Liveblogging The Republican Impeachment Response, Which Will Be Duuuuuuhhhhhh (Day Five)
Good Saturday morning to you! Come on in, Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone and Pam Bondi and Ken Starr and maybe Not Trump's Lawyer More Like Just Some Guy Supposed to Say Some Things But NOT TRUMP'S LAWYER OKAY (Alan Dershowitz) who are all preparing very hard to wow us with some legal WHEREFORES and HEREBYS and a whoooole lotta conspiracy theory.
It's going to be SOME DUMB, we are saying! Here's a livestream! Ready? GO!
Taking a first shift till she taps out, it's LIZ!
And a very good morning to all of you! Last night after Adam Schiff stopped giving his brilliant closing speech and Evan went off to sleep the sleep of the innocent after his amazing liveblog marathon, the Republican faux outrage machine swung into action. It seems the GOP's collective granny panties were in a royal twist because Adam Schiff referred to a CBS report saying the White House was threatening to put the head of any disloyal Republican senator "on a pike." And by "disloyal" they mean to Trump. As for loyalty to the country and their oath of office, well, you better surrender that at the door if you want to survive in Donald Trump's GOP.
Yelling the loudest would be Susan Collins, who already asked to speak to the manager about rudeness by her server Jerry Nadler. She's bitched that reporters should be barred from the front row and issued moronic statements explaining that she's not actually voting against hearing from witnesses when she votes against hearing from witnesses, because ... you know. Clearly Permit Patty is worried she's going to get ratioed at the polls the way she does on Twitter, and she's lashing out like a common Martha McSally.
And here's Lisa Murkowski, who's not up in November but is very hot to preserve her vaunted reputation as a moderate who sometimes bucks her party.
These patriotic senators were really seriously thinking about doing their damn jobs, but now they can't because ADAM SCHIFF IS MEAN. And now you guys just made them vote against witnesses or evidence in this case. Hope you're happy now!
Hahahaha, fuck right off. Like John Cornyn was ever in a million years going to vote to subpoena John Bolton, much less convict the president.
Let's see what Rep. Mark Sanford has to say about that. Oh, wait, we can't! Because he criticized Donald Trump, and then the president made goddamn sure he lost his primary in 2018. Or Matt Gaetz, who was cut from the Republican impeachment team after he criticized Trump's assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a fact confirmed by White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland. That would be the same Eric Ueland who just this week walked by reporters covering the impeachment and said, "I can't wait for the revenge." FFS, Donald Trump is still attacking John McCain at his pitchfork MAGA rallies, and that guy is dead.
But please, tell us more about how all these senators are deeply offended at the suggestion that the president is thin skinned, vengeful, lunatic who uses the entire apparatus of the government and the Republican party itself to destroy anyone who puts half an inch of daylight between themselves and his orange ass.
The other major development last night was that Lev Parnas's wildass lawyer Joseph Bondy went on the Rachel Maddow show to discuss the tape of Donald Trump shouting for ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to be fired at a private dinner in April 2018 at the Trump hotel. The existence of the tape, which confirms that Parnas's earlier account of the meeting was entirely accurate, was originally reported Wednesday by ABC, and you can listen to excerpts here.
Your dedicated chucklefuck correspondent -- that would be me -- will give you a deeper dive on Monday. But the important takeaways are: (1) Parnas did not give the tape to ABC, but he did have a copy of it saved to his iCloud, which may mean his chucklefucker buddy Igor Fruman was the source and is getting ready to flip; (2) Parnas was gunning for Yovanovitch in spring of 2018, likely in relation to whatever natural gas deal he was trying to make happen with Harry Sargeant, III, the Florida shipping magnate who was banking his Ukraine travels before Firtash was in the picture; (3) SDNY and the House Intelligence Committee both have copies of the tape; (4) Lev has no cooperation agreement with prosecutors, but he's flapping his yap anyway in hopes that it will help him at his eventual sentencing; and (5) Trump asks how long Ukraine could stand up to Russian aggression without American assistance, to which Parnas replies, "Without us, about thirty seconds." So Trump knew exactly how much Ukraine needed that aid before he asked Zelenskyy to "do us a favor, though."
Okay, enough, foreplay. On with the Republican impeachment fuckery! Here's a livestream for you -- or you could spend Saturday driving an ice pick into your eye. Tough choice!
10:04 Senators taking their seats. "Let us pray," says Chaplain Barry C. Black. INDEED.
