Roger Stone is shit scared. Literally. On Tuesday during jury selection, he had to leave the courtroom because of ahem food poisoning.
"I have Imodium in my chambers," Judge Amy Berman Jackson offered, after Stone excused himself yet again to tend to his churning bowels. But her generosity did not extend to slowing down the voir dire process for the defendant's tummy troubles, and by Wednesday morning the jury was ready for opening argument. Then the shit really hit the fan!
Roger Stone is charged with obstruction, lying to Congress, and tampering with a witness. He repeatedly told House investigators that he never spoke to anyone in the campaign about Wikileaks and the hacked Democratic emails, had no contact or go-between with Julian Assange, never tried to contact Assange, and had no communication regarding upcoming dumps of stolen DNC emails. None of that was true, as the FBI discovered when they recovered hundreds of emails and text messages with Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico off the Moron Squad's phones and hard drives.
But Roger Stone's lawyer has a most excellent defense to that one. See, when Adam Schiff asked if Stone had any correspondence with Wikileaks or a go-between to Assange, Roger Stone assumed he meant pertaining to Russia. It's like that game you played when you were fifteen and you added "in bed" to every sentence. Stone was mentally adding "in Russia" to all of HPSCI's queries, and so he had no "criminal intent" to lie to Congress.
Hugs not drugs.
A horrible massacre took place in northern Mexico Monday. A drug cartel (probably, but it's not clear which one) murdered three women and six children who belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon-offshoot community in Mexico; the youngest was a 10-month-old baby. The victims, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were traveling in a caravan of three cars when they were ambushed by criminal gangs. It's not yet clear, but there's speculation the killings were the result of mistaken identity, just innocent people caught up in a gang war. In any case, the killers kept shooting, then burned the vehicles. Over 200 bullet casings were found on the ground. Seven children who survived the attack were flown across the border to a hospital in Douglas, Arizona.
As with any terrible situation, Donald Trump showed up on Twitter Tuesday morning to make things worse. The solution, he suggested, was to go Full Duterte:
Trump likes to pretend he doesn't like war, but as long as someone else is doing the killing, he sure loves the idea of wiping some people off the face of the earth, and assumes only bad guys would get killed, because he's a fucking idiot who thinks most problems can be solved by killing the right people. After all, if the cartels have no respect for innocent lives, why should we?
War! What is it good for? Guaranteed turnout for a rally, tell you what.
We're running out of synonyms for evil over here.
Now that NO QUID PRO QUO! has given way to QUID PRO QUO, BUT THE GOOD KIND!, the GOP is casting about for something to distract from President Crimetime's one million felonies. What they need is a villain! Someone for the public to blame besides Donald Trump, the guy who did all the crimes. So they've settled on the whistleblower, the good samaritan who risked his career to call 911. It's a tricky maneuver, since every single witness has confirmed his account and Donald Trump himself released the transcript of himself extorting the Ukrainian president. To sell this storyline, they're going to need someone with a light touch, someone charismatic and trustworthy. Someone with really good hair.
Unfortunately, all they've got is Rand Paul and Don Jr.
Also, who decided to cancel 'Firefly'? That show was awesome!
If Donald Trump is impeached, at least two dumbass Republicans in the US Senate are "considering" the possibility of calling Joe Biden and his son Hunter to testify at Trump's Senate trial, plus maybe half the staff of the White House, too, the Washington Post reports today. According to two unnamed insiders, the
effort gained steam on Capitol Hill last week at a private lunch where Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and John Neely Kennedy (La.) raised the idea of summoning Hunter Biden [...] Paul took his private push public at a campaign rally with the president Monday night in Kentucky.
"I say this to my fellow colleagues in Congress, to every Republican in Washington: Step up and subpoena Hunter Biden and subpoena the whistleblower!" Paul told the crowd, also referring to the unnamed intelligence official who first raised alarms about the president's Ukraine conduct.
While most of the article is about other Republicans going on the record to say why they think that's a terrible idea, Trump's hardcore supporters think it's super smart, because when a president is being tried for putting pressure on a foreign country to get help in an election, shouldn't half-assed already-debunked conspiracy theories get equal time?
Yes, Jim Jordan should DEFINITELY get to ask Marie Yovanovitch these super-smart questions in public.
