Saturday, November 30, 2019

Nunes spent at least $57,000 of taxpayer money on Parnas-arranged trip to dig up Biden 'dirt'

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes (L) (R-CA) and minority counsel Steve Castor confer as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (R-CA) delivers his closing remarks during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Jennifer Williams, adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for European and Russian affairs, and National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, during the third day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. (Photo by Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images)
Think Nunes told Republican counsel that he had spent $57,000 on the taxpayer dime to further the very same conspiracy witnesses were testifying to in the impeachment hearings?
It was revealed last week that ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, who has been a reliable disruption throughout that House impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, had himself traveled to Vienna to meet with corrupt Ukrainian ex-prosecutor Victor Shokin

 The trip was facilitated by the now-indicted Lev Parnas, Ukrainian partner of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and its purpose was to obtain "dirt" on potential Trump election rival Joe Biden—the same motive held by Trump, Giuliani, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo themselves when pressuring the Ukrainian government, the very act to precipitate the current impeachment investigation.

Rep. Nunes undisclosed personal involvement with the same allegedly criminal acts that will likely result in impeachment charges against Trump and criminal charges against Giuliani and, possibly, still more others, sheds light on his continued efforts to block House investigators seeking information about those acts. He did not disclose that he was in fact a fact witness to the very effort in question, and coordinating with several of the same individuals.

But there was one question remaining: Did Nunes make these Parnas-Shokin arrangements to uncover supposed "dirt" on a Republican opponent in a personal capacity, making him merely an idiot, or did he use taxpayer funds for the partisan, election-premised trip, a violation of campaign laws?

We now know the answer. Yes, he did it the criminal way. Of course he did. 

Newsweek is now reporting that Nunes' congressional office spent $57,000 in taxpayer money to fly Nunes and three members of his congressional staff to Europe for secret meetings with Shokin and other Parnas-arranged "sources."

Rep. Nunes now faces a formal ethics complaint over his status as undisclosed witness, the resulting conflict of interest inherent to that act, and for his use of taxpayer funds for domestic political purposes.

While past charges for unethical behavior and leaking classified information—also centered on defending Trump—were buried by a Republican then-majority on the Ethics Committee, the current Democratic-held committee is expected to treat these charges with the seriousness they are due.

Friday, November 29, 2019

"Slurring noticeably" during Florida rally, Trump claims he beat Obama and saved Christmas

DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 17: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Keep America Great" Campaign Rally at American Airlines Center on October 17, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
And then he flew to the moon and single-handedly defeated 15 moon lobsters

Donald Trump held a rally in Florida last night. We generally don't even cover these at this point: You can't even call them campaign rallies as much as "rallies Trump's staff arranges for him to give him an outlet for his megalomanic tendencies that does not involve military strikes or making Cabinet members battle to the death."

That said, there were a few moments during this one that stood out. The man is in a positively venomous mood of late—no surprise—and it is the times when he most seeks the adulation of his crowds that he turns weird and racist. Well, weirder and racist-er.

The phrase "slurring noticeably" is going to start appearing more and more frequently in the coming months, so be prepared for that, but there's a whole lot to unpack there, eh?

Donald still measures himself against Obama, and despises Obama with such passion that he's now claiming he beat him in an election that never happened. He uses Hussein as implicit insult before the crowd, a callback to his grotesque racist attacks on the last president as not actually a true American but secretly from Africa. (His crowds continue to love this stuff, because every Donald Trump supporter in America, every single one, is a racist conspiracy-loving shit-for-brains. That includes, and goes double, for the television versions.)

Mostly, however, the evening was the usual narcissist's testing of a thousand different messages, looking for anything that would gain the approval of the audience. Did you know Donald Trump single-handedly saved Christmas in America? He did, because you Floridian saps like Christmas and Donald Trump says he saved it so there. Did you know there was a War on Thanksgiving now? There is.

Fox News said so during Donald's executive time and Donald was, as he often is, the exact sort of gullible paranoid grandpa-rube to fall for whatever the idiot box says.

It appears that Fox's "War on Thanksgiving" segments have made an impact on Trump. "Some people want to change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving. And that was true with Christmas. Now everybody is using Christmas again. Remember I said that?"


