Sunday 10:30 a.m.: What’s going on in Syria right now is absolutely heartbreaking, unconscionable, and horrifying. There are videos circulating around social media of, among others, a Turkish soldier repeatedly shooting a Kurd on the side of the road, and pictures of a Kurdish human rights activist after she was raped and stoned to death. I’m not going to include any of those images, but also, I hope the world sees them and recognizes what Trump has allowed to happen.
Meanwhile, about 800 ISIS Supporters have fled their makeshift prisons amid Turkish air strikes. Trump is out there this morning basically defending all of this by saying, “Well, Turkey and the Kurds are natural enemies. Whaddya gonna do?”
It truly does defy everything we know about politics that the president of the United States is publicly defending a policy that allowed hundreds of ISIS supporters to escape.— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 13, 2019
There’s also a decent chance that the U.S. forces who remain could get drawn into this, although the Defense Secretary just announced that the troops would be evacuating Northern Syria.
A US official tells me “the situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly in northeast Syria…US Forces are at risk of being isolated and there is increased risk of confrontation between Turkish proxies & US Forces unless Turkey halts their advance immediately”— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) October 13, 2019
It’s only getting worse. The Russians, meanwhile, are bombing hospitals in Syria.
This guy worked in senior national security positions under Bush and Obama, and he’s been doing a tremendous job of tracking what’s going on in Syria.
BREAKING — Turkey now intends to got further south in Syria than originally expected and to go both West and East, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper says, via @LucasFoxNews— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) October 13, 2019
* US forces fired on “danger close”— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 13, 2019
* Female politician brutally murdered
* Turkish forces operating well outside “security mechanism” area
* Increasingly impossible for US forces to remain in Syria at all
* No plan to take care of anyone who worked with us
Spin it however you want, but you’ll eventually arrive here: POTUS gave the green light for this war. https://t.co/V6pVDCMRiU— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer) October 12, 2019
An SDF commander has confirmed to me that the Ain Issa camp has fallen and all the detainees (a population of thousands that includes ISIS supporters, ISIS relatives and civilians) have fled. “An unbelievable mess,” the commander said. Latest message: pic.twitter.com/yDehTSKkux— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) October 13, 2019
10 p.m.: Officially, Giuliani is being investigated. From the Times:
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.
The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.
5:50: Oh, Trump is definitely preparing to throw him under the bus.
Update: pic.twitter.com/CNWfQFm7fU— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) October 11, 2019
4:25: I don’t even know what to think of this, although I can’t help but think that it is related to William Barr’s visit with Rupert Murdoch two days ago. Shep Smith is one of the very few voices of reason over on Fox News. This move suggests they’re abandoning those voices, or either Shep is just sick to death of being associated with state-run TV.
Shepard Smith:— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) October 11, 2019
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged. Under our agreement, I won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future." pic.twitter.com/ZJHszeBHS4
He’s not leaving for another job, because under the terms of his contract, he’s not allowed to report elsewhere anytime in the near future.
2:55: Here is something absolutely hilarious to break up your day.
MEDIA ALERT: Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl to hold press conference with Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff’s former drug dealer pic.twitter.com/3rGSxAsC2y— Jack Burkman (@Jack_Burkman) October 11, 2019
Less hilariously, the White House is sending around to its staff this piece from the Wall Street Journal, the day after William Barr met with Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Wall Street Journal.
Eat. The. Rich.
The White House legislative affairs office blasted out the below WSJ piece to senators, telling them: “The President has asked for this article to be shared with you.” https://t.co/DPRPCg1QNU— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 11, 2019
1:41: The damn is busting wide open.
EXCLUSIVE: More potential whistleblowers are contacting Congress to participate in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry https://t.co/JSq4VBI9SP— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 11, 2019
1:11: This is unreal. Less than a week ago, Trump said he wouldn’t involve the U.S. military in the war between Turkey and the Kurds, and everyone said, “This is bad! You’re putting one of our strongest allies at risk! They’ll be wiped out” And now, the Department of Defense is expressing “disappointment” because Turkey is doing exactly what everyone said they would do.
NEW: Defense Sec. Mark Esper: "We oppose and are greatly disappointed by Turkey's decision to launch a unilateral military incursion into northern Syria." https://t.co/yfcEndSZO8 pic.twitter.com/8K6nmwdVjF— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 11, 2019
Meanwhile, while Trump keeps saying that the United States military is getting out of the Middle East, apparently there are exceptions when it involves oil and/or a country where Trump/Kushner has business interests. He’s also using the U.S. military to advance his own political and personal interests.
