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Jan 24 2020

Impeachment: Drip, Drip, Drip

While the House managers make the case for removing Donald trump from the office of the presidency, more incriminating evidence keeps dripping out. This morning it was a tape of a conversation during dinner at Trump’s Washington DC hotel about then US to the Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch between Trump, and his personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani’s two henchmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. ABC News has the report

“Get rid of her!” is what the voice that appears to be President Trump’s is heard saying. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.

On the recording, it appears the two Giuliani associates are telling President Trump that the U.S. ambassador has been bad-mouthing him, which leads directly to the apparent remarks by the President. The recording was made by Fruman, according to sources familiar with the tape. [..]

During the conversation, several of the participants can be heard laughing with the president. At another point, the recording appears to capture Trump praising his new choice of secretary of state, saying emphatically: “[Mike] Pompeo is the best.” But the most striking moment comes when Parnas and the president discuss the dismissal of his ambassador to Ukraine.

Parnas appears to say: “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She’s still left over from the Clinton administration,” Parnas can be heard telling Trump. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.” (Yovanovitch actually had served in the State Department since the Reagan administration.)

It was not until a year later that Yovanovitch was recalled from her position — in April 2019. She said the decision was based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives” that she was disloyal to Trump. [..]

The identities of others participating in the recorded conversation are unclear. During an early portion of the recording where video can be seen, Donald Trump Jr. appears on the recording posing for pictures with others. Sources say they were attending a larger event happening at the hotel that night for a super PAC that supports the president.

Another clip seen on the recording, according to the sources, is of individuals entering what appears to be a suite at the Trump Hotel for the intimate dinner. The phone that was recording the Trump conversation appears to be placed down on a table with the audio still recording the conversation between the commander-in-chief and other guests, according to the sources. [..]

A copy of the recording is now in the custody of federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District, who declined to comment to ABC News.

Former House committee lawyer Jeremy Bash, told MSNBC that it would constitute another “abuse of power” charge.

“I think it would be another important branch and sequel to the abuse of power allegation if the president used the office, used his own authority to direct that a U.S. ambassador be either removed from that position because she was standing in the way of his political agenda — but it seems like, from the recording, possibly even that physical harm or threats to her should ensue,” said Bash.

Nope, Trump never knew the guy.