Keep Talking, John Kelly. You're Not Done Atoning.
We've officially reached the break-glass-moment of Donald Trump's slide into autocracy, so it's interesting to see who actually decides to speak up, especially among those who used to serve in Trump's administration.
John Bolton decided during the impeachment trial that he didn't really want to talk to Congress, at least not that much, so he flipped off the House and offered his services to a Republican Senate that didn't want him. That way he could just put it all in his book, but UH OH, John Bolton, Trump is blocking your book and he's telling people he wants you criminally investigated! You hate to see it. (And we mean that. As much as we believe Bolton should take a mustache ride to hell, when we have reached the point in a criminal presidency where Trump is musing about maybe criminally prosecuting JOHN FUCKING BOLTON, his former national security advisor, then it's a pull-the-fire-alarm moment, as we have been saying all week.)
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly has said a few things the past couple years. When the Bolton book excerpts started leaking during the impeachment trial, in which Bolton confirmed every bit of Trump's Ukraine crime scheme but couldn't seem to find a microphone to walk up to say that out loud, John Kelly said he believes Bolton and that trials should have witnesses. Bold statements, if you're chickenshit. Also, it got leaked through the grapevine before Kelly was fired that he, like Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster, thought Trump was a total fucking idiot.
But Kelly has some things to say now! Some might say he's unleashed! And if it somehow helps counter Trump's unhinged belly-flop into authoritarianism, then fine, we'll highlight it.
At an event at Drew University, Kelly did a Q&A, and the Atlantic reports that he said the following:
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, said that [Lt. Col. Alexander] Vindman is blameless and was simply following the training he'd received as a soldier; migrants are "overwhelmingly good people" and "not all rapists"; and Trump's decision to condition military aid to Ukraine on an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden upended long-standing U.S. policy.
Wait, isn't Kelly on the board of one of Trump's Mexican baby jail concentration camp contractors? Huh. Oh well, we guess NOT ALL RAPISTS! is an improvement from Trump's position.
But let's focus on what Kelly said about Vindman, whom Trump fired from the NSC along with his brother in an act of bald retaliation for Vindman witnessing a crime, reporting it to the proper authorities (White House lawyers), obeying a lawful congressional subpoena, and telling Congress the truth about the Trump crimes he witnessed.
Having seen something "questionable," Vindman properly notified his superiors, Kelly said. Vindman, who specialized in Ukraine policy at the National Security Council at the time, was among multiple U.S. officials who listened in on the call. When subpoenaed by Congress in the House impeachment hearings, Vindman complied and told the truth, Kelly said.
"He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave," Kelly told the audience at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. "He went and told his boss what he just heard."
Kelly also confirmed, as Bolton did (in the book the White House is blocking, not with his hairy mouth), that Trump absolutely extorted Ukraine for an announcement of investigations in exchange for aid Congress had already appropriated.
"Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians," Kelly said. "And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that's what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in."
And what was that called, when Vindman heard Trump condition the military aid on investigations into these two conspiracy theories Trump heard about Ukraine and the Bidens from Vladimir Putin and Rudy Giuliani? Tell us, John Kelly!
[T]hat was tantamount to hearing "an illegal order," Kelly said. "We teach them, 'Don't follow an illegal order. And if you're ever given one, you'll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.'"
Let's review: John Kelly says Trump ordering his administration to hide Ukraine's aid in its underpants until Ukraine committed to help steal the 2020 election for Trump was an "illegal order." Kelly confirms Trump did that crime. And Alex Vindman told the truth, obeyed the law, and did nothing wrong.
Kelly also said North Korea was totally playing Trump, that Putin is a piece of shit hellbent on bringing back "the glory days of the Soviet Union," and that he's grossed out Trump has taken the side of disgusting war-crimer Eddie Gallagher:
"The idea that the commander in chief intervened there, in my opinion, was exactly the wrong thing to do," Kelly said. "Had I been there, I think I could have prevented it."
The audience applauded.
When a woman in the crowd said that Trump had "elevated" Gallagher, Kelly looked out at the crowd.
"Yep," he said.
Good for John Kelly, we guess!
Trump's REAL mad:
....which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do. His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of re… https://t.co/Bb9G8za87H— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1581609875.0
There are not enough jerk-off motions in the world for Trump's Twitter whining today. Like, if Earth's whole population decided to lie down in a straight line and all do jerk-off motions at the same time, that would still not be enough jerk-off motions.
Anyway, keep talking, John Kelly. You're not done atoning.
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