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.

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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)

Ukraine Affair Thrusts White House Lawyer John Eisenberg Into Center of Crisis, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Katie Benner, Michael S. Schmidt, and Charlie Savage, Friday, 8 November 2019: “The complaints came to the National Security Council’s top lawyer within hours of each other in early July. Two senior aides said they feared that one of President Trump’s top political appointees was improperly pressuring Ukrainian officials to help the president’s political fortunes. The lawyer, John A. Eisenberg, remained impassive, taking notes as the aides conveyed their concerns, according to congressional testimony released Friday. He promised one official he would follow up and shared the complaints with the White House counsel, who advised him to raise them with Mr. Trump. But instead of briefing the president, Mr. Eisenberg and his deputy decided that while the efforts of the appointee — Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union — were unorthodox, they were not criminal, according to a person briefed on their decision. Mr. Eisenberg set aside the concerns of the senior aides, one of whom who would go on to describe Mr. Sondland to impeachment investigators as a national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job. Mr. Eisenberg would come to the same conclusion again and again when confronted with revelations that Mr. Trump had ordered up a shadow Ukraine policy to advance his personal interests: However disturbing the facts, no one involved violated the law.”

Giuliani Associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman Urged Ukraine’s Prior President Petro Poroshenko to Investigate Joe Biden’s Son Hunter and Allegations of Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Alan Cullison, and Brett Forrest, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Months before President Trump pressed Ukraine’s newly installed leader to investigate Joe Biden’s son and allegations of interference in the 2016 U.S. election, two associates of Rudy Giuliani urged the prior Ukrainian president to announce similar probes in exchange for a state visit to Washington, according to people familiar with the matter.” See also, Giuliani associates pressed past president of Ukraine to announce Biden investigation in exchange for state visit, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani pressed the then-president of Ukraine in February to announce investigations into former vice president Joe Biden’s son and purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election in exchange for a state visit, and a lawyer for one of the associates said Friday that they were doing so because Giuliani — acting on President Trump’s behalf — asked them to. The Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, met with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, said Edward B. MacMahon Jr., a lawyer for Parnas. He said they were working on behalf of Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, who was operating on orders from Trump.”

Homophobic Activist Brian Brown, President of the Nonprofit National Organization for Marriage, Recently Met With Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, The New Yorker, Masha Gessen, Friday, 8 November 2019: “In the past week, judicial-watchdog groups have raised alarm over the meeting of two Supreme Court Justices, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, with Brian Brown, the head of the anti-L.G.B.T. group National Organization for Marriage. Brown tweeted a picture of himself with the Justices on October 29th, three weeks after the Court heard arguments in what are probably the most consequential L.G.B.T.-rights cases ever to come before the Court—and arguably the biggest cases of the year. (N.O.M. has filed an amicus brief in these cases.) Two days after Brown’s tweet, the nonpartisan organization Fix the Court published a blog post titled ‘What Were They Thinking? Justices Again Fail a Basic Ethics Test.’ On Wednesday, Aaron Belkin, an activist, academic, and director of the group Take Back the Court, wrote an open letter asking the two Justices to recuse themselves from the case. ‘Posing for photographs with the president of an advocacy organization that has filed briefs in matters pending before the court makes a mockery of Chief Justice Roberts’ assertion that a judge’s role is to impartially call balls and strikes,’ Belkin wrote. ‘If you refuse to recuse yourselves, this incident will further illustrate the urgent need for structural reform of the Supreme Court in order to restore a Court that understands its role is to protect individual rights and our democracy.’… Belkin’s letter actually understates the case, making it sound as though the problem with taking a meeting with Brown is that he believes that L.G.B.T. people are not entitled to protection from employment discrimination, which is what’s at stake in the pending cases. In fact, it’s worse than that. Brown thinks that L.G.B.T. people should not exist. I know this because he told me.”

Stephen Bannon, Former Trump Campaign Chairman, Testifies at the Trial of Roger Stone That the Trump Campaign Was Willing to Try ‘Dirty Tricks’ to Win in 2016, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and Zach Montague, Friday, 8 November 2019: “A former chairman of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign painted a portrait on Friday of a desperate organization lagging far behind Hillary Clinton and ready to try any method, including ‘dirty tricks,’ to win. Testifying in the criminal trial of Roger J. Stone Jr., the onetime campaign chief Stephen K. Bannon said he spoke with Mr. Stone as soon as he assumed command of the team because Mr. Stone was a master of ‘the tougher side of politics’ and Mr. Trump trailed Mrs. Clinton by as much as 16 points less than three months before the election. ‘When you are this far behind, you try to use every tool in the toolbox,’ Mr. Bannon testified, including ‘opposition research and you know, dirty tricks,’ to make up ground.”

Just 3% of broadcast TV news segments on the California wildfires connected them to climate change, Media Matters for America, Ted MacDonald, Friday, 8 November 2019: “A string of destructive wildfires spread across parts of California in October. Broadcast and cable TV news shows have been quick to cover these fires, airing hundreds of segments over a 12-day period from October 21 to November 1. However, the number of climate change mentions in wildfire segments across these shows is pitifully low. Major morning and nightly news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC aired a combined 243 segments on the wildfires, but only eight of them, or 3.3%, mentioned climate change. Cable news shows in 2019 did not fare much better — out of a combined 419 wildfire segments aired on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, only 20 of them, or 4.8%, mentioned climate change.”

Michael Bloomberg Takes Steps Into 2020 Race and Signals an Unconventional Campaign Strategy, The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Michael R. Bloomberg disrupted the Democratic presidential field on Friday as he took his first steps into the 2020 race, unnerving supporters of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and prompting Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to accuse Mr. Bloomberg of seeking to buy the presidency. But Mr. Bloomberg’s early moves also signaled he would be approaching the campaign in an unconventional manner: In a dramatic acknowledgment of his own late start in the race, Mr. Bloomberg and his advisers have decided that he would pursue a risky strategy of skipping all four traditional early-state contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, and focus instead on big states that hold primaries soon afterward. Mr. Bloomberg, who flirted with running for president in 2008 and 2016 and early this year, but had never taken a formal step to do so, filed paperwork and qualified for the Alabama primary on Friday afternoon.” See also, Where Michael Bloomberg Stands on the Issues, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Friday, 8 November 2019.

In a biting speech on judicial independence, federal judge Paul Friedman says Trump ‘violates all recognized democratic norms,’ The Washington Post, Katie Shepherd, Friday, 8 November 2019: “In an unusually critical speech that lamented the public’s flagging confidence in the independence of the judicial branch, a federal judge slammed President Trump for ‘feeding right into this destructive narrative’ with repeated attacks and personal insults toward judges he dislikes. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman of the District of Columbia said Trump’s rhetoric ‘violates all recognized democratic norms’ during a speech at the annual Judge Thomas A. Flannery Lecture in Washington on Wednesday. ‘We are in uncharted territory,’ said Friedman, 75, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. ‘We are witnessing a chief executive who criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him, sometimes in very personal terms. He seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.'”

Under Construction in Texas: The First New Section of Border Wall, The New York Times, Manny Fernandez and Mitchell Ferman, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Eight miles of original fencing are going up in the Rio Grande Valley, the first new wall to be built under President Trump. The administration wants 500 total miles constructed by 2021.”


