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1363 November 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1362 November 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1361 November 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1358 November 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1357 November 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1349 October 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1348 October 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1326 September 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1325 September 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump Trade Deal With Communist China After 2020 Election — No Dead Line For Deal — More Tariffs on China on December 15, 2019 — Videos —

Trump’s NATO comments revamp China trade tensions

Trump Says China Trade Deal Is Based on One Thing

Futures erase gains after Trump’s comments on China and trade deal

China Hits Back at U.S. for Supporting Hong Kong

Expect the U.S. to devalue its currency to deal with China trade issues: Ken Courtis

US and China edging towards a trade deal, says Trump

Where 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand On Trade War With China | NBC News Now

Forever war: US and China struggle to defuse trade conflict

Trump: China will probably try to delay trade deal until US election

The Crisis in Hong Kong

 

Dow Jones plunges 400 points as Donald Trump says ‘I have no deadline’ for a trade deal with China and that he could for 2020 election to strike one

  • Global stocks took a tumble amid pessimism over a standoff between the U.S. and China when it comes to resolving their trade war
  • On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index fell more than 400 points and the Nasdaq was down by more than 90 points 
  • President Trump appeared to downplay the chances for a deal to end soon 
  • ‘In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election,’ he said
  • U.S. stocks also took a tumble when the market opened 

Wall Street shares tumbled Tuesday after Donald Trump said he could wait until after next year’s presidential election to strike a trade deal with China.

Trump appeared to downplay the chances for a deal to end the U.S.-China trade war before the end of the year and even said it could wait until after the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking in London where he is attending a NATO summit, Trump said that the only limiting factor to reaching an agreement with China is whether he wants to make a deal.

Asked about his previous goal of reaching an agreement by years’ end, Trump told reporters, ‘I have no deadline, no.’

‘In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election,’ he added. He has previously suggested that China wanted to wait until after the election to negotiate a deal.

‘I’m doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make. It’s not if they want to make it,’ the president said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. ‘It’s if I want to make it. We’ll see what happens. But I’m doing a well if I want to make a deal. I don’t know if I want to make it.’

His intervention caused a Wall Street sell-off with the Dow Jones index losing a maximum of 411 points, and thew Nasdq falling by as much as 97 points,

Technology companies, which do a lot of business with China, stocks led the declines. Apple sank 2.5%.

Investors were also disappointed that the U.S. proposed tariffs on French goods, a day after announcing taxes on steel and aluminum imports from Chile and Argentina.

Surprise: 'I'm doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make. It's not if they want to make it, Donald Trump said - sending markets tumbling

Surprise: ‘I’m doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make. It’s not if they want to make it, Donald Trump said – sending markets tumbling

President Donald Trump - at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg - downplayed chances for an to the U.S.-China trade war soon

President Donald Trump – at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg – downplayed chances for an to the U.S.-China trade war soon

Around the world, Trump caused a sell off. France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3% to 5,770, while Britain’s FTSE 100 tumbled nearly 1% 7,216. Germany’s DAX gained 0.6% to 13,045.

Tensions between the two nations flared anew last week after Trump signed legislation expressing U.S. support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

Investors have been hoping that the world´s two biggest economies can make progress toward at least staving off new tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on $160 billion worth of Chinese products, including smartphones and laptops.

The Trump administration has also proposed tariffs on $2.4 billion in goods in retaliation for a French tax on global tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

France´s finance minister threatened a ‘strong European riposte’ if the U.S. follows through on a proposal to hit French cheese, Champagne, handbags and other products with tariffs of up to 100%.

The move is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and Europe – and set the stage for a likely tense meeting Tuesday between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron.

In Asia, tensions had already flared after China retaliated for U.S. support of protesters in Hong Kong, putting investors in a selling mood. Asian regional markets are generally hurt by declines in trade and the slowdown in the Chinese economy that might cause.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.6% to finish at 23,379.81. Australia´s S&P/ASX 200 slid 2.2% to 6,712.30. South Korea´s Kospi declined 0.4% to 2,084.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2% to 26,391.30, while the Shanghai Composite recovered earlier losses to inch up 0.3% to 2,884.70.

Last week, Trump said ‘We´re in the final throes of a very important deal.’

Earlier, China had made goodwill gestures, issuing improved guidelines for protection of patents, copyrights and other intellectual property and lifting a five-year ban on American poultry.

Then Trump’s comments Tuesday seemed to suggest that a breakthrough might not come anytime soon.

It’s been a year and a half since Trump declared that ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win.’

But his war with China has dragged on and on, with each side imposing – and raising – import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. Those taxes are paid by companies that import those goods.

These importers must either absorb those higher costs or pass them on to customers in the form of price increases.

Negotiators have met 13 times. Truces have come and gone. Predictions of peace have proved premature.

For now, at least, the reality remains: The United States is taxing more than $360 billion worth of Chinese imports, and Beijing is retaliating with tariffs on $120 billion of American products. Not since the 1930s has the world seen such intense trade warfare.

The two sides are fighting over allegations that China has deployed predatory tactics in its drive to achieve global dominance in such advanced technologies as quantum computing and electric cars. The administration asserts, and many China analysts agree, that these tactics include stealing sensitive technology, unfairly subsidizing their own firms and forcing foreign companies to hand over trade secrets as the price of admission to China’s market.

Trump said a deal could wait until after the 2020 election6

Trump said a deal could wait until after the 2020 election

U.S. stocks also took a tumble when the market opened

U.S. stocks also took a tumble when the market opened

On Oct. 11, Trump had announced what he cast as a breakthrough: Beijing had agreed to buy far more U.S. farm products – as much as $50 billion worth annually, the administration said – and to better protect intellectual property. In return, the United States suspended plans to raise tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese goods.

Even though this so-called Phase 1 deal left the thorniest issues for future negotiations, the two sides still haven’t managed to finalize it.

‘It now looks likely that a Phase 1 deal will be rather limited in scope, hardly resolving the broader trade-related uncertainty that continues to cloud business sentiment in both countries,’ said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist who formerly led the China division at the International Monetary Fund.

Beijing has been reluctant to make the kind of substantive policy reforms that would satisfy the Trump administration. Doing so would likely require scaling back China’s aspirations for technological supremacy, which it sees as crucial to its prosperity.

The prolonged trade war has been inflicting economic damage. Factories have cut purchases and investments because they don’t know whether or when Trump will lift his tariffs or which countries he might target next.

The president’s sudden move Monday to take action against Argentina and Brazil underscored how unpredictable his policies are. Last year, he had agreed to exempt the two countries from tariffs on steel and aluminum. But he reversed that decision in a tweet Monday morning, accusing Argentina and Brazil of manipulating their currencies lower to give their exporters a price advantage. In fact, their currencies are plunging because their economies are in crisis.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration ratcheted up tensions with Europe by announcing plans to impose tariffs of up to 100% on cheese, Champagne and lipstick and other imports from France to protest a French digital services tax.

The administration is also readying taxes on $7.5 billion worth of European Union imports in a dispute over illegal EU subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The tariffs and the uncertainty they generate have hurt the U.S. manufacturing sector, which many economists say is already in recession. On Monday, a private survey found that American factory output had fallen for the fourth straight month.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7750245/Asian-shares-slip-Europe-mixed-amid-US-China-trade-tensions.html

Story 2: Going, Going, Gone – Larry Page and Sergey Brin — Sundar Pichai Takes Over — Videos

Larry Page to step down as Alphabet CEO, Pichai to take over

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s I/O 2017 keynote

Alphabet CEO Larry Page to Step Down, Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Take Over

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Larry Page

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt leaving Alphabet board

Larry Page: ‘I chose Google so Sergey chose Alphabet’ | Fortune

Where’s Google going next? | Larry Page

Mar 21, 2014

Larry Page steps down as CEO of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai to take over

KEY POINTS
  • Alphabet CEO Larry Page will step down from the role and Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take over, adding to his current responsibilities. Co-founder Sergey Brin will also step down as president of Alphabet and the role will be eliminated.
  • Page and Brin said in a blog post that “it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure.”
  • Page became CEO of Alphabet after Google restructured to form the parent company in 2015. He had previously been CEO of Google.

Sundar Pichai to replace Larry Page as Alphabet CEO

Alphabet CEO Larry Page announced Tuesday that he will step down from the position. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of the parent company in addition to his current role. Co-founder Sergey Brin will also step down as president of Alphabet and the role will be eliminated.

close dialog
ALL NEW
TONIGHT 10P ET

Alphabet’s stock was up as much as 0.8% after hours.

“With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure,” Page and Brin wrote in a blog post announcing the change. “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.”

Page became CEO of Alphabet in 2015 when Google reorganized to form the new parent company to oversee its “Other Bets” outside of its main search and digital ads businesses. Page had previously served as CEO of Google. Under the new structure, Pichai became CEO of Google after effectively runningmuch of the business as Page had taken a step back to focus on big picture endeavors. Pichai had previously led Android and Chrome at the company.

Both Page and Brin will remain “actively involved” as members of Alphabet’s board, according to the letter. The co-founders still have controlling voting shares of the company. Page holds about 5.8% of Alphabet shares, Brin controls about 5.6% and Pichai holds about 0.1%, ensuring the new CEO may still be challenged by the company’s founders. Google said its voting structure is not changing in light of the announcement.

Alphabet may need to lean more heavily on its other bets, which include companies like Waymo and Verily, as its core digital advertising business run by Google shows signs of slowing down. Google showed slowing ad revenue in its first quarter of 2019 and lower profit compared to the previous year during the third quarter. The company has still struggled to generate significant revenue in hardware, although its cloud business is growing.

LIVE, NEWS-MAKING DISCUSSIONS
UNIQUE, IN-PERSON EXPERIENCES

Page and Pichai have overseen the company during a tumultuous few years as Google employees have voiced their discontent with company policies. Thousands of Google employees walked out of offices around the world last year to protest a $90 million exit package Google reportedly paid to former Android leader Andy Rubin despite finding sexual misconduct claims against him to be credible, a New York Times investigation revealed. Alphabet’s board has opened an investigation into how executives have handled claims of sexual misconduct, CNBC reported last month.

Google has been forced to back off of certain projects have pushback from employees. In 2018, Google’s cloud chief at the time said the company would not renew its contract with the Department of Defense after it was set to expire in March 2019. The decision followed a petition signed by thousands of employees urging Pichai to keep Google out of the “business of war.” Google employees have also urged the company to back off its plans to build a censored search engine for China after The Intercept reported on the plans cryptically called Project Dragonfly.

More recently, a group of former Google employees known as the “Thanksgiving Four” have claimed their pre-holiday dismissal amounted to retaliation for their attempts to organize workers. The former employees have promised to file charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming unfair labor practices. Google denies any retaliation and has insisted the workers were let go for sharing confidential documents and breaching security.

Here is the full letter from Page and Brin:

Our very first founders’ letter in our 2004 S-1 began:

“Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. Throughout Google’s evolution as a privately held company, we have managed Google differently. We have also emphasized an atmosphere of creativity and challenge, which has helped us provide unbiased, accurate and free access to information for those who rely on us around the world.”

We believe those central tenets are still true today. The company is not conventional and continues to make ambitious bets on new technology, especially with our Alphabet structure. Creativity and challenge remain as ever-present as before, if not more so, and are increasingly applied to a variety of fields such as machine learning, energy efficiency and transportation. Nonetheless, Google’s core service—providing unbiased, accurate, and free access to information—remains at the heart of the company.

However, since we wrote our first founders’ letter, the company has evolved and matured. Within Google, there are all the popular consumer services that followed Search, such as Maps, Photos, and YouTube; a global ecosystem of devices powered by our Android and Chrome platforms, including our own Made by Google devices; Google Cloud, including GCP and G Suite; and of course a base of fundamental technologies around machine learning, cloud computing, and software engineering. It’s an honor that billions of people have chosen to make these products central to their lives—this is a trust and responsibility that Google will always work to live up to.

And structurally, the company evolved into Alphabet in 2015. As we said in the Alphabet founding letter in 2015:

“Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence.”

Since we wrote that, hundreds of Phoenix residents are now being driven around in Waymo cars—many without drivers! Wing became the first drone company to make commercial deliveries to consumers in the U.S. And Verily and Calico are doing important work, through a number of great partnerships with other healthcare companies. Some of our “Other Bets” have their own boards with independent members, and outside investors.

Those are just a few examples of technology companies that we have formed within Alphabet, in addition to investment subsidiaries GV and Capital G, which have supported hundreds more. Together with all of Google’s services, this forms a colorful tapestry of bets in technology across a range of industries—all with the goal of helping people and tackling major challenges.

Our second founders’ letter began:

“Google was born in 1998. If it were a person, it would have started elementary school late last summer (around August 19), and today it would have just about finished the first grade.”

Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost. While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!

With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!

Sundar brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day. He’s worked closely with us for 15 years, through the formation of Alphabet, as CEO of Google, and a member of the Alphabet Board of Directors. He shares our confidence in the value of the Alphabet structure, and the ability it provides us to tackle big challenges through technology. There is no one that we have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future.

