Ambassador Yovanovitch spills the tea

Republicans in Congress who are struggling to find their spines might look to former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as a role model. (The Times):

In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of his administration’s conduct of foreign policy. She warned that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service…

Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that imperils Mr. Trump. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“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.

According to the reports, Yovanovitch didn’t have anything to add about the hit job on the Bidens, probably because Giuliani’s goons correctly pegged her as a straight arrow who wasn’t prepared to subvert US foreign policy to appease Trump and turn a profit. But she called that crooked bunch out, and brava to her for doing that service to her country. Thousands of public servants are watching. Let’s hope they decide to be brave Yovanovitches rather than cowardly Pompeos.






123 replies
  1. 1
    hitchhiker says:

    My god, I will be so happy if serious, professional women end up being the reason trump falls.

    ReplyReply
  2. 2
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Andrea Mitchell, who if nothing else knows lots and lots of veteran foreign service/national security types, said today that several people have told her that they’ve been given to understand since Pompeo came in that advancement, even job security, is for registered Republicans

    ReplyReply
  3. 3
    cain says:

    Can someone please give Tom Nichols a valium? He needs to stop freaking out everytime he thinks Dems have made some kind of messaging error. Sheesh.

    ReplyReply
  4. 4
    RedDirtGirl says:

    I just read her opening statement. You mention hoping she doesn’t lose her job. So she was removed from her post, but as of this morning is still in the foreign service?

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    cain says:

    Yes, the state department has turned into an utter mess and we are sitting ducks against foreign powers. IF we have another 4 years, we will turn into a murderous regime that will attack those of us not Republicans and attack everyone outside who isn’t a dictator.

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    Impeach Barr and Pompeo. They both have important jobs that they are ethically and morally unqualified to carry out.

    They gotta go. It’s them vs. us.

    ReplyReply
  7. 7
    MattF says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: You’ve got be a party member to advance in career government work. That… rings a bell. Several bells, actually.

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    Zelma says:

    She’s on paid leave and is teaching at Georgetown for the semester.

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @cain: I give myself a Xanax instead by unfollowing him, months ago. There’s only so much “yer doin it rong” I’m willing to take from a Republican.

    ReplyReply
  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    From the comments to that NYT article:

    Frank McNeil

    I write as a former Ambassador whose resignation from the State Department was a footnote to the Iran-contra affair. Then, the Department was run by one of the great Secretaries of State of the post-war era, George Shultz. Readers may easily distinguish between Secretary Pompeo’s and Shultz’s stewardship by comparing their attitudes with respect to Congressional investigations. Instead of trying to block witnesses from the Department of State from cooperating with investigations, as Pompeo has done, we were instructed to speak with investigators and tell them what we knew about Iran-Contra.

    I recall being questioned under oath for about two hours by the staff of Congress’s Iran-Contra committee. Subsequently, while still working in the Department, I went through an initial interview, lasting several hours, with Judge Walsh’s staff. No one tried to saddle me with a government lawyer or otherwise interfere with my testimony or, to my knowledge, that of any other official of the Department. The contrast with Pompeo could not be greater. Shultz, a shaper of President Reagan’s foreign policies, respected the constitution’s checks and balances. Pompeo is a courtier, eager to please the President, even if it requires sandbagging honest Foreign Service Officers such as Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

    Note: Presidents have the right to fire Ambassadors but her removal was for a corrupt purpose, likely to be material for an article of impeachment.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    Well well well!

    ReplyReply
  12. 12
    MattF says:

    @Elizabelle: Their lack of ethical and moral standards was why Trump hired them. He has a knack for seeing that.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: as I read that, the Dems gave legal cover to say FU to trump and Pompeo?

    ReplyReply
  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I really like the cut of Ms. Yovanovitch’s jib, I must say.

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    Zelma says:

    The attack on the professionals in the government is one of the scariest attributes of the Trump administration. It’s the best way to destroy trust in the government – make it unable to do its job. Every administration wants to have its own people in charge; that makes sense. But expertise is not political. And many experts are not all that political. They will work to implement an administration’s policies. But they do tend to be institutionalists. And Trump and his people are literally trying to destroy the institutions of American government. Really scary.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    James E Powell says:

    We have to assume that what we are seeing in the State Department has happened in every department and agency of the federal government. We are going to need like six consecutive Democratic presidents to get back to where we were in the year 2000.

    ReplyReply
  17. 17
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That’s my interpretation too.

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
    cain says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    @cain: I give myself a Xanax instead by unfollowing him, months ago. There’s only so much “yer doin it rong” I’m willing to take from a Republican.

    Yeah, but at least his heart is in the right place. He’s really anxious about this not getting screwed up. But yes, he’s a lot more sensitive. Luckily Charles tends to smack him around some. He was fairly annoyed with him.

    ReplyReply
  19. 19
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’ve got Bruce Bartlett muted bc the one time I pointed out something like that he didn’t really had a leg to stand on yelling at other GOPers for killing the party after being onboard up until W, I got a nasty reply. I saw red so hard every time he popped up in my feed, I deleted my tweet & muted him to keep myself free of temptation.