Saturday, 9 November 2019, Day 1,024:


House Republicans ask for Hunter Biden and whistleblower to testify in impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 9 November 2019: “House Republicans sent Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) a list of witnesses they want to testify in the impeachment inquiry, including former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower who filed the initial complaint against President Trump. But Schiff is likely to reject many, if not all, of the witnesses from the Republicans’ wish list.” See also, The Release of House Republicans’ Witness List Signals That Trump’s Favorite Unsubstantiated Theories Will Be a Centerpiece of Their Strategy, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos, Saturday, 9 November 2019: “House Republicans on Saturday offered the latest glimpse of their strategy to fight against impeachment by demanding testimony from figures at the center of President Trump’s favorite unsubstantiated theories: the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a researcher loosely connected to an anti-Trump dossier, a Democratic official and a board member of a Ukrainian energy company.”

How the State Department’s Dissenters Incited a Revolt, Then a Rallying Cry, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Lara Jakes, and David E. Sanger, Saturday, 9 November 2019: “State Department Foreign Service officers usually express their views in formal diplomatic cables, but these days they are using closed Facebook groups and encrypted apps to convey their pride in Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ousted ambassador to Ukraine, whose House testimony opened the floodgates on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. #GoMasha is their rallying cry. In private conversations, they trade admiring notes about career State Department officials like William B. Taylor Jr. and George P. Kent, who delivered damning testimony about a shadow Ukraine policy infected by partisan politics and presidential conspiracy theories, and William V. Roebuck, a senior diplomat in Syria who wrote a searing memo on how Mr. Trump abandoned the Kurds and upended American influence. And they are opening their wallets to help raise money — including nearly $10,000 last Monday alone — to offset the legal bills of department officials called to testify before Congress. Rarely has the State Department, often seen as a staid pillar of the establishment, been the center of a revolt against a president and his top appointees.”

The Whistleblower Complaint Has Largely Been Corroborated. Here’s How. NPR, Tamara Keith, Saturday, 9 November 2019: “When the House impeachment inquiry began more than a month ago, much of the focus was on a complaint from a whistleblower that drew attention to a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which Trump asked for investigations into political rivals. The whistleblower accused Trump of abusing his office for political gain and laid out a road map that House Democrats have followed in their investigation. Trump has spent weeks questioning the whistleblower’s motives and slamming the account for being inaccurate. But as [the] annotation [that follows] shows, most of the complaint has been corroborated during closed-door depositions of administration officials, through public statements and from a rough transcript of the call itself, released by the White House.”

In Seeking to Join Suit Over Subpoena Power, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Goes Up Against the President, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 9 November 2019: “In effect, the acting chief of staff hopes the court will tell him whether to listen to his own boss, who wants him to remain silent, or to comply with a subpoena from the House, which wants his testimony.”

Bernie Sanders blasts Michael Bloomberg: ‘You ain’t gonna buy this election,’ The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Saturday, 9 November 2019: “Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders let loose a volley of sharp attacks against Michael Bloomberg on Saturday night, accusing the former New York mayor in his bluntest language yet of positioning himself to buy the election and vowing to stop him from doing so. ‘Tonight we say to Michael Bloomberg and other billionaires: Sorry, you ain’t gonna buy this election,’ said Sanders (I-Vt.), prompting loud cheers from supporters.”


Sunday, 10 November 2019, Day 1,025:


Nikki Haley, Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Says That John Kelly and Rex Tillerson Sought to Enlist Her in Circumventing Trump’s Policies, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “Nikki R. Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, says in a new book that she resisted entreaties by other top aides to President Trump to undermine his policies, revealing more about the fractious world of loyalty and betrayal around the president. Ms. Haley writes in her new memoir that John F. Kelly, then the White House chief of staff, and Rex W. Tillerson, then the secretary of state, tried to recruit her to join them in circumventing policy decisions by the president that they viewed as dangerous and reckless, an outreach she said she rebuffed. ‘Instead of saying that to me, they should have been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan,’ Ms. Haley told Norah O’Donnell of CBS News.” See also, Nikki Haley: I was asked by Cabinet members to take sides against the president, CBS News, Sunday, 10 November 2019. See also, Nikki Haley claims top aides tried to recruit her to ‘save the country’ by undermining Trump, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “Two of President Trump’s senior advisers undermined and ignored him in what they claimed was an effort to ‘save the country,’ former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley claims in a new memoir. Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly sought to recruit her to work around and subvert Trump, but she refused, Haley writes in a new book, ‘With All Due Respect,’ which also describes Tillerson as ‘exhausting’ and imperious and Kelly as suspicious of her access to Trump.”

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s move to join impeachment testimony lawsuit rankles allies of former national security adviser John Bolton, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig, and Josh Dawsey, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s last-minute effort to join a lawsuit that could determine whether senior administration officials testify in the impeachment inquiry was an unwelcome surprise to former top national security aides, highlighting internal divisions among President Trump’s advisers in the face of the probe…. The suit was filed by Bolton’s former deputy, Charles Kupperman, who is asking a federal judge to determine whether a congressional subpoena takes precedence over a White House order not to comply with the inquiry. Bolton is willing to testify if the judge rules in favor of the House, The Washingon Post previously reported.”

Lawmakers spar over impeachment witnesses as inquiry enters public phase, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Joel Achenbach, and Paige Winfield Cunningham, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “With the impeachment inquiry into President Trump poised to enter a new public phase this week, lawmakers sparred Sunday over the witnesses who will be allowed to testify, with Democrats dismissing GOP efforts to call the anonymous whistleblower and former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Democrats and Republicans have crafted dramatically different strategies for controlling the narrative of what happened between Trump and Ukraine. Democrats are trying to stay narrow and focused, keeping the story simple. Republicans want the opposite, bringing in as many characters and events as possible and arguing that while Trump may have acted inappropriately, his actions are far from impeachable and are no different from business as usual in Washington. Trump, meanwhile, urged Republicans to say that his actions were not just ‘not impeachable’ but ‘PERFECT.'”

Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas Says He Gave Demand for Biden Inquiry to Ukrainians, The New York Times, Ben Protess, Andrew E. Kramer, Michael Rothfeld, and William K. Rashbaum, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “Not long before the Ukrainian president was inaugurated in May, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s journeyed to Kiev to deliver a warning to the country’s new leadership, a lawyer for the associate said. The associate, Lev Parnas, told a representative of the incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Mr. Trump’s political rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president, and the United States would freeze aid, the lawyer said. The claim by Mr. Parnas, who is preparing to share his account with impeachment investigators, challenges the narrative of events from Mr. Trump and Ukrainian officials that is at the core of the congressional inquiry. It also directly links Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to threats of repercussions made to the Ukrainians, something he has strenuously denied. But Mr. Parnas’s account, while potentially significant, is being contradicted on several fronts. None of the people involved dispute that the meeting occurred, but Mr. Parnas stands alone in saying the intention was to present an ultimatum to the Ukrainian leadership.”

Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s new District Attorney, learned he won the job while visiting his dad in prison, Los Angeles Times, Tony Barboza and Jaclyn Cosgrove, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “When Chesa Boudin learned he had won a tight race to become San Francisco’s new district attorney, he was flying home from a visit with his father at a prison in upstate New York. Boudin was just 14 months old when his left-wing activist parents were incarcerated for their role in an armed robbery that killed three men. His close-up view of the criminal justice system shaped his career as a public defender who vowed to make sweeping reforms if elected to serve as the city’s top prosecutor. He entered the race as the underdog but wound up with more votes than interim Dist. Atty. Suzy Loftus, who had the backing of California’s Democratic establishment.”

