Mark December 7 on your calendar. It’s not only a day that will live in infamy, but one that will resound in the annals of absurdity as well, once Rudy Giuliani leaves his inimitable mark on it. Giuliani has been bounced from Fox News, at least until further notice, so he’s beginning a two-part series on Fox’s rival network, OAN, this weekend, entitled, “REVEALED: UKRAINIAN WITNESSES DESTROY SCHIFF’S CASE EXCLUSIVE WITH RUDY GIULIANI: PARTS 1 AND 2,” wherein he’ll share the fruits of his labors in Hungary and Ukraine this week. The series is hosted by OAN White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, best known for proselytizing conspiracy theories about Seth Rich and Pizzagate, when she isn’t busy penning anti-feminist children’s books or drawing anti-left political cartoons, amongst other swamp-fevered fantasies. Daily Beast: In October, Rion claimed that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page had an affair with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Rion’s vaguely sourced report went viral in corners of the right-wing blogosphere that has become obsessed with Page’s sex life and her connection to the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia. But Rion’s network quietly retracted the entire story later that month. […] Before joining OAN in May, Rion developed some level of notoriety on the internet for her bizarre political cartoons, in a self-published set of online cartoons dubbed “The Left Edge.” In one, Rion promoted the conspiracy theory that Clinton was behind the unsolved murder of DNC staffer Rich, which police have concluded was a botched robbery. In another, she referenced “spirit cooking”—the baseless claim, popular with believers in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, that top Democratic officials are involved in Satanic cannibalistic sacrifices. You know, this is one way of dealing with the Republicans. We could just bake ’em in a pie and eat ’em. Or, maybe we could do a fast food version of our cannibalistic cuisine. How about a Big Mitch burger, or some nice Dunkin Devins, with a coffee? Look, eating them has got to be better than listening to them, right? Now here’s my personal favorite from Rion’s album of Democratic delusions: Harry Reid is a visitor from beyond the stars, Planet Zoombo, to be precise. Dammit, how did she find out my home base? The Imperial Nawab is going to be very distressed when she hears about this. Not all of Rion’s cartoons promote conspiracy theories, but many of them are still strange. In one, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), dressed as an alien, comes to Earth to criticize then-FBI Director James Comey. Reid is depicted as arriving in a UFO inexplicably labeled “Planet Zoombo.” In another, she called on “armed citizens to defend America from violent left,” claiming without evidence that Democrats were plotting assassinations. In one cartoon, Rion portrays the Academy Awards’ Oscar statue as a woman named “Oscareena.” “He claims his name is Oscareena and he wants the keys to the little girls’ peek-a-boo room,” one character in the cartoon says. This is a White House correspondent, okay? This is the level of intellect and ability that holds that title, in an era when the likes of Alex Jones was given press credentials to attend White House press briefings (back when we did such things) while Jim Acosta had his revoked, after a number of years on the job. OAN has credibility in this White House, […]
The Biden campaign didn’t miss a beat getting this one out and up on the board. The world is laughing at President Trump. They see him for what he really is: dangerously incompetent and incapable of world leadership. We cannot give him four more years as commander in chief. pic.twitter.com/IR8K2k54YQ — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 5, 2019 This should hit Trump where he lives. He can’t stand being laughed at and it’s impossible to deny that these two events took place, the one at the United Nations and the one at the NATO summit. It will be interesting to see what Trump puts up as a counter-attack ad — Hunter Biden counting money on the beach, something like that? It’s going to be an ugly campaign, making 2016 look civil by comparison, but this is the level Trump has dragged us down to and we have to fight fire with fire. I think this is a good beginning. I admit to some trepidation recently when Joe Biden got his “no malarkey” bus rolling, but this, on the other hand, is a very smooth move. This is what we need more of.
