Mutually Assured Destruction: Sondland Confirms Quid Pro Quo and Claims Wide Circle Of Knowledge

European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland sent shockwaves around Washington after he not only confirmed what he deduced as a quid pro quo demand but that a wide circle of top officials were fully informed for the effort. Sondland did not directly implicate Trump who he recounted denied any quid pro quo to him in a call on September 9th. However, he offered compelling testimony that he was told to speak to Rudy Giuliani who pursued such a quid pro quo. His testimony suggested knowledge of these efforts by Vice President Michael Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and others. Pence and Pompeo immediately issued direct denials of that meetings or communications with Sondland ever occurred. What was striking is that Sondland made it clear that he would not go down alone. His testimony reflected a type of mutually assured destruction strategy for a wide circle of officials.

Sondland reasonably assumed that Giuliani was pursuing a strategy at the behest of the President and that the demand for investigations “reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements.”

He declared effectively that he would not be a scapegoat. He testified that “At all times, I was acting in good faith. As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the President.” He then added that he kept a wide range of officials in the loop: “They knew what we were doing and why. Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.’

He denied understanding any quid pro quo for much of the period under review and declared that “by the 8th of September, it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link.”

The Democrats had another good day with members advancing a consistent and coherent narrative.

On Pence, Sondland testified that “I mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. He added “I recall mentioning that before the Zelensky meeting . . . During the actual meeting, President Zelensky raised the issue of security assistance directly with Vice President Pence. The Vice President said he would speak to President Trump about it.”

Pence has denied the account and said it “never happened.

On the other hand, the Republicans also scored from points. They drew their own timeline that noted that Sen. Ron Johnson spoke with Trump in late August and Trump angrily denied the suggestion of a quid pro quo. That was before the whistleblower complaint was sent to Congress. Then on September 9th, Sondland reported that Trump also angrily denied a quid pro quo to him. That later conversation can be questioned since it was the same day as the confirmation of a congressional review of the whistleblower complaint. However, the only two direct statements by Trump on quid pro quo were express denials. Then six days later, the aid was released without any announcement of investigations.

Moreover, various witnesses have testified that the Bidens were not mentioned in meetings and that much of the discussion centered on a call for investigations into the 2016 election fraud and Burisma. Again, some have raised legitimate questions over whether people like Sondland should have known that investigating Burisma meant investigating the Bidens.

I still have serious concerns over the narrowness of this impeachment and the thin (and at points conflicted) record. In particular, the recent effort to pound these facts into a case of bribery remains highly dubious in light of the case law on the meaning of that crime. Nevertheless, the witnesses are painting a damning picture of the work of Giuliani and supporting a narrative of an abuse of power in the withholding (even if briefly) of military aid.

158 thoughts on “Mutually Assured Destruction: Sondland Confirms Quid Pro Quo and Claims Wide Circle Of Knowledge”

  1. Been a Slow Train Coming but it’s finally passed the bend now. An FBI agent is under criminal investigation for altering a FISA document according to the Communist News Network. (CNN)

    p.s., I am more convinced than ever before that we need at least 80,000,000 more bureaucrats and government employees. Do you guys know how much we pay these cats from just the 17 agencies protecting us from Trump?
    $81,500,000,0000.00 in 2018
    81 billion bucks.

    1. Perhaps the house GOP should vote in favor of impeachment, so this gets over to the Senate, forcing the MSM to cover the suicide of themselves, the DNC and the Deep State.

    2. I think the House will vote and pass articles of impeachment, Mespo.
      They have too much invested in it at this point. Pelosi had problems with the “impeach Trump wing” of the House even before the impeachment inquiry started, and at this stage I don’t think she’ll risk alienating them by refusing to call for a full House vote on impeachment.
      They’ll fall about 20 votes short of conviction in the Senate.

      1. Anonymous:
        If they do the masochistic thing, their fates are sealed. The trial in the Senate will make them and the media a laughing stock. Trump will emerge stronger and the Dims could lose the House.

        1. Mespo, I think Rep. Al Green got 95 votes on his July 2019 impeachment resolution (before the Ukraine issue came up).
          He got about 60 votes in late 2017.
          I’m guessing that if there were 95 votes even before the Ukraine issue and the impeachment inquiry, that they’ll have the 218 votes necessary to impeach.
          At this stage, I agree that it looks like this is backfiring, politically, on the Democrats.
          I just think Pelosi is between a rock and a hard place and that she’ll risk that, rather than let down the House impeachment “hawks”.

