Withheld from Congress: US Intelligence Community’s IG Report on Whistle-blower’s Complaint

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Their writing reflects how they think, and act, down to their choice of words.
Their interpretation of the facts does, yes. As is true for any media outlet.

However, reporting that the DOJ's IG's office recommended firing McCabe because they believed he lied isn't opinion. The issue seems to be semantics. It's "lack of candor" vs. "lied."
 

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Trump Is Deserving of an Impeachment Inquiry, Many Times Over
"At some point, we have to stand up to him and let him know that the line has been drawn, and you will go no further."


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. “The president must be held accountable,” she announced Tuesday. Pelosi has been pressured for months on impeachment, from congressional and grassroots progressives. An intelligence community whistleblower raised concerns over a phone call last July that Trump held with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pushing more moderate Democrats to support an impeachment inquiry. Trump admitted that he asked Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, and ordered withholding of Ukrainian aid. Such behavior may rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard for impeachment. But isn’t Trump already deserving of an impeachment inquiry, many times over?

On May 17, 2017, less than three months into Trump’s presidency, Democratic Congressmember Al Green of Houston was the first to take to the House floor calling for Trump’s impeachment. Within days, Green, who is African American, was receiving death threats. One voicemail threatened: “You ain’t gonna impeach nobody, you [bleep]. Try it, and we’ll lynch all you [bleep]. You’ll be hanging from a tree.”

On Wednesday, the day after Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry, Green, appearing on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, agreed that the Ukrainian issue was an impeachable offense. “I would also mention the emoluments clause,” he added, “with the president benefiting from persons who are staying in his hotels. … I would also never forget the racism, the bigotry, the xenophobia, the homophobia, the Islamophobia.”

The case for an emoluments impeachment is ever-growing, it seems. Foreign delegations and lobbyists regularly stay at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and spend lavishly there. Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, according to the declassified transcript released by the White House Wednesday, let Trump know that he stayed at Trump Tower in New York’s Central Park.

Trump has been accused of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment by at least 24 women. These accusations alone certainly provide cause for an impeachment inquiry. Trump has retaliated against many of these women, threatening to sue them or crassly insulting them as not his “type.” Trump himself has admitted, on the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape, that he forces himself on women. “When you’re a star … you can do anything,” Trump said.

The policy agenda that Donald Trump is pursuing based on climate science denial amounts to an impeachable offense. He is accelerating environmental destruction, leading to irreversible, catastrophic climate change. The Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, and tirelessly rolls back environmental regulations while boosting the extraction and sale of fossil fuels. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you,” 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said, ferociously reprimanding the adults gathered at the United Nations Climate Action Summit Monday. Showing up at the summit for 14 minutes, Trump mocked Thunberg on Twitter, saying she looked like “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

The authority to wage war, to direct the U.S. military to kill people, is the presidential power that demands the most intense oversight, by Congress and by the public. Trump ran for president promising to withdraw from foreign wars, but has delivered the opposite. Recently in Afghanistan, the U.S. launched a drone strike that killed 30 civilians—pine nut farmers resting in the shade—and participated in a nighttime raid that killed an estimated 40 civilians, prolonging the longest war in U.S. history.

Trump continues to support Saudi Arabia’s devastating bombing of Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians. A recent Saudi bombing of a community college killed at least 109 people there. Millions of Yemenis are at risk of starvation in what is described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Congress has twice passed bipartisan legislation to block arms sales to the Saudis, which Trump has vetoed. He has also ordered more troops to Saudi Arabia to protect its oil facilities and lavishes praise on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Oct. 2 marks the first anniversary of the brutal murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey, which the CIA concluded was ordered by bin Salman. Trump’s warmongering is an impeachable offense in itself.

Trump’s refusal to support gun control legislation, mass shooting after mass shooting; his prolific lying; his relentless attacks on the press; his elimination of critical programs in our social safety net; his discrimination against trans people in the military and in schools; his Muslim ban, his separation of families and caging of children—all are worthy of an impeachment inquiry. As Congressmember Al Green said, “At some point, we have to stand up to him and let him know that the line has been drawn, and you will go no further.”

Source: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/27/trump-deserving-impeachment-inquiry-many-times-over
 

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However, reporting that the DOJ's IG's office recommended firing McCabe because they believed he lied isn't opinion. The issue seems to be semantics. It's "lack of candor" vs. "lied."
I disagree the issue is a matter of semantics. It's my understanding that "lack of candor" has a very precise legal definition that cannot be equated with lying. And journalists worth their salt know not to use words loosely.
 

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Lawrence: The Whistleblowers Will Keep Coming | The Last Word | MSNBC



Ex-DOJ: Trump, Barr Trying To Conceal Interactions With Foreign Officials | The Last Word | MSNBC


ETA:
Ralph Peters: Trump must keep 'throne' to avoid prison
|Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees | CNN


 
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Frank Underwood

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Democrats, Please Don’t Mess This Up. Impeach Trump for All His Crimes, Not Just for Ukraine.

ARE DEMOCRATS PREPARING
to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement on Tuesday that the House of Representatives would hold an “official impeachment inquiry” over Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine, and his request for dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, was a welcome one. But on Wednesday, according to several reports, “Pelosi and senior House Democrats agreed in a private meeting … that they should narrow their impeachment investigation of President Trump to his dealings with the president of Ukraine.”

