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Trump's Presidency Transfixed

by ARGeezer Thu Oct 17th, 2019 at 05:30:12 PM EST

"With you all roads lead to Putin" Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump in White House meeting on 10/16/18

The context for this confrontation was a meeting between Congress and The White House so that Congress could be briefed on the effects on national security, military activity and foreign policy of Trump's green lighting of Ergodan's invasion of that portion of north east Syria occupied by the US Kurdish allies.

The FBI has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation of Rudy Guilaini's activities in Ukraine. It appears that Guliani's 'associates', Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, formerly small time operators, began dealing with matters of international political significance and using talking points that appear to have originated in Russia. Parnas and Furman are alleged to have funneled money from Dmitry Firtash, a Russian businessman formerly operating in Ukraine, into US campaigns and of a conspiracy to skirt campaign finance requirements as they pushed Ukrainian political interests in the US.  

Two other Guilanni Ukrainian associates, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, have now also been arrested, and a subpoena has been issued to former Texas Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, who wrote a letter to Sec. State Pompeo to raise concerns about the then-US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was later removed by Trump following complaints by Giuliani and others.

Firtash has established close ties to the former mayor of New York City in part by recruiting several of Giuliani's associates. In July the oligarch hired two lawyers who have been helping Giuliani in his campaign to discredit Trump's critics: Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, a married couple Trump considered hiring in 2018 as part of his private legal team. Best known as diehard defenders of Trump on Fox News, the couple has combed through the oligarch's case files and used some of them in the effort to defend Trump on television and in the press.

Toensing and DiGenova then hired another Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, to serve as their interpreter in communications with Firtash in Vienna, according to a statement the lawyers sent TIME on Oct. 11. While on his way to Vienna on Oct. 9, Parnas was arrested at Dulles Airport in Washington and charged with violating campaign finance laws. The indictment against him alleges that Parnas and his business partners secretly channeled money from an unidentified Russian donor to various political causes and candidates. Parnas has not entered a plea. His colleagues in the Firtash legal team declined to comment on the arrest.


Indicted Giuliani Associate Worked on Behalf of Ukrainian Oligarch Firtash

One of the two Florida businessmen who helped U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, also has been working for the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch who faces bribery charges in the United States, according to attorneys for the businessmen and the oligarch.

Lev Parnas, one of the two associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, served as a translator for lawyers representing oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Parnas was arrested on Thursday along with the other Florida businessman, Igor Fruman, on unrelated charges that included illegally funneling $325,000 to a political action committee supporting pro-Trump candidates.

Both men had worked in an unspecified capacity for Firtash before Parnas joined the Ukrainian's legal team, according to a person familiar with the Florida men's business dealings with Firtash. The Floridians' connection to indicted oligarch Firtash injects an intriguing new character into the rapidly unfolding drama surrounding the effort to impeach Trump.

Guilani now seems to be the second coming of Oliver North. No wonder he did not charge Trump for his 'legal services'! They were being paid, via Furtash, an agent of Vladimir Putin, by all indications. This may bring new attention to the ultimate source of some of the large donations that have been funneled through dual USA/Russian citizens to various GOP entities from the time of the campaign, the inauguration and throughout Trump's presidency. These contributions likely have also gone to the National Rifle Association and several US Senators.

As in the beginning, with Mueller, so in the end, with the Southern District of NY Federal Proseutor, the ultimate source of so many of these contributions seem to lead to Vladimir Putin.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 17th, 2019 at 05:41:48 PM EST
Putin? Look no further than the SBU and Ukrainian oligarchs.

After the 2016 Queen Hillary coronation drama and the vilification of Russia "Putin Did It" leading to the Mueller investigation, the federal prosecutors of Southern District of New York investigated corruption. Trump and Giuliani will go down in the coming years due to tax fraud and corruption.

Pelosi is a personification of the "Last of the Mohicans" of the Cold War in the 21st Century. Such a shame of blind hatred. Following in the footsteps of Democrat icons Madeleine Albright and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Putin and oligarchs - Russian and Ukrainian - are on speaking terms with Israeli PM Netanyahu.

