The senate impeachment – part 2

Well, a true democracy where politicians voted with their conscious instead of their party [or their wallet or job] wasn’t seen today when the Senate voted 51-49 not to interview witnesses or view documents that has evidence.

With this vote, it is now all but guaranteed that the Senate will vote not to throw Donald John Trump out of the White House.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer forced votes on four amendments [including to call witnesses] and they were all not surprisingly defeated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Republicans’ vote against witnesses and documents “makes them accomplices to the President’s cover-up.”

If there was any bright side [and there really wasn’t], Trump won’t be able to walk in the House this coming week for the state of the Union address and not be able to gloat in his speech that he won. All he won was something that was obvious even before there was a Senate trial. The only question was whether there would be enough Republican Senators that would actually be unbiased. Only 2 changed sides.

Democrats demanding new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial are seizing on a report that he ordered former national security adviser John Bolton to keep military aid to Ukraine frozen in a bid to coerce political favors. “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens [Joe & Hunter]. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination,” Trump tweeted.

Yes. This is like all the other times he has denied he did, say or knew someone.

“The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify. It is up to them, not up to the Senate!” Trump also tweeted. House Democrats sent Bolton an official request to testify. He declined to appear — because the White House did not authorize him to do so. A letter was sent on October 30 to Bolton’s lawyers requesting Bolton’s voluntary testimony at a deposition on November 7.

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly says he believes Bolton’s allegation that Trump told Bolton that US security aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation of Trump’s political rivals, adding that Bolton should be heard from. “If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said.

The White House has issued a formal threat to Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s book “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information” and couldn’t be published as written.

Bolton’s lawyer notified the NSC last week that if Bolton is called to testify, he will use some of the part of the chapter related to The Ukraine mess.

Trump mentioned that Bolton’s book contained classified information. However, outside of Bolton’s people, the NSC, and the public was the book leaked and maybe the the NSC?

Bolton wrote that Trump gave him the instructions in May 2019 where the conversation also included acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s lawyer Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone. Trump released a statement claiming he “never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani….”

A nearly 90-minute recording of Trump at a 2018 donor dinner that included indicted businessmen, Lev Parnas, a person Trump has claimed he doesn’t know. It includes Trump speaking animatedly about removing the US ambassador to Ukraine — at one point stating, “Get rid of her!” Parnas is the Soviet-born businessman who subsequently worked with Giuliani.

GOP Senator James Lankford was interviewed and was asked about this tape which occurred at a dinner. Parnas was chatting with Trump for 90 minutes. Lankford’s excuse? Trump came to the dinner, ate, chatted with a few people and then left. Surely you would remember a 90 minute conversation – let alone other times Parnas was with Trump. Lankford’s other excuse? Do you remember what you did 15+ months ago?

Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said “Not a single witness testified that the President himself said that that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else.” Well, when you don’t allow any witnesses who were part of the administration to be called, of course there are none!

Sekulow also said “In the blind drive to impeach the president, President Trump, in reality, strategically has been the best friend and supporter of Ukraine certainly in our recent history. These are the facts.” Hmm. You sure? Withholding the aid [and supposedly not telling them]? If you are expecting a package and it is past a deadline, don’t you call the sender? Blame the Ukraine and not Russia] on 2016 election tampering when US intelligence servers said it was Russia?

Sekulow also said “The transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything.” Read the transcript.

Trump’s legal team continues to put the blame on Ukraine’s corruption for cutting off aid that partially led to his impeachment even though he hid nothing in the two previous years. Ukraine wasn’t corrupt then? They also claim – with no proof – that Ukraine interfered with the elections and not Russia.

Trump’s legal team are also still claiming that the whole reason to for the impeach Trump is to nullify the 2016 elections because just about everyone in government outside of the administration believe Russian interfered with the election. By nullifying the election, they would claim that Hillary Clinton would become President. Impossible. We would like the last three years of hell to disappear, but it won’t happen this way.

And of course if Trump was tossed out as President, Mike “Expressionless” Pence would become President. But the tossing out would hurt the Republicans’ chances of winning the next election.

Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s legal team, said the charges against Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – were not impeachable offenses, which he said must be a crime under existing law. Legal scholars and Dershowitz himself argued the opposite view during the 1998 impeachment trial of Democratic President Bill Clinton. Dershowitz excuse for the change? He has done extensive research since then and has concluded that “no, it has to be a crime.” Sure Alan.

