As I have written previously, internal White House emails obtained late Friday night by the Center for Public Integrity show that someone in budgeting in the White House ordered the Pentagon to put the money congress appropriated to Ukraine on hold, and to keep quiet about it, just 90 minutes after the phone call between Trump and President Zelensky. Per Raw Story: “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction,” Michael Duffey, a Trump-appointed senior official with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), wrote in a July 25 email to Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker and other Trump administration officials. “The perfect call” doesn’t quite jive with “given the sensitive nature of the request.” Does it? Keeping the information “closely held” to those people who need to know to execute the direction seems to practically shout that they knew they were engaging in something without legal justification, negating any talk about a “perfect call.” Of course they knew they were engaging in “extra-legal” affairs, as stated in the article: As CPI national security editor R. Jeffrey Smith wrote Friday, U.S. law mandates that “once Congress appropriates funds—like the Ukraine assistance—and the president signs the relevant spending bill, the executive branch must spend those funds.” Yeah, the United States is funny that way. If the president could change his mind mid-stream and divy out funds (or not) based on new conditions he personally places upon recipients, that ends the republic, period, and it’s not coming back. I am not exagerating. if such behavior is tolerated, then why even have Congress go through all those wasted motions? The President can just do what he wants at the end of the day anyway. They damned well knew they were not just operating illegally, but against everything this divided government stands for. “A president cannot simply ignore Congress’ direction, no matter how inconvenient or unappealing that instruction might be,” Smith noted. “If funds are withheld or shifted elsewhere, this cannot be done in secret, and Congress must approve.” The moment he does is the moment that Jeffersonian democracy dies. This is why it all mattered, and it didn’t take Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and Colonel Vindman to convince the people within the Trump administration that it mattered. They knew what they were doing was wrong. You can see it in the emails, you see it in what they were trying to hide. And that, ultimately, is why witnesses from within the White House are needed in this impeachment trial. Now that this email is out, Schumer has something to pound home: “What were they hiding?”….“This email is explosive. A top administration official, one that we’ve requested, is saying ‘stop the aid’ 91 minutes after Trump called Zelensky, and said ‘keep it hush-hush.’ What more do you need to request a witness?” Which, obviously, is a great point that will never be answered because “hiding” is the entire point. “If this is a perfect conversation, if this is [an] OK action, why are they trying to hush it up?” Because the only thing “perfect” in the conversation was the perfect extortion directed at President Zelensky and Ukraine. Trump knows it, Mulvaney knows it, McConnell knows it, the House Republicans might have sensed […]
The allegations against Trump are so troubling that his Republican defenders are having a difficult time characterizing his actions. The current strategy is to confine the entire “scandal” and justification for impeachment within the one telephone call, solely. But, that strategy clearly ignores the fact that the complaint itself references a series of conduct, the phone call itself being, perhaps, one of the most innocuous portion of the entire scandal. For this morning at least, the Republicans seem to be winning their message war. The entire course of conduct relevant to this entire scandal began late last spring with, who else, but Rudy. A quote is referenced from the New York Enquirer: Last spring, Rudy Giuliani was openly pressuring Kiev to investigate Joe Biden. Giuliani told the New York Times, “We’re meddling in an investigation … because that information will be very, very helpful to my client.” The key word there was “we’re.” The first-person plural indicated Giuliani was not carrying out this mission alone. A series of reports have revealed how many other government officials were involved in the scheme. This does not just implicate Trump, it implicates an entire “branch,” many individuals, and some of those individuals are in a position to block the investigation, including people in the Justice Department, working with Rudy Giuliani. And, of course, those same individuals, helped hide the entire matter from Congress. Lawmakers “were first told the assistance was being reviewed to determine whether it was in the best interest of foreign policy,” the Times reported this week. “Other administration officials said, without detail, there was a review on corruption in Ukraine, according to current and former officials. Then, as August drew to a close, other officials told lawmakers they were trying to gauge the effectiveness of the aid, a claim that struck congressional aides as odd.” Indeed, the story goes on to state that one of the officials includes Mike Pence who told others in and around the White House that the money was being held up due to “concerns about corruption,” which Pence knew to be bullshit on an exponential curve of layers. And there is absolutely no question that the entire context reveals there to be a clear quid pro quo in place. One need only ask the actual Ukrainians, who were under no doubt as to the expectations put upon them. Ukraine got the message. Its officials “expressed concern to U.S. senators that the aid had been held up as a penalty for resisting that pressure” to investigate Biden, reports the Wall Street Journal. The few materials released already, I am referring to the transcript, which isn’t a transcript, at all, but we’ll use that term for now, implicate the president’s personal attorney (who also serves as attorney for the campaign), the Attorney General of the United States, and the entire United States State Department. There was clearly a massive effort, controlled by the White House, to use the foreign policy apparatus to attack the president’s principle political “enemy” – an American citizen – by enlisting another country that was essentially “hostage” to the program. Moreover, there was a massive effort to hide the operation from many in the White House, in other agencies, and certainly from Congress. Lies were told, improper roles were played, the White House […]
Unfit To Lead
According to Rawstory, Trump dumped Bolton due to opposing views regarding peace talks with everyone, including the Taliban, Iran and North Korea. Trump wants that damn Nobel Peace prize. The black guy got one, so Trump will even befriend the Taliban. Bolton wanted to bomb anyone needed to extend American influence in the Middle East. But, sources report that Trump also believed that Bolton leaked the stories about “nuking hurricanes,” which, admittedly, should embarrass anyone: Those sources, who were directly involved, said Trump was driven to distraction by his belief that Bolton or those close to him had leaked a story about the president asking whether nuclear weapons could be used against hurricanes. “Driven to distraction” might be the most perfectly worded description. First, it demonstrates that Trump can and does focus himself. That might initially seem silly – given the reports we’ve heard about a lack of reading and “pictures” as analysis – but we do know that Trump focuses like a telescope on two things; secrecy and loyalty. If Trump were to be distracted from secrecy and loyalty, he would upend the White House to get back in “focus.” In that respect, it is easy to see why Trump would be furious about the leak. Would you be happy if someone told reporters about this type of meeting? “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” Trump asked, according to one source who was present. “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?” The stupidity is well-documented and doesn’t need further analysis here. The important thing to note is that every White House leaks, no matter how much it bothers the man at the top. But, this White House’s need for absolute silence shames itself. There is a link between Trump’s obsession with tamping down leaks and Trump’s equally-established insistence upon “loyalty.” Both obsessions scream that there exists a pathological need to “hide” deep inner truths. This need to hide may also explain why so many positions in the administration remain unfilled, or unutilized. The smaller the circle, the smaller the organization, the easier one can hide the truth. Moreover, continually revolving people through various positions keeps any one person from ever seeing much of the “whole picture,” again, as protection from too much truth. So what is there to hide? With Trump, the safest bet is to always follow the money. At this point, even Republicans know that Trump intends to cast his net for every dollar he can get off being president. What remains hidden is the underlying basis for this need. Is it nothing but insane greed, measuring himself – as always – in dollar figures? Not giving a shit about history or the country? It very well could be. Might it be darker? Is something else driving this process? A need to “pay back” debts owed? Trump has always surrounded himself with dubious international figures, and all things powerfully Russian or Saudi relate to criminality. One never fully “pays” off a debt to such leaders. The need could be related. It is extremely difficult to tell at this point. We do not have anything close to the truth. No […]
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