Is he out of his mind? Of course. Is he a pathological liar? Absolutely: It is both a side effect of the worst case of malignant narcissism most people will ever have the opportunity to themselves witness, and his own coping mechanism for managing a life in which he knows nothing, has instincts for nothing, and fails continuously through his own faults, propped up only by a near-boundless supply of daddy's money.

There are some people who are still entranced by his little freak show, whether he is slurring noticeably or not. They are the people whose racism is so ingrained that they will wait in long lines to have it confirmed and flattered, and people for whom the focus of politics is not on governing, but on punishing other Americans good and hard. And, sweet Jeebus, the gullible ones. The people who will believe absolutely anything, if someone from their teevee is saying it. Sean Hannity has made a bajillion bucks off those people.

This is the gasbag that the Republican Senate has insisted is allowed to do crimes, since all the government's efforts to dissuade him from doing crimes have failed.

This is the slurring noticeably gasbag that McConnell, Graham, and a forever-troubled Romney have confirmed can in fact commit crimes, provably, and can continue to do them tomorrow without consequence, so long as the pipeline of hard-right judges and deregulators merges with their own political motives. This gibbering ball of spite and delusion, leader of the party, indecency personified.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Lighten Up, People, It's Thanksgiving for God's Sake

Garrison Keillor on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, near his bookstore Common Good Books in 2014. (photo: Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press)
Garrison Keillor on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, near his bookstore Common Good Books in 2014. (photo: Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press)

By Garrison Keillor, Garrison Keillor's Website
28 November 19
t worries me that I’m using GPS to guide me around Minneapolis, a city I’ve known since I was a boy on a bicycle, and also that I text my wife from the next room, and when I get up in the morning Siri sometimes asks me, “What’s the matter? You seem a little down. Would you like to hear the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3?” And I say, Leave me alone, I just want to think, and she and I wind up having a conversation about delayed gratification.

Too much technology in my life. I used to go to Al’s Breakfast Nook and now I go on Facebook. Thanks to social media, my handwriting has become illegible. It took me half an hour to decipher a note I left on the kitchen counter that said, “Why am I here? What’s the purpose of it all? Who needs me?”

But Thanksgiving is on the way so let’s talk about something more cheerful such as profound gratitude. I’m from Minnesota and grew up in a culture of cheerfulness. Now I’m old and have much to complain about and am grateful for memory loss. My mother did not encourage complaint — “Other people have it worse than you,” she said, referring to children in China. She also said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Which eliminated journalism as a career and politics, music criticism and any form of fiction except children’s books.

My parents came of age during the Depression, when everyone they knew was hard pressed and scraping to get by, and you did not complain because everyone else was in the same boat. Mother darned socks and mended jeans. They bought day-old bread as a matter of course and shopped around for the cheapest gasoline and slaughtered their own chickens. Dad cut our hair. He bought cans of vegetables for half price whose labels had come off and you didn’t know if it was carrots or beets. They did this cheerfully. I found it embarrassing and I rebel against them by getting haircuts from barbers and paying exorbitant prices for produce raised in Guatemala. I buy fresh bread. But I try to emulate their cheerfulness.

We live in the Age of Extreme Sensitivity. People have been fired for looking cross-eyed at someone. People have been offended by books they never read and demanded they be dropped from libraries. You get on a bus and you remind yourself not to smile; someone might take it the wrong way. Disparaging terms such as “birdbrain,” “nincompoop,” “sourpuss,” or “klutz” are now considered elitist and can get you into hot water.

Lighten up, people.

Cheerfulness is a choice, like what color shirt to wear. Happiness is something else. Joy is a theological idea. Bliss is brief, about five seconds for the male, fifteen for the female. Euphoria is a drug: they give it to you for a wisdom tooth extraction or a colonoscopy. But cheerfulness is a habit. You do it as a favor to other people. You hang on to it despite heartbreaking news — the college boy who left the party drunk and passed out on a freezing cold night and died, 19, a nice kid who did one dumb thing and ffffft he’s gone. Management changes at work and the good boss is replaced by a numbskull and suddenly life is intolerable. An old friend goes over to the dark side and thinks that God has ordained You Know Who as Emperor of America and will brook no dissent.

