Thursday, November 14, 2019

Second Witness To Trump-Sondland Call Emerges


© Joe Cummings

A second U.S. embassy official in Kiev, Ukraine has been identified who overheard Trump donor and ambassador Gordon Sondland speaking with corrupt sociopath Donald "Impeachable Me" Trump about Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine.

It was revealed in Ambassador William Taylor's testimony yesterday that Sondland had placed a call to Trump on July 26, a day after Trump's shake down call to Ukraine's President Zelensky, to report on a meeting he had with a top Ukrainian official. The call was overheard by Taylor's staffer David Holmes. The second staffer that overheard the call is Suriya Jayanti; both are career foreign service officers.According to the Associated Press:
"Taylor was one of the first witnesses called Wednesday during the impeachment inquiry’s initial open hearing. He testified that his staffer could hear Trump on the phone asking Sondland about 'the investigations.'

The accounts of Holmes and Jayanti could tie Trump closer to alleged efforts to hold up military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings." (our emphasis)
Two witnesses are better than one, and both Holmes and Jayanti are expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee soon (Holmes is reported to be scheduled for a deposition tomorrow). Sondland is expected to testify on November 20. Both his original and revised depositions failed to mention the July 26 phone call to Trump, so Sondland could have another "ohnow I recall" moment before that hearing.

Tweets Of The Day -- Nerdy Pizzazz Edition


Some of corporate media as well as GOP-TV are not honest brokers, part infinity:




(That's former Army Ranger and Ambassador William Taylor on the left, porcine non- veteran Rush Limbaugh on the right.)












Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)


(Jimmy Margulies, jimmymargulies.com)


(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette)


(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)


(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Ken Catalino, gocomics.com)


(Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News)


(Bruce Plante, Tulsa World)


(Nick Anderson, Counterpoint)


(Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly)


(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)


(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

Trump's Gaslighting About Turkey



Somewhat overlooked while yesterday's impeachment inquiry hearings proceeded, the autocrat of Turkey, Recip Erdoğan, paid a visit to his pupil, would-be autocrat Donald "Rump" Trump at the White (Supremacist) House. Trump did his best to flatter the brutal Erdoğan and gaslight everyone, at one point saying:
“I think the president has a great relationship with the Kurds. Many Kurds live currently in Turkey, and they’re happy and taken care of, including health care and education and other things.”
"Taken care of," in the removal sense, that is. This is after Trump betrayed our longtime Kurdish allies in Syria by giving Erdoğan the go ahead in his ethnic cleansing of Kurds along the border with Turkey.  To demonstrate that he cares so much about the Kurds, Erdoğan showed  a propaganda video showing the Kurds as terrorists to a gaggle of Senate Republicans called up to the White (Supremacist) House to hear his pitch.  "Great relationship," like a wolf to sheep.

An insight into Trump's motivation in embracing Turkey was provided recently by neocon pistol- packer John Bolton, who told a private group in Miami that there is a business or personal relationship guiding Trump's approach to Turkey, overriding U.S. interests.

If his kissing up to Erdoğan by lying about his brutal "relationship" with the Kurds isn't clear evidence of that, then nothing is.

(photo: Reuters. The Kurds can tell you where to stick that thumb.)

The Sideshow Republicans


The Rethuglicans at yesterday's impeachment inquiry hearings ping-ponged from one idiotic conspiracy theory to another as they flailed for a coherent defense of demagogue and Russian asset Donald "Impeachable Me" Trump's July 25 shakedown call to Ukraine. One, advanced by Trump messenger boy and fake farmer Devin Nunes, was that it was the Ukrainians who meddled in the 2016 elections, a "theory" that likely originated in Moscow. Another was that Trump was really interested in corruption in Ukraine, although he never used the word "corruption" in that phone call and the only names mentioned that he wanted investigated were the Bidens.

Perhaps the most ludicrous argument, advanced by several clueless Rethugs, was that since the aid eventually flowed and Ukraine didn't investigate the Bidens, "no harm no foul." (Note that it was only after the whistleblower's report became known that the aid was released). It's as if there should be no criminal penalties for attempted fraud, extortion, bank robbery, or as The Simpons' Sideshow Bob put it, attempted murder:



The Rethuglican Sideshow Bobs and Bobettes on the committee were playing to an audience of one in the Oval Office, who has been implicated in extortion by his own transcribed words, and words on video out of his own dirty mouth, among other sources. They know it, but distraction, diversion and deceit are their currency, and they used it yesterday, and we've heard only one day of testimony.

