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 […]
Now this is interesting. This entire matter could have more serious implications than one might assume at first glance. The Daily Beast has a report out this morning centered on the fact that GOP Senators have taken a stand in avoiding Rudy Giuliani, almost as if meeting Giuliani would assure universal healthcare. Rudy has the ability to “rub-off” on people and GOP Senators are terrified of having their name associated with him. They know he is spreading straight Russian propaganda. On his trip to Kyiv last month, Giuliani met with former general prosecutors and parliamentarians known for peddling Russian conspiracy theories, including supposed plots that involve Ukrainian intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. When he arrived back in Washington, Giuliani updated Trump, according to two individuals with knowledge of their conversation, and said publicly the president asked him to brief Republican senators about the information he gathered. I highlighted the critical facts. Rudy met with people so obviously associated with the Kremlin that even the American media picks it up immediately and clearly – it is that obvious. Rudy’s sole purpose was to again get dirt on Biden, which is the entire reason Trump is being impeached in the first place. And, most importantly, Trump himself wants Rudy to brief each Republican senator on what Rudy “found.” Except Republican senators don’t want to hear it, don’t want to be seen with Rudy, don’t want any part of this bullshit, and are even willing to directly cross Trump’s instructions and plan. That matters. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that many Republican senators were on TV a few weeks ago pedaling Rudy-Russian conspiracy theories. They aren’t clean in this. But it would seem that they have hit their limit. For a group that has proudly busted limits for Trump up until now, it’s a little weird, getting weirder. They clearly believe Rudy can’t be trusted. Thus, they’re now opposing Trump on this. “He has not shared any of that information with me,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about the information Giuliani obtained overseas. “My advice to Giuliani would be to share what he got from Ukraine with the IC [intelligence community] to make sure it’s not Russia propaganda. I’m very suspicious of what the Russians are up to all over the world.” What a fantastic idea, Lindsey. Now can you explain why it was just fine to accept and disseminate this information for years prior, and it is only now that you suggest this information go to professionals and not you and the f’ing media? Or do you want us to just fill in the blanks? That the heat is starting to bubble to a boil and putting your toe in Trump’s Russian water right now hurts a bit too much. “I wouldn’t trust Rudy to represent me in a parking dispute so I’d say avoid,” a senior GOP Senate aide said tersely when asked if it was a good idea for Republican senators to meet with Giuliani to get a Ukraine briefing. Another top aide in a different Republican office said their senator had informed staff that they had “no interest at all” in meeting with Giuliani on this, fearing it would amount to a “waste of time,” if not […]
Within forty-eight hours, Donald Trump will be the third president in history to have been impeached, and the entire matter sent to the Senate for trial. Under no set of circumstances, no matter how “loyal” one’s party, is this a good development for Trump, nor does it make him “strong,” in any sense. At the same time, the New York Times is publishing an Op-Ed by four prominent conservatives, George Conway, Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson and John Weaver, which calls out the entire Republican party for putting the nation in this position in the first place. The timing is exquisite in that over the last two days, we see more walls closing in on Trump’s few defenses. As I noted yesterday, Rudy is spouting his mouth off about having Ambassador Yovanovitch removed, and the Times is reporting this morning that Rudy says he briefed Trump on Yovanovitch, In an interview, Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, described how he passed along to Mr. Trump “a couple of times” accounts about how the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, had frustrated efforts that could be politically helpful to Mr. Trump. They included investigations involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukrainians who disseminated documents that damaged Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. Rudy’s strategy must be the adoption of Trump’s theory that if one does something out in the open, then clearly it cannot be wrong or illegal. Rudy is bragging about helping to get an ambassador removed because she wouldn’t tolerate his efforts. In Rudy’s head, it must be a perfectly rational and legal thing to do. The irony is that at the same time Rudy was trying to get the “dirt” on Biden, he was also involved in setting up his own money-making op, and knew that Yovanovitch had to go if he was to succeed: Testimony in the impeachment proceedings as well as other information have shown that Mr. Giuliani’s claims about Ms. Yovanovitch were either unsubstantiated or were taken out of context. In the interview, he portrayed himself as personally involved in the effort to derail a career diplomat around the time he was considering business arrangements with some of the Ukrainians funneling information to him. So this is the evidentiary environment to which Trump awoke this morning. It is also the environment in which the four authors of the piece took all Republicans to task for putting up with sh*t like Rudy’s antics above. After all, look at what Rudy and Trump were willing to do to Ambassador Yovanovitch to get what they wanted. They destroyed her. And the authors took notice: “Indeed, national Republicans have done far worse than simply march along to Mr. Trump’s beat,” they wrote. “Their defense of him is imbued with an ugliness, a meanness and a willingness to attack and slander those who have shed blood for our country, who have dedicated their lives and careers to its defense and its security, and whose job is to preserve the nation’s status as a beacon of hope.” Finally. I am heartened that someone has finally nailed Republicans for embodying what they have become. They are just plain “mean,” and being “ugly” or evil is not a virtue! It is only a virtue to those most craven Q-Anon voters who vote only to “own the […]
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