Watching the Republicans HURR DURR their way through Marie Yovanovitch's House testimony is hilarious. But at the same time, it's really not funny at all. This career public servant gave 33 years of her life to the United States foreign service, only to be kicked to the curb when the Russians put a conspiracy-loving idiot in the White House. And now the GOP is going to smear Yovanovitch and pretend that the anti-corruption reformers we supported in Ukraine were actually the bad guys, so as to better launder the reputation of the corrupt crooks who were feeding Trump lies that led him to try to extort the Ukrainian president. It's a fucking disgrace.
Rep. Jim Jordan got the party started by whining for the record about Nancy Pelosi and her fake impeachment hearings which is NO FAIR because of some lies he just made up about precedent. Then Rep. Lee Zeldin bitched that HPSCI Chair Adam Schiff isn't head of Foreign Affairs, so how come he gets to interview a State Department witness, HUH HUH HUH? Then they bitched for 20 minutes about the Washington Post getting a copy of Yovanovitch's opening statement. And it only went downhill from there.
But Democrats managed to elicit a comprehensive account of the ambassador's slow realization that Rudy Giuliani and his Chucklefuck buddies were gunning for her through a backchannel that took precedence over official State Department policy in Ukraine. Yovanovitch's first inkling that something was amiss came from her contacts in the Ukrainian government, who called to say, Hey, who is it that actually speaks for the US government, and also YOU IN DANGER, GIRL!
Donald Trump hurt the Chucklefuck's feelings, you see.
IMPORTANT CHUCKLEFUCK UPDATE!
It would appear that one of Rudy Giuliani's Chucklefucks, Lev Parnas, is signaling he may be ready to flip. Or, you know, "flip." Partially, in a limited way, at least for the purposes of the Trump impeachment inquiry. Remember that Parnas is part of the same cohort of criming idiots that includes the imprisoned Paul Manafort, who "flipped" for Robert Mueller but actually just kept lying the whole time, and the indicted Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who's been assessed by US law enforcement to be way high up in the Russian mob. In fact, it would appear that the Chucklefucks -- or at least Lev Parnas, if not Igor Fruman -- are being bankrolled by Dmitry Firtash.
Oh yeah, and Parnas is tied up with Donald Trump, who is also a criminal. So take this with a grain of salt!
The New York Times reports that Lev Parnas has "broken ranks" and is now talking to impeachment investigators in Congress. The paper of record additionally reports that this is partially happening because Donald Trump said in public that he didn't even know the Chucklefucks, and that made Parnas very :(
See you around, Tim Morrison, since you are quitting right now today.
You want proof the GOP is losing their shit? Look at their response to National Security Council aide Tim Morrison's testimony yesterday in which he confirmed both the Giuliani back channel and the president of the United States offering the Ukrainian president a quid pro quo of US aid to Ukraine for an investigation of Joe Biden's son.
Morrison, who spent 17 years as a Republican congressional staffer, has blessed the July 25 extortion call, about which he was "not concerned that anything illegal was discussed." So looks like we just have to pack it in on this whole impeachment thing, right?
Maybe let's just check that transcript, though, just to be safe.
Democrats should just impeach Trump before the holidays so we can move on to our Christmas shopping.
New York Times columnist David Brooks thinks we need to just impeach Trump already and "move on." The president's gross corruption and lawlessness are apparently just a "distraction" from more important things, like ending the "immoral" practice of tipping underpaid wait staff.
Brooks admits that Trump is probably guilty, but he believes impeachment is ultimately a wasted effort because the necessary number of Republican senators will never vote to remove Trump. He's still too popular with Republican voters, who are the worst despite what Ellen DeGeneres tells you. He's resigned to what he considers an incontrovertible truth rather than even mildly concerned that Republicans defiantly prioritize their own political power over the nation's moral integrity. This is somehow Democrats' fault.
"In the first place, Democrats have not won widespread public support. Nancy Pelosi always said impeachment works only if there's a bipartisan groundswell, and so far there is not."
Democrats will never convince Americans their president shouldn't be a crook. Brooks knows this because he's visited "real America" in his space ship.
"I've been traveling pretty constantly since this impeachment thing got going."
Money well spent, New York Times! You fired your copy editors but can afford to send Lord Kitchener on his imperial adventures through the heartland.
"I've been to a bunch of blue states and a bunch of red states (including Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah)."
You've been everywhere, man.
"In coastal blue states, impeachment comes up in conversation all the time. In red states, it never comes up; ask people in red states if they've been talking about it with their friends, they shrug and reply no, not really."