Europe's Frontier: A Rusted Iron Curtain

by Oui on Thu Oct 17th, 2019 at 07:40:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I criticized US support for the 'Orange Revolution' and argued that we should have left well enough alone. The USA would not be happy were Russia to sponsor a take over of Texas, New Mexico or Arizona by a regime sympathetic to Russia. Nor did I strongly object to Russia taking over the Crimea. But that hardly implies that I can't object to Russia helping install Trump as President in the USA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 18th, 2019 at 03:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep your eye on Tulsi Gabbard in 2020.

[Source: Hillary Clinton]

by Oui on Fri Oct 18th, 2019 at 09:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gabbard: Clinton 'personifies rot that has sickened Democratic party' | The Guardian |

Related reading ...

International Coalition to Defeat Democrats and Hillary in 2016

by Oui on Sat Oct 19th, 2019 at 02:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 01:57:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 03:12:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 03:14:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mulvaney Acknowledges Quid Pro Quo In Trump Ukraine Call, Says `Get Over It'  HufPo
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney admitted on Thursday that President Donald Trump withheld foreign aid in order to get Ukraine's help in the U.S. election.

"We do that all the time with foreign policy," Mulvaney responded when ABC News reporter Jon Karl pointed out that withholding funding from Ukraine "unless the investigation into the Democrats' server happens" is a "quid pro quo."

Apparently Mulvaney missed the part where if the quid pro quo is for a corrupt purpose it is NOT legal. Now we are up to two public confessions of corruption with respect to Ukraine. Trump and now Mulvaney make strong cases that they do not understand the difference between legal and illegal activity. Ipso facto disqualification for holding public office.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 18th, 2019 at 02:57:26 AM EST
Worse, Mulvaney was given two more opportunities by incredulous reporters to walk that back, but, of course, he just doubled down - until later, after having talked to White House counsel.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 18th, 2019 at 03:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a difference between "getting dirt on an opponent" and a criminal inquiry. there is enough evidence to strongly indicate that Hillary Clinton's server broke the AND contained evidence of her hiring foreigners to electioneer.FBI chief James Comey said as much.  Biden's own words indicate that he used his official position to protect his son from criminal investigation. And that is a US crime.
Trump, as President, requesting official aide in a criminal investigation from a foreign Head of State is no crime.  It's much more legitimate than the POTUS requesting Julian assange be held without bail.
by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 01:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Impeachment Poll: 68% support impeachment - Lawfareblog.com

The latest University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll fielded by Nielsen Scarborough finds this could spell major trouble for the president's public standing ahead, including among Republicans: We asked: "In general, do you believe it is an impeachable offense if the president of the United States invites foreign leaders/entities to interfere in U.S. elections?" Two thirds of respondents, including 46 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Independents said yes.

Poll was conducted after Mulvaney's press conference on Thursday.
Before Mulvaney's statement this week, the president appeared to have succeeded in persuading many, including a majority of Republicans, that there was no such quid pro quo. In a follow up we asked: "Do you believe that President Trump has invited foreign interference into a U.S. election?" A slight majority, 52 percent, said yes, but 79 percent of Republicans said no....

So, while two thirds of respondents say the offense of asking foreign leaders to intervene in our election is impeachable, only 52 percent agree the president committed such an offense. But there is reason to believe this gap will continue to narrow, including among Republicans and Independents. In fact, Independents are more than four times as likely as partisans to express uncertainty about whether the president invited foreign interference into a U.S. election.