To be clear: There is now a majority in the House for impeachment, especially with the publication of the whistleblower complaint on Thursday, which reveals how “the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” House Democrats — even in swing seats — have united on this issue and see Trump as a clear threat to national security. It looks like a slam dunk.

So how then might this end up as a defeat, and not a victory? Think about it. For House Democrats to wait this long and then impeach a reckless, lawless, racist, tax-dodging president only over his interactions with the president of Ukraine would be to effectively give Trump a clean bill of health on everything else. Going into an election year, Democrats would be unilaterally disarming — unable to offer further substantive criticisms of Trump’s crimes and abuses of power across the board. “Why didn’t you impeach him for it?” Republicans will ask.

Forgive me if I have no faith in the House Democratic leadership, which has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The same political geniuses who dragged their feet on impeachment until 48 hours ago, after ridiculously having suggested the president was “goading” his opponents into impeaching him, are now telling us to trust them, that they know best, that Ukraine is the be-all and end-all of this impeachment inquiry.

Thankfully, not all Democrats agree. On Deconstructed this week, Julián Castro — who in April became the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for Trump’s impeachment — told me he wants to see congressional Democrats go for a broad impeachment inquiry because of “clear evidence that there may be other violations of the law.” As Castro explains, the ultimate goal of impeachment is not to score a political or partisan point but to “show the American people that nobody is above the law.”

So what’s the reason to narrow the scope of what should be a historic inquiry? “I think we need to focus on what this very clear threat to national security and to our Constitution is,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, a close ally of Pelosi, told the Washington Post, referring to the Ukraine angle. “I think we need to focus on something that everybody understands.”

“We are going to focus on this particular matter,” announced House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, adding that it’s “not hard to understand.”

Do these Democrats take the public for fools? Few would dispute the uniqueness or seriousness of these Ukraine revelations. But are they really saying “everybody understands” Trump’s quid pro quo with the president of a foreign country, and the details of the specific case involving Hunter Biden, but not the illegal payment of hush money to a porn star? Or all of the corrupt behavior on display in front of their eyes? The brazen self-dealing? The daily violation of the emoluments clause?

Read a poll. A majority of Americans happen to agree with (literally) 1,000 former federal prosecutors that the president obstructed justice and don’t believe the Mueller report exonerated Trump. A majority also agree that Trump is a racist and a liar, and that corruption has increased on his watch. Trump is a historically unpopular and disliked president — and for a variety of reasons.

Read a history book. In 1868, Andrew Johnson became the first president to be impeached and, in his case, the House of Representatives adopted 11 articles of impeachment, ranging from his violation of the Tenure of Office Act to his attempt to “disgrace” Congress. A little over a century later, in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee passed three lengthy and detailed articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, covering obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. The first of those articles even cited Nixon’s “false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States” and his efforts “to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.” (Sound familiar?)

Read Trump’s tweets. Since Tuesday afternoon, the president who was supposedly going to “self-impeach” has been ranting and raving online, calling Pelosi’s announcement a “total witch hunt,” “scam,” “garbage,” and “presidential harassment.” Trump, who was 17 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, even claimed, “There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have.”

Does this sound like a president who wants to be impeached? Or, rather, a president who is (rightly) concerned that a wide-ranging impeachment inquiry could uncover a wide range of new scandals and crimes?

“He looks hunted,” wrote MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. So why hold back now? Why put all the impeachment eggs in the Ukraine basket? Why not make the strongest case possible and dig deep into Trump’s record over the past 2 1/2 years as a whole? Did Democrats learn no lessons from the Russia investigation? “We’re here in the first place because the exclusive approach failed with Mueller,” tweeted the New Republic’s Osita Nwanevu.

And what’s with the rush to get this done “by the end of the year or even sooner,” as Politico reports? Is there somewhere else that House Democrats need to be? Are they in a hurry to get back to passing bills that then get blocked by the same Republican-controlled Senate that will be voting down their articles of impeachment? Why not take a lesson from the GOP playbook? During the Obama presidency, the Republican-led Benghazi Select Committee held “33 hearings over more than two years into a topic that had already been investigated by seven other Congressional committees.”

The point of impeachment, remember, is for the House of Representatives to loudly and publicly indict Trump for his agglomeration of high crimes and misdemeanors. Whether or not he is removed from office is beside the point; the point is for Congress to hold the president to account by demanding documents and scheduling televised hearings on a range of potentially impeachable offenses — and winning over public opinion in the process.

For House Democrats to try and hive off Trump’s corrupt, lawless, and authoritarian behavior over Ukraine and Biden from his corrupt, lawless, and authoritarian behavior over his taxes, or Mueller, or Stormy Daniels, or Puerto Rico, or the Squad, or Amazon — I could go on and on — is madness. To quote Crooked Media’s Brian Beutler: “IT’S ALL ONE F*CKING STORY!”

The Democrats only get one chance at impeachment. One chance to remind the public there is a criminal sitting in the Oval Office. They can’t afford to rush it — or blow it.

