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Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo”

Westlake Legal Group trump-sondland Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo” Ukraine-Gate Ukraine The Blog Rudy Giuliani quid pro quo Kurt Volker impeachment Gordon Sondland donald trump Burisma bidens

Did Gordon Sondland throw Donald Trump “under the bus” in his opening statement to House investigators this morning, or just point out the obvious? The ambassador didn’t spare Rudy Giuliani, at any rate, in expressing his “disappointment” over Trump’s decision to delegate Ukrainian diplomacy to his personal attorney. That’s not quite connecting any dots, however, and Sondland also soundly rejects the “quid pro quo” hypothesis being advanced by House Democrats:

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, will tell Congress that he was told by President Trump that he had to help his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani with his plan on Ukraine.

In his opening statement, which was obtained by The Daily Beast, Sondland will say: “I did not understand, until much later, that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the President’s 2020 reelection campaign.” …

“Please know that I would not have recommended that Mr. Giuliani or any private citizen be involved in these foreign policy matters. However, given the President’s explicit direction, as well as the importance we attached to arranging a White House meeting between Presidents Trump and Zelensky, we agreed to do as President Trump directed,” Sondland wrote.

“Based on the President’s direction, we were faced with a choice: We could abandon the goal of a White House meeting for President Zelensky, which we all believed was crucial to strengthening U.S.-Ukrainian ties and furthering long-held U.S. foreign policy goals in the region; or we could do as President Trump directed and talk to Mr. Giuliani to address the President’s concerns.”

That claim might be a little difficult to credit. The briefing to which Sondland refers in which he and Perry were directed to work with Giuliani took place on May 23, 2019. By that time, Giuliani had already publicly declared his intent to personally investigate the Bidens’ role in Ukraine and Burisma, following a May 2 report in the New York Times that called Joe Biden’s intervention in corruption probes into question. By May 10, the blowback on Giuliani’s threats to personally travel to Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens had gotten bad enough for Giuliani to retreat in an interview broadcast on Fox News. Sondland’s claims to be blindsided by Giuliani’s agenda less than two weeks later is curious, to say the least, although it’s fair to assume that Sondland had better things to do than follow Giuliani’s antics before that late-May briefing.

However, Sondland also says that Giuliani wasn’t the only one pushing back on arranging a call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky. Sondland, Rick Perry, and Kurt Volker saw a call as a critical step in solidifying a national-security relationship with Kyiv, but the National Security Council also opposed the idea by mid-July, Sondland says. However, no one on the NSC shared “any misgivings about the propriety of what we were doing” in Ukraine at the time.

Moreover, Sondland insists, the actual deliverable for Ukrainian relations is the same as it has been for “decades” — a greater commitment to fight corruption in general, not focusing on one particular aspect:

Westlake Legal Group sondland-1 Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo” Ukraine-Gate Ukraine The Blog Rudy Giuliani quid pro quo Kurt Volker impeachment Gordon Sondland donald trump Burisma bidens

After meeting with Trump in late May, Sondland told Congress that he did have some contact with Giuliani as the president had directed. Giuliani brought up Burisma, Sondland notes, but as one example of the corruption that the Trump administration wanted to pursue — and Giuliani never mentioned the Bidens at all:

Westlake Legal Group sondland-2 Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo” Ukraine-Gate Ukraine The Blog Rudy Giuliani quid pro quo Kurt Volker impeachment Gordon Sondland donald trump Burisma bidens

In fact, Sondland tells the investigators in this statement, he went directly to Trump once Bill Taylor began raising questions about the perception of a quid pro quo with the Ukrainians in early September. Sondland testifies that Trump, in a bad mood at the time, emphatically and repeated insisted that no quid pro quo was asked or desired:

Westlake Legal Group sondland-3 Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo” Ukraine-Gate Ukraine The Blog Rudy Giuliani quid pro quo Kurt Volker impeachment Gordon Sondland donald trump Burisma bidens

We now have two of the “Three Amigos” on Ukraine insisting that they never got directed to support a quid pro quo. Assuming they’re testifying truthfully, they would have been passing that message along to their contacts in Ukraine as well, which means that they would have been eliminating the pressure to dig up dirt on the Bidens. They would have related Trump’s words about wanting “nothing” in exchange for the aid, and specifically, “There is no quid pro quo.”

That does not mean that Giuliani would have refrained from saying something different, of course. However, it would be strange indeed to pass along diametrically opposed statements when the point would have been to pressure Ukraine into a particular — and uncomfortable — action. The Ukrainians might well have concluded that the State Department represented the official US position and that Giuliani (assuming he communicated a quid pro quo, which he has denied) was a cowboy wandering off the ranch, so to speak.

Sondland’s criticism of using Giuliani in Ukrainian diplomacy makes sense for that reason. Using a personal attorney to run official diplomatic policy without an official portfolio is confusing at best for allies, who can’t be sure who actually matters in the equation. However — and this is critical — that delegation still falls within the purview of the president. It might be ill-advised (and certainly looks that way in this instance), but it’s not at all illegal. Presidents have used private citizens and friends as back-channel diplomats for many years, sometimes openly, usually not, with mixed results. It’s never been thought to be an impeachable offense, nor should it alone be in this case.

From Sondland’s statement, it doesn’t appear that Democrats can advance their hypothesis on impeachment. Bad practices? Sure, but if Trump had demanded an inappropriate personal quid pro quo for a probe into the Bidens, Sondland and Volker would have to have known about it at some point, if not from Trump then from their Ukrainian contacts.  There’s no evidence it exists, at least so far, which makes all of this oppo-research fodder and not much else.

