5:00 — I’m not sure why or how this phone call between Kellyanne Conway and a reporter for the conservative The Washington Examiner has leaked, but in it, Conway takes issue with the reporter for bringing up her husband’s tweets in the context of reporting about Kellyanne Conway possibly taking over as Chief of Staff.
“Let me tell you something, from a powerful woman. Don’t pull the crap where you’re trying to undercut another woman based on who she’s married to. He gets his power through me, if you haven’t noticed. Not the other way around. And if these are the, quote, standards, unquote, at the Washington Examiner, then yes, I’d be happy to talk to your editor. But I’ve known your editor since before you were born. So, I can call your editor either way. I’m just trying to give you a chance to explain why you think what you wrote qualifies as breaking news or reporting.”
I don’t like Kellyanne Conway. I don’t agree with her decision to call out a journalist for reporting the obvious, but it’s also fair to ask that a husband be left out of his wife’s evil accomplishments. Kellyanne got Trump elected, normalized much of his behavior, and enabled this Presidency on her own without the help of her husband!
3:45 — Lindsey Graham is moving ahead with his silly little resolution, condemning the House for the way it is handling the impeachment proceedings. HOW DARE ADAM SCHIFF FOLLOW THE RULES.
The Graham-McConnell resolution:— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 24, 2019
1️⃣ calls on the House of Representatives, prior to proceeding any further with its impeachment investigation into President Trump, to vote to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry;
3) calls on the House of Representatives to provide members of the minority with the ability to participate fully in all proceedings and have equal authority to issue subpoenas and other compulsory process.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 24, 2019
The Democrats do plan to go public with hearings by mid-November, and I trust that Trump will hate it even more when every news broadcast in America is following the impeachment every minute of the day, particularly when it is expected to involve numerous lifelong diplomatic professionals sh*tting all over Trump.
Bring it on. I do love this little detail: “They’re creating a shadow process that, I think, is just denying basic fairness. And we’re urging them to go back to what worked before,” Graham told The Washington Post. So, the Democrats have created a “shadow process” to investigate Trump’s “shadow foreign policy.” Irony, that.
1:20 — This is not a Trumpdate, but I’m not going to devote an entire post to it. In fact, I couldn’t bother listening to the announcement for more than 6 seconds. Try and beat that!
NEW: Tim Ryan is ending his presidential campaign. https://t.co/4M1oQV85t8— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 24, 2019
The resolution, by the way, means nothing, but it will presumably get Trump off of Graham’s back for a day, which is all that he wants.
10:23 — Here’s a hell of an argument by the Wall Street Journal in favor of not impeaching Trump. Why? Because he’s too stupid and incompetent to warrant impeachment. No. Just no.
Thursday, 9:15 a.m. — I was going to start a new page for updates today, but it’s been weirdly, bizarrely quiet this morning. So far, Trump hasn’t said anything this morning since defending himself from all the mockery heaped upon him yesterday after he said, during a rally in Colorado, that he was going to build a big beautiful wall in the state. Colorado is not on the border. There was a lot of Twitter reaction to it — even several politicians weighing in to make fun of Trump — but I think Don Lemon mockingly laughing at the President is all we need this morning. I hope to God Trump sees it, too. It would bury itself deep under his thin skin.
Meanwhile, I don’t know why they keep letting Andrew Napolitano on Fox News, because he keeps saying things that make sense, which is the quickest way to get fired over there.
Andrew Napolitano: "As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors … they are consistent with the rules. … When were the rules written last? In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner. And who enacted them? A Republican majority." pic.twitter.com/Zl10ZNugf4— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 24, 2019
(For the record, they immediately brought someone else in to clean up the Napolitano mess because they weren’t allowed to let common sense prevail).
I hope it stays quiet today for a few hours, at least. These Riverdale recaps don’t write themselves. In the meantime, I will change the header photo for you, so you don’t have to look at Trump covering his face for another day. Actually, Kathryn Hahn as a porn-addicted recently divorced empty-nester in HBO’s adaptation of Tom Perrotto’s Mrs. Fletcher (debuting on Sunday) is my new religion, so we’ll go with that.
9:30 — The entry point for most of the political news I get is Twitter, which takes me to the various articles in the various publications recounting the day’s events. The thing about Twitter, though, is that — well, no offense — but it’s like our readership: Everyone is skeptical bordering on nihilistic. Everyone is a Jessica Chastain GIF from SNL.
