Impeachment Inquiry Update

Intriguing tidbits about State Department Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor’s testimony, courtesy of Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio’s Twitter feed:

Bill Taylor gave a very lengthy opening statement behind closed doors, per multiple lawmakers.

New: Per source in the room, Bill Taylor’s opening statement was 15 pages long and prompted “a lot of sighs and gasps.”

MORE >> Another source says the sighs & gasps were in reaction to Taylor describing “how pervasive the efforts were to tie an investigation of Burisma and 2016 election ‘interference’ to a White House meeting and aid being released.”

Sounds like Republicans are going to have to go with “yes, subverting U.S. foreign policy for personal political advantage is bad, but it’s not impeachable.”








“Impeach the Motherfucker” (signed, “The Motherfucker”)

Damn, is Nancy Pelosi a 13-dimensional chess playing, time-traveling, ninja Jedi master or what? Talk about “self-impeaching”!

He ran out of room, but what Scammy McFraudface was trying to say is that you can’t impeach a president when the economy is good. My recollection of the Clinton impeachment is hazy because I had a new baby at home back then, but I’m pretty sure the economy was roaring along, and the Republicans impeached ol’ Bill for a consensual blow job anyway.

In other news, Ronna ROMNEY McDaniel viewed the Hunter Biden interview and is troubled by the specter of nepotism:

The gargantuan gonads on these people! They’re going to try to just brazen it out. That’s all they’ve got:

What will Sondland tell the committee under oath, I wonder? NBC News says he’ll tell them U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was “great” and that he was unaware of any issues that led to her ouster. And this:

Sondland will also testify that after he attended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May, he met with Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former U.S. special envoy Kurt Volker in the Oval Office. In that meeting, Sondland will say, Trump told them that any in-person meeting between Trump and Zelenskiy would have to be approved by Rudy Giuliani.

Sondland will testify that it was only later that he became aware that a public commitment by Ukraine’s new government to address corruption – including Burisma Holdings – was a prerequisite for a Trump-Zelenskiy meeting. Sondland will also say that at the time that he learned that, he did not know that Burisma was linked to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

If that’s accurate, it sounds like maybe Sondland is ready to cut his losses? Anyhoo, we’ll find out on Thursday.

Open thread.








Ask Not Toward Whom the Bus Rolls…

Over the past couple of days, I’ve thought maybe Trump would toss Rudy Giuliani under the bus. Trump grunted out mouth-noises in response to questions about Giuliani that were similar to what he said about Michael Cohen before that worthy esquire was introduced to the undercarriage. But nope — here’s a tweet from Trump circa this morning:

First, let’s pause a moment here to note the hilarity of TRUMP calling RUDY “rough around the edges.” I mean, a normal person could get away with saying that, but from Trump it’s like one Kardashian calling another a “shameless self-promoter.”

But the more substantive issue here is that Trump can’t really embussen Rudy now, even if alarmed sycophants in the White House are encouraging it, and no matter how many shady South Florida clowns, Eastern European mob bosses and oligarchs come tumbling out of Rudy’s closet.

Trump and Rudy are both publicly committed to a wacky conspiracy theory that exonerates Putin and legitimizes Trump’s 2016 win. So, if Rudy ever does meet mass transit steel, it’ll be double-decker style, accompanied by Trump himself, and the corrupt and absurd Republican Party’s fingerprints will be on both their backs.

That’s my new theory, anyway. Open thread!








First they curse, then they press me ’til I hurt

Two of Rudy 911’s “business associates” have been arrested for campaign finance violations:

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have been under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan and are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia later on Thursday.

According to the indictment, Parnas, Fruman and other defendants “conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office so that the defendants could by potential influence with the candidates, campaigns, and the candidates’ governments.”

I’m sure they’ll keep their mouths shut and that will be the end of this.








The White House Letter To Congress

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi and the chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees, essentially throwing a tantrum.

“No, no, no! Won’t testify, you are picking on the President!”

Reports are that faces in the White House are turning blue.

IANAL, but it’s a pretty bad letter. I will wait for Lawfare and Just Security to publish their pieces on it, which I suspect will be multiple. Just dealing with the first three paragraphs could expand to multiple pages.

The argument is that the House is doing everything wrong and is an illegitimate part of government.

All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.

Emphasis in the document.

A few early legal opinions.

The floor is now open to the Balloon Juice jackals, and also open thread.