Source: https://theintercept.com/2019/09/26/impeachment-trump-ukraine-democrats/
 

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I disagree the issue is a matter of semantics. It's my understanding that "lack of candor" has a very precise legal definition that cannot be equated with lying. And journalists worth their salt know not to use words loosely.
Journalists worth their salt also know not to run unverified stories or to use sensationalism and hyperbole, but many big names in the mainstream media do so anyway.

Legal definition aside, I believe conflating "lied" with "lack of candor" is a lesser offense.
 

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CNN Suddenly LOVES Whistleblowers (Terms & Conditions Apply)

Biden Camp Pressuring News Companies To Silence Criticism Of Him

Host Smacks Down Democrat Defending Biden Corruption

 

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Saagar: Hunter Biden was paid US$50K a month while dad was VP to sit on the board of a Ukraine energy company despite having no expertise in that whatsoever. Do you think that is evidence of corruption?”

To what, exactly, does Saagar want that Congressman to speak? :think:

_How does Saagar know that Hunter Biden had no expertise in anything that an energy company might need? [Because everyone says so? (Who is everyone?)]

_What is “that” precisely?

_Is what evidence of corruption?

_Where is Saagar drawing the nexus to corruption? That Hunter was sitting on the board of a Ukraine energy company while dad was VP? Or, that he was drawing $50K a month for “no expertise”.

ETA: _Is it a "verifiable fact" that Hunter Biden was paid $50K a month by Burisma Holdings? Or, is that a case of Chinese whispers?

Hmm, not more than 3 minutes +/- for the whole interview. I wonder much time the Congressman could have had to speak to each of the above just to answer the first question by Saagar. Maybe that's why Krystal took over the questioning.
 
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Pompeo: Democrats' impeachment inquiry an effort to 'intimidate, bully' State Dept. workers
By Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY Published 11:09 a.m. ET Oct. 1, 2019 | Updated 12:38 p.m. ET Oct. 1, 2019

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry and suggested he would fight their request to depose five State Department employees involved in the Ukraine controversy.

"I’m concerned with aspects of the committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State," Pompeo wrote in a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel Tuesday.

"I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State," Pompeo wrote.

He said the committee's request to depose five State Department employees this week and next week is "not feasible" – throwing a wrench into Democrats' plans to move quickly with their inquiry.

Pompeo did not explicitly say he would block them from participating in the investigation, but he raised a series of objections to the Democrats' request; he said they need more time to retain attorneys and prepare for any depositions, and also suggested the committee had not made a legally binding request for them to be questioned.

"Your letter raises fundamental legal questions related to the authority of the committee to compel an appearance ... solely by virtue of these letters," he wrote.

Pompeo has come under growing scrutiny for his role in the Ukraine scandal, with Democrats demanding information about the State Department's role in arranging conversations between Ukrainian officials and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed Pompeo for documents related to Giuliani and Ukraine, and asked to depose five State Department employees involved in the matter.

"Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” Engel wrote in a letter to Pompeo Friday along with two other committee chairmen involved in the impeachment inquiry.

Engel, D-N.Y., said he had also notified Pompeo that the three committees had scheduled depositions for five State Department employees, including the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Trump's special envoy to the eastern European country.

Giuliani has publicly acknowledged that he pressed Ukrainian government officials to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He said he contacted Ukrainian officials at the direction of the State Department and that he has briefed U.S. diplomats on his conversations.

President Donald Trump also asked Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Biden during a July 25 phone call between the two leaders. That call prompted an intelligence official to file an anonymous whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump had used the power of his office to "solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 presidential election.

Pompeo was listening in on that Trump-Zelensky phone call, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and CNN. The State Department's spokeswoman has declined to comment on those reports.

Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who has served as a State Department adviser in Republican and Democratic administrations, said that Pompeo should have confronted the president about his request to Zelensky, telling Trump: "The implications of what you’ve done are devastating, both to American foreign policy and prospectively to your own interests. You may have broken the law."

House Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry last week, focused on probing the "extent to which President Trump may have jeopardized national security" by pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden and by withholding military assistance to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression.

The first witness in the impeachment inquiry – former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch – was scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill Wednesday, followed by Trump's special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, on Friday.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news...chment-resist-subpoena-deposition/3829096002/
 

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Chuck Grassley defends Ukraine whistleblower, breaking with GOP and Trump

The statement by the powerful Iowa senator did not mention Trump's attacks on the whistleblower.

By Dareh Gregorian | Oct 1st

A top Republican senator on Tuesday defended the whistleblower at the center of Democrats' impeachment inquiry following repeated attacks from President Donald Trump.

"This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality," Sen. Chuck Grassley, head of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, said in the statement.

The Iowa Republican did not mention Trump by name, but said, "No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country."

Trump and some of his allies, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, have said the identity of the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint sparked the House's impeachment inquiry into the president should be made public, even though it's protected under whistleblower laws that Grassley helped write.

"Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called 'Whistleblower,' represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way," the president tweeted on Sunday.

A call summary of the July phone conversation between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart that was released by the White House, however, comported with the whistleblower's allegation that Trump pressed the Ukrainian president to have Trump rival Joe Biden investigated.