The post Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo” appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group trump-sondland-300x173 Sondland: Trump told us that Giuliani would run Ukraine policy — and also “no quid pro quo” Ukraine-Gate Ukraine The Blog Rudy Giuliani quid pro quo Kurt Volker impeachment Gordon Sondland donald trump Burisma bidens   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

WSJ: Rick Perry says Trump told him to call Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group Perry-7 WSJ: Rick Perry says Trump told him to call Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine Ukraine The Blog Rudy Giuliani Rick Perry President Trump Joe Biden corruption

The Wall Street Journal has a piece on Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and his involvement in Ukraine. A surprising twist emerges – President Trump instructed Perry to “visit with Rudy” about concerns the two had about corruption in Ukraine. During that “visit with Rudy”, Perry was given three reasons why he and Trump were concerned about Ukraine’s commitment to fighting corruption.

“And as I recall the conversation, he said, ‘Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,’ ” Mr. Perry said. “ ‘He thinks they’re corrupt and…that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt.’ ”

Mr. Perry said the president’s lawyer didn’t make any explicit demands on the call. “Rudy didn’t say they gotta do X, Y and Z,” Mr. Perry said. “He just said, ‘You want to know why he ain’t comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here’s the reason.’ ”

In the phone call, Mr. Giuliani blamed Ukraine for the dossier about Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia that was created by a former British intelligence officer, Mr. Perry said, and asserted that Ukraine had Mrs. Clinton’s email server and “dreamed up” evidence that helped send former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to jail.

“I don’t know whether that was crap or what,” Mr. Perry added, “but I’m just saying there were three things that he said. That’s the reason the president doesn’t trust these guys.”

Ukrainian corruption isn’t breaking news. The belief that Hillary’s email server is in Ukraine is a different thing. Rudy and Trump believe that CrowdStrike is mixed up in the DNC hack during the 2016 election. The Ukrainian government hasn’t been proven to be involved with the DNC hack, though Russia has. Trump’s request for Zelensky to look into potential illegal meddling during the 2016 election at the hands of Joe Biden is how the current impeachment inquiry hearings began.

Perry said that Giuliani didn’t make any demands of him. And, he is steering clear of any validation of Rudy’s concerns. Perry finds himself involved in the Congressional investigations. Trump blamed his phone call with Zelensky on Perry. And, when it looked like Trump was throwing Perry under the bus, rumors circulated that Perry has one foot out of the door. Perry said he will cooperate with Congress.

So, Perry is shedding some light on why President Trump doesn’t trust the efforts of Ukraine to make reforms necessary to combat longtime corruption concerns. Rudy Giuliani looks to be the source of Trump’s information on the ground. Rudy is running a shadow diplomacy operation.

As I have written about in previous posts, Rick Perry’s mission is to develop relationships in Ukraine and make mutually beneficial energy deals. It is important for countries that are dependent on Russia as a source of energy to have alternatives, preferably an American alternative. Perry was urging President Trump to develop his own relationship with the new Ukrainian president, who has expressed a desire to make the reforms necessary in his country. Trump, with Rudy in his ear, hesitated to meet with Zelensky until he was more certain that Zelensky was doing all he could.

Meanwhile, Perry is still on the job and expects to be there, at least through Thanksgiving.

Mr. Perry again disputed recent reports that have claimed he was planning to leave the administration, but he did leave the door open to his departure. He said he expects to be at the Energy Department at Thanksgiving, but gave a less definitive answer when asked about staying beyond that, through year’s end.

”I don’t know,” he said. “I’m working at the will of the president, just like I always have.”

We’ll see if he makes it to year’s end.

.

The post WSJ: Rick Perry says Trump told him to call Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gordon Sondland Elbowed His Way Into Ukraine Policy. It Could Cost Him.

WASHINGTON — To foreign policy experts, it is no mystery why President Trump’s national security adviser tried in May to block Gordon D. Sondland from becoming a player in United States diplomacy with Ukraine.

As the American envoy to the European Union, Mr. Sondland managed a portfolio unrelated to Ukrainian issues. And beyond that, he was so inexperienced as a diplomat — a wealthy Republican donor rewarded with an ambassadorship — that one top White House foreign policy adviser complained he was a national security risk.

But Mr. Sondland wedged his way into Ukraine policymaking anyway, attending the new president’s inauguration in Kiev in May and briefing Mr. Trump afterward, all over the objections of the national security adviser at the time, John R. Bolton. And now Mr. Sondland’s gambit appears to have placed him at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

In testimony scheduled for Thursday, Mr. Sondland was expected to say that during a meeting in May, Mr. Trump gave him and two other officials the impression that they should coordinate on Ukraine issues with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. That command effectively created a foreign policy back channel that cut the State Department and National Security Council out of deliberations involving a pivotal ally against Russia.

Mr. Sondland was also expected to testify that he realized by midsummer that Mr. Trump had a condition for agreeing to an Oval Office meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, the new president of Ukraine: an announcement by Ukrainian prosecutors that could benefit Mr. Trump’s political fortunes.

Initially hopeful that Mr. Sondland’s account would help Mr. Trump, congressional Republicans now fear it will add momentum to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. His decision to testify is itself a sign of fissures in the support for Mr. Trump, evidence that even some defenders have balked at shouldering the legal and reputational costs of thwarting the impeachment inquiry.

Westlake Legal Group volker-ukraine-impeachment-document-promo-1570197638674-articleLarge Gordon Sondland Elbowed His Way Into Ukraine Policy. It Could Cost Him. Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Hill, Fiona (1965- ) European Union Europe Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Bolton, John R

Read the Text Messages Between U.S. and Ukrainian Officials

The messages reveal new details about President Trump’s efforts to use American foreign policy to benefit himself.

In a matter of weeks, Mr. Sondland has evolved from a neophyte diplomat known for his ambition and subservience to the president into a witness, however unwilling, in a proceeding against Mr. Trump.

In the process, Mr. Sondland’s own reputation took a hit. Fiona Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs at the White House, described him to congressional investigators this week as a well-meaning but inexperienced liability.