As multiple polls have shown since the revelation about Trump's conversation with Ukraine's president, there is a steady shift in opinion toward supporting impeachment. In our poll, we probed this shift directly, asking respondents how the revelations shifted their attitudes on impeachment. Overall, 16 percent of respondents said they changed their position from opposing impeachment or being unsure, to supporting it. Importantly, this includes 8 percent of Republicans, suggesting that the controversy over Ukraine is much more parsimonious and salient than other scandals that have embroiled President Trump and his administration during the past two years.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 19th, 2019 at 01:56:09 AM EST
Yes, I agree. that would be an impeachanle offense. But there is no evidence that that happened except for an anonymous letter. The US 6th amendment gives citizens the right to face their accusers and cross-examine. Anonymous charges are not allowed in courts of law. This impeachment smacks of election interference! By Democrats trying to overthrow the legally elected President. I agree the Trump is a crawling worm, but HE IS THE LEGALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT!
This is an attempt at coup de etat without convincing evidence
by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 01:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LEGALLY ELECTED PRESIDENTS are still subject to impeachment. Trump's own transcript of his telcon with Zelinski is an admission of extortion for the purpose of furthering Trump's reelection and a felony. Mulveney's statement on TV, affirmed two more times in short order, is confirmation of that attempt at extotion for political gain. Then there is the testimony of Ambassador Taylor today, Tuesday, October 22. More confirmation and more misdeeds are sure to follow.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 02:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No it is not! It says nothing about furthering his re-election. Joe Biden is condemned out of his own mouth. BIDEN is the criminal.
by StillInTheWilderness on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 09:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm impressed that ET is considered important enough to attract this kind of attention, but disappointed that it isn't of higher quality.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 11:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still in the Wilderness is a (former?) Boomantribune commenter who came over about the time when Booman changed to progresspond.
by fjallstrom on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 at 10:41:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, former.
Thank you fjallstrom for remembering. I remember you there too. One of the voices of sanity.

It's disheartening that politics has degenerated into primitive poo-flinging "my side right or wrong" tribalism. I despise Trump and everything he stands for, but, silly me, I still beleive in Right and Wrong, and Truth vs Lies, no matter what the political result.

by StillInTheWilderness on Sat Nov 2nd, 2019 at 06:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is an abuse of executive power to use the government to dig up dirt on opponents. However, I am not sure what the felony is.

Zelensky does not seem hard pressed to agree to what Trump suggest, rather he seems ethusiastic. And the arms support does not seem to have been contingent on an agreement. So if this is extortion, it is only in the sense that when the sole super power calls the threat is always present. And I doubt the US wants to criminalise that.

Zelensky is not invited to meddle in the US election as such, but encouraged to investigate possible foul deeds in Ukraine (with repercussions on US politics). Having been elected on a anti-corruption platform this is a natural fit for his stated politics. It will interesting to see if it goes anywhere, considering the rumours of connections between Burisma and the oligarch Kolomoyskyi, who also supported Zelensky's career. Anyway, as Ukrainian president I would assume that can (obeying the proper forms) order the prosecutors to investigate foul deeds in Ukraine. Asking a foreign president to investigate crimes in accordance with their laws (including investigations that have political consequences) is also something the US does and probably doesn't want to criminalise.

So, I do get the abuse of power aspect - the president has to be prevented from bringing the full weight of the govenrment apparatus on his opponents - but I don't get what the felony is.

by fjallstrom on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 at 10:37:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The President of the United States takes an Oath of Office to faithfully execute the duties of his office according to the laws of the country. Those laws specifically forbid self enrichment - see emoluments clauses. Perverting the conduct of US foreign policy to serve the personal needs of the president for election or re-election is an especially egregious violation of the oath of office. Anything that aids a politician to be elected or re-elected is a 'thing of value'. It is the equivalent of or worse than receiving a bribe and it is a gross abuse of power.

It is clear from the writings of the founders of the nation that it was specifically to remedy such acts, seen as potentially fatal to the survival of the nation as a representative republic, that the impeachment clauses were ADDED to the Constitution before it was submitted for ratification. Bribery is specifically enumerated as a cause of impeachment.

The term 'High crimes and misdemeanors' is not limited to specifically illegal acts. It also covers actions that are detrimental to the good governance of the nation. The fact that such acts may have been committed but not prosecuted in previous administrations is no defense. It also covers acts such as obstruction of justice that are also criminal offenses.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 29th, 2019 at 03:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately written in 18th Century prose and lacking important detail, thus open to argument across all three branches of government.
by asdf on Tue Oct 29th, 2019 at 05:13:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My understanding is that an impeachment is an indictment, not a trial. And all the House is doing now is gathering evidence and putting together a case which may be presented later.
But this not a criminal or civil action in a court of law in any event. This is just a process of government, determining if someone should remain in office. And there is no right of appeal except possible reelection.
by Andhakari on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 03:52:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The impeachment process in the US appears pretty cut and dried, but like anything political, there are significant untested gaps. Especially when the text was written 230 years ago.