The whistleblower's lawyer, Andrew P. Bakaj, said Trump's comments "have heightened our concerns that our client's identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm's way."

On Monday, Grassley and another Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, after a conservative media outlet reported that the whistleblower complaint process had been loosened right before the person came forward.

The report in the Federalist had claimed the intelligence community "secretly gutted" a requirement that a whistleblower has to have first-hand knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing. The Ukraine whistleblower's complaint is comprised of mostly information the person was told by other officials.

Trump seized on the report to allege he was being victimized by "the swamp."
ETA the rest of the news report, which I'd intended to carry in full but inadvertently left out the last portion:

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
WHO CHANGED THE LONG STANDING WHISTLEBLOWER RULES JUST BEFORE SUBMITTAL OF THE FAKE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT? DRAIN THE SWAMP!​

5:43 AM - 30 Sep 2019
In their letter to Atkinson, Grassley and Johnson said, “We are not aware of any federal law, regulation, or internal directive relating to whistleblowers that requires first-hand information in order for the complaint to be accepted as credible or receive legal protections," and asked if there had been a change in policy.

Atkinson's office issued a statement later Monday saying there is no requirement that a whistleblower have firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing. It also noted that the Ukraine whistleblower did indeed have "direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct."

In his statement Tuesday, Grassley also pushed back against what's become a GOP talking point — that the secondhand information the whistleblower offered should be discounted. Republicans, including Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, have dismissed the complaint as "hearsay."

“When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones. It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy. Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility," Grassley wrote.

He also took a swipe at Democrats, charging they were rushing to impeach the president.

“As I said last week, inquiries that put impeachment first and facts last don’t weigh very credibly. Folks just ought to be responsible with their words,” he said.​



Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/do...ine-whistleblower-breaking-gop-trump-n1060871
 
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Frank Underwood

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I have to wonder if the people defending Biden and his son by claiming all of the facts aren't in yet would take the same nuanced tone if we were talking about Trump and Don Jr. instead.

Somehow, I think I already know the answer.
 
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I have to wonder if the people defending Biden and his son by claiming all of the facts aren't in yet would take the same nuanced tone if we were talking about Trump and Don Jr. instead.

Somehow, I think I already know the answer.
Edited to try and express my thoughts better:

I know I would, based on all that I've read and heard reported, not ignoring favourable information or cherry-picking the news about folk who do stuff I don't like just so to deliberately cast them in the worse possible light -- and/or to use them as examples to push a pet POV on a situation.

Sometimes I read and quote stuff where I've no idea if the news staff have verified the stuff they've reported. Sometimes I know there's more than one version of things which leaves a question mark over the narrative pushed in the various media. I look at which media got closest to the source, and I check did they manage to get verification/confirmation of things. I note what they reported, and note which other media quoted them, or didn't. If they didn't, what was their source? Comparing and being able to contrast the various reports is when I begin to note the effect of chinese whispers and lazy reporting and hidden agendas to push a particular narrative.

In the case of the Bidens, I'm now wary of the contributor articles to the opinion column in The Hill, because of a series of articles it published being cited in the whistle-blower's report. If someone has an agenda to plant misinformation, and likely did it there, then think of all those other upmarket online publications out there willing to publish a contributor's work -- and then wonder which of those publications that have a policy of wanting to carry news from all sides might have unwittingly published the articles of an organisation with a smear agenda.
 
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Per The Intercept: The Democrats only get one chance at impeachment. ... They can’t afford to rush it — or blow it.
If one believes that Donald Trump has systematically set about trying to create the shadow goverment of a dictator (ridding himself of staff not personally loyal to him; forcing out govt career officials not seeing things his way; having mostly only Acting Heads of Dept.; possibly already having corrupted the heads of State and Justice, and having a fixer-lawyer be his personal rep to administer the Executive branch; stacking the Supreme Court; bad-mouthing the US Intel community and tying their hands as much as possible while saying he'd rather believe Russian intel; forcing the giving of top-level security clearances to his daughter and son-in-law -- which has allowed them to do as much ferreting for top national secrets as they wanted, and to do with as they pleased with what they found, possibly for their own benefit; and possibly Trump even getting advice from Putin on how to consolidate power for himself), then trust me the Dems will have to rush to get the impeachment inquiry over before the next election: where he gets a crack at another term in office, and -- if he wins -- time to get all the pieces in places, including his own choice of bodyguards in the WH (Russian-trained/supplied?) and ICE as his personal police force; with one of his children tapped to eventually succeed him as President -- after he's held office for more than 2 terms. ....What will rally the Dems and Repubs together in the Senate is that many are patriots first and foremost and they recognise the massive National Security threat to their country that is their own sitting president.

ETA: It will be no surprise to me if Mr Trump's support in the polls tanks to under 30%. Those left supporting him will be the ones who believe that only he can save them/America.
 
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Saagar: Hunter Biden was paid US$50K a month while dad was VP to sit on the board of a Ukraine energy company ...
The New York Times reported: Hunter Biden has not been accused of legal wrongdoing related to his work for Burisma, which paid him as much as $50,000 per month in some months for his service on the board of the directors. He said in a statement this year that he never discussed Burisma with his father.

