Impeachment Day 30: Quid Pro Quo and Smoking Gun Means a GOP Shutdown

by on October 23, 2019 · 6 comments

in American Empire

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / Oct. 23, 2019

Ambassador William Taylor’s bombshell testimony.before congress on Tuesday laid waste to the Trump administration’s  ‘No Quid Pro Quo” defense.

Another round of polling shows further erosion of the President’s support among independent voters, and GOP insiders are whispering about an as yet unreported fall in Republican support.

President Trump has demanded that Republicans fight back against the impeachment hearings because, when the facts aren’t on your side, the only defense is to complain about the process.

Let’s dive into the details…

Taylor’s testimony suggested a clear quid pro quo between the $391 million in suspended assistance and the president’s demands that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as well as a debunked conspiracy theory involving Ukrainian help for Democrats in the 2016 election.

Trump’s team responded by calling Democrats as “far-left lawmakers” and Taylor a “radical unelected bureaucrat.”

Unfortunately for the administration, there’s no escaping the fact that they (Mike Pompeo) asked a veteran diplomat with 50 years of experience to come out of retirement to run the show in the Ukraine. Making matters worse is the fact that he was actually qualified for the job, meaning he knew something about the country and its geopolitical situation.

This morning the White House has fallen back to saying that, since there’s no testimony about Ukrainians knowing aid was being withheld, there was no foul. 

As dim bulb Steve Doocy said during Fox & Friends, “ You can’t have quid pro quo without the quo!’

Of course, the Ukraine government DID know; Congress authorized bulk of the package, and the Pentagon confirmed that preconditions had been met on May 23. All of this was covered in the news media.

Somehow we’re supposed to believe the people with a foreign power threatening their country were unaware that the aid they’d said was desperately needed wasn’t forthcoming.

And… it took the New York Times all of about three hours to find documents and sources disproving this latest White House attempt to spin the truth.

  • But in fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.
  • The problem was not a bureaucratic glitch, the Ukrainians were told then. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.
  • The timing of the communications about the issue, which have not previously been reported, shows that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than United States and Ukrainian officials had acknowledged. And it means that the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and two American diplomats were pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Mr. Trump.

UPDATE: The Associated Press has a story claiming the Ukrainian leadership knew as far back as May that the Trump administration would pressure them to investigate Joe Biden.

  • More than two months before the phone call that launched the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Ukraine’s newly elected leader was already worried about pressure from the U.S. president to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy gathered a small group of advisers on May 7 in Kyiv for a meeting that was supposed to be about his nation’s energy needs. Instead, the group spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting.

These cynical moves by the administration are a big deal, as Peter Baker at the New York Times explains:

  • Mr. Taylor’s vivid depiction illustrated the differences between the impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump and the ones that consumed Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. While the Watergate and Monica Lewinsky cover-ups involved the integrity of America’s democracy and system of justice, the Ukraine scandal also extends to matters of life and death, as well as geopolitics on a grand scale.
  • Mr. Taylor’s testimony could make it harder for Republicans to brush off Mr. Trump’s actions as unimportant or distorted by partisan rivals. Defending Ukraine against Russian encroachment, much like defending the United States’ Kurdish allies against Turkey, has been a high priority for many Republicans, who complained that President Barack Obama did not stand up to Moscow aggressively enough.
  • Mr. Taylor brought to the House hearing a 50-year résumé of public service, starting as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point and an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He served every administration, Republican and Democrat, since President Ronald Reagan, culminating with a posting as ambassador to Ukraine under President George W. Bush. And he was recruited last spring by Mike Pompeo, Mr. Trump’s secretary of state to return to Kiev to replace Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ambassador tarred by Mr. Trump’s camp as an adversary.

Ooops. It’s time to ramp up the crazy in Trumptown. And that’s exactly what they are doing.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity he’s planning to introduce a resolution condemning the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry process.