He used his personal cellphone for official business and assured foreign officials they were welcome at the White House whenever they liked, she testified. On one occasion, she said, Romanian officials showed up at the White House gates with no appointment, citing Mr. Sondland.

As experts see it, his story is an object lesson in the pitfalls of handing influential foreign posts to diplomatic naïfs, while stripping oversight from the career officials at the State Department and the National Security Council.

“I told the Europeans, maybe this is the best you can expect” from the Trump administration, said Daniel Fried, a former longtime diplomat now with the Atlantic Council. No one imagined, he said, that Mr. Sondland would become a pivotal player “in this bottomless pit” of scandal.

Mr. Sondland, 62, tall and bald, is far from a typical diplomat. Foul-mouthed and unafraid to bruise egos, he craves the limelight, not policy papers and the politics of quiet persuasion that are the staples of diplomacy.

He nonetheless fits a certain mold of ambassadors: The founder of a boutique hotel chain, he landed his post after decades of work bankrolling Republican presidential candidates, including John McCain, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush and his brother Jeb Bush. In Bush family circles, he was particularly well liked.

“There aren’t many people who do it as well as he does,” David Nierenberg, an investment manager in Washington State who worked on Mr. Romney’s campaigns, said of Mr. Sondland’s fund-raising prowess. “He knew how to deliver.”

Friends said he loved the trappings of politics: ferrying presidential candidates around the northwest in his Lear jet and hosting their events at his 8,300-square-foot estate in Portland, Ore.

He had hoped to be rewarded, he told Mr. Nierenberg, with an ambassadorship in a German-speaking country. That would bring his life full circle, he explained: His parents fled Nazi Germany as teenagers in 1939.

But he was a latecomer to supporting Mr. Trump, first backing Jeb Bush, then Marco Rubio. During the 2016 campaign, after Mr. Trump disparaged the Muslim parents of an American soldier killed in Iraq, Mr. Sondland and his business partner backed out of a fund-raiser, saying they did not share Mr. Trump’s values.

Those reservations apparently vanished once Mr. Trump was elected. Mr. Sondland donated $1 million to his inaugural committee, joining a crush of once-reluctant donors anxious to make up for their previous lack of support. In spring 2017, he joined the Republican National Committee’s finance committee as a regional vice chairman.

Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump’s first chief of staff, was unwilling to grant Mr. Sondland an administration job. But after Mr. Priebus was fired, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who knew Mr. Sondland from the campaign, put forward his name for ambassador, according to people familiar with the situation. He was appointed in May 2018.

By then, the post had gone unfilled for more than a year. Some European officials suspected it was a deliberate sign of neglect of Western allies that Mr. Trump has accused of unfair trade practices.

European officials were struck Mr. Sondland’s self-confidence, bordering on arrogance. He quickly posted an introductory video on Twitter. Set to snappy string music, it described him as the son of immigrants and showed him brewing espresso, showing off his fine art collection and climbing into a private jet that he pilots.

His message to his European hosts was less friendly. At one dinner party, Mr. Sondland said his job was “to destroy the European Union,’’ one senior European official said.

He repeatedly told European officials that their countries had long taken advantage of the United States through trade, according to one person who heard him complain. And he seemed unaware of protocol, inviting the leaders of European countries to dinner without understanding that they do not typically dine with ambassadors.

A June 28 dinner in Brussels was a case study in his unapologetic style. The German Marshall Fund originally organized it for 18 former and current diplomats and academics to discuss trans-Atlantic relations. Once Mr. Sondland heard about it, two participants said, he insisted on hosting.

As the plates were cleared in a small ornate room in the American Embassy, he delivered what one guest described as “a first-year master’s student’s” account of the Marshall Plan, the United States’ multibillion-dollar effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.

“We paid all this money, but every room I go to in Europe, I get told no,” he told his stunned guests, according to two participants. “Why?”

“It felt like a shakedown,” said one of the guests.

European officials said that Mr. Sondland often bragged about his good relationship with Mr. Trump, and some said it was clear that he was looking for a higher-level administration post.

How he inserted himself into American relations with Ukraine, which is not part of the European Union, is not entirely clear. Ms. Hill has said he told her that Mr. Trump had put him in charge.

In a July interview with a Ukrainian television station, Mr. Sondland presented himself as an authority, dismissing the notion that Ukraine is torn between Europe and Russia. “It’s not a tug of war. They’re Western, and they’re going to stay Western,” he proclaimed.

With Mr. Trump’s blessing, he traveled to Kiev in May for Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration. Others in the delegation included the energy secretary, Rick Perry, and Kurt D. Volker, the American special envoy to Ukraine. They labeled themselves “the three amigos.”

Mr. Sondland’s subsequent White House meetings are a key focus of questioning for congressional investigators.

When he and his colleagues briefed Mr. Trump on May 23, the president complained that the Ukrainians were “all corrupt” and had tried to keep him from winning the White House. He left them with the impression that they were to talk to Mr. Giuliani in dealing with Ukraine.

By mid-July, Mr. Sondland was expected to testify, he had realized that Mr. Zelensky would be granted an Oval Office audience only if Ukraine publicly announced it would investigate Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had placed Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., on its board. According to a person familiar with his account, Mr. Sondland did not then understand the relationship between Burisma and the Bidens.

In a July 10 White House meeting with Mr. Bolton, Ms. Hill and two top Ukrainian officials, Mr. Sondland cited an agreement with the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, that inviting Mr. Zelensky to the Oval Office depended on Ukraine opening criminal investigations, according to Ms. Hill’s testimony. She told congressional investigators that she subsequently heard Mr. Sondland mention Burisma to the Ukrainians.