WaPo tried to verify the amount by asking his spokespeople, they declined to divulge.

So, that left NYT’s reporting of the amount standing.

But what happened? The “as much as $50,000 per month in some months” is now proclaimed by some media as categorically being “$50K a month”.

How many of those media have bothered to check out what Burisma Holdings said his role in the company was; and how many of those media have bothered to check out what Hunter Biden himself said to clarify what he didn’t do but did instead?

NYT never gave the breakdown of what services that sum represented. For instance: How much of it was the director’s fees due to him directly? How much came to him by way of the money paid to his legal firm (of which he is a partner) for the firm’s services? How much came to him by way of the money paid to his consultancy firm (of which he is a partner) for services the firm rendered?

How many media have bothered to find out whether what HB earned in a month from all sources for Burisma-related work & services is comparable or not to what other folk get for those same work & services in the same field?

How much have the Jimmy Dores of the world done to verify if indeed Hunter Biden was earning $50 a month every month from Burisma?
 

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‘A presidency of one’: Key federal agencies increasingly compelled to benefit Trump

By Philip Rucker and Robert Costa | Oct 1st

As the impeachment drama has unfolded over the past week, a series of disclosures has illuminated President Trump’s command over key federal agencies, revealing how he has compelled them to pursue his personal and political goals, investigate his enemies and lend legitimacy to his theories about the 2016 election.

The Justice Department has prioritized a probe that the president hopes will discredit a finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him win. As part of that effort, Attorney General William P. Barr has met overseas with foreign intelligence officials to enlist their aid in “investigating the investigators,” as the right’s rallying cry goes, and dig into the president’s suspicions.

The State Department, meanwhile, has been investigating the email records of as many as 130 current and former department officials who sent messages to the private email account of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Trump’s 2016 opponent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defied Congress on Tuesday by attempting to block the depositions of five department employees called to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

The inquiry itself was sparked by a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate unsubstantiated corruption allegations against former vice president Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his son.

In each of these instances, the president or administration officials have strongly defended their conduct as proper and above board.

But taken together, they illustrate the sweeping reach of Trump’s power and the culture he has spawned inside the government. The president’s personal concerns have become priorities of departments that traditionally have operated with some degree of political independence from the White House — and their leaders are engaging their boss’s obsessions.

“Barr and Pompeo are stuck in the fog machine. They seem captives of the president’s perverse worldview,” said Timothy Naftali, a historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. “Authoritarian regimes have this problem all the time . . . when all government activity is the product of the id of the leader. But in a republic, that’s unusual.”

Most Republicans have stood by Trump. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), echoing many of them, told reporters it would be “insane” to impeach Trump and said the exchange with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was appropriate.

Trump’s moves underscore his transformation as president. He arrived in Washington a neophyte uncertain about how to operate the machinery of government. But now, in his third year in office, Trump has grown confident about exercising power, disposing of aides who acted as guardrails and elevating those who prove their loyalty by following his orders.

As the president said last month after John Bolton’s abrupt exit as national security adviser, “It’s very easy actually to work with me. You know why it’s easy? Because I make all the decisions.”

Trump was sworn in as the 45th president with less governmental experience than any of his predecessors. His advisers tried to tutor him about the three branches of government and the constitutional balance of powers. The general ethos among Trump’s top aides then was to protect institutions and moderate some of the president’s swings — to resist rather than follow his impulses, as described by one former senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment.

Since then, Trump has become more emboldened to make decisions and has systematically dispensed with much of his early team, including former defense secretary Jim Mattis, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, former White House chiefs of staff Reince Priebus and John F. Kelly, former White House counsel Donald McGahn, former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, former economic adviser Gary Cohn and others.

“I’m not sure there are many, if any, left who view as their responsibility trying to help educate, moderate, enlighten and persuade — or even advise in many cases,” the former senior official said. “There’s a new ethos: This is a presidency of one.”

“It’s Trump unleashed, unchained, unhinged,” this official added. “He continues to go further and further and further, and now I don’t think there’s anybody telling him, ‘No.’ ”

Some of Trump’s closest aides and friends strongly contest the suggestion that he is unbridled and pursuing his personal interests at the expense of the nation. Instead, they cast him as a politician who is curious, at times to a fault, about the investigations into his 2016 campaign and determined to reveal more about those efforts. They shrug off his moves as “Trump being Trump” and part of the president’s showmanship in driving the national political debate as opposed to a possible constitutional reckoning.

“He’s actually very calm,” said one White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly. “He’s not raging. He’s not fuming. He can’t stand what some people write or say on television, sure, but his presidency isn’t consumed by that.”

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign adviser, said the president has long wanted to be the sole driver of his message, with everyone else playing supporting roles — which is how he ran his business and 2016 campaign from his corner office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York.

“He wants to be the one adjusting and taking the lead on where it goes, not adjusting to others,” Nunberg said. “It goes back to how he navigated network TV, the tabloids and business publicity. That’s his playbook.”

Some outside scholars have a different interpretation. Trump’s moves represent a fundamental reorientation of American democracy, said Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor and author of “On Tyranny,” a resistance guide to what he describes as America’s turn toward authoritarianism.