Bess Levin at Vanity Fair has the most articulate and insightful synopsis so far of what the House Impeachment Report says about what Donald Trump and Rudy “butt dialer” Giuliani actually achieved when they decided to play Spy v. Spy in Ukraine. Bottom line? They couldn’t have been more blatant about what they were doing short of wearing reflective clothing and blowing on kazoos. If this is their idea of clandestine, heaven save us from their notion of overt. Bill Barr is going to have to hold the DOJ upside down and shake it to come up with some distraction that can match this in intensity — and expect him to try. Levin Report: On Tuesday, House Democrats released the Intelligence Committee’s 300-page impeachment report, which concludes, based on over two months of private and public testimony from career diplomats and other administration officials, that Donald Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States,” sought to undermine American democracy, and, in doing so, endangered national security. For a guy who has insisted that he acted with the utmost integrity when he attempted to extort Ukraine to smear his political rivals, it isn’t a good look! But Trump isn’t the only one for whom the report should be causing some gastrointestinal distress right about now; his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has also emerged from the account looking like a full-on crook, a portrayal that probably would’ve been of concern to him had his brain not started atrophying when he left the New York City mayor’s office in 2001. Much of the damning information comes in the form of phone records. According to logs obtained by the committee from AT&T, Giuliani was in extremely frequent communication with the White House, specifically the Office of Management and Budget, where acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, of Ukraine “drug deal” fame, is still director. For instance, Giuliani spoke with unidentified individuals at OMB and the White House on April 12, 23, and 24. An OMB call on the latter date lasted over 13 minutes and occurred just one day before Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was told to return from Kiev. Following many of these communications, the Week notes, Giuliani placed calls to or received calls from his indicted associate Lev Parnas, whom Giuliani allegedly dispatched to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son. Another call of particular interest was the 13-minute one between Giuliani and OMB on August 8, which occurred just one day after Ambassador Kurt Volker messaged Giuliani about a meeting with Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak and a “visit” the two had discussed. Last month the Washington Post reported that a confidential White House review of Trump’s decision to put a hold on aid to Ukraine “has turned up hundreds of documents that reveal extensive efforts to generate an after-the-fact justification for the decision and a debate over whether the delay was legal,” on which OMB led the charge. In early August, for instance, Mulvaney asking acting OMB director Russell Vought to provide an update on the legal rationale for holding up the aid and how much longer it could be delayed. According to the justification from the OMB lawyers—which the State Department and National Security Council disputed—withholding the aid was legal so long as they referred to it as a “temporary” hold. Was Giuliani strategizing with someone at OMB re: the delayed aid? Who’s to say! […]
Kamala Harris was one of seven presidential contenders who qualified for the December Democratic debates, but she has decided to pull the plug on her campaign — possibly due to the fact that she’s always been underwater financially, spending $1.41 for every dollar earned. Axios: The big picture: Harris spent the early parts of her campaign as a top-tier contender for the Democratic nomination, but struggled in the polls as Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg emerged as frontrunners. She landed a few standout moments — most notably in the first debate, when she faced off with Biden over his opposition of federally mandated busing in the 1970s. But while Harris’ poll numbers saw a spike after the first debate, the moment failed to significantly alter the course of her campaign. The senator laid off the majority of her New Hampshire staff in early November, hoping to go all-in on Iowa with limited cash on hand. Last week, more than 50 current and former staffers spoke to the New York Times about dysfunction within the campaign. Many of them spoke on the record. Between the lines: Harris publicly questioned whether her failure to gain traction was the result of America being unprepared to elect a woman of color. In an interview on “Axios on HBO,” she called the issue the “the elephant in the room about [her] campaign,” adding: “When there is not a reference point for who can do what, there is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone who we have never seen can do a job that has been done, you know, forty-five times by someone who is not that person.” I expect Booker and Klobuchar to go next. The Iowa primary is going to loom very large after January 1.
Poor Joe Biden. Every nut case with an R behind his name is after him these days, Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, and now none other than Rudy Giuliani. TRUTH ALERT: The statement I’ve made several times of having an insurance policy, if thrown under bus, is sarcastic & relates to the files in my safe about the Biden Family’s 4 decade monetizing of his office. If I disappear, it will appear immediately along with my RICO chart. — Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 23, 2019 Rudy sounds exactly like the mob bosses he used to prosecute. I honestly can’t decide who has fallen from a greater height, Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz. Right now I’d say it’s even money.