“When you compare that to what Trump has done with Trump University, with so many other things, I think there’s no comparison between who has engaged in more corruption and who is more likely to continue that if elected President of the United States,” Dershowitz said in 2016. “So I think what we’re doing is we’re comparing, we’re saying, look, neither candidate is anywhere close to perfect, let’s vote for the less bad candidate.”

In a 2016 book, the law professor called him a “destabilizing and unpredictable candidate” who “openly embraces fringe conspiracy theories peddled by extremists.”

In an odd statement, Dershowitz said that while he disapproved of Mike Pompeo berating a reporter, “if he can help bring about peace in the Middle East, I’ll forgive him his rudeness towards a reporter.” Trump praised Pompeo’s behavior toward a National Public Radio reporter [see later] as “very impressive” and having done “a good job on her”.

This coming from the President of the free world: “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” Sounds a bit like a death threat. Corrupt? How? Was he paid off by someone? Trump knows this topic well as he is using his administration with plenty of nepotism. How much was he charging the Secret Service to use golf carts again? [$588,000 in 3 years. Yes. Renting.]

Asked if he took Trump’s social media post as a threat, Schiff said, “I think it’s intended to be.” Critics have accuse Trump of using an anti-Semitic trope in referring to the Jewish lawmaker as “shifty.”

White House spokeswoman Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham told FOX News Channel she had not spoken to Trump about the tweet but, “I think he means he hasn’t yet paid the price with the voters.” Same for Lankford. And yet, Schiff had 78% of the vote in his district in 2018. The Republican didn’t even hit 20%. In a “blue” district, unlikely the voters will switch to the GOP. a.k.a. Useless excuses.

Schiff’s suggestion regarding witnesses: “We’re going to let the chief justice make a fair determination of who is pertinent and who’s not. We’re not going to let the House decide who the President’s witnesses are. We’re not going to let the President decide who the House witnesses are. We will let them submit their top priorities and let the chief justice decide who is material and who’s not. That is fully within your power.” That, of course, didn’t happen.

In the question and answer phase of the impeachment trial, various Republicans have sent questions to Chief Justice John Roberts, who reads all questions first, but would not read any questions that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.

The day before the Senate vote on having interviews and bring in documents, Trump did an interview with his propaganda, department, FOX News, where he raked up 27 false claims in a short interview. Everything from impeachment [he didn’t win 196-0 in the House], lower estate taxes and “Man of the Year” in Michigan, USMCA [“the biggest trade deal… in the history of the world”, 2016 election, etc.

At a rally in Des Moines, Iowa – not far from where the Democrats will have their first primary – Trump said about Schiff: “Shifty Schiff is a very sick person… He lies awake at night shifting and turning. Shifting… Shifting and turning in his bed, sweating like a dog…. “Oh what a sick guy he is.” Maybe he should attend one of his wife’s anti-bullying sessions.

“We’re having probably the best years in the history of our country, and I just got impeached. Can you believe it?” he asked. And what does the economy got to do with his corruption? He then added “They want to overthrow the entire system of government… Today I hit my highest poll numbers since I got elected.” You know that last sentence was definitely false.

He predicted a straight sweep for Republicans in the November election, saying the GOP would win the House, the Senate and he would stay in the White House. Sure Johnny.

How petty. Trump’s defense team showed a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passing out pens to impeachment managers after signing the articles of impeachment earlier this month with Sekulow calling it a “celebratory moment.” So exactly why wait 4+ days to say so? Doesn’t every major signing usually have the president [and not just Trump] do the same thing?

The US doesn’t seem to like it when another country interferes in their election but it looks like Trump will interfere again in the upcoming Israeli election when he is expected to release a “peace” plan. When a part of it was released last year, the Arab countries easily rejected it [no shock that Iranian backed countries would, but others also.] The plan could give a boost to PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Others suggest it is a way to deflect attention away from his impeachment trial and Netanyahu’s issues as well.

More pettiness: A NPR reporter was notified that she was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The sudden change came just a few days after Pompeo responded angrily to an interviewer from the public radio outlet.

According to the reporter, Pompeo shouted and cursed at her after the interview ended. Pompeo did not deny that, but he called the reporter a “liar” and accused her of violating an off-the-record agreement. The reporter and NPR said she did not do that, and dozens of journalists came to her defense. Now we know why Trump hired Pompeo.

The reporter said Pompeo also questioned her intelligence by directing the reporter to identify Ukraine on a blank map of the world. An aide fetched the map for Pompeo. The reporter pointed to Ukraine, and Pompeo moved on. In a statement the next day, he implied [without outright claiming] that the reporter actually pointed to Bangladesh, a country thousands of miles away.