Ignore these troubles and embrace the great American virtue of cheerfulness. Don’t be held hostage by the past. Look ahead and improve the day. When you feel sour, wash your hands and brush your teeth and you’ll feel a fraction better and from that fraction you can go on to exuberance and exhilaration.

I once bought a king-size mattress from a furniture warehouse and tied it to the roof of my car with twine and it blew off as I drove home on the freeway and I ran to rescue it and a big rig blew past me blasting his horn and I almost bought the farm at age 45. I’ve done other idiotic things but feeling the Doppler effect of twenty tons going 65 fifteen feet away made it memorable.

When I think back to that day, it cheers me right up. I’m here. Survival is the key to cheerfulness. God bless you this week and your beautiful family too. Be nice to each other.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

RELOAD: Defeat Trump or He Defeats America

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman arrives to testify before the House Intelligence impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump. November 19, 2019. (photo: Getty Images)
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman arrives to testify before the House Intelligence impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump. November 19, 2019. (photo: Getty Images)

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News
27 November 19
he battle to turn back Donald Trump’s assault on the United States Constitution and the republic it empowers is a battle that must be fought and must be won. Now.

If the measure of the struggle is the television rating it generates, the path to success becomes quite narrow. In fact, it is quite likely the American people will respect the efforts of Congressional Democrats even more if the Democrats stand on principle rather than allowing polling numbers to dictate their strategy. The polling numbers follow the principle, not the other way around.

The impeachment witness testimonies thus far have been historic and riveting. While not many Trump supporters are saying right now that they are abandoning him, they all say they are watching. It’s a small but crucial victory.

Trump supporters, while not particularly well-educated typically, are undoubtedly of sufficient intelligence and social awareness to comprehend the enormity of what they watched the witnesses say, even if the won’t yet admit it. It was stark, unequivocal, and unanimous. Every witness said: Trump used his power as president to “pressure” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into American presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and withheld vitally-needed military aid to do it. Every witness, Republican and Democrat alike, knew it and said it directly under oath, on national television.

From that Trump’s base can run, but they cannot hide.

Up until now, Trump’s supporters have chosen to stick with him because, although they are well aware of his lawlessness, it was more politically convenient to do so than to abandon him. But everything has its limitations. The Democrats must have sufficient confidence in themselves and in what they heard the witnesses say to press the case. This is a big moment.

The dam of public support has not yet broken, but it can. It depends on the strength, the vision, and the determination the Democrats and independent-minded Americans who understand the gravity of the situation are able to muster at this moment in history. There are still big shoes that can and likely will drop.

Rudy Giuliani is under close examination, and two of his Russian associates are already under indictment for campaign finance violations in connection with Trump and his never-ending reelection campaign. That situation could easily boil over. John Bolton is, for the moment, choosing not to speak for reasons best defined by him. But he too can change at a moment’s notice.

There is no time for slipping into disappointment. The Democrats and their independent supporters need to get ready for the next rounds with urgency.

Either you defeat Trump or he defeats you. It’s a zero-sum game. There is no middle ground. This time the war is over here. It must be fought and won now.

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

If John Bolton Keeps Refusing to Testify, Congress Should Arrest Him

John Bolton. (photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)
John Bolton. (photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)
By Daniel S. Alter, TIME
23 November 19
or several weeks, the House of Representatives and the President have been playing a destructive game of chicken. In support of the impeachment inquiry underway by the Democratic House majority, the House Committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight have issued subpoenas for documents and testimony from State, Defense and Energy Department officials as well as White House staff. Those subpoenas seek information regarding the Administration’s now-abandoned demand that the Ukrainian government investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for corruption before it would receive nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid.

President Trump is defiant. Proclaiming that the impeachment inquiry is a sham, the president has flatly directed the House-subpoena recipients to ignore them. With disdain for the sole constitutional safeguard against a President’s “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” Trump has essentially told House investigators to pound sand.

The President and his supporters have vociferously condemned the House inquiry for yielding too little firsthand information about the Ukraine affair. Yet, what we know so far from the witness testimony to date is that the people with the most firsthand knowledge – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary Rick Perry, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman, and Rudolph Giuilani – have, at the President’s instruction, refused to tell us what they know.