We are deeply humbled to have seen a small research project develop into a source of knowledge and empowerment for billions—a bet we made as two Stanford students that led to a multitude of other technology bets. We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/03/larry-page-steps-down-as-ceo-of-alphabet.html

Larry Page

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Larry Page
Larry Page in the European Parliament, 17.06.2009 (cropped).jpg

Page in 2009
Born
Lawrence Edward Page

March 26, 1973 (age 46)

Residence Palo Alto, California, U.S.[1][2]
Alma mater University of Michigan (BS)
Stanford University (MS)
Occupation
Known for Co-founding Google, Alphabet Inc. and PageRank
Salary One-dollar salary
Net worth US$55.8 billion[3] (2019)

Lawrence Edward Page[4] (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for being one of the co-founders of Google along with Sergey Brin.[1][5]

Page was the chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) until stepping down on December 3, 2019. After stepping aside as Google CEO in August 2001, in favor of Eric Schmidt, he re-assumed the role in April 2011. He announced his intention to step aside a second time in July 2015, to become CEO of Alphabet, under which Google’s assets would be reorganized. Under Page, Alphabet is seeking to deliver major advancements in a variety of industries.[6]

As of October 2019, Page is the 9th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $55.8 billion.[7] Forbes placed him 10th in the list “Billionaires 2019”.[8]

Page is the co-inventor of PageRank, a well-known search ranking algorithm for Google, which he wrote with Brin.[16] Page received the Marconi Prize in 2004 with Brin.[17]

Contents

Early life and education

Page was born on March 26, 1973,[18] in Lansing, Michigan.[19] His father is Jewish;[20] his maternal grandfather later made aliyah to Israel.[21] However he does not declare to follow any formal religion.[20][22] His father, Carl Victor Page, Sr., earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan, when the field was being established, and BBC reporter Will Smale has described him as a “pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence”.[23] He was a computer science professor at Michigan State University and Page’s mother, Gloria, was an instructor in computer programming at Lyman Briggs College of Michigan State University.[24][23][25]

During an interview, Page recalled his childhood, noting that his house “was usually a mess, with computers, science, and technology magazines and Popular Science magazines all over the place”, an environment in which he immersed himself.[26] Page was an avid reader during his youth, writing in his 2013 Google founders letter: “I remember spending a huge amount of time pouring [sic] over books and magazines”.[27] According to writer Nicholas Carlson, the combined influence of Page’s home atmosphere and his attentive parents “fostered creativity and invention”. Page also played flute and studied music composition while growing up. He attended the renowned music summer camp – Interlochen Arts Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. Page has mentioned that his musical education inspired his impatience and obsession with speed in computing. “In some sense, I feel like music training led to the high-speed legacy of Google for me”. In an interview Page said that “In music, you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing” and that “If you think about it from a music point of view, if you’re a percussionist, you hit something, it’s got to happen in milliseconds, fractions of a second”.[9][28]

Page was first attracted to computers when he was six years old, as he was able to “play with the stuff lying around”—first-generation personal computers—that had been left by his mother and father.[24] He became the “first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor“.[29] His older brother also taught him to take things apart and before long he was taking “everything in his house apart to see how it worked”. He said that “from a very early age, I also realized I wanted to invent things. So I became really interested in technology and business. Probably from when I was 12, I knew I was going to start a company eventually.”[29]

Page attended the Okemos Montessori School (now called Montessori Radmoor) in Okemos, Michigan, from 1975 to 1979, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1991. He attended Interlochen Center for the Artsas a saxophonist for two summers while in high school. Page holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan, with honors and a Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University.[30] While at the University of Michigan, Page created an inkjet printer made of Lego bricks (literally a line plotter), after he thought it possible to print large posters cheaply with the use of inkjet cartridges—Page reverse-engineered the ink cartridge, and built all of the electronics and mechanics to drive it.[24] Page served as the president of the Beta Epsilon chapter of the Eta Kappa Nu fraternity,[31] and was a member of the 1993 “Maize & Blue” University of Michigan Solar Car team.[32] As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, he proposed that the school replace its bus system with a personal rapid transit system, which is essentially a driverless monorail with separate cars for every passenger.[9] He also developed a business plan for a company that would use software to build a music synthesizer during this time.[28]

PhD studies and research

After enrolling in a computer science PhD program at Stanford University, Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor, Terry Winograd, encouraged him to pursue the idea, and Page recalled in 2008 that it was the best advice he had ever received.[33] He also considered doing research on telepresence and self-driving cars during this time.[34][35][36][37]

Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages linked to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks as valuable information for that page. The role of citations in academic publishing would also become pertinent for the research.[37]Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford PhD student, would soon join Page’s research project, nicknamed “BackRub.”[37] Together, the pair authored a research paper titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine”, which became one of the most downloaded scientific documents in the history of the Internet at the time.[24][35]

John Battelle, co-founder of Wired magazine, wrote that Page had reasoned that the:

… entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation—after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could devise a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it “the Web would become a more valuable place.”[37]

Battelle further described how Page and Brin began working together on the project:

At the time Page conceived of BackRub, the Web comprised an estimated 10 million documents, with an untold number of links between them. The computing resources required to crawl such a beast were well beyond the usual bounds of a student project. Unaware of exactly what he was getting into, Page began building out his crawler. The idea’s complexity and scale lured Brin to the job. A polymath who had jumped from project to project without settling on a thesis topic, he found the premise behind BackRub fascinating. “I talked to lots of research groups” around the school, Brin recalls, “and this was the most exciting project, both because it tackled the Web, which represents human knowledge, and because I liked Larry.”[37]

Search engine development

To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub’s web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones.[37] The algorithm relied on a new technology that analyzed the relevance of the backlinks that connected one web page to another.[38]

Combining their ideas, the pair began utilizing Page’s dormitory room as a machine laboratory, and extracted spare parts from inexpensive computers to create a device that they used to connect the not nascent search engine with Stanford’s broadband campus network.[37] After filling Page’s room with equipment, they then converted Brin’s dorm room into an office and programming center, where they tested their new search engine designs on the Web. The rapid growth of their project caused Stanford’s computing infrastructure to experience problems.[39]

Page and Sergey Brin by Graziano Origa

Page and Brin used the former’s basic HTML programming skills to set up a simple search page for users, as they did not have a web page developer to create anything visually elaborate. They also began using any computer part they could find to assemble the necessary computing power to handle searches by multiple users. As their search engine grew in popularity among Stanford users, it required additional servers to process the queries. In August 1996, the initial version of Google, still on the Stanford University website, was made available to Internet users.[37]

The mathematical website interlinking that the PageRankalgorithm facilitates, illustrated by size-percentage correlation of the circles. The algorithm was named after Page himself.

By early 1997, the BackRub page described the state as follows:

Some Rough Statistics (from August 29, 1996)

Total indexable HTML URLs: 75.2306 Million

Total content downloaded: 207.022 gigabytes

BackRub is written in Java and Python and runs on several Sun Ultras and Intel Pentiums running Linux. The primary database is kept on a Sun Ultra series II with 28GB of disk. Scott Hassan and Alan Steremberg have provided a great deal of very talented implementation help. Sergey Brin has also been very involved and deserves many thanks.

— Larry Page page@cs.stanford.edu[40]

BackRub already exhibited the rudimentary functions and characteristics of a search engine: a query input was entered and it provided a list of backlinks ranked by importance. Page recalled: “We realized that we had a querying tool. It gave you a good overall ranking of pages and ordering of follow-up pages.”[41] Page said that in mid-1998 they finally realized the further potential of their project: “Pretty soon, we had 10,000 searches a day. And we figured, maybe this is really real.”[39]

Some compared Page and Brin’s vision to the impact of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of modern printing:

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introduced Europe to the mechanical printing press, printing Bibles for mass consumption. The technology allowed for books and manuscripts – originally replicated by hand – to be printed at a much faster rate, thus spreading knowledge and helping to usher in the European Renaissance … Google has done a similar job.[42]

The comparison was also noted by the authors of The Google Story: “Not since Gutenberg … has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”[43] Also, not long after the two “cooked up their new engine for web searches, they began thinking about information that was at the time beyond the web,” such as digitizing books and expanding health information.[39]

Google

Page in the early days of Google

1998–2010

Founding

Mark Malseed wrote in a 2003 feature story:

Soliciting funds from faculty members, family and friends, Brin and Page scraped together enough to buy some servers and rent that famous garage in Menlo Park. … [soon after], Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote a $100,000 check to “Google, Inc.” The only problem was, “Google, Inc.” did not yet exist—the company hadn’t yet been incorporated. For two weeks, as they handled the paperwork, the young men had nowhere to deposit the money.[44]

In 1998,[45] Brin and Page incorporated Google, Inc.[46] with the initial domain name of “Googol,” derived from a number that consists of one followed by one hundred zeros—representing the vast amount of data that the search engine was intended to explore. Following inception, Page appointed himself as CEO, while Brin, named Google’s co-founder, served as Google’s president.[9] Writer Nicholas Carlson wrote in 2014:

While Google is often thought of as the invention of two young computer whizzes—Sergey and Larry, Larry and Sergey—the truth is that Google is a creation of Larry Page, helped along by Sergey Brin.[9]

The pair’s mission was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”[47] With a US$1-million loan from friends and family, the inaugural team moved into a Mountain View office by the start of 2000. In 1999, Page experimented with smaller servers so Google could fit more into each square meter of the third-party warehouses the company rented for their servers. This eventually led to a search engine that ran much faster than Google’s competitors at the time.[9]

By June 2000, Google had indexed one billion Internet URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), making it the most comprehensive search engine on the Web at the time. The company cited NEC Research Institute data in its June 26 press release, stating that “there are more than 1 billion web pages online today,” with Google “providing access to 560 million full-text indexed web pages and 500 million partially indexed URLs.”[48]

Early management style

During his first tenure as CEO, Page embarked on an attempt to fire all of Google’s project managers in 2001. Page’s plan involved all of Google’s engineers reporting to a VP of engineering, who would then report directly to him—Page explained that he didn’t like non-engineers supervising engineers due to their limited technical knowledge.[9] Page even documented his management tenets for his team to use as a reference:

  • Don’t delegate: Do everything you can yourself to make things go faster.
  • Don’t get in the way if you’re not adding value. Let the people actually doing the work talk to each other while you go do something else.
  • Don’t be a bureaucrat.
  • Ideas are more important than age. Just because someone is junior doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect and cooperation.
  • The worst thing you can do is stop someone from doing something by saying, “No. Period.” If you say no, you have to help them find a better way to get it done.[9]

Even though Page’s new model was unsustainable and led to disgruntlement among the affected employees, his issue with engineers being managed by non-engineering staff gained traction more broadly. Eventually, the practice of only instating engineers into the management roles of engineering teams was established as a standard across Silicon Valley.[49]

Page also believed that the faster Google’s search engine returned answers, the more it would be used. He fretted over milliseconds and pushed his engineers—from those who developed algorithms to those who built data centers—to think about lag times. He also pushed for keeping Google’s home page famously sparse in its design because it would help the search results load faster.[28]

2001–2011

Changes in management and expansion

Before Silicon Valley’s two most prominent investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, agreed to invest a combined total of $50 million in Google, they applied pressure on Page to step down as CEO so that a more experienced leader could build a “world-class management team.” Page eventually became amenable to the idea after meeting with other technology CEOs, including Steve Jobs and Intel’s Andrew GroveEric Schmidt, who had been hired as Chairman of Google in March 2001, left his full-time position as the CEO of Novell to take the same role at Google in August of the same year, and Page moved aside to assume the President of Products role.[9]

Under Schmidt’s leadership, Google underwent a period of major growth and expansion, which included its initial public offering (IPO) on August 20, 2004. He always acted in consultation with Page and Brin when he embarked on initiatives such as the hiring of an executive team and the creation of a sales force management system. Page remained the boss at Google in the eyes of the employees, as he gave final approval on all new hires, and it was Page who provided the signature for the IPO, the latter making him a billionaire at the age of 30.[9]

Page led the acquisition of Android for $50 million in 2005 to fulfill his ambition to place handheld computers in the possession of consumers so that they could access Google anywhere. The purchase was made without Schmidt’s knowledge, but the CEO was not perturbed by the relatively small acquisition. Page became passionate about Android, and spent large amounts of time with Android CEO and cofounder Andy Rubin. By September 2008, T-Mobile launched the G1, the first phone using Android software and, by 2010, 17.2% of the handset market consisted of Android sales, overtaking Apple for the first time. Android became the world’s most popular mobile operating system shortly afterward.[9]

Assumption of CEO position at Google

Following a January 2011 announcement,[50] Page officially became the chief executive of Google on April 4, 2011, while Schmidt stepped down to become executive chairman.[51] By this time, Google had over $180 billion market capitalization and more than 24,000 employees.[52]

After Schmidt announced the end of his tenure as CEO on January 20, 2011, he jokingly tweeted on Twitter: “Adult-supervision no longer needed.” Quartz organizational management reporter, Max Nisen, described the decade prior to Page’s second appointment as Google’s CEO as his “lost decade.” While Page continued to exert a significant influence at Google during this time, overseeing product development and other operations, he became increasingly disconnected and less responsive over time.[9][49]

2011–2013

As Google’s new CEO, Page’s two key goals were the development of greater autonomy for the executives overseeing the most important divisions, and higher levels of collaboration, communication and unity among the teams. Page also formed what the media called the “L-Team,” a group of senior vice-presidents who reported directly to him and worked in close proximity to his office for a portion of the working week.[53] Additionally, he reorganized the company’s senior management, placing a CEO-like manager at the top of Google’s most important product divisions, including YouTube, AdWords, and Google Search.[9]