  2. “Vindman & Fiona Hill are represented by Boies, Schiller & Flexner. That law firm also did work for Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that paid Hunter Biden millions of dollars. That firm also employed Hunter Biden & paid him more than he’s worth. Weird, huh?” @ArthurSchwartz

  3. Carol S,
    I don’t think Sondland’s position as ambassador is in question; it seems unquestionable that he’s finished.

  4. OBAMA’S AID TO UKRAINE WAS USEFUL..

    CONTRARY TO REPUBLICAN TALKING POINTS

    American lawmakers from the Democratic and Republican parties, at least as far back as 2015, have been urging the United States to help Ukraine with arms and other heavy military equipment to defend itself against Russian-backed separatists.

    Though aid from the U.S., Poland and NATO allies spiked after the invasion, the Obama administration worried in part that providing Ukraine with lethal aid would provoke Moscow into escalating an already volatile situation. The training and institutional reform efforts aimed to continue stamping out corruption and helping Ukraine become interoperable with NATO. (Ukraine is not a member of NATO.)

    Some of the early nonlethal aid was useful. After Ukraine received 20 Lockheed Martin AN/TPQ-53 radar systems that track incoming mortar and short-range artillery fire in 2015, the casualty rate for units equipped with those system went from 47 percent to about 18 percent.

    “That was some of the most useful equipment that we ever provided them because it provided them early warning,” Hodges said. “The Ukrainians used [the radar] so much, they were under so much rocket and mortar fire, that they became extremely proficient. So we learned from them.”

    Congress has since expanded the categories of available military aid. Its authorization for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative for 2016 included anti-armor weapon systems, mortars, crew-served weapons and ammunition, grenade launchers and ammunition, and small arms and ammunition ― but also unspecified “cyber” and “electronic warfare” capabilities.

    A new bill would also ask the president to determine whether Ukraine should be a major non-NATO ally, condemn Russia’s detention of 24 Ukrainian sailors and urge Russia to implement the Minsk II peace agreement.

    Of the recent State Department tranche, $16.5 million was for equipment training to counter waterborne threats, as well as training Russian surface, subsurface and long-range aircraft, according to a recent notice to Congress. The money could also pay for advisers, parts and training to build electronic signals intelligence, naval special warfare capabilities, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities to include towed-array sonars, lightweight torpedoes and sonobuoys.

    Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service would be eligible for support to maritime rapid response units through the provision of small boats, communication, safety equipment and training simulators.

    To be clear, Ukraine has a robust military and defense-industrial base on its own, and according to Simakovsky, Kyiv is likely looking less for small arms than for larger and more sophisticated training, as well as maritime capabilities, intelligence and cyber support.

    Edited from: “Here’s What You Need To Know About The U.S. Aid To Ukraine”

    Defense News.com, 9/25/19

    1. i question the wisdom of lethal aid to Ukraine, anyways, and you can see the Donald gets no credit for it from the Russophobes, anyways.

      Ukraine should NOT be annexed to NATO; and if they know what’s good for them, they’ll try and steer clear of the farce which is the EU now too.

      A diplomatic solution to Eastern Ukraine could still be reached, but, the Ukrainian regime is probablyh more interested in Uncle Sam’s money than it is resolving that problem.

      I read that Russia has issued passports on request to residents of Donbass. Basically there’s been a de facto partition.

      I also read that this sort of thing is now called a “Frozen conflict zone” like Transnistrya

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria

      most folks prolly never heard of that.

    2. Why would you post this Peter? Are you saying non-lethal aid was plenty? I thought it was. I approved of Obama on that point.

      And if it was good for Obama to only provide nonlethal then why is Trump being pilloried when he went that much farther with lethal aid? Because he didn’t do it fast enough for his inside bosses at CIA?

      Try and make some sense of this!

      The fact is you guys are all acting like ardent RUSSOPHOBES– except moments like this, recalling when someone on your side with power urged restraint. And then Poof! like magic suddenly you’re all for diplomacy. FAKES!

      1. Kurtz. If you read the article it says that Obama provided radar systems that greatly lowered Ukrainian casualties. Obama also provided night vision goggles for Ukrainian troops.

        Your comments, however, indicate you,’re rooting for Russia.

        1. Apparently Obama’s actions didn’t save Crimea or a large portion of the Ukraine despite the fact that we had a written statement that if Ukraine gave up their nuclear arms we would provide protection. Yet Peter the Shill complains that we didn’t do enough for the Kurds where there was no agreement what so ever.

          Peter wins the hypocrite award again and again and…….

          1. fool tries to conflate separate issues to make a point and successfully proves that he is an idiot every time he posts. Bless your heart, Alan

              1. Peter, your comment regarding YNOT was absolutely true but we have had many debates and you always have to run away. Here are two items for you to consider in light of recent discussions.