Under the Constitution, Congress is not impotent in the face of brute obstruction.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that each chamber of Congress can hold a person in contempt for flouting a legislative subpoena, and – as Justice Brandeis explained in Jurney v. MacCracken – each chamber may also coerce obedience “by means of arrest.” In other words, the House Sergeant at Arms may take people into physical custody until they provide information withheld from Congress.

Over 90 years ago, the Supreme Court in McGrain v. Daugherty took note that “mere requests” for information “often are unavailing,” and that information voluntarily provided to Congress “is not always accurate or complete.” The Court thus agreed with Congress that various “means of compulsion are essential to obtain what is needed” — that is, that “the power to inquire – with process to enforce it – is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function.” In fact, because coercive custody was a familiar legislative practice that pre-dated the Constitution, the Court concluded that it was an inherent congressional power granted by Article I.

That inherent power has not evaporated over the last century.

That Congress can imprison a person who defies a legislative subpoena does not mean, however, that it should do so at every opportunity. Quite to the contrary – especially in cases involving highly partisan disputes, where discretion and sound judgment are the measure of good governance. Jailing someone for contempt is a drastic action and is sure to fuel political strife. Usually, the most responsible way for Congress to enforce a subpoena is to undertake civil proceedings in federal court. That can be a long process, though, and time is of the essence when the occupant of the Oval Office may have betrayed the country.

Adding to the complexity of considerations, imagine if a congressional-subpoena recipient were presently employed by the executive branch. It would create a potentially incendiary spectacle for the House Sergeant at Arms to execute an arrest warrant at the White House or some executive agency, or to seize an executive officer at home. Good stuff for on-screen political thrillers, but wildly inconsistent with the constitutional separation-of-powers doctrine that peacefully keeps our three branches of government from interfering with each other’s operations.

Moreover, an active member of the executive branch might have a more solid argument that Congress’s demand for information was constitutionally barred by executive privilege than would someone retired from service. Presidents are entitled to seek confidential guidance from their advisors, and those discussions are presumptively shielded from judicial and legislative inquiries – although that presumption is vulnerable to overriding principles of justice and fair play.

But what if there were a critical witness, say a very senior official, who is no longer an officer of the executive branch? What if that person had a spokesman announce that he or she has firsthand knowledge of “many relevant meetings and conversations” regarding the impeachment inquiry “that have not yet been discussed”? And what if that person insisted that he or she would not testify before Congress unless and until a federal court ruled that a House subpoena was enforceable? What should the House of Representatives do in those circumstances?

Well, according to his own attorney’s statement, Ambassador John Bolton – President Trump’s former National Security Advisor – is that witness. Indeed, witness after witness at the House impeachment hearings has confirmed the centrality of Bolton’s role in all of this. Given Mr. Bolton’s senior rank, political gravitas and widely reported opposition to Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, his testimony could condemn or vindicate the President. Either way, he is a source of invaluable evidence in a matter of the highest national importance. In no circumstances, therefore, must the House give Bolton the prerogative to put conditions on his compliance with a subpoena.

No, the House should stand firm, subpoena Mr. Bolton, and – if he refuses to comply – exercise its constitutional authority to detain him until he agrees to testify.

If ever there were a valid basis for Congress to punish contempt by imprisonment, it’s a private citizen’s refusal to give evidence that is crucial to presidential impeachment proceedings. There are few congressional actions that are as grave and requiring of a more thorough investigation. The House Intelligence Committee has so far declined to subpoena Mr. Bolton, with an official claiming that it has “no interest in allowing the administration to play rope-a-dope with us in the courts for months.” But that reservation was clearly founded on the committee’s assumption that its subpoena would be tested in court through civil enforcement proceedings.

Considering its power to arrest Mr. Bolton, however, perhaps the House should reevaluate that decision – thereby giving Mr. Bolton the incentive to reevaluate his.

The prospect of sitting behind bars can make a person seriously examine the legitimacy of his or her position. That’s the point of coercive custody. And Bolton just might reconsider his silence now that days of public impeachment testimony have likely shredded any remaining claims to executive privilege. Not only is he no longer in the Administration, the subject matter has already been disclosed in detail by numerous witnesses.

