Impeachment Monday: Live Blog on Impeachment Hearings in the JudiciaryPosted: December 9, 2019
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
So, I’m here with the TV blaring the Impeachment hearings and cup of coffee when I finally see the credentials of the majority Republican on the Judiciary Committee. There’s a reason that every time he speaks up that he seems like the Grand Inquisitor in service to the Evil King. I rather made the false assumption that most of the folks on that committee are well-qualified lawyers because, well judiciary committee.
The Chief Inquisitor for the Republicans–Representative Doug Collins from Georgia–is that most horrid of people, a southern bible banging snake handler!. He went to a Baptist seminary before trotting his ass off to a buy a law degree from a private, for profit Law Degree Mill in Atlanta. It took this silly little school until 2005 for the ABA to actually recognize it as something maybe more than a paper mill.
Collin’s has a habit of peddling in toxic things. He even spent time as a salesman selling hazardous material safety products to Georgia’s state and local governments. He’s also co-owner of a Scrapbook Store with his wife. Wow! That’s certainly some credentials to spend your days trying to figure out what’s constitutional and what’s not. No wonder he can’t espouse the most simple concept of US America Law.
We’ve already had several mentions of the walking example of Trumpist Corruption, America’s Black Mailer, Rudy Guiliani. Guilliani is no fool unlike Collins who opens his mouth to prove it daily. Rudy knows what he’s doing as outlined in this article from The Atlantic and Franklin Foer. Just as Collins is the Grand Inquisitor putting blind faith before the rule of law, Rudy Guilliani is the ultimate fixer who once worked on the right side of the rule of law.
In the pages of Adam Schiff’s impeachment report, however, an entirely different character emerges. That Giuliani is a savvy operator who rolls his bureaucratic opponents with ruthlessness and ease. He is the master of what Ambassador William Taylor branded the “irregular channel,” which appears to have been a very profitable piece of turf. Giuliani’s unofficial perch in the Trump administration seems to be the basis for a booming business. Butt-dials aside, he should be regarded as one of the most outrageously effective influence peddlers of all time.
To understand the practice Giuliani has built, it’s useful to compare his trajectory with that of Paul Manafort. Both men offered their services to Trump for free, which they likely understood would ingratiate themselves with the mogul, who notoriously hates paying contractors. And they seem to have shared a theory of how Trump could be monetized. After establishing their proximity to the president, they likely understood that the perception of incomparable access would have magnetic appeal to foreign clients. When Manafort landed in jail, Giuliani had no rival for the title of the ultimate fixer in Trump’s Washington.
Giuliani has specialized in the growth market of kleptocrats hoping to avoid jail. He has represented a Romanian real-estate magnate imprisoned for a shady land deal, and a Turkish gold trader accused of funneling money to Iran. Then there’s his mystery client suspected of foreign bribery, whose case he discussed with the head of the Department of Justice’s criminal division. Giuliani described this client to The New York Times as “very, very sensitive.” These clients seem to hire Giuliani not for his courtroom skills or strategic acumen, but in the hopes that his prestige and bureaucratic skill can rescue them from prosecution.
Both Guiliani and AG Barr work to defend Trump using their deep experience and understanding of US Law to further the corruption of the President and to support their own interests and ideologies. This is from Politico today by Natasha Bertrand and .Darren Samuelson. Trump’s behavior during the election season with the Russians and his continued courting of Putin’s favor brings an answer to Collins question this morning in his opening screed about what’s the central theme of this impeachment. It is, Grand Inquisitor Collins, “all roads lead to Russia”.
Amid President Donald Trump’s years-long quest to undermine the Russia investigation and claim “total exoneration,” a tale of two lawyers has emerged.
The first — a former New York City mayor-turned fixer for various foreign potentates and, ultimately, for the president of the United States — took the outside lane, attempting to exonerate his client with a backchannel pressure campaign on Ukraine that would ostensibly clear Trump, and Moscow, of wrongdoing in 2016.
The second, a veteran corporate attorney who’s now served two Republican presidents as attorney general, has taken an inside track, defending Trump in the courts, congressional testimony, press conferences and speeches—and at times within his own department.
The work of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and a key outside adviser dating back to the 2016 campaign, all but imploded when a whistleblower complaint about the president’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian leaders set off an impeachment investigation.
Attorney General Bill Barr’s efforts have arguably been more successful—at least, that is, in pleasing his boss.