                Ukraine widens probe against Burisma founder to embezzlement of state funds

                https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-impeachment-burisma-idUSKBN1XU2N7

                …And you think there is no reason to look at corruption before money is provided in aid?

                Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire

                https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446

                …And you think Trump has no cause to be suspicious?

                1. Alan, no working person has the time to argue with you all day. Seriously, they don’t. One would have to be totally retired with nothing on their schedule to really argue with Alan.

                  1. It has little to do with time. It has to do with the fact that you only know one side of the coin and get almost everything wrong. Try taking a singular point and use some of the time you use for posting nonsense. Take a day or two.

          2. Alan, your timeline is wrong. The Ukrainian Revolution occurred in December of 2013. That’s when Ukrianians threw out Putin’s stooge Yanovich. Russia then invade Crimea in March of 2014. That was ‘before’ the incursion into Eastern Ukraine and ‘before’ Obama provided aid.

            1. The timeline isn’t wrong. Your thinking is. Obama was weak and he opened a lot of doors to our enemies. His responses were likewise weak. That is what lead to a lot of our foreign problems.

              Face it Peter. He had some ideas I appreciated but his policies or the way he carried them out were atrocious.

              1. Alan, your timeline was wrong. You somehow thought the invasion of Crimea came ‘after’ Obama sent aid. It wasn’t. As ‘Anonymous’ below noted, Putin invaded Crimea in early spring after the December revolution. In other words, Putin waited just long enough for most of the snow to melt before invading Crimea. That’s how angry he was that his stooge had been overthrown.

                1. So? How does that make anything I said wrong? Also, remember how Obama responded to world events before the invasion influences what other nations do.

                2. Russians didn’t invade Crimea.

                  After the Obama’s illegal Coup/Murder against the elected govt of Ukraine, the people of Crimea had 2 votes in which the ask to once again join back with their Russian brothers/sisters.

                  And people would be completely insane to think Russia will ever give up their ports in Crimea & Syria.

                  If you wish to fight the Russians you’re free to get your gun & go fight.

                  The US should stay off Russians borders as was the promise the US made with Russia.

                  1. there was a legitimate referendum on Crimea and Sebastopol joining the Russian federation with a solid majority in favor. it’s consistent with the principle of the self determination of peoples to respect his. if the bosnians can secede from serbia than the people of crimea can secede from ukraine.

                    i realize NATO doesnt liek that, CIA doesnt like that, Russophobic war mongers in both Democrat and Republican parties dont like that, but regular Americans out here in flyover could care less whether Crimeans want to be in Russian federation or not. That’s reality. Go ask someone in flyover and most wont have any clue where Crimea or Sebastopol are anyways. And not because they are rubes but simply because humble folk mind their own business!

            2. Yanukovych was chased out of Kiev and out of power in a violent uprising that was a faster means of deposing him than constitutional procedures.
              This was in Feb. 2014. Yanukovych had about a year ( I think) left before his term as the president ended, and there are provisions in the Ukraine Constitution to remove an elected president short of mob violence.
              There is a far higher percentage of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine than the country as a whole; their mindset was that if “an uprising” can drive a president out, that their own “uprising” could separate them from the Kiev Ukrainian government.
              Putin obviously was angered by the way Yanukovych was toppled, and he clearly encouraged and aided the separatists’ revolt.
              I think 80-90% of the separatists are Ukrainians. Ethnic Russian Ukrainians. The remaining 10-20% are Russian “volunteers”/ mercenaries and regular Russian military members.

              1. it was a dangerous precedent that a large country like Ukraine would force out a politician with violent riots like maidan.

                and the US supported it actively — a VERY BAD precedent for law and order

                “color revolutions” mean trouble for sovereign countries and just because the US has occasionally benefitted from them strategically does not justify constant subversion in other country’s sovereign affairs

                also the blatant hypocrisy of meddling in the Ukrainian government matters vis a vis Yanukovich– handing out cookies in maidan— and then whining all the time about Russia Russia Russia meddling in our elections, is just astounding. Do you Russophobic people have any sort of empathy whatsoever?

                You guys are clods, total pawns of the war establishment. suckers.

        2. “rooting for Russia.” That’s how you guys think

          I think what’s good for America. I could care less about “democracy” in any foreign land for starters, and I don’t hate Russians nor Ukrainians– nor do i favor Ukrainians, unlike you guys, evidently

          but what’s my biggest personal interest and btw what is really our most compelling national interest?

          the same one that used to be a bipartisan issue– avoiding nuclear war

          Antagonizing Russia by deepening military ties with its former breadbasket state right all up on its border, seems like a crappy idea to me, seeing as how it’s likely to piss them off, can and did lead to war, and could lead to a hotter war, in which they get annoyed and NUKE us.

