Briefly, Trump’s lackeys are getting beat up on the morning shows this Sunday. Jake Tapper wipes the floor here with Jim Jordan and coyly brings up the fact that Jim Jordan helped to cover up sexual abuse allegations.
After Rep. Jim Jordan launches a barrage of accusations about the Bidens, @JakeTapper fact-checks, and adds, "I would think somebody who's been accused of things in the last year or two would be more sensitive about throwing out wild allegations against people." pic.twitter.com/BKIg5VGSaT— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) September 29, 2019
"The president's daughter right now is having all sorts of copyrights granted in foreign countries; that doesn't alarm you. The president's sons are doing all sorts of business all over the world; that doesn't alarm you. Either there's a principle or there isn't." pic.twitter.com/tjrFkBNVr6— Matt RðŸŽƒgers ðŸŽ™ (@Politidope) September 29, 2019
Rudy continues to be nutbar on This Week.
Giuliani was insulting and wouldn't stop talking as Stephanopoulos tried to wrap up an interview in which the president's lawyer relentlessly pushed Biden/George Soros/Ukraine conspiracy theories pic.twitter.com/3x0JpLO5Kn— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
Here’s Adam Schiff on the courageousness of the whistleblower, who he also says has agreed to meet with the House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff: "This whistleblower showed a lot of guts to come forward. And the fact that what the whistleblower related came from third parties doesn't make it less credible when that information is borne out … This whistleblower has already been substantially corroborated."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 29, 2019
Via ABC pic.twitter.com/1EdNDGz0s0
Meanwhile, Chris Wallace — on Fox News — wouldn’t let Stephen Miller get away with anything.
"You have your non-answer" — watch Chris Wallace grill Stephen Miller about why Trump thought it was appropriate to use his private attorney to dig up dirt on Biden — and not let Miller get away with obfuscating. pic.twitter.com/wKr1fpIX5Z— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
WALLACE: How specifically did the Bidens break the law in Ukraine?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
STEPHEN MILLER: [dissembles, can't cite a singe reason] pic.twitter.com/KKaU1F1yO9
Wow. Wallace fit in a couple final owns even as he wrapped up the interview. What an embarrassing performance by Miller. pic.twitter.com/UCSrQFIblJ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
And if you’re wondering what Trump is up to this morning (besides golf), here you go:
The president just retweeted 12 random users who praised radio host Mark Levin for his handling of a segment with Fox News Ed Henry, who was questioning Trump’s conduct. One of them called Henry a “shit head.” One suggested Paul Ryan, now on the board of Fox, was to blame.— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 29, 2019
7:30: CNN reports that Donald Trump also “locked down” phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi royal family, including crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the latter after conversations about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. (And by “locked down,” I mean, he hid the phone calls in a classified server to keep others from seeing them).
Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post:
President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter.
Neither of these two revelations is surprising, but what I do find interesting is all these “sources” and “officials” that are coming out of the woodwork now to reveal information that we should have known months and years ago. The source to The Washington Post story could very well be H.R. McMaster, who lied after that 2017 meeting with the Russians and said that Trump’s conversation was “wholly appropriate,” which Trump is now tweeting as a defense.
Wow, new knowledge about that conversation has completely ruined McMaster’s reputation. It is true that whatever or whoever touches Trump is ruined. https://t.co/BPZNgQBvam— Lisa Silverman (@threemipsie) September 28, 2019
Woof. Trump doesn’t understand the implication of the tweet he’s quoting. It’s not exculpatory. https://t.co/VDaNS5FBOw— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 28, 2019
10:00: Kurt D. Volker, the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine who Rudy Giuliani tried to drag into this mess, has abruptly resigned. Rudy kept insisting that he met with Zelensky’s aide at the insistence of the State Department in a meeting set-up by Volker, which is only half true. Volker did set up the meeting, but only at the repeated insistence of Giuliani, and Volker had been trying to help Ukrainian officials navigate their relationship with Giuliani and Trump without being pressured into doing anything.
I don’t know if this has been obvious to everyone, but it should be noted that Trump hates Ukrainians, and the only reason he had any interest in talking with Zelensky was to pressure him to investigate Biden and unearth a nonexistent Crowsdstrike server. Volker is a Republican, but he’s also a veteran foreign diplomat and one of the last friends the Ukrainians had in the Trump administration. His resignation, unfortunately, hangs the Ukrainians out to dry when it comes to U.S. aid in their conflict with Russia.