Mr. Sondland was expected to testify that he has no firm recollection of that conversation. But the next month, he and Mr. Volker prepared a draft statement for the Ukrainians to issue, announcing an investigation of Burisma and any interference in the 2016 American presidential election. And in a subsequent text message, he wrote: “POTUS really wants the deliverable.”

Mr. Sondland now fears that he will be blamed for the scandal, while more powerful players will be protected, one person close to him said. He has expressed concern that he could end up, the person said, as “collateral damage.”

Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Fandos, Adam Goldman and Kenneth P. Vogel from Washington; Steven Erlanger from Brussels; and Maggie Haberman from New York. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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NEW: Adam Schiff Pressured Witness to Change His Story and Accuse Trump of Pressuring Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group smug-schiff-620x317 NEW: Adam Schiff Pressured Witness to Change His Story and Accuse Trump of Pressuring Ukraine Ukraine testimony scam Pressured Politics political partisan Nancy Pelosi Kurt Volker Improper impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story donald trump democrats Berated Allow Media Exception adam schiff 2020

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Color me shocked, just shocked that Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the most underhanded, dishonest Congressional members in modern history, would stoop to such levels.

This relates to Kurt Volker’s testimony, which turned out to be a major dud for Schiff and his gang. While Volker, being a former John McCain staffer, was expected to come in and fillet Trump, it turned out that he didn’t have much to add to the impeachment fury. Trump, for whatever problems one might have with him talking about Biden in the first place, simply didn’t engage in a quid pro quo, threaten aid, or pressure the Ukrainians.

As I wrote at the time, it was reported that Schiff got so frustrated with how things were going that he sidelined his MSNBC lawyer to question Volker himself. Now, we know why he did that and we’ve got the transcript to illustrate what happened.

This per the Washington Examiner.

Democrat House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff reportedly pressed U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker in a secret meeting on October 3 to say that President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President and current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

For someone who likes to mock the President for supposedly sounding like a mob boss, that last line sound rather mob bossy to me. Schiff wasn’t getting the answer he wanted so he lashed out and berated the witness. Seems normal, right?
Here’s the rest of the exchange in question, where you can see Schiff continuing to press him to say something he clearly doesn’t think is actually true.

[Schiff] asked Volker whether he would agree that “no President of the United States should ever ask a foreign leader to help intervene in a U.S. election.”

“I agree with that,” said Volker.

“And that would be particularly egregious if it was done in the context of withholding foreign assistance?” Schiff continued.

Volker balked. “We’re getting now into, you know, a conflation of these things that I didn’t think was actually there.”

Schiff wanted Volker to agree that “if it’s inappropriate for a president to seek foreign help in a U.S. election, it would be doubly so if a president was doing that at a time when the United States was withholding military support from the country.”

Again, Volker did not agree. “I can’t really speak to that,” he said. “My understanding of the security assistance issue is — ”

Schiff interrupted. “Why can’t you speak to that, ambassador? You’re a career diplomat. You can understand the enormous leverage that a president would have while withholding military support from an ally at war with Russia. You can understand just how significant that would be, correct?”

Volker tried to go along without actually agreeing. “I can understand that that would be significant,” he said.

Schiff persisted. “And when that suspension of aid became known to that country, to Ukraine, it would be all the more weighty to consider what the president had asked of them, wouldn’t it?”

“So again, congressman, I don’t believe — ” Volker began.

“It’s a pretty straightforward question,” Schiff said.

“But I don’t believe the Ukrainians were aware that the assistance was being held up — ”

“They became aware of it,” Schiff said.

“They became aware later, but I don’t believe they were aware at the time, so there was no leverage implied,” Volker said.

If this were a Republican and this was the Benghazi hearing, it’d be front page news. As it stands, Schiff appears to be bulletproof in the legacy media. His actions are just ridiculous at this point. He’s holding secret hearings, kicking Republicans out of testimony, and selectively leaking lines he thinks can help his impeachment case.

This isn’t justice. It’s not even proper in the political arena. It’s just plain gross.

————————————————

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The post NEW: Adam Schiff Pressured Witness to Change His Story and Accuse Trump of Pressuring Ukraine appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AdamSchiffAPimage-300x153 NEW: Adam Schiff Pressured Witness to Change His Story and Accuse Trump of Pressuring Ukraine Ukraine testimony scam Pressured Politics political partisan Nancy Pelosi Kurt Volker Improper impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story donald trump democrats Berated Allow Media Exception adam schiff 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hunter Biden Evades Question of How Much He Made With Burisma, While State Dept Official Says He Raised Questions About Burisma Corruption in 2016

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-15-at-5.14.44-PM Hunter Biden Evades Question of How Much He Made With Burisma, While State Dept Official Says He Raised Questions About Burisma Corruption in 2016 Ukraine Joe Biden hunter biden Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story corruption biden Allow Media Exception

Screenshot from this video

There’s been a lot of questions about Hunter Biden’s relationship with the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma while his father was Vice President and a point man for the Obama administration on Ukraine.

Reportedly, Hunter received at least $50,000 a month for his position on the board, despite no prior energy experience and no experience with Ukraine.

During his interview with ABC that was aired yesterday, Hunter Biden admitted that he was likely put on the boards because he was the son of the Vice President. He was then asked if he made what has been reported, $50,000 per month for being on the board.

He completely refused to answer the question, “Look, I’m a private citizen. One thing I don’t have to do is sit here and open my kimono as it relates to how much money I did or did not make. But it’s all been reported,” he claimed.

Boy, that evasion isn’t a good look. You’re not just a private citizen when your father is the Vice-President dictating policy in the region.

There have been reports including from Fox’s John Solomon that the amount might be more than the $50,000 reported.

But a further problem is the questions of corruption associated with the firm and its connection to the government. This was touched upon during George Kent’s testimony on Thursday, according to a report from the Daily Caller.

