Trump Administration, Week 148, Friday, 15 November – Thursday, 21 November 2019 (Days, 1,030-1,036)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 15 November 2019, Day 1,030:

 

Marie Yovanovitch, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, ‘Devastated’ as Trump Vilified Her, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 15 November 2019: “The former United States ambassador to Ukraine told the House impeachment inquiry on Friday that she felt threatened by President Trump and ‘shocked, appalled, devastated’ that he vilified her in a call with another foreign leader, as Mr. Trump attacked her in real time on Twitter, drawing a stern warning about witness intimidation from Democrats. The extraordinary back-and-forth unfolded on the second day of public impeachment hearings as Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was ousted as the envoy to Ukraine on Mr. Trump’s orders, detailed an unsettling campaign by the president’s allies to undermine her as she pushed to promote democracy and the rule of law. In deeply personal terms, Ms. Yovanovitch described to the House Intelligence Committee how Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, worked hand in hand with a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor to circumvent official channels, smear her and push her out of her job.” See also, Key Takeaways From Marie Yovanovitch’s Hearing in the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Marie L. Yovanovitch recounted in powerful and personal terms on Friday the devastation and fear she felt as she was targeted first by President Trump’s allies and later by the president himself, saying she felt threatened. Removed from her post as ambassador to Ukraine, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was bereft when she came under fire from the president’s personal attorney and eldest son last spring, but was even more stunned in September when she learned that Mr. Trump himself had disparaged her in his now-famous July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president. ‘It was a terrible moment,’ she told the House Intelligence Committee on the second day of public impeachment hearings. ‘A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. I think, you know, even now, words kind of fail me.’ In the July call, according to a rough transcript released by the White House, Mr. Trump called Ms. Yovanovitch ‘bad news’ and said that ‘she’s going to go through some things.’ Asked her reaction when she read that, Ms. Yovanovitch said: ‘Shocked. Appalled. Devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state — and it was me. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.’ Asked what the words ‘going to go through some things’ sounded like to her, she said, ‘It sounded like a threat.'” See also, Read Marie Yovanovitch’s Prepared Opening Statement From the Impeachment Hearing, The New York Times, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Marie Yovanovitch’s Account of Acid Attack on a Young Anticorruption Activist Spotlights Ukraine’s Anticorruption Wars, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Friday, 15 November 2019: “On the April night she answered a 1 a.m. phone call instructing her to take the next plane back to Washington, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ousted United States ambassador to Ukraine, was at her home in Kiev — after having just finished hosting an event to honor a young anticorruption activist who had been killed in horrific fashion. The activist, Kateryna Handziuk, was outside her home in the Ukrainian city of Kherson in July 2018 when someone splashed her with a quart of sulfuric acid, severely burning more than 30 percent of her body. After 11 surgeries over three months, Ms. Handziuk succumbed to her excruciating wounds. She was 33. In public impeachment hearings, the former ambassador testified Friday about the chronology of her abrupt recall from Ukraine after a campaign of unsubstantiated allegations against her that reached President Trump. Speaking before a House committee, she also spotlighted Ms. Handziuk’s story, and underscored why she had been honoring her legacy that April night in an official award ceremony attended by Ms. Handziuk’s father. ‘She very tragically died because she was attacked by acid, and several months later died a very, very painful death,’ Ms. Yovanovitch testified. ‘We thought it was important that justice be done for Katya and others who fight corruption in Ukraine because it’s not kind of a tabletop exercise there. Their lives are in the balance.'” See also, Who Is Marie Yovanovitch? Former Ambassador to Ukraine Testifies in Impeachment Hearing. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Impeachment Briefing: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, With a Tweet, Trump Upends Republican Strategy for Dealing with Yovanovitch, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Trump Attack on Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch During Her Testimony Raised Charges of Witness Intimidation, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 15 November 2019: “President Trump on Friday attacked Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former United States ambassador to Ukraine he summarily removed this year, even as she testified in the impeachment inquiry about how she felt threatened by Mr. Trump. Did his behavior amount to witness tampering? If the question is what could be charged in court, the answer is probably not. But impeachment is not limited to ordinary crimes. As House Democrats weigh bringing articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump — including one potentially based on his obstruction of congressional investigations — the president’s Twitter onslaught may well have handed them more fodder. As Ms. Yovanovitch was telling the House Intelligence Committee about the devastation and fear she felt this year when she was targeted first by Mr. Trump’s allies and later by the president himself during a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Mr. Trump fired off a tweet denigrating her anew. ‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?’ Mr. Trump wrote, assailing her on Twitter to his 66 million followers.” See also, Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified at the impeachment hearing of Trump, and State Department career diplomat David Holmes says Trump asked about ‘investigation’ into Bidens by Ukraine, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Democrats are seeking to build a case that Trump sought to withhold military assistance and an Oval Office meeting until Zelensky announced investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as an unfounded theory that Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 presidential election to hurt Trump.” See also, ‘Stand up’: Marie Yovanovitch uses moment in the spotlight to call on U.S. leaders to defend diplomatic corps, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch began her testimony in the House impeachment hearing Friday with praise for Ukrainians who took a stand against corruption in their country in a 2014 movement called the Revolution of Dignity. The reference doubled as a call to action that she directed at U.S. leaders — a pointed reminder of their obligation to defend the dignity of civilian career diplomats around the world. Yovanovitch — who was abruptly yanked from her post in Kyiv after being targeted in a smear campaign that reached President Trump — warned that the State Department was ‘being hollowed out’ and in ‘crisis.’ She called on its leadership ‘to stand up for the institution and the individuals who make that institution the most effective diplomatic force in the world.’ The testimony of the former ambassador put a compelling human face on a complex international scandal that has involved a cast of unfamiliar Ukrainian characters, descriptions of shadowy back-channels and constitutional debates… [O]ver and over again, Yovanovitch sought to turn the focus away from her personally and back on the larger implications of her ouster. ‘Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,’ she said. ‘After these events, what foreign official, corrupt or not, could be blamed for wondering whether the ambassador represents the president’s views? And what U.S. ambassador could be blamed for harboring the fear that they cannot count on our government to support them?'” See also, 4 takeaways from Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Who is Marie Yovanovitch, and why does her public testimony matter? The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Defiant Yovanovitch says she was ‘kneecapped’ amid Trump ‘smear campaign,’ Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 15 November 2019: “The ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said Friday she was the target of a ‘smear campaign’ by President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — an effort she said undermined U.S. national security interests and emboldened Russia. Marie Yovanovitch, delivering emotional public testimony before House impeachment investigators, told lawmakers she was ‘kneecapped’ by Americans who allied themselves with corrupt Ukrainian interests, and was abandoned by State Department leaders who refused to publicly defend her.” See also, Witness intimidation in real-time’: Democrats see more evidence of Trump obstruction, Politico, Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona, and John Bresnahan, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Testifies in Impeachment Probe–Live Coverage, The Wall Street Journal, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Impeachment inquiry hearing with Marie Yovanovitch, former US Ambassador to Ukraine, CNN Politics, Veronica Rocha and Meg Wagner, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Read: Adam Schiff’s opening remarks at second public impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Read: Devin Nunes’ opening remarks at second public impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Friday, 15 November 2019.