          Crazy me for thinking that what there is to gain in meddling in Ukraine, is less than there is to lose.

          Say Peter did you ever watch those speeches by your liberal icon Daniel Ellsberg that I linked? HE says we should still be worried about global thermonuclear war and the practical collapse of civilization that would follow.

          Such old timey Democrats who were called peaceniks were a lot smarter than the current crop like you!

    3. No one said Obama’s non lethal aid wasn’t useful. Blankets and radar are of course very useful. They just aren’t defensive. You can detect, but not repel, Russians with a radar.

      It’s like that commercial about credit monitoring where the security guard says, during a robbery, “There’s a robbery.” “Do something!” “Oh, no, I’m just a security monitor.”

      Here’s one of the many reasons why the Democrat accusation that Trump was working with the Russians was so preposterous. Trump gave Ukraine lethal aid to fight the Russians. Facts don’t seem to alter talking points.

      Obama seemed to be more wary of opposing the Russians than Trump is. Remember when Obama said on a hot mic that after the election he’d have more flexibility with Russia?

      1. Karen, ‘blankets’ was actually a sarcastic comment that John McCain made. The aid was never that rudimentary. But Trumpers have seized on that as a talking point.

        1. Actually, no, John McCain was not the origin of the “blanket” comment. No, that comment came from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko when he addressed Congress, pleading for lethal aid that Obama refused, after Russia annexed the Crimea.

          https://nypost.com/2019/10/09/sorry-joe-team-obama-refused-to-arm-ukraine-at-all/

          “Joe Biden has said that by holding up vital military aid to Ukraine, President Trump “used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation, a partner that is still under direct assault from Russia … to subvert the rule of law.”

          That’s rich. The aid in question is lethal military assistance that the Obama-Biden administration refused to give Ukraine.

          In 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea and began arming separatists in eastern Ukraine with tanks, armored vehicles and rocket launchers, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came to Washington to plead for weapons to defend his country. In an impassioned address to a joint session of Congress — with Biden sitting directly behind him — Poroshenko said his country appreciated the nonlethal assistance he was getting, but declared “one cannot win a war with blankets.””

  5. In case anyone in the Washington DC area is interested in attending, at Georgetown University, where I just arrived. It should be informative

    https://catholicsocialthought.georgetown.edu/events/the-francis-factor-today

    The Francis Factor Today

    A Conversation with Archbishop Wilton Gregory along with Helen Alvaré and John Carr

    Dahlgren Dialogue on The Francis Factor Today
    Thursday, November 21, 2019
    5:00 P.M.
    Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart
    Georgetown University

    Reception
    6:30 P.M.
    Foyer, First Floor of Healy Hall
    Georgetown University

    More than six years ago, Jorgé Mario Bergoglio was elected the first Jesuit and Latin American pope. In choosing the name Francis, he signaled his priorities: “a poor Church for the poor,” peace, and care for God’s creation. Through his humble ways and powerful words, Pope Francis has challenged the Catholic Church and called the world to care for the weak and vulnerable. In his journeys around the world, including the United States and here in Washington, Pope Francis has sought out the poor and troubled, defended human life and dignity, stood with migrants and refugees, rejected a throwaway culture, and called for care for our common home. He has also been powerfully challenged by the horrors of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and has faced resistance within the Church from those who oppose his leadership.

    In October 2013, the inaugural Public Dialogue of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life focused on “The Francis Factor” and the meaning and implications of this new pope’s words and actions. Now, six years later, the Initiative and the Office of Mission and Ministry at Georgetown join together in this Dahlgren Dialogue to explore Pope Francis’ continuing mission and message, his impact, and the challenges he and the Church face today.

    Archbishop of Washington Wilton Gregory will be at the center of this dialogue, sharing a pastor’s perspective on Pope Francis and his mission. Before coming to Washington last May, Archbishop Gregory led the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia, and the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. He has also served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the only African-American ever elected to this leadership position.

    Joining Archbishop Gregory in this Dahlgren Dialogue will be:

    Helen Alvaré is a professor at the Scalia Law School of George Mason University, a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, and an advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
    John Carr is the director of Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. He served as the leader of the U.S. bishops’ efforts on justice and peace for more than two decades. He previously served as a Washington columnist for America and a residential fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and he currently serves as chair of the board of Bread for the World.

    John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, will open the evening. Fr. Mark Bosco, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown, will set a prayerful context for this dialogue. Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative, will moderate the conversation.