Brooks is obviously only speaking to white people. A lot of black people live in red states, especially North Carolina (21 percent) and Tennessee (16.79 percent). More than 80 percent of black voters want Trump repealed and replaced. It's highly unlikely that Brooks visited a barber shop or beauty salon and got only shrugs when he asked about impeachment. Brooks probably just stopped at the OK Corral Shooting Range where the targets are all shaped like Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Now, if those guys aren't actually talking about impeachment or threatening to start another Civil War if Trump's removed, then there's little risk of electoral disaster for Democrats if they uphold the rule of law. But that's not the point, I guess. Brooks insists that no one important cares about impeachment.
'Absolute immunity' is absolute horseshit.
Yesterday Donald Trump's lawyers got a massive dick-kicking when they tried to argue that TRUMP IS KING nonsense in a real-life court. The House is suing to force former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify, and Trump's lawyers are suing to stop it under the vaunted legal doctrine of Nuh Uh Cuz Absolute Immunity. Which sounds made up, because it is! And while it's a mistake to assume the outcome of any case until the order is signed, US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson seemed highly skeptical of the government's position.
To buy the Justice Department's case, you have to sign off on three really bad arguments. The first is jurisdictional -- the DOJ argues that the court is simply not allowed to intervene in disputes between the two other branches of government.
"You're suggesting . . . out of respect for separation of powers, the judiciary is not going to answer what the law is when the executive and legislature are in dispute?" asked Judge Jackson incredulously, observing that the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to hand over his tapes and that a trial judge ordered Bush White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify to Congress. "I had understood the whole system is such that that is exactly what the judicial function is."
John Eisenberg, Tim Morrison, John Bolton, OH MY!
Wow, there is much going on in Impeachment Land, and we're not even talking about Nancy Pelosi's impeachment resolution passing in the House by a vote of 232 to "people who eat paste," which included two dickhole Democrats, neither of whom were Tulsi Gabbard, good job for once, Tulsi!
Let's briefly tick through some news and see if we can assess the state of play before it all changes in two hours:
She deserved better.
Katie Hill, who announced her resignation from Congress this week after her abusive estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, distributed revenge porn pictures of her to RedState and the Daily Mail, delivered her final speech on the floor today. Her last day will be Friday, and her last act in Congress, apart from this speech, was to vote with her colleagues in favor of the resolution on the next phase of the impeachment investigation into our future abusive ex-president.
If you have a box of Kleenex nearby, you may want to grab it:
WATCH: Rep. Katie Hill's full farewell speech on House floor youtu.be
Can a white guy get some due process around here?
It's a truth universally acknowledged that "law and order" conservatives will turn into common ACLU members whenever a white guy is faced with actual accountability. Head White Man in Charge Donald Trump is staring down the barrel of an impeachment inquiry, so it's only natural that the Fraternal Order of Police would publicly defend his constitutional right to shred the Constitution.
The National FOP released this statement on Tuesday. Please don't try to read while drinking coffee.
That's just precious. First, let's talk about how the police generally treat the "indigent living on the street" or "homeless people," as they're called in non-Victor Hugo fan fiction.
A few years back, Crown Heights, New York, cops beat up a homeless man who was sleeping (with permission) in a synagogue. Miami police arrested a woman last year for "obstructing the sidewalk" with her homelessness. San Francisco police were recently accused of handing out tickets to homeless people "like candy." If the homeless can't pay the fine for their unseemly poverty, they are subject to a bench warrant, which kicks them off the waiting list for a shelter. The cycle just grows more vicious from there.
Homelessness is a complex problem with no easy solutions. I'm sure there are police officers who try to balance the rights of homeless people with the laws that criminalize their existence. But it insults our intelligence and moral sensibilities to compare the least powerful among us to the most powerful man in the world. Trump tried to extort the Ukrainian president so he could gather dirt on his political opponent. He's not the likely subject of a Bob Dylan protest song.
It was supposed to be John Sullivan's confirmation hearing for ambassador to Russia. It went a different direction.
Hold your horses, United States Senate! You'll get your chance to do an impeachment trial of Donald Trump before you know it, after the House of Representatives holds one thousand amazing (for us) and painful (for Trump) hearings and votes to impeach the motherfucker already. We promise.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee accidentally held an impeachment hearing on Wednesday. It wasn't supposed to be an impeachment hearing. It was supposed to be the confirmation hearing for Trump's next ambassador to the land of borscht and Igor, Trump's own mother Russia, which he loveth like it's his real dad. Trouble is, the nominee, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, is actually kiiiiind of a Deep State career State Department guy, and as such, he said some things we are bettin' Big Treason in the White House is not happy about.