Rough Transcript of Trump’s First Phone Call With Ukrainian Leader Is Released. The call does not mention ‘corruption,’ which appeared in an earlier description of the conversation. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 15 November 2019: “President Trump on Friday released a memorandum of an April telephone conversation he had with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that differed from a summary of the call released by the White House months ago. The memorandum of the call, which took place after Mr. Zelensky won a landslide presidential election, shows the two men praising each other’s political acumen and predicting an era of warm relations between the United States and Ukraine….  But a White House readout of the call in April offers a different account. In that summary, provided to reporters shortly after the call took place, the administration said that Mr. Trump promised to work with Mr. Zelensky ‘to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.'” See also, Read Trump’s First Call in April With the New Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The New York Times, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Rough transcript of call shows Ukraine leader Zelensky wanted Trump to attend his inauguration, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Ukraine’s incoming president, Volodymyr Zelensky, repeatedly asked President Trump to attend his inauguration during their first phone call in April, according to a White House rough transcript of the call released Friday…. The rough transcript of the call does not match the White House readout of the call from April 21. A White House readout is the administration’s post-call description of the conversation. The White House readout said the call underscored ‘the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.’ The readout also said Trump spoke with Zelensky about ‘reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.'” See also, White House releases rough transcript of Trump’s first Ukraine call, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, and Kylie Atwood, Friday, 15 November 2019.

David Holmes, an Official From the American Embassy in Ukraine, Confirms Trump Asked About Whether Ukraine Was Going to Move Forward With an Investigation He Wanted Into One of His Leading Political Rivals, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 15 November 2019: “An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he had overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president asked whether Ukraine was going to move forward with an investigation he wanted. The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, when he overheard Mr. Trump on a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct an investigation into one of his leading political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who had just come from a meeting with top Ukrainian officials and the country’s president, replied in the affirmative. ‘So, he’s going to do the investigation?’ Mr. Trump asked, according to a copy of Mr. Holmes’s opening statement posted by CNN and confirmed by The New York Times.” See also, David Holmes, a US official in Kiev, says he overheard Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union, tell Trump that Ukraine would investigate Biden, CNN Politics, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 15 November 2019: “David Holmes told lawmakers in a closed-door impeachment inquiry Friday that US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had told Trump the Ukrainian President would do ‘anything you ask him to’ and that Sondland had confirmed the Ukrainians were going to ‘do the investigation,’ one day after Trump had asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a copy of Holmes’ opening statement obtained by CNN.” See also, Read: State Department aide David Holmes’ opening statement, CNN Politics, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, The Impeachment Inquiry Reveals the Absurdity of Claims That Trump Wanted to Clean up the Corruption in Ukraine, The New York Times, Editorial Board, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Republican defenders of Donald Trump have argued that he withheld congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine and a promised White House meeting because he wanted assurances that Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was serious about fighting corruption. Sworn testimony in the House impeachment inquiry on Friday obliterated that defense, revealing that Mr. Trump was interested in assurances of a very different kind. David Holmes, an official in the American Embassy in Kiev, testified to lawmakers privately that he had overheard a telephone conversation in which the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, assured the American president that his Ukrainian counterpart ‘loves your ass’ and will do ‘anything you ask him to,’ including to open investigations into the family of Mr. Trump’s leading Democratic rival, Joe Biden.” See also, Impeachment witness David Holmes provides firsthand account of hearing Trump demand ‘investigation’ of the Bidens by Ukraine, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, John Hudson, and Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 15 November 2019: “President Trump specifically inquired about political investigations he wanted carried out by Ukraine during a July phone call with a top U.S. diplomat who then told colleagues that the president was most interested in a probe into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, a State Department aide said Friday in closed-door testimony that could significantly advance House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. David Holmes, an embassy staffer in Kyiv, testified that he overheard a July 26 phone call in which Trump pressed U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would ‘do the investigation,’ according to three people who have read his opening statement and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe its contents.” See also, A Friday night surprise: David Holmes throws a wrench in Trump’s impeachment defense, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Saturday, 16 November 2019.

Continue reading Week 148, Friday, 15 November – Thursday, 21 November 2019 (Days 1,030-1,036)

Continue reading…

Trump Administration, Week 147, Friday, 8 November – Thursday, 14 November 2019 ( Days 1,023-1,029)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 8 November 2019, Day 1,023:

 

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Latest Updates, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Transcripts of testimony from Fiona Hill and Lt. Col Alexander Vindman are released, Republicans add a Trump ally [Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio] to the Intelligence Committee for public hearings, and Mulvaney ignored a subpoena to be questioned by House investigators.” See also, Hill and Vindman Testimony: Key Excerpts From Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “House impeachment investigators on Friday released two more transcripts of closed-door depositions before the first public hearings in the inquiry begin next week. The transcripts include the testimonies of Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe, and Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Significant portions of what they had to say have already been reported, but the transcripts offer a fuller picture of what they knew about an apparent effort by the president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations of political rivals. New York Times reporters read through the depositions, highlighting key excerpts and offering context and analysis.” See also, Read the Transcript of Alexander Vindman’s Testimony, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who heard President Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president, told impeachment investigators last month that he tried and failed to restore key details from the conversation — that the White House had removed — to a rough transcript of the call.” See also, Read Fiona Hill’s Testimony to Impeachment Investigators, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, told House investigators that John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, objected strongly to the effort by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine for political help. Ms. Hill, who stepped down last summer, also said that Mr. Bolton called Mr. Giuliani a ‘hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up.'” See also, Impeachment Briefing: Anatomy of a Scene From the Hill Testimony, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Impeachment investigators released interview transcripts on Friday for two major witnesses: Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe. Tucked into Ms. Hill’s testimony is a cinematic scene at the White House. She describes how she and Mr. Bolton tried to foil attempts by Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, to pressure Ukraine into an investigation, racing through the West Wing to stop him from promising a presidential meeting. (The scene can be found on pages 66 to 71.)” See also, 5 Impeachment Developments From This Week, The New York Times, Kaly Soto, published on Saturday, 9 November 2019. See also, Lt. Col Alexander S. Vindman, Ukraine expert who listened to Trump’s call, says ‘there was no doubt’ the president was seeking investigations of political rivals, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Ukraine expert who listened to President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said ‘there was no doubt’ that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, according to a transcript of his deposition. The transcript was one of two made public Friday by House impeachment investigators, who also released one documenting the closed-door deposition of another National Security Council official, Fiona Hill, who also expressed concerns about efforts to pressure Ukraine. Both Vindman and Hill are in discussions to testify publicly after open hearings begin next week, according to people familiar with the plan.” See also, ‘There was no ambiguity’: What Alexander Vindman told House impeachment investigators, Politico, Natasha Bertrand and Andrew Desiderio, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Impeachment investigators on Friday released the much-anticipated deposition transcript of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer and Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council staff. Vindman, a participant in the now-famous July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, told lawmakers in his Oct. 28 testimony that he was troubled by what he saw as political considerations impinging on U.S. national security — and that he was told by a top White House lawyer to keep quiet about the call.” See also, National Security Council Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman and former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill testify quid pro quo effort was coordinated with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Two White House officials told lawmakers the ‘blatant’ push for politically motivated investigations from President Donald Trump left ‘no ambiguity’ what the Ukrainians needed to do to secure a highly sought meeting — and the effort was coordinated by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, according to deposition transcripts released Friday.” See also, 4 big takeaways from Fiona Hill’s and Alexander Vindman’s transcripts, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 8 November 2019. See also, ‘Hateful calls and conspiracy theories”: What Fiona Hill told impeachment investigators, Politico, Nahal Toosi and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 8 November 2019. See also, The five most important things that happened this week in the impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Friday, 8 November 2019.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refuses to comply with House subpoena and doesn’t show up for impeachment deposition, CNN Politics, Caroline Kelly, Jim Acosta, and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refused to comply with House impeachment investigators’ subpoena for a closed-door deposition Friday, citing ‘absolute immunity’ from testifying…. The subpoena came Thursday night following House investigators’ request on Tuesday that Mulvaney testify on Capitol Hill, ratcheting up their investigation to target the President’s top aide. The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees sent Mulvaney a letter requesting he appear for a closed-door deposition as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump and Ukraine. Mulvaney dramatically confirmed last month that Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine partially to pressure the country into investigating Democrats — and proceeded hours later to deny having said so.” See also, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defies subpoena to testify in impeachment inquiry, Politico, Kyle Cheney, published on Thursday, 7 November 2019: “House impeachment investigators late Thursday subpoenaed Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, demanding that he testify about his knowledge of President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine. Mulvaney had already signaled he would probably refuse lawmakers’ demands to testify, and on Friday an official said Mulvaney’s outside counsel said the acting chief of staff wouldn’t comply with the subpoena and asserted ‘absolute immunity.’ The White House has issued a blanket order against cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.”