Today, while waiting to have my car serviced, I sat in front of MSNBC for two and a half hours. And look: I know that MSNBC is obviously politically tilted, but can I just say: It was nice. It was all the same information I consume all day long on the Internet, but these people actually behaved as though it matters!
Maybe it does! I don’t know! Seth Meyers’ approach to the day’s news in tonights “A Closer Look,” also left me with a modicum of hope. Maybe when we say that “we’ve hit a turning point,” we’re not just saying it to convince ourselves. Maybe we actually are hitting a turning point.
3:23 — So, to sum up the day so far, the testimony given by William Taylor yesterday was so devastating that Matt Gaetz — with the advance knowledge of Trump — stormed a secure room with about 25 other Republicans, where they basically ordered pizza and staged a sit-in, claiming that there was a lack of transparency (note that around 45 Republicans who belong to the respective impeachment committees are participating in all of this, but apparently, not the 45 Republicans that Trump wants).
This jackass, meanwhile, brought his cell phone into a secure facility (as did all the other GOP reps) and “reported” from there:
You… made an audio recording inside a SCIF? And then tweeted it out?— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) October 23, 2019
I have no words. 🤦♀️ https://t.co/zMCYl3p6IK
This is bad.
I used work in a SCIF, as a military officer. The importance of keeping it secure (i.e. from cell phone signals) was drilled into us so deeply that I’d have bad dreams about accidentally leaving my phone in the pocket of my uniform. This behavior is an embarrassment. https://t.co/20EVgwzNbv— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) October 23, 2019
Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers argued in court today that he actually could murder someone, but could not be indicted. All the while, Trump is railing on not just Democrats now, but “Never Trumpers,” like William Taylor, who he appointed.
The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
Never Trumper Republican John Bellinger, represents Never Trumper Diplomat Bill Taylor (who I don’t know), in testimony before Congress! Do Nothing Democrats allow Republicans Zero Representation, Zero due process, and Zero Transparency….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
….Does anybody think this is fair? Even though there was no quid pro quo, I’m sure they would like to try. Worse than the Dems!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
It would be really great if the people within the Trump Administration, all well-meaning and good (I hope!), could stop hiring Never Trumpers, who are worse than the Do Nothing Democrats. Nothing good will ever come from them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
Oh, and this is unrelated, but also: Trump is a shitbag.
When @realdonaldtrump made a side trip to his Irish golf club this summer, dozens of Irish cops were sent to protect him. Then Trump’s company charged the cops more than $100K for food and coffee.— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) October 23, 2019
Here’s the bill: pic.twitter.com/y9jWDPgM9s
Anyway, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper is now finally testifying.
2:30 — And the hits just keep coming. From the Times, more back-channel bullshit:
Senior White House officials suspected that a colleague whom they viewed as a political partisan was ferrying documents about Ukraine in recent months to President Trump, effectively creating another backchannel to him that could warp American policy, according to congressional testimony and interviews.
Colleagues grew alarmed after hearing that Mr. Trump had referred to Kashyap Patel, a National Security Council aide who figured prominently in Republicans’ efforts to undermine the Russia investigation, as one of his top Ukraine policy specialists and that the president wanted to discuss related documents with him, according to people briefed on the matter. Mr. Patel, who is known as Kash, is assigned to work on counterterrorism issues, not Ukraine policy.
1:20: Another nail, from the AP:
Volodymyr Zelenskiy gathered a small group of advisers on May 7 in Kyiv for a meeting that was supposed to be about his nation’s energy needs. Instead, the group spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting.
Meanwhile, this sure feels like Congressional obstruction to me.
BREAKING — The Republicans who have stormed the SCIF have ordered pizza.— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 23, 2019
“They’re a bunch of brave freedom fighters having pizza in a secure conference room,” complained Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).https://t.co/hthVNifnAG
Gaetz, I’ll remind you, is the guy being investigated by the Florida bar for witness tampering, after he basically threatened the family of Michael Cohen. He’s got about (*checks watch*) 13 months left of his reign.
Seriously, what happens to all these Trump Republicans when/if Trump loses in 2020?
12:15: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov:
“The United States was the closest ally of the Kurds during the last few years, and in the end the U.S. ditched the Kurds and effectively betrayed them, leaving them to fight the Turks.”