In accordance with a more cohesive team environment, Page declared a new “zero tolerance for fighting” policy that contrasted with his approach during the early days of Google, when he would use his harsh and intense arguments with Brin as an exemplar for senior management. Page had changed his thinking during his time away from the CEO role, as he eventually arrived at the conclusion that his greatly ambitious goals required a harmonious team dynamic. As part of Page’s collaborative rejuvenation process, Google’s products and applications were consolidated and underwent an aesthetic overhaul.[49][54]

Changes and consolidation process

At least 70 of Google’s products, features and services were eventually shut down by March 2013, while the appearance and nature of the remaining ones were unified.[55][56] Jon Wiley, lead designer of Google Search at the time, codenamed Page’s redesign overhaul, which officially commenced on April 4, 2011, “Project Kennedy,” based on Page’s use of the term “moonshots” to describe ambitious projects in a January 2013 Wired interview.[54][57] An initiative named “Kanna” previously attempted to create a uniform design aesthetic for Google’s range of products, but it was too difficult at that point in the company’s history for one team to drive such change. Matias Duarte, senior director of the Android user experience at the time that “Kennedy” started, explained in 2013 that “Google passionately cares about design.” Page proceeded to consult with the Google Creative Lab design team, based in New York City, to find an answer to his question of what a “cohesive vision” of Google might look like.[54]

The eventual results of “Kennedy,” which were progressively rolled out from June 2011 until January 2013, were described by The Verge technology publication as focused upon “refinement, white space, cleanliness, elasticity, usefulness, and most of all simplicity.” The final products were aligned with Page’s aim for a consistent suite of products that can “move fast,” and “Kennedy” was called a “design revolution” by Duarte. Page’s “UXA” (user/graphics interface) design team then emerged from the “Kennedy” project, tasked with “designing and developing a true UI framework that transforms Google’s application software into a beautiful, mature, accessible and consistent platform for its users.” Unspoken of in public, the small UXA unit was designed to ensure that “Kennedy” became an “institution.”[54]

Acquisition strategy and new products

When acquiring products and companies for Google, Page asked whether the business acquisition passed the toothbrush test as an initial qualifier, asking the question “Is it something you will use once or twice a day, and does it make your life better?”. This approach looked for usefulness above profitability, and long-term potential over near-term financial gain, which has been noted as rare in business acquiring processes.[58][59][60]

With Facebook’s influence rapidly expanding during the start of Page’s second tenure, he finally responded to the intensive competition with Google’s own social network, Google+, in mid-2011. After several delays, the social network was released through a very limited field test and was led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s then senior vice president of social.[61]

In August 2011, Page announced that Google would spend $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility.[62] The purchase was primarily motivated by Google’s need to secure patents to protect Android from lawsuits by companies including Apple Inc.[9] Page wrote on Google’s official blog on August 15, 2011 that “companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The United States Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community”… Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies”.[63][64] In 2014, Page sold Motorola Mobility for $2.9 billion to Personal Computer maker, Lenovo which represented a loss in value of $9.5 billion over two years.[65]

Page also ventured into hardware and Google unveiled the Chromebook in May 2012. The hardware product was a laptop that ran on a Google operating system, Chrome OS.[66]

2013–2015

In January 2013, Page participated in a rare interview with Wired, in which writer Steven Levy discussed Page’s “10X” mentality—Google employees are expected to create products and services that are at least 10 times better than those of its competitors—in the introductory blurbAstro Teller, the head of Google X, explained to Levy that 10X is “just core to who he [Page] is,” while Page’s “focus is on where the next 10X will come from.”[57] In his interview with Levy, Page referred to the success of YouTube and Android as examples of “crazy” ideas that investors were not initially interested in, saying: “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”[57] Page also stated that he was “very happy” with the status of Google+, and discussed concerns over the Internet in relation to the SOPA bill and an International Telecommunication Union proposal that had been recently introduced:

… I do think the Internet’s under much greater attack than it has been in the past. Governments are now afraid of the Internet because of the Middle East stuff, and so they’re a little more willing to listen to what I see as a lot of commercial interests that just want to make money by restricting people’s freedoms. But they’ve also seen a tremendous user reaction, like the backlash against SOPA. I think that governments fight users’ freedoms at their own peril.[57]

At the May 2013 I/O developers conference in San Francisco, Page delivered a keynote address and said that “We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity … Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist” and that he was “sad the Web isn’t advancing as fast as it should be” citing a perceived focus on negativity and zero sum games among some in the technology sector as a cause for that.[67] In response to an audience question, Page noted an issue that Google had been experiencing with Microsoft, whereby the latter made its Outlook program interoperable with Google, but did not allow for backward compatibility—he referred to Microsoft’s practice as “milking off.” During the question-and-answer section of his keynote, Page expressed interest in Burning Man, which Brin had previously praised—it was a motivating factor for the latter during Schmidt’s hiring process, as Brin liked that Schmidt had attended the week-long annual event.[9][68][69]

In September 2013, Page launched the independent Calico initiative, a R&D project in the field of biotechnology. Google announced that Calico seeks to innovate and make improvements in the field of human health, and appointed Art Levinson, chairman of Apple’s board and former CEO of Genentech, to be the new division’s CEO. Page’s official statement read: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”[70]

Page participated in a March 2014 TedX conference that was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The presentation was scripted by Page’s chief PR executive Rachel Whetstone, and Google’s CMO Lorraine Twohill, and a demonstration of an artificially intelligent computer program was displayed on a large screen.[9] Page responded to a question about corporations, noting that corporations largely get a “bad rap”, which he stated was because they were probably doing the same incremental things they were doing “50 or 20 years ago”. He went on to juxtapose that kind of incremental approach to his vision of Google counteracting calcification through driving technology innovation at a high rate. Page mentioned Elon Musk and SpaceX:

He [Musk] wants to go to Mars to back up humanity. That’s a worthy goal. We have a lot of employees at Google who’ve become pretty wealthy. You’re working because you want to change the world and make it better … I’d like for us to help out more than we are.[71]

Page also mentioned Nikola Tesla with regard to invention and commercialization:

Invention is not enough. [Nikola] Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. [You have to] combine both things … invention and innovation focus, plus … a company that can really commercialize things and get them to people.[72]

Page announced a major management restructure in October 2014 so that he would no longer need to be responsible for day-to-day product-related decision making. In a memo, Page said that Google’s core businesses would be able to progress in a typical manner, while he could focus on the next generation of ambitious projects, including Google X initiatives; access and energy, including Google Fiber; smart-home automation through Nest Labs; and biotechnology innovations under Calico.[73] Page maintained that he would continue as the unofficial “chief product officer.”[56] Subsequent to the announcement, the executives in charge of Google’s core products reported to then Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who reported directly to Page.[73][74][75][76]

In a November 2014 interview, Page stated that he prioritized the maintenance of his “deep knowledge” of Google’s products and breadth of projects, as it had been a key motivating factor for team members. In relation to his then role as the company’s CEO, Page said: “I think my job as CEO—I feel like it’s always to be pushing people ahead.”[56]

On August 10, 2015, Page announced on Google’s official blog that Google had restructured into a number of subsidiaries of a new holding company known as Alphabet Inc with Page becoming CEO of Alphabet Inc and Sundar Pichai assuming the position of CEO of Google Inc. In his announcement, Page described the planned holding company as follows:[77]

Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. … Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.

As well as explaining the origin of the company’s name:

We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!

Page wrote that the motivation behind the reorganization is to make Google “cleaner and more accountable.” He also wrote that there was a desire to improve “the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing,” and to allow greater control of unrelated companies previously within the Google ecosystem.[77][78][79]

Page has not been on any press conferences since 2015 and has not presented at product launches or earnings calls since 2013. The Bloomberg Businessweek termed the reorganization into Alphabet as a clever retirement plan allowing Page to retain control over Google, at the same time relinquishing all responsibilities over it. Executives at Alphabet describe Page as a “futurist”, highly detached from day-to-day business dealings and more focused on moon-shot projects. While some managers of Alphabet companies speak of Page as intensely involved, others say that his rare office check-ins are “akin to a royal visit”.[80]

2019

On December 3, 2019 Larry Page announced that he will step down from the position of Alphabet CEO and would be replaced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai will also continue as Google CEO. Page and Google co-founder and Alphabet president Sergey Bryn announced the change in a joint blog post, “With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.”[81]

Other interests

Page is an investor in Tesla Motors.[82] He has invested in renewable energy technology, and with the help of Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, promotes the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric cars[83][84][85][86] and other alternative energy investments.[87] He is also a strategic backer in the Opener startup which is developing aerial vehicles for consumer travel.[88]

Page is also interested in the socio-economic effects of advanced intelligent systems and how advanced digital technologies can be used to create abundance (as described in Peter Diamandis’ book), provide for people’s needs, shorten the workweek, and mitigate the potential detrimental effects of technological unemployment.[89][90]

Page also helped to set up Singularity University, a transhumanist think-tank.[91] Google is one of the institution’s corporate founders[92] and still funds scholarships at Singularity University.[93]

Personal life

In 2007, Page married Lucinda Southworth on Necker Island, the Caribbean island owned by Richard Branson.[94] Southworth is a research scientist and the sister of actress and model Carrie Southworth.[95] Page and Southworth have two children, born in 2009 and 2011.[96][97]

On February 18, 2005, Page bought a 9,000 square feet (840 m2Spanish Colonial Revival architecture house in Palo Alto, California designed by American artistic polymath Pedro Joseph de Lemos, a former curator of the Stanford Art Museum and founder of the Carmel Art Institute, after the historic building had been on the market for years with an asking price of US$7.95 million. A two-story stucco archway spans the driveway and the home features intricate stucco work, as well as stone and tile in California Arts and Crafts movement style built to resemble de Lemos’s family’s castle in Spain. The hacienda was constructed between 1931 and 1941 by de Lemos.[98][99][100][101][102] It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.[103]

Page’s superyacht ‘Senses’, docked in Helsinki

In 2009 Page began purchasing properties and tearing down homes adjacent to his home in Palo Alto to make room for a large ecohouse. The existing buildings were “deconstructed” and the materials donated for reuse. The ecohouse was designed to “minimize the impact on the environment.” Page worked with an arborist to replace some trees that were in poor health with others that used less water to maintain. Page also applied for Green Point Certification, with points given for use of recycled and low or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials and for a roof garden with solar panels. The house’s exterior features zinc cladding and plenty of windows, including a wall of sliding-glass doors in the rear. It includes eco-friendly elements such as permeable paving in the parking court and a pervious path through the trees on the property. The 6,000-square-foot (560m²) house also observes other green home design features such as organic architecture building materials and low volatile organic compound paint.[104][105][106][107]

In 2011, Page bought the $45-million 193-foot (59m) superyacht ‘Senses’, which is equipped with a helipad, gym, multi-level sun decks, ten luxury suites, a crew of 14 and interior design by French designer Philippe Starck.[108]‘Senses’ has extensive ocean exploration capabilities, the superyacht was created to explore the world’s oceans in comfort and it carries a comprehensive inventory of equipment for that purpose.[109] ‘Senses’ was built by Fr. Schweers Shipyard in (Germany) at their Berne shipyard. ‘Senses’ features a displacement steel hull and a steel/aluminium superstructure, with teak decks. ‘Senses’ is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system which reduces the free surface effect and results in a smoother cruising experience underway.[110]

Page announced on his Google+ profile in May 2013 that his right vocal cord is paralyzed from a cold that he contracted the previous summer, while his left cord was paralyzed in 1999.[111] Page explained that he has been suffering from a vocal cord issue for 14 years, and, as of his May 2013 post, doctors were unable to identify the exact cause. The Google+ post also revealed that Page had donated a considerable sum of money to a vocal-cord nerve-function research program at the Voice Health Institute in Boston, US. The program, at Massachusetts General Hospital, is led by Steven Zeitels, the Eugene B. Casey Professor of Laryngeal Surgery. An anonymous source stated that the donation exceeded $20 million.[112]

In October 2013, Business Insider reported that Page’s paralyzed vocal cords are caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and prevented him from undertaking Google quarterly earnings conference calls for an indefinite period.[113]

In November 2014, Page’s family foundation, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Fund, reportedly holding assets in excess of a billion dollars at the end of 2013, gave $15 million to aid the effort against the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Page wrote on his Google+ page that “My wife and I just donated $15 million … Our hearts go out to everyone affected.”[114][115][116][117]

Awards and accolades

1998–2009

  • PC Magazine has praised Google as among the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines (1998) and awarded Google the Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development in 1999. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People’s Voice Award for technical achievement, and in 2001, was awarded Outstanding Search Service, Best Image Search Engine, Best Design, Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine, and Best Search Feature at the Search Engine Watch Awards.”[118]
  • In 2002, Page was named a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow[citation needed] and along with Brin, was named by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Technology Review publication as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35, as part of its yearly TR100 listing (changed to “TR35” after 2005).[119]
  • In 2003, both Page and Brin received a MBA from IE Business School, in an honorary capacity, “for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses.”[120]
  • In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation‘s prize and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation’s president, congratulated the two men for “their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today.”.[121]
  • Page and Brin were also Award Recipients and National Finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003.[122]
  • Also in 2004, X PRIZE chose Page as a trustee of their board[123] and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.[citation needed]
  • In 2005, Brin and Page were elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[124]
  • In 2008 Page received the Communication Award from King Felipe at the Princess of Asturias Awards on behalf of Google.[125]