For example, per Article 2, Section 3, the president can adjourn congress. The exact rules have not been tested because previously impeached presidents have not pushed the envelope to its full extent.

All Trump has to do is issue an executive order to this effect and the whole system goes up for grabs.

by asdf on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 03:19:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this is a problem when the House and Senate are split - as now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 05:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Oct 20th, 2019 at 04:38:29 AM EST
The jury seems split between the views that chosing Doral was a deliberate distraction by Trump and those who claim that the White House is too disorganized and incompetent to execute such a strategy. Perhaps both are true.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 20th, 2019 at 11:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 12:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's figure of speech.
by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 01:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "distraction" hypothesis assumes some kind of strategic or at least tactical objective and plan. Not part of current system.
by asdf on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 03:15:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump impeachment sees highest support ever in new poll  -  Independent

Impeaching Donald Trump is now more popular than ever, just a month after Democrats announced the inquiry into the president. A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows support for impeachment rising to 55 per cent of Americans, with 43 per cent disapproving. That marks a jump even from a week prior, when 51 per cent of Americans approved impeachment, while 45 per cent disapproved.
Beyond impeachment, Mr Trump's job approval dropped in the latest poll to 38 per cent, the first time it has dipped below 40 per cent since the inquiry began. His handling of the economy is split among Americans, with 48 per cent saying they approve of his handling of the economy while 48 per cent say they do not.

And, as the conflict in Syria has dominated most national coverage in the United States, the new poll shows just 35 per cent of Americans approve of his foreign policy efforts, and 60 per cent of voters disapprove of his decision to remove American troops from northern Syria -- leaving US-allied Kurds in jeopardy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 06:07:06 PM EST
If, in another week or so, support for Trump's impeachment rises by a similar amount and his overall approval drops by a similar amount we will see Republican Senators dropping support for Trump like a hot potato. Over 60% support for impeachment coupled with 35% overall approval will have McConnel and Grassley going to Trump to tell him he should resign. Watergate redux.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 06:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IF, repeat IF, a certain Twitter account were to suddenly go quiet, it would be an indication of a strategy to try to save the situation. Otherwise it is just a daily matter of "OMG what stupid thing has he done NOW???"
by asdf on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 07:01:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If his approval rating goes down enough and support for impeachment goes up enough then Republicans have to be concerned about going down with the ship. Hard to quantify 'enough' precisely, but sustained overall approval below 35% and popular support for impeachment over 60% might do it. Right now we only have 55% approval for an impeachment INVESTIGATION, so we have a ways to go. I would say overall approval below 30% and support for impeach and remove over 62% would certainly put us in the necessary territory.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 10:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Retired four-star general, (Barry McCafry), compares Trump to Mussolini over canceled newspaper subscriptions Washington Examiner
Retired four-star general Barry McCaffrey condemned the White House for canceling subscriptions to the Washington Post and the New York Times.

On Wednesday, President Trump directed the White House to cancel subscriptions to the publications due to their coverage of his administration. "All these people doing it for the New York Times, which is a fake newspaper, we don't even want it in the White House anymore. We're gonna probably terminate that and the Washington Post. They're fake," Trump said. On Thursday, Trump instructed other federal agencies to follow suit and terminate their subscriptions to the two newspapers as well.

McCaffrey called Trump's decision a "watershed moment" for the United States and compared the president to Benito Mussolini, saying, "This is deadly serious. This is Mussolini."

Mussolini, a fascist, used the press to push propaganda and censored unflattering reports while leading Italy prior to World War II.

The Examiner is owned by Peter Anschultz - who is not exactly a liberal icon.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 26th, 2019 at 06:48:17 PM EST

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