Barr’s presentation of the special counsel’s investigation as essentially clearing Trump of wrongdoing generated favorable headlines for the president and obscured key findings from Robert Mueller’s 448-page report. The review he ordered of the intelligence community’s conduct in the Russia probe may not yield the bombshells imagined by the president and his defenders, but it has fed a steady drip of stories in the conservative press touting damning revelations to come.
Even the long-awaited Justice Department Inspector General report due out Monday that is expected to debunk several conspiracy theories about the FBI’s Russia probe has served Barr’s interests in a way — generating cable chyrons announcing a criminal inquiry, albeit into the conduct of a low-level FBI lawyer.
That report is the next shoe to drop in the continuing saga of tinfoil hat hypotheses that the President is doing nothing wrong and that he’s not serving masters who fund him from the Russian State.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report is expected to address a simmering dispute that lies at the heart of the partisan fight that has animated Washington for the past two years.
The question is, Did the Justice Department and FBI do anything improper when investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia?
While political battles over the Russia probe have recently given way to the impeachment fight over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, Republicans and Democrats have been eagerly awaiting the inspector general’s report in the hopes that it will support their respective claims.
The report, which will run hundreds of pages, is expected to contain elements that both sides can seize to buttress their respective arguments about the FBI, the Justice Department and the propriety of investigating the actions of the candidate who became president and those around him.
Today’s Impeachment hearings has turned into a partisan brawl under the craziness of Collins and his Republican cronies who are protecting their head of state with the fervor of the cult fanatic. WAPO is providing live updates at this link.
It’s hard to watch this knowing that there is an ongoing obstruction of justice action going by every one around Trump. Just Security has this fact check up today on the Republican’s report from the Intelligence Committee. “Seven Outright Falsehoods in GOP Staff Report on Impeachment”. How can you consider their actions any thing but bad faith and tinfoil hat takes? We should not lose the fact that the AID to the Ukrainians is still not fully paid and it took some actions by Congress to restore it. This is the absolute PRIME narrative to follow in this impeachment hearings.
Not everything in the report is a lie. In many instances, it is clear that, where possible, there was great care taken to avoid outright mistruths, through the careful phrasing of arguments to suggest a more sweeping defense than is actually offered, or through focusing on irrelevant and ambiguous witness testimony while ignoring direct and clear testimony to the contrary.
But staying within the bounds of the factual record – or even within the bounds of reasonable subjective interpretation of the record – could only get House Republican staff so far, and much of the report doesn’t just dance around the truth so much as it strides into deliberate falsehood. In order to depict the events at the heart of the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry in a light that could at all be construed as a defense of President Trump’s conduct, it appears that some outright lies were needed.
Here is a list of the seven most damaging falsehoods included in the minority report:
1. “Although the security assistance was paused in July, it is not unusual for U.S. foreign assistance to become delayed.” (Minority at 32)
The minority report dismisses the hold on the security assistance to Ukraine as a routine quirk in the way government operates – “not unusual,” and nothing more than “a bureaucratic issue that would be resolved.” (Minority at 32)
This is a lie. The hold was not routine – nothing like it had ever happened before. (e.g., Cooper at 98; Sandy at 88) The hold was not bureaucratic – it was ordered directly by President Trump himself. (e.g., Hale at 180) And the hold was not due to any sort of interagency conflict – because “the unanimous view of all the agencies [involved in Ukraine and apportionment policy] was that the hold should be lifted and the aid should flow to Ukraine.” (Williams at 115)
In fact, witness testimony showed that, in the entirety of the U.S. government, there is exactly one person who is known to have been in favor of the hold on security assistance to Ukraine. And that is President Trump himself. Witnesses unanimously testified that the agencies were given no explanation for the hold (see Part II), or for the eventual decision to restore the aid.
What’s perhaps most devastating to the Minority’s argument is that the White House actually exceeded the deadline for all of the security assistance to be spent—despite the Pentagon’s warning this would occur (Cooper). It took a new act of Congress to restore the full aid, which occurred in September.
Indeed, this is yet another Trumpist exercise to Gaslight the nation. It is only fitting the fight is led by an old timey Southern Baptist snake handler with a specious Law degree.
The Republicans continue to throw parliamentary inquiries around like first graders trying to learn how to be student council members. They’re doing everything to block the witnesses including complaining about to many documents (8000) and too little.
Let’s see how much more of this we can take!
Oh, dear sweet kingcake baby jezuz that Craziness from Louisiana’s Republican hack Johnson continues. He wants to quit the process because folks are being mean to Trumpers.
So, on to witnesses …
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?