It's Impeachment-Eve-Thirty, Motherf*ckers! Let's Remember What Trump's Ukraine Scandal Is Really All About.
Welcome to Impeachment Eve! Or, you know, the first of many Impeachment Eves.
Tomorrow is the first public impeachment hearing in the House, and the guests of honor will be (acting) ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent, two people whose testimonies behind closed doors were devastating to Donald Trump. The hearings start at 10 a.m. Eastern, which is "time" where you live, it will be aired on all the channels and all the internets, and yes, we will be FUCK IT, WE'LL DO IT LIVE-ing here at Wonkette, which is another word for "liveblogging."
Last night, Rachel Maddow started off her show with an "A" block that we think really captured what this impeachment is all about. As complicated as certain details have gotten, remember that the central crime has remained simple: Donald Trump abused the power of his office for personal gain by extorting a country to manufacture fake dirt to help him win the 2020 election, and also to legitimize his 2016 "win," while threatening to withhold military aid they desperately need to survive their war with Russia, Trump's BFF who invaded them.
That's it. Memorize that sentence if you want to. Set it to music! CHOREOGRAPH A JIG!
It's not "allegedly." He did it. Everybody who has testified says he did it. The original whistleblower complaint says he did it. His READ THE TRANSDFRIPT!!11!21! says he did it. Mick Mulvaney says he did it. His confessions say he did it.
And oh yeah, tomorrow's all-stars Bill Taylor and George Kent sure as hell say he did it, as does Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador who got fired because she was in the way of Trump doing it, who will be testifying in public on Friday.
Game over. Get the un-American fucker out of office already.
BUT IN CASE YOU HAVE MISSED SOME STUFF, LET'S CATCH UP!
Maddow went through a bunch of news from this week, some of which we've gotten to, some of which we haven't, because of how there are 300 new stories per hour, and we don't have that many people available to type dick jokes about the news.
Watch along with us!
Trump Administration Models Corruption Even As It Scolds Ukraine | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC www.youtube.com
It's Recap Maddow Time!
Lev told Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden back in the spring! At least according to Lev!
A lawyer for Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani's Chucklefucks, now says that ACTUALLY Lev and Igor Fruman went to Ukraine way back in the spring and told Ukraine it had to do investigations into Joe Biden, or else NO MILITARY AID FOR YOU, and also Mike Pence wouldn't grace Volodymyr Zelenskiy's inauguration with his presence.
As Maddow noted, Trump did put a hold on the military aid, and Mike Pence was disallowed from going to Ukraine for the inauguration, so whether or not Lev is saying the truth, funny how those exact things happened!
Rick Perry, UKRAINE CORRUPTION FIGHTER!
Outgoing Secretary of Energy Rick Perry went to Zelenskiy's inauguration in May, though! Oh yes, Rick Perry, who is quit-firing himself from "administration" for "reasons."
The AP has a story this week about how Rick Perry -- the rep of the administration that wants to fight Ukraine "corruption" hahahahahahaha OK -- went there in May and managed to score a sweet-ass oil 'n' gas bid'ness deal in Ukraine for some of his buddies. Did those guys outbid their competition? Hahahahaha fuck you, they bid "millions" less. GO GIT 'EM UKRAINE CORRUPTION, RICK PERRY!
Of course, at that point, we know that Ukraine was well aware that the Trump administration was breathing down its neck to investigate Joe Biden. And, you know, whatever Lev and Igor and Rudy Giuliani were doing.
"Corruption," though, you guys! So much "corruption," in Ukraine!
We have new ones!
Maddow spent time with the testimony from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia and Ukraine Laura Cooper, who affirmed to Congress that Trump personally ordered the hold on Ukraine's military defense aid and testified that she's pretty sure Ukraine was well aware its aid was on hold long before Trump would like us to believe.
She also talked about how she was part of the group that put together the announcement this summer that Ukraine's aid was on its way, how HAPPY Ukraine was to hear that (because it's important for countries like that to have public affirmations that they have American backing) and how fucked everything went when Dipshit McPresident ordered the hold. You know, because he was upset about UKRAINE "CORRUPTION" BOO HOO HOO.