    The Dahlgren Dialogues are a series of substantive conversations with experienced leaders in the context of prayerful reflection on current topics at the intersection of faith and public life.​ Co-sponsored with the Georgetown Office of Mission and Ministry, these are held in the Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, the spiritual heart of Georgetown. These dialogues bring together respected policymakers, religious leaders, scholars, and other experts on the most pressing moral and public issues of our time.

    https://catholicsocialthought.georgetown.edu/events/the-francis-factor-today

    1. The meaning of the Pope’s words and actions is that the understanding of infallability incorporated into the degrees of Vatican I requires some reconsideration.

      1. I gather they are just passing off all his gibberish as what we call in the law, “Obiter dicta,” that is, judicial talk which is besides the point of the case and not technically part of the legal holding. Certainly Bergogli has zero authority to repudiate core dogma like the physical resurrection or various other things about which he seems to have made perplexing remarks.

        I’ll leave it to somebody else on the Church payroll to bother to explain the narrow scope of ex cathedra statements, which are very rare. I’m not on their payroll and anyways none of them seem to care much more anyhow. So why should I waste my time on it!

          1. Paul,

            I’ve posted stuff like this below before but change is often very slow.

            I think the Catholic church leadership, like many Baptist/Protestant church’s leadership has been infiltrated by people who are possessed by demonic sprints.

            Catholics allow priest to marry (women) & along with the Protestants, public schools do as VP Pence does & always be with other adults when with/around people & kids. That sound stop most weird stuff & false claims.

            What was that song Mr K…. I was a young man, I couldn’t resist. & many women are the same way.

            1. eastern rite allows priests to marry; Greek & other Orthodox allow it. it’s probably a good idea and not a matter of core dogma at all. they could change that easily. older guys sometimes get dispensations too. the main thing about celibacy is they get a lot of free labor from priests out of it…

              stopping pedos is imperative for any organization. it is necessary to say that not every gay is a pedo. I’m sure its a small minority! however, people get justifiably confused about because there is an aspect of teenage-recruitment in homosexuality, in a way, just as heterosexuals are attracted to youth as well. twinks, milfs, hot teacher, etc

              but that is what you might call ephoebephilia and not pedophilia. I don’t want to get too complicated here but they are not precisely the same thing. the law generally establishes certain gradations of harm based on age which are sane, you can look up the differences in punishments if you want the details, see to the laws of any state.

              likewise not every hetero has clean hands for the youth either. obviously. so protecting youth from sexual predators is not really a gay or not gay issue to me.

              pedos always seek to target kids. to find them in schools, find them in youth organizations like sports, or scouting, etc. so priestly celibacy is not the problem there. the evil pedo freaks are a multigenerational evil. they need to be always and everywhere detected and stopped and punished, regardless of whatever venues they have sneaked into to do their evil things…. for any organization that has pursued a conspiracy to shield pedos from prosecution then they need to get hit hard with a few RICO suits and disgorge a few hundred millions and that will teach them a lesson

              I’m Catholic and I was a Boy Scout. I was never molested. I had great mentors. But the organizations have black eyes for their failures to protect. And they both need serious punishment by civil authorities for turning blind eye to the pedo stuff is my opinion. The Church can do its missions without gobs of money just like Saint Francis did. they need some persecution, they’ve gone weak and decadent and corrupt. I cant sort that out, I’m laity and the clerics rule the roost. Let them earn their stripes. For now I will be looking elsewhere for help in the worldly things that concern me. St John Chrysostom is said to have said, “road to hell paved with skulls of priests and bishops bones are the lamposts” or something like that. truer than ever!

              and boy scouts, consider all the big bucks that boy scouts has, that didn’t stop them from ditching the “Boy” part of scouting in favor of whatever their phony current format is. far as I”m concerned they can just get flushed into BK for all I care, the leadership has already fatally compromised it. what a shame, what a waste, and all because they were too incompetent and lazy to protect the weak boys from predators that they knew for decades were targeting them for spoil. despicable loss of honor!

              and I Have seen them fail many times to help good loyal boy scouts finish Eagle timely and be deprived of the one thing that they could deliver, because they had some fat lazy woman in the office forget to process a file on time, or some meritorious boy was less popular than another who got his boots shined for him all the time by sycophants currying favor with rich parents, etc, and then they will dare to blame the scout. oh i could tell you stories. again it’s the perplexing situation of the incompetent bureaucrats and administrators all who need a firm punishment from a far less forgiving public., just like universities.

              just like these rotten pukes in the federal bureaucracy who presume to spy on the boss. America a once great nation, stifled in its attempt at rebirth, by a bunch of paper pushing punks committing a national abortion.