Oh, and asked about Joe and Hunter Biden’s business with Ukraine, Elizabeth Warren offered the exact right answer: “I know that everyone wants to try to drag in other people. But what happened with Ukraine is about Donald Trump.”
6:00: Here’s Chris Wallace on Fox News, who is trending now on Twitter for … telling the truth.
Here's Fox News' Chris Wallace saying that "the spinning that's been done by the president's defenders over the last 24 hours since this very damaging whistleblower complaint came out … [is] not surprising but it is astonishing and I think deeply misleading." ðŸ‘€ pic.twitter.com/rKfQgGMkLF— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 27, 2019
Chris Wallace is trending because he said something truth on Fox News about how Trump defenders are trying to make "nothing out of something." And a Fox person telling the truth is, legitimately, national news.— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) September 27, 2019
I heard Kellyanne Conway a little earlier, and this is the defense the Trump team is going with right now (I swear to God): “Trump didn’t say 2020 election in that phone call, therefore he did nothing wrong.” That’s where they’re gonna split the hairs. Oh, sure, they asked Zelensky to investigate Biden — one of Trump’s biggest political opponents — but it wasn’t politically motivated because Trump didn’t say “2020 election.” JFC.
5:45: After a House recess, the House Intelligence Committee will meet with the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, on October 4th (next Friday). He’s the guy who elevated the whistleblower complaint, so hopefully, the House will have a more cooperative witness than was Joseph Maguire. From Axios: “Atkinson is likely to be able to give the most detailed testimony on the issues raised by the complaint, short of the committee hearing directly from the whistleblower.”
5:00: The House has subpoenaed Mike Pompeo for documents, by October 4th. They are moving fast.
JUST IN: Sec. Pompeo subpoenaed by three House committees to produce documents related to Ukraine by Oct. 4.— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 27, 2019
Drag his ass into it, too!
Meanwhile, one minute, I was reading an article about how the language regarding impeachment has a lot of “shalls” in it, leading one editorial writer to believe that, should the Senate not want to, it technically didn’t need to have an impeachment trial. It’s expected, but not required, and in these extraordinary times, no one — least of all Mitch McConnell — does what is expected. So, my hopes for an impeachment trial took a hit. Five minutes later, I saw this:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that if the House goes ahead and impeaches President Donald Trump, the Senate ”has no choice” but to conduct a trial. https://t.co/PFR6XSMmO3— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) September 27, 2019
Oh? Well, well, well.
Actually, it turns out, McConnell made those comments months ago, but the AP is just reporting it. In either respect, McConnell is on the record stating that he would have to hold a trial. In these extraordinary times, however …
Meanwhile, OF COURSE HE IS. He should probably stay there because there’s no extradition.
Update on that:
UPDATE: Giuliani just backed out, no longer going.https://t.co/6Xl4hvrU9X— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 27, 2019
1:30: I must have missed it this morning because I barely pay attention to Trump tweets, but I guess he called on Adam Schiff to resign. Good luck with that.
…sound horrible, and me sound guilty. HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
Meanwhile, Tulsi Gabbard has finally joined the impeachment party.
Wow: Trump has lost Tulsi Gabbard. pic.twitter.com/Hys75PfkpY— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) September 27, 2019
11:26: I’m not sure that “appropriately” means what Trump thinks it means:
WH acknowledges for first time that the Ukraine transcript was filed in a separate classified system. WH official tells @PamelaBrownCNN it was done under the direction of NSC attorneys. Source said: "NSC lawyers directed that the classified document be handled appropriately.”— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) September 27, 2019
10:08: I don’t know if this is going to turn into anything if it will bolster the current whistleblower case or get drowned out by the current whistleblower case, but apparently, there is another whistleblower who went to the Ways and Means Committee to report that Trump had engaged in some funny business with his IRS audit. From HuffPo:
In a brief last month, the [Ways and Means] committee told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that a “federal employee” had approached them with “evidence of possible misconduct” and “inappropriate efforts” to influence an IRS audit of the president. The document provided no further detail about the whistleblower, but in a footnote, Democrats offered to tell U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden all about it in private.
A spokesman for the committee said this week that McFadden, a Trump nominee who donated to the Trump 2016 campaign and volunteered for the Trump presidential transition, has so far not asked to hear more about the whistleblower. He denied a Democratic motion to speed up the case.