The quality of Devin Nunes’ problems has just escalated out of the realm of fake cows and what he deemed the “circus” of the House impeachment inquiry. Congressman Nunes may be looking at an indictment for breaking federal law, by trying to solicit something of value to a political campaign from a foreign national. Rudy Giuliani’s henchman, Lev Parnas, is testifying that former Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin met with Nunes in Vienna for the purpose of discussing digging up political dirt against Joe Biden. This is precisely what Fiona Hill spoke of with respect to Gordan Sondland, when she said that Sondland was doing a personal errand for Donald Trump whereas she and others were advancing a diplomatic agenda, and those two things had diverged, and were likely to “blow up.” Nunes was part of the contingent that was furthering Donald Trump’s personal political interests in Ukraine, not America’s. CNN: Congressional travel records show that Nunes and three aides traveled to Europe from November 30 to December 3, 2018. The records do not specify that Nunes and his staff went to Vienna or Austria, and Nunes was not required to disclose the exact details of the trip. – Nunes’ entourage included retired colonel Derek Harvey, who had previously worked for Trump on the National Security Council, and now works for Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee. Harvey declined to comment. – Bondy told CNN that Nunes planned the trip to Vienna after Republicans lost control of the House in the mid-term elections on Nov. 6, 2018. – “Mr. Parnas learned through Nunes’ investigator, Derek Harvey, that the Congressman had sequenced this trip to occur after the mid-term elections yet before Congress’ return to session, so that Nunes would not have to disclose the trip details to his Democrat colleagues in Congress,” said Bondy. – At the time of the trip, Nunes was chairman of the Intelligence Committee. In January, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff took over as chairman of the powerful committee, which is now conducting the impeachment inquiry. Here’s where we run into two other names recently in the news with respect to investigating the Bidens, journalist John Solomon, who attacked Fiona Hill, shortly after she exposed the false narrative and conspiracy theory of Ukraine having a part in the 2016 election, and of course Lindsey Graham, because he, too, now wants to launch a formal investigation of the Bidens, as does Nunes. [Parnas’ attorney] Bondy says that according to his client, following a brief in-person meeting in late 2018, Parnas and Nunes had at least two more phone conversations, and that Nunes instructed Parnas to work with Harvey on the Ukraine matters. – Parnas says that shortly after the Vienna trip, he and Harvey met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where they discussed claims about the Bidens as well as allegations of Ukrainian election interference, according to Bondy. – Following this, Bondy says that in a phone conversation Nunes told Parnas that he was conducting his own investigation into the Bidens and asked Parnas for help validating information he’d gathered from conversations with various current and former Ukrainian officials, including Shokin. – Parnas says that Nunes told him he’d been partly working off of information from the journalist John Solomon, who had written a number of articles on the Biden conspiracy theory for the Hill, according to Bondy. Nunes has been asked […]
A few days ago when Pete Buttigieg polled number one in Iowa, it was seen as yet another death knell for Joe Biden. Buttigieg’s showing in Iowa is not that surprising, nor that unexpected, given it’s proximity to Indiana. But let us not forget South Carolina, which is another key state, and from the looks of those stats, Uncle Joe is doing just fine. Chris Cillizza, The Point: Two polls released Monday out of South Carolina tell that story. In a Quinnipiac University poll, Biden is at 33% with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts a distant second at 13%. A University of North Florida poll showed much the same — Biden at 36% with Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont lagging well behind at 10% each. Among black voters in the Quinnipiac poll, Biden took 44% to 10% for Sanders and just 8% for Warren. (South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg received less than 1% of the black vote in South Carolina in the new Q poll. Ouch.) Of the UNF poll, Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, said: “Buoyed by his support among African American voters, Biden has an established lead far above the other contenders in South Carolina.” Biden’s lasting strength in South Carolina and with black voters is mirrored in his improving performance in national 2020 polling as well. Biden was in danger of losing his edge over Warren in national 2020 surveys as recently as a few weeks ago. Now? He averages more than 7 points over Warren, according to the polling database maintained by Real Clear Politics. Just last Friday, Barack Obama caught a lot of heat for telling a group of wealthy Democratic donors that it would not be a wise move to be too progressive in the choice of a 2020 candidate. Common Dreams: According to the New York Times, which first reported on Obama’s “too far left” advice: While Mr. Obama did not single out any specific primary candidate or policy proposal, he cautioned that the universe of voters that could support a Democratic candidate—Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans—are not driven by the same views reflected on “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds” or “the activist wing of our party.” “Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Mr. Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.” Specifically not mentioned by name but clearly a target of the comments was Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has made the phrase “political revolution” central to his 2020 primary campaign. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also running for the nomination, was likely another candidate the former president had in mind as she, along with Sanders, has used her campaign to argue that the U.S. political and economic systems are rigged against working people in favor of the wealthy and corporations—a dynamic that is going to need massive “structural change,” the U.S. senator from Massachusetts says, if it is to be undone. Let me be clear. I think Elizabeth Warren is brilliant. Her ideas certainly resonate with me. But I’m with Obama on this one. I think a return to sane government and getting back the White House is where we have to go. I think Obama is right, we need to caution […]