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  20. 20
    hitchhiker says:

    Every Democrat, every interview, every tweet, every everything — we finally have a simple, easy to follow message:

    trump got caught cheating. He got caught using the power of his office for his own personal benefit.

    That’s what happened in Ukraine. In Turkey. In Russia. Inside the USA. Everything he does is for himself, either for more power or for more money. No exceptions. His ego and his wallet are all he cares about.

    ReplyReply
  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    @cain:

    Yes, the state department has turned into an utter mess and we are sitting ducks against foreign powers. IF we have another 4 years, we will turn into a murderous regime that will attack those of us not Republicans and attack everyone outside who isn’t a dictator.

    The ultimate goal of any fascist political movement is to seize power by any means necessary, then to criminalize opposition to the fascist state. The first has already happened, an attempt at the second is happening in real time.

    If we lose in 2020, it might be the last free election we ever see.

    ReplyReply
  22. 22
    Gravenstone says:

    @Betty Cracker: And good on the Ambassador for complying directly with the subpoena rather than giving the Trump team a chance to stall by judicial challenge.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    Kent says:

    We have what…15 months left in the first term of Trump’s presidency?

    I would think at this point in the game, if career professionals in Federal agencies want to have an actual professional future past January 2021 they will follow Yovanovitch’s lead. There is literally nothing that Trump’s lackey’s can do to prevent her from getting re-hired by the next Dem administration if she choses to resign today and spend a year teaching at Georgetown. Whereas known Trump toadies are going to have a dim future in any Federal agency in any future Dem administration. If they don’t get fired for cause due to Federal civil service rules, they’ll find themselves re-tasked to be counting paperclips in the basement.

    I expect more of this as the drip drip drip continues and the tide slowly changes. The Federal government is very large and the number of political appointees is very small.

    If Trump wins another 4 years then we are fucking doomed. This election is literally for the future of our country and the free world.

    ReplyReply
  24. 24
    Archon says:

    @Cacti:

    I wish I could cackle at what you said as hyperbole but the plain truth is this version of the Republican Party that could enable Trump to this degree and representative democracy cannot exist.

    It just can’t.

    ReplyReply
  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Zelma: I’m going to recommend to you and everyone else here Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk.

    WASF.

    ReplyReply
  26. 26
    trnc says:

    @Cacti:

    If we lose in 2020, it might be the last free election we ever see.

    Depending on your definition of free election, 2012 may have been the last one we saw.

    ReplyReply
  27. 27
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    rather than cowardly Pompeos.

    Is Pompeo a coward? He strikes me as a willing accomplice

    ReplyReply
  28. 28
    C Stars says:

    @Betty Cracker: I keep wondering, why don’t all these never-Trumpers form their own party? Frum, Nichols, Conway et al… Not that I don’t enjoy their Twitter commentary sometimes (particularly Rick Wilson) but they’re really barking up the wrong tree if they think that the Dems need to align with GOP priorities/values in order to get rid of the current administration.

    It’s obviously preferable to them to play the hero to the Dems rather than playing the gadfly to the GOPs…which makes me wonder how committed they actually are to any sincere value system other than self aggrandizement.

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    Ocotillo says:

    Maybe someone can help me out. Megan McCain has a grudge against Schiff and her latest complaint is the Dems are hiding something, why aren’t they doing this on televised hearings. I have not heard anyone else gripe about that, why are these done in private?

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @C Stars: I believe Nichols and Wilson have both said that a “principled conservative” third party run– i.e. a Kasich or… can’t think of another one– would be a boon to trump, and I think they might be right. What I do think that Wilson and Mike Murphy could/should do is burn the GOP elected who, they claim, keep telling them how much they hate trump.

    ReplyReply
  31. 31
    C Stars says:

    @Kent: Wonder why Barr met with Murdoch last night? Maybe cooking up a scheme to offer Faux News work to Trumpers who keep their mouths shut?

    ReplyReply
  32. 32
    Chris T. says:

    “Loyal to Trump” means “doing what Trump asks, without question, even if it’s blatantly illegal”. So “disloyal to Trump” should be a badge of honor!

    ReplyReply
  33. 33
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @C Stars:

    I keep wondering, why don’t all these never-Trumpers form their own party? Frum, Nichols, Conway et al

    I think it’s just posturing for a lot of them. Erik Erikson was a Never-Trumper in 2016 but at roughly the same time was trying to set up a back channel from Russia to the NRA (and I think the Trump campaign?).

    ReplyReply
  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ocotillo: Meghan McCain is 1) really dumb 2) a far-right looney and 3) married to Ben Domenech who edits the Federalist where never-trbumpism is, I think, pretty low if not all gone (I know Nichols and a few others used to publish there, but I think stopped). It’s been a hotbed of ‘trump is the real victim’ conspiracy theories from people like Mollie Hemingway and Sean Davis

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    C Stars says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Just curious–why would an “alternative conservative” party be a boon to Trump? Because they’d take votes away from the Dems, or for some other reason?