Lawyer Says Former National Security Adviser John Bolton Knows About ‘Many Relevant Meetings’ on Ukraine, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 8 November 2019: “John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, knows about ‘many relevant meetings and conversations’ connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators have not yet been informed about, his lawyer told lawmakers on Friday. The lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, made that tantalizing point in a letter to the chief House lawyer in response to House committee chairmen who have sought Mr. Bolton’s testimony in their impeachment proceedings, arguing that his client would be willing to talk but only if a court rules that he should ignore White House objections.”

Continue reading Week 147, Friday, 8 November – Thursday, 14 November 2019 (Days 1,023-1,029)

Continue reading…

Trump Administration, Week 146, Friday, 1 November – Thursday, 7 November 2019 (Days 1,016-1,022)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 1 November 2019, Day 1,016:

 

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, White House official who heard Trump’s call with Ukraine leader, testified that he was told to keep quiet by John Eisenberg, the top legal adviser for the National Security council, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig, Greg Miller, and Ellen Nakashima, Friday, 1 November 2019: “Several days after President Trump’s phone call with the leader of Ukraine, a top White House lawyer instructed a senior national security official not to discuss his grave concerns about the leaders’ conversation with anyone outside the White House, according to three people familiar with the aide’s testimony. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that he received this instruction from John Eisenberg, the top legal adviser for the National Security Council, after White House lawyers learned July 29 that a CIA employee had anonymously raised concerns about the Trump phone call, the sources said. The directive from Eisenberg adds to an expanding list of moves by senior White House officials to contain, if not conceal, possible evidence of Trump’s attempt to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to provide information that could be damaging to former vice president Joe Biden.” See also, White House lawyer John Eisenberg told Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman not to discuss Trump’s call with Ukrainian president Zelensky, Politico, Natasha Bertrand, Friday, 1 November 2019: “The senior White House lawyer who placed a record of President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president in a top-secret system also instructed at least one official who heard the call not to tell anyone about it, according to testimony heard by House impeachment investigators this week. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated Army officer who served as the National Security Council’s director for Ukraine, told lawmakers that he went to the lawyer, John Eisenberg, to register his concerns about the call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, according to a person in the room for Vindman’s deposition on Tuesday. Eisenberg recorded Vindman’s complaints in notes on a yellow legal pad, then conferred with his deputy Michael Ellis about how to handle the conversation because it was clearly ‘sensitive,’ Vindman testified. The lawyers then decided to move the record of the call into the NSC’s top-secret codeword system—a server normally used to store highly classified material that only a small group of officials can access. Vindman did not consider the move itself as evidence of a cover-up, according to a person familiar with his testimony. But he said he became disturbed when, a few days later, Eisenberg instructed him not to tell anyone about the call—especially because it was Vindman’s job to coordinate the interagency process with regard to Ukraine policy.”

As Trump moves to bully witnesses and derail impeachment, Democrats see obstruction, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Rachael Bade, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 1 November 2019: “President Trump has sought to intimidate witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, attacking them as ‘Never Trumpers’ and badgering an anonymous whistleblower. He has directed the White House to withhold documents and block testimony requested by Congress. And he has labored to publicly discredit the investigation as a ‘scam’ overseen by ‘a totally compromised kangaroo court.’ To the Democratic leaders directing the impeachment proceedings, Trump’s actions to stymie their investigation into his conduct with Ukraine add up to another likely article of impeachment: obstruction.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggests impeachment inquiry could expand beyond Ukraine, The Hill, Christina Marcos, Friday, 1 November 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday it’s possible that controversies beyond Ukraine could be part of the impeachment case against President Trump. House Democrats have recently sought to narrow their impeachment inquiry to the allegations stemming from an intelligence community whistleblower complaint that said Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to initiate politically charged investigations in return for the release of congressionally approved security aid. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have united nearly all House Democrats around their impeachment probe, though many had previously pushed for impeachment over the president’s efforts to undermine former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russia’s election interference. Pelosi on Friday emphasized that the decision on articles of impeachment will be up to the committees handling the inquiry. She did not rule out the possibility that the obstruction of justice allegations against Trump in Mueller’s report could come up.”

Elizabeth Warren Proposes $20.5 Trillion Health Care Plan, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Abby Goodnough, and Margot Sanger-Katz, Friday, 1 November 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday revealed her plan to pay for an expansive transformation of the nation’s health care system, proposing huge tax increases on businesses and wealthy Americans to help cover $20.5 trillion in new federal spending. The plan represents a significant bet that enough voters will favor an approach that dismantles the current system and replaces it with ‘Medicare for all,’ a government-run health insurance program. And it comes after decades in which Democrats have largely tiptoed around policy proposals that relied on major tax increases and Republicans ran on tax cuts.” See also, Ending the Stranglehold of Health Care Costs on American Families, Medium, Elizabeth Warren, Friday, 1 November 2019. See also, Elizabeth Warren’s Plan Is a Massive Win for the Medicare for All Movement, The Intercept, Ady Barkan, Friday, 1 November 2019: “The movement for single-payer health care has taken some big strides forward in recent years. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., put the issue at the center of the Democratic Party’s debate with his run for president in 2016. In partnership with the nurses union and other champions, he then got 19 senators to co-sponsor his bill in 2017. After Democrats took back the House of Representatives, we demanded and got hearings in multiple powerful committees on the fantastic bill spearheaded by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. (The successor to that of the progressive hero and former Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who died this week.) These were our victories, earned by a movement that has been fighting for many decades. The plan that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren just released is another enormous win for us. It will help persuade our friends and families and neighbors to support Medicare for All, and in the not-too-distant future, to convince Congress too.” Elizabeth Warren Unveils a Medicare for All Financing Plan, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, published on Saturday, 2 November 2019: “On Friday, Warren unveiled a Medicare for All financing plan, which her campaign developed in consultation with a number of experts, including two veterans of the Obama years: Donald Berwick, the former head of the federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid programs, and Betsey Stevenson, a former member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers…. [Warren’s plan] would transform an industry that represents roughly a sixth of the U.S. economy and come with a price tag of at least $20.5 trillion over ten years. Rather than tacking to the center, she is betting that Democratic voters—and members of the American electorate—are so fed up with the current health-care system, even after the Obamacare reforms, that they are ready to rip it up and start again. That is an audacious move.” See also, Elizabeth Warren rolls out a $20.5 trillion health-care plan, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey, Friday, 1 November 2019: “Warren’s plan, a version of the Medicare-for-all idea that has become a mantra for many on the Democratic Party’s left, includes a raft of new taxes on businesses and the wealthy but, she insisted, would not be funded on the backs of middle-class Americans.”

