Mimi Rocah is a former mafia prosecutor and after she looked at the Hyde/Parnas documentation, which Lev Parnas released Tuesday, she said that she recognized the pattern. Rudy Giuliani is responsible for Donald Trump getting impeached. Giuliani bizarrely misconceives himself as Don Giuliani and the awfulness in Ukraine as a fight between the ruling families, with Parnas and Fruman as his war consiglieres. I wouldn’t put it past him, this isn’t the first indication we’ve had that he’s playing with half a deck these days. Bess Levin, Vanity Fair: For many months now, we’ve known that presidential attorney and sentient cigar humidor Rudy Giuliani worked extremely hard, and was ultimately successful at, removing former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from her post to pave the way for an investigation into Joe Biden that would benefit Donald Trump. We know this because Giuliani has freely admitted as much on more than one occasion. “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” he told the New Yorker. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody,” he added, explaining that he’d compiled a dossier on Yovanovitch as part of a smear campaign against her, which he turned over to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the F.B.I., and journalist John Solomon. What he hadn’t known until last night was that Giuilani’s business associate Lev Parnas, the guy who Trump reportedly recruited for the Ukraine plot at a White House party, was also working his connections to oust Yovanovitch, as revealed by disturbing evidence released by Democrats. Per the New York Times: In March, [Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy] Lutsenko messaged Mr. Parnas in Russian on the WhatsApp messaging service to say that he was making progress in getting information about Mr. Trump’s rivals, according to a translation provided by impeachment investigators. Mr. Lutsenko added: “And here you can’t even get rid of one [female] fool,” an apparent reference to Ms. Yovanovitch. He also inserted a frowning emoji. “She’s not a simple fool[,] trust me,” Mr. Parnas responded. “But she’s not getting away.” Mr. Trump ultimately recalled Ms. Yovanovitch from her post in late April. In a separate series of cryptic text messages, Mr. Parnas communicated with another man who appeared to be monitoring the movements of Ms. Yovanovitch. The texts, exchanged in March on WhatsApp, indicated that the second man, Robert F. Hyde, was in touch with people in Ukraine who were watching Ms. Yovanovitch. “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” one message from Mr. Hyde to Mr. Parnas read. That is pretty much it in a nutshell and if it doesn’t sound like a hit, or a shake down at the very least, then how else would you interpret these words? Also, Mike Pompeo is looking very bad at this time. And bear in mind that this bombshell came right on the heels of his lies and obfuscation regarding the Suleimani assassination. I can’t see how Pompeo’s political career isn’t going to end after this. Pompeo has completely shirked his responsibilities and ambassadors who worked under saner administrations are kicking in their two cents about these events. “It’s horrifying, it’s just unbelievable,” retired ambassador Jim Melville told CNN. “The very idea that there were elements, possibly of the U.S. government or connected to the U.S. government, who were trying to do an end run around everything that we’ve established to keep our mission safe is just outrageous.” Retired ambassador Nancy McEldowney had a similar take, saying, “I find this really […]
To be sure, no one is more under the gun in the impeachment proceedings than Trump. But there certainly are others who have some serious concerns going forward. One person who must feel exponentially more pressure tonight than just yesterday would be Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is one of the smart ones, who has sold his soul to Trump, and knows much more than most that the walls are closing in. Pompeo had enough problems with the revelations that an entire black-ops diplomacy effort operated within his jurisdiction, but outside his department and run by Rudy Giuliani. The fact that this Alt-State Department now looks like it put Ambassador Yovanovitch at risk – and that is the least of the possibilities at this point – Pompeo must now face his responsibilities as the chief United States diplomat, and cabinet secretary charged with overseeing all ambassadors. Joe Lockhart, late of the Clinton administration, addressed just how difficult Pompeo’s life is about to get: I was struck this morning given my experience in government — the people that we had doing special diplomacy were people like George Mitchell, you know, Tom Foley went out and did some things — the former speaker of the House. Richard Holbrook.” “Not Lev Parnas?” Camerota prompted. “Not two-bit criminals who are either mob figures or trying to act like mob figures,” Lockhart replied. “It’s unconscionable that [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo allowed this to go on. You have to believe at some point he read into all of the stuff and he allowed it.” I am not sure about “read into all of the stuff,” as I am not sure that Trump knew of all this stuff, and if we know anything about Trump, none of it was put to paper to read. The point remains, however, that at some point Pompeo knew, and didn’t lose his sh*t in defending his ambassador half-way across the world. Bad enough that he allowed the “alt-diplomacy” go on. We know that someone in the State Department knew that Marie Yovanovitch was in danger. Someone called her to say under no vague terms: “Get the fck out of the country, not tomorrow, on the next plane. You are in danger.” Or terms to that effect. If someone at the State Department knew enough to call Ambassador Yovanovitch, Pompeo cannot deny he had no information about it. He knew by that point that something extended far beyond his control. Keep in mind, Yovanovitch was fired and told to get out, long before this all became a thing. It would certainly put Pompeo on notice that Ukraine was the center of a controversy. It appears to me that Trump has “some things” he must go through, and may or may not survive. Of this we can be sure, no chance does Trump without Pompeo also going down. They are linked, with their fates intertwined. Pompeo is going to have to answer some hard questions. He may even get called to testify – depending on the scope of the trial. But whether it be at trial, or in the congressional hearings sure to come paralleling the scandal, Pompeo is going to have to answer the age-old question, what did he know and when did he know it. He best start preparing some answers now. […]