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    Citizen Alan says:

    Josh Marshall’s take on Judge Rao’s dissent from the Fed Circuit’s opinion today on Fat Bastard’s taxes is utterly chilling. An appellate court judge who think Congress has no power to even investigate presidential wrongdoing unless there is a vote by the entire House to open an impeachment inquiry and who thinks the judiciary can decide whether an offense is impeachable or not. They really are god-damned fascists, aren’t they.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    Mary G says:

    @Cacti: I am Mary G and I endorse this message. People laugh at the tweets demanding that Nancy SMASH be impeached or Adam Schiff be tried for treason, but Twitler is serious and with Barr backing him up and McConnell refusing to do his job, I worry about whether or not we still live in a democracy.

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    Droppy says:

    I slightly know someone who has a mid-level job at State and (he/she/they) says morale is in the toilet (no big surprise) and that it has been for a couple of years. Some of them are holding on in the hope that there will be a change and they can help get things back up to speed, but at some point too many of them will have left and there won’t be any State Department left to start over with. Imagine this same thing in other agencies, and try to imagine the long-term damage this administration has already done. It will be decades before we recover, unless it’s already too late.

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    Betty Cracker says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: You could be right, but I think Pompeo is a coward rather than a hustler who’s in on the con. He obviously has a giant ego, thinks he’s smarter than Trump (true) and therefore thought he’d be able to control Trump (false) and use the SoS gig as a springboard. But things got out of hand, and now he’s embroiled in this massive scandal, and brave professionals like Yovanovitch are revealing what a gutless courtier he really is.

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @C Stars: the theory is it would split the anti-trump vote in places like Ohio and Wisconsin, maybe get a lot of the ‘suburbanites’ who want to tell themselves they’re anti-trump while still getting those sweet sweet tax cuts.

    ReplyReply
  41. 41
    Chris T. says:

    @hitchhiker:

    we finally have a simple, easy to follow message:

    trump got caught cheating. He got caught using the power of his office for his own personal benefit.

    That’s a good point. Trump is definitely a cheater. He cheats at golf. He cheats on his wives. He cheats on his taxes. And now he’s cheating on the country.

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    geg6 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    I have heard both Nichols and Frum (and, FTR, Kristol) state that they wouldn’t go to a third party because it will only re-elect Trump. Pretty sure they are right. I’m no fan of either one, but I don’t think they are stupid.

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    Ocotillo says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Jim believe me I know 1,2 and 3. I guess she has to gripe about something because it’s a Dem doing it. No doubt, there will be public hearings eventually but she is squawking that since the Dems whiffed on Mueller, they must not have much on Trump this time either. Again, see your item 1, Trump has already admitted to asking a foreign party for help.

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    Kent says:

    @Citizen Alan: Perhaps angling for a promotion from Trump to a higher court? Just like Barr did with his famous unsolicited memo on Mueller? These people are craven.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Gravenstone says:

    @Ocotillo: In this particular case, I’m guessing the closed deposition is to get Ambassador Yovanovitch in the record before Sonderland testifies and lies his ass off in open session to support Trump. And without knowing the specifics of the deposition (beyond whatever Nunes shares with his handler in the interim) then Sonderland can’t craft his lies accordingly.

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    Cacti says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    An appellate court judge who think Congress has no power to even investigate presidential wrongdoing unless there is a vote by the entire House to open an impeachment inquiry and who thinks the judiciary can decide whether an offense is impeachable or not. They really are god-damned fascists, aren’t they.

    Yup.

    The House having the sole power of impeachment is black letter Constitutional law.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ocotillo:

    but she is squawking that since the Dems whiffed on Mueller, they must not have much on Trump this time either

    I don’t watch the show but it’s a shame they don’t have somebody better informed that can push back on her. I gather Joy Behar tries but doesn’t really line up any arguments but snark, and Whoopi G probably is on Behar’s side but from what I read just wants to cash the checks and go home.

    Letting her talk about “late term abortion” is especially egregious on the part of ABC

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    debbie says:

    @MattF:

    Diplomats would argue that point. Many serve for years and remain neutral, at least publicly (which is the most anyone should be asking of them).

    But to be fired for not being a Trumpista? That’s a whole ‘nuther putrid ball of wax.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49
    Leto says:

    @Zelma: @OzarkHillbilly: Trump is the culmination of Republican/conservative thought wrt government. He’s enacting (or letting policies be enacted) the policies that were written about in the 50s by the Birchers, expressed by Reagan, then really codified by the Teabaggers. He’s the perfect idiot who will just go along with whatever they say, as long as his ego is perfectly fluffed. #moscowMitch McConnell is also the perfect embodiment of this. Tie in non-stop Faux News and we have a perfect dystopian hellhole. It’s going to take numerous Dem administrations to try to fix this shit.

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    cain says:

    @C Stars:
    Probably to stop releasing polls that make Trump look bad.

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Chris T.: Yes, so who in the Press will have the guts to ask Pompero “so how does one turn one’s self into just an NPC in someone else’s LARP?”

    The cult of personality stuff sort makes sense with figures like Hitler and Stalin, who for all their nastiness did some remarkable things, but Trump all because he won a rigged election?

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    cain says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Josh Marshall’s take on Judge Rao’s dissent from the Fed Circuit’s opinion today on Fat Bastard’s taxes is utterly chilling. An appellate court judge who think Congress has no power to even investigate presidential wrongdoing unless there is a vote by the entire House to open an impeachment inquiry and who thinks the judiciary can decide whether an offense is impeachable or not. They really are god-damned fascists, aren’t they.