Continue reading Week 146, Friday, 1 November – Thursday, 7 November 2019 (Days 1,016-1,022)

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Trump Administration, Week 145, Friday, 25 October – Thursday, 31 October 2019 (Days 1,009-1,015)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 25 October 2019, Day 1,009:

 

Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Emily Cochrane, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A federal judge handed a victory to House Democrats on Friday when she ruled that they were legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a decision that undercut President Trump’s arguments that the investigation is a sham. The declaration came in a 75-page opinion by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court in Washington. She ruled that the House Judiciary Committee was entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Typically, Congress has no right to view such evidence. But in 1974, the courts permitted lawmakers to see such materials as they weighed whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon. The House is now immersed in the same process focused on Mr. Trump, Judge Howell ruled, and that easily outweighs any need to keep the information secret from lawmakers.” See also, U.S. judge orders Mueller grand jury materials released to House Judiciary Committee in impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A federal judge Friday ordered the Justice Department to release certain grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation to the House Judiciary Committee amid its impeachment inquiry. The materials must be disclosed by Wednesday. In a 75-page opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington handed a victory to House Democrats, saying the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from normal grand jury secrecy rules.”  See also, Federal Judge Rules Mueller Grand Jury Materials Must Be Transmitted to Congress, The Wall Street Journal, Byron Tau, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A federal judge ruled Congress can get its hands on grand-jury evidence collected by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and also determined that wide-ranging House inquiries into President Trump have legal standing as an impeachment investigation. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell granted a request from the House Judiciary Committee for access to material that was redacted from the 448-page special counsel report, released in the spring, as well as some of the exhibits and transcripts referenced in the report. The Justice Department has sought to prevent Congress from getting the full, unredacted report. As part of her ruling on Friday, Judge Howell also rejected arguments from Mr. Trump and his allies that the impeachment inquiry isn’t valid without a full House vote to authorize the process, the first time the judiciary has weighed in on the legality of the House inquiry. The administration has used that lack of a vote as a reason to try to keep witnesses from testifying and to ignore requests for documents.” See also, Federal judge rules the Department of Justice must turn over Mueller grand jury material to House Democrats, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Friday, 25 October 2019.

Government Inspectors General Demand Justice Department Withdraw Whistle-Blower Ruling, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Friday, 25 October 2019: “The government’s inspectors general sharply criticized a Justice Department ruling from last month that determined that the whistle-blower complaint about President Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader should not go to Congress. The opinion could ‘seriously impair whistle-blowing” and deter intelligence officials from reporting waste, fraud and misconduct, about 70 inspectors general from across the government warned in the letter, dated Oct. 22 and released on Friday. ‘Whistle-blowers play an essential public service in coming forward with such information, and they should never suffer reprisal or even the threat of reprisal for doing so,’ wrote the inspectors general, who serve as independent watchdogs for their agencies.”

How a Veteran Reporter Worked with Giuliani’s Associates to Launch the Ukraine Conspiracy, ProPublica, Jake Pearson, Mike Spies and J. David McSwane, Friday, 25 October 2019: “Last March, a veteran Washington reporter taped an interview with a Ukrainian prosecutor that sparked a disinformation campaign alleging Joe Biden pressured Ukrainians into removing a prosecutor investigating a company because of its ties to the former vice president’s son. The interview and subsequent columns, conducted and written by a writer for The Hill newspaper, John Solomon, were the starting gun that eventually set off the impeachment inquiry into the president. Watching from the control booth of The Hill’s TV studio was Lev Parnas, who helped arrange the interview. Parnas and his partner Igor Fruman were working with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to promote a story that it was Democrats and not Republicans who colluded with a foreign power in the 2016 election. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted the duo this month on allegations that they illegally funneled foreign money into U.S. political campaigns.”

Continue reading Week 145, Friday, 25 October – Thursday, 31 October 2019 (Days 1,009-1,015)

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Trump Administration, Week 144, Friday, 18 October – Thursday, 24 October 2019 (Days 1,002-1,008)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 18 October 2019, Day 1,002:

 

On Day 1,001, Trump Made It Clear: Being ‘Presidential’ Is Boring. If he acted ‘presidential,’ Mr. Trump said Thursday night in Dallas, ‘everybody would be out of here so fast.’ The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 18 October 2019: “After 1,000 days of the Trump Show, the capacity for surprise has long since diminished and comments or actions that would have set off days of front-page coverage and howls from Capitol Hill now barely register. The shocker that consumed Twitter three hours ago is so quickly overwhelmed by the next one that it seems impossible to digest any single moment to assess its meaning or consequences…. After 1,000 days in office, Mr. Trump has redefined what it means to be presidential. On the 1,001st day of his tenure, which was Thursday, all pretense of normalcy went out the window. It was a day when he boasted of saving ‘millions of lives’ by temporarily stopping a Middle East war that he effectively allowed to start in the first place, then compared the combatants to children who had to be allowed to slug each other to get it out of their system. It was a day when he announced without any evident embarrassment that officials of the federal government that answers to him had scoured the country for a site for next year’s Group of 7 summit meeting and determined that the perfect location, the very best site in all the United States, just happened to be a property he owned in Florida.”

Clashes and Confusion Mar Attempt at Cease-Fire in Syria, The New York Times, Patrick Kingsley and Carlotta Gall, Friday, 18 October 2019: “Sporadic fighting continued in northern Syria on Friday, casting uncertainty over an American-brokered truce, as conflicting reports emerged about whether Kurdish forces were retreating or hunkering down and whether Turkish troops were advancing or holding fire.”

In admitting then denying quid pro quo, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney turns harsh impeachment spotlight on himself, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 18 October 2019: “The hastily announced White House news conference was supposed to be a full-throated defense of President Trump’s controversial decision to host next year’s Group of Seven summit at his private golf club in Florida. By the time it was over, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had made much more explosive news — adding to Trump’s impeachment troubles and calling into question his ability to lead the White House staff in a time of crisis. Mulvaney’s performance the day before continued to reverberate Friday as Republican lawmakers, the Justice Department, Trump’s personal attorney, conservative media figures and several White House officials panned the news conference or distanced themselves from its contents.”