A senior State Department official told Congress on Tuesday that he had concerns in 2016 with corruption involving Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy firm linked to Hunter Biden, two sources familiar with his testimony told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

George Kent, who serves as deputy assistant secretary of state for Eurasian and European affairs, spoke at length Tuesday about Burisma’s problems with corruption, the two sources told the DCNF. They shared details of the deposition on condition of anonymity.

The career diplomat also said that he raised concerns with USAID in 2016 regarding an event that the agency was to have with Burisma, which is owned by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.

Kent was worried because the event involved children, and he did not feel comfortable with them being photographed in conjunction with the company, the two sources said. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Kent isn’t the only one saying there were concerns.

On October 10 in the Wall Street Journal, Valentin Nalyvaichenko who is now a Member of Parliament in Ukraine, said that they needed to investigate both the meddling alleged by Ukraine in the 2016 election and questions of alleged corruption of Burisma.

Second, Ukraine must resolve the allegations regarding Burisma. As the former head of the Security Service of Ukraine, our version of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, I know there are many accusations of corruption against this company.

There have not been any allegations of any specific wrongdoing by Hunter Biden while he was with the firm.

But suggesting in the midst of all this that he’s just a private person and questions aren’t valid or deserving of answers, is perhaps a bit much.

The post Hunter Biden Evades Question of How Much He Made With Burisma, While State Dept Official Says He Raised Questions About Burisma Corruption in 2016 appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-15-at-5.14.44-PM-300x169 Hunter Biden Evades Question of How Much He Made With Burisma, While State Dept Official Says He Raised Questions About Burisma Corruption in 2016 Ukraine Joe Biden hunter biden Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story corruption biden Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In the Tank: Watch as CNN’s Anderson Cooper Plumps Biden’s Ukraine Pillow During Democratic Debate

Westlake Legal Group AndersonCooperJoeBidenDemDebate-620x347 In the Tank: Watch as CNN’s Anderson Cooper Plumps Biden’s Ukraine Pillow During Democratic Debate Ukraine Social Media Politics North Carolina Media journalism Joe Biden Impeachment of President Trump impeachment hunter biden Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Democratic Debate Culture CNN Campaigns biden Anderson Cooper Allow Media Exception 2020

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden – 10/15/19. Screen grab via CNN.

It’s no secret that CNN is in the tank for Democrats. It’s also not breaking news that they have been quick to say in their reporting that there’s supposedly “no evidence” that President Trump is speaking the truth about the Joe Biden/Hunter Biden/Ukraine quid pro quo issue. It’s also a well-known fact that CNN refused to run the Trump campaign’s Ukraine ads, ostensibly because they criticized some of CNN’s on-air “talent.”

Still, watching the debate on Tuesday night and seeing the lengths the struggling cable news network will go through to protect candidates they like was a sight to behold, and is worthy of commentary.

On Trump’s allegations of wrongdoing against both Joe Biden and his son Hunter, here’s how moderator Anderson Cooper lovingly teed up the question he was about to ask (bolded emphasis added):

COOPER: Thank you, Congressman. The impeachment inquiry is centered on President Trump’s attempts to get political dirt from Ukraine on Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. Mr. Vice President, President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine. I want to point out there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you.

Having said that, on Sunday, you announced that if you’re president, no one in your family or associated with you will be involved in any foreign businesses. My question is, if it’s not okay for a president’s family to be involved in foreign businesses, why was it okay for your son when you were vice president? Vice President Biden?

Did you get that? Anderson has concluded, without evidence, that both Bidens were “falsely accused” by Trump and in the same sentence used the words “there’s no evidence of wrongdoing”, even though if he was “falsely accused” the latter statement would go without saying, wouldn’t it?

After Biden did not answer outside of saying neither he nor his son did anything wrong and then pivoting to impeachment, Cooper again gave asking him the question a try, this time without the “falsely accused/no evidence” qualifiers:

COOPER: … just to follow up. Mr. Vice President, as you said, your son, Hunter, today gave an interview, admitted that he made a mistake and showed poor judgement by serving on that board in Ukraine. Did you make a mistake by letting him? You were the point person on Ukraine at the time. You can answer.

Biden again dodged the question, instead noting he was proud of his son and stating the focus should be on “Trump’s corruption.” The issue did not come up for Biden again.

Watch the exchange below:

The segment was reminiscent of how former CNN anchor Candy Crowley repeatedly stepped in to help out President Obama during an October 2012 debate he had with GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

It’s almost like CNN has an agenda or something.

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post In the Tank: Watch as CNN’s Anderson Cooper Plumps Biden’s Ukraine Pillow During Democratic Debate appeared first on RedState.

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Ex-Aide Saw Gordon Sondland as a Potential National Security Risk

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WASHINGTON — A former top White House foreign policy adviser told House impeachment investigators this week that she viewed Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, as a potential national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, according to two people familiar with her private testimony.

The adviser, Fiona Hill, did not accuse Mr. Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk. But she described Mr. Sondland, a hotelier and Trump donor-turned-ambassador, as metaphorically driving in an unfamiliar place with no guardrails and no GPS, according to the people, who were not authorized to publicly discuss a deposition that took place behind closed doors.

Ms. Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs at the White House, also said that she raised her concerns with intelligence officials inside the White House, one of the people said.

Mr. Sondland’s lawyer declined to comment.

In her testimony, Ms. Hill described her fears that Mr. Sondland represented a counterintelligence risk because his actions made him vulnerable to foreign governments who could exploit his inexperience. She said Mr. Sondland extensively used a personal cellphone for official diplomatic business and repeatedly told foreign officials they were welcome to come to the White House whenever they liked.

Ms. Hill said that his invitations, which were highly unusual and not communicated to others at the White House, prompted one instance in which Romanian officials arrived at the White House without appointments, citing Mr. Sondland.