              I was involved in scouting for several years right before the big change and i don’t know a single parent or leader or kid who want to drop the old format and let in homosexuals and girls. this was a totally Board of Mis-Directors driven forced change that makes countless people want to puke. and if that was their recipe for deterring pedos, sorry, it won’t work. see pedos preying on kids had nothing to do with whether or not there were gays in the ranks or not, nothing to do with girls in the ranks or not, it was just a massive decades long failure to take strong action against evil freaks because the admins were lazy and chicken to call them out and fire them. so admitting gays and girls wont solve the problem either

              I have nothing against homosexuals nor girls but just like they have their clubs, we can have ours too. there should be a strong unity of all decent folk against pedos, and protecting kids from pedos is a necessary task that should not be an occasion to stifle the freedom of association of men from being alone with one another or mentoring the youth properly.

              people can and should diverge the issues of protecting children from pedos, from all the gay rights stuff. gay people of goodwill will understand this and so will heterosexuals. the ones who obscure it are either ignorant of the relevant complexities, or, quite possibly, the very sort who need a closer look!

          2. Paul, you are at liberty to throw the body of Pope Francis into the Tiber, conduct a cadaver synod and amputate the 3 fingers he used to bless followers. It wouldn’t be the first time

            Note: you will have to leave your mancave in Arizona, travel to Italy and hence be without internet access. Decisions, decisions.

            1. Estpvor – I have a hunch the Vatican has internet. They do have a few websites, which would be a tip-off. 😉

  6. “The Wall Street Journal reported that President Barack Obama stuck to his refusal to provide weapons or other lethal military gear to Ukraine.”

    He did that by letting Congress know that he would veto a bill that included it. He didn’t sign a bill into law and then decide to unilaterally ignore the appropriation.

  7. “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    – William Casey, CIA Director 1981-1987

  8. in other news, totally HOT Trump state department official Mina Chang quits after exposure for padding her resume

    https://nypost.com/2019/11/19/mina-chang-senior-state-department-official-resigns-over-claims-she-embellished-resume/

    I’ll bet she improved the workplace environment over at “Foggy Bottom” that’s for sure what a lot of uglies we’ve seen slither out of there the past decade

    https://www.google.com/search?q=mina+chang+images&sa=X&biw=1288&bih=772&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=aYC90ZF-AkpGZM%253A%252Ckmlz07yuoFz8SM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kTx8OF6OesOZ9XkiGMZ9ygHMqq29A&ved=2ahUKEwiHw4eQivzlAhUNPa0KHaymBjUQ9QEwC3oECAgQGg#imgrc=aYC90ZF-AkpGZM:

    totally stunning gorgeous hot lady wow. immediately hired somewhere else. she’s such a fibber, she might be good in advertising?

    1. https://www.instagram.com/minatrinitychang/?hl=en

      she should be the next ambassador to Ukraine. A thousand times prettier than Yona, smarter than Sondland; not that it would take much to leap over either bar.

      State Department doesn’t deserve hotties like this.
      Probably should have gone to CIA in the first place
      I bet she could run a hell of a honeypot operation. LOL

      Sorry just trying to keep it light around here

        1. i have never seen that full of a pout on a Han face.
          and yet the facial features retain a balanced symmetry across both the x and y axis–
          really a fantastically beautiful face in my opinion

          non-American Asians probably would not consider her as beautiful — she has a strong jawline and chin. I’ve got the impression that they rather tend to prefer a melonseed shaped taper through the chin; and the size of the lips, which we would tend to approve, they might not.

          too bad she’s a fibber!

          1. MK,

            Somewhere out there is a video of Roger Stones daughter. I didn’t know he had kids, any find that.

            And notice all these women they’re post that have ugly pencil necks longer the giraffes. ( Ann Clouter sic)

            1. His wife is hot, even at her age, and they used to be swingers apparently. His wife’s name is Nydia. If I Recall she’s of Cuban extraction. I have not seen any other family pics.

              https://stonedefensefund.com/

              Ann Coulter does have a long neck. I met her. Looks even longer in person. She’s not bad looking. But way too loud, not my type.

  9. First, Giuliani was acting as the president’s lawyer, and he was simply telling the Ukrainians “you scratch my back and we’ll scratch yours.” Furthermore, remember that military aid is provided through the military and guess who is commander in chief? It is COMMON for aid to be held up until certain considerations are met. As for Sondland, the man is Ambassador to the European Union, of which Ukraine IS NOT a member. What, exactly, was his role in dealing with Ukraine?