Continue reading Week 144, Friday, 18 October – Thursday, 24 October 2019 (Days 1,002-1,008)

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Trump Administration, Week 143, Friday, 11 October – Thursday, 17 October 2019 (Days 995-1,001)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 11 October 2019, Day 995:

 

Appeals Court Rules Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump’s accounting firm must comply with a House committee’s demands for eight years of his financial records, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday in a major victory for House Democrats in their struggle against his vow to stonewall ‘all’ of their oversight subpoenas. In a 66-page ruling, the panel rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that Congress had no legitimate legislative authority to seek his business records from the firm, Mazars USA, because the committee was trying to determine whether he broke existing laws — not weighing whether to enact a new one. ‘Having considered the weighty issues at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable,’ wrote Judge David S. Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Mr. Trump is virtually certain to appeal the ruling, either to the full Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court. But the decision — affirming an earlier ruling by a Federal District Court judge — was the first test at the appeals court level of the Trump legal team’s sweeping challenges to the constitutional authority of Congress to conduct oversight of his activities.” See also, Appeals court rules against Trump in fight with Congress over president’s accounting firm records, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Spencer S. Hsu, and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Congress can seek eight years of President Trump’s business records from his accounting firm, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday in one of several legal battles over access to the president’s financial data. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld Congress’s broad investigative powers and rejected the president’s bid to block lawmakers from subpoenaing the documents. That three-judge panel’s ruling is a significant victory for the Democratic-led House, but it will not result in the House obtaining Trump’s tax returns — at least, not immediately. The House agreed to hold off on enforcing the subpoenas while Trump’s appeal is pending. Trump could keep it pending for weeks or months by appealing the case to the full D.C. Circuit.” See also, Trump loses appeal to withhold financial records from Democrats, Politico, Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein, Friday, 11 October 2019.

Judges Strike Several Blows to Trump Immigration Policies. Judges in three states ruled against a policy that would withhold green cards to immigrants who receive public assistance such as Medicaid. Another judge rejected Trump’s plan to divert funds to erect a border wall. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump’s immigration agenda ran into legal blockades in courts around the country on Friday as judges in four states barred his administration from trying to withhold green cards from people who use public benefits and rejected his plan to divert funds to erect a border wall. In three rulings, federal judges in New York, California and Washington State issued injunctions temporarily blocking the ‘public charge’ rule, which would impose serious impediments to legal residency for those who use benefits such as Medicaid or those deemed likely to use them in the future. The rule, widely seen as an attempt to keep out immigrants who are poor or in need of help, was one of the Trump administration’s signature immigration policies — and it ran into a legal brick wall in three corners of the country on a single day…. Trump faced yet another legal setback in Texas, where a senior federal judge in El Paso ruled on Friday that he had acted unlawfully in announcing he would tap $3.6 billion in Pentagon money intended for military construction to build a barrier along the nation’s southwestern border.” See also, Federal Judges in 3 States Block Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule for Green Cards, NPR, Laurel Wamsley, Pam Fessler, and Richard Gonzales, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15. The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled ‘Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,’ the rule sparked several legal challenges. See also, Judge rules Trump violated the law on wall funding with national emergency. In February 2019 Trump ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects be used instead for the barrier on Mexico’s border. NBC News, Pete Williams, Friday, 11 October 2019: “A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump violated federal law when he used his declaration of a national emergency to get millions for building a wall on the southern border. The ruling is a victory for El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights, which sued to stop border construction in their community. They argued that Trump had no legal authority to spend more than what Congress appropriated for the wall project. In January the president asked for $5.7 billion to build ‘a steel barrier for the Southwest border,’ but Congress approved only $1.375 billion. In February, Trump declared a national emergency and ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects would be used instead for the wall.”

Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Our Over Lack of Trust. Her Boss Told Her She Had ‘Done Nothing Wrong.’ The New York Times, Sharon La Franiere, Nicholas Fandos, and Andrew E. Kramer, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The State Department’s request went in early March to Marie L. Yovanovitch, a longtime diplomat who had served six presidents: Would she extend her term as ambassador to Ukraine, scheduled to end in August, into 2020? Less than two months later came another departmental communiqué: Get ‘on the next plane’ to Washington. Her ambassadorship was over. How and why Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her job has emerged as a major focus of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats. And in nearly nine hours of testimony behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was told after her recall that President Trump had lost trust in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018 — even though, one of her bosses told her, she had ‘done nothing wrong.’ Her version of events added a new dimension to the tale of the campaign against her. It apparently began with a business proposition being pursued in Ukraine by two Americans who, according to an indictment against them unsealed on Thursday, wanted her gone, and who would later become partners with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in digging up political dirt in Ukraine for Mr. Trump…. DOCUMENT: Read Ms. Yovanovitch’s opening statement.” See also, Marie Yovanovitch, ousted ambassador to Ukraine, tells Congress Trump pressured the State Department to remove her, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, and Paul Sonne, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine whose abrupt ouster in May has become a focus of House impeachment investigators said Friday in remarks before Congress that her departure came as a direct result of pressure President Trump placed on the State Department to remove her. The account by Marie Yovanovitch depicts a career Foreign Service officer caught in a storm of unsubstantiated allegations pushed by the president’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and a cast of former Ukrainian officials who viewed her as a threat to their financial and political interests. She told lawmakers that she was forced to leave Kiev on ‘the next plane’ this spring and subsequently removed from her post, with the State Department’s No. 2 official telling her that, although she had done nothing wrong, the president had lost confidence in her and the agency had been under significant pressure to remove her since the summer of 2018.”

Continue reading Week 143, Friday, 11 October – Thursday, 17 October 2019 (Days 995-1,001)

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Trump Administration, Week 142, Friday, 4 October – Thursday, 10 October 2019 (Days 988-994)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 4 October 2019, Day 988:

 