2009–present

  • In 2009, Page received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan during a graduation commencement ceremony.[126] In 2011, he was ranked 24th on the Forbes list of billionaires, and as the 11th richest person in the U.S.[1]
  • In 2015, Page’s “Powerful People” profile on the Forbes site states that Google is “the most influential company of the digital era”.[127]
  • As of July 2014, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Page as the 17th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $32.7 billion.[128]
  • At the completion of 2014, Fortune magazine named Page its “Businessperson of the Year,” declaring him “the world’s most daring CEO”.[129]
  • In October 2015, Page was named number one in Forbes‘ “America’s Most Popular Chief Executives”, as voted by Google’s employees.[130]
  • In August 2017, Page was awarded honorary citizenship of Agrigento, Italy.[131]

References …

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

Sundar Pichai

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Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai (cropped).jpg
Born
Pichai Sundararajan

June 10, 1972 (age 47)

Alma mater Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
Stanford University
The Wharton School
Salary US$1,881,066 (2018)US$1,333,557 (2017)[1]

US$199.7 million[2] (2016)

Title CEO of Google
Board member of
Spouse(s) Anjali Pichai
Children 2
Parents
  • Regunatha Pichai (father)
  • Lakshmi Pichai (mother)
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Pichai Sundararajan (born June 10, 1972[5]), also known as Sundar Pichai (/ˈsʊndɑːrpɪˈ/), is an Indian American business executive.[6] He is an engineer and the chief executive officer (CEO) of Google LLC.[7][8][9]Formerly the Product Chief of Google, Pichai’s current role was announced on August 10, 2015, as part of the restructuring process that made Alphabet Inc. into Google’s parent company,[10] and he assumed the position on October 2, 2015.[11] On December 3, 2019, he became the CEO of Alphabet Inc.[12]

Early life and education

Pichai was born in MaduraiTamil Nadu, India.[13][14] His mother Lakshmi was a stenographer and his father, Regunatha Pichai was an electrical engineer at GEC, the British conglomerate. His father also had a manufacturing plant that produced electrical components.[15][16] Pichai grew up in a two-room apartment in Ashok NagarChennai.[15]

Pichai completed schooling in Jawahar Vidyalaya, a Central Board of Secondary Education school in Ashok Nagar, Chennai and completed the Class XII from Vana Vani school in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.[17][18] He earned his degree from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in metallurgical engineering and is a distinguished alumnus from that institution.[19] He holds an M.S. from Stanford University in material sciences and engineering, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,[20] where he was named a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar, respectively.[21][22]

Career

Pichai speaking at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain

Pichai worked in engineering and product management at Applied Materials and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company.[23] Pichai joined Google in 2004, where he led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google’s client software products, including Google Chrome[24] and Chrome OS, as well as being largely responsible for Google Drive. He went on to oversee the development of other applications such as Gmail and Google Maps.[25][26] On November 19, 2009, Pichai gave a demonstration of Chrome OS; the Chromebook was released for trial and testing in 2011, and released to the public in 2012.[27] On May 20, 2010, he announced the open-sourcing of the new video codec VP8 by Google and introduced the new video format, WebM.[28]

On March 13, 2013, Pichai added Android to the list of Google products that he oversees. Android was formerly managed by Andy Rubin.[29] He was a director of Jive Software from April 2011 to July 30, 2013.[30][31][32] Pichai was selected to become the next CEO of Google on August 10, 2015[10] after previously being appointed Product Chief by CEO, Larry Page. On October 24, 2015 he stepped into the new position at the completion of the formation of Alphabet Inc., the new holding company for the Google company family.[11][32][33]

Pichai had been suggested as a contender for Microsoft‘s CEO in 2014, a position that was eventually given to Satya Nadella.[34][35]

In August 2017, Pichai drew publicity for firing a Google employee who wrote a ten-page manifesto criticizing the company’s diversity policies and arguing that “distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership”.[36][37][38][39] While noting that the manifesto raised a number of issues that are open to debate, Pichai said in a memo to Google employees that “to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK”.[40]

In December 2017, Pichai was a speaker at the World Internet Conference in China, where he stated that “a lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies. There are many small and medium-sized businesses in China who take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China.”[41][42]

U.S. Congress testimony

On December 11, 2018, Pichai testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on a wide range of Google-related issues such as the alleged, potential political bias on Google’s platforms, the company’s plans for a censored search app in China, and its privacy practices.[43] Pichai, in response, stated that Google employees cannot influence search results. He also stated that Google users can opt out of having gheir data collected and that “there are no current plans for a censored search engine” in China.[44] Wireds Issie Lapowsky characterized Pichai’s appearance before the committee as one “major missed opportunity,” since, as he wrote, its members “staked out opposite sides of a partisan battle,” and presented to the public “a foreboding reminder of Congress’s continued technological ignorance.”[45]

Personal life

Pichai is married to Anjali Pichai and has two children.[8] Pichai’s interests include football and cricket.[46][47]

References…

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

Story 3: Going, Going, Gone — Kamala Harris — Videos

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‘One of the hardest decisions of my life’: Kamala Harris ends once-promising campaign

The California senator took a deep look at the campaign’s resources over the holiday and decided she did not have a path to the nomination.

Harris told aides of her intentions in an all-staff call on Tuesday, and a person familiar with the conversation said she sounded distraught. While Harris had qualified for the December debate in her home state later this month, she was running dangerously low on cash — lacking the resources to air TV ads in Iowa — and her staff was gripped by long-running internal turmoil.

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue .”

Harris, who spent Thanksgiving in Iowa with family, took a deep look at the campaign’s resources over the holiday and decided she did not have a path to the nomination. A Harris campaign aide said the expected impeachment trial in January further complicated the situation.

She made the decision Monday after discussions with her family and senior aides. Harris will travel to the early states this week to thank staff and supporters for their dedication to the campaign.

The senator did not bow out without taking a parting shot at her billionaire and self-funding rivals who made late entrances into the race this summer and fall.

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” Harris said in a video explaining her decision to drop out. “And as the campaign has gone on, it has become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do.”

Her candidacy got one of its first major breaks in the first Democratic debate in June, when Harris pulled off a blistering ambush of former Vice President Joe Biden over his previous stance on busing, which prompted another review of his record on race issues. Harris’ performance sent her soaring in the polls, and the campaign raised $2 million in the 24 hours following the debate.

But the attack ultimately blew back on Harris when her own stance on busing came under scrutiny in the days after. Her sharp rise in the polls did not last long, with Harris skidding into fifth place and registering in the single digits by September. When she dropped out Tuesday, her RealClearPolitics national polling average was hovering just above 3 percent.

Throughout the campaign, Harris had never been steady on health care, many voters’ stated key issue. Harris spent months backtracking following an ill-fated moment in a CNN town hall in which she said, “let’s eliminate all that,” when asked whether she supported a health care plan that got rid of private insurance.

Her stumbles on the issue continued into the fall, as Harris waffled on whether she backed the kind of single-payer, “Medicare for All” plan championed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, or more incremental change, an opening her opponents seized on.

In addition to health care, voters complained that they were unable to pin Harris down on a host of other issues. And Harris shied away some from what could have been one of her greatest strengths — her time spent as a prosecutor and attorney general in California — as her prosecutorial record became a liability with a Democratic base that has turned sharply left on issues of criminal justice.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a low-polling Democratic wildcard, weaponized Harris’ prosecutorial record against her in a later debate, lambasting Harris with a set of somewhat misleading and out-of-context accusations. But Harris did not mount a full-throated defense in the moment, only reiterating that she was proud of her time as a prosecutor.

The campaign also struggled to bring in small-dollar donations, creating a greater reliance on the kind of big-money fundraisers some of Harris’ rivals have sworn off, and resulting in less-than-savory headlines about small controversies like her initial plan to skip a climate change town hall in favor of a fundraiser. (Harris later said she was unaware of the scheduling conflict, and attended the town hall.)

Harris further struggled with the question of electability — concerns that have also gripped other competitors in the historically diverse field — as she addressed voters afraid the country might not be ready for a female president of color. From the earliest days of the campaign, Harris was subject to conspiracy theories that ricocheted around social media, even giving way to a reprisal of the same birtherism smears that plagued former President Barack Obama.

In the spring, prior to Harris’ debate stage spat with Biden, she was forced to deftly maneuver suggestions from fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus that her becoming Biden’s running mate would make for a “dream ticket.” After the debate, Harris allies ripped the Biden campaign for suggesting that she let her ambition get the best of her in leveling the busing broadside.

Still, she was unable to make significant inroads with black voters, a key Democratic voting bloc, in the same way that Biden has, despite running neck and neck with the former vice president in endorsements from members of the CBC.

Recent weeks have carried numerous warning signs of a derailed campaign, with Harris abruptly shuttering much of the campaign’s New Hampshire operation as the senator focused squarely on Iowa. She laid off staff rather than recalibrating her resources and hoped a top-three finish in Iowa could propel her to a win in South Carolina.

Harris’ financial struggles likely would have been compounded by the possibility of an impeachment trial in the beginning of the year, which will keep her and her fellow rivals in the Senate in Washington and off the campaign trail in the crucial weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses and potentially even the New Hampshire primary.

But in her video message Tuesday, Harris pledged to stay in the fight against Trump.

“I want to be clear,” she said. “Although I am no longer running for president, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are. I know you will too. So let’s do that together.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/03/kamala-harris-drops-out-out-of-presidential-race-074902

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1364, November 21, 2019, Part 1 of 2: Story 1: Unfair Partisan Democrat Impeachment Inquiry Ends– No Evidence of Bribery or Quid Pro Que — American People Unconvinced That President Trump Did Anything Wrong  — American People Do Not Support Impeachment of President Trump — House Speaker Pelosi Will Not Call For An Impeachment Vote Arguing The Republican Senate Will Not Convict President Trump of A Non-existent Crime or Impeachment Offense — American People Will Elect President Trump For A Second Term in Landslide of 70 Million Votes and Over 330 Electoral College Votes — Elections Have Consequences — Schiff Parody of Richard III Cries– A Horse A Horse My Kingdom for A Horse — The End — Videos

Posted on December 2, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Disasters, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Freedom of Religion, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, Movies, Music, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Pro Abortion, Progressives, Psychology, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Social Science, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Water, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1364 November 21, 2019

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Richard III Act 5 Scene 4

Story 1: Unfair Partisan Democrat Impeachment Inquiry Ends– No Evidence of Bribery or Quid Pro Que — American People Unconvinced That President Trump Did Anything Wrong  — American People Do Not Support Impeachment of President Trump — House Speaker Pelosi Will Not Call For An Impeachment Vote Arguing The Republican Senate Will Not Convict President Trump of A Non-existent Crime or Impeachment Offense — American People Will Elect President Trump For A Second Term in Landslide of 70 Million Votes and Over 330 Electoral College Votes — Elections Have Consequences — Schiff Parody of Richard III Cries– A Horse A Horse My Kingdom for A Horse — The End — Videos

rab·bit hole

noun

  1. 1.
    a rabbit’s burrow.
    “a heather-covered hillside full of rabbit holes”
  2. 2.
    used to refer to a bizarre, confusing, or nonsensical situation or environment, typically one from which it is difficult to extricate oneself.
    “he’ll continue fearmongering to promote his agenda no matter how far down the rabbit hole it takes him”

    Jefferson Airplane White Rabbit (Live At Woodstock 1969)

    {youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zf_AMkxYl8)
    White Rabbit
    One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
    And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all
    Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall
    And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall
    Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call
    And call Alice, when she was just small
    When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
    And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low
    Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know
    When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
    And the white knight is talking backwards
    And the red queen’s off with her head
    Remember what the dormouse said
    Feed your head, feed your head
    Source: LyricFind
    Songwriters: Grace Wing Slick
    White Rabbit lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

 

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Fox News Live: Trump impeachment hearing Day 5 – Fiona Hill testifies

Rep. Devin Nunes Opening Statement

Fiona Hill Opening Statement

David Holmes Opening Statement

Day 5, Part 6: Devin Nunes and Steve Castor question Fiona Hill and David Holmes

WATCH: Republican counsel and Rep. Nunes’ full questioning of Hill and Holmes

Nunes presses Fiona Hill over the Steele dossier and its origins

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan speaks during testimony by Hill and Holmes | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Nunes’ full closing statement in Hill and Holmes hearing | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Democratic counsel’s full questioning of Hill and Holmes | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full questioning of David Holmes | Trump impeachment hearings

ADAM SCHIFF ERUPTS: Closing Statement On CONTENTIOUS Impeachment Hearing

EXCLUSIVE: Rudy Giuliani Responds to Dems’ ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Claims Amid Impeachment Hearings

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

House GOP speak following the fifth public impeachment hearing

Tucker’s big takeaways from the Trump impeachment saga

The Doors – The End – Live At Hollywood Bowl 1968

The Doors Lyrics

Play “The End”
on Amazon Music

“The End”

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend

The end
Of our elaborate plans
The end
Of everything that stands
The end
No safety or surprise
The end
I’ll never look into your eyes
Again

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand
In a desperate land

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the king’s highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby

Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake
The ancient lake
Baby

The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake
He’s old
And his skin is cold

The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest

The blue bus is callin’ us
The blue bus is callin’ us
Driver, where you taking us

The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall
He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then he
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door…and he looked inside
“Father?” “Yes, son.” “I want to kill you.”
“Mother, I want to…”

C’mon babe

C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
On a blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
C’mon, yeah

Fuck, fuck-ah, yeah
Fuck
Fuck
Fuck, fuck
Fuck, fuck, fuck, yeah
C’mon, yeah, c’mon, yeah
Fuck me, baby, fuck yeah
Fuck, fuck, fuck, yeah!
Fuck, yeah! C’mon, baby
Fuck me, baby, fuck, fuck, yeah
Whoa, whoa, yeah, fuck, baby
C’mon, yeah, huh, huh, huh, huh, yeah
All right

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

Fiona Hill (presidential advisor)

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Fiona Hill
Fiona Hill MSC 2017 (cropped).jpg
Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council
In office
April 2017 – July 19, 2019
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Tim Morrison
National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council
In office
2006–2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Angela Stent
Succeeded by Eugene Rumer
Personal details
Born October 1965 (age 54)
Bishop AucklandCounty DurhamEngland
Citizenship
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Spouse(s) Kenneth Keen
Education

Fiona Hill (born October 1965) is a British-born American foreign affairs specialist. She is a former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs. She was a witness in the November 2019 House hearings regarding the impeachment of President Trump.