  10. I heard that you heard that she heard that they said that someone did something as reported by someone else who mentioned it to three people one of whom said her uncle knew somebody who drove Fords on Mondays and he heard on the radio one time that somebody somewhere said something, but I can’t remember.

  11. While impeachment may be a disproportionate response, it looks like there is a legal problem here.

    The aid to Ukraine was appropriated by Congress in a bill and signed into law by the executive. Policy reasons are not a sufficient legal reason to ignore a law.

    There do appear to be some ways to delay the aid via the Office of Management and Budget, but it does not look like they can apply here.

    The Impoundment Control Act says the President can decide that a program is no longer in the best interests of the United States. But he must inform Congress of that — (2 U.S.C. § 683(a))

    Congress can then decide to formally rescind the money within 45 days. (2 U.S.C. § 683(b)).

    Doesn’t look like either of these two things happened.

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/role-omb-withholding-ukrainian-aid

    1. The aid to Ukraine was appropriated by Congress in a bill and signed into law by the executive. Policy reasons are not a sufficient legal reason to ignore a law.

      Does the law require he release the aid on a specific date, or is he allowed latitude within the fiscal year for which it was appropriated?

      1. I was wondering that.

        My reading of the law is that the President is not allowed latitude to do that. Appropriated funds can be held up for brief periods of time if certain conditions are met. I suppose one can get into a discussion as to what brief means. But I don’t know if that’s going to fly.

        My understanding is that OMB would have released the funds by now if the White House had not intervened.

        I’m also wondering if Trump knew about this law. That would be a problem for the White House lawyers who should have informed him. My understanding is intent is required for these kinds of things. In other words, you need to know about the law, and intentionally break it.

        The whole things been pretty slipshod, so I don’t know if anyone’s going to discuss this.

  12. DOES TRUMP REALLY CARE ABOUT CORRUPTION?

    Republicans have a ready explanation for why President Trump held up U.S. military aid to Ukraine when they needed it to fight Russian aggression: “This whole thing is about corruption,” the president told reporters last month.

    But if Trump is truly concerned about systemic corruption — in Ukraine or elsewhere — his actions don’t show it.

    For decades, there has been strong bipartisan support for U.S. leadership in the global fight against corruption. Under Republican and Democratic presidents, the leadership at the State, Justice, Treasury and Defense Departments promoted whole-of-government anti-corruption programs on a global scale — without the need for secret missions. And for good reason: Corruption undermines the rule of law, stunts economic growth and benefits regimes and organizations that threaten international peace and security.

    Yet Trump’s 2020 budget proposal, the largest in federal history, seeks to reduce economic support, slashing spending on anti-corruption programs generally and on such programs in Ukraine, in particular. The administration tried to do the same thing last year: In 2019, the budget would have cut funding from $30 million to $13 million for programs related to fighting corruption in Ukraine. Fortunately, Congress rejected that request, but the president’s message is clear — fighting corruption in Ukraine is not a priority.

    There is no doubt that corruption presents a threat to the effective and proper use of foreign aid. And it’s true that, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, many countries receiving the most U.S. assistance appear to be the most corrupt. Afghanistan (ranked 172 out of 180 countries in the index) and Iraq (ranked 168) illustrate how widespread and intractable corruption jeopardizes the effectiveness of billions in U.S. assistance and, more important, threatens our strategic national security objectives.

    The right response is to help fight corruption, not to choke off aid. But there is scant evidence that the president has taken an equally personal interest in fighting corruption in these countries.

    The administration hasn’t just cut economic support for anti-corruption programs. It has undermined political support by praising corrupt leaders.

    Prior Republican and Democratic presidents have sent a strong political message endorsing good governance by refusing to meet with kleptocrats and speaking out about the importance of fighting corruption. In contrast, Trump and multiple Cabinet officials have expressed robust support for leaders of countries with endemic corruption and anti-democratic policies. Trump has embraced, among others, the anti-democratic leaders of Russia, Turkey and Egypt, and even said “we fell in love” of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Those leaders have all attacked the judiciary, the media, civil society and even the truth — all essential to fight corruption.

    As to leading by example, Trump has flouted constitutional, legal and ethical norms here at home, too. He and his administration have what appear to be unprecedented levels of conflicts of interest. The president’s result from his refusal to divest his business interests in a blind trust. Trump hotels and golf courses in the United States and abroad have received hundreds of paid visits from foreign officials, members of Congress, the vice president and Cabinet officials. Trump and his family have received loans, trademarks, licenses and other benefits from foreign governments of strategic interest to the United States. As a legal matter, the president is not subject to the conflict-of-interest law that would prevent any other government official from doing the same thing. But his conflicts remain, undermining trust that the country’s interests are paramount in his decision-making.