10:06 Senate Sargent at Arms Stenger sounds like he's from Baltimore, so I'm for it. Mitch McConnell says today will take 2-3 hours. Cipollone up, HOORAY.
10:10 Cipollone says Trump did "nothing wrong." Does not say why he tried to cover up that "nothing wrong." Cipollone promises to show all the evidence THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO SEE. Amazingly, lightning fails to strike when he excoriates House Dems for hiding evidence ... by forwarding it in the 28,000 pages of transcripts and documents sent over to the Senate with the impeachment referral.
10:12 LOLOL. Cipollone wants Senators to RDEA TEH TDMPAOINSDFFSSG6#PT
10:14 Okay, here's Cipollone's first lie! We're no Daniel Dale but Cipo would like you to believe that Trump was so pissed off about "burden sharing," since Europe and Germany don't do shit for Ukraine, that he withheld the congressionally allocated funds. Except ... NOPE, Europe has given $16.4 billion in grants and loans to Ukraine since 2014.
10:18 INPEACHMENT before an election is UNLEGAL says Cipollone, and now Michael Purpura, deputy White House Counsel, is up with video of Adam Schiff's treason paraphrase.
10:26 OMFG, they're going with the "PERFECT PERFECT TRANSCRIPT" theory. Here's Purpura's six key facts: (1) No link between withholding funds and investigation in the call, (2) Ukraine said NO QUID PRO QUO while holding a bag of frozen peas over their black eyes, (3) Ukraine didn't know money was withheld until the end of August, except THEY KNEW IN JULY; (4) no witness was allowed to testify who could connect Trump to the hold; (5) the Ukrainians got their money eventually without the investigation, so no harm no foul; and (6) Trump loves Ukraine so much he's going to divorce Melon and marry it, unlike Barack Obama.
10:28 Okay, "burden sharing" is the new drinking game.
10:30 Yet more lies about Germany.
10:32 Purpura is yammering some nonsense about the Javelin missile sales to Ukraine. He's accusing Democrats of claiming that the javelin sales were connected to the paused security assistance. Which ... never happened.
10:34 So now Purpura is attacking Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for voicing "policy concerns" about the call. And he's quoting Lt. Gen. Kellogg, NSA, who was also on the July 25 call ,saying the call was TERRIFIC. But the White House didn't supply Kellogg to testify, so ... FOH.
10:37 Cool, so Purpura is giving an entire speech accusing the Democrats of cherry-picking evidence, by showing videos of cherry picked evidence.
10:40 Why didn't the Ukrainians, who had been getting massive pressure for an entire year from the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, announce to the media that they were getting extorted by the president of the United States? IF THE GLOVE DOESN'T FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT.
10:44 LIESSSSSSSSS. Purpura played a video of the House hearings, accusing the Democrats of HIDING IT from the Senate, with multiple witnesses saying that the Ukrainians didn't say a word to them about the assistance being on hold. None of them is Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, saying that her staff got a call just two hours after the July 25 Trump-Zelenskyy call saying, "What is going on with Ukrainian security assistance?"
10:48 Oh, now he's slagging Cooper and Catherine Croft, who also said that the Ukrainians knew already. He's probably going to get to Sondland saying the Ukrainians knew it, too, any second now.
10:51 Gordon Sondland, come on down! Look, here's some more one-second video clips strung together to prove that Democrats lied about poor innocent Donald Trump. All the transcripts were entered into the record, and the White House blocked testimony by anyone who could tie Trump to the scheme, but it's Democrats who are hiding evidence.
10:55 Oh, really? He wants to bring Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson into this? Because Ron Johnson is up to his shriveled little cheese curds in this scheme, and everyone in the room knows it.
10:57 WhYYYY dIdn'T DeMOcrapS shoW YoU THe TeSTImonY TheY INCLudeD In tHE EviDENCe ThEY SEnT OVeR?
10:58 Fuckin' kill me, it's Jay Sekulow. And he wants to talk about the Mueller report. His line is that Donald Trump had every reason to trust drooling lunatic Rudy Giuliani, a guy who gives interviews with his fly down and relies on Lev goddamn Parnas, over the entire federal intelligence apparatus.
11:05 Jay Sekulow, who wants to pretend that Ukraine's "interference" in the 2016 election is somehow analogous to Russia's massive campaign, has just accused Democrats of making a strawman argument. The Sargent at Arms will undoubtedly be over to arrest him for the murder of irony real soon.