Bolton has claimed that he won’t testify for fear of potential legal repercussions from revealing confidential information, even though none of the hearing witnesses has yet to have this issue. In truth, he’s likely more worried about provoking the ire of the Republican Party.

But if he remains silent, it is highly unlikely that the dispute will stall in the courts. Should he be arrested, Bolton would surely have his lawyers file an emergency petition for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he’s being held illegally. This request for immediate release would put his legal arguments against testifying on the fast track for judicial determination. When someone’s liberty is at stake, courts generally do not postpone hearings for weeks, as they might in a civil subpoena enforcement action. So there is little chance of martyrdom.

Ambassador Bolton was the President’s National Security Advisor and is rather hawkish by reputation. He, above all, appreciates that the rules of hardball apply when the safety and security of the United States are at risk. The impeachment inquiry is closely scrutinizing whether those vital interests have been compromised. Mr. Bolton, it’s time to play ball.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Dirty Devin—ranking Republican Nunes isn't just investigating Ukraine scandal, he's a key part of it

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from California and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, arrives for an impeachment inquiry hearingon Capitol Hill November 21, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fifth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals.  (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
On Thursday, the House impeachment inquiry completed its last scheduled hearings. However, following a revelation on Friday, it seems necessary that there be at least one more day of questioning. And there shouldn’t be any difficulty getting the witness to appear, because he’s been there every day of the hearings, slouching on the Republican side of the aisle, playing games on his phone. Devin Nunes is in this thing up to his bulging eyeballs.

On Friday, CNN reported that the ranking Republic member of the House Intelligence Committee traveled to Vienna in 2018 to meet with disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin. Nunes made this trip for the express purpose of gathering manufactured dirt that could be used against Joe Biden in the upcoming election. In other words—even as Nunes has been sitting there talking about what a “farce” it is to suggest that Trump was soliciting foreign officials to intervene in the 2020 election, Nunes was doing precisely  that on Trump’s behalf.

Which explains why the tags #DevinNunesIsCompromised, #DevinNunesGotCaught, and #DirtyDevin topped the charts on Twitter overnight. 

Shokin is the same prosecutor who Biden demanded be removed from office in 2016; not because he was investigating the company where Hunter Biden was on the board, as Trump and Republicans keep stating, but precisely because he was not conducting an investigation. The reason Biden made Shokin’s removal a condition of U.S. aid was because he was not just a corrupt prosecutor protecting other corrupt officials, he was also refusing to cooperate with international investigations and making it impossible for either the U.S. or European allies to look into cases of money laundering originating in Ukraine. 

By asking for Shokin’s removal, Biden was not only following U.S. policy and supporting allies, but potentially placing his son’s job in peril by replacing the hands-off Shokin with someone who actually might conduct an investigation.

Devin Nunes went to talk to this corrupt prosecutor to gather lies about Joe Biden. And not only was Nunes going to talk to the same corrupt officials that Rudy Giuliani was soliciting to build his narrative against the Bidens, the news of his trip comes directly from one of Giuliani’s now-indicted partners in crime.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

When a Marine veteran asks him about staying true to his oath of office, Lindsey Graham runs away

As many have already said, Donald Trump may be the most corrupt public official we have seen in our lifetimes. The current impeachment hearings have made it very clear that he attempted to put pressure on a foreign power by withholding already earmarked aid in exchange for dirt on a political opponent. To do this, he employed a legion of shady corrupt former officials and foreign actors.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has been doing all that he can to defend Trump’s actions, shuffling through defenses of the current White House corruption, from saying that there was nothing corrupt in the transcript of Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to arguing that Trump and friends are too stupid to be corrupt. 

It’s been difficult for Graham, since there are so many public statements, on video and elsewhere, of his original opinions on impeachment, and none of them match up with his current views. 