    Activist judges. They don’t get to decide anything, they’re job is to interpret and find for one or the other, not come up with their own dogma.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Zelma:
    Every agency, every cabinet dept is getting rid of scientists, experts.

    Not just climate scientists! It’s people with knowledge about soils, nutrition, oceans, streams, birds, insects, habitats.

    If you know anything about anything other than IGMFY, you’re out!!

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    jl says:

    Great thanks to dedicated civil servants like Yovanovitch and Taylor who stood up for rule of law and honest national policy. Both were willing to lose their jobs over the corruption and dishonesty, and said so. Now the less honorable who, consistent with their history close trimming (from what we know so far), are deciding best to jump asap off the Trumpster crazy train, which looks like it got on unexpected track to jail. Voker’s testimony opened the door wide open. Will be interesting to see what Sondland has to say. His testimony, after telling Pompeo to go stuff it up his ass, should be interesting. Door is wide open, now maybe we’ll see some walls blown out.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Citizen Alan: T

    hey really are god-damned fascists, aren’t they.

    Fascists believe in the rule of law, more like gangsters.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    The Moar You Know says:

    The ultimate goal of any fascist political movement is to seize power by any means necessary, then to criminalize opposition to the fascist state. The first has already happened, an attempt at the second is happening in real time.

    If we lose in 2020, it might be the last free election we ever see.

    @trnc: Not that their elections are free in the way we’d see it, but Deng Xiaoping – never a formal leader of the state, by the way, but certainly was one – had lived and suffered hard through the cultural revolution and wanted very much to see an end to China’s practice of electing strongmen for life. And he changed their entire constitution to prevent it from happening again. It lasted for a while.

    It took just one election and that was over and done with.

    Democracy is fragile and requires an engaged and empowered citizenry to work. You may see the problem we face here.

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    cain says:

    @Mary G:

    @Cacti: I am Mary G and I endorse this message. People laugh at the tweets demanding that Nancy SMASH be impeached or Adam Schiff be tried for treason, but Twitler is serious and with Barr backing him up and McConnell refusing to do his job, I worry about whether or not we still live in a democracy.

    McConnell is in fact doing his job, just not as majority leader of the Senate. He’s certainly leveraging the power of that office though.

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I love the way his “State Department that’s Got its Swagger Back” is working out for him. //

    ReplyReply
  59. 59
    germy says:

    The Scientific Integrity Act, introduced earlier this year in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1709) and Senate (S. 775), aims to protect science and scientists from political interference.

    The Act begins with a “Sense of Congress” resolution that science and the scientific process should be the basis of public policy, including public health and environmental protection, and that the public must be able to trust this process, which should be free from politics, ideology, and financial conflicts of interest.

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-scientific-integrity-act-protecting-science-from-politics/

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    Betty Cracker says:

    @debbie: Here’s some swagger for him!

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    jl says:

    @cain: The micro adjustments some of the Congressional GOPers are making try to avoid being rendered hilarious by Trump’s blundering, are hilarious.

    I read that Rubio said that he is being misreported, very unfairly and not nicely, I assume, by the press that he said Trump was joking when he asked China to look into the Biden and Warren giga-scandals. No, Rubio said, I meant Trump didn’t make a serious request. OK. Good to know.

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @jl: Bill Taylor is 72. He doesn’t need this gig, and can walk any time he feels like it. But he genuinely, deeply cares about Ukraine, which is why he took the job.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    Kent says:

    @Ocotillo:

    Maybe someone can help me out. Megan McCain has a grudge against Schiff and her latest complaint is the Dems are hiding something, why aren’t they doing this on televised hearings. I have not heard anyone else gripe about that, why are these done in private?

    Police Investigative Procedure 101. If you are actually conducting a real investigation you keep interviews private so the criminals don’t have a chance to coordinate their lies. I guarantee you the FBI doesn’t do public interrogations. The House is doing all of this correctly. The lies will come out. It must make the Trump people crazy as hell to not be able to watch these things in real time.

    We are so used to the other kind of GOP hearing like the Bengazi hearings which were pure made-for-TV political theater and not actual legitimate investigations that it feels strange when we see the real thing happening.

    ReplyReply
  64. 64

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    The cult of personality stuff sort makes sense with figures like Hitler and Stalin, who for all their nastiness did some remarkable things, but Trump all because he won a rigged election?

    The Republican Party has been a cult in search of a leader at least since the days of Reagan. And say what you will about Trump, he does have an outsized personality, so it’s kind of understandable that cultists would latch onto him. And he’s done more than just win a rigged election. He’s given them the tax cuts and conservative judges they’ve been demanding, and he has more than delivered on the cruelty to black and brown people they demand.

    ReplyReply
  65. 65
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    That’s the Squad they should be afraid of!

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    Ksmiami says:

    @Citizen Alan: yes and that’s why ultimately we’ll need to wipe them out- all of them.