BONUS: Former Federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains in an opinion piece:
"When defense attorneys can’t mount a defense on the merits, they raise a lot of peripheral issues in the hope of convincing at least one juror that there is reasonable doubt."
Or, as Carl Sandburg put it,
“If the facts are against you, argue the law.  If the law is against you, argue the facts.  If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)


(Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(Steve Benson, gocomics.com)


(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Robert Ariail, gocomics.com)


(Rob Rogers, robrogers.com)


(Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader, KY)


(Matt Wuerker, Politico)


(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)


(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)


(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)

Tweet Of The Day -- Bombs Away!


From this morning's testimony by Ambassador William Taylor comes new bombshell information that directly links nitwit crime family boss Donald "The Dumb Don" Trump to the shakedown of Ukraine for the sole purpose of initiating an sham investigation of the Bidens:



Mid-Week Song: Classic Young


Venerable rock icon Neil Young observed his 74th birthday yesterday. A winner of several Grammy awards as well as being inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Canadian-born Young had a successful career with the LA-based folk rock band Buffalo Springfield, before going solo. The so-called "Father of Grunge Music" has been in the news recently for his fight to obtain U.S. citizenship, which he claims is being withheld due to his acknowledged use of marijuana.

Here, in a 1971 live performance on the BBC Four channel, is Young performing two of his classic songs, "Old Man," and "Heart of Gold." Enjoy.



It Begins -- Public Hearings On Trump's Ukraine Extortion


Beginning at 10 a.m. EST this morning, the most consequential Congressional hearings in a generation will begin. 

Ambassador William Taylor, charge d'affaires at the American embassy in Ukraine, and George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, will be testifying in tandem about their knowledge of corrupt demagogue and con man Donald "Impeachable Me" Trump's extortion of Ukraine to manufacture political dirt on a potential rival in exchange for the release of military aid funds.  Here's a brief look at the impeachment hearing schedule.
10 a.m.: The House Intelligence Committee will formally begin the hearing.

10:05 a.m.: Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and ranking Republican Devin Nunes will give opening statements. The two witnesses will then give their opening statements.

Following opening statements, questions will begin. The chairman and ranking member will each have 45 minutes to ask questions or allow their staff to ask questions. They will have as many alternating 45-minute rounds as they need. Rank-and-file lawmakers will ask questions after that.

The hearing is expected to end between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

It's basically being televised/ streamed everywhere. The Associated Press website will have running updates of the hearing if you're unable to watch.

Blogging will be limited during the course of the hearing.

BONUS: MSNBC's coverage will include commentary from none other than George Conway, conservative lawyer and unfortunate husband of Trumpist and nasty alternative facts generator Kellyanne Conway. Bwahahaha!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Articles Of Impeachment: Is Less More?


There's an interesting article by David Corn in Mother Jones looking at how expansive the articles of impeachment against would-be authoritarian and con man Donald "Impeachable Me" Trump should be. It's been an article of faith among Dem leaders in the House that an article of impeachment centering only on the abuse of power / extortion and bribery involved in Trump's Ukraine shakedown can be clearly presented to the American people. That's true, but, as Corn points out, it has risks, with Trump's Rethuglican enablers already arguing that it was "inappropriate but not impeachable":
"So far, this impeachment-lite strategy appears to be working in that public opinion polls show majority support for the Democrats’ impeachment project. But it does run a risk of providing Republicans in the Senate, who will have to render a judgment if the House Democrats successfully impeach Trump, what could be an easy way out."
After blowing the chance to nail Trump on ten obstruction examples contained in volume II of the Mueller Report, Dems considered the Russiagate scandal dead as far as articles of impeachment were concerned:
"They held no series of hearings on the matter. They never figured out how to sidestep Trump’s trap, in which he defined the controversy as being only a matter of direct collusion. They blew an important opportunity. [snip] They had decided voters didn’t care about that whole Russia thing, and impeachment was off the table."
Literally the next day after Mueller's noncommittal testimony before Congress, a reckless Trump called Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and extorted him for dirt on former VP Biden in exchange for the release of vital military aid. With that, Dems had a solid case for impeachment. Since then, with his refusal to allow staff testimony or provide relevant subpoenaed documents, he's potentially added an obstruction of Congress article. That could to open the door to a related umbrella article beyond abuse of power: obstruction, both of Congress, and the prior Federal investigation into Russia's election meddling.