Early life and education

Hill was born in Bishop AucklandCounty Durham in northern England, the daughter of a coal miner, Alfred Hill, and a midwife, June Murray. Her father died in 2012; her mother still resides in Bishop Auckland.[1] In the 1960s, after the last of the local coal mines had closed, her father wanted to emigrate to find work in the mines of Pennsylvania or West Virginia, but his mother’s poor health required him to stay in England.[2] Her family struggled financially; June sewed clothes for her daughters and at age 13, Fiona began working at odd jobs, including washing cars and working as a waitress at a local hotel.[1]

She and her sister attended Bishop Barrington School, a local comprehensive school. In 2017, she recalled applying for the University of Oxford: “I applied to Oxford in the ’80s and was invited to an interview. It was like a scene from Billy Elliot: people were making fun of me for my accent and the way I was dressed. It was the most embarrassing, awful experience I had ever had in my life.” She then studied history and Russian at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.[1] In 1987, she was an exchange student in the Soviet Union, where while interning for NBC News, she witnessed the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by Ronald Reaganand Mikhail Gorbachev.[1] An American professor encouraged Hill to apply for a graduate program in the U.S.[2]

She studied at Harvard University, where she gained her master’s degree in Russian and modern history in 1991, and her PhD in history in 1998 under Richard PipesAkira Iriye, and Roman Szporluk. While at Harvard, she was a Frank Knox Fellow, and met her future husband, Kenneth Keen, at Cabot House.[3]

Hill became a US citizen in 2002.[4]

Career

Hill worked in the research department at the John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1991 to 1999, and at the National Intelligence Council as a national intelligence analyst of Russia and Eurasia from 2006 to 2009. In 2017, she took a leave of absence from the Brookings Institution, where she was director for the Center on the United States and Europe, while serving on the National Security Council. Hill is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the board of trustees of the Eurasia Foundation.[5]

Hill served as an intelligence analyst under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama from 2006 to 2009. She was appointed, in the first quarter of 2017, by President Donald Trump as Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on his National Security Council staff,[6][5][7] and resigned her position on July 19, 2019.[8]

Fiona Hill (center left) with John R. Bolton at a meeting with Vladimir Putin on June 27, 2018

Impeachment testimony

On October 14, 2019, responding to a subpoena, Hill testified in a closed-door deposition for ten hours before special committees of the United States Congress as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.[9][10][11]

External video
 Testimony to the House Intelligence Committee by Hill and David Holmes, November 21, 2019C-SPAN

She testified in public before the same body on November 21, 2019.[12] While being questioned by Steve Castor, the counsel for the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican minority, Hill commented on Gordon Sondland‘s involvement in the Ukraine matter: “It struck me when (Wednesday), when you put up on the screen Ambassador Sondland’s emails, and who was on these emails, and he said these are the people who need to know, that he was absolutely right,” she said. “Because he was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy. And those two things had just diverged.”[13] In response to a question from that committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, Hill stated: “The Russians’ interests are frankly to delegitimize our entire presidency.… The goal of the Russians [in 2016] was really to put whoever became the president — by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale — under a cloud.”[14]

Selected works

Hill’s books include:

See also

References …

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Hill_(presidential_advisor)

 

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

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

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

There’s just one problem.

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

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

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

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

The memos raise troubling questions:

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

2.)   If the firing had nothing to do with the Burisma case, as Biden has adamantly claimed, why would Burisma’s American lawyers contact the replacement prosecutor within hours of the termination and urgently seek a meeting in Ukraine to discuss the case?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, two questions remain.

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

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

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1362, November 19, 2019, Story 1: Coup Cover-up Campaign Continues — Big Lie Media Continues Peddling Progressive Propaganda Lies — Both Phony Whistle Blower and Trump DNC Dirt Digger Must Testify — Democrat Operative Activist and CIA Analyst Eric A. Ciaramella Is The Whistle Blower — Democrat National Committee (DNC) Ukraine Trump Dirt Digger — Alexandra Chalupa — Both Must Testify In Public or Impeachment Fails — Videos — Story 2: Illegal Alien Invasion Continues and Democrats Continue To Support Open Borders and Citizenship For All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens Now In The United States — Democrats More Concerned With Illegal Aliens Than Welfare of American People — The Great Betrayal of The American People By The Political Elitist Establishment of Both Big Government Parties — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1362 November 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1361 November 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1358 November 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1357 November 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1349 October 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1348 October 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1326 September 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1325 September 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1313 August 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1312 August 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1311 August 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1308 August 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1307 August 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1306 August 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1305 August 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1301 August 5, 2019

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Story 1: Coup Cover-up Campaign Continues — Big Lie Media Continues Peddling Progressive Propaganda Lies — Both Phony Whistle Blower and Trump Dirt Digger Must Testify — Democrat Operative Activist and CIA Analyst Eric A. Ciaramella Is The Whistleblower — Democrat National Committee (DNC) Ukraine Trump Dirt Digger –Alexandra Chalupa — Both Must Testify In Public or Impeachment Fails — Videos — 

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House Impeachment Inquiry Hearing – Vindman & Williams Testimony

Impeachment Inquiry Hearing with Lt. Col. Vindman and Vice President Pence Aide Jennifer Williams. Hearing begins with gavel at 31:40. https://cs.pn/377wOPm

Rep. Devin Nunes Opening Statement

WATCH: Rep. Nunes’ full opening statement in Volker and Morrison hearing

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik’s full questioning of Vindman and Williams | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Michael Turner’s full questioning of Vindman and Williams | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Jordan criticizes Vindman for discussing Trump Ukraine call | Trump impeachment inquiry

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Vindman and Williams | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Schiff’s full questioning of Vindman and Williams | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Democratic counsel’s full questioning of Vindman and Williams | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Nunes’ full opening statement in Volker and Morrison hearing

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said there has been in a “disconnect” between what’s been seen and heard in the public impeachment hearings so far, and what’s been reported by media. Repeating a GOP argument in the hearings, Nunes raised questions about Democrats’ “prior coordination” with the whistleblower. Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has previously said he doesn’t know the identity of the whistleblower or communicated with them. Nunes spoke ahead of testimony from Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer who works for the National Security Council, on Nov. 19, in a public hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The impeachment inquiry has focused on a July 25 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. For more on who’s who in the Trump impeachment inquiry, read: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics…

Day 3, Part 13: Devin Nunes and Steve Castor question Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Volker and Morrison | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of Volker and Morrison | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Michael Turner’s full questioning of Volker and Morrison | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Democratic counsel’s full questioning of Volker and Morrison | Trump impeachment hearings

Watch Live: Trump Impeachment Inquiry Hearings – November 19, 2019 (Day 3) | NBC News

House Impeachment Inquiry Hearing – Vindman & Williams Testimony

George Soros, Marie Yovanovitch, Democrats & Ukraine: How the DEEP STATE Takes Control

Glenn breaks down the several steps our shadow government, or deep state, uses to take control of both domestic and foreign policy, allowing them to gain power and shape the world into their socialistic viewpoint. Several sources claim former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, instructed Ukraine officials to keep their hands off investigating the NGO in Ukraine founded by George Soros. Why? George Soros is working with the State Department on the two final steps to take power there: training activists to go into action when cued, and actively supporting that opposition.

Debunking some of the Ukraine scandal myths about Biden and election interference

There is a long way to go in the impeachment process, and there are some very important issues still to be resolved. But as the process marches on, a growing number of myths and falsehoods are being spread by partisans and their allies in the news media.

The early pattern of misinformation about Ukraine, Joe Biden and election interference mirrors closely the tactics used in late 2016 and early 2017 to build the false and now-debunked narrative that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin colluded to hijack the 2016 election.

Facts do matter. And they prove to be stubborn evidence, even in the midst of a political firestorm. So here are the facts (complete with links to the original materials) debunking some of the bigger fables in the Ukraine scandal.

Myth: There is no evidence the Democratic National Committee sought Ukraine’s assistance during the 2016 election.

The Facts: The Ukrainian embassy in Washington confirmed to me this past April that a Democratic National Committee contractor named Alexandra Chalupa did, in fact, solicit dirt on Donald Trump and Paul Manafort during the spring of 2016 in hopes of spurring a pre-election congressional hearing into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. The embassy also stated Chalupa tried to get Ukraine’s president at the time, Petro Poroshenko, to do an interview on Manafort with an American investigative reporter working on the issue. The embassy said it turned down both requests.

You can read the Ukraine embassy’s statement here. The statement essentially confirmed a January 2017 investigative article in Politico that first raised concerns about Chalupa’s contacts with the embassy.

Chalupa’s activities involving Ukraine were further detailed in a May 2016 email published by WikiLeaks in which she reported to DNC officials on her efforts to dig up dirt on Manafort and Trump. You can read that email here.  Myth: There is no evidence that Ukrainian government officials tried to influence the American presidential election in 2016.

The Facts: There are two documented episodes involving Ukrainian government officials’ efforts to influence the 2016 American presidential election. The first occurred in Ukraine, where a court last December ruled that a Parliamentary member and a senior Ukrainian law enforcement official improperly tried to influence the U.S. election by releasing financial records in spring and summer 2016 from an investigation into Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lobbying activities. The publicity from the release of the so-called Black Ledger documents forced Manafort to resign. You can read that ruling here.  While that court ruling since has been set aside on a jurisdiction technicality, the facts of the released information are not in dispute.

The second episode occurred on U.S. soil back in August 2016 when Ukraine’s then-ambassador to Washington, Valeriy Chaly, took the extraordinary step of writing an OpEd in The Hill criticizing GOP nominee Donald Trump and his views on Russia just three months before Election Day. You can read that OpEd here.

Chaly later told me through his spokeswoman that he wasn’t writing the OpEd for political purposes but rather to address his country’s geopolitical interests. But his article, nonetheless, was viewed by many in career diplomatic circles as running contrary to the Geneva Convention’s rules barring diplomats from becoming embroiled in the host country’s political affairs. And it clearly adds to the public perception that Ukraine’s government at the time preferred Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 election.

Myth: The allegation that Joe Biden tried to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian gas firm employer has been debunked, and there is no evidence the ex-vice president did anything improper.

The Facts: Joe Biden is captured on  videotape bragging about his effort to strong-arm Ukraine’s president into firing Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Biden told a foreign policy group in early 2018 that he used the threat of withholding $1 billion in U.S. aid to Kiev to successfully force Shokin’s firing. You can watch Biden’s statement here.

It also is not in dispute that at the time he forced the firing, the vice president’s office knew Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings, the company where Hunter Biden worked as a board member and consultant. Team Biden was alerted to the investigation in a December 2015 New York Times article. You can read that article here.

The unresolved question is what motivated Joe Biden to seek Shokin’s ouster. Biden says he took the action solely because the U.S. and Western allies believed Shokin was ineffective in fighting corruption. Shokin told me, ABC News and others that he was fired because Joe Biden was unhappy that the Burisma investigation was not shut down. He made similar statements in an affidavit prepared to be filed in an European court. You can read that affidavit here.

In the end, though, whether Joe Biden had good or bad intentions in getting Shokin fired is somewhat irrelevant to the question of the vice president’s ethical obligation.

U.S. ethics rules require all government officials to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in taking official actions. Ethics experts I talked with say Biden should have recused himself from the Shokin matter once he learned about the Burisma investigation to avoid the appearance issue.

And a senior U.S. diplomat was quoted in testimony reported by The Washington Post earlier this month that he tried to raise warnings with Biden’s VP office in 2015 that Hunter Biden’s role at the Ukrainian firm raised the potential issue of conflicts of interest.

Myth: Ukraine’s investigation into Burisma Holdings was no longer active when Joe Biden forced Shokin’s firing in March 2016.

The Facts: This is one of the most egregiously false statements spread by the media. Ukraine’s official case file for Burisma Holdings, provided to me by prosecutors, shows there were two active investigations into the gas firm and its founder Mykola Zlochevsky in early 2016, one involving corruption allegations and the other involving unpaid taxes.

In fact, Shokin told me in an interview he was making plans to interview Burisma board members, including Hunter Biden, at the time he was fired. And it was publicly reported that in February 2016, a month before Shokin was fired, that Ukrainian prosecutors raided one of Zlochevsky’s homes and seized expensive items like a luxury car as part of the corruption probe. You can read a contemporaneous news report about the seizure here.

Burisma’s own legal activities also clearly show the investigations were active at the time Shokin was fired. Internal emails I obtained from the American legal team representing Burisma show that on March 29, 2016 – the very day Shokin was fired – Burisma lawyer John Buretta was seeking a meeting with Shokin’s temporary replacement in hopes of settling the open cases.