Trump Denies Quid Pro Quo for Ukraine, but Text Messages and Testimony Collected by Congressional Investigators Indicated That His Own Representatives Saw It Differently, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 4 October 2019: “President Trump denied again on Friday that there was any quid pro quo attached to his pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political enemies, but text messages and testimony collected by congressional investigators indicated that his own representatives saw it differently. Envoys representing Mr. Trump sought to leverage the power of his office to prod Ukraine into opening investigations that would damage his Democratic opponents at home. They made clear to Ukrainian officials that the White House invitation their newly inaugurated president coveted depended on his commitment to the investigations. And the senior American diplomat posted in Ukraine suspected it went even further than a trade of an Oval Office visit. He told colleagues that it appeared that unfreezing $391 million in American aid that Mr. Trump had blocked was contingent on the former Soviet republic following through on the politically charged investigations sought by the president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a conclusion sharply denied by another diplomat who said there were ‘no quid pro quo’s.’ The text messages, provided to three Democrat-led House committees by the former special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt D. Volker, may shape the impeachment inquiry now threatening the future of Mr. Trump’s presidency. They provided new pieces of a timeline of events in recent months and a road map for further investigation by House Democrats.” See also, Read the Text Messages Between U.S. and Ukrainian Officials, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Josh Williams, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, Texts of senior State Department officials reveal belief that Trump wanted investigations as condition of meeting with Ukraine’s president, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey, and John Hudson, Friday, 4 October 2019: “House investigators released numerous text messages late Thursday night illustrating how senior State Department officials coordinated with the Ukrainian president’s top aide and President Trump’s personal lawyer to leverage a potential summit between the heads of state on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate the 2016 U.S. election and an energy company that employed the son of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. The texts, which former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker provided investigators during a nearly 10-hour deposition Thursday, reveal that officials felt Trump would not agree to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless Zelensky promised to launch the investigations — and did so publicly. Although the texts do not mention Biden by name, congressional Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry are pointing to them as clear evidence that Trump conditioned normal bilateral relations with Ukraine on that country first agreeing ‘to launch politically motivated investigations,’ top Democrats said in a statement Thursday night.” See also, Former State Department Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker Gives New Details on Rudy Giuliani’s Role in Ukraine Policy, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The former State Department special envoy for Ukraine told congressional investigators that Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, demanded that Ukraine specifically commit to investigate involvement in the 2016 election and a firm tied to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. During testimony behind closed doors on Thursday, the special envoy, Kurt D. Volker, said Mr. Giuliani rejected a generic draft statement that Ukraine’s government had agreed to issue committing to fighting corruption generally. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said the Ukrainians had to promise to pursue two specific investigations that could damage the president’s political domestic adversaries.” See also, Texts Indicate the Trump Administration Used Potential Meeting to Pressure Ukraine on Biden, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Siobhan Hughes, and Dustin Volz, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Trump administration sought to use a potential meeting between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press Kyiv to investigate Joe Biden, newly released text messages indicated, as President Trump called on China to also investigate his political rival. The president’s efforts to persuade Ukraine in a July phone call to investigate Mr. Biden have already set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, who are looking at whether the president abused the power of his office for political gain. Text messages released by House committees late Thursday revealed that Trump administration officials sought to use a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press the Ukrainian government to pursue an investigation into Mr. Biden and other matters. The messages indicate that U.S. officials coordinated with aides to the Ukrainian president and Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, on a draft statement in which Kyiv would announce an investigation into Mr. Biden and the 2016 U.S. election—at the same time as announcing a visit by the Ukrainian president to the White House.” See also, Damning text messages detail Trump pressure on Ukraine, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Text messages released on Thursday between US diplomats and a senior Ukrainian aide show how a potential Ukrainian investigation into the 2016 election was linked to a desired meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Donald Trump.” See also, Trump, in August Phone Call With Republican Senator Ron Johnson, Denied Official’s Claim on Ukraine Aid, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus, Friday, 4 October 2019: “A Republican senator said he was told by an American diplomat in August that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation desired by President Trump and his allies, but Mr. Trump denied pursuing any such proposal when the lawmaker pressed him on it. Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.” See also, Kurt Volker, Former Special Envoy to Ukraine, Told Congress That Trump’s Biden Conspiracy ‘Has No Credibility to Me,’ BuzzFeed News, Christopher Miller, Sarah Mimms, and Zoe Tillman, Friday, 4 October 2019.

2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings, New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman, Friday, 4 October 2019: “A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter. The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday  about how he substantiated the whistle-blower’s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official was considering filing a complaint.”

Impeachment Investigators Subpoena White House and Ask Vice President Mike Pence for Documents on Ukraine, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 4 October 2019: “House impeachment investigators widened the reach of their inquiry on Friday, subpoenaing the White House for a vast trove of documents and requesting more from Vice President Mike Pence to better understand President Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. The subpoena, addressed to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, calls for documents and communications that are highly delicate and would typically be subject in almost any White House to claims of executive privilege. If handed over by the Oct. 18 deadline, the records could provide keys to understanding what transpired between the two countries and what steps, if any, the White House has taken to cover it up.” See also, House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents. They also demanded Ukraine documents from Vice President Mike Pence. Politico, Andrew Desiderio, John Bresnahan, and Heather Caygle, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Three top House Democrats subpoenaed the White House on Friday night seeking documents related to President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to target his political rivals, a dramatic escalation of the impeachment fight with the president. The subpoena was sent to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney by three Democratic committee chairmen — Reps. Adam Schiff of Intelligence, Eliot Engel of Foreign Affairs and Elijah Cummings of Oversight…. Democrats gave the White House a two-week deadline of Oct. 18 to comply with their demand, and they warned Mulvaney — a former House member himself — that his ‘failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the behest of the President or others at the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstructing the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President.'” See also, What happened on impeachment on Friday, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Marisa Iati, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry requested a long list of documents and communications Friday from Vice President Pence related to Ukraine. Earlier, President Trump said that Democrats ‘unfortunately have the votes’ to impeach him in the House, but he predicted he would ‘win’ in a trial in the Republican-led Senate…. Trump’s comments to reporters at the White House came as fallout continued Friday from the late-night release of text messages by House investigators, while another key figure, the inspector general of the intelligence community, testified on Capitol Hill behind closed doors. The texts released late Thursday show how State Department officials coordinated with Zelensky’s top aide and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to leverage a potential summit between Trump and Zelensky on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate an energy company, Burisma, that had employed Hunter Biden.” See also, House Democrats subpoena White House over Ukraine documents, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy and Julia Carrie Wong, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents, escalating impeachment inquiry, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Friday, 4 October 2019.

Continue reading Week 142, Friday, 4 October – Thursday, 10 October 2019 (Days 988-994)

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Trump Administration, Week 141: Friday, 27 September – Thursday, 3 October 2019 (Days 981-987)

Montreal Climate March, Friday, 27 September 2019

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 27 September 2019, Day 981:

 

‘We are changing the world’: Greta Thunberg addresses hundreds of thousands at Montreal climate march, CBC, Benjamin Shingler, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Hundreds of thousands of people thronged the streets of Montreal on Friday in a climate march that turned the city’s downtown into a sea of placard-waving protesters. To deafening cheers, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed the crowd at the end of the protest. ‘We are not in school today, you are not at work today, because this is an emergency, and we will not be bystanders,’ said the 16-year-old, whose activism has made headlines around the world. ‘Some would say we are wasting lesson time. We say we are changing the world. So that when we are older we will be able to look our children in the eyes and say that we did everything we could back then.’ Organizers said 500,000 people attended the march, making it the largest in the province’s history.” See also, As it happened–500,000 in Montreal climate march led by Greta Thunberg, Montreal Gazette, Andy Riga, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, The best signs from Montreal’s climate march, CBC, Friday, 27 September 2019.

More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern,’ The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Friday, 27 September 2019: “More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials have signed a statement warning that President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern’ and supporting an impeachment inquiry by Congress to determine ‘the facts.’ ‘To be clear, we do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts or Congress’ deliberative process,’ said the statement, released Friday. ‘At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.'” See also, Hundreds of ex-national security officials support impeachment inquiry into Trump, CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi, Friday, 27 September 2019: “More than 300 former national security officials have come out in support of an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, arguing the President’s actions in regard to Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern. President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes,’ a statement signed by the officials and dated Friday reads. ‘That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power.'”