As we note in the post, below, former Trump campaign official Rick Gates' testimony in the ongoing trial of creepy guttersnipe Roger Stone suggests that Trump was aware of and involved in the WikiLeaks part of the meddling, something that he "couldn't recall" in his written responses to Mueller. Unless there are multiple, credible witnesses to back up Gates, perjury won't be added to Trump's "crimes and misdemeanors."  The debate continues.

BONUS:  Coming down on the "more" side:


Tweets Of The Day -- Meanwhile...







Note to the credulous whomever they may be:  "I don't recall" is almost always a tell that the person is lying to cover up a crime and doesn't want to perjure himself. (See Trump, Donald;  Sondland, Gordon;  Gotti, John...)

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)


(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)


(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Monte Wolverton, caglecartoons.com)


(Dave Whamond, caglecartoons.com)
 
(Stuart Carlson, gocomics.com)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)


(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)


(Jon Adams, The New Yorker)


(David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star)

Haley Lies, Calls Trump "Truthful"



Opportunistic former U.N. Ambassador and Trump toady Nikki Haley continued her cynical self-abasement book tour today on NBC's Today show. Host Savannah Guthrie asked Haley whether pathological liar and sexual predator Donald "Impeachable Me" Trump was truthful, among other things. Watch here and gag as this ambitious, amoral hack responds with a straight face that she's always found him to be truthful. The fact checkers at the Washington Post may beg to differ with Haley: they've counted almost 13,500 lies by Trump as of last month since he took office.

Of course, Haley knows that Trump lies constantly, but she doesn't care because she has her eyes on joining the Trump ticket as Vice President. She's obviously hoping that Trump removes his wooden, glorified valet Mike "Dense" Pence from the ticket in order to attract alienated female voters in 2020. Failing that gambit, by proving her Trumpist loyalty now, she's ready to run in 2024 as a preserver of the toxic Trumpian political brand. Rethugs that get in the way of this calculating Sarah Palin-with-"smarts" should make sure that their insurance policies are paid up.

BONUS:  Former Dumbya speechwriter Michael "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson scorches Haley in today's WaPo, concluding,
As for Haley, she has now signaled to Trump Republicans that she was not a part of the “deep state,” thus clearing away a barrier to ambition. All she had to do was to ignore her conscience, betray her colleagues and injure her country. A small price to pay for such a brilliant political future.

(photo: Flashing some leg and cleavage to please her predator boss: check! Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The "Dime-Store Mussolini"



Former Republican consultant Steve Schmidt today on MSNBC:
The American people will see when this begins to play out publicly is an act of corruption unprecedented in its magnitude and its severity. What we see is the president of the United States extorting a foreign head of state, withholding congressionally approved military assistance to a nation that has a hot war with the Russians on the eastern front, for the purposes of getting dirt on the president’s political opponent. There has never been in the entire post-World War II period of history, from Truman through Obama until Trump, there has never been an act of corruption by an American president quite like this. It is extraordinary and severe. [snip] What this was was an extortion attempt. This was a shakedown by our dime-store Mussolini in the Oval Office.
It's up to the Dems, starting in tomorrow'a televised impeachment inquiry hearing, to present a simple, compelling case that Donald "Cheeto Benito" Trump was guilty of extortion and bribery, while undermining our national security by aiding Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and attempting to corrupt the 2020 elections.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Today In Moscow Mitch -- Veterans Day Edition





As we remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families, there's this:

A total of 56 House bills have passed that have addressed veterans either as a focus or peripherally. But of the 25 Pelosi discusses, none have passed in the Senate, aka Moscow Mitch McConnell's graveyard. Those include:

All so Moscow Mitch McConnell can proclaim to his credulous followers that it's the Dems who are a do- nothing party.

Let's end this party- before- country treasonous turtle's career next year.  We know a Democrat can win against an unpopular Republican in Kentucky (Moscow Mitch has a 36% approval rating;  soon- to- be- former Republican Governor Matt Bevin was at 34% before his defeat this week).   Please support veteran and honorable Democrat Amy McGrath.