And then another NPR reporter was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan as well. The White House gave no reason for it.
Trump “spiritual adviser” and White House staff member Paula White is defending her recent prayer at her church in Florida that “satanic pregnancies” be miscarried.

Even FOX News, Trump’s former propaganda department, is getting into the polls with 45% approve his performance but 54% don’t [January 19-22 polling]. The same poll said 50% should convict and remove Trump, 44% said no.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers served notice to a Trump attorney. She accuses Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a DNA sample, seeking to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter. Trump would need to submit a sample on March 2 in Washington for “analysis and comparison against unidentified male DNA present on the dress.” Carroll filed a defamation suit against Trump in November after Trump denied her allegation.

Trump said in June that Carroll was “totally lying” and he had “never met this person in my life.” While a 1987 photo shows them and their then-spouses at a social event, Trump dismissed it as a moment when he was “standing with my coat on in a line.” [Of course you know that Trump denies or gives an excuse for anyone who accuses him.]

Trump “won” a German poll as the greatest threat to world peace at 41%. Kim Jong Un, Ali Khameneni, Vladimir Poutine and Xi Jinping combined had less than Trump!

Larry Shannon Hargrove “wrote” a song with the lyrics “You are so impeachable to me/Can’t You See/You Lie and you lie, you just lie and you keep on lying” — all sung to the borrowed tune of “You Are So Beautiful.”

The calm before the next storm

Just moments after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the seven Democrats who will prosecute at the impeachment trial, Donald Trump tweeted “Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!” If he would actually do some work [instead of tweet, watch Fox News and play golf], the managers are to show the results from the impeachment.

The impeachment managers will prosecute the case against Trump. They will act as prosecutors for House Democrats who will outline the case against Trump in the Ukraine scandal. The opportunity to serve as an impeachment manager will offer a high-profile turn in the spotlight for whoever is chosen and the chance to elevate their standing in Congress and with liberal voters.

The impeachment managers are: House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Jason Crow, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Sylvia Garcia. The impeachment articles were later delivered to the Senate by these seven people. The actual trial will begin on January 21st.

Trump is adding some lawyers to his impeachment legal defense team. This includes Kenneth Starr, the hard-charging prosecutor whose work led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and Alan Dershowitz, the constitutional lawyer. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani, wasn’t included. I am guessing he’s not happy.

Trump commented during the Clinton impeachment era that Starr was a “lunatic” and a “disaster”. So he has no issue of using him about 20 years later. Dershowitz is also busy with a defamation lawsuit by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers where he claims the accusations against Epstein are false. Dershowitz is also accused of sex trafficking in the lawsuit.

Also on the legal team is White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside attorney Jay Sekulow, who are still expected to deliver statements on Trump’s behalf on the Senate floor. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump’s longtime personal counsel Jane Raskin will also supplement Trump’s impeachment legal team.

Trump is asking for donations to help fund his Senate impeachment hearings and vote. He doesn’t have enough money of his own? Isn’t he a billionaire?

Trump, I’m sure will continue to whine about the “hoax”, “do nothing Democrats”, and his other comments while the trial goes on. Since it is unlikely 20 Republicans will vote against Trump [assuming no Democrats vote for Trump], Trump should easily win the trial. He will claim that he will be exonerated, vindicated, etc. However, this trial is not to see if he will be impeached – he has by the House – it is to see based on the evidence presented in the House [and by some fluke the trial allows] whether he should be removed from office based on the evidence.

This is about an equivalent of a sentencing hearing after someone is convicted. Him and his cronies will pitch this for months and his followers [who believe him over anything] will agree with what he says – no matter how true it is.

Joseph A. Bondy, attorney for Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Giuliani, has turned over photos, dozens of text messages and thousands of pages of documents to House impeachment investigators in an effort to win his client an audience with lawmakers. Parnas is increasingly under pressure by federal prosecutors who have said they are likely to file additional criminal charges against him. If successful it could win him an audience with prosecutors and possibly leniency.

House Democrats unveiled new evidence that they plan to send to the Senate as part of their case to remove Trump from office. The evidence includes text messages and hand-written notes from an indicted Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani associate that add more details about the push for Ukraine to announce an investigation against Trump’s political rivals.

The documents show how Parnas sought to set up a meeting between Giuliani and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and connect with members of his government.