Amazon spent $1.5 million on Seattle City Council races. Kshama Sawant, the socialist it opposed, has won. The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “Kshama Sawant has long been at odds with big business. In her six years on Seattle’s City Council as its first socialist elected in nearly a century, she has backed a tax on large companies and pushed successfully to make Seattle the first major city with a $15-per-hour minimum wage. But Sawant’s campaign for reelection this year pitted her against Amazon, Seattle’s largest private employer, more conspicuously than ever. The retail giant has put $1.5 million toward City Council races this cycle, via a business-interest group that spent nearly half a million dollars in support of Sawant’s opponent — a massive expansion of the company’s efforts to shape politics on its home turf. Sawant’s faceoff with big tech was on full display over the weekend as she declared victory, from a podium in front of a bright orange banner with the words ‘TAX Amazon’ in giant print.”

Elizabeth Warren Would Take Billionaires Down a Few Billion Pegs, The New York Times, Patricia Cohen, Sunday, 10 November 2019: “‘Yes, billionaires will have to pay a little more,’ Senator Elizabeth Warren said of the revised tax package she introduced recently, ‘six cents on each dollar.’ This modest-sounding proposal, though, would have a far-reaching impact on the wealthiest Americans when combined with her other tax plans — shrinking colossal fortunes over time and making it much more difficult to hand down multibillion-dollar legacies. The tax bite for any individual would not equal the $100 billion that Bill Gates jokingly cited, but over time it would still sting, according to estimates by two economists who advised Ms. Warren. If her wealth tax had been in effect since 1982, for example, Mr. Gates, who had made his first billion dollars by 1987, would have had $13.9 billion in 2018 instead of $97 billion. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, would have had $48.8 billion last year instead of $160 billion. And Michael Bloomberg, who is considering running for president himself, would have had $12.3 billion instead of $51.8 billion. As for the 400 people who made it to Forbes magazine’s list of the country’s wealthiest people, each would have an average worth of $3.1 billion, down from the current $7.2 billion.”


Monday, 11 November 2019, Day 1,026:


Laura Cooper, the Defense Department’s Top Russia and Ukraine Official, Testified Trump Questioned Ukraine Aid in June, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 11 November 2019: “The White House began asking administration officials detailed questions about military assistance to Ukraine after a meeting with President Trump in mid-June, nearly a month before the aid was abruptly frozen, a top Pentagon official told impeachment investigators last month. Laura K. Cooper, a top Defense Department official in charge of Russia and Ukraine, also testified that she and other Pentagon officials had warned the White House over the summer that continuing to deny Ukraine security assistance that had been approved by Congress could eventually cause the administration to run afoul of the law.” See also, Democrats release transcripts of testimony from three officials (Laura Cooper, Catherine Croft, and Christopher Anderson) ahead of first impeachment inquiry public hearing on Wednesday, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Elise Viebeck, and Brittany Shammas, Monday, 11 November 2019: “Democrats on Monday released the testimony of three Trump administration officials, two days before public hearings are set to begin in the House impeachment inquiry. In one of the testimonies, Laura Cooper, a senior defense official, told House impeachment investigators last month that the Pentagon sought clarification from the Trump administration on July 18 about the holdup of aid to Ukraine.” See also, Pentagon official Laura Cooper testifies Trump directed freeze on aid to Ukraine, NBC News, Adam Edelman and Dareh Gregorian, Monday, 11 November 2019: “Laura Cooper, the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy regarding Ukraine, told House impeachment investigators last month that President Donald Trump directed the relevant agencies to freeze aid to Ukraine over the summer, according to a transcript of her testimony released Monday. Cooper, during Oct. 23 testimony before the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s Ukraine dealings, testified that she and other Pentagon officials had answered questions about the Ukraine assistance in the middle of June — so she was surprised when one of her subordinates told her that a hold had been placed on the funds after an interagency meeting in July.” See also, Read the transcript of Pentagon official Laura Cooper’s impeachment testimony, NBC News, Monday, 11 November 2019. See also, Pentagon official Laura Cooper testifies that she was told Ukrainians were alarmed by stalled aid, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Monday, 11 November 2019: “A key Pentagon official told House impeachment investigators that former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker told her Ukrainian officials were alarmed in August that US security aid was being held up — an indication Kiev was aware of the delay earlier than it was reported publicly, according to a deposition transcript released Monday. Laura Cooper, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, told lawmakers behind closed doors last month that she met with Volker in August to discuss the hold on aid. She said Volker told her in their meeting that he was attempting to lift the hold on the aid by having the Ukrainians deliver a public statement that they would launch the investigations being sought by President Donald Trump. She described Volker seeking a statement from the Ukrainians about opening investigations into election interference that would trigger a release in the aid.” See also, ‘Alarm bells’: What Cooper, Croft, and Anderson told impeachment investigators, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Monday, 11 November 2019.

Republicans outline their impeachment defense of Trump in memo to members, Axios, Zachary Basu and Jonathan Swan, Monday, 11 November 2019: “Republicans on the three House committees conducting the Trump-Ukraine investigation have settled on “four key pieces of evidence” that they claim will undermine Democrats’ arguments for why the president should be impeached, according to a staff memo circulated to committee members Monday night…. ‘The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure; President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call; The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call; and President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals.'”

Trump, Ukraine, and Impeachment: The Inside Story of How We Got Here, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Andrew E. Kramer, and Danny Hakim, Monday, 11 November 2019: “President Trump fixated on Ukraine as a solution to his political problems. In five months, his obsession upended American foreign policy and threatened his presidency. [This article is an account of] how it happened…. The unfolding story is in many ways a sequel to the events that led to Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Once again, the plot involves foreign influence in an election and is centered in the post-Soviet sphere…. [Trump and his minions] asked the Ukrainians to investigate unfounded allegations about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., one of Mr. Trump’s leading Democratic rivals, as well as to chase a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had intervened in 2016. The story is also another chapter in Mr. Trump’s war on the wheels of American governance, from the intelligence community to the diplomatic corps to Congress itself. In his zeal to win Mr. Zelensky’s compliance, the president ousted the American ambassador to Ukraine, froze congressionally approved military aid, shut out foreign-policy experts in the National Security Council and sidestepped the State Department to set up a back-channel to Kiev with his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. The Ukraine saga is yet another episode in which Russia is the potential beneficiary of White House decisions. Mr. Trump not only sought to muddy the picture of Russia’s role in the 2016 election, but also withheld nearly $400 million in military aid, a tenth of Ukraine’s defense budget, for its war with Russian-backed forces.” See also, Key Dates at the Center of the Ukraine Matter, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Andrew E. Kramer, and Danny Hakim, Monday, 11 November 2019.

Environmental Protection Agency to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Monday, 11 November 2019: “The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking. A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently…. The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place.” See also, Environmental Protection Agency pushes ahead with effort to restrict the science it uses to craft regulations, The Washington Post, Brady Dennis, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing forward with a policy that could limit the science the agency uses to underpin regulations, a change long sought by conservatives but derided by many scientists and public health experts as an effort to stifle reliance on research into the harmful effects of pollution on Americans…. The new rule would allow the EPA to consider only studies where the underlying data is made available. Critics say that would restrict the use of research that includes sensitive personal data and hamstring the agency’s ability to protect Americans from toxic chemicals, air pollution and other risks.”