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    An appellate court judge who think Congress has no power to even investigate presidential wrongdoing unless there is a vote by the entire House to open an impeachment inquiry and who thinks the judiciary can decide whether an offense is impeachable or not. They really are god-damned fascists, aren’t they.

    Yes, they are. So, Rao’s claiming that Congress has no oversight powers over the executive branch? I do wonder if he means that the entire House must vote uniamously for an impeachment inquiry. That would ensure that no matter what party is in control, impeachment could never used as a tool again, along with congressional investigations into the executive. The judiciary being able to decide if an offense is impeachable or not is also crazy and self-serving.

    All this is doing is undermining confidence in the courts and the rule of law, as well as a free democratic process. Some reporter should question these Heritage goons (I assume) if they think their legal opinions should apply to Dem admins too.

    ReplyReply
  68. 68

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    If you know anything about anything other than IGMFY, you’re out!!

    It’s not so much expertise that they’re punishing; it’s failure to go along with the demands of the politicians at the top. Of course those two things are functionally indistinguishable for technical types, but it’s most obvious when you look at their attitudes toward judges. What they really want is people who will reliably rule their way. If they can cover for that will superficially plausible arguments, that’s great, but it’s results that matter more than anything.

    ReplyReply
  69. 69
    germy says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Okay. Sigourney Weaver can play her in the movie.

    ReplyReply
  70. 70
    jl says:

    @germy: Everything is about money with the Trumpster thugs. I read that there were two reasons to try to destroy the UDDA Agricultural Research Service by suddenly moving them a thousand miles away from DC. One was climate change research the Trumpsters didn’t like. The other, probably more important reason, was a report that found small farmers were screwed by the 2017 GOP rich man’s tax cut, and large, and especially corporate, farms made out like bandits.

    Maybe that report is why Perdue felt he had to announce, essentially, ‘Hey, sucks to be you, small farmers, You’ll soon be history and we don’t care”.

    ReplyReply
  71. 71
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    hard to think there’s an aspect of this that’s being under-covered, but I do think this part is

    WASHINGTON — President Trump’s words about Marie L. Yovanovitch, his former ambassador to Ukraine, were ominous. In a telephone conversation that has set off a political crisis for Mr. Trump, he told Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, that she was “bad news.”

    She’s going to go through some things,” he added.

    To borrow a phrase, it’s going to be her turn in the barrel. I hope her colleagues are paying attention

    ReplyReply
  72. 72
    lgerard says:

    It is dark, windy and raining outside, but the thought of Rudy being taken down by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York has really brightened my day.

    Godspeed!

    ReplyReply
  73. 73
    Mousebumples says:

    In better judicial news :

    Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) tweeted at 1:47 PM on Fri, Oct 11, 2019:
    A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall is unlawful and appears poised to block the use of those funds. Judge David Briones requested the plaintiffs propose the scope of a preliminary injunction.
    (https://twitter.com/ShimonPro/status/1182729427316367360?s=03)

    Probably going to be appealed but good that there is still some sanity in the judicial branch.

    ReplyReply
  74. 74
    Leto says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: scientists, experts, experience. They’re hurting/gutting the most precious commodities we have.

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  75. 75
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He obviously has a giant ego, thinks he’s smarter than Trump (true) and therefore thought he’d be able to control Trump (false) and use the SoS gig as a springboard. But things got out of hand, and now he’s embroiled in this massive scandal, and brave professionals like Yovanovitch are revealing what a gutless courtier he really is.

    You’re probably right, tbh. A lot of the early admin officials I think fit this mold. They quickly found out they couldn’t control him effectively and tossed them out on their asses, like McMaster, Mattis, etc. Now, it seems it’s too late for Pompeo to at least bail. He should’ve paid better attention to the above examples

    @geg6:

    In that case, good on them

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  76. 76
    Kelly says:

    @C Stars: Starting a successful new party in the USA is very rare and very difficult. A faction taking over an existing party is easier and happens from time to time. The Never Trump Republicans are aware of this history.

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  77. 77
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Cacti: This seems like a good reason to impeach the judge. “Basic incompetence and ignorance of the law”, maybe.

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  78. 78
    jl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Taylor certainly knew when confront Volker and Sondland via text with his understanding of the scam, to leave a clear record of consciousness of guilt on the part of Sundland. Maybe that is why Sondland feels he needs to very clearly and obviously make the jump now.

    Edit: I don’t have time or the stomach to read Yovanovitch’s public statement right now, but it has been described in the news as scathing and very, how should I say… informative.

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  79. 79
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He obviously has a giant ego, thinks he’s smarter than Trump (true) and therefore thought he’d be able to control Trump (false)

    see also Kelly, Tillerson, Mattis, Graham, Mnuchin, Cohn, McConnell, Ryan…

    Still true to some extent about McConnell, who only cares about his own and stacking the judiciary. As someone said on TV or twitter, Graham is 18 holes away from forgetting he ever heard of the Kurds. Mattis is apparently going on MTP Sunday, to promote his book and say something that will lead to gushing from the usual suspects about how, if you read between the lines, this was a devastating attack on trump! I do wonder if Tillerson is starting to leak.

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  80. 80

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: She will certainly get death threats. Any prominent Trump critic does.

    I’m seeing reports that Turkey bombed US Special Forces.