NEW: Trump declares victory in Syria, lifts sanctions on Turkey https://t.co/llPqZRL1mc— Axios (@axios) October 23, 2019
President Trump says the escaped ISIS fighters have largely been recaptured. Today his top envoy to Syria testified that over 100 have escaped and they don’t know where they are. He doesn’t answer my Q about the discrepancy.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 23, 2019
11:40 — I’m sure that, for many of you checking up on these updates, every update feels like another nail in an empty coffin, because the GOP Senate may never put a body in it. But here’s another of those nails. Trump consistently argues that there can’t be quid pro quo because the Ukrainians didn’t even know that aid was being withheld until the news broke publicly in September. The Times is reporting that that is not true: Ukrainian officials knew that aid was being held and why in early August.
"It means that the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when [Rudy Giuliani] and two American diplomats were pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Mr. Trump." https://t.co/vcgtzfLoiD— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 23, 2019
10:30 WE ARE OLD WHITE MEN IN POSITIONS OF POWER. WHY ARE THEY IGNORING US? LISTEN TO US. IT’S NOT FAIR! WHY ISN’T THIS ABOUT US? WHITE MEN IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE VERY FEW RIGHT AND THEY’RE GETTING TOOK MORE EVERY DAY.
Matt Gaetz says he’s about to lead this phalanx of House Republicans into the SCIF to check out what’s going on with the whole impeachment thing pic.twitter.com/iFyxqMgcsr— Sam Brodey (@sambrodey) October 23, 2019
The Fox News demo, however, is gonna be nearly impossible to break, and this interview is essentially why.
Fox contributor Andy McCarthy on Trump withholding military aid from Ukraine: "We don't impeach anyone over having a dirty mind" pic.twitter.com/hayhtdfQEK— courtney hagle (@CourtneyHagle) October 23, 2019
The defense of Trump has taken a weird turn, as defenders are basically arguing, “Yes, there was a quid pro quo, and yes, Trump is doing everything he was accused of … but, aid was eventually released to Ukraine, so there’s no crime! You can’t be impeached for a ‘dirty mind.’” And then they pivot to Obama/Biden who did withhold aid from Ukraine for reasons that had nothing to do with personal politics, but of course, Fox News is not going to make that distinction. But there’s a big difference between executing foreign policy — as Obama did — and using another country to interfere in our elections, as Trump did.
Wednesday, 9:40 a.m. — Yesterday, in an extraordinary 10-hour session with House impeachment investigators, Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. essentially laid out the entire case, confirming in no uncertain terms that there was quid pro quo. Granted, Taylor didn’t say anything that we didn’t broadly already know, but as the acting Ambassador to Ukraine, he had knowledge of everything that was going on. Taylor had retired, and Mike Pompeo had called him up in the hopes that he could replace Marie Yovanovitch, who had been “treated poorly” and who was essentially recalled for political reasons (the two indicted fellas, Parnas and Fruman, helped to get her recalled with the aid of Giuliani). Taylor was trying to run a traditional foreign policy with a bipartisan ally — he wanted to help the new President, Zelesnky, more firmly establish Democracy in the country and fight off the Russians, who were waging a war against Ukraine that had cost them 13,000 lives and the annexation of Crimea.
Rudy Giuliani, however, was running a shadow policy. The goal of Trump and Giuliani was to tie not only aid but the United States’ entire relationship with Ukraine to investigations into Burisma (and the Bidens) and efforts to find a DNC server that Trump and Giuliani believed existed in Ukraine (there is no such server, and if there were a “server,” it wouldn’t be a physical one, it would have been in the cloud. But Trump and Giuliani are idiots, and ultimately, Trump will be impeached because of conspiracy theories he heard from 4chan).
The Times opening lays it all out:
The top American diplomat in Ukraine on Tuesday gave impeachment investigators a vivid and impassioned account of how multiple senior administration officials told him that President Trump blocked security aid to Ukraine and refused to meet the country’s leader until he agreed to publicly pledge to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.
In testimony to impeachment investigators delivered in defiance of State Department orders, the diplomat, William B. Taylor Jr., sketched out in remarkable detail a quid pro quo pressure campaign on Ukraine that Mr. Trump and his allies have long denied. He said the president sought to condition the entire United States relationship with Ukraine — including a $391 million aid package whose delay put Ukrainian lives in danger — on a promise that the country would publicly investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family.