Supreme Court again confronts Trump’s authority, this time over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 11 November 2019: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday will once again review a controversial policy initiated by President Trump and blocked by lower courts, this time ahead of an election year and with the fate of nearly 700,000 ‘dreamers’ brought to the United States as undocumented children hanging on the outcome. The Trump administration has tried for more than two years to ‘wind down’ the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced by President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect from deportation qualified young immigrants who came to the country illegally. Individual DACA recipients, giant corporations, civil rights groups and universities have challenged the administration’s plans, and won. Lower courts have found that the administration relied on faulty legal analysis for ending the program, rather than providing lawful reasons that the courts and the public could evaluate.” See also, Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Fate of ‘Dreamers,’ The New York Times, Adam Liptak, published on Tuesday, 12 December 2019: “The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday on the Trump administration’s attempt to shut down a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as ‘Dreamers.’ The case, one of the most important of the term, will address presidential power over immigration, a signature issue for President Trump and a divisive one, especially as it has played out in the debate over the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that has broad, bipartisan support.” See also, How the Trump Administration Eroded Its Own Legal Case on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, The New York Times, Michael Shear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, and Adam Liptak, Monday, 11 November 2019.

Trump Stumbles in Fight to Keep N.Y. Taxes From the U.S. House of Representatives, Bloomberg, Erik Larson, Monday, 11 November 2019: “President Donald Trump suffered a setback in his lawsuit to block New York from giving a copy of his state taxes to Congressional committees after a federal judge in Washington determined he doesn’t have jurisdiction. But in his ruling Monday U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said Trump could renew the fight and file his lawsuit in New York.”


Tuesday, 12 November 2019, Day 1,027:


Trump Has Considered Firing the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “President Trump has discussed dismissing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, because Mr. Atkinson reported a whistle-blower’s complaint about Mr. Trump’s interactions with Ukraine to Congress after concluding it was credible, according to four people familiar with the discussions. Mr. Trump first expressed his dismay about Mr. Atkinson around the time the whistle-blower’s complaint became public in September. In recent weeks, he has continued to raise with aides the possibility of firing him, one of the people said.”

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Will Defy House Impeachment Subpoena Rather Than Seek a Judge’s Ruling First, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, reversed gears on Tuesday and said he would follow President Trump’s order to defy a House subpoena and refuse to testify as part of its impeachment inquiry rather than seek a judge’s ruling…. The decision was the latest twist in an odd subplot in the impeachment drama that raised questions about Mr. Mulvaney’s relationship with the president and exposed long-simmering disputes within Mr. Trump’s circle. While other current administration officials have either obeyed the president’s order not to cooperate with the House or defied Mr. Trump and testified anyway, Mr. Mulvaney had sought a third route by seeking to join an existing lawsuit asking a court what he should do.” See also, Aides are counseling Trump not to fire Mick Mulvaney, as acting chief of staff changes course again, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, Josh Dawsey, and John Hudson, published on Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “President Trump has been threatening for weeks to fire acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, but senior advisers have counseled him to hold off on such a drastic step amid a high-stakes impeachment probe, according to three people familiar with the discussions. Trump has expressed particular anger over Mulvaney’s performance in an Oct. 17 news conference in which Mulvaney stunned White House aides by saying military aid to Ukraine was withheld to pressure its government to launch investigations that could politically benefit Trump, two of the people said. Later, Mulvaney issued a statement saying the media had misconstrued his televised comments and that ‘there was absolutely no quid pro quo.'” See also, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to Drop Lawsuit, Refuses to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry, The Wall Street Journal, Byron Tau, Tuesday, 12 November 2019.

Democrats announce eight witnesses, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Gordon Sondland, and Kurt Volker, for next week’s public impeachment hearings, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Eight witnesses are expected to testify next week in the House impeachment inquiry, the panel leading the probe announced Tuesday, as President Trump accused Democrats of relying on ‘2nd and 3rd hand’ testimony on the eve of the first public hearing. Among those expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee are Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council director for European affairs; Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union; and Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine.” See also, Impeachment investigators slate open hearings for 8 more witnesses next week, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday announced it will hear publicly from eight witnesses over three days next week, in another sign Democrats are pushing to complete their impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump before the end of the year.”

Confronted with a mountain of damaging facts heading into the opening of the public phase of impeachment, House Republicans plan to argue that Trumps ‘state of mind’ was exculpatory, Axios, Tuesday, 12 November 2019. See also, READ: Memo of House Republicans outlining their defense of Trump, CNN Politics, Tuesday, 12 November 2019. See also, Democrats Look to Build Case That Trump Tried to Bribe or Extort Ukraine, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Democrats will begin building a public case on Wednesday that President Trump committed extortion, bribery or coercion by trying to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 elections, as they open the first presidential impeachment hearings in more than two decades. With a bitterly divided nation watching with anticipation, Democrats will gavel open a nationally televised hearing that features two veteran diplomats as star witnesses, and seeks to breathe life into their allegations that Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine constitute high crimes and misdemeanors for which he deserves to be removed.” See also, Assessing the Impeachment Defenses Offered by Trump and his Allies, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Tuesday, 12 November 2019. See also, Historic impeachment hearings are set to begin, with Republicans and Democrats pushing dueling messages on Trump’s conduct, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Karoun Demirjian, and Rachael Bade, published on Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

Who is George Kent and why does his public testimony matter? The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “On Wednesday, top State Department official George Kent will testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry. He’s one of the first public witnesses Democrats chose, in part because he has decades of experience in Ukrainian foreign policy and oversees Ukraine policy at State.” See also, Who is Bill Taylor, and why does his public testimony matter in the impeachment inquiry? The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “On Wednesday, Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. will testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry. Democrats specifically chose him as one of their first witnesses, along with George Kent, to tell the story of President Trump and Ukraine, and we can see why. As the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, he had a unique vantage point: Key figures in pushing Trump’s Ukraine policy were open with Taylor as they tried to get Ukraine to do Trump’s bidding.” See also, Who is Stephen R. Castor, the Republican staff attorney in the impeachment hearings? The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Republican staff member charged with questioning impeachment witnesses has served as an investigator in some of the biggest House probes of the last 15 years, including inquiries related to Hurricane Katrina, a gun-tracking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious and the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.”

The Fact Checker’s guide to impeachment hearing spin, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Public impeachment hearings will begin in the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, focused on whether President Trump abused the power of his office to enhance his reelection chances in 2020. During the deposition stage of the investigation, Trump and his allies have offered false and misleading claims that we have debunked over the past few weeks. Here’s a guide to some of the most significant claims.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff Says Trump’s Potentially Impeachable Offenses Include Bribery, NPR, Jessica Taylor, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “With the House set to begin public hearings Wednesday for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, the man leading the Democrats’ investigation says he already sees several potential impeachable offenses Trump has committed, including bribery. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep during an interview at the Capitol on Tuesday that he thinks there’s a clear argument to be made that Trump committed ‘bribery’ and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ — both explicitly outlined in the Constitution as impeachable offenses — when pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in exchange for long-promised military aid. ‘Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader,’ Schiff said. ‘It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you’re offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation’s interest.’ To prove bribery, Schiff said, you have to show that the president was ‘soliciting something of value,’ which Schiff thinks multiple witnesses before his committee have testified to in private.”

Career federal employees are the protagonists in the impeachment drama–at risk to themselves, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “As diplomats kick off nationally televised impeachment hearings on Wednesday, it is clear how, more than in any political scandal in modern history, career employees have emerged as crucial witnesses. Rank-and-file bureaucrats who work in the federal agencies that handle national security will defy the directive of the White House to stay quiet, instead describing what they saw as they went about, in their view, just doing their jobs. Their role in recounting to the public how President Trump and his allies attempted to enlist Ukraine to investigate his political rivals will not come without risk. All but one of the 11 career Foreign Service staff, military officers and Pentagon officials who first testified in closed-door depositions in the Capitol basement are still in government.”