    ReplyReply
  81. 81
    BC in Illinois says:

    The story continues (if Newsweek is correct) . . .

    TURKEY BOMBS US SPECIAL FORCES IN SYRIA ATTACK, APPARENTLY BY MISTAKE

    Newsweek has learned through both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official that Special Forces operating in the Mashtenour hill in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani fell under artillery fire from Turkish forces conducting their so-called “Operation Peace Spring” against Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. but considered terrorist organizations by Turkey.

    The senior Pentagon official said that Turkish forces should be aware of U.S. positions “down to the grid.” The official could not specify the exact number of personnel present, but indicated they were “small numbers below company level,” so somewhere between 15 and 100 troops.

    I can’t even be shocked.
    I just want it to stop.

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  82. 82
    AliceBlue says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: “She’s going to go through some things” jumped right out at me the first time I read the call memorandum. But you’re right, it seems to have fallen through the cracks.

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  83. 83
  84. 84
    jl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: So far Mattis has wimped out of responding to simple straightforward answers to simple straightforward questions about the Trumpster criminality. His excuse has been he is a military person and will talk about things he knows about, which are military. Not for instance, whether Trump did a bad thing when he asked for foreign assistance for reelection. Mattis seems to think he implicitly took some kind of ‘oath’ to Trump when he took his cabinet job, when, IIRC, he explicitly took an oath to the Constitution.

    Or, maybe he’s afraid being to loud and plain in what he says will cause trouble for all the defense contractor gigs he’s signed up for. Even the ‘good guys’, ‘adults in the room’, ‘sound men’ in the Trump administration aren’t very good, or adult, or sound. But they had some minimum standards that they would not violate, and I guess we should be thankful for that.

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  85. 85
    patrick II says:

    @Zelma:

    And the attack on professionals in government is so hard to reverse. Pompeo has been promoting only registered Republicans, so what happens when a Democrat takes office (hope to God) in 2021? Does she demote those people, causing loss of morale? Demote some of them? Certainly not fire them, but by then they have seen their views empowered and it will be difficult to leave in place. Can we hire back some of the people of good conscience who have left? I hope so.
    What a shitstorm.

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  86. 86
    cain says:

    @BC in Illinois:
    Also Turkey told the U.S. that if they want Turkey to stop they need to try to stop them. Turkey is clearly feeling belligerent. I’m wondering how Trump is going to take that. Will he be weak? That will be interesting to see how his supporters feel about that.

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  87. 87
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Judge Rao’s dissent from the Fed Circuit’s opinion today on Fat Bastard’s taxes is utterly chilling

    It sounds weirdly as if Judge Neomi Rao has not actually read the U.S. Constitution. That’s some serious wingnut logic, at odds with “5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”
    (bold mine.)
    ETA Cacti @ 46 got there first.

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  88. 88
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @jl:

    His excuse has been he is a military person and will talk about things he knows about, which are military.

    Years ago, Tom Ricks (at the time, worked for Foreign Policy magazine) wrote a book about how shitty our generals have become. He pointed out that our generals basically didn’t do the job they’d been hired to do — which was to achieve the *goals* of our nation, by putting together a *strategy* to achieve those goals. That instead, all they were good for was something one-step-up from tactics. And that such actions were often counterproductive to our national goals.

    It seems nothing has changed: Mattis ought to know better than to think that he can cordon-off “military” from “diplomatic” or “foreign aid”. Hell, he DOES know better — he testified about that very thing to Congress, noting that if Congress didn’t fund the State Department, they’d have fund more bullets for the DoD. Fuckin’ coward.

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  89. 89
    cain says:

    @patrick II:
    Replace the shitty Republican with a careerist Republican. If they are being promoted simply for being Republicans that can be rescinded in some way since it is not a merit promotion. Bad people being promoted will come out due to shitty work. It will take time though, you are right.

    The Tang Dynasty is going to be go underground and try to fuck things up from the inside. It’s absolutely tantamount that we put people in jail. Solid jail for decades.

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  90. 90
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @cain: s/tantamount/paramount/

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  91. 91
    BC in Illinois says:

    @BC in Illinois:
    @cain:

    Turkey told the U.S. that if they want Turkey to stop they need to try to stop them.

    Oh, really !?!?!

    I can beat that!

    “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),”

    Take that!

    I just want it to stop.

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  92. 92
    joel hanes says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Ben Domenech

    I believe the customary net epithet is “box-turtle Ben” (for reasons I’ve forgotten).
    Ben Shapiro is “virgin Ben”.

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  93. 93
    jl says:

    @BC in Illinois: I’m not surprised. Turkey was going to go in big into Syria. They want to use a blunderbuss to solve the very overhyped, problem of Kurdish terrorists using the Syrian Kurdish forces as cover. That is such weak sauce for what they are doing, I have to wonder if it is just a pretext for something else.

    Only completely ignorant, complete idiots would have ever thought otherwise, and not see giving Erodgan what he wanted in Syria was going to lead to a lose-lose situation that was impossible to back out of. Turkey is not even bothering going through the motions of even appearing to give a shit about its promises to Trump, or any stated US preferences for Turkey;s actions, and very foreseeable that their ‘defensive incursion’ (ha ha ha) would produce some very nasty incidents.