Anyway, Cooper testified that everybody at Defense working on this was freaked out because they were pretty sure holding up aid to Ukraine was ILLEGAL, AS IN CRIME.
"In [a meeting on July 26, the day after Trump's treason crime call] immediately deputies began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion," Cooper testified, adding that "senior leaders were expressing that they didn't see how this was legally available."
Maddow also sends us to reporting from Bloomberg, about how the State Department aid to Ukraine -- there were two aid packages Trump put on hold, one that went through Defense and one that went through State -- was held up, how that hold was also considered ILLEGAL, AS IN CRIME, and how it ended up finally being released by John Bolton, in what seems like one of his last acts as national security advisor.
Know how we talked the other day about how it sure looks like Trump has been extorting Ukraine in some way or another FOR YEARS when it comes to military defense aid appropriated by Congress, and good congressman Gerry Connolly said we should focus on the sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine, to really get a sense of where this story is going?
State Department official Catherine Croft, who used to advise former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, had some scary shit to say in her testimony about how the last time the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles was approved for Ukraine, there was yet another hold, and the lone objector was Mick Mulvaney's Office of Management and Budget, and you know why?
BECAUSE TRUMP DIDN'T WANT TO MAKE RUSSIA MAD, BOO HOO.
Q. ... [T]he Javelins -- the provision of the Javelins in 20 -- late 2017, early 2018, do you recall whether there was ever a hold or a freeze put on the Javelin provision?
A. [long answer that means "yes" and that only one agency had put the hold on it - Ed.]
Q. And which was that agency?
Q. Did you understand why?
A. I understood the reason to be a policy one.
Q. What was the policy one?
A. In a briefing with Mr. Mulvaney, the question centered around the Russian reaction.
Q. What was the concern about the Russian reaction?
A. That Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine. [...]
Q. If we didn't provide Javelins to Ukraine, would that serve Russia's interest?
A. In my opinion, yes.
In case you were ever wondering if Donald Trump is a Russian asset for the millionth time this year.
Anderson was a Foreign Service guy who also advised former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, and his testimony is also now out. Surprise, he has another fucked-ass story about Trump, Russia, and their mutual willingness to stomp all over Ukraine for their own venal purposes.
The basic gist, as Josh Marshall sets up over at TPM, is that in January 2019, an American Navy ship was in the Black Sea, intending to go through the Kerch Strait, which goes right between Crimea (Ukraine, occupied/stolen by Russia) and Russia. It's called a "freedom of navigation" operation, because the US has the right to travel to help our ally Ukraine, and has to make a point of showing it sometimes.
Long story short, Trump saw a CNN story about it and FLIPPED HIS SHIT, because HE DIDN'T WANT TO MAKE RUSSIA MAD, BOO HOO. So he called John Bolton at home because he was mad about the TV news report, and therefore made Bolton cancel the mission.
You know, in case you were ever wondering if Donald Trump is a Russian asset for the millionth time this year.
TPM has all the transcript, if you wanna read it.
BTW, Anderson testified that the mission happened a month later, presumably at a time when President Dipshit wasn't watching CNN.
IN SUMMARY AND IN CONCLUSION!
The other day, we got REALLY pissed off about Trump and Republicans swearing up and down that there was no extortion or quid pro quo put on Ukraine, just because one time Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he felt "no pressure" on his infamous phone call with Trump. It struck us just how gross this whole situation is, after we read Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's testimony about the vast power disparity between the American president and the young new president of this small country Ukraine, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, whose country is partially occupied by its hostile neighbor Russia.
Many Ukrainians have died in this war they did not ask for. Ukrainians died while Trump was holding up the military aid, in an effort to extort that country to give him fake dirt on Joe Biden, because Trump can't win a presidential election in the honest way, owing to how much literally everyone hates him.
That is what this is all about. It came through in Vindman's testimony, in Bill Taylor's testimony, in George Kent's testimony, and in the testimonies of all three of the folks we just excerpted above.
That's what we're going to watch on TV, starting tomorrow.
10 a.m. sharp, you ding dongs!
For now, you may have OPEN THREAD.
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