At donor dinner in April 2018, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he discussed Ukraine with Trump, according to people familiar with his account, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky, Tom Hamburger, and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The April 2018 dinner was designed to be an intimate affair, an opportunity for a handful of big donors to a super PAC allied with President Trump to personally interact with the president and his eldest son…. Among those in attendance were two Florida business executives who had little history with Republican politics but had snagged a spot at the dinner with the promise of a major contribution to the America First super PAC. They turned the conversation to Ukraine, according to people familiar with the event, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private dinner. One of the men, Lev Parnas, has described to associates that he and his business partner, Igor Fruman, told Trump at the dinner that they thought the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was unfriendly to the president and his interests.”

John Solomon, the Man Trump Trusts for News on Ukraine, The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters and Kenneth P. Vogel, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “In weeks of closed-door testimony, American officials who worked in Ukraine kept circling back to the work of one journalist, John Solomon, whose articles they said appeared to have considerable currency with President Trump’s inner circle. They had never known Mr. Solomon to be an authority on Ukrainian politics before, and certainly not someone with particular insights into the American ambassador to Ukraine who was a frequent target of his. So when Rudolph W. Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr. and the president himself started talking about his stories, those officials began closely following what he wrote.” See also, Fingerprints from right-wing media figures are all over the Trump impeachment depositions, CNN Business, Brian Stelter, Oliver Darch, and Marina di Marzo, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The seeds of the Ukraine scandal were planted in the fertile soil of right-wing media many months before most people ever heard about an alleged ‘quid pro quo.’ In fact, many of President Trump’s shadow foreign policy maneuverings happened in plain sight, on the pages of The Hill website and in the prime time hours of Fox News. Names like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, both of Fox, and John Solomon, a Fox contributor formerly of The Hill, pepper the 2,677 pages of deposition transcripts that have come out of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.”

Trump Campaign Official Rick Gates Heard of WikiLeaks Emails Earlier Than Known, The Wall Street Journal, Byron Tau and Shelby Holliday, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “A top official on President Trump’s 2016 campaign testified that longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone told him as early as spring 2016 that WikiLeaks would release materials that could damage rival Hillary Clinton —and that the campaign viewed the materials as ‘a gift.’ Rick Gates, who served as deputy campaign manager to Mr. Trump’s campaign, testified Tuesday as part of Mr. Stone’s criminal trial, suggesting that Mr. Trump and his close aides may have been aware of a hacking and dumping operation directed against the Democratic Party far earlier than previously known.” See also, Roger Stone previewed WikiLeaks bounty to the Trump campaign in April 2016. The revelation means the Trump campaign–and Donald Trump himself–were aware of WikiLeaks’ plans earlier than previously understood. Politico, Darren Samuelsohn and Matthew Choi, Tuesday, 12 November 2019. See also, Trump Predicted More Leaks Amid WikiLeaks Releases in 2016, Ex-Aide Rick Gates Testifies, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and Zach Montague, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Days after the rogue website WikiLeaks posted a trove of stolen Democratic Party emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump talked by phone with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime friend who claimed to have connections to WikiLeaks, then told a top aide that ‘more information would be coming,’ the aide testified in Mr. Stone’s criminal trial on Tuesday. The aide, Rick Gates, said he did not hear the substance of the July 31, 2016, call. Nor did he say that Mr. Trump mentioned WikiLeaks, the organization that had received tens of thousands of emails stolen by Russian operatives seeking to sabotage the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. But the context of the exchange suggests that Mr. Stone briefed Mr. Trump on whatever he had picked up about the website’s plans. In written answers that President Trump supplied during the special counsel’s investigation of Russian influence in the campaign, he said he did not recall the specifics of any of his 21 phone calls with Mr. Stone in the six months before the election. He also said he did not recall knowing that his campaign advisers were in touch with Mr. Stone about WikiLeaks.” See also, Roger Stone trial: Former top Trump official Rick Gates details campaign’s dealings with WikiLeaks, and suggests Trump was in the know, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Roger Stone was the linchpin of a months-long effort by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to discover damaging information on Hillary Clinton to be released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, an effort that began before the hack of Democratic emails was publicly known, Stone’s trial has shown. Testimony over four days ending Tuesday also revealed engagement by Trump and top aides in making use of Stone’s claims that he knew emails detrimental to Clinton’s campaign would be released. The trial in federal court in Washington turns on accusations that Stone lied to Congress about his attempts to learn more about what WikiLeaks would publish and when it would do so. But some testimony also raises questions about the president’s written assertions under oath that he did not recall being aware of communications between Stone and WikiLeaks or recall any conversations about WikiLeaks between Stone and members of his campaign.”

In private speech at Morgan Stanley’s global investment event in Miami, former national security adviser John Bolton suggests some of Trump’s foreign policy decisions are guided by personal interest, NBC News, Stephanie Ruhle and Carol E. Lee, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Former national security adviser John Bolton derided President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law during a private speech last week and suggested his former boss’ approach to U.S. policy on Turkey is motivated by personal or financial interests, several people who were present for the remarks told NBC News. According to six people who were there, Bolton also questioned the merits of Trump applying his business acumen to foreign policy, saying such issues can’t be approached like the win-or-lose edict that drives real estate deals: When one deal doesn’t work, you move on to the next. The description was part of a broader portrait Bolton outlined of a president who lacks an understanding of the interconnected nature of relationships in foreign policy and the need for consistency, these people said.”

Behind Trump’s Dealings With Turkey: Sons-in-Law Married to Power, The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick and Eric Lipton, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Informal relationships between family members help explain the course of diplomacy between the White House and Turkey’s leader.”

Supreme Court Appears Ready to Let Trump End the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared ready on Tuesday to side with the Trump administration in its efforts to shut down a program protecting about 700,000 young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. The court’s liberal justices probed the administration’s justifications for ending the program, expressing skepticism about its rationales for doing so. But other justices, including President Trump’s two appointees, indicated that they would not second-guess the administration’s reasoning and, in any event, considered its explanations sufficient.” See also, Trump administration defends ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, and Supreme Court’s conservatives seemed receptive, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Trump administration told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the program shielding young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children should end regardless of its legality, and the court’s dominant conservative justices showed no inclination to disagree.”

US held record number of migrant children in custody in 2019, Associated Press, Christopher Sherman, Martha Mendoza, and Garance Burke, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The 3-year-old girl traveled for weeks cradled in her father’s arms, as he set out to seek asylum in the United States. Now she won’t even look at him. After being forcibly separated at the border by government officials, sexually abused in U.S. foster care and deported, the once bright and beaming girl arrived back in Honduras withdrawn, anxious and angry, convinced her father abandoned her. He fears their bond is forever broken. ‘I think about this trauma staying with her too, because the trauma has remained with me and still hasn’t faded,’ he said, days after their reunion. This month, new government data shows the little girl is one of an unprecedented 69,550 migrant children held in U.S. government custody over the past year, enough infants, toddlers, kids and teens to overflow the typical NFL stadium. That’s more children detained away from their parents than any other country, according to United Nations researchers. And it’s happening even though the U.S. government has acknowledged that being held in detention can be traumatic for children, putting them at risk of long-term physical and emotional damage. The nearly 70,000 migrant children who were held in government custody this year — up 42 percent in fiscal year 2019 from 2018 — spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in prior years. This story is part of an ongoing joint investigation between The Associated Press and the PBS series FRONTLINE on the treatment of migrant children, which includes the film ‘Kids Caught in the Crackdown’ premiering on PBS and online Nov. 12 at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST.” See also, A Trump administration strategy led to the child migrant backup crisis at the border, The Washington Post, Neena Satija, Karoun Demirjian, Abigail Hauslohner, and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “When thousands of migrant children ended up stranded in U.S. Border Patrol stations last spring, President Trump’s administration characterized the crisis as a spontaneous result of the record crush of migrants overwhelming the U.S. immigration system. But the backup also was a result of policy decisions that officials knew would ensnare unaccompanied minors in bureaucratic tangles and leave them in squalid conditions, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents viewed by The Washington Post.”