    Erdogan started out being very careful and clever in how he managed Turkey and consolidated power. Now he is getting cocky, arrogant, and stupid. Not as nearly as stupid as Trump though, which is why he could roll Trump so thoroughly.

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  94. 94
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @patrick II: A little over two years ago my son embarked on a Master’s at a school which places a lot of its graduates in the Foreign Service. Trump had been in office the better part of a year, and it was clear even then how he was intent on hollowing out the Foreign Service. In an introductory talk to the students, the then-Dean recommended they still consider that as a good career path, saying that Trump is not forever, and that with departures of a lot of senior career people out of disgust, there will be more advancement opportunities in future than there might have been otherwise.

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  95. 95
    jl says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Mattis is no Smedley Butler. So a clear decline in moral fiber, and inability or unwillingness to learn bitter lessons of serving a corrupt master, and then speak them to power.

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  96. 96
    jl says:

    War Is a Racket, by Smedley Butler
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket

    That book will be read widely long after Mattis’ book is consigned to very obscure archives for use by specialist historians.

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  97. 97
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    It sounds weirdly as if Judge Neomi Rao has not actually read the U.S. Constitution. That’s some serious wingnut logic, at odds with “5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

    What’s truly scary is if enough of these judges were to get installed and they made batshit rulings like this that not only fly in the face of precedence but black-letter law, such as the Constitution

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  98. 98
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @jl:
    Speaking of which, assuming we get through this, I can’t wait to watch the movies based on the Trump admin 15-20 yrs from now

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  99. 99
    patrick II says:

    @jl:

    Trump may have told the press, but when Rubio asserts that Trump didn’t make a serious request to investigate the Bidens, Rubio means he didn’t write it on twitter, Trump’s official mechanism for international communications.

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  100. 100
    LesGS says:

    @joel hanes: Because he said that if same sex couples are allowed to marry, that would lead to folks being allowed to marry box turtles. Slippery slope, ya know.

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  101. 101
    patrick II says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    There’s a happy thought. The Democrat will have many spaces to fill. But the problem I see is that the people who left had a conscience, and no matter how good your screening process it will probably result in a lower percentage of high conscience people than has left.
    Sorry, I’m getting to be a glass half empty kind of guy.

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  102. 102
    Mr. Mack says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Loved it, except for the last chapter. Kinda went off the rails a bit.

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  103. 103
    Kent says:

    If I was a politician with a microphone, I’d be in front of the TV cameras shouting 24/7 about how Trump is a coward for letting American soldiers get attacked without cosequence and about how we as a country didn’t used to “cut and run” in the face of terrorism. Shit like that. 24/7.

    Guaran-fucking-tee that’s what the GOP would be doing in mass if the shoes were on the other feet.

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  104. 104
    patrick II says:

    @patrick II: @Gravenstone:
    That thought is premised on the possibility that none of the Republicans privy to the testimony will report back to the White House. I am not as sure.
    I would rather have public testimony because an important part of this process is being the first one to frame the argument to the public. But having said that, Schiff is playing a game where we can’t see all of the pieces.

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  105. 105
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: I would avoid using a term like black letter law about a document like the Constitution. Black letter law generally means something that is clear, straightforward, and with no room for interpretation. The US Constitution is not such a document. Virtually every sentence, phrase, word, and punctuation mark has been subject litigation and scholarly interpretation and will be again.

    FWIW I would argue that there is no such thing as black letter law because everything can be argued and interpreted differently. If someone counters that there are some things against which there is no non-frivolous argument. I will say that no one has come up with one yet.

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  106. 106
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I’ll keep that in mind. I totally understand what you’re saying but this:

    The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

    -seems pretty clear. Rao invented bullshit like the full House having to vote on an impeachment inquiry as the only means by which Congress can investigate the executive branch out of whole cloth. Same with the judiciary being able to decide what is and isn’t an “impeachable offense”.

    That’s what I meant, but I’ll try to refrain from using that phrase in the future, since the law is seldom cut and dried

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  107. 107
    Kent says:

    @patrick II:

    That thought is premised on the possibility that none of the Republicans privy to the testimony will report back to the White House. I am not as sure. I would rather have public testimony because an important part of this process is being the first one to frame the argument to the public.

    That’s not nearly as easy as you suggest. NINE hours of testimony is a LOT of testimony and there is probably zero chance that the GOP minority is getting real time transcripts to pass back to the White House. So the’d have to be relying on memory and that is a lot of stuff to memorize. These guys aren’t the sharpest tacks and they are used to having staff worry about this sort of minutia. I doubt they even know what the tripwires are to look for in someone’s testimony. Just because some GOP Congressman does a phone summary of what was said to a White House attorney doesn’t mean they actually caught anything of significance.

    That is a LOT different from having a live TV hearing where you can have 6 sharp GOP attorneys going over every word with a fine tooth comb looking for tripwires and such and which lies to coordinate.

    People like Sunderland, who now has to testify after 2 full days of testimony from other ambasadors is going to have to be VERY fucking careful about what he says and risks very serious perjury charges if he lies to Congress under oath and gets caught out on it by prior testimony that he wasn’t privy to. His nuts are in a much bigger vice than if all the testimony to date had been on live TV.