Ms. Hill also testified that Mr. Sondland held himself out to foreign officials as someone who could deliver meetings at the White House while also providing the cellphone numbers of American officials to foreigners, the people said. Those actions created additional counterintelligence risks, she said.

Mr. Sondland is scheduled to meet privately with impeachment investigators himself on Thursday, despite directions from the State Department and the White House that he and other witnesses should not cooperate with an investigation because the president and his senior advisers view it as illegitimate. Mr. Sondland’s lawyer has indicated that his client will testify.

Other aspects of Ms. Hill’s explosive testimony that have been previously reported as well as details offered by other officials who have spoken to investigators put Mr. Sondland at the center of a parallel foreign policy toward Ukraine. Sidelining career experts and the former American ambassador to Kiev, Mr. Sondland, other political appointees close to the president and Mr. Trump’s private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to pressure Ukraine’s new government to open investigations into Democrats that would benefit the president politically.

Ms. Hill said that she and her boss, John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, were so concerned by what they saw that Ms. Hill alerted White House lawyers. She told the committees that Mr. Bolton wanted to make clear that he was not part of whatever “drug deal” that Mr. Sondland and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, were crafting on Ukraine, and that on another occasion Mr. Bolton compared Mr. Giuliani to “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Ms. Hill testified that she and Mr. Bolton were moved to act after Mr. Sondland revealed during a July 10 meeting that there was an agreement with Mr. Mulvaney that Mr. Trump would meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine if his government opened the investigations the White House sought. Mr. Sondland also mentioned Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that had appointed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., to its board.

A White House meeting would be a sought-after prize for Mr. Zelensky, conferring legitimacy on his new government and demonstrating American support as Ukraine battles Russian-backed separatists in its east.

Ms. Hill left the White House in July, before Mr. Trump’s call with Mr. Zelensky that prompted the whistle-blower complaint that set off the Ukraine scandal.

Earlier this month, Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy for Ukraine, produced to investigators text messages with Mr. Sondland and other American and Ukrainian officials that showed Mr. Sondland was deeply enmeshed in efforts to secure investigations from the Ukrainians that could help the president politically.

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

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On Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch

Obama appointee Yovanovitch is being feted by the legacy media lately, as well as praised by Deep Stater leakers like Fiona Hill (formerly on the NSC staff). Here’s one example:

Fiona Hill, a former top National Security Council expert on Russia, praised ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during testimony on Monday before the House Intelligence Committee. Fox News has learned that Hill, who is testifying before the committee as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump, had high praise for Yovanovitch during the closed-door session. Yovanovitch, who herself testified before congressional lawmakers last Friday as part of the impeachment probe, was recalled from her ambassadorship in May by Trump.

Read the rest here. Here is the virulently anti-Trump Vanity Fair chiming in with the usual “unnamed sources”:

“Folks were surprised to see a colleague as professional and talented as Masha Yovanovitch asked to leave Ukraine early. But sometimes that happens,” a former high-ranking State Department official told me. “That sentiment became shock, horror, and outrage when the presidential phone call came out.” Pompeo, after all, is tasked with defending U.S. diplomatic interests around the world—a mission that theoretically includes defending his staff from political corruption.

“It is unconscionable that he would have been on the phone while one of his team was being trashed by the president of the United States,” said another former senior State official.“Not that I would have said that he should have interrupted the phone call, but there should have been something said somewhere along the way to support her and her integrity and everything else. He is a Trump quisling. What can I say?”

Read the rest of this political hit-job here. Is it any wonder that these quoted clowns are now “former” State Dept employees? And “former” likely means Obama hacks. These people forget that their jobs are to execute US foreign policy, not undermine it, and serve at the President’s pleasure.

Yovanovitch was nominated for the post of US ambassador to Ukraine in May 2016, not coincidentally right in the middle of the counter-intel investigation on the Trump campaign. She was fired by @POTUS almost three years later to the day. Inquiring minds wonder why. Despite the praise for her from Deep State sources, there is more to her story, including breaking news on what she was doing in Kyiv. First of all, a little pushback is in order courtesy of a trusted source quoted here:

  • I did some research on who this woman is. It appears her father was a Soviet and her mother a German communist. They immigrated to Canada (date unknown) and their daughter was born in Montreal in 1958. In 1961, they moved to Connecticut where she attended elite private schools. They spoke Russian at home. No indications of how her family earned their living. At 18 she became a US citizen and attended Princeton where she majored in Russian history and graduated in 1980. She then moved to Moscow and attended a Soviet language School, but there are no further indications of what she did from 1980-86. She joined the State Dept in 1986. She advanced rapidly.
  • In 2001, after 14 years in the State Department, she attended the National Defense University and received her MA. This is fairly normal, as the State Department sends Foreign Service Officers with 12-16 years of service to school with military officers with 20-24 years of commissioned service. The difference shows and is stark.
  • In 2008, after 22 years in the State Dept, she became the US Ambassador to Armenia (appointed in the final months of the Bush 43 Administration) and served until 2011 (Obama) at which time she became the ambassador to Kyrgyzstan for one year. Both times she appears to have been focused on human rights issues. That makes sense under President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s priorities.
  • In 2013, she became the Deputy Commandant of the Eisenhower School at the National Defense University for one year until 2014. From 2014-2016 she was the Dean of the State Department’s Language School.
  • In 2016, she was nominated as the US Ambassador to Ukraine late in the Obama Administration. Her focus was again on human rights and LGBTQ rights.
  • Well over a year ago, Texas Congressman Pete Sessions claimed to have received numerous complaints from fellow congressmen about her open anti-Trump views in the lead-up to the election and subsequently thereafter. She has made financial donations to Democrat candidates but not Republican ones. There are no indications that she is or ever has been married or has a family.
  • The US State Department is the epicenter and founding member of the Deep State. It has, for 80 years, tried to forge its own foreign policy regardless of the direction of the Executive Branch. Hence the need for political appointees to ambassadorships and special envoys. Often, US embassies become the representatives for foreign countries versus the US representatives to the applicable nation.
  • When President Obama ordered US embassies to fly the LGBTQ flag, not one failed to do so. But, when the Trump Administration made embassies request permission to fly it, many just flew it anyway. This is the merest tip of the iceberg. Defiance is their stock in trade.
  • Ambassador Yovanovitch spent her entire career interfering in the internal policies, elections and laws of foreign nations in her push for US human rights political correctness. To assume that a career foreign service officer would not have made negative comments overseas about a Trump victory over her former boss and role model (Clinton) would take a special kind of denial mechanism.