White House to use webcams to create live feed of border wall construction, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Jared Kushner and other senior Trump administration officials are planning to set up web cameras to live-stream construction of President Trump’s border wall, going against objections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, according to four people familiar with the White House proposal. ‘There will be a wall cam, and it’ll launch early next year,’ said a senior White House official involved in the initiative, which aims to rally public support for hundreds of miles of new border barrier Trump wants in place by next year’s election. The project, which already has cost $10 billion in taxpayer funds, is behind schedule and faces major hurdles, including the need to acquire miles of privately held land in Texas where barriers are slated to be built.”

White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller’s Affinity for White Nationalism Is Revealed in Leaked Emails, Southern Poverty Law Center, Michael Edison Hayden, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch. The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing ‘intense trauma’ in children.” See also, Leaked Stephen Miller emails shows Trump’s point man on immigration promoted white nationalism, Southern Poverty Law Center reports, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “In the lead-up to the 2016 election, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller sought to promote white nationalism, far-right extremist ideas and anti-immigrant rhetoric through the conservative site Breitbart, according to a report released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report is the first installment in a series that draws on more than 900 emails that Miller sent to a Breitbart writer over a 15-month period between 2015 and 2016 and were given to the SPLC. The report describes Miller’s emails as overwhelmingly focused on race and immigration and characterizes him as obsessed with ideas such as ‘white genocide’ (a conspiracy theory associated with white supremacists) and sharply curbing nonwhite immigration.” See also, Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller’s Unfiltered Anti-Immigrant Views, Mother Jones, Noah Lanard, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “In private emails in 2015 and 2016, President Donald Trump’s top immigration adviser touted a vilely racist novel that warns of a migrant invasion, promoted the ideas of white nationalist publications, and raged at retailers who stopped selling Confederate flags in the wake of the massacre of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center published excerpts of emails Stephen Miller, the architect of Trump’s assaults on immigrants, sent to the right-wing outlet Breitbart.” See also, Before Joining the White House, Stephen Miller Pushed White Nationalist Theories, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, published on Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Relatives to Sue Gun Maker Remington Arms Company, the Maker of the Rifle Used in the Massacre, The New York Times, Kristin Hussey and Elizabeth Williamson, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Supreme Court cleared the way on Tuesday for relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims to sue the Remington Arms Company, the maker of the rifle used in the massacre. The court said that it would not hear an appeal by Remington of a ruling by Connecticut’s Supreme Court that allowed a lawsuit brought by the families of the victims to go forward. The case has been seen as a test of the ability of plaintiffs to pierce the legal immunity of firearm manufacturers in the aftermath of shootings.” See also, Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Families’ Case Against Remington Arms to Proceed, NPR, Bill Chappell, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Supreme Court has denied Remington Arms Co.’s bid to block a lawsuit filed by families of victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre. The families say Remington should be held liable, as the maker and promoter of the AR-15-style rifle used in the 2012 killings.”

Supreme Court divided on Mexican cross-border shooting dispute, Reuters, Andrew Chung, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Supreme Court justices appeared divided on whether to let foreigners bring civil rights lawsuits in U.S. courts as they considered a bid by a slain Mexican teenager’s family to revive a lawsuit against the Border Patrol agent who shot him, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh emerging as a potential pivotal vote. The court heard arguments in the family’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling dismissing their case against the agent, Jesus Mesa, who had fired across a concrete spillway into Mexico from the Texas side of the border during the 2010 incident, striking 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca in the face.”

F.B.I. Reports Hate-Crime Violence Hits 16-Year High, The New York Times, Adeel Hassan, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “Personal attacks motivated by bias or prejudice reached a 16-year high in 2018, the F.B.I. said Tuesday, with a significant upswing in violence against Latinos outpacing a drop in assaults targeting Muslims and Arab-Americans. Over all, the number of hate crimes of all kinds reported in the United States remained fairly flat last year after a three-year increase, according to an annual F.B.I. report. But while crimes against property were down, physical assaults against people were up, accounting for 61 percent of the 7,120 incidents classified as hate crimes by law enforcement officials nationwide. State and local police forces are not required to report hate crimes to the F.B.I., but the bureau has made a significant effort in recent years to increase awareness and response rates. Still, many cities and some entire states failed to collect or report the data last year, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn from the F.B.I. report.”

Court rules border officials can’t have ‘boundless’ access to search electronic devices, The Verge, Colin Lecher, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “While officials have broad powers to screen travelers at the border, they can’t search electronic devices without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, a court ruled today in a closely watched privacy case. In 2017, a group of people whose devices were searched at the border, including a NASA engineer, filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection. They said officials had taken their devices and examined their personal data. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that the searches were unconstitutionally invasive. Those searches have been widespread under the Trump administration, with border officials searching devices 15,000 times in the first half of 2017 alone.”

Trump Organization ordered to pay $290,000 after losing battle against Scottish wind farm, The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “The Trump Organization has agreed to pay $290,000 to the Scottish government, ending a multiyear legal battle in which Donald Trump tried and failed to block an offshore wind farm from being built in view of one of his Scottish golf courses. The agreement to pay the government’s legal fees ends the company’s bitter public dispute with the Scottish government. Over the years, Trump repeatedly criticized former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond about the wind farm and warned that it would cause ‘almost total destruction’ of the country’s tourism industry.”

Senior Trump State Department official Mina Chang embellished her résumé and had her face on fake Time cover, NBC News, Dan De Luce, Laura Strickler, and Ari Sen, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “A senior Trump administration official has embellished her résumé with misleading claims about her professional background — even creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it — raising questions about her qualifications to hold a top position at the State Department. An NBC News investigation found that Mina Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, has inflated her educational achievements and exaggerated the scope of her nonprofit’s work.”

Trump allies received hundreds of thousands of dollars under federal health contract, Politico, Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “At least eight former White House, presidential transition and campaign officials for President Donald Trump were hired as outside contractors to the federal health department at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, according to documents newly obtained by POLITICO. They were among at least 40 consultants who worked on a one-year, $2.25 million contract directed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. The contractors were hired to burnish Verma’s personal brand and provide ‘strategic communications’ support. They charged up to $380 per hour for work traditionally handled by dozens of career civil servants in CMS’s communications department.”

Judge Rules That Blueprints for 3-D Printed Guns Cannot Be Posted Online, The New York Times, Mihir Zaveri, Tuesday, 12 November 2019: “A federal judge in Washington State on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from allowing blueprints for making plastic guns on 3-D printers to be posted on the internet, ruling that the move violated federal procedures.”