I’d like to believe that Democrats could pursue two cases at once, but I also know that the public’s attention cannot maintain focus on two big scandals at the same time. If Democrats start publicizing this scandal too much, attention on the Ukrainian scandal will shift, and then we’ll end up with another two-year investigation which will produce a report that the American public will no longer care about.
I am hoping that today, the impeachment news cycle will not turn over 17 times, as it has the last couple of days, because I got some fall television I need to cover. It seems, perhaps, that now the dust is settling a little, that Friday will be bad take day. To wit:
The Times is on a roll with bad takes:
Is there a fucking gas leak in the Times building? https://t.co/PyqtB67NF5— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) September 27, 2019
Meanwhile, how has a man this incredibly dumb managed to remain President for 3 years.
Not knowing the difference between an apostrophe & a hyphen is bad. In Trump's defense, he was too busy throwing rocks at cars & burning insects w/ a magnifying glass to attend 3rd grade. Seriously his mind is fragmented. Dementia is dissolving his brain, turning him in to a husk pic.twitter.com/gKM8ikZ2F1— Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) September 27, 2019
The stupidity is staggering, and it is infectious. See, e.g., Rudy Giuliani:
Wow. Rudy Giuliani is on Ingraham's show implicating the State Department in the Ukraine scandal.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 27, 2019
"The whistleblower falsely alleges that I was operating on my own. Well, I wasn't operating on my own." pic.twitter.com/4o1feYTZFU
For those who may be having some difficulty parsing the stupidity of Rudy Giuliani, what he’s doing — and what he’s been trying to do the last couple of days — is shift blame for his illegal activities to Mike Pompeo and the State Department, but he’s too dumb to understand that he — a personal attorney for the President — should never have been taking orders from the State Department in the first place. So, instead of shifting blame, he’s mostly just dragging the State Department down with him. It’s not surprising in this Administration. Pompeo has been shit-talking Giuliani behind the scenes, and Giuliani has turned his criminal activities into a pissing match within the Administration.
The best thing to ever happen to Chris Christie was not getting hired by the Trump Administration.
I think (?) this is supposed to be Giuliani's impersonation of Al Gore pic.twitter.com/2vZRPKkXDq— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 27, 2019
Meanwhile, after Trump released the transcript of his call with Ukranian President Zelensky — and it’s become evident now that there was likely a lot in the call left out of the “transcript” (for instance, we know the phone call was 30 minutes long, but that transcript doesn’t read like a phone call that took 30 minutes) — other countries, specifically Putin’s Russia, are really hoping that Trump doesn’t release transcripts of their phone calls, which is a weird way to call attention to those phone calls. What’s in those calls? Pelosi thinks that the Russians are probably involved in this, too. I don’t doubt it.
Nancy Pelosi on Trump-Ukraine: "By the way, I think Russia has a hand in this, by the way." @Morning_Joe— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 27, 2019
Here’s Pelosi, too:
.@SpeakerPelosi asked to respond to Kellyanne Conway’s criticism at the Atlantic Festival.— Ben Siegel (@benyc) September 27, 2019
“Why do I have to comment on something she said?”
Elsewhere, I doubt this is true, but …
Fox News is their prepping their audience & laying groundwork to jettison Trump- clarifying that a secret vote of GOP Senators would have not just 30, but 35 votes for impeachment according to former Senator Flake.https://t.co/mEbeJG5EP0— Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) September 27, 2019
… it does track with Vanity Fair’s reporting:
Vanity Fair: Sean Hannity told friends the whistleblower's allegations are "really bad" and Paul Ryan is advising Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch to break with Trump: "Paul is embarrassed about Trump and now he has the power to do something about it."https://t.co/nJhEAW6zqO— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 27, 2019
Anyway, the news cycle is probably gonna get real weird in the coming days, as think piece and op-ed writers (like David Brooks) take what we already know and beat it so thoroughly that no one is gonna want to hear about it anymore. That’s to Trump’s advantage. So, ignore the deflection, obfuscation, and other distractions.
This is a very easy explained scandal:
Donald Trump along with his personal attorney, the Attorney General, and probably the State Department, lobbied the President of a foreign country to investigate a political opponent for personal political gain, and then they tried to cover it up. At the end of the day, that’s all you need to remember. And not even Republicans in the Senate are denying this version of events; their only arguments are that it doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment worthy offense (it does), or that the whistleblower was politically motivated (which doesn’t matter).
We will continue to update this post throughout the day, as necessary.