“Rather than having the boring system we take for granted, where you have laws based on facts, instead you have a personality who makes up his own reality,” Snyder said. “At first, that reality is just confusing and seems to gum up the works, but after a while, the leader starts to draw people into that reality by making them defend it or making them prove it. This is what’s happening here.”

In Trump’s Washington, many administration officials have calculated that if they do not enthusiastically wade into Trump’s riptide of grievances and personal pursuits, they risk being ridiculed or sidelined by the president, as was the case with Bolton, a hawk whom Trump has mocked since his departure as “Mr. Tough Guy.”

The implicit day-to-day charge for many Trump advisers is simple, according to aides and other officials familiar with the president’s Cabinet and West Wing staff: Figure out how to handle or even polish Trump’s whims and statements, but do not have any illusion that you can temper his relentless personality, heavy consumption of cable news or thirst for political combat.

Acquiescence is central to survival. Trump has bonded with aides who take his running complaints about the “deep state” and “fake news” seriously, along with his embrace of people and positions outside of the mainstream. The leading members of Trump’s inner circle dutifully work to address his concerns, sometimes by directing federal resources.

Officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for example, have worked to block Democratic lawmakers and others from obtaining access to Trump’s tax returns, which he has refused to disclose publicly.

The list of Trump loyalists pulled into his maneuvers begins at the top. Vice President Pence traveled to Europe in early September and met with Zelensky and urged him to address “corruption,” seeming to reiterate the message Trump communicated to Zelensky in July about investigating the Bidens. This was before promised U.S. military aid to Ukraine was released.

Barr’s role in the investigation into the Russia probe’s origins, which is being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut, is extraordinary in part because the probe seeks evidence of misconduct within his own Justice Department to support the conspiracy theory — embraced by Trump and advanced on Fox News — that the Russia inquiry was corrupt and predicated on undermining Trump.

Snyder said the investigation Trump sought and Barr is pursuing fits a pattern of behavior in which leaders try to disprove or undermine facts — in this case, the conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win — with other investigations.

“The idea of investigating the investigation is that you cast doubt on the boring factual staff,” he said. “Even if you don’t win with your adventurous fiction, you also win if your adventurous fiction casts doubt on the boring facts.”

The White House and Justice Department have defended this review of the investigation into possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign as appropriate; Barr told Congress in April that he believed “spying did occur.”

Barr’s interest in the probe is unsurprising to several of his associates, who said this week he is a headstrong and deeply conservative man who at this point in his career has grown disdainful of the Democratic Party, the federal government and the news media, criticizing them in private as biased and skewed against the president.

Trump’s advisers say he respects Barr’s approach and considers him “tough,” especially compared to former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who in 2017 recused himself from the Russia investigation.

“We have a great attorney general now,” Trump said of Barr in July. “He’s strong, and he’s smart.”​

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...0740ec-e453-11e9-a331-2df12d56a80b_story.html
 

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The first witness in the impeachment inquiry – former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch – was scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill Wednesday, ...
The Daily Beast reports (Oct 1st):
Former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was previously scheduled to appear before the committee on Wednesday [Oct 2nd] but will now appear on [Friday] Oct. 11. The State Department inspector general has also asked for an “urgent” briefing with congressional committees tomorrow.

TDB also reports:
The whistleblower also reportedly claimed Yovanovitch was recalled back to Washington earlier than expected because of “pressure” from then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who had spoken to Giuliani about the investigations and “collusion.”​

Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com/kurt-...ss-over-trump-ukraine-whistleblower-complaint
 

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The impeachment stuff is up first, then the Dem 2020 candidates.

The Briefing Room: Amber Guyger found guilty, Impeachment showdown, 2020 candidates latest:


 

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Dems Fail To Answer Basic Corruption Question Correctly

Actual CIA Whistleblower Calls Out Trump’s “Whistleblower” w/John Kiriakou


Media's Misreporting Of Ukraine-gate Apes Misreporting Of Russia-gate

Media should be "minimally skeptical of the intelligence community." I guess some people would rather be cheerleaders for the intelligence community.

 
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The Ukraine Scandal Might Be a Bad Gambit for Democrats
Aaron Maté argues that impeachment is political, not legal—and that the transcript the White House released doesn’t, in itself, implicate the president.

By asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to assist with an investigation into Joe Biden, President Donald Trump clearly engaged in unethical conduct. After all, Biden could be Trump’s opponent in 2020. Regardless of whether or not the Biden family has had unsavory dealings in Ukraine, Trump should not enroll another country’s leader to find out. The whistle-blower’s concern that Trump attempted to “abuse his office for personal gain” is worthy of investigation.

But whether this rises to the level of impeachment is a separate question. Impeachment is a political—not a legal—issue, and so the answer is based not only on the merits of the case but also on the consequences of pursuing it.

Democratic leaders and media pundits are convinced that Trump extorted Ukraine by delaying military aid to compel an investigation into Biden. Their theory may prove correct, but the available evidence does not, as of now, make for a strong case. Trump had held up military aid to Ukraine by the time of his call with Zelensky, but if the public transcript is accurate, it did not come up during their conversation. According to The New York Times, Zelensky’s government did not learn that the military aid was frozen until more than one month later. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who met with Zelensky in early September, said that the Ukrainian president “did not make any connection between the aid that had been cut off and the requests that he was getting from [Trump attorney Rudy] Giuliani.” It will be difficult to prove extortion if Trump’s purported target was unaware.