Wednesday, 13 November 2019, Day 1,028:


Impeachment Hearings Open With Revelation on Trump’s Ukraine Pressure, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “The House of Representatives opened historic impeachment hearings on Wednesday and took startling new testimony from a senior American diplomat that further implicated President Trump in a campaign to pressure Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. In a nationally televised hearing from a stately committee room across from the Capitol, William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, brought to life Democrats’ allegations that Mr. Trump had abused his office by trying to enlist a foreign power to help him in an election. Mr. Taylor testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he learned only recently of a July telephone call overheard by one of his aides in which the president was preoccupied with Ukraine’s willingness to say it would look into Mr. Biden and work by his son Hunter Biden for a Ukrainian energy firm. Immediately afterward, Mr. Taylor said, the aide had been informed that Mr. Trump cared more about ‘investigations of Biden’ than he did about Ukraine. A powerful witness for Democrats, Mr. Taylor appeared as Congress embarked on the third set of presidential impeachment hearings in modern times. Forceful, detailed and unflappable in the face of Republican taunts, the veteran diplomat delivered a remarkable rebuke of the actions taken by the president and his allies inside and outside of the government who placed Mr. Trump’s political objectives at the center of American policy toward Ukraine.” See also, Key Moments From the First Public Impeachment Hearing, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, What We Learned From the First Day of Public Impeachment Hearings, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Read William Taylor’s Prepared Opening Statement From the Impeachment Hearing, The New York Times, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Democrats Take Their Impeachment Case to the Public, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “William B. Taylor Jr. was the witness that Democrats had hoped Robert S. Mueller III would be but was not — the image, at least, of a wise, fatherly figure with Kevlar credibility expressing restrained but unmistakable disapproval of what he found when he turned over the rock. House Democrats led off their highly anticipated impeachment hearings on Wednesday with a figure projecting probity, a combat veteran turned career diplomat who narrated with a deep baritone voice reminiscent of Walter Cronkite’s what he saw as the corruption of American foreign policy to advance President Trump’s personal political interests.” See also, Who Is Bill Taylor? Key Witness in the Impeachment Inquiry. The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “Mr. Taylor was sent to Ukraine to provide stability at the embassy. He ended up fighting to preserve American security aid from administration appointees who saw it as a political bargaining chip.” See also, Who Is Gordon Sondland? The Envoy With a Key Role in the Impeachment Inquiry. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “Gordon D. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier from Oregon, Republican donor and fund-raiser, ambassador to the European Union and courier of promises, was not in the hearing room on Wednesday for the first round of public impeachment hearings, but he nonetheless had a key role. In his testimony, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., recounted having been told by a staff member of a phone call Mr. Sondland had with President Trump over the summer. During the call, Mr. Trump was heard mentioning ‘the investigations’ and Mr. Sondland later told the staff member that the president ‘cares more about the investigations of Biden’ than about Ukraine, Mr. Taylor testified.” See also, Impeachment hearings begin with new evidence of phone call implicating Trump in Ukraine controversy, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Toluse Olorunnipa, and Rachael Bade, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “The first day of public impeachment hearings unearthed new evidence potentially implicating President Trump more directly in a scheme to center American policy toward Ukraine on political investigations, heightening the stakes of upcoming proceedings that will include a set of critical witnesses. William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, testified Wednesday about a previously undisclosed July 26 phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, in which the president asked about ‘the investigations’ he had sought into political rivals.” See also, Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s cellphone call to Trump from Kyiv restaurant was a stunning breach of security, former officials say, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “A U.S. ambassador’s cellphone call to President Trump from a restaurant in the capital of Ukraine this summer was a stunning breach of security, exposing the conversation to surveillance by foreign intelligence services, including Russia’s, former U.S. officials said. The call — in which Trump’s remarks were overheard by a U.S. Embassy staffer in Kyiv — was disclosed Wednesday by the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., on the dramatic opening day of public impeachment hearings into alleged abuse of power by the president.” See also, Live Updates: William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, asked European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland about status of Ukrainian ‘investigations,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, 5 takeaways from Bill Taylor’s and George Kent’s impeachment testimony, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Ambassador Taylor lays out how he understood the quid pro quo, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “President Trump and some of his allies continue to argue that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine, and it seems Democrats’ first order of business in their public testimonies is to establish that there was one. The first witness they called to testify publicly, acting ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr., described how he came to understand these conditions were placed on Ukraine by Trump: President Volodymyr Zelensky would get an Oval Office meeting and, most important, $400 million in security assistance to fight Russian separatists, when he announced investigations tied to the Biden family and the 2016 U.S. election.” See also, The key events of July 25 and 26 that extend beyond the Trump-Zelensky call, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Fact-checking the opening day of the Trump impeachment hearings, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo, published on Thursday, 14 November 2019. See also, Devin Nunes’s opening statement at the public impeachment hearing, annotated, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Read: Chairman Adam Schiff’s opening statement at today’s impeachment hearings, Politico, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Read: George Kent’s opening statement in first public impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Impeachment Inquiry: Public Hearing Surfaces New Claim on Trump, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “President Trump in a summer phone call asked about politically advantageous investigations he wanted the Ukrainian president to announce, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine disclosed Wednesday as the House opened the public phase of its seven-week-old impeachment probe.” See also, Impeachment Investigators Hold First Public Hearing–Live Analysis, The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, First public hearing in the Trump impeachment inquiry, CNN Politics, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, and Amanda Wills, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, What Went Down On Day 1 of the Impeachment Hearings, FiveThirtyEight, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Live Updates: Bill Taylor and George Kent testify in first day of public impeachment inquiry, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh and Joan E. Greve, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, William Taylor’s bombshell and 12 more big impeachment hearing moments, Politico, Nahal Toosi, Caitlin Oprysko, and Quint Forgey, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Democrats land damning new evidence in impeachment testimony, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Wednesday, 13 November 2019. See also, Trump says he’s not watching impeachment hearing–then critiques it, Politico, Quint Forgey and Eli Okun, Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

Federal Court Rejects Trump’s Appeal in Fight to Keep Financial Records From Congress, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “A full federal appeals court on Wednesday let stand an earlier ruling that President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of his financial records to Congress, bringing the case to the threshold of a likely Supreme Court battle. In the latest of a string of court losses for Mr. Trump over his uncompromising vow to fight ‘all’ subpoenas from Congress, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected his request that it rehear a case in which he challenged the subpoena to the firm, Mazars USA. A panel of the court had sided with lawmakers in that earlier ruling. The president will now appeal to the Supreme Court, said a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Jay Sekulow. If the justices take the case, as seems likely, it would add another blockbuster case over separation of powers to the court’s current term, which ends in June — in the middle of the presidential election campaign.” See also, Federal court order indicates Congress can seek 8 years of Trump’s tax records, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

‘I’m a Big Fan’: Trump Endorses Another Autocrat in Meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, RollingStone, Ryan Bort, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “On Wednesday, Trump [met with] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ‘I’m a big fan of the president,’ Trump said during a joint press conference with the authoritarian leader, who has jailed dissident journalists, human rights activists, and others, while advocating for the decapitation of those who oppose him. ‘You’re doing a fantastic job for the people of Turkey,’ Trump added. The meeting comes after Erdogan ordered an invasion of northern Syria in order to slaughter the Kurds, who had long been U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS. Trump precipitated that invasion by defying the Pentagon, Congress, and those in his own administration by pulling U.S. troops out of the region, at Erdogan’s request. The invasion displaced over 100,000 Kurds, a group Erdogan has described as ‘terrorists’ who need to be eradicated. ‘The president has a great relationship with the Kurds,’ Trump said on Wednesday.” See also, ‘I’m a Big Fan’: Trump Gives Warm Welcome to Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “President Trump seemed unbothered by Turkey’s recent invasion of Syria, which prompted outrage in Congress and among some in his administration.”