In May 2016 when new Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko was appointed, Buretta then sent a letter to the new prosecutor seeking to resolve the investigations of Burisma  and Zlochevsky. You can read that letter here.

Buretta eventually gave a February 2017 interview to the Kiev Post in which he divulged that the corruption probe was resolved in fall 2016 and the tax case by early January 2017.  You can read Buretta’s interview here.

In another words, the Burisma investigations were active at the time Vice President Biden forced Shokin’s firing, and any suggestion to the contrary is pure misinformation.

Myth: There is no evidence Vice President Joe Biden did anything to encourage Burisma’s hiring of his son Hunter.

The Facts: This is another area where the public facts cry out for more investigation and raise a question in some minds about another appearance of a conflict of interest.

Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, was appointed to Burisma’s board in mid-April 2014 and the firm Rosemont Seneca Bohai — jointly owned by Hunter Biden and Devon Archer — received its first payments from the Ukrainian gas company on April 15, 2014, according to the company’s ledgers. That very same day as the first Burisma payment, Devon Archer met with Joe Biden at the White House, according to White House visitor logs. It is not known what the two discussed.

A week later, Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine and met with then-Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. During that meeting, the American vice president urged Ukraine to ramp up energy production to free itself from its Russian natural gas dependence. Biden even boasted that “an American team is currently in the region working with Ukraine and its neighbors to increase Ukraine’s short-term energy supply.” Yatsenyuk welcomed the help from American “investors” in modernizing natural gas supply lines in Ukraine. You can read the Biden-Yatsenyuk transcript here.

Less than three weeks later, Burisma added Hunter Biden to its board to join Archer. To some, the sequence of events creates the appearance that Joe Biden’s pressure to increase Ukrainian gas supply and to urge Kiev to rely on Americans might have led Burisma to hire his son. More investigation needs to be done to determine exactly what happened. And until that occurs, the appearance issue will likely linger over this episode.

Myth: Hunter Biden’s firm only received $50,000 a month for his work as a board member and consultant for Burisma Holdings.

The Facts: This figure frequently cited by Biden defenders and the media significantly understates what Burisma was paying Hunter Biden’s Rosemont Seneca Bohai firm for his and Devon Archer’s services. Bank records obtained by the FBI in an unrelated case show that between May 2014 and the end of 2015, Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s firm received monthly consulting payments totaling $166,666, or three times the amount cited by the media. In some months, there was even more money than that paid. You can review those bank records here.

The monthly payments figures are confirmed by the accounting ledger that Burisma turned over to Ukrainian prosecutors. That ledger, which you can read here, also shows that in spring and summer of 2014 Burisma paid more than $283,000 to the American law firm of Boies Schiller, where Hunter Biden also worked as an attorney.

Myth: President Trump was trying to force Ukraine to reopen a probe into Burisma Holdings and its founder Mykola Zlochevsky when he talked to Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in July of this year.

The Facts: Trump could not have forced the Ukrainians into opening a new Burisma investigation in July because the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office had already done so on March 28, 2019, or three months before the call.

The prosecutors filed this notice of suspicion in Ukraine announcing the re-opening of the investigation. The revival of the case was even widely reported in the Ukrainian press, something U.S. intelligence and diplomats who are now testifying to Congress behind closed doors should have known. Here’s an example of one such Ukrainian media report at the time.

Myth: Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko retracted or recanted his claim that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in 2016 identified people and entities she did not what to see prosecuted in Ukraine.

The Facts: In a March interview with me at Hill.TV captured on videotape, Lutsenko stated that during his first meeting with Yovanovitch in summer 2016, the American diplomat rattled off a list of names of Ukrainian individuals and entities she did not want to see investigated or prosecuted. Lutsenko called it a “do not prosecute” list. You can watch that video here. The State Department disputed his characterization as a fabrication, which Hill.TV reported in its original report.

A few weeks later, a Ukrainian news outlet claimed it interviewed Lutsenko and he backed off his assertion about the list. Several American outlets have since picked up that same language.

There is just one problem. I re-interviewed Lutsenko after the Ukrainian report suggesting he recanted. He adamantly denied recanting, retracting or changing his story, and said the Ukrainian newspaper simply misunderstood that the list of names were conveyed orally during the meeting and not in writing, just like he said in the original Hill.TV interview.

Here is Lutsenko’s full explanation to me back last spring: “At no time since our interview have I ever retracted the statement I made about the U.S. ambassador providing me a list of names of people and organizations she did not want my office to prosecute. Shortly after my televised interview with your news organization I was asked by a Ukraine reporter if I had a copy of the letter that Ambassador Yovanovitch provided me with the names of those she did not want prosecuted. The reporter misunderstood how the names were transmitted to me. I explained to the reporter that the Ambassador did not hand me a written list but rather provided the list of names orally over the course of a meeting.” Lutsenko reaffirmed he stood by his statements again in September.

It is important to note Lutsenko’s story was also backed up by State Department officials and contemporaneous memos before his interview was ever aired. For instance, a senior U.S. official I interviewed for the Lutsenko story reviewed the list of names that Lutsenko recalled being on the so-called do-not-prosecute list.

That official stated during the interview: ““I can confirm to you that at least some of those names are names that U.S. embassy Kiev raised with the Prosecutor General’s office because we were concerned about retribution and unfair treatment of Ukrainians viewed as favorable to the United States.”

Separately, both U.S. and Ukrainian official confirmed to me a letter written by then-U.S. embassy official George Kent in April 2016 in which U.S. officials pointedly (and in writing) demanded that Ukrainian prosecutors stand down an investigation into several Ukrainian nonprofit groups suspected of misspending U.S. foreign aid. The letter even named one of the groups, the AntiCorruption Action Centre, a nonprofit funded jointly by the State Department and liberal megadonor George Soros.

“We are gravely concerned about this investigation, for which we see no basis,” Kent wrote the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office in April 2016. You can read the letter here.

So even without Lutsenko’s claim, there is substantial evidence that the U.S. embassy in Kiev applied pressure on Ukrainian prosecutors not to pursue certain investigations in 2016.

Myth: The narratives about Biden, the U.S. embassy and Ukrainian election interference are conspiracy theories invented by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to impact the 2020 election.

The Facts: Giuliani began investigating matters in Ukraine in late fall 2018 as a personal lawyer to the president. But months before his quest began, Ukrainian prosecutors believed they possessed evidence about Burisma, the Bidens and 2016 election interference that might interest the U.S. Justice Department. It is the same evidence that came to light this spring and summer and that is now a focus of the impeachment proceedings.

Originally, one of Ukraine’s senior prosecutors tried to secure a visa to come to the United States to deliver that evidence. But when the U.S. embassy in Kiev did not fulfill his travel request, the group of Ukrainian prosecutors used an intermediary to hire a former U.S. attorney in America to reach out to the U.S. attorney office in New York and try to arrange a transfer of the evidence. The Ukrainian prosecutors’ story about making the overture to the DOJ was independently verified by the American lawyer they hired.

So the activities and allegation now at the heart of impeachment actually pre-date Giuliani starting work on Ukraine. You can read the prosecutors’ account of their 2018 effort to get this information to Americans here.

Debunking some of the Ukraine scandal myths about Biden and election interference

John Solomon (political commentator)

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Solomon speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

John F. Solomon is an American media executive, and a conservative political commentator. He was an editorialist and executive vice president of digital video for The Hill[1] and as of October 2019, is a contributor to Fox News.[2] He was formerly employed as an executive and as editor-in-chief at The Washington Times.[3]

While he won a number of prestigious awards for his investigative journalism in the 1990s and 2000s,[4][5] he has also been accused of magnifying small scandals and creating fake controversy.[6][7][8] During Donald Trump’s presidency, he has been known for advancing Trump-friendly stories. He played a role in advancing conspiracy theories about wrongdoing involving Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Ukraine; Solomon’s stories about the Bidens influenced President Trump to request that the Ukrainian president launch an investigation into 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, which led to an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.[2]

Contents

Career

Solomon graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology.[9]

From May 1987 to December 2006, Solomon worked at the Associated Press, where he became the assistant bureau chief in Washington, helping to develop some of the organization’s first digital products, such as its online elections offering.

In 2007, he served as The Washington Post’s national investigative correspondent.

The Washington Times

Executive Editor

In February 2008, Solomon became editor-in-chief of The Washington Times.[10] During this time, Solomon made a mission to make the paper’s coverage more objective while expanding its reach. Under Solomon, the Times changed some of its style guide to conform to more mainstream media usage. The Times announced that it would no longer use words like “illegal aliens” and “homosexual,” and instead opt for “more neutral terminology” such as “illegal immigrants” and “gay,” respectively. The paper also decided to stop using “Hillary” when referring to Senator Hillary Clinton, and to stop putting the word “marriage” in the expression “gay marriage” in quotes.[11] He also oversaw the redesign of the paper’s website and the launch of the paper’s national weekly edition. A new television studio was built in the paper’s Washington DC headquarters, and the paper also launched a syndicated three-hour morning-drive radio news program.[8]

Solomon left the paper in November 2009 after internal shakeups and financial uncertainty among the paper’s ownership.[12]

Return

After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, most of which was spent at Circa News, Solomon returned to the paper in July 2013 to oversee the newspaper’s content, digital and business strategies.[13] He helped to craft digital strategies to expand online traffic, created new products and partnerships, and led a reorganization of the company’s advertising and sales team. He also helped launch a new subscription-only national edition targeted for tablets, cellphones and other mobile devices, and helped push a redesign of the paper’s website.

Solomon left the paper in December 2015 to serve as chief creative officer of the mobile news application Circa, which was relaunching at that time.[3]

Packard Media Group

Solomon was president of Packard Media Group from November 2009 to December 2015.[14] Solomon also served as journalist in residence at the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit organization that specializes in investigative journalism, from March 2010 to June 2011.[8] He was also named executive editor of the Center for Public Integrity in November 2010 and helped oversee the launch of iWatch News, but resigned quickly after to join Newsweek/The Daily Beast in May 2011.[15][16][8]

Washington Guardian

In 2012, Solomon and former Associated Press executives Jim Williams and Brad Kalbfeld created the Washington Guardian, an online investigative news portal. It was acquired by The Washington Times when Solomon returned to the paper in July 2013.[3]

Circa

After leaving The Washington Times, Solomon became chief creative officer for Circa News. Circa is a mobile news application founded in 2011 that streams updates on big news events to users. In June 2015, it shut down, but its relaunch was announced after its acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group.[3]

As chief of Circa, he wrote and published a number of political articles, often defending the Trump administration[17] and Michael Flynn.[18] He left in July 2017.

The Hill

Upon leaving Circa, Solomon became executive vice president of digital video for The Hill.[1][19] Until May 2018, he worked on news and investigative pieces for The Hill.[19] According to the New York Times, Solomon tended to push narratives about alleged misdeeds by Trump’s political enemies.[20]

In October 2017, Solomon published an article in The Hill about the Uranium One controversy where he insinuated that Russia made payments to the Clinton Foundation at the time when the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom.[21] Solomon’s story also focused on the alleged failures of the Department of Justice to investigate and report on the controversy, suggesting a cover-up.[21] Subsequent to Solomon’s reporting, the story “took off like wildfire in the right-wing media ecosystem,” according to a 2018 study by scholars at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & SocietyHarvard University.[21] No evidence of any quid pro quo or other wrongdoing has surfaced.[21]

In January 2018, it was reported that newsroom staffers at The Hill had complained about Solomon’s reporting for the publication.[22][23][24] The staffers reportedly criticized Solomon’s reporting as having a conservative bias and missing important context, and that this undermined The Hill‘s reputation.[22][23] They also expressed concerns over Solomon’s close relationship with Sean Hannity, whose TV show he appeared on more than a dozen times over a span of three months.[22] In May 2018, the editor-in-chief of The Hill announced that Solomon would become an “opinion contributor” at The Hill while remaining executive vice president of digital video.[19] He frequently appeared on Fox News, which continued to describe him as an investigative reporter, even after he became an opinion contributor for the Hill.[24]

Pro-Donald Trump opinion pieces

Solomon published a story alleging that women who had accused Trump of sexual assault had sought payments from partisan donors and tabloids.[24]

On June 19, 2019, The Hill published an opinion piece written by Solomon alleging that the FBI and Robert Mueller disregarded warnings that evidence used against Paul Manafort may have been faked.[25] His source was Nazar Kholodnytsky, a disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor, and Konstantin Kilimnik, who has been linked to Russian intelligence and who happens to be Paul Manafort’s former business partner.[26]

Solomon’s part in the Trump–Ukraine scandal

In April 2019, The Hill published two opinion pieces by Solomon regarding allegations by Ukrainian officials that “American Democrats” and particularly former Vice-President Joe Biden of collaborating with “their allies in Kiev” in “wrongdoing…ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes.”[27][28] Solomon’s stories attracted attention in conservative media.[23] Fox News frequently covered Solomon’s claims;[29] Solomon also promoted these allegations on Sean Heannity’s Fox News show.[23] According to The Washington Post Solomon’s pieces “played an important role in advancing a flawed, Trump-friendly tale of corruption in Ukraine, particularly involving Biden and his son Hunter”, and inspired “the alleged effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine’s government into digging up dirt on Trump’s Democratic rivals.”[23] On the same day that The Washington Post published its article, The Hill published another opinion piece by Solomon in which Solomon states that there are “(h)undreds of pages of never-released memos and documents…(that) conflict with Biden’s narrative.”[30]

