“Now we have to pray for his health” pic.twitter.com/aHEQTLoWqj— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) October 16, 2019
We're at the posting self-owns portion of the longest day now? pic.twitter.com/eZ760albu9— Schooley (@Rschooley) October 16, 2019
Pelosi has updated her Twitter cover photo pic.twitter.com/QmNJs1fpt1— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) October 16, 2019
This, too, is real: https://t.co/VvMtkW2Ii4— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 16, 2019
5:05: Pelosi, Hoyer, and Schumer met with Trump to ask him about his plan to deal with ISIS now after the situation in Syria has gone to hell. He had a meltdown.
Nancy Pelosi on the Trump Syria meeting: "He just couldn't handle it so he kind of engaged in a meltdown … It was very sad. It was very sad."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2019
Via ABC pic.twitter.com/03dD0C7k1L
Steny Hoyer following his meeting with Trump about Syria: "I have served with six presidents. I have been in many, many, many meetings like this. Never have I seen a president treat so disrespectfully a coequal branch of the government of the United States."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2019
Via CBS pic.twitter.com/4gzkYr3Quu
MORE: Trump launched diatribe against Dems, saying "I hate ISIS more than you," finished by saying, "SEE YOU AT THE POLLS." https://t.co/a8AN5nhx5i— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) October 16, 2019
Trump said in the meeting that Mattis was “the world’s most overrated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS.,” per person familiar.— Emily Cochrane (@ESCochrane) October 16, 2019
DOJ employees delivered a standing ovation after a former FBI agent read a statement from Matthew Shepard’s parents calling AG William Barr a hypocrite. https://t.co/BfwoujW3hT— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) October 16, 2019
4:17: I honestly can’t tell if this is fake or real, but Trish Regan is a real Fox Business News anchor, and this is exactly the kind of letter that Fox News viewers might appreciate, and sad as it is, exactly the kind of letter you’d expect Donald Trump to write (note, however, that it was written on October 9th, so it clearly did not work).
“Don’t be a tough guy.”
(Update: It’s real.)
EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained a copy of @realDonaldTrump’s letter to #Erdogan. @POTUS warns him to not “be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool!” Says he could destroy Turkey’s economy if #Syria is not resolved in a humane way. Details tonight at 8pm #TrishRegan #FoxBusiness pic.twitter.com/9BoSGlbRyt— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) October 16, 2019
That bizarre letter was sent a week ago, FYI. Meaning it was…basically thrown in the trash by Erdogan.— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) October 16, 2019
everyone who bought his Master Dealmaker routine ought to wear the text of this letter on a t-shirt for the rest of eternity as penance— Dracubert Nosferatko (@AlbertBurneko) October 16, 2019
3:00: The House has voted 354-60 to condemn Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria. Who were the other 60? (Dollars to donuts, one was Tulsi Gabbard).
Meanwhile, and “I say this with great respect,” how hard can this man go fuck himself?
Trump admonishes Lindsey Graham to forget about the Kurds & instead focus on issues his constituents really care about, such as "what happened with Comey, McCabe, Lisa [Page], what happened with Peter Strzok, what happened with President Obama." pic.twitter.com/L3zkjF0zEQ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2019
2:35: Choke on a corndog stick, Moscow Mitch.
After @realDonaldTrump says Kurds are “no angels,” @senatemajldr McConnell opens weekly presser w/this:— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) October 16, 2019
“I want to express my gratitude to the Kurds. We had a great alliance…I’m sorry that we are where we are. I hope the VP and the Sec of State can somehow repair the damage.”
1:40: No shit it was Trump’s idea. Would anyone else think of something that ghoulish and idiotic?
It was Trump's idea to attempt a surprise meeting between parents of dead teenager and woman responsible for death, per WH aides. British officials had no idea when family went to White House. Other White House aides were concerned it would be a mistake. https://t.co/RNnPwyUSlE— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) October 16, 2019
No big deal! Just the President of the United States completely selling out to the Russians/Turkey.