Prosecutors Argue at Trial That Roger Stone Lied to Protect Trump, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and Zach Montague, Wednesday, 13 November 2019: “Focusing squarely on his ties to President Trump, federal prosecutors argued Wednesday that Roger J. Stone Jr. blatantly obstructed a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election because the truth ‘would look really bad’ for Mr. Trump. In closing arguments in Mr. Stone’s obstruction of justice trial, prosecutors argued that he concealed reams of evidence, threatened a fragile witness and told ‘whoppers’ that impeded a House committee’s investigation into how Russia used WikiLeaks to sabotage the 2016 presidential race.”


Thursday, 14 November 2019, Day 1,029:


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Points to Possible Bribery Charge Against Trump, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened the focus of Democrats’ impeachment case against President Trump on Thursday, accusing the president of committing bribery when he withheld vital military assistance from Ukraine at the same time he was seeking its commitment to publicly investigate his political rivals. The speaker’s explicit allegation of bribery, a misdeed identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense, was significant. Even as Ms. Pelosi said that no final decision had been made on whether to impeach Mr. Trump, it suggested that Democrats are increasingly working to put a name to the president’s alleged wrongdoing, and moving toward a more specific set of charges that could be codified in articles of impeachment in the coming weeks. ‘The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry, and that the president abused his power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival — a clear attempt by the president to give himself an advantage in the 2020 election,’ Ms. Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. Democrats have begun using the term ‘bribery’ more freely in recent days to describe what a string of diplomats and career Trump administration officials have said was a highly unusual and inappropriate effort by Mr. Trump and a small group around him to extract a public promise from Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a discredited theory about Democrats conspiring with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election.” See also, Democrats sharpen impeachment case, decrying ‘bribery’ as another potential witness emerges linking Trump to Ukraine scandal, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Toluse Olorunnipa, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “Democrats sharpened their case for impeachment Thursday, escalating their rhetoric against President Trump as additional evidence emerged potentially implicating him directly in the abuse-of-power controversy surrounding U.S. relations with Ukraine. Using her most aggressive language yet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Trump of committing ‘bribery’ by seeking to use U.S. military aid as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could politically benefit the president. Pelosi’s move to cite a specific constitutional offense and move away from using the lawyerly Latin term ‘quid pro quo’ to describe the president’s actions came as a second official from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv was revealed to have overheard Trump discussing political ‘investigations’ in a July 26 phone call with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who served as a key liaison between the White House and Ukraine’s fledgling government.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump committed ‘bribery’ in Ukraine scandal, Politico, Heather Caygle, Thursday, 14 November 2019. See also, Did Trump Commit ‘Bribery’? Pelosi’s Impeachment Accusation, Explained, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, published on Friday, 15 November 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week explicitly accused President Trump of ‘bribery,’ suggesting after hearings in the impeachment investigation opened that he is guilty of one of the few specific offenses listed in the Constitution as a basis for impeaching and removing a president…. Here is a closer look at the concept of bribery and how the emerging evidence about Mr. Trump may line up with it.”

Second US Official in Kyiv heard cellphone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union discussing a need for Ukrainian officials to pursue ‘investigations,’ Associated Press, Desmond Butler, Michael Biesecker, and Matthew Lee, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “A second U.S. Embassy staffer in Kyiv overheard a cellphone call between President Donald Trump and his ambassador to the European Union discussing a need for Ukrainian officials to pursue ‘investigations,’ The Associated Press has learned. The July 26 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland was first described during testimony Wednesday by William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Taylor said one of his staffers overhead the call while Sondland was in a Kyiv restaurant the day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that triggered the House impeachment inquiry. The second diplomatic staffer also at the table was Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv. A person briefed on what Jayanti overheard spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter currently under investigation.”

With a focus on Ukraine, Trump made 67 false claims last week, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “President Donald Trump made 67 false claims last week, 27 of them related to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. This was the sixth consecutive week in which Trump made more false claims about impeachment or Ukraine than about any other subject. Trump’s three most frequent false claims of the week were all impeachment-related. He said seven times that the whistleblower has disappeared (there is no evidence of this), four times that the whistleblower’s complaint was inaccurate (it has proven highly accurate), and four times that the Washington Post fabricated its sources for an article about how Trump had reportedly tried to get Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference declaring he had committed no crimes in his July call with Ukraine’s president (there is no evidence the Post invented any sources; other news outlets, including CNN, quickly followed the Post scoop with similar reports).”

An Internal Investigation Shows State Department Career Employee Was Targeted as ‘Loyalist’ to Democrats, The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “An internal State Department investigation released on Thursday described an ‘improper’ campaign to remove a career employee from a high-level policy office for her perceived political disloyalty to President Trump and speculation that she had been born in Iran. Though the case outlined in the 54-page report by the State Department’s inspector general happened in 2017, it bolstered recent concerns that American diplomats are increasingly vulnerable to political interference under Mr. Trump. An impeachment inquiry by House Democrats is looking into Mr. Trump’s demands that Ukraine investigate his political opponents in exchange for $391 million in security aid. During the time period being examined by the House, a veteran American ambassador to Ukraine was recalled, contributing to a backlash within the diplomatic corps.”

Trump Asks Supreme Court to Bar Release of His Tax Returns, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “President Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to bar his accounting firm from turning over eight years of his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors. The case, the first concerning Mr. Trump’s personal conduct and business dealings to reach the court, could yield a major ruling on the scope of presidential immunity from criminal investigations.” See also, Trump asks Supreme Court to shield his tax returns from prosecutors, setting up historic separation-of-powers showdown, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 14 November 2019. See also, Trump Asks Supreme Court to Block New York Subpoena for Tax Records, The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin, Brent Kendall, and Corinne Ramey, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “President Trump asked the Supreme Court Thursday to block a subpoena for his tax records issued by New York prosecutors investigating hush-money payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Mr. Trump. The filing marks a new phase in Mr. Trump’s battles with the judicial branch, thrusting the Supreme Court into the constitutional struggle between a norm-smashing president and law-enforcement authorities and congressional opponents.”

Deval Patrick Makes a Late Bid in 2020 Presidential Campaign, The New York Times, Astead W. Herndon, Jonathan Martin, and Matt Stevens, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “There is almost no campaign staff or ground operation. Some volunteers mobilized on one day’s notice. The announcement video was not finished until the middle of the night, and an email with instructions for Day 1 was sent to a small inner circle at 2:48 a.m. It may not have been pretty, but former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts began a self-acknowledged long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, filing paperwork for the primary here less than three months before the votes will be cast.”

Democrats want White House senior adviser Stephen Miller to resign after report exposes his emails promoting white nationalism, The Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler, Thursday, 14 November 2019: “A slew of House Democratic leaders called on White House senior adviser Stephen Miller to resign Thursday after a report that he promoted white nationalist ideas and championed xenophobic rhetoric through the conservative website Breitbart before the 2016 election. The report, released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, analyzed more than 900 emails Miller purportedly sent to former Breitbart writer Katie McHugh in 2015 and 2016. The report’s author said that after reviewing the emails — which were provided to the SPLC by McHugh — he was ‘unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.'”