It is also unclear from the transcript what exactly Trump wants Zelensky to do. The president’s rambling leaves room for ambiguity. On the Biden front, Trump tells Zelensky that “whatever you can do with the Attorney General [William Barr] would be great” and also asks him to “look into it.” But Barr says that he and Trump never spoke about investigating Biden or contacting Ukraine; Zelensky says that he did not feel any pressure to investigate Biden; and “look into it” can be interpreted in ways ranging from damning to benign.

Moreover, Trump’s foremost concern—and the object of the “favor” he asks Zelensky—is not Biden, but securing the Ukrainian president’s assistance with Barr’s review of the origins of the Russia investigation. Although he may be incoherent, Trump is within his rights to ask for Ukraine’s cooperation. As Lev Golinkin noted in The Nation, Ukrainian officials meddled in the 2016 election, with the explicit aim of hurting Trump’s candidacy, by leaking damaging information about Paul Manafort.

The whistle-blower’s complaint underscores the tenuous evidence to date: Its concerns are based entirely on second-hand and open-source information. The complaint references a “word-for-word transcript” produced by the Situation Room. If that is different from the one released by the White House, then perhaps there is still a smoking gun to be found. But if not, then as it stands, Democrats would be pushing for the most serious verdict possible, removal of the president from office, on a shaky case.

Democrats also opted to do so before both the transcript and complaint were released. It is worth asking why Trump’s behavior was already deemed impeachment-worthy before such critical pieces of evidence were available. And given how many immoral and destructive acts Trump commits daily, it is also worth asking why this one was deemed to be, in the words of Representative Adam Schiff, the president’s “most serious misconduct thus far.”

The answer is not difficult. In Washington, elites generally face consequences for the harm they cause not to the general population but to other members of the club. The standard was laid bare in Watergate, when Richard Nixon faced impeachment not for mass murder in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but for targeting the opposing elite faction and trying to cover it up. George W. Bush surely could have been impeached over the Iraq invasion if not for the fact that his crime against humanity was carried out with bipartisan support.

In the era of Trump, prominent Democratic and media figures have shaped their “Resistance” around the imperatives of the national security state and hostility to Trump’s occasional deviations. That is what gave us Russiagate, where US intelligence officials suspected Trump of being a Russian agent for breaking with bipartisan hostility toward Moscow. Ukrainegate also originates with the national security state. Its whistle-blower hails from the CIA, and his sources occupy nearby perches, including inside the White House. The prevailing concern is not just Trump’s alleged corruption but also, in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that “Russia has a hand in this.”

Their outcry presupposes that Trump endangered Ukraine and emboldened Russia by pausing the military assistance. In reality, US military aid has prolonged a disastrous proxy war with Russia that has claimed thousands of lives. It has also empowered far-right forces in Ukraine who have benefited from the US military assistance that Trump briefly froze. It was a concern for this very outcome that prompted President Obama to resist intense pressure to send that same military aid. Trump reversed Obama’s decision after facing the same Beltway pressure—with the added weight of contemporaneous allegations that he was not only soft on Russia but also its accomplice. The warning of former National Security Council member Charles Kupchan in August 2017 that sending “lethal weapons to Ukraine is a recipe for military escalation and transatlantic discord” has proven to be tragically prescient.

For Democrats to once again oppose Trump via a militarist, Cold War “scandal” risks more danger for Ukraine, Russia, and their own 2020 prospects. We all know how the last one turned out: three years of innuendo, discredited “bombshells,” and an investigation that not only found no Trump-Russia conspiracy but, upon scrutiny, almost no actual contact between Trump and Russia—insofar as “Russia” means the government that his campaign supposedly conspired with, not just Russian passport-holders or people who claim to know them. It should now be clear what Russiagate meant for the cause of defeating Trump in 2020. The collusion hype not only sidelined focus on the harm Trump has done to the country and the world but gave him the additional gift of vindication when it collapsed.

As much as we may hope that a Ukrainegate-centered impeachment proceeding could curb Trump’s other abuses, there are no reasons to expect that outcome. Instead, we risk another all-consuming affair much like Russiagate, with political and media energy consumed by minutiae that few Americans care about, and a hawkish worldview once again deemed synonymous with being anti-Trump. The fact that Schiff, the top congressional promoter of discredited Trump-Russia innuendo, is once again leading the charge does not inspire confidence. Schiff has already falsely declared that the whistle-blower alleged that “Trump pressured Ukraine to manufacture dirt on Biden” and that this allegation was “Confirmed.” In fact, the whistle-blower only alleged that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden, not “manufacture dirt” on him, and the transcript does not “confirm” otherwise.

