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 […]
Neil Katyal, former DOJ Solicitor General, writes in the Washington Post this morning that Parnas’s evidence dump constitutes the exact type of evidence that Trump desperately wanted to avoid. It is surely the evidence that Trump and McConnell knew existed and thus tried to speed through a trial with a motion to dismiss or no witnesses. But with the evidence out, Trump may be left without a defense in the days prior to trial. As we discussed yesterday, and as this new reality sets across the country, the evidence is more damning than we had imagined. Now, momentum will build and even more damning evidence will come out. Below is a picture of the key players – who knew that Robert Hyde was a key player in this scandal? No no, it…. it can't be… Hyde with thumbs up and cigars with Giuliani, Parnas, Fruman…. can it? I am shooketh! ???? pic.twitter.com/B4pCXuApW7 — JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUΔL³³º¹ (@th3j35t3r) January 15, 2020 Robert Hyde did himself no favors yesterday, and will prove to be a major problem for Trump. Hyde just authenticated each text, surely by accident: So we’ve got confirmation the texts are authentic. That’s step one. https://t.co/o3FvS3Wlyi — Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 15, 2020 We now know the answer as to why Trump went to such lengths to block every single document and witness from testifying. The release of anything would likely affirm that a massive operation was under way, one that seems to have spiraled out of Trump’s control, and yet one for which he bears all responsibility. The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate,” the two lawyers wrote. “These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging.” They do a lot more than demolish all three defenses, they bring up an entirely new issue. What was the underlying purpose of surveilling Ambassador Yovanovitch? Why are there discussions about Ukraine associates wanting to know about the money coming or not, a price? But we will go along with shattering three defenses for now. For starters, they prove that Trump’s already-eyebrow-raising claim to have been fighting corruption in Ukraine was bogus. Notes taken by Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas — now facing federal criminal charges — show what his and Giuliani’s mission was when they got in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: ‘get Zalensky [sic] to Announce that the Biden case will Be Investigated.’” True. And don’t think that this one doesn’t matter because we all knew it was contrived to suit Trump. Trump’s followers actually believed it, and still believe it, but they will have an increasingly difficult time especially as witnesses get called. Second, Katyal states that the evidence shows just how critical it will be to have those witnesses, witnesses like Parnas and ultimately, perhaps even Rudy Giuliani, or Robert Hyde. I am not sure that this issue was ever in doubt, but the justification is far more compelling now. We need to get to the bottom of the surveillance and threats to Ambassador Yovanovitch. Third, the documents prove that Trump blocked all evidence because it did nothing but prove his […]
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...