Taylor’s testimony confirms everything. But there are a few other takeaways:
1) His testimony contradicts the testimony of Gordon Sondland, who could be brought up on perjury charges,
2) Taylor was so troubled by what was going on, he sent a memo to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Mike Pompeo is refusing, so far, to provide that memo to investigators.
3) Taylor shared his concerns with John Bolton, who told Taylor to communicate them to Pompeo. Pompeo did not respond. John Bolton’s eventual testimony could be devastating.
What we have learned, so far is that career diplomatic officials — who are providing the vast majority of the information to the House — were trying to do their jobs, while Trump political officials were underminding their efforts with a shadow foreign policy. I don’t know if it behooves the House to do so, or if it would bolster their case against Trump, but there really should be an effort to impeach Pompeo and William Barr, as well.
In light of all the testimony, what’s Trump’s defense this morning?
Where’s the Whistleblower?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
The whistleblower at this point is completely beside the point (and who is to say that the whistleblower isn’t someone who has already testified?). Everything in the whistleblower’s complaint has been confirmed by either diplomatic officials, Mick Mulvaney, or Trump himself.
This is all he’s got.
And what about the Republican Senators? At this point, they are refusing to defend Trump on the merits. They’re defending Trump on “process,” by claiming that Democrats are behaving unfairly by holding meetings behind closed doors and refusing to give up the name of the whistleblower. Trump is not happy that the GOP Senate is not mounting a better defense on his behalf. From The Daily Beast:
Evidence of the divide between the White House and Senate GOPers has emerged in recent days, with allies of the former—including the president’s son Don Jr.—taking to Twitter to berate Republican lawmakers for not doing more, and members of the latter gently distancing themselves from the president on a range of fronts.
Meanwhile, Trump and his allies are increasingly furious with … Lindsey Graham? Why? Because he’s not opening his own investigations into Burisma and Crowdstrike, the very conspiracy theories that kicked off this entire inquiry.
Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, has arrived this morning to offer her testimony.
4:51: OK. Remember the anonymous person who was resisting from inside the White House last year and wrote that scathing op-ed about Trump. That person - still anonymous — has written a book now, and it will come out next month.
Wouldn’t it be funny if it were Kellyanne Conway? Wouldn’t it be even funnier if Kellyanne Conway — whose husband advocated for the impeachment of Trump multiple times a day on Twitter — were hired as Chief of Staff? And by “funny,” of course, I mean, “Dear God!”
Kellyanne Conway is now under consideration to replace Mick Mulvaney as the White House chief of staff. Conway is one of few aides who have managed to stay with Trump, despite her numerous violations of the Hatch Act. https://t.co/nCKF26dh8T— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) October 22, 2019
4:45: Whoa, right?!
Bill Taylor describes a June 28 phone call with Sondland, Volker, Perry and, eventually, the president of Ukraine: "Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call." https://t.co/Y5poYTnh5t— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 22, 2019
4:05: Yes, this is damning. All of it.
Wow. From Bill Taylor’s statement: “Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check.”— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) October 22, 2019
They weren't just trying to make Zelensky commit to investigating Joe Biden. They were trying to make him do it in an interview on CNN.https://t.co/u6ZwXd5xp6— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) October 22, 2019
Per Taylor’s testimony, Sondland told him he made a mistake by telling the Ukrainians that a WH meeting was conditioned on Burisma/2016 investigations.— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 22, 2019
The mistake was not that he said it. It was that “everything” — the WH meeting AND security aid—was conditioned on them.
"I do not know how you would listen to today's testimony by the ambassador, Amb. Taylor, and draw any other conclusion, except that the President abused his power and withheld foreign aid … in an attempt to exchange and extract political assistance for his reelection campaign." https://t.co/qepFTzExGp— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 22, 2019
Here’s the statement, if you want to read it. It’s devastating for Trump, or should be.
WaPo has obtained the full, 15-page opening statement from acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor: https://t.co/UhyzslDUD8— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 22, 2019
Republicans who are worried about impeachment tearing the country apart should be going to Trump privately and telling him to resign.— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) October 22, 2019
3:00 And there’s your quid pro quo.
Breaking News: The U.S. envoy to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, privately testified that President Trump directly tied security aid to his demand for investigations, a lawmaker said.https://t.co/KkBW9AYgDA— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 22, 2019
What do Republicans like Lindsey Graham, who repeatedly said, “Well, there was no quid pro quo,” do now?
And is this McConnell … backing away?