And this – among other things – is EXACTLY what she has denied:

Yovanovitch defended herself against what she called ‘unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,’ including a rumor that she had handed Ukraine’s top prosecutor a list of people who were not to be charged with crimes. She also dismissed public allegations that she had ‘supposedly told the Embassy team to ignore the President’s orders “since he was going to be impeached”.’ She rejected the contention that she was running interference for Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has claimed in what he has cast as an effort to protect the Bidens and Hillary Clinton while undermining Trump.

Read the rest here. Note that we have to look to the foreign press for the aforementioned denials because those denials might make thoughtful people wonder as to the truth of the accusations, further undermining the Democrats’ bastardization of the real crimes committed in Ukraine. And speaking of crimes committed, it’s likely that Yovanovitch herself committed a few as well. Thankfully, Judicial Watch is on the job yet again:

Judicial Watch is investigating if prominent conservative figures, journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump were unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee. Yovanovitch testified “in secret” to the House impeachment inquiry against Trump on Friday, October 11, 2019. Her “secret” testimony was leaked to the New York Times during the hearing.

Judicial Watch has obtained information indicating Yovanovitch may have violated laws and government regulations by ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons using State Department resources. Yovanovitch reportedly ordered monitoring keyed to the following search terms: Biden, Giuliani, Soros and Yovanovitch. Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department and will continue gathering facts from government sources.

Prior to being recalled as ambassador to Ukraine in the spring Yovanovitch reportedly created a list of individuals who were to be monitored via social media and other means. Ukraine embassy staff made the request to the Washington D.C. headquarters office of the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. After several days, Yovanovitch’s staff was informed that the request was illegal and the monitoring either ceased or was concealed via the State Department Global Engagement Center, which has looser restrictions on collecting information.

“This is not an obscure rule, everyone in public diplomacy or public affairs knows they can’t make lists and monitor U.S. citizens unless there is a major national security reason,” according to a senior State Department official. If the illicit operation occurred, it seems to indicate a clear political bias against the president and his supporters.

Read the rest here. That sure seems like Judicial Watch has credible information, doesn’t it? Both her denials to the contrary and also the Deep Staters and Democrats rallying around her in legacy media articles ring pretty hollow, don’t they? It looks like she was fired for cause after all! And if that’s not enough, Tom Fitton subsequently tweeted out a list of those targeted by Yovanovitch. The posse is getting closer!

Finally, there is this from the Wall Street Journal that explains the reasons for her firing, contrary to the denials of her and the Democrats:

President Trump ordered the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine after months of complaints from allies outside the administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, that she was undermining him abroad and obstructing efforts to persuade Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter. State Department officials were told this spring that Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal was a priority for the president, a person familiar with the matter said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the move, an administration official said.

Read the rest here.

To summarize:

  • Yovanovitch – whose parents were Commies – became a career State Dept employee and eventually a US ambassador twice-over, ending up in Kyiv.
  • She was a loyal Democrat operative in service of Obama and the Clintons and looks to have been groomed exactly as a trusted agent to protect Democrat interests (corruption) in Ukraine. She was also unquestionably anti-Trump and acted accordingly.
  • She was fired for cause by @POTUS in May 2019 despite continued frantic attempts by Democrat-controlled media and various Deep Staters to spin that firing otherwise in order to limit their criminal exposure in Ukraine and “get Trump.”
  • She almost certainly requested the illegal monitoring of US citizens from her post in Kyiv in order to support covering up Democrat crimes in Ukraine.

Her story is a work-in-progress and likely won’t end the way the Democrats and their media allies think it will end. How did a woman born to two Communist parents end up as a career US foreign service officer? It is long past time for a reinstitution of loyalty oaths at Foggy Bottom and in every US embassy worldwide, as well as routine polygraphs and tough personnel interviews to ferret out the rats. Oh, and maybe a complete swap-out of US embassy personnel in Kyiv is in order, too!

The end.

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Pompeo senior deputy: State Dept mistreated career diplomats as Pompeo politicized US diplomacy

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Last week’s resignation of Michael McKinley from the State Department turns out to have been a big red flag for the White House. The former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has a lot to say to the House of Representatives, and none of it will make the Trump administration look good. The question will be just how bad it might get:

Michael McKinley, the former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo until his sudden resignation last week, will tell House impeachment investigators Wednesday that career diplomats were mistreated during his tenure and some had their careers derailed for political reasons, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

McKinley will outline how his concerns culminated with the recall of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a punitive action he and many other rank-and-file diplomats viewed as wholly unjustified.

“The unwillingness of State Department leadership to defend Yovanovitch or interfere with an obviously partisan effort to intervene in our relationship with Ukraine for the political benefit of the president was too much for him,” said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

McKinley left the job last Friday after 37 years of work at the State Department. Pompeo never bothered to thank him for his work, which says something about the relationship between the two within Foggy Bottom. However, McKinley won’t directly go after Pompeo in his opening remarks, according to the Washington Post’s source:

The person familiar with McKinley’s statement said the veteran diplomat will not criticize Pompeo directly, though he will discuss his concern over the politicization of the agency in the Trump administration.

