Nov 20 2019

So… That Went Well.

It’s a mite hard to walk back when your personal appointment, a man who likes you enough to pay a good chunk of cold hard cash in return for a Title of Nobility, says that you in fact offered a $398 Million bribe of illegally delayed United States assistance duly appropriated and legally allocated by both Houses of Congress and signed into Law (the withholding is the Extortion part, the money is the Bribe) and besides-

The crime is that you asked at all. Investigating Hunter Biden and Crowdstrike is soliciting a foreign contribution to a political campaign.

I mean besides that Bribery part that is actually in the Constitution!

Gordon Sondland just made this scandal a whole lot bigger
By Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman, Washington Post
November 20, 201

Gordon Sondland just made the scandal already consuming Donald Trump’s presidency a whole lot bigger than it was only 12 hours ago.

And that means Democrats are going to have to rethink what comes next.

In his bombshell testimony, Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, implicated numerous members of Trump’s Cabinet in this unfolding story to a far greater degree than before.

In just a few hours, Sondland unleashed a fusillade of revelations that suddenly bring us face to face with much bigger questions about the roles played by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Pence.

As a bonus, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani is now far more deeply implicated as well.

“This got a whole lot bigger,” former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told us. “Sondland just testified that the official channel included everything that Giuliani was insisting on.”

First, Sondland — who said unequivocally that the White House meeting the Ukrainian president sought was used as leverage — implicated Mulvaney by stating that Mulvaney could confirm whether Trump also froze the hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to extort Ukraine into doing Trump’s bidding.

Sondland, who conveyed that extortion demand about the military aid directly to Ukrainian officials, repeatedly testified that Trump never directly told him to do this. But Trump and Sondland communicated about it, and it’s likely Trump used mob-boss language to create this plausible deniability for himself. But we may never know for sure.

Mulvaney, though, personally froze the aid at Trump’s direction, a week before his July 25 call with the Ukrainian president. So now that Sondland has directly fingered Mulvaney as the person who can shed light on Trump’s motives, it’s a lot more urgent to hear from him.

Second, Sondland implicated Pence by saying he personally informed Pence of concerns over the frozen military aid, and communicated to Pence that he understood that the money (and the meeting) were conditional on Ukraine announcing the investigations Trump wanted.

“The vice president nodded, like, you know, he heard what I said,” Sondland recounted. Under Democratic questioning, Sondland clarified that Pence didn’t dissent from what Sondland told him. While Pence quickly issued a denial, this, too, underscores the need to learn more.

And Sondland implicated Pompeo by saying Pompeo had direct knowledge of his own view that the frozen military aid’s fate was linked to Ukraine doing Trump’s bidding.

Put all this together, and it’s going to be a whole lot harder to do a full reckoning without a much more extensive effort to nail down the new revelations involving those major figures.

At the same time, the scale of the new revelations — and the degree to which much of the government is directly implicated in this effort to corrupt the next election on Trump’s behalf — makes doing that full reckoning far more urgent.

“Based on the way this is expanding, I think it’s in our national interest to hold everyone accountable for their involvement,” Kirschner told us. “The case for broadening this is an institutional and a national one.”

“When you have our top government officials involved in extorting a vulnerable nation that’s supposed to be an ally, and weaponizing our relationship with them for the president, if we don’t expand and hold them all accountable, then shame on us,” Kirschner continued.

This would, of course, entail trying to subpoena testimony from all those officials — or at least Mulvaney, Pompeo and Giuliani — and then going to court to force them to testify, since they will continue refusing. Which might take months.

We are sensitive to the fact that the Democratic House is made up of many members with differing political needs, including some who might not want this to drag on. We are also sensitive to the possibility that extending it could cause political support for impeachment to dissipate. It’s not clear to us there’s any evidence this would happen, but we wouldn’t dismiss it as a possibility.

But other things have now been forced upon us by what we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. House Republicans have shown staggering bad faith and dishonesty in dismissing one stunning revelation after another.

Again and again, they’ve responded by retreating more deeply into the alternative universe they’re concocting, robotically reverting to absurd conspiracy theories that are designed to keep up the corrupt goals Trump has adhered to all along, of absolving Russia of its 2016 attack on our political system and using the levers of government to rig the next election on his behalf.

Given all this, turning the whole affair over to a Senate trial run by Republicans operating in equivalent bad faith should be more worrisome in light of the mind-boggling scale of what we’re now witnessing.

This is a profoundly difficult moment, and we aren’t sure what the answers are. But it does seem clear that the exponential growth of this scandal should call forth a serious rethinking of where this is all going.

Yeah, if facts meant anything it would be game over dude.

What I like about this testimony is the net is wide. These people are Criminals and should rot in Spandau. Nancy, take the time to do this right. At the end the whole Republican Party needs to be tossed on the ash heap of History.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

    Remember- this is all good for John McCain.

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