I was distracted last night with the debate and cooking dinner and arguing with my husband about the thermostat and having a glass or five of red wine because I was COLD, so I first started trying to make sense of the Parnas document dump this morning. I confess I am still agog. This take by Charlie Pierce makes sense to me:
As it turns out, Marie Yovanovich was even braver than she looked in front of the House Intelligence Committee. And, as it turns out, Speaker Nancy Pelosi really knows what she’s doing. At the end of the day on Tuesday, just as the Democratic presidential candidates were taking the stage in Des Moines and the president* was taking the stage in Milwaukee, the House Democrats unleashed the hounds. They dumped a whole truckload of ugly from the files of Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani’s great and good “associate” and, apparently, one of the great sleazebags of the western world.
Also released were a bunch of texts from a Trumper in Connecticut named Robert Hyde. He was in touch with Parnas, and there were text messages between the two in which Hyde seemed to indicate that, at the very least, Yovanovich was being monitored—which, I will grant you, sounds a bit grandiose coming from a landscaper from Connecticut. Nevertheless, this stuff is positively ominous.
Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ! The ambassador’s account of being told to hop on the next plane for “security reasons” always seemed like a strange and unexplained facet of the hatchet job on Yovanovich’s reputation. This certainly puts an even more chilling spin on Trump’s “she’s gonna go through some things” comments on the “perfect call.”
Here’s another bizarre fact in this thoroughly crazypants scenario: the Connecticut landscaper/hit-man purveyor was Baker Acted (involuntarily taken into custody by authorities under Florida law for a psych eval) at Trump’s Florida golf club last year. David Corn at MoJo:
According to an “incident/investigation” report filed by the Doral, Florida, police department, on May 16, 2019, an officer was dispatched to the Trump National Doral Miami to deal with a “male in distress fearing for his life.” That man was Hyde. The report noted that Hyde explained to the police officer that “he was in fear for his life, was set up and that a hit man was out to get him. Mr. Hyde spoke about e-mails he sent that may have placed his life in jeopardy. Mr. Hyde explained several times that he was paranoid that someone was out to get him.”
The report stated that Hyde cited “a variety of different names, contacts and provided information in reference to why he felt his life was in danger.” After being taken into custody by the police, according to the report, “Mr. Hyde continued to act paranoid telling us not to stop next to certain vehicles…[H]e explained that he was scared due to several painting workers and landscape workers trying to do harm to him because they weren’t working. Additionally Mr. Hyde explained that his computer was being hacked by Secret Service. And then went on to further explain that the secret service [sic] was arrival [sic] on the premises watching him.”
What in the wide world of fuck? It’s tempting, if only for the sake of one’s own sanity, to surmise Hyde is just a random nutbag who wasn’t really commissioned by the president’s personal attorney to at least surveil — if not actually harm — a U.S. ambassador abroad. But, as in the case of Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen, including Parnas, there are tons of photos of Hyde with Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka, Giuliani, etc. Hyde has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to Trump and other Republicans. It seems to be a pattern, no?
Anyhoo, even aside from the increasingly alarming and accumulating evidence that Trump is running the federal government for his personal and political benefit via mafia-style shakedowns and intimidation tactics, the Parnas document dump blows multiple absurd impeachment defenses right out of the water. Here’s an excerpt of Neal Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer summarizing that aspect in The Post:
Americans who have been wondering why President Trump has taken the extraordinary step of trying to block every document from being released to Congress in his impeachment inquiry need wonder no longer. The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate. These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging: that he was really fighting corruption when he pressured Ukraine on matters related to the Biden family; that Hunter Biden should be called as a witness at the Senate impeachment trial; and that there’s no need for a real, honest-to-goodness trial in the Senate.
They’re right, although the evidence the House Democrats cobbled together in the face of unprecedented obstruction suggested that weeks ago, and Trump’s enablers have been unmoved. Still, WTF, fellow citizens? The wily Pelosi — who will go down in history as one of the most effective and consequential Speakers of the House ever — will transmit the articles to the Senate today.
As MisterMix noted, Pelosi has already boxed McConnell in (boxed turtle?) on summary dismissal and witnesses — either he allows a trial with witnesses, or he presides over such a flagrant cover-up that it may cost him his gavel, which is certainly more precious to him than that son of a bitch Trump.
I’m speculating here, and maybe I’m totally wrong, but won’t people want to get to the bottom of this shit, even at least some Republican voters in red states? Perhaps not, but maybe?
In any case, can this latest Parnas business be raised in the trial? It’s material to Trump’s claims, as Katyal and Geltzer argue, so I don’t see why not. Also, I don’t know which shoes will drop off the centipede next, but is it possible the House Democrats have even more stuff under wraps? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all, and it’s way too early for wine.