TRUMP on Oct 3rd: "I spoke to (McConnell)…he said, 'That was the most innocent phone call that I've read.'"— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 22, 2019
MCCONNELL today: "I don't recall any conversations with the President about that phone call."
1:30: Ambassador Taylor, who testified in front of the House impeachment investigators, apparently produced some good information.
Rep. Lynch on Taylor: “This testimony is a sea change,” adding that it could “accelerate” impeachment timeline in the House.— Ben Siegel (@benyc) October 22, 2019
Note that Trump and the State Department did try to block him from testifying, so the House subpoenaed him this morning. His testimony got a lot of reaction.
MORE >> Another source says the sighs & gasps were in reaction to Taylor describing “how pervasive the efforts were to tie an investigation of Burisma and 2016 election ‘interference’ to a White House meeting and aid being released.”https://t.co/ZceSblImJ1— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) October 22, 2019
Here’s what he testified to:
Taylor said that he and Sondland spoke by phone about why the aid was frozen, and Sondland cited the need for Ukraine to open an investigation among other reasons, according to the sources— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 22, 2019
The source said Sondland was only speculating when he referenced the political investigations into the 2016 election and Burisma.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 22, 2019
Here’s the reaction to his testimony:
“Per Politico’s Kyle Cheney, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) described Taylor’s testimony so far as “incredibly damaging to the president.” Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), meanwhile, reportedly described Taylor’s testimony as “my most disturbing day in Congress so far.”“— Biff Rendar (@biffrendar) October 22, 2019
11:52: This is a shitshow.
Hogan Trying to defend the use of the word “lynching” pic.twitter.com/KnYuJLTDca— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) October 22, 2019
You know who else is frustrated, Jim Jordan? EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. We’re not out there comparing our frustrations with the hanging of black people by angry white mobs.
Asked if President Trump's tweet comparing the impeachment inquiry to "a lynching" is appropriate, Rep. Jim Jordan told @mkraju, “The president is frustrated.”— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 22, 2019
Please accept my middle finger, Senator Graham.
Sen. Lindsey Graham backs Trump on calling the House impeachment process a “lynching.” Graham says: “This is a lynching in every sense.”— Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) October 22, 2019
Really, Ted? Because the Democrats have been interviewing witnesses and collecting facts for weeks, and plan to do so for several more weeks. It sure seems like they’re taking “the facts” into consideration. Also, dude: You’re leaving out a very important element in the “significant historical freight” of the word, which is the fact that it was white mobs seeking an outcome (death) of Black people regardless of facts.
GOP Sen. Cruz: “obviously a word with significant historical freight. The connotation the president is carrying forward is a political mob seeking an outcome regardless of facts. And that I think is an objectively true description of what is happening in the House right now” https://t.co/UolbZZ28pF— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) October 22, 2019
Jesus Christ, Republicans. Every day you wake up finding yourself having to defend yet another abhorrent statement from the President. Have you ever just considered cutting your losses? Or how much easier your life might be if you didn’t have to defend the President’s use of the word “lynching” or “go back to your country” or “there are fine people on both sides” or “can you do me a favor” every single day of your lives?
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.
Yesterday, Trump called the Emoluments Clause “phony,” which is kind of like calling the Constitution phony. Hey! But did you know that George Washington also ran his business while he was President?
President Trump: "I don't know if you know it — George Washington, he ran his business simultaneously while he was president. Many other presidents — there weren't too many really rich presidents, but there were a few — they ran their business." https://t.co/2LvZePxsM5 pic.twitter.com/FUxoESbDFE— The Hill (@thehill) October 21, 2019
George Washington’s business, by the way, was a slave plantation.
This morning, Trump began the day by calling the impeachment inquiry against him a “lynching” because Trump doesn’t understand language or how to use it.
Prepare for Trump surrogates to start referring to his possible impeachment as a lynching while wondering why black Americans do not vote for Republicans … pic.twitter.com/43QWPPF1jB— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) October 22, 2019
Here’s Rep. James Clyburn with the appropriate response to that:
JUST NOW: @WhipClyburn aghast at @realDonaldTrump's use of word "lynching."— John Berman (@JohnBerman) October 22, 2019
"That is one word no president ought to apply to himself. You know, I've studied presidential history quite a bit, and I don't know if we've ever seen anything quite like this."pic.twitter.com/2luIJBp7in
Meanwhile, this is how Trump characterized ethnic cleanings in an interview with Hannity last night.