Parnas implicated the Trump in an interview in which he said that their efforts were “all about 2020” and not about working in the interest of the United States. “That was the way everyone viewed it,” Parnas said, disputing Trump’s claim that the push to unearth damaging information about his political rival, Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, stemmed from concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

The records also add more details about the push by Giuliani to seek the ouster of the then-US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Trump and cronies denied Parnas and Trump knew each other. Parnas released photos of the two of them. Reminder that Trump tends to deny he knows people who accuse him of things that he did.

The Government Accountability Office says the Trump administration broke the law [Impoundment Control Act], when it withheld US security aid to Ukraine for his political gain last year that had been appropriated by Congress. Not surprising, Trump cronies denied the problem saying the GAO is wrong and not enough for evidence in the impeachment.

“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” the US military said in a statement. US military added that 11 service members had been injured in the attack. Following the attack, the Pentagon had initially said that no casualties had resulted from the 16 missiles fired by Iran.

But Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said after the attack that “Most importantly, no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are US, coalition, contractor, etc.” The US military defines a casualty as either an injury or fatality involving personnel.

Not surprisingly, on Sunday, Trump’s cronies and mouthpieces headed to the Sunday TV news shows, pushing what Trump said during the past in week. Case in point, they probably all said 4 embassies were being targeted – the latest version of the reason why Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, was killed. But none could give any evidence that 4 embassies [originally just one] were under threat. I don’t think it gives any top secret information if giving out just which embassies were involved.

“There is no blame here for America. America stood up once again for freedom. Iran went past a red line they had not gone past before, killing a U.S. citizen. Iran shot down an innocent, commercial airliner. There’s no doubt where the blame lies,” claiming House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Those who lost their lives, lost their freedom.

Trump tweeted “To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching.” If he’s talking about the recent protesting, I’m doubting there has been a thousand who were killed but I’m sure plenty were imprisoned. The Iranian regime wouldn’t obviously announced how many have been injured, killed or imprisoned.

The Trump administration has abruptly canceled four classified congressional briefings related to the ongoing Iran crisis, in some cases providing little or no explanation for doing so.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indirectly blamed rising tensions in the Middle East for the destruction last week of Flight PS752 just after takeoff outside Tehran. “I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said. Yes, Iran claimed that they thought the flight was a cruise missile supposedly flying to a military installation.

Asked whether the Trump administration should have warned Canada of the plan to kill Soleimani, McCarthy ducked the question by citing Iranian acts of aggression in the region. “… And Trudeau did not have to mention Iran because the facts are purely on Iran … Trudeau is right about what Iran had been doing.” Except Trudeau laid the blame on Iran and the US.

Trump said in an interview “When, during the campaign, I would say Mexico is going to pay for it [The Trump Wall]. Obviously I never said this.”

Scratching head time.] Huh? You said it many times and recorded on video.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden used Trump’s own words in an add to show that he is the candidate that should lead the Democrats against Trump.

Michael McCain, chief executive of Canadian food packaging company Maple Leaf Foods [MLF], lashed out against the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis in relations between the United States and Iran on Twitter. Someone [from the US I gather] replied to boycott the company’s products. The boycott will be useless as MLF probably doesn’t sell much to the US. If a Canadian boycott, it won’t mean much either as Canadian right wingers aren’t as [far] right as those in the US and would less likely follow.

The Secret Service has spent $588,000 renting golf carts since 2017 when Trump decided to go golfing. Maybe cheaper to own? In the first five months of his presidency, the Secret Service paid more than $250,000 to Trump’s private businesses. Eric’s 2017 promotional trip to Uruguay, where he attended a party at Trump Tower Punta del Este, cost the Secret Service close to $100,000.

In July 2015, Trump said, “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off.” Trump has spent at least 252 days at a Trump golf club, and 333 days at a Trump property since inauguration since the end of 2019.

It has been just over 300 days since there has been a White House press briefing. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham hasn’t held a briefing since taking her role in July, deciding instead to participate in interviews with friendly conservative television outlets – mostly Fox News. Nice job if you can get it. So instead of appearing in tens of millions of Americans [let alone those outside the US], her interviews is limited to one news network. Other networks will need to grab Fox News’ feed.

Apple once again is drawing the line at breaking into a password-protected iPhone for a criminal investigation, refusing a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help unlock the iPhones of a shooter responsible for an attack in Florida in December.

Attorney General William Barr declared that the shooting was an act of terrorism and reiterated law enforcement’s plea to Apple to unlock the killer’s phones-an iPhone 7 and iPhone 5. Trump, of course, weighed in as well.

Stephen Colbert recently referred to Mitch McConnell as a pair of googly eyes glued onto a chicken thigh.