How would that work? If Donald Trump is politicizing the State Department, he’s not doing it by moving into the Secretary of State’s offices. That kind of effort would require at least the cooperation of Pompeo, if not his outright direction. Otherwise, it sounds more like people at State are acting as if rather than being directed — acting as if Trump’s electoral politics are the highest priority, acting as if they are receiving directives. That could very well be true, but it’s not going to stick in an impeachment, where overt actions are needed to effectively establish wrongdoing.

That might just be an opening position in McKinley’s testimony, however. He didn’t resign his 37-year position just to offer the House a 30,000-foot view of the State Department, which he could have done while remaining employed. His resignation is clearly a protest, and that protest reflects those above him in the organization — and there were few if any people besides Pompeo above McKinley at State.

One has to wonder whether McKinley’s resignation and quick turnaround as an impeachment inquiry witness prompted this development today:

Other reports had Volker returning to review his previous testimony. That’s usually something a witness does when they think they have misstated a material fact and need to correct the record before a perjury charge gets leveled. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but McKinley’s sudden change of status might mean that Volker’s worried about whether McKinley will contradict him.

Perhaps it has something to do with Volker’s membership in the “Three Amigos” on Ukraine policy, which the Washington Post reported this morning. Volker was the only State Department figure in a triumvirate that managed Ukraine policy, and it was chief of staff Mick Mulvaney rather than Pompeo that was in charge:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney organized a meeting this spring in which officials were determined to take Ukraine policy out of the traditional channels, putting Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker in charge instead, a top State Department official told lawmakers Tuesday.

George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, told House investigators he was instructed to “lay low,” focus on the five other countries in his portfolio and defer to Volker, Sondland and Perry — who called themselves the “three amigos” — on matters related to Ukraine, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) told reporters Tuesday. Kent took that as a sign, Connolly added, that having been critical of the plan he was being pushed aside “because what he was saying was not welcome” at high levels of the government.

Mulvaney’s meeting, which Kent told lawmakers took place on May 23, according to Connolly, was just days after the administration recalled Marie Yovanovitch from her post as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Yovanovitch spoke to House investigators last week about the campaign against her, which she and other former diplomats have said was organized by President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

McKinley would certainly have been in position to see that unfold, as well as what it produced and what its objectives were. That might have made Volker nervous enough to review what he told the House panels earlier.

Still, this leaves some dots unconnected. Presidents have wide latitude in diplomacy and can deputize even “private” citizens for diplomatic missions. That’s why Giuliani’s presence in Ukraine alone isn’t a violation, although given how it’s turned out it wasn’t a great idea either. Two of the “Three Amigos” have been confirmed by the Senate for their current positions, and Mulvaney has an official administration position — more than one, in fact. If Trump trusts them more than some State Department officials to run his Ukraine diplomacy, that’s well within his authority to decide.

Furthermore, presidents have wide latitude to deploy their political agendas through administrative agencies, and State more than most thanks to diplomacy being almost entirely an executive-branch function. Those policies and actions can certainly be scrutinized and criticized, but punishment for unpopular agendas comes most properly from the voters who elected the president. To act otherwise is to transform Congress into a parliament and the executive as its subordinate branch, which would directly conflict with the Constitution.

If, however, the House can establish as a fact that Trump was using congressionally appropriated aid as an explicit quid pro quo for his own electoral purposes, that’s an argument for an abuse of power rising to the level of an impeachment. So far, though, no one’s substantiated that, and at least from the Washington Post’s description of McKinley’s testimony, he’s not going to offer anything like that.

That’s not to say he won’t offer testimony that might be politically damaging to Trump, but it will likely fall more into the “oppo research for 2020” column than legitimately impeachable conduct. That’s still good enough reason for the White House to be very worried about his deposition today, and perhaps for Volker and others to ask for a second look at their earlier testimony.

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Nancy Pelosi Runs Away Terrified to Vote on Impeachment

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly media availability on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

During the debate last night, we got a bit of other news.

There’s been lots of talk of going on record and voting to authorize an impeachment inquiry. This is necessary because without such a vote, what’s going on now is not actually an impeachment inquiry at all.

In that environment, we’ve seen Adam Schiff conduct the most partisan scam of an investigation in modern Congressional history. Not even during Watergate did the majority deny the minority the rights that are currently being denied. During the Clinton impeachment investigation, which was actually voted on, Republicans gave Democrats full subpoena power and the ability to cross-examine every witness. Right now, with the help of a compliant media, Schiff and company are going so far as to even deny access to hearings by Judiciary Committee members, which is the committee impeachment is supposed to run through.

It appears that game is going to continue because Nancy Pelosi is once again running scared from any possible vote.

Of course, they are and the reason is obvious – They have nothing.

The reality of the situation is that we have a transcript that’s already been released, which shows behavior you could argue isn’t proper, but obviously shows nothing impeachable. There was no threat made, no mention of aid, and no pressure applied to investigate Biden. The matter was brought up for what amounted to a few seconds and the President never pushed the issue, even if you think he shouldn’t have mentioned it at all.

What we are left with is Schiff rotating through “witnesses” to testify on their feelings over the matter. But again, we have the transcript. There’s nothing these people can say that changes the words on the page.

Republicans should keep demanding a vote. No doubt the media will keep obfuscating and misleading, but that’s not an excuse to lay back on this. Further, given the behavior of Schiff and the way he’s selectively leaking damaging information, I’m all for Republicans playing the same game. Start putting out there what’s being said. There’s nothing to stop a GOP committee member from reading some of these testimonies into the record publicly. If Democrats aren’t going to play by normal rules and procedures, Republicans shouldn’t either.

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