    Trump is getting payments from foreign governments. We have no idea what they are.

    The impeachment hearings have focused on the quid pro quo necessary to prove a criminal offense of bribery in a court of law. But an act need not be illegal to be considered corrupt. The president who promised to drain the swamp, however, put his personal political interests ahead of our national interests, demonstrating his apparent view that if it’s not illegal, it’s not corrupt.

    The credibility of U.S. leadership in the fight against corruption has been damaged by the president’s failure to demonstrate any concern about the corrosive and damaging impact of corruption in Ukraine or, sadly, here at home.

    Edited from: “The GOP Says Trump Is Fighting Corruption. He Hasnt Done That Anywhere”

    Today’s Washington Post

      1. Well Tabby indulge us. ‘Where’ has Trump fought corruption? North Korrea? The Philippines? Hungary?

        Oddly Trump seems to always praise the most dubious of leaders. But he was really tough on Denmark and Sweden.

        1. “‘Where’ has Trump fought corruption?”

          Trump’s biggest feat in fighting corruption was by defeating Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the second biggest feat is brewing since apparently Durham is considering filing criminal charges. Not as sensational is that Trump removed the Washington Post from the Whitehouse.

  13. Cracks me up on how obvious the bias is. If you see a qiud pro quo for investigating the Biden’s which has not been proven then my guess is you are a Dem. If you see a quid pro quo for investigations into Burisma and 2016 elections then you are paying attention to what has been actually established. The latter is not a crime. If investigating the 2016 elections leads one to Burisma or the Biden’s then it is what it is, there is no crime in an investigation if it naturally leads to a corrupt American politician. I don’t think Sonland did anything to advance that Trump was wanting to investigate Biden. Burisma was a corrupt company and should be investigated even if none of this was going on.

  14. Burisma was corrupt, stealing money from the Ukrainian people, quite possibly the very aid we provided. Burisma used that stolen money to pay the Bidens (not just Hunter) MILLIONS.

    The Bidens received stolen US aid which Joe Biden arranged to give them.

    In Summary, the Bidens were running a money-laundering scheme in Ukraine.

    Biden arranged to give US aid to Ukraine via quid pro quo, which Burisma then stole and gave back to the Bidens.

    No wonder these diplomats didn’t like Rudy poking around in Ukraine…

    @mitchellvii

    1. Even though Sondland was threatened with jail by Schiff, mobs were blocking access to his hotel and a Democrat Congressman called for a boycott of his brand, there is no imaginable reason that his testimony would change and be so slanted against Trump is there?
      Even with all the incentive to say Trump told him to make the link between the investigation and aid, he could not go that far.
      This witness is about as useful as Adam Schiff.

  15. We should have a topic on the fed rules of evidence and why they should be applied in the Senate trial and how the rules work when there is hearsay. And hearsay of an agent of the defendant. If it is the statement of agent of party opponent then:what does it admit? How is it relevant?

  16. Here’s the Sondland case against Trump, the red light runner, in testimony that my feeble mind can understand:

    PROSECUTOR SCHIFF: Did Trump run the red light causing the accident?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: Yes, Driver Trump ran the red light.

    PROSECUTOR SCHIFF: I rest

    JUDGE: Well maybe we should let the defense ask a question or two.

    DEFENSE LAWYER STEFANCIK: How do you know Trump ran the red light?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: I deduced it!

    DEFENSE LAWYER STEFANCIK: So how did you deduce it? Did you see it?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: No, I neither saw it nor heard it. I presumed it based on talking to my friends who all know it happened.

    DEFENSE LAWYER STEFANCIK: Did they see or hear it?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: No, they just know it. It’s common knowledge in our circle of friends. Hey now tone down that scowl missy, I told Prosecutor Schiff that I was basing this testimony only on my presumptions.

    DEFENSE LAWYER STEFANCIK: Did Driver Trump tell you he ran the red light?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: No he denied it. Vociferously, in fact. And the other driver, Driver Zelensky, who got hit, denied it, too. Yep he was just as adamant.

    DEFENSE LAWYER STEFANCIK: So, you’re telling me that both drivers to the accident denied Trump ran the red light and yet you still presume that Trump ran the red light?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: Yep, sure do!

    DEFENSE LAWYER STEFANCIK: Does the fact that, as you testify today, agents of the prosecutor are picketing your business have anything to do with your fact-free conclusion that Trump ran the red light?

    WITNESS SONDLAND: Absolutely, not.

    JUDGE: Guilty as charged.

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