Trump on abandoning the Kurds in Syria: "It's like two kids in a playground — they fight, you let them fight for a minute, and then you pull them apart. It was much easier to make a deal." pic.twitter.com/fz03NOCQ1x— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 22, 2019
As for impeachment? In an effort to speed up the process, the Democrats are extending their work through the weekends. Today, they meet with Ambassador Billy Taylor, the guy who sent a text message to Sondland calling a quid pro quo over military assistance “crazy.”
Trump, meanwhile, believes that he continues to operate his own impeachment defense, the Democrats will drop the inquiry before bringing Articles of Impeachment to the floor. (Trump is wrong.)
8:30 p.m. — The House Republicans tried to censure Adam Schiff today, essentially for doing his job and investigating Trump for impeachable misdeeds, but also for mocking interpretation of Trump’s July phone call during a committee hearing. It was parody. He was not serious. There was no merit to the censure, and some Republicans even agreed that his misconduct didn’t rise to the level of censure, which itself was a shitty thing to say because there was no misconduct.
In either case, the House voted along party lines to set aside the censure motion. Justin Amash — Republican turned Independent — voted with the Democrats. It’s kind of a shitty game to play, but can we expect anything better from Trump Republicans? Now, can we impeach Trump for his parody of two FBI Agents having sex? Because that was a goddamn war crime.
Is the president doing an impression of Peter Strzok having an orgasm? pic.twitter.com/izFVmlfqaW— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 11, 2019
4:00 — The Democrats really had hoped to wrap up their impeachment investigation, vote on it, and send it to the Senate by Thanksgiving, but every time they interview one person it results in several more leads, which requires more interviews and depositions, which I guess could theoretically mean that Democrats will be cataloging all of Trump’s corruption right up until the November 2020 election. “They can’t stop and impeach me if I continue to commit crimes!”
In any event, when they finally get around to writing the Articles of Impeachment, the Democrats are just going to wave their hand in Trump’s general direction and say, “This.”
Neal Katyal, ex-acting U.S. solicitor general and NBC News contributor, said that legally and politically, a sweeping impeachment article charging "abuse of power" with regard to Ukraine was "exactly correct."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 21, 2019
"The phrase captures the central evils of what Trump did in Ukraine." https://t.co/vo0agf36Ak
2:45:: Real good guy, our President.
Trump: "We never agreed to protect the Kurds" pic.twitter.com/tmwoaJjp9Z— Zach Purser Brown (@zachjourno) October 21, 2019
12:00 For what it’s worth, this is heartening.
A NYT/Siena College poll of the six states that will probably decide the 2020 election — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — finds that a majority of registered voters in these states support the impeachment inquiry by 5 points, 50% to 45%.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 21, 2019
Meanwhile, I don’t know whether to believe this or not about Lindsey Graham, but if he folds, it would follow that Trump would be in deep shit.
In an interview on “Axios on HBO,” Jonathan Swan asked the South Carolina senator: “Are you open minded if more to comes out that you could support impeachment?”
“Sure, I mean show me something that is a crime,” Graham replied. “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
I’d like to believe that Graham is playing the long game, cozying up to Trump and becoming his strongest ally so that when he calls for impeachment, it will actually make a difference. That, however, is hopelessly optimistic to the point of dumb.
Also, we’ve long moved past the, “Who will be fired next?” stage of the Trump Admin. On most days, in fact, I wish we still had many of the old cabinet members. Jeff Sessions is a terrible, horrible human being, but at least he had sense enough to recuse himself, something that William Barr has no intention of doing, despite being neck deep in the Ukraine business. In any respect, whether Mick Mulvaney stays or goes is of little interest. That said, it is interesting to note how tiny Trump’s circle has gotten.
I think about Keith Schiller sometimes — he was Trump’s bodyguard for two decades and was brought in to be the Deputy Assistant to U.S. President. That guy quit after less than a year. He was Trump’s most trusted and loyal aid. At this point, Trump’s closest friend and ally is Fox News, in both the literal and figurative sense. It’s who he spends his day with.
Mulvaney is basically left with few allies at a top level right now. So he went out to the briefing room at a moment when he needed to show POTUS he could do the job. And it didn't go well.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 21, 2019
Good morning, and welcome to another week of our daily political hellscape. I’ll be your guide through the morass of bullshit. If you’re just joining us, I update this post throughout the day.