A video has surfaced purporting to show a military veteran from Louisiana trying to speak with Graham in front of Graham’s office. The man is calm and soft-spoken, and even compliments Graham.
VETERAN: I see how you are berated in the press and I honestly believe that you believe in our democracy as I do.
But things change for Graham when he realizes that this Marine’s concept of believing in democracy means upholding the oath to defend the U.S. Constitution that both he and Lindsey swore.
VETERAN: I came to D.C. because I’m a Marine, I went to Iraq, and I believe, as I believe you do, that President Trump is not acting in accordance to his oath. The oath you took and I did, to defend the Constitution. You took an oath.
GRAHAM: Yeah, I did. I don’t agree with you. And I gotta go.
Graham beelines for the door to his office, never once looking the man in the face.
VETERAN: Is that it?
GRAHAM: Yep. That’s it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: coward, corrupt politician, and worthless to the American people.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Cartoon: A brief history of Facebook

Facebook recently sponsored a Federalist Society event at which Brett Kavanaugh was the keynote speaker, despite objections from its own employees and public protests. The speech was understood by many to be an attempt to rehabilitate Kavanaugh's image in the wake of credible sexual assault allegations.

This comes on the heels of Facebook saying it would not vet political ads for accuracy and making white nationalist propaganda outlet Breitbart a "trusted" news source. Indeed, Facebook clearly seems to have chosen to cozy up to the authoritarian right rather than use its influence to defend democratic norms (or sexual assault survivors, for that matter).

Steve Jobs and internet developers of the early computing era came out of a sixties counterculture that saw decentralized communication and individual expression as a bulwark against totalitarianism. There is perhaps no clearer example of this than the famous MacIntosh "1984" ad that appeared during the Super Bowl. In the commercial, Big Brother gets smashed by the power of personal computing. In real life, we can see how Jobs' utopian vision ultimately failed (with some exceptions in the area of social media activism). 

Increasingly, as massive technology companies like Facebook partner with the present-day, Russia-corrupted, disinformation-sowing GOP, they've become the very Orwellian entities that the Cold War-era developers thought they were rebelling against. 

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Impeachment witness knocks smirk off Rep. Jordan’s face: ‘It was obvious' what Trump wanted

Everybody’s least favorite yelling, jacketless, alleged sexual assault accessory after the fact Representative Jim Jordan got his chance to yell things at Thursday’s impeachment witnesses. Diplomat David Holmes has testified that he was able to overhear yet another example of Trump’s attempts to extort Ukraine. “While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The president’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.”

Holmes has also added to the now quintuply attested accounts of Giuliani and Trump’s private foreign policy investigations in the Ukraine.  

But, Jim Jordan has got fish to fry or some other such idea in his tiny reptile brain. His angle here has been that Holmes is lying, and if he had heard this talk of investigations, why had he not related it verbatim to Ambassador Taylor or the other state department officials when he met with them again. Jordan, like the rest of the Republicans on the panel today, have decided that their best chances of not digging deeper holes is to in essence, filibuster their time while not really allowing the witnesses to answer. Unfortunately for the GOP, Chairman Adam Schiff has let those witnesses finish their answers to the “questions” asked by Republican hacks like Jordan.
DAVID HOLMES: I believe Ambassador Taylor did already know, when I briefed him, when I came back from vacation on the sixth. It was not news to him that the president was pressing for a Biden investigation.
REP. JIM JORDAN: That’s not what I asked, I asked why he didn’t share it with us?
Besides the fact that Jordan’s dumb statement is a lie—Taylor did share his feelings about how Trump was pressing for an investigation in order to release funds, Jordan didn’t ever really ask any single question—he just blathered about whatever it is that keeps his mind from thinking about all those young men he threw to the wolves back at Ohio State University. But Jordan wasn’t ready for the response he was about to get from Mr. Holmes.

HOLMES: It’s exactly my point. I briefed the call to the deputy commission. I went away for a week, come back, refer to the call, and everyone is nodding. Of course that’s what’s going on. Of course the president is pressing for a Biden investigation before he’ll do these things that the Ukrainians want. There was nodding agreement. So did I go through every single word of that call? No, because everyone at that point agreed. It was obvious what the president was pressing for!
Jordan quickly cuts into Holmes’ statement, even though his time has been up and he has had his question answered. Jordan is a tool. A dumb blunt tool who left any integrity he may have once had in a jacket he stopped wearing 30 years ago.