House Democrats Issue First Subpoena (Secretary of State Mike Pompeo) in Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats, moving quickly to escalate their impeachment inquiry into President Trump, subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding that he promptly produce a tranche of documents and a slate of witnesses that could shed light on the president’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to help tarnish a leading political rival. The subpoena and demands for depositions were the first major investigative actions the House has taken since it launched impeachment proceedings this week in light of revelations that Mr. Trump pushed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, possibly using United States aid as leverage.” See also, Democrats subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as part of impeachment inquiry, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Democrats hit the gas on their impeachment inquiry Friday, subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents they demanded weeks earlier that describe a pattern of interactions between President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and senior Ukrainian officials who they pressured to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.” See also, House subpoenas Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and schedules depositions of five State Department officials, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The chairmen of three powerful House committees subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents related to their investigation into President Trump’s controversial call with the leader of Ukraine. The House panels have also scheduled five depositions beginning next week with State Department officials who would have knowledge of Trump’s engagements with Ukraine. These are the first concrete steps taken as Democrats seek to build a case for impeachment. Members of the House Intelligence Committee had said they planned to continue working next week through Congress’s scheduled recess, promising a very busy next few weeks. Lawmakers shared their plans hours after Trump called for the committee’s chairman to resign and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Attorney General William P. Barr of having ‘gone rogue.'” See also, Democrats Set Rapid Timetable for Trump Impeachment Probe, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Andrew Duehren, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats have settled on a narrow impeachment inquiry into President Trump centered on his campaign to enlist Ukraine to hurt a political rival, a rapid strategy that will produce hearings within a few weeks and build to a possible vote by November. That plan was put into action immediately on Friday, when a trio of House committees issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for records of interactions between the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the Ukrainian government. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, which had requested the material about three weeks ago, also scheduled depositions starting next week with five State Department officials, including Kurt Volker, who late Friday resigned as the special envoy for Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter, after playing a role in arranging a meeting between Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and an aide to Ukraine’s president.” See also, House Democrats accelerate impeachment inquiry, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Heather Caygle, and Sarah Ferris, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats are moving swiftly in their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for key documents on Friday and announcing plans to haul in the intelligence community’s top watchdog next week over a scheduled recess. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) confirmed Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, will testify in a closed session before the panel next Friday.” See also, Where House Democrats stand on impeaching Trump, The Washington Post, JM Rieger, Amber Phillips, and Kevin Schaul, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Now, 224 House Democrats and one Independent member say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry into whether the president committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Of those, 28 have gone a step further and said they support impeaching the president. The ranks of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump swelled in the past week, culminating on Sept. 24 when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry.” See also, What you missed while not watching Day 4 of President Trump’s impeachment drama, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, Trump says the whistleblower complaint isn’t accurate. The White House keeps showing how it is. The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, The Integrity of the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New Yorker, Steve Coll, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Many features of Trumpism—the cynical populism, the brazen readiness to profit from high office, the racist and nativist taunts—have antecedents in American politics. But Donald Trump’s open willingness to ask foreign governments to dig up dirt on political opponents has been an idiosyncratic aspect of his rise to power. At a press conference in July, 2016, when he was the presumptive Republican nominee for President, he invited Russia to get hold of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and leak them to the press. This past June, George Stephanopoulos asked him what he thought his campaign should do now ‘if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else,’ offered information on his political opponents—accept it or call the F.B.I.? Trump allowed that he might do both, adding, “If somebody called from a country—Norway—‘We have information on your opponent.’ Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” (When the interview was released, Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, felt obliged to point out that ‘it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.’) We now know that, as Trump spoke to Stephanopoulos, he and Rudolph Giuliani, his personal lawyer, were deep in a vigorous effort to persuade the government of Ukraine to conduct investigations that might rake up some muck about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.” See also, Why the Trump Impeachment Inquiry Is the Only Option, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Friday, 27 September 2019.

Continue reading Week 141, Friday, 27 September – Thursday, 3 October 2019 (Days 981-987)

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Trump Administration, Week 140: Friday, 20 September – Thursday, 26 September 2019 (Days 974-980)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 20 September 2019, Day 974:

 

Photos: What the youth climate strike looks like around the world, Vox, Brian Resnick and Danielle Scruggs, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Friday may be remembered as the largest global demonstration ever in the fight against climate change. Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, young people around the world have organized to skip school and protest in the street over the climate crisis and the adults who aren’t doing enough to transition off fossil fuels. Thunberg and her group Fridays for Future aren’t alone: They’ll be joined by adult climate activists, indigenous groups, workers from companies like Amazon and Google, and really anyone who feels like the world is overdue for dramatic action on climate change. The event is truly global: There are 2,500 events scheduled in over 150 countries.” See also, Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever, The Guardian, Sandra Laville and Jonathan Watts, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Millions of people demonstrated across the world yesterday demanding urgent action to tackle global heating, as they united across timezones and cultures to take part in the biggest climate protest in history. In an explosion of the youth movement started by the Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg just over 12 months ago, people protested from the Pacific islands, through Australia, across-south east Asia and Africa into Europe and onwards to the Americas. For the first time since the school strikes for climate began last year, young people called on adults to join them – and they were heard. Trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilised in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched and workers at firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook walked out to join the climate strikes.” See also, Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest–as it happened, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh, Mark Oliver, Haroon Siddique, and Naaman Zhou, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Protesting Climate Change, Young People Take to the Streets in a Global Strike, The New York Times, Somini Sengupta, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Anxious about their future on a hotter planet and angry at world leaders for failing to arrest the crisis, masses of young people poured into the streets on every continent on Friday for a day of global climate protests. Organizers estimated the turnout to be around four million in thousands of cities and towns worldwide. It was the first time that children and young people had demonstrated to demand climate action in so many places and in such numbers around the world.” See also, Climate Strike N.Y.C.: Young Crowds Demand Action and Welcome Greta Thunberg, The New York Times, Anne Barnard and James Barron, Friday, 20 September 2019: “They packed Foley Square and the streets around City Hall, and jammed the stairs leading out of nearby subway stations. They carried handmade signs like one that said, ‘There is no plan(et) B,’ and chanted, ‘Sea levels are rising and so are we!’ Later, they paraded out of the square, headed to another rally at Battery Park. Frustrated by what they consider officials’ failure to adequately address a crisis, thousands of young people marched through Lower Manhattan on Friday during a day of global climate protests. Those who rallied said that too little was being done to stem the rise of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. One test of their message will come on Monday, when world leaders convene at the United Nations to discuss what they are ready to do about climate change.” See also, Greta Thunberg is leading students and adults from 150 countries in a massive Friday climate strike, Vox, Umair Irfan, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Thousands of Tech Workers Join Global Climate Change Strike, Wired, Louise Matsakis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Thousands of workers from AmazonTwitterGoogleMicrosoftFacebookSquare, and other tech companies are expected to walk out today as part of a worldwide climate change strike led by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg. After Amazon workers announced they were joining the demonstration last week, employees from other Silicon Valley firms began joining in. The same group of Amazon employees have been pushing the company to reduce its carbon footprint for nearly a year. Now, over 1,700 of them and counting have said they will join Friday’s walkout, which is expected to draw millions of participants in cities around the world.” See also, Millions of Young People Around the World Are Leading Strikes to Call Attention to the Climate Crisis, BuzzFeed News, Zahra Hirji, Matthew Champion, Azeen Ghorayshi, and J. Lester Feder, Friday, 20 September 2019: “People — mainly young people — across the world walked out of school and work in a massive youth-led movement to draw attention to the climate crisis. There were more than 3,600 events planned, according to the main organizing group #FridaysForFuture. The third global youth-run climate strike of the year, Friday’s event was poised to be the biggest yet and it seemed to deliver: streets in major cities around the world were shuttered with throngs of determined people holding clever signs and chanting.” See also, ‘We will make them hear us’: Millions of youths around the world strike for action, The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan, Lauren Lumpkin, and Brady Dennis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “In one of the largest youth-led demonstrations in history, millions of people from Manhattan to Mumbai took to the streets around the globe on Friday, their chants, speeches and homemade signs delivering the same stern message to world leaders: do more to combat climate change — and do it faster.” See also, Summits, Strikes, and Climate Change, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Are the politics of climate change in America changing? There are positive signs. Earlier this month, the top ten candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination participated in a CNN town hall on the issue; according to the Times, this was ‘the first such prime-time event’ in history. A recent Washington Post poll found that more than three-quarters of Americans now consider climate change a ‘crisis’ or a ‘major problem.’ A survey conducted this summer of voters in Texas showed that, even in the oil patch, a majority are concerned about climate change. Thunberg’s actions have inspired hundreds of thousands of young people around the globe to stage school strikes for climate action. Ahead of the strike called for the eve of the climate summit, the New York City school system said it would excuse students who skipped classes; Thunberg was set to speak to the strikers in Foley Square. Still, you’d have to ignore most of the past forty years to conclude that action is imminent.” See also, Scientists Warn That Immediate Climate Action Is Needed to Avoid ‘Grim’ Future, Scientific American, Thomas Frank, Friday, 20 September 2019: “A leading group of international climate scientists is warning that ‘large-scale strategies’ are needed immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert ‘catastrophic circumstances’ that threaten every part of the world. In a paper published yesterday in the journal Science, 21 researchers from 14 countries said climate change is already damaging the planet more than scientists had projected, endangering everything from food supply to the existence of island nations. Heat waves are intensifying in North America and Europe. Underwater heat waves are killing deepwater habitats and coral reefs. Insect populations are dwindling, threatening the food chain. And larger, more frequent wildfires, such as the blazes that have killed more than 100 people in California since 2017, are destroying forests and communities around the world.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Congress Should Pass New Laws so Sitting Presidents Can Be Indicted, NPR, Friday, 20 September 2019: “In an exclusive interview with NPR, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not changed her mind on pursuing impeachment but is ready to change the law to restrain presidential power and make it clear that a sitting president can, in fact, be indicted. ‘I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he’s committed a wrongdoing — any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted,’ Pelosi told All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro and NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis on Friday. ‘That’s something cooked up by the president’s lawyers.'” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs changing the law to allow a sitting president to be indicted, Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed changing federal law to specify that a sitting president can be indicted, even as she indicated she was no closer to moving to impeach President Donald Trump. In an interview with NPR published Friday, Pelosi argued that despite a Justice Department legal opinion asserting the contrary, ‘there is nothing any place that says the president should not be indicted.'”