Republicans will also get ample opportunities to highlight Democratic double standards. Even if Trump and Giuliani’s worst suspicions about Biden are incorrect, what is already established is damning enough. Hunter Biden obtained his lucrative board seat on a Ukrainian gas company despite having no experience in the country, and just months after his father’s administration backed a coup that overthrew its government. That very fact will weaken any Democratic effort to highlight Trump’s efforts to enrich himself and his family through the Oval Office. Republicans will also point to the irony of Trump’s being accused of seeking 2020 election help from Ukraine after Democratic Party officials already received such help in 2016. And after they take their turns hammering Biden’s dealings and Democrats’ hypocrisy, Senate Republicans will inevitably vote for Trump’s acquittal.

Throughout Russiagate, the interests of national security state officials converged with those of the neoliberal Democrats who lost to Trump in 2016. The unwavering focus on a conspiracy theory allowed Democratic elites to stave off the transformation that should have resulted from losing to a billionaire con man who posed as a working-class champion. Ukrainegate grants them yet one more extension: Instead of a Democratic primary where issues like Medicare For All, education, climate change, immigrant rights, militarism, and class warfare are addressed like never before, the country risks another incessant fixation with an intra-elite battle that relegates voters, and their concerns, to the margins. Democrats risk not only sidelining voters but their own best opportunity to reach them.

It is possible that enough incriminating evidence will be uncovered to make the Ukrainegate gambit worth it. But there are already enough parallels with the self-defeating scandal that consumed Democrats over the course of Trump’s first term to give pause. That is, at minimum, worthy of careful reflection as we head into the period that will decide whether Trump is to win or lose another four years.

Source: https://www.thenation.com/article/ukraine-scandal-democrats/

"Hunter Biden obtained his lucrative board seat on a Ukrainian gas company despite having no experience in the country, and just months after his father’s administration backed a coup that overthrew its government."

"Republicans will also point to the irony of Trump’s being accused of seeking 2020 election help from Ukraine after Democratic Party officials already received such help in 2016. "

I suppose that's just cherry picked information meant to make Joe Biden and the Democrats look bad.

Just like the Clintons enriching themselves through Russian oligarchs, there's nothing to see here folks!
 
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A deeper dive into one poll shows what Americans really think about impeachment

By Sharyl Attkisson, opinion contributor | Oct 1st

Excerpts:

The latest CBS News poll headlined the findings that “Majority of Americans favor an impeachment inquiry into President Trump,” 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

But what if there’s more than meets the eye?

A check of the poll data shows it interviewed 124 more Democrats than Republicans. That’s a statistically significant difference — 6 percentage points more Democrats than Republicans. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Democrats and Republicans generally respond along party lines, a sample that looked at 6 percentage points more Republicans instead of Democrats would blow the “headline” that “a majority of Americans” favors the impeachment inquiry. It would, theoretically, change the pro-impeachment inquiry majority to a minority: 49 per cent favoring the impeachment inquiry, and 51 per cent opposing.



To summarize, a deep-dive into the poll stats suggests numerous other headlines could be appropriate:

_“Majority of Americans in Democrat-heavy poll says Trump does not deserve to be impeached or it’s ‘too soon’ to say”

_“Most Republicans say impeachment inquiry makes them want to defend Trump”

_“Most Americans, including Democrats, say main goal of impeachment inquiry is to politically damage Donald Trump’s presidency and reelection”

None of this is to suggest there isn’t a negative trend line for President Trump, or that any poll should be reported in a one-sided fashion on behalf of either interest. But I think we already are seeing the continuation of a trend that proved problematic in 2015 and 2016: polls being used to try to shape public opinion, rather than to measure it.

We in the media promised to self-correct after making so many mistakes covering the 2016 campaign. But it’s starting to look like we’re traveling the same path as we head toward 2020.​

Source: https://thehill.com/opinion/campaig...what-americans-really-think-about-impeachment


It will be no surprise to me if Mr Trump's support in the polls tanks to under 30%. Those left supporting him will be the ones who believe that only he can save them/America.
In the report headlined Support for impeaching Trump hits new high, Politico says that “a new POLITICO/Morning Consult survey shows for the first time that more voters support than oppose proceedings to remove Trump from office. The uptick is primarily among Democrats, as Republican voters surveyed continue to have Trump's back”.

Excerpts:

In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 46 per cent of voters said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings vs. 43 per cent who said they should not. Eleven per cent had no opinion. That support represented a 3-point bump from last week, when voters were evenly split.



POLITICO and Morning Consult have been tracking voters’ support for starting impeachment proceedings to remove Trump since early 2018. Until last week, the previous high-water mark was 42 per cent, in August 2018. But that was eclipsed by the 43 per cent figure last week, and then again by the 46 per cent measure in the new poll.



Voters are becoming even more divided along partisan lines on impeachment. The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows eight-in-10 Democrats support starting impeachment proceedings, while only 11 percent oppose that. Among Republicans, only 9 per cent support impeachment proceedings, compared to 85 per cent who oppose. Independents are split: 43 per cent support beginning impeachment proceedings, while 39 per cent are in opposition.



During his 2016 campaign for president, Trump bragged that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Hyperbole aside, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll put that to the test: 62 per cent of voters said Trump “could do something that would cause me to support impeaching him and removing him from office.”

But nearly one-in-four, 24 per cent, said there’s “almost nothing Trump could do that would cause me to support impeaching him and removing him from office.”​

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/02/trump-impeachment-poll-support-016403
 
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