This is remarkable for a US president to say. https://t.co/Lx5p6tb1Yn— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 16, 2019
“We’re fighting a war for Russia. We’re fighting a war for Iran.” - the President of the United States— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) October 16, 2019
1:35: According to the NYTimes, Fiona Hill — Trump’s former advisor on Russa, told the House impeachment inquiry that Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the EE, is “a potential national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job.” That sounds about right.
Also, THE SERVER DOESN’T EXIST. It’s a goddamn 4Chan theory. There is no server to see. It’s all in your head, man. It’s all in your head.
Seriously, if this isn’t psychotic, it’s pretty close. https://t.co/JpyXlTGsQL— George Conway (@gtconway3d) October 16, 2019
12:25: Support for impeachment grows a tick.
52% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46% say he should not be, according to a new Gallup poll. This is roughly the opposite of what Gallup found in June.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2019
Trump is a fucking moron.
TRUMP: "I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant. Our soldiers are out of there, they're totally safe. They've got to work it out. Maybe they can do it without fighting." pic.twitter.com/4GvGjfeapR— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2019
Blah blah fuckity blah, Lindsey Graham.
However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 16, 2019
I worry we will not have allies in the future against radical Islam, ISIS will reemerge, & Iran’s rise in Syria will become a nightmare for Israel.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 16, 2019
I fear this is a complete and utter national security disaster in the making and I hope President Trump will adjust his thinking.
That raised eyebrow will not stop the death of one single Kurd, Mitch McConnell. You coward.
McConnell, in elevator, asked what he thinks of Trump saying the Kurds are not angels:— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) October 16, 2019
Silence, then raises eyebrows.
If only we had video.
Trump on Turkey/Syria via @colvinj: “All American soldiers are away from the site. Syria and Turkey can fight…They’ve got a lot of sand over there…”There’s a lot of sand that they can play with."— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) October 16, 2019
11:00: Trump is a heartless idiot. Full stop.
Trump says the Kurds are ‘not angels’— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) October 16, 2019
People are being slaughtered roadside as this incursion takes place. https://t.co/W3UVD1M6S7— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 16, 2019
Wednesday, 10:15 a.m.: This is not related to the impeachment inquiry or to Turkey/Syria, but my God, it once again illustrates how insane it is that we have a reality-show host as the President of the United States. Recall that last month, the wife of a diplomat driving on the wrong side of the road in England struck and killed a teenager. She then fled the country, citing diplomatic immunity. The parents of that teenager, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have tried to get Anne Sacoolas, the American diplomat’s wife, to return to the UK and face justice for the death of their son. In fact, they traveled to the United States in order to drum up support to send Sacoolas back to the UK.
So, here’s what happened: President Trump invited the grieving parents to the White House. The parents accepted the invitation, believing that they would an opportunity to convince Trump to urge Sacoolas to return. What happened, instead, is that Trump tried to “surprise” them. He told the parents that Sacoolas was in the next room, and wanted to meet with them. He was going to open the side door, and there were photographers around to capture the moment, because in Trump’s mind, he thinks this will be a good PR moment, one where the grieving parents of a dead teenager will come face to face with the woman who killed him and … what? They all hug?
Anyway, the parents — for obvious reasons — refused to meet with Sacoolas. From Reuters:
Dunn’s parents said Trump had been responsive at their meeting but the planned encounter with Sacoolas had come as a bombshell.
“He said he was sorry about Harry and then he sprung the surprise that Mrs Sacoolas was in another room in the building and whether we want to meet her there and then,” Tim Dunn said.
“We said no because as we’ve been saying from the start we want to meet Mrs Sacoolas but we want to do it in the UK so the police can interview her. We didn’t want to be sort of railroaded, not into a circus as such, but a meeting we weren’t prepared for.”
9:10: Like many of you, I am currently watching the Democratic debates, which we will cover in full tomorrow morning. All due respect, but hearing about midwestern voters and kitchen table values and the umpteenth debate about Medicare for All vs. Obamacare in the 7th out of 20 debates or whatever all seems to pale in comparison to stakes involved in the impeachment inquiry. I did accidentally click on the “Anderson Cooper” trending topic on Twitter earlier, however, which revealed a ton of conservatives complaining that Cooper is showing his bias by suggesting that Trump “falsely accused” Hunter Biden, which is insane.