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is angry, and rightly so. Through her lawyer, Ambassador Yovanovitch released a statement addressing yesterday’s revelations: “Needless to say, the notion that American citizens and others were monitoring Ambassador Yovanovitch’s movements for unknown purposes is disturbing,” he said in the statement obtained by The Hill. “We trust that the appropriate authorities will conduct an investigation to determine what happened.” “Disturbing” barely scratches the surface. Need I even point out that while such an investigation is critical and obvious, it will almost surely be opposed by the administration? It is near impossible to contemplate. Evidence reveals that an American ambassador might well have been threatened while serving, and a president may oppose an investigation? We can expect Trump to oppose the investigation, if he doesn’t, it may unlock a whole separate sea of evidence that we never knew to exist. An important question has arisen regarding some of the evidence released yesterday, and could only be answered in an investigation. Given that Trump could fire Ambassador Yovanovitch at any point, and for any reason, why was she followed, surveilled, and – at a minimum – placed in danger to the point that she had to be rushed out of the country? This question cannot be answered easily. Some potential answers are horrifying. Ukraine is still a young democracy, and a lot of oligarchs lost a lot of money to her anti-corruption efforts. Moreover, it sure appears as though she was real trouble for some power-players here in the United States, too. There will be precious few winners coming out the impending impeachment trial in the senate, but there will be one hero, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Unfortunately, she is likely in just as much danger now as she had been in Ukraine. Robert Hyde and the MAGA heads are going after her on Twitter. It is extremely dangerous to tell the truth about Trump. Read that last sentence again. It sounds like something out of Russia or Saudi Arabia. Yovanovitch cannot even rely upon the support from her own boss in the State Department. (She is still an employee of the State Department, despite not being assigned and despite teaching at Georgetown). Pompeo has been unforgivably silent with respect to Yovanovitch’s fate: NEW: House Dems are set to demand that the State Department account for Yovanovitch's safety during her stalking, in light of explosive Lev Parnas documents, aide tells me. Pompeo's stonewalling suddenly looks much worse. That and more in my new piece:https://t.co/kVHtmxSqo8 — Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 15, 2020 Yes, what exactly did cause Pompeo to stonewall all of this? One of the few times a cabinet secretary should stand opposed to the president or his staff is when one of that cabinet member’s employees is threatened or unfairly maligned. As we have come to expect from Trump and his administration, loyalty runs only one direction and it must be absolute. Here is one thing to takeaway, Yovanovitch surely knows a great deal about the deals made by Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, i.e. where and how they hide their money, who they do business with, including Americans, etc. These oligarchs all answer to Putin. An investigation into her Ukrainian circumstances may well threaten these same oligarchs, putting even greater pressure upon Yovanovitch, but also greater pressure upon Putin […]
One must be cautious about saying something that may sound like hyperbole. But the picture changed today with the release of the Lev Parnas materials. I know that much, whether it results in Trump’s ultimate removal or not is a more difficult question. The documents/texts from Robert Hyde (a Giuliani associate, a huge Trump donor who hangs out at Trump’s clubs) referencing Ukrainians surveilling a United States ambassador, including phones and computers, without notifying embassy security, along with the texts referring to the famous corruption fighter as a f**king b**** all alongside the fact that the State Department told Yovanovitch to be on the plane within hours because there were concerns for her safety, is damned haunting. It sure puts a new coat upon Trump saying that Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things.” Now, none of this is confirmed, other than it came from Parnas, purportedly from Hyde. So, until it is confirmed, and until Parnas can testify to the context of everything, we need to be cautious to a certain extent. But Parnas knows that this material could possibly take down a United States president, and has to know that the authenticity of the evidence will be worked through by the most expert technicians in the world. Parnas is also trying to save his own ass which is in deep trouble. it is far more likely than not that it is real. Chris Hayes just brought up the fact that the line about Ukrainians following her with the quote that in the Ukraine one can get anything for money, makes one just shiver. It is possible, just possible, that they were going to harm her and make it appear it was some random crime in the Ukraine. It is also possible that Robert Hyde was simply trying to impress Giuliani and company that he was that on top of her. But even if so, no one jumped on him to say “knock it off, stop this.” It is possible that Hyde is completely nuts and was lying about surveilling her. But you also have to consider that a lot of oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine hated her for her anti-corruption fight, as well as Trump’s words. “She is going to go through some things,” something that really doesn’t make a lot of sense. She’d already been fired when Trump talked to Zelensky. This is the type of evidence that completely changes the picture in the case against Trump. It sounds like mob bosses talking. It sounds like they wanted to get rid of a problem. There is no doubt they wanted her gone from the job, fired, they were pounding on the need to fire her. None of that is disputed. If Trump’s political “gamesmanship” and self-obsession put Yovanovitch in harms way – and she was told to get out, fast, because a security threat arose – if it all checks out, I don’t see how Trump remains in office. I suspect even Republicans will consider him disgraced. At a minimum, he won’t win the election if all this is genuine. The most base of the base aren’t leaving Trump, but a lot of people will. If I had to bet, there is a ton of truth in this stuff. Hyde’s comment upon the release of the material […]
Republican handling of the this new COVID-19 phase has been bizarre. It’s clear that they’re less and less interested...