U.S. Agreement With El Salvador Seeks to Divert Asylum Seekers, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Elisabeth Malkin, Friday, 20 September 2019: “The Trump administration signed an agreement with the government of El Salvador on Friday that could force Central American migrants traveling through El Salvador to seek refuge in that violent and dangerous country instead of in the United States. The agreement is a win for President Trump and his hard-line immigration policies, and it gives him another ally in Central America as he tries to block migrants from seeking asylum at the southwestern border. Washington has signed a similar agreement with Guatemala.” See also, Trump administration reaches deal to send asylum seekers to El Salvador in an effort to deter migrants from entering the United States, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Friday, 20 September 2019: “The Trump administration announced an accord Friday that will allow the United States to divert asylum seekers from the U.S. border to El Salvador, pushing migrants into one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The deal between the two governments is the latest measure aimed at creating new layers of deterrents to the influx of migrants applying for protection on U.S. soil.”

Continue reading Week 140, Friday, 20 September – Thursday, 26 September 2019 (Days 974-980)

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Trump Administration, Week 139: Friday, 13 September – Thursday, 19 September 2019 (Days 967-973)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 13 September 2019, Day 967:

 

U.S. Appeals Court Reinstates Emoluments Case Against Trump, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Friday, 13 September 2019: “A federal appeals court in New York on Friday revived a lawsuit alleging that President Trump is illegally profiting from his hotels and restaurants in New York and Washington in violation of the Constitution’s anti-corruption, or emoluments, clauses. In a two-to-one decision, a panel of judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that a lower court had wrongly dismissed the lawsuit accusing Mr. Trump of violating the Constitution’s bans on accepting financial benefits from foreign or state governments. The appeals court judge sent the lawsuit back to the lower court, ordering it be allowed to proceed.” See also, Appeals court revives lawsuit saying Trump is violating the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Friday, 13 September 2019: “A federal appeals court on Friday revived a previously dismissed lawsuit against President Trump, which alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by engaging in business transactions with foreign governments. In a 2-to-1 ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit found that a lower-court judge improperly threw out the lawsuit in December 2017. Now, plaintiffs are hoping this victory will allow them to seek detailed records on Trump’s transactions with foreign officials. But, if Trump appeals, as is expected, the case could go to the full 2nd Circuit — and possibly to the Supreme Court after that.” See also, Appeals court revives foreign corruption suit against Trump, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Friday, 13 September 2019: “A federal appeals court has resurrected the first lawsuit President Donald Trump faced over claims that his business dealings violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which bars federal officials receiving payments from foreign governments.”

Teen activist Greta Thunberg takes her youth climate campaign to Washington, The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan and Brady Dennis, Friday, 13 September 2019: “Barely a year ago, Greta Thunberg sat alone outside the Swedish parliament each week, holding a handwritten sign that read ‘School Strike for Climate.’ But by the time the 16-year-old arrived in the United States in late August after a two-week ocean voyage on a zero-emissions boat, she was an icon of the youth climate movement. She has published a book, given barn-burning speeches before audiences of the world’s political and business leaders and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This coming Friday, she plans to lead a protest in New York ahead of a United Nations summit on climate action. Hundreds of thousands of students across more than 150 countries have said they plan to walk out of school in solidarity with her.” See also, Greta Thunberg to U.S.: ‘You Have a Moral Responsibility’ on Climate Change, NPR, Bill Chappell and Ailsa Chang, Friday, 13 September 2019: “Greta Thunberg led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn’t looking to go inside — ‘I don’t want to meet with people who don’t accept the science,’ she says. The young Swedish activist joined a large crowd of protesters who had gathered outside, calling for immediate action to help the environment and reverse an alarming warming trend in average global temperatures. She says her message for President Trump is the same thing she tells other politicians: Listen to science, and take responsibility.”

Interior Department Takes Next Step Toward Sale of Drilling Leases in Arctic Refuge, The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Friday, 13 September 2019: “The Trump administration reached a milestone this week in its plan to open a pristine part of Alaska to oil and gas development with the release of a final report on the environmental impact of the plan. The report keeps the Interior Department on track to auction leases for the right to drill in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the end of the year, a long-stated administration goal. Having drilling rights in the hands of oil companies would make it more difficult to stop development in the refuge should Democrats take either the White House or Senate and keep control of the House in the 2020 elections.”

Continue reading Week 139, Friday, 13 September – Thursday, 19 September 2019 (Days 960-96)

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