Ken Cuccinelli, Donald Trump's (acting) director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), said in a congressional hearing Wednesday that he was the person responsible for the unannounced decision in August to send letters to hundreds of critically ill immigrants -- many of them children -- telling them and their families they had 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. At the hearing, held by a subcommittee of House Oversight, Cooch was exactly the same charmer as all those years ago when, as attorney general of Virginia, he wanted to ban buttsex and make all abortion sluts get cozy with a vaginal ultrasound wand, for Jesus.
The hearing was a follow-up to that September fiasco where representatives from USCIS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refused to answer any questions about the policy, who had ordered it, or why anyone thought it was a great idea to tell critically ill immigrant kids to leave the USA and please die somewhere else. There was an ongoing lawsuit, you see, so the lower-level dudes couldn't say much of anything. But yesterday, the actual agency heads were there, because Oversight chair Elijah Cummings's last official act on Earth was to send subpoenas to Cuccinelli and to (acting) ICE director Matthew Albence so they'd show up and be accountable.
Didn't mean they had to like being there, though, so both of them started with ritual respects to Cummings, then got on to the business of being as dickish as they could.
Presidenting While Idiot.
What's that thing Daniel Drezner always tweets about how he'll believe Trump has grown into the presidency when Trump's own advisers stop treating him like a whiny fucking dumb baby? Looks like another one is in order, because Natasha Bertrand has new reporting from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's testimony, and it turns out that Vindman, the actual top Ukraine guy at the National Security Council, was excluded from a key opportunity to brief Trump on Ukraine, because Trump was really and truly under the impression that a whole 'nother guy, Devin Nunes's dumb idiot conspiracy theory guy Kash Patel, was the top NSC Ukraine expert. Vindman was excluded so as not to confuse President Good Brain.
Briefly recall: Patel used to be Fucking Devin's top guy, and wrote Fucking Devin's stupidass "RELEASE THE MEMO!" back when he worked for Fucking Devin at House Intel. He was awarded the coveted Order on Ineptitude by a federal judge in Houston in 2016, when he worked for the Justice Department. Somehow he failed upward to the NSC, where he's been bringing orders upon orders of ineptitude to Trump's foreign policy. And Trump reportedly considers Patel one of his TOP YOOKRAIN EXPURTS, even referring to Patel as the "Ukraine director" at NSC, which freaked out Fiona Hill, former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs.
Again: Patel was not the "Ukraine director." Vindman is the Ukraine director. But Patel had some VERY IMPORTANT documents about Ukraine that he had colored with permanent markers and glitter to show Trump, so that counts obviously! What kind of documents? Fuck if we know, but we bet they featured a lot of "Ukraine facts."
So picking up with Natasha Bertrand's scoop from Vindman's testimony, we learn that VINDMAN was not allowed to debrief TRUMP after the American delegation returned from its trip to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's inauguration in May, because TRUMP thought KASH PATEL was the official White House Director Of Ukraine-ing, not VINDMAN, even though VINDMAN was ACTUALLY THAT, and White House officials didn't want to HURT THE PRESIDENT'S BRAIN WITH NEW INFORMATION.
Ilhan Omar votes 'present' on House resolution condemning it. Oh, Omar.
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution yesterday recognizing the slaughter of much of Turkey's Armenian minority by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide, the first time the House has considered such a resolution in decades. The Armenian Genocide occurred between 1915 and 1923, and as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum noted in a statement marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the mass murders, was among the events that led Raphael Lemkin to coin the term "genocide." While the House was at it, it also passed a separate measure to impose economic sanctions on Turkey and its military leaders in response to its invading northern Syria to drive out formerly US-supported Kurdish militias.
As every discussion of the House resolution notes, US recognition of the Armenian genocide is one of those perennial issues that Congress sometimes makes a little noise about, but this particular resolution -- the first to make it out of committee in 35 years -- has more to do with the present Turkish government's decision to invade northern Syria and drive out Kurdish militias than any sudden interest in historical remembrance. Prior efforts all failed due to congressional unwillingness to rile up Turkey, which considers foreign governments calling the genocide a genocide a "threat to its sovereignty."
It probably would have been more "noble" to stand up and recognize the genocide outside of current geopolitics, but look: Turkey's present campaign of wiping away the Kurds' experiment in radical democracy and equality is plenty worth condemnation. If that also leads to symbolic recognition of a past genocide, that's not a downside.
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