    I think the House is doing EXACTLY the right thing here. And I expect there are a lot of rats in the White House who are sweating bricks right now, to mix a metaphor.

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  108. 108
    johnnybuck says:

    Shepard Smith apparently out at FOX.

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  109. 109
    surfk9 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Judge Rao clearly does not see the flip side to the argument, Judicial review is not in the Constitution and Congress could tell the courts to go pound sand.

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  110. 110
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: How is this different than the Soviet Union? Or Nazi Germany, come to that? (Yeah, I went there, but it’s cool. Even Godwin says that’s cool these days.)

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  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: I have not read Judge Rao’s dissent, but I would be very surprised if it was not full of citations to statutes, cases, and scholarly articles. It’s what appellate judges do. I also would not be surprised, if it was, nevertheless, a steaming pile of bullshit.

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  112. 112
    burnspbesq says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m going to recommend to you and everyone else here Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk.

    Seconded. Great read.

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  113. 113
    Tenar Arha says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Yeah. The judges really scare me.

    Based on what I’ve been reading the District Coursts is where most “is it legal?” decisions rest, bc so few are appealed, & even fewer get to the Supreme Court. While McConnell disabled all the brakes on open Appeals Court decisions, & forced thru a bunch of District Court judges in GOP trifecta states. It’s gonna hurt us all for years.

    In the meantime, what’s become clear to me is that even if it’s a really bad opinion, or a really old opinion, or something out of practically nothing, Courts all the way up to the SC may use even illogical &/ nonsensical opinions as precedents to hollow out laws passed by Congress or the States. Like in 2000, or with Section 5, or Citizens United…& that’s why I’m scared.

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  114. 114
    burnspbesq says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    It’s hard to overstate what a complete piece of shit Rao’s opinion is.

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  115. 115
    Cacti says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Rao’s dissent is also wholly inconsistent with existing case law.

    SCOTUS held in Nixon v. United States (1993) that the courts may not review the impeachment and trial of a federal officer, because the Constitution explicitly vested sole power in the House and Senate respectively.

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  116. 116
    Bill Arnold says:

    I have not read Judge Rao’s dissent, but I would be very surprised if it was not full of citations to statutes, cases, and scholarly articles. It’s what appellate judges do. I also would not be surprised, if it was, nevertheless, a steaming pile of bullshit.

    Nor I TBH, and IANAL, but I skimmed some of it related to “sole Power of Impeachment” and it seemed pretty wingnutty with some originalism BS mixed in. She does quote the constitution about “sole Power of Impeachment” in passing.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pwrz0zuR4c_TWwCRWoMV1Ygn9mW3UqSn/view
    134 pages, remarkably few footnotes, most citations in-line.

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  117. 117
    Cacti says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    To reach her opinion, all Rao had to do is ignore mandatory authority from SCOTUS that says the Judiciary has no authority over the impeachment power.

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  118. 118
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cacti:

    To reach her opinion, all Rao had to do is ignore mandatory authority from SCOTUS that says the Judiciary has no authority over the impeachment power.

    Well yeah, but she used 134 pages to do it.

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  119. 119
    hitchhiker says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Thing is, the actuarial tables give me about 18 years. So I need those books and movies to be done as soon as possible. It sometimes annoys me that I might miss the denouement of this dumpster fire era.

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  120. 120
    Fair Economist says:

    @Chris T.: Nicely said.

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  121. 121
    Bill Arnold says:

    Meanwhile at LGM, some initial rants:
    You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with do you? (Paul Campos, October 11, 2019)

    The only thing that separates these partisans in robes from the true believers in that proverbial diner is a slightly fancier vocabulary and an ability to cloak their racism in screeds about the VRA. At the bottom, the likes of Rao and Kavanaugh and all the rest hate us, hate us, and will twist any opinion or invent any doctrine to make us suffer.
    Trump corrupts everything he touches, but that is only because everyone and everything in those circles is so eager to be corrupted.

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  122. 122
    J R in WV says:

    @Ocotillo:

    Megan McCain has a grudge against Schiff and her latest complaint is the Dems are hiding something, why aren’t they doing this on televised hearings. I have not heard anyone else gripe about that, why are these done in private?

    Because things might arise that are confidential, or even top secret, in the answers to the questions. In public hearings, many times questions are asked that must remain unanswered until a private session later on. Also because this is a deposition, not a public hearing.

    Also, too, Megan McCain is an ignorant butthead, to paraphrase Dan Akroyd speaking to Jane Curtin a long time ago.

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  123. 123
    J R in WV says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Fascists believe in the rule of law, more like gangsters.

    Nope. Fascists rewrite the law to say what they want it to say. Trump can’t get there, and so is just pretending it says what he needs it to say, and the other fascist judges are going along.

    The paragraph of the constitution that defines the impeachment powers is only a couple of sentences, and judges are not in there at all. Any judge that imagines that the judiciary has anything to say about impeachment other than to support the House’s ability to gather evidence and hear testimony is part of the illegal plot being investigated in the impeachment inquiry.

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