  • “This resolution puts the Senate on record condemning the House. … Here’s the point of the resolution: Any impeachment vote based on this process, to me, is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial.” 

Former US Attorney Matt Whittaker took to Fox News to inform the world that abuse of power is not a crime.

The president’s lawyer, William Consovoy, appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday to argue that the president can commit any crime and is immune from the laws of the land while in office. 

This assertion came during a hearing on the appeal of Trump v. Vance, a case concerning a New York City subpoena for certain financial records including tax returns of President Trump.

Rep. Matt Gaetz led a phalanx of Freedom Caucus members in storming the secure rooms in the House of Representatives where testimony was being taken.

More than 45 House Republicans — nearly a quarter of the House GOP — already have full access to the depositions via their membership on one of the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry. Republican counsel are given the same amount of time to question witnesses as Democratic counsel.

But for Gaetz, et al, the issue was “secrecy.”

Since the Freedom Fighters didn’t bother to give up their cell phones and other devices prior to this invasion of a space protected against electronic surveillance, countermeasures will have to be taken. It is a time-consuming, technical process, which will have the effect of stopping the work of the committees.

Gaetz even posted messages on social media from within the room.

From Politico:

  • “They basically ran over a member of the staff” to get in the room, said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). “They just came into the room and started shouting about the president. Literally some of them were just screaming … saying that the process is wrong.”
  • Other Democrats said the stunt showed that Republicans were reeling from Tuesday’s testimony by William Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, who directly tied Trump to a quid pro quo with the eastern European nation involving critical military aid.
  • “It’s completely inappropriate. When the facts are against you, the law is against you, the president clearly committed a crime, you’re left with arguing the process,” said Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), who witnessed the chaos unfold behind closed doors.

NBC’s Jonathan Allen is reporting on the possibility that the president’s anger over the impeachment process could end with government shutdown. 

  • With funding for federal operations set to expire Nov. 21, the political class here is beginning to plan for the possibility — or the likelihood, in the eyes of some — that President Donald Trump will shut down the government to try to turn public opinion against House Democrats and their push to impeach him.
  • “He used it for his almighty wall for the longest shutdown in history, so I don’t put anything past him when it comes to this,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic minority whip, told NBC News…
  • ...”The Republican leadership is watching this very closely and anything really can happen, and that does give him the ability to express himself and he has done that before,” said Ron Bonjean, a former Republican leadership aide in both the House and Senate who assisted the Trump White House with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings. “Could it happen again? Absolutely. And especially when everything is so personal.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Micporte October 24, 2019 at 5:40 am

Blow ‘em away with the truth, and a gun, if necessary, live by the gun, die by the gun…. go America!

Reply

Avatar thequeenisalizard October 24, 2019 at 9:14 am

So they illegally storm into a secure area, with phones that are illegal, take photos, eat pizza, disrupt the testimony of a witness, and betting the Dems do NOTHING about it.
Change my mind.

Reply

Avatar Hopper Moss October 24, 2019 at 5:51 pm

The Dems crack me up.

First it’s the Russians. That failed. Then it’s the emoluments clause. That failed. Then it’s Kavanaugh. That failed. Now it’s Ukraine.

Hilarious.

Reply

Avatar Jan Michael Sauer October 25, 2019 at 7:52 am

Life is about laughing- and crying . In 375 days you will be doing the latter .

Reply

Avatar thequeenisalizard October 25, 2019 at 8:58 am

What’s hilarious is idiots like you who believe alternative facts. Thirty-four people have been indicted so far, and 8 have been convicted in the Russia probe. The emoluments are still under investigation. The Ukraine quid pro quo has been shown to be true, and there are more witnesses coming forward, so it hasn’t “failed”. Stop watching Fox News

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie October 25, 2019 at 10:24 am

Hopper Moss – you crack us up. You believe the lies and distortions and falsehoods perpetrated by this White House it appears. Take your head out of that partisan sand, watch other than Fox un-news and maybe you’ll feel better.

Reply

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