In any respect, more on the Dem debates in the a.m. For now, the Times is reporting that the White House has opened up its own internal review of how the Zelensky call was handled. Why would they need to open a review on a “perfect, beautiful” phone call? The point of contention seems to be about why the transcript of the phone call was placed in the classified system, which is to say: The White House is looking for another scapegoat, and at the moment, it looks like they’re trying to pin this on deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg, which is kind of like the Roy family trying to scapegoat Greg. We’re gonna need a blood sacrifice there, Trump.
Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, Pence has also refused to turn over documents to the House, saying that he will refuse to cooperate unless the House officially votes on impeachment. Pelosi is not taking the bait, and she’s absolutely right not to. The Democrats need to investigate everyone they can without involving Republicans, and only after they have exhausted all other avenues do they need to officially vote on impeachment in order to get documents and testimony from Pence/Pompeo, etc.
5:15: I can’t begin to make sense of this, except to note that a Turkish gold trader by the name of Reza Zarrab laundered billions of dollars to evade Iran sanctions. He was Giuliani’s client. Trump pressed Rex Tillerson to drop the charges against Zarrab on the Turkish President’s behalf. Make of that what you will.
BREAKING: SDNY charges Turkish state-run bank Halkbank in sanctions violations in connection with the record-breaking money-laundering scheme to Iran executed by gold trader Reza Zarrab.— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 15, 2019
Zarrab was the client whose release Giuliani pushed for between Trump and Erdogan. pic.twitter.com/pr4AA2dZyb
4:45: Giuliani was supposed to turn over documents today, per a subpoena. He did not. Meanwhile, his advisors are suggesting he hire a criminal lawyer, advice that he is so far refusing.
JUST IN: Here’s the letter from GIULIANI’s (now former) attorney denying the House’s subpoena for documents. Calls the request “unduly burdensome.” pic.twitter.com/bMXkeJFtvD— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) October 15, 2019
He’s also losing lawyers left and right.
Rudy Giuliani is parting ways with the personal attorney representing him so far in matters related to the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani confirmed to CNN Tuesday that his current attorney, Jon Sale, is ending his representation of the former New York City mayor shortly.— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) October 15, 2019
"20 years ago, you said that not complying with a subpoena was an impeachable offense."— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) October 15, 2019
Lindsey Graham: "Yeah… nothing's changed."
You *know* it's bad when you've lost Lindsey Graham. pic.twitter.com/FUb7qC5WL9
12:45: Did Trump just end a tweet by calling upon us to “Impeach the Pres.” Huh?
Just out: MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IS AT THE HIGHEST POINT EVER, EVER, EVER! How about saying it this way, IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY! Also, MORE PEOPLE WORKING TODAY IN THE USA THAN AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY! Tough numbers for the Radical Left Democrats to beat! Impeach the Pres.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2019
We all knew it was only a matter of time before John Bolton got involved with the impeachment scandal. In fact, on the very first day that news of the whistleblower broke, we applauded the idea that Bolton could be the whistleblower behind what would ultimately launch the inquiry. He’s not, but it sure seems like the former national security adviser, fired by Donald Trump last month, might be wreaking havoc.
According to Trump’s former advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill — who testified in front of the House impeachment inquiry yesterday — Bolton pushed back against the dealings in Ukraine of Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland. From the NYTimes:
Mr. Bolton told [Fiona Hill] to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about a rogue effort by Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the people familiar with the testimony.
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, told Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to two people at the deposition. (Another person in the room initially said Mr. Bolton referred to Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney, but two others said he cited Mr. Sondland.)
It was not the first time Mr. Bolton expressed grave concerns to Ms. Hill about the campaign being run by Mr. Giuliani. “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation.