11:10 Sekulow making the argument that the Ukrainians actually got their meeting, because Trump sat down with Zelenskyy at the UN eventually. Does anyone else notice that this guy, like his boss, has really small hands?
11:12 Jay Sekulow can't do names. He's already butchered "Schiff" twice, seems to have elided Catherine Croft and Laura Cooper, and multiple Ukrainians. Anyway, now he's trying to back-formulate some bullshit about Donald Trump having a real review of Ukrainian aid before releasing it. That was done in five days, he still with held the money for all of August and ten days of September, and only released the money after the whistleblower complaint got out.
PLUS PLUS PLUS, the money was almost all coming back to American companies as arms purchases, so .... how was it going to get corruptly embezzled?
11:19 Jay Sekulow is now going through a list of holds announced by the Trump administration on foreign aid to other countries. Can you spot the slippage? Can you
Got it yet?
TIME'S UP. Those are holds that were ANNOUNCED. Not buried under a veil of secrecy, with everyone who could explain them being explicitly barred from testifying about it under a totally spurious claim of executive privilege. Sorry, Jay, thanks for playing.
11:23 Just in case there's any doubt that this annoying gasbag, who's currently throwing a glitter bomb about javelin missiles, FISA, Ukrainian corruption, and devious democrats in the air, was ass-deep in the Ukraine scheme, here's Lev Parnas meeting up with Rudy in March 2019 to get their stories straight.
11:27 Sekulow says Pat Philbin is up to prove that blanket refusal to answer congressional subpoenas is NOT obstruction of justice. Holy shit this guy is boring, there's not enough Diet Coke in the world to keep me awake for this asshole. He's trying to defend Cipollone's absolute bullshit letter refusing to comply with any oversight.
11:31 Oh, FFS. They're pretending that they considered each subpoena independently before deciding not to answer. Like we didn't all see this back in APRIL.
Or last week in Davos.
I mean, come the fuck on, dude.
11:40 This guy is doing his very best to put me to sleep here, but NO! Because I have covered this administration for three goddamn years, and I've seen them refuse every single request for documents in a blanket defiance of normal congressional oversight. Whether it's Jared Kushner's security clearance, or the president's conversations with Corey Lewandowski, or the justification for killing Qasem Soleimani, or the legally mandated disclosure to the Finance Committee of Trump's tax returns, they've shouted EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE while sticking two middle fingers up. So for Philbin to pretend that the White House considered these subpoenas and rejected them out of deference to legislative procedures is just offensive!
11:43 Philbin is now saying that Donald Trump wasn't really allowed to participate since, after Trump was invited to participate in the hearing with the law professors, he didn't get sufficient information about how many law professors would be invited. So, that meant he was uninvited. Got it?
11:45 I really cannot convey to you, if you're not watching, how excruciatingly boring this guy is. It's like watching toenails grow. It's like watching toenail fungus grow.
11:50 Philbin is now attacking the whistleblower and mischaracterizing the Inspector General's description of the whistleblower as having a possible "political bias." Boy, this guy Philbin knows that sliming the whistleblower is low, and it shows in every syllable. He'll still do it, though, because he's All the President's Men.
Every single thing the whistleblower said was true, of course. As was Schiff's statement that he hadn't spoken "directly with the whistleblower." Schiff's staff spoke with the whistleblower's lawyer, but that won't stop Philbin from lying his ass off.
11:55 Now we're back to NO COLLUSION MUELLER REPORT SO 'SPENSIVE SHIFTY SCHIFF. Oh THANK GOD he's done. Back to Cipollone.
11:56 LOLOLOL, Cipollone is saying that Schiff disrespected Nadler by not showing up to answer questions at the Judiciary Committee, like Ken Starr. Ken Starr was the legally appointed Special Prosecutor and Schiff is HPSCI chair, but SURE EXACTLY THE SAME.
11:58 Yes, let's read all those times when Trump said he was inviting Zelenskyy to the White House for a meeting. That meeting never happened. And Mike Pompeo canceled his trip to Ukraine twice this month.
12:00 Cipollone is doing that low, serious, emotional voice as he completely riffs about "impeachment shouldn't be a shell game." Adam Schiff he ain't.
12:02 Okay, in summary and in conclusion, CLICK HERE to see the one weird trick THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW to keep a criminal president in office. The end.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.