BREAKING: Amid Pres. Trump's decision to remove US troops from northern Syria and his vocal criticisms of US military presence in Middle East, the Pentagon announces the deployment of more US troops and weapons to Saudi Arabia “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 11, 2019
1:05: DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO THE AMBASSADOR’S TESTIMONY NOTHING TO SEE HERE LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME.
President Trump has posted 33 tweets or retweets in the last 25 minutes— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 11, 2019
The robots are coming! They will take our medicine!
Somewhat buried in Trump's retweet tsunami was this gem https://t.co/aAaiR7CPAR— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 11, 2019
12:35: According to the opening statement obtained by the NYTimes, Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch is behind closed doors unloading on the White House today, saying that she was fired for no reason, that it came as a result of pressure from Trump, and that it was based on conspiracy theories spread by Rudy Giuliani.
“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”
“I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” she said. But people associated with Mr. Giuliani “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” she said.
Yovanovitch was recalled from her ambassadorship and told to take the “next plane” only two months after it had been extended to 2020.
10:24: She’s doing it, defying the State Department!
BREAKING: former US amb to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has arrived to testify in House impeachment inquiry, defying State dept order— Erik Wasson (@elwasson) October 11, 2019
This also seems significant (although, I presume there will be an appeal to the Supreme Court?)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal appeals court rules against President Donald Trump, orders financial records turned over to House .— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 11, 2019
9:50: I just can’t get over the fact that the Parnas/Fruman firm was called Fraud Guarantee. I mean, COME ON. Why not just called it, PRESIDENTIAL CRIMES LLC.
Here's the full answer from RUDY GIULIANI on his work for LEV PARNAS's company, Fraud Guarantee: "All I can tell you is that most of the Fraud Guarantee work, in fact the Fraud Guarantee work, which — or I should say — I can’t acknowledge it’s Fraud Guarantee, I don’t think."— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) October 11, 2019
Before we get started on today’s events, let’s quickly recap what happened yesterday, because it was a wild day in Donald Trump’s swamp: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Ukranian men who are fixers for Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, were arrested hours after having lunch with Giuliani and as they prepared to leave the country (they were flying to Vienna, which is where Rudy Giuliani had also been scheduled to fly). Here’s Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani last year at Trump Tower:
Maybe Rudy Giuliani shouldn't have made this video of himself and his Ukraine co-conspirators Orb Parnas and Igor Fruman WHILE they were planning their getaway, at the Trump Hotel.#ImpeachmentTaskForce pic.twitter.com/tijLTQrK52— Grant Stern (@grantstern) October 11, 2019
Parnas and Fruman were charged with using an LLC to funnel foreign money to American politicians, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, and a pro-Trump SuperPac then run by Donald Trump, Jr. Some of that money was funneled to Pete Sessions and was specifically designed to oust the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was impeding Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine. That lobbying effort was successful, as Yovanovitch was recalled over the summer. She will be testifying in front of Congress today unless the State Department blocks her from doing so. Parnas and Fruman’s associations with Trump allies run deep and include Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Trump has tried to distance himself from Parnas and Fruman — although there are photos of him with the two, and the two claim they were working with Giuliani on Trump’s behalf — and the best that Trump could offer yesterday with regard to Rudy was, “I hope he’s not indicted.”
Meanwhile, Fiona Hill — who was until recently Trump’s top aid on Russia and Europe — has agreed to testify in front of the House next week and plans to detail how Rudy Giuliani and E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland circumvented normal channels to run their own shadow policy in Ukraine. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland also now plans to testify next week under subpoena, despite the State Department’s attempt to block him. He will not, however, produce “documents concerning his official responsibilities.” Maybe Sondland is trying to save his own ass?
President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, will testify on Thursday to— Billy House (@HouseInSession) October 11, 2019
House impeachment investigators, and his lawyers say he will do so despite the State Department's "current direction not to testify."
Elsewhere, there’s another story that has been floating around that I’ve been reluctant to mention for fear of muddying the already muddy waters, but back in 2017, Trump — at the urging of Turkey’s President Erdogan — tried to talk Rex Tillerson into dropping corruption charges against a gold trader, who was also a client of Rudy Giuliani’s. Tillerson was troubled by the request and was like, “No f**king way.” The offer, however, is more evidence of corruption involving Guiliani and also goes to Trump’s relationship to Turkey, who is currently at war with the Kurds after Trump abandoned them.
Trump also ranted and raved for two hours at a Minneapolis rally last night. It’s really not worth mentioning, although if you’re looking for a permanent libido killer, feel free to watch this clip.