The big news of the weekend was Trump’s decision, on late Saturday night, not to host the G7 at Doral, his golf resort. He did not have a crisis of conscience. No, it’s just that the Republicans didn’t want one more thing added to their plate of things they had to defend. From The Washington Post:
In a round of phone calls with conservative allies this weekend, Trump was told Republicans are struggling to defend him on so many fronts, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters …
Trump’s decision to host next year’s G-7 meeting at his private golf club only increased the anxiety among GOP lawmakers, some of whom have grown weary of having to develop new talking points almost daily.
Privately, and occasionally in public, several Republicans said they were not prepared to defend the president from charges that he was engaged in self-dealing on the G-7 site selection.
In that same piece, there were a lot of suggestions that Mick Mulvaney is losing the support of the White House, as several officials have started to distance themselves from him, although Trump still says he supports his acting Chief of Staff (which, of course, means nothing, because Trump always expresses support right up until he fires someone or, you know, abandons them and leaves them to die in Syria). I think it’s strange that Mulvaney is on the hot seat, because Mulvaney is the only guy in the White House who actually tells the truth occasionally, and that apparently is why Mulvaney is on the hot seat.
Note, however, that though Republicans are “weary” of defending Trump, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stop. According to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute released yesterday, 55 percent of Republicans who support Trump and watch Fox News, there is “virtually nothing” that Trump could do to lose their support. In other words, he absolutely could shoot someone in the middle of Times Square and maintain his hold on those voters, and the re-election prospects for many of those Republicans in Congress rely on those who would support a President that murdered someone in Times Square.
If you’re looking ahead to 2020, however, there are signs that Republicans could lose their majority in the Senate. Four Republican incumbent Senators are being outraised by their Democratic opponents. Things are not looking good for GOP Senators in Iowa, North Carolina, Arizona, and Maine, where House Speaker Sara Gideon raised $3.2 million in the third quarter, $1 million more than Susan Collins. I live in Maine. I just don’t see how Susan Collins survives. Gideon is well-liked, and the state is blue. Collins has long managed to maintain her seat by relying on Democrats and Independents. She lost Democrats over the Kavanaugh vote. When Trump is impeached, Collins will seal her doom by voting to impeach (losing her GOP support) or not to impeach (losing everyone else). I have no sympathy at all for Collins, but I would note that it’s not a good time to be a “moderate” in any center-left state.
Meanwhile, I am sorry, but I am loving that Mitt Romney has had a secret Twitter account, and now he’s even owning up to it. Romney has been the only GOP Senator to speak out against Trump, mild though that criticism has been. However, in his “likes” on the secret account, he has at least favorited Tweets from others who are more critical (including George Conway). Now that he’s been outed, I hope that Romney removes his filter and starts sh*tting on Trump in whatever ways Mormon dudes from Utah can. Utah Republicans seem to be the only Republicans immune to the Trump cult. Besides, Romney doesn’t run again until 2024, when Trump is not even on the ticket, so he has nothing to fear (you’d think Cruz and Rubio, in the same boat, would be more critical of Trump, too, considering how much Trump has shat on them in the past, but then again, they’re cowards).
I think people here tend to tune out when I start talking about foreign policy, but I should note that the commander of the Kurdish forces, Mazlum Kobani, is legit terrified that his people will be wiped out. “There will be ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people from Syria, and the American administration will be responsible for it,” he said.
As US troops leave Northern Syria, abondoned Kurds show signs that read, "Thanks for US people, but Trump betrayed us" and "Tell your children that the children of the Kurds were killed by the Turks and you did nothing to protect them." pic.twitter.com/cg6NAuvip7— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) October 21, 2019
Meanwhile, the Turkish President, Erdogan, clearly has no respect for Trump, and not only does he plan to take over Kurdish land in Syria, he’s now looking to obtaining a nuclear bomb. Trump is gonna sit there and watch, too. “It’s not our problem.”
But it’s not like Trump is actually removing troops from the Middle East. He’s just strategically placing them where the oil can be protected because oil is more important to the President than the lives of our allies.
I guess this is what Trump meant by securing the oil. https://t.co/bpnq2atjaJ— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) October 21, 2019
And this is the end result:
Since defense secretary says US troops aren't going home from Syria - where they’ve been EFFECTIVELY fighting ISIS - but moving next door to Iraq to fight ISIS from there, the only results are: 1 creating chaos which helps ISIS regroup & 2 leaving US allies, the Kurds, to die.— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) October 20, 2019
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