If you heard Trump batting about how the Republican party has never been more unified, on the White House lawn Sunday morning, this is what that all boils down to: Mitch McConnell is convinced that as long as the economy stays strong and the Republicans present a united front, impeachment will simply be viewed as the vile partisan plot that Trump depicts it as, and the Ukraine scandal will just go by the boards. Now, this may be overly optimistic on McConnell’s part, not to mention cynical as hell, considering how more damning information comes out by the day, not only about Ukraine, but also oozing from the Mueller memos, which have been released. On the other hand, McConnell is a cunning old bastard, who understands politics as a game and a strategy as few others have. In all events, this is the GOP game plan as it stands now and will remain, until when and if an alteration of it is forced. Axios: Between the lines: Trump officials think two things must unfold for this to happen: Republicans must stay unified, in votes and voice, and the economy must be strong, in jobs and market returns. The trends are strong on both fronts. Every single House Republican voted against a formal impeachment proceeding, a powerful show of unity. In the Senate, there are very few public signs of the Great Red Wall cracking. Importantly, Senate Republicans are discussing how they will defend Trump even if Democrats prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Trump offered Ukraine a quid pro quo to investigate Joe Biden. Sources close to Republican leadership told us they expect many GOP senators to ultimately settle on a talking point that Trump’s actions were “inappropriate but not impeachable.” The economy is humming, too. Markets are rising; growth continues, albeit more slowly; and more jobs are materializing. It’s hard to argue that the Trump economy is anything but consistently strong one year out from the presidential election. The big picture: “The worst-case scenario” — that the Senate convicts Trump — “only presents itself if there’s a material change in fact pattern,” said a source close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “If we know what we know right now, there is no problem.” This is plausible. A strong economy supports an incumbent’s reelection, no question about that. However, there are unmistakable signs of the economy weakening, not the least of which is the inverse yield curve, which is a harbinger of a stock market crash. It happened most recently in late 2018, and traditionally, 18 months after that is when the crash takes place. So, if Trump gets reelected, the economy will go south on his watch, of that there is no question. Since there is so much consumer debt these days, it’s possible that this recession would be worse than 2008. Add to that the trade war with China, and the loss of other foreign markets, which have necessitated massive farm bailouts on Trump’s watch, and we could be looking at one hell of a rodeo ride if Trump gets reelected. The worse aspect of this vision, though, is what another four years of Trump would do to the standing of the United States in the eyes of the world. Iraq is already “recalibrating” its posture towards the United States and […]
The back story is that a lot of RWNJs love Tulsi Gabbard and are hoping that she will run as a third party candidate, thereby bleeding votes off of the Democratic candidate, whomever s/he may be. Tulsi is seen as thinking like “one of them” and her impassioned Hillary-bashing really got her a lot of points. Therefore, imagine what a disappointment it was when Tulsi voted yes on the impeachment resolution Thursday morning — but not to worry, Ann Coulter was there to save Tulsi’s bacon. Ann Coulter @AnnCoulter apparently auditioning for a spot in the @realDonaldTrump administration with an epic fail. https://t.co/6u9m4jsVu9 — Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) October 31, 2019 There are a lot of morans with a national platform. and Ann Coulter is one of them. Sweet Jesus, what an election this is going to be, with this level of disinformation and idiocy. And we haven’t even had the first primary yet.
The ball has dropped and it’s an historical day in the House, as it voted formally on a resolution governing the public portions of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. The resolution passed 232-196, with two Democrats voting no, no Republicans voting yes, and only Justin Amash, now an Independent but formerly a Republican voting yes. Roll Call: Two Democrats, Reps. Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, voted “no.” Van Drew has said that while Trump’s behavior has been “distasteful” and makes him “feel uncomfortable,” he doesn’t believe the president has committed any impeachable offenses. It’s unfortunate that this issue has to be a partisan, i.e., “tribal” one, but that is the way that it’s shaking down. And true to form, even though the Republicans have been screaming for a more public impeachment process, now they find fault with the way things are to go forward. House Republicans, to different degrees, have objected to the process run by their Democratic counterparts. Some, like Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Rules Committee, want Trump to be allowed to have counsel representing him before the Intelligence Committee. Democrats, though, object to that request saying that the panel is gathering facts and that the president will be represented once the probe reaches the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over articles of impeachment. Ahead of the vote, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana ripped into the resolution. “It gives veto authority by the chair to literally reject any witness that is brought forward by the minority,” Scalise said, standing next to a sign held by a staffer that said “37 days of Soviet-Style impeachment proceedings.” “This is Soviet-Style rules. Maybe in the Soviet Union you do things like this where only you make the rules, where you reject the ability for the person you’re accusing to even be in the room, to question what’s going on. It’s noteworthy that when the Benghazi investigation was going on, Trey Gowdy and other Republicans defended private depositions to the hilt. Gowdy even reiterated his defense of the procedure the other day. However, now that it’s a Republican president who is the object of the investigation, all the other Republicans seem to have forgotten why it’s such a good idea.