Solomon’s stories had significant flaws.[23][20] Not only had the State Department dismissed the allegations presented by Solomon as “an outright fabrication”, but the Ukrainian prosecutor who Solomon claimed made the allegations to him is not supporting Solomon’s claim.[23][20] Foreign Policy noted that anti-corrupton activists in Ukraine had characterized the source behind Solomon’s claims as an unreliable narrator who had hindered anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.[31] Solomon pushed allegations that Biden wanted to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to prevent an investigation of a Ukrainian company that his son, Hunter Biden, served on; however, Western governments and anti-corruption activist wanted the prosecutor removed because he was reluctant to pursue corruption investigations.[20] By September 2019, Solomon said he still stood 100% by his stories.[23] There is no evidence of wrong-doing by Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, and no evidence that Hunter Biden was ever under investigation by Ukrainian authorities.[32] WNYC characterized Solomon’s Ukraine stories as laundering of foreign propaganda.[33]

Prior to the publication of a story where Solomon alleged that the Obama administration had pressured the Ukrainian government to stop investigating a group funded by George Soros, Solomon sent the full text of his report to Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and the two pro-Trump lawyers and conspiracy theorists Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing.[34] Solomon said he did so for fact-checking, but Parnas, DiGenova and Toensing were not mentioned in the text, nor did Solomon send individual items of the draft for vetting (but rather the whole draft).[34]

During October 2019 hearings for the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, two government officials experienced in Ukraine matters — Alexander Vindman and George Kent — testified that Ukraine-related articles Solomon had written and that were featured in conservative media circles contained a “false narrative” and in some cases were “entirely made up in full cloth.”[35][36]

Solomon worked closely with Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani – the personal attorney of President Trump – who was indicted for funneling foreign money into American political campaigns, to promote stories that Democrats colluded with a foreign power in the 2016 election (the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment is that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to aid Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump). Parnas worked with Solomon on interviews and translation. Solomon defended his work with Parnas, “No one knew there was anything wrong with Lev Parnas at the time. Everybody who approaches me has an angle.” Parnas helped to set Solomon up with the Ukrainian prosecutor who accused the Bidens of wrong-doing (before later retracting the claim).[2]

Advertising controversy

Solomon was accused of breaking the traditional ethical “wall” that separated news stories from advertising at The Hill. In October 2017, Solomon negotiated a $160,000 deal with a conservative group called Job Creators Network to target ads in The Hill to business owners in Maine. He then had a quote from the group’s director inserted into a news story about a Maine senator’s key role in an upcoming vote on the Trump administration’s tax bill. Solomon “pops by the advertising bullpen almost daily to discuss big deals he’s about to close,” Johanna Derlega, then The Hill’s publisher, wrote in an internal memo at the time, according to Pro Publica. “If a media reporter gets ahold of this story, it could destroy us.”[2]

Departure

In September 2019, the Washington Examiner reported that Solomon would leave The Hill at the end of the month to start his own media firm.[37] In October 2019, it was reported he was joining Fox News as an opinion contributor.[38]

Reception

Paul McCleary, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review in 2007, wrote that Solomon had earned a reputation for hyping stories without solid foundation.[7] In 2012, Mariah Blake, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote that Solomon “has a history of bending the truth to his storyline,” and that he “was notorious for massaging facts to conjure phantom scandals.”[8][23] During the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry, Thomas Lang wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review that a Solomon story for the Associated Press covered criticism of John Kerry’s record on national security appeared to mirror a research report released by the Republican National Committee. Lang wrote that Solomon’s story was “a clear demonstration of the influence opposition research is already having on coverage of the [presidential] campaign.”[39][40]

The Washington Post wrote in September 2019 that Solomon’s “recent work has been trailed by claims that it is biased and lacks rigor.”[23] The Post noted that Solomon had done award-winning investigative work during his early career, but that his work had taken a pronounced conservative bent from the late 2000s and onwards.[23] According to Foreign Policy magazine, Solomon had “grown into a prominent conservative political commentator with a somewhat controversial track record.”[31]

In 2007, Deborah Howell, then-ombudsman at The Washington Post criticized a story that Solomon wrote for The Post which had suggested impropriety by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in a real estate purchase; Solomon’s reporting omitted context which would have made clear that there was no impropriety.[6] Progressive news outlets ThinkProgressMedia Matters for America and Crooked Media have argued that Solomon’s reporting has a conservative bias and that there are multiple instances of inaccuracies.[41][42][43] According to The InterceptJust Security and The Daily Beast, Solomon helps to advance right-wing and pro-Trump conspiracy theories.[26][24][44] The New Republic described Solomon’s columns for the Hill as “right-wing fever dreams.”[45] Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler accused Solomon of manufacturing fake scandals which suggested wrongdoing by those conducting probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[46] Reporters who worked under Solomon as an editor have said that he encouraged them to bend the truth to fit a pre-existing narrative.[8]

In January 2018, Solomon published a report for The Hill suggesting that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had foreknowledge of a Wall Street Journal article and that they themselves had leaked to the Wall Street Journal.[47] According to the Huffington Post, Solomon’s reporting omitted that the Wall Street Journal article Strzok and Page were discussing was critical of Hillary Clinton and the FBI, Strzok and Page expressed dismay at the fallout from the article, and Strzok and Page criticized unauthorized leaks from the FBI. According to the Huffington Post, “Solomon told HuffPost he was not authorized to speak and does not comment on his reporting. He may simply have been unaware of these three facts when he published his story. But they provide crucial context to an incomplete narrative that has been bouncing around the right-wing echo chamber all week.”[47]

Awards

Solomon has received a number of prestigious awards for investigative journalism, among them the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Investigative Award together with CBS News’ 60 Minutes for Evidence of Injustice;[5][48] in 2002, the Associated Press’s Managing Editors Enterprise Reporting Award for What The FBI Knew Before September 11, 2001, and the Gramling Journalism Achievement Award for his coverage of the war on terrorism;[48] in 1992, the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Raymond Clapper Memorial Award for an investigative series on Ross Perot.[49]

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Solomon_(political_commentator)

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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

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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

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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 1358, November 13, 2019, Story 1: Democrat Socialist Cover-up of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy or Spygate Goes Public With Second Coup Attempt and Smear Campaign To Delegitimize President Trump and Start 2020 Campaign — Democrat Impeachment Collapsing — Videos

Posted on November 22, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computer, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Joe Biden, Killing, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rifles, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Security, Senate, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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Story 1: Democrat Socialist Cover-up of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy or Spy-gate Goes Public With Second Coup Attempt To Legitimatize President Trump and 2020 Campaign Event — Democrat Impeachment Obsession Deflating — Videos —

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Donald Trump on Ukraine

UK: ‘An Obama disaster’ – Trump says Obama failed with Crimea

Tucker: Democrats have no actual plan for impeachment

Collins: Dems are hiding the fact that they have nothing on the president

youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMwXG00fSco]

U.S. Considering Lethal Defensive Arms to Ukraine

Aug 10, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering arming Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons that Kyiv could use against Russia-backed separatists. Opponents argue arming Ukraine risks escalating the conflict while supporters say better weapons would act as a deterrence to Russian aggression and give a psychological and political boost to Kyiv. The debate comes as Trump’s new envoy on Ukraine, Kurt Volker, is to visit Russia soon. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Washington.

President Obama announces U.S. non-lethal aid to Ukraine

U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. will send medical supplies, helmets and other nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian military in response to Russia’s ‘destabilizing activities.’ (April 17)

Ukraine’s Poroshenko on charm offensive, US agrees to non-lethal aid

Obama: Military Option Not on Table in Ukraine

WHY RUSSIA SHOULD FEAR AMERICA’S JAVELIN ANTI TANK MISSILE?

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: Adam Schiff Opening Statement

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: Devin Nunes Opening Statement

WHERE’S HUNTER? Early CHAOS In Impeachment Hearing

George Kent: Giuliani’s efforts were “infecting” Ukraine policy

Trump impeachment: Bill Taylor opening statement in Full – BBC News

Top diplomat Bill Taylor says: “I am not here to take one side or the other or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings.”

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full questioning of George Kent and Bill Taylor

Devin Nunes begins Republican questioning of Taylor and Kent

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

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff questions Kent, Taylor again| Trump impeachment hearings

Devin Nunes begins Republican questioning of Taylor and Kent

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, and counsel Steve Castor spent 45 minutes questioning the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, and State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent in the first day of public impeachment hearings. Watch this full portion of the hearing.

Jim Jordan grills Dems’ ‘star witness’ Taylor in impeachment hearing

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik’s full questioning of George Kent and Bill Taylor

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., questioned George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, in the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Stefanik focused on both officials’ statements on the corruption in Ukraine and Burisma. The 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. Both Kent and Taylor testified to lawmakers in October behind closed doors.

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

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff questions Kent, Taylor again| Trump impeachment hearings

House Impeachment Inquiry – Taylor & Kent Testimony

Watch Day 1 of Trump’s impeachment hearings again as Ambassador Taylor and George Kent give evidence

Watch: Trump Impeachment Hearings (Day 1) | NBC News

What William Taylor and George Kent shared during public impeachment hearings

What Is the Javelin Missile at the Center of Trump’s Impeachment Scandal?

Tied up in Trump’s impeachment inquiry, we take a look at the weapon Ukraine’s so eager to buy.

AUSTRALIA-DEFENCE

WILLIAM WESTGETTY IMAGES
  • This week Washington D.C. was rocked by allegations that the President of the United States tried to tie the sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine for dirt on his political rivals.
  • The simple, easy to use anti-tank missile is Ukraine’s weapon of choice in its undeclared war against Russia.
  • In May 2018 Ukraine purchased 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers from the United States for an estimated $47 million.

The Javelin missile is an unlikely weapon to be thrust into the political spotlight.

In a call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019, President Donald Trump tied together the Ukraine’s purchase of Javelin missiles with an investigation into his political rivals. While the true nature of this phone call has yet to be determined, the effectiveness of the weapon is an absolute certainty. The Javelin’s features—and Russia’s tank armies—made it a very desirable weapon for Ukraine, a country that is suffering an undeclared war with Russia from 2014 to the present day.

In the 1980s, the U.S. Army’s main threat was Soviet Union. U.S. forces in Europe trained to operate outnumbered, holding their ground against waves of Soviet T-72 and T-80 main battle tanks, as well as BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. The main anti-tank weapon, issued to every U.S. infantry squad, was the M-47 Dragon anti-tank guided missile.

UKRAINE-INDEPENDENCE-DEFENCE-CELEBRATION
Ukrainian soldiers armed with Javelin anti-tank missiles, August 2018.

The Dragon was bulky and unreliable but it could penetrate the frontal armor of both the T-72 and T-80. The optically guided missile required the shooter to hold an enemy tank steady in his crosshairs but had a maximum range of just 1,000 meters. This meant the shooter had to launch and guide the missile within range of a Soviet tank’s machine guns, and incoming fire could throw the missile off target.

The introduction of Soviet reactive armor—explosive tiles bolted onto the outside of a tank to blunt anti-tank missiles—made Dragon obsolete. The Army issued a requirement for a replacement known as AAWS-M, or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System—Medium. Texas Instruments and Martin Marietta (now known as Lockheed Martin) won the contract, and the first missile test took place in 1991. Initial tests were positive and the FGM-148 Javelin missile went into full production in 1994.

Australian Army Host Fire Power Demonstration

An Australian Army Javelin missile explodes on target, Townsville, Australia, 2009.

IAN HITCHCOCKGETTY IMAGES

Javelin is a much better missile system that Dragon in almost every way. A shoulder launched weapon, Javelin uses an imaging infrared system to detect and lock onto tanks at distances of up to 4,750 meters–much, much farther than Dragon. Once the operator locks onto a tank and initiates the launch sequence, a small rocket motor kicks the missile out of the launch tube and into the air, whereupon the main motor ignites and sends the missile downrange.

Unlike Dragon, Javelin has two attack modes. The first mode is direct attack, where the missile flies straight toward the enemy tank. The missile has not one but two warheads–the first to trigger the reactive armor tiles, neutralizing them, and the second to penetrate the tank’s main armor belt. A second mode sends Javelin racing upward to an altitude of 500 feet, whereupon it dives down onto the top of the tank where armor protection is thinnest.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CRISIS

A T-72 tank of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a militia operating in the Donetsk region with Russian backing, 2014.

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One major drawback of Dragon required the gunner to hold very still, keeping the tracker’s crosshairs centered on an enemy tank until impact. This was never really all that realistic as the noise and stress of combat, as well as enemy fire, could easily cause the gunner to break his visual lock. Javelin on the other hand is a “fire and forget” missile: once launched the missile’s brain takes over guiding it to target. A Javelin gunners can shoot his or her missile and then make a run for it, retreating or relocating to an alternate firing position.

Russian Army regular units and local militias operate tanks and armored vehicles, including the new T-90 main battle tank, T-72 tank, and the latest version of the T-72, the T-72B3. Other vehicles include BMP-2 and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, MTLB armored personnel carriers, and BMD airborne infantry fighting vehicles. Russia’s large number of tanks and armored vehicles threatens Ukraine not only in the limited fighting around the Donbas and Crimea regions but also if Russia were to stage a general invasion of Ukraine itself.

In May 2018 Ukraine purchased 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers from the United States for an estimated $47 million. Properly used—and Javelin is very easy to use—that could mean the destruction of scores of armored vehicles should Russian forces roll west again. It could lead to a string of humiliating, demoralizing defeats for Russian forces and their proxies.