According to Hill, Trump also put Sondland — the ambassador to the EU — in charge of the relationship with Ukraine, even though it is not in the EU.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast is reporting that Trump, himself, has long suspected Bolton of being behind many of the leaks inside the White House.
In the course of casual conversations with advisers and friends, President Trump has privately raised suspicions that a spiteful John Bolton, his notoriously hawkish former national security adviser, could be one of the sources behind the flood of leaks against him, three people familiar with the comments said. At one point, one of those sources recalled, Trump guessed that Bolton was behind one of the anonymous accounts that listed the former national security adviser as one of the top officials most disturbed by the Ukraine-related efforts of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who remains at the center of activities that spurred the impeachment inquiry.
“[Trump] was clearly implying [it, saying] something to the effect of, ‘Oh, gee, I wonder who the source on that could be,’” this source said, referring to the president’s speculation. Bolton, for his part, told The Daily Beast last month that allegations that he was a leaker in Trump’s midst are “flatly incorrect.”
Rudy, meanwhile, is taking issue with being called a “hand grenade” by Bolton.
.@RudyGiuliani on Bolton calling him a “hand grenade.” RG: “I’m very disappointed that his bitterness drives him to attack a friend falsely…It’s really ironic that John Bolton is calling anyone else a hand grenade. When John is described by many as an atomic bomb . “— Kristen Welker (@kwelkernbc) October 15, 2019
Reminder: John Bolton is a horrible human being. He is notoriously hawkish and was in fact the architect behind the Iraq War. Basically, he came into the Administration with one goal in mind: To start a war with Iran. Even Trump pushed back against Bolton’s more hawkish tendencies. That said, he is a Yale-trained lawyer, and while he is a goddamn war criminal, he at least understands that it’s not OK to use a foreign power to interfere in our elections.
According to The Business Insider, the FBI has also been “rattled” by Trump’s “brazenness.”
“You walk down the halls and there was this sense of dread, and everyone’s kind of thinking, did the president really do this?” the agent said.
The agent was one of four current and former officials Insider spoke with about the matter. In addition to feeling undermined by the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the Russia probe’s origins, sources also said FBI officials were frustrated with how the Justice Department handled a criminal referral related to a whistleblower’s allegations against Trump, saying it added to a sense that the bureau was being “neutered.”
As Democrats continue to expand their impeachment inquiry, morale inside the White House is low, while Mick Mulvaney and the White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone — who is developing the impeachment strategy — are at odds. I’m sure the disaster in Syria is not helping matters.
Meanwhile, the backdrop to much of this is the bitter, divisive divorce that Rudy Giuliani is going through, if you’re interested in that drama. The important takeaway, however, is that Giuliani’s soon-to-be-ex-wife thinks that Rudy is hiding money from her, and while Rudy says that he’s been working for Trump pro bono, he’s getting paid a lot for representing the two men who were arrested last week, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
If I'm following this correctly, Rudy has spent months arguing that Hunter Biden was paid an absurd amount of money based on political connections and not actual professional skill, all while being paid half a million dollars for his political connections https://t.co/uDhVRTr6AV— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 15, 2019
And speaking of Hunter Biden, just to bring this whole mess full circle, he recently resigned from the board of that Chinese company, and he gave an interview this morning admitting that he wouldn’t have gotten the gig on the gas company in Ukraine if his last name were not Biden, but saying that he didn’t do anything unethical.
Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son, acknowledged in an interview to be broadcast on Tuesday that he probably would not have been named to the board of a foreign company if his last name weren’t Biden, but he rejected suggestions by President Trump that he and his father had engaged in wrongdoing.
“Did I make a mistake? Maybe in the grand scheme of things,” Mr. Biden said in an interview with ABC News, which published excerpts from it on Tuesday morning. “But did I make a mistake based on some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.”
“I don’t think there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden,” Mr. Biden told Amy Robach of ABC.
That’s fair. At least he owns up to his privilege and nepotism, unlike the Trump kids. In any respect, there’s another Democratic debate tonight, and I am sure that Hunter Biden’s name will come up more than a few times.
Header Image Source: Getty Images