The question is: Will Ukraine get more any time soon?

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a29251877/javelin-missile-trump/

 

George P. Kent

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George Kent
George Kent US State Dept.jpg
United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Assumed office
September 4, 2018
President Donald Trump
United States Deputy Chief of Mission to Ukraine
In office
2015–2018
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Succeeded by Pamela Tremont
Personal details
Education Harvard University (A.B.)
Johns Hopkins University (M.A.)
National Defense University (M.S.)

George P. Kent is an American diplomat serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs since September 4, 2018.[1]

 

Education

Kent finished high school in 1985 at Porter-Gaud School in CharlestonSouth Carolina.[2] He then graduated in 1989 with an A.B. in Russian History & Literature from Harvard University. He then earned an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1992.[1] Kent later graduated with an M.S. in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces of the National Defense University in 2012.[3]

Career

Kent has been in the State Department‘s foreign service since 1992.[4][5] He speaks UkrainianRussian, and Thai, as well as some PolishGerman, and Italian.[1] His work as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer has included service in Ukraine, Poland, Thailand and Uzbekistan.[3]

From 1995 to 1997, he was posted in Warsaw, Poland, as an economics officer dealing with trade, environmental, and counter-narcotics issues.[3] Kent was later assigned to serve as deputy political counselor in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 2004 to 2007, which include the time period of the Orange Revolution.[3] From 2012 to 2014, Kent served as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.[1] He served as a senior anti-corruption coordinator in the European bureau in 2014–2015,[1] and as deputy chief of mission in Kyiv, from 2015 to 2018.[5] On September 4, 2018, he was appointed to his current position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.[3][5]

External video
 Testimony of Kent and Ambassador William Taylor before the House Intelligence Committee, November 13, 2019C-SPAN

On October 15, 2019, Kent testified in the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, serving as a key witness on whether Rudy Giuliani used a campaign of disinformation to undermine the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.[6] Kent’s warnings regarding the disinformation campaign are documented in State Department emails submitted to Congress by the organization’s inspector general. Kent protested a “fake news smear” directed at Ambassador Yovanovitch by media commentators supportive of President Trump. He also criticized the Ukrainian prosecutor undermining Yovanovitch, calling the disinformation “complete poppycock.”[7] On November 13, 2019, along with Ambassador Bill Taylor, Kent gave public testimony to the House Intelligence Committee during the first public hearing.[8]

References

  1. Jump up to:abcde “George P. Kent”United States Department of StateArchived from the original on October 15, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Kropf, Schuyler (November 14, 2019). “Key Trump Ukraine impeachment witness George Kent has Charleston roots”The Post and Courier. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  3. Jump up to:abcde “USUBC Members welcomed George Kent, new Deputy Assistant Secretary, Europe, U.S. State Department, in Washington, D.C”U.S.–Ukraine Business Council. September 10, 2018. Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Hansler, Jennifer (October 15, 2019). “Another career diplomat caught in the Ukraine scandal speaking to impeachment probe Tuesday”CNN. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  5. Jump up to:abc Bade, Rachael (October 15, 2019). “State Department official to face questions about Ukraine and Giuliani”The Washington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Kane, Paul; Demirjian, Karoun; Bade, Rachael (October 15, 2019). “White House directed ‘three amigos’ to run Ukraine policy, senior State department official tells House investigators”The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Vogel, Kenneth P.; Shear, Michael D. (October 15, 2019). “Senior State Dept. Ukraine Expert Says White House Sidelined Him”The New York TimesISSN0362-4331. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Herb, Jeremy; Cohen, Marshall (November 13, 2019). “State Department official describes Giuliani’s ‘campaign of lies’ in Ukraine”. CNN. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_P._Kent

William B. Taylor Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

William B. Taylor Jr.
William B. Taylor, Jr., Ambassador of the United States to Ukraine.jpg
6th United States Ambassador to Ukraine
Assumed office
June 18, 2019
Acting
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Kristina Kvien (acting)
Marie Yovanovitch (confirmed)
In office
June 21, 2006 – May 23, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by John E. Herbst
Succeeded by John F. Tefft
Personal details
Born
William Brockenbrough Taylor Jr.

September 14, 1947 (age 72)
New Mexico, U.S.

Spouse(s) Deborah Furlan Taylor
Children 2
Education United States Military Academy (BS)
Harvard University (MPA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1969–1975
Rank US Army O3 shoulderboard rotated.svg Captain
Unit  101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards

William Brockenbrough Taylor Jr., (born September 14, 1947) is an American diplomat, government official, former soldier, and, as of November 2019, the acting United States ambassador to Ukraine.

Taylor is a former captain and company commander in the United States Army; he served in the Vietnam War and earned a Bronze Star and an Air Medal with a V device for valor. He proceeded to work in the United States Department of Energy and then the Department of Defense. From 1992 to 2002, Taylor carried out diplomatic work for the United States with firstly Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, secondly Afghanistan, thirdly Iraq, and fourthly the Quartet on the Middle East. From 2006 to 2009, Taylor served as the United States ambassador to Ukraine under the George W. Bush administration and the Barack Obama administration. He continued diplomatic work in the Middle East from 2011 to 2013.

Following the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Taylor was appointed chargé d’affaires for Ukraine under the Trump administration.

Contents

Early life

Born in New Mexico on September 14, 1947,[1] Taylor is the son of Nancy Dare (Aitcheson) and William Brockenbrough Newton Taylor,[2] who had been a director of research and development for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).[3]

In 1965, Taylor graduated from Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Virginia after serving as president of his junior and senior class.[4] Like his father, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, attaining the rank of cadet battalion commander and graduating in the top 1% of his class in 1969. The 1969 Howitzer yearbook notes his modesty about his many academic and athletic accomplishments, describing him as “a man who is held in the highest esteem and admiration by all of us.”[5][6] In 1977, he completed graduate studies at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government, receiving a Master of Public Policy degree.

Career

After Taylor graduated from West Point, he served in the infantry for six years, including tours of duty in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, and 18 months with the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. Taylor was a rifle company commander serving in the Quang Tri and Thua Tien provinces in the 506th Infantry Regiment (United States) of the 101st Airborne, widely heralded from the World War II book and TV miniseries Band of Brothers, with their motto “Currahee,” meaning “We stand alone.”[7] He was eligible to return home after serving for one year, but he opted to stay another six months.[8] He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, a Bronze Star Medal, and Air Medal with ‘V’ for VALOR for heroism.[9]

Later, he was an aero-rifle commander in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (United States) in Germany.[10][11]

Taylor left the military in 1975.[8] In 1980, he was serving in the relatively new Department of Energy as Director of Emergency Preparedness Policy. While the DOE had received creditable marks for its response to the coal strike during 1977–78, the crisis in Iran pointed to the need, going forward, for better federal level contingency planning and preparedness. In taking on this new assignment, Taylor had a long term, rather than short term, focus on potential crises (e.g. price controls and gasoline rationing), efforts that often required coordination with other federal agencies, including the Department of the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Department of Health and Human Services.[12]

Thereafter, Taylor served for five years as Legislative Assistant on the staff of U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.). He then directed a Defense Department think tank at Fort Lesley J. McNair.

Following that assignment, he transferred to Brussels for a five year assignment as the Special Deputy Defense Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to NATOWilliam Howard Taft IV. From 1992 until 2002, Taylor served with the rank of ambassador, coordinating assistance to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He then accepted an assignment as Special Representative for Donor Assistance in Kabul, coordinating U.S. and international assistance to Afghanistan. Engaging with the Afghan government and international donors, Taylor facilitated the flow of assistance to Afghanistan and promoted additional donations. The undertaking facilitated the repatriation of 2 million Afghan refugees and the restoration of critical services such education and health care. The aid helped restore agriculture, and provided support grants for over 80 infrastructure projects. In 2003, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell appointed Taylor as the Afghanistan Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State, overseeing all aspects of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, noting that it was a critical time in Afghanistan’s political development and economic reconstruction.[13]

Taylor met with the interim Fallujah city council, April 2005

In 2004, Taylor was transferred to Baghdad as Director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office.[14]

Until 2006, he was the U.S. Government’s representative to the Quartet‘s effort to facilitate the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, led by Special Envoy James Wolfensohn in Jerusalem. The Quartet Special Envoy was responsible for the economic aspects of this disengagement.

Taylor was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the United States ambassador to Ukraine while Taylor was serving as Senior Consultant to the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization at the Department of State.[15][16] He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 26, 2006, and was sworn in on June 5, 2006. At the time Taylor assumed responsibilities at the embassy, it was the fifth-largest bilateral mission in Europe, with over 650 employees from nine U.S. government departments and agencies. A report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State from 2007 notes that the new ambassador had “taken charge of the embassy in a remarkably effective and positive way,” creating, together with Deputy Chief of Mission Sheila Gwaltney, a “formidable team at a mission that has a complex set of goals.” It further noted that “Embassy Kyiv has a keen understanding of the complicated and rapidly evolving political and economic situation in Ukraine and has good working relations across the political spectrum. The embassy’s commentary on such issues as the evolving state of Ukraine’s relations with the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Russia is extensive, timely, and well appreciated by Washington end-users.”[17] Taylor held the post until May 2009.[18]

On September 30, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama nominated John Tefft as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.[19] Taylor was appointed Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions in September 2011.[20] From then through 2013, Taylor’s mission was to ensure effective U.S. support for the countries of the Arab revolutions, coordinating assistance to EgyptTunisiaLibya and Syria.[21]

In 2015, Taylor was appointed executive vice president of the United States Institute of Peace, after serving a year in the same role in an acting capacity.[22][23] In this role, he supported continuing or increasing U.S. sanctions against Russia for its aggressions toward Ukraine.[24]

Taylor became chargé d’affaires ad interim for Ukraine in June 2019, taking over the role from the deputy chief of mission, Kristina Kvien, after Marie Yovanovitch departed Ukraine.[25]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

Taylor–Sondland texts

Taylor arrived in Ukraine a month after the abrupt ousting of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and the inauguration of the country’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. But following President Donald Trump‘s phone call with the new Ukrainian president, Taylor questioned Trump’s motivation in a text to Gordon Sondland, the United States Ambassador to the European Union: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland told him to phone.[26]

On October 3, 2019, it was revealed that Taylor had expressed, in text messages, concern that President Trump may have withheld aid to Ukraine unless they, Ukraine, launched two investigations, one into alleged corruption in Ukraine involving former Vice President Joe Biden, and the other an attempt to deflect from the US intelligence communities’ consensus determination that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and interfered with the 2016 United States presidential election, by suggesting that the DNC is hiding the hacked server in Ukraine.[citation needed]

Explicit throughout Taylor’s testimony was that Trump’s goal in withholding the congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine was to extort Zelensky, the newly inaugurated president of Ukraine, into announcing an investigation into the theory related to Biden in a primetime American television interview. At the time, and through much of the preceding nascent Democratic Party Presidential Primary Election season, Biden was the leading candidate, and seemed likely to be the Democratic Party challenger to Trump in the 2020 United States Presidential Election. Additional incentive was provided for Ukraine to do as Trump, Sondland, and Guiliani suggested, by implying that Zelensky would get a state visit to the White House if he complied.[citation needed]

According to transcripts released by the House impeachment probe, Taylor on September 9, 2019, at 12:47:11 am texted, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Over four hours later, at 5:19:35 am,[27] in his response to Taylor, Sondland responded that the charge is “incorrect.” “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.”[27] He then suggested Taylor call the Executive Secretary of the United States Department of State about any concerns:[28] “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.”[29] In his testimony during the impeachment inquiry Sondland noted that it was only out of his deep respect for Taylor that he tried to address Taylor’s concerns.[30] On October 22, 2019, Taylor’s opening statement also explained that Sondland required that Zelensky make public statements announcing an investigation, forcing him to conduct one, before the US released the allocated military aid. Taylor said he feared that Trump would withhold the military aid anyway, handing Moscow everything it wanted from the betrayal, texting Sondland that his “nightmare is that they [the Ukrainians] give the interview and don’t get the security assistance. The Russians love it. (And I quit.)”[31]

Taylor gave a deposition before a closed-door session of the House Intelligence Committee on October 22, 2019.[32]

Testimony in House impeachment inquiry

External video
 Testimony of Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent before the House Intelligence Committee, November 13, 2019C-SPAN

Opening statement of Ambassador William B. Taylor

On October 22, 2019, Taylor testified before the US Congressional House regarding the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump and the Trump–Ukraine scandal in a closed session. Taylor’s opening statement was made public and directly implicated President Trump in a proactive and coordinated effort to solicit a political quid pro quo whereby “everything” – from a one-on-one meeting with President Trump to hundreds of millions of dollars in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine – would be held up unless Ukrainian President Zelensky agreed to announce publicly that “investigations” would be launched including into former VP Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election. Taylor’s opening statement and testimony was widely viewed as an inflection point in the impeachment inquiry.[33][34][35][36][37]

A few days before his second House testimony in mid-November, Taylor published an op-ed in Kyiv’s Novoye Vremya expressing the United States government’s commitment to Ukraine: “your success is our success.”[38][39]

Personal life

Taylor is married to Dr. Deborah Furlan Taylor,[40] a religion scholar.[41][42]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_B._Taylor_Jr.

 

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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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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1349 October 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1348 October 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1326 September 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1325 September 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1313 August 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1312 August 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1311 August 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1308 August 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1307 August 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1306 August 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1305 August 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1301 August 5, 2019

 

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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

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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