GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Czer

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    Pompeo Defends Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory
    In Athens, the American secretary of state dismissed the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and the political drama that it has sparked as a “silly gotcha game.”
    Oct. 5, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/05/...tion=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defiantly insisted on Saturday in Greece that the Trump administration was right to ask Ukrainian officials to investigate claims of election interference in the 2016 American presidential campaign, bolstering a widely debunked conspiracy theory that had already been dismissed by his own diplomatic envoy.

    In comments to journalists in Athens, where he was meeting with Greek leaders, Mr. Pompeo said it was the “duty” of the Trump administration to pursue whether efforts to tamper in the United States election were rooted in Ukraine, even though the American intelligence agencies have long concluded Russia was to blame.

    And of the impeachment proceedings by House Democrats — the result of a July 25 telephone call in which President Trump pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals — Mr. Pompeo said, “I think there’s clearly politics involved in this.”

    “It is not only appropriate, but it is our duty to investigate if we think there was interference in the election of 2016,” Mr. Pompeo said in Athens. “I think everyone recognizes that governments have an obligation — indeed, a duty — to ensure that elections happen with integrity, without interference from any government, whether that’s the Ukrainian government or any other. And so inquiries with respect to that are completely important.”

    He added: “There’s been some suggestion somehow that it would be inappropriate for the United States government to engage in that activity, and I see it just precisely the opposite. I see our duty to engage in activity that ensures that we have fair, free elections.”

    A White House reconstruction of the July 25 call, which Mr. Pompeo listened to as the conversation unfolded, showed that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate whether people in Ukraine were involved in the stealing of emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, is pushing an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the Ukrainians framed the Russian government by making it look like a Ukrainian hack of the Democratic committee was the work of Moscow.

    In fact, American intelligence officials and prosecutors have cited ample evidence that it was Russia that stole the emails to embarrass Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic challenger in 2016.

    In closed-door testimony this week, Kurt D. Volker, who recently resigned as the Trump administration’s special envoy to Ukraine, told House lawmakers he became aware of an “emerging negative narrative” earlier this year that some Ukrainians tried to influence the 2016 vote in the United States to help Mrs. Clinton.

    Mr. Volker said the claim was fueled by Yuriy Lutsenko, who was Ukraine’s top prosecutor and had also investigated a Ukrainian energy company that had employed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Lutsenko is said to have closed that investigation within 10 months, but pushed to reopen it this year, as he was communicating with Mr. Giuliani.

    In his testimony to lawmakers, Mr. Volker said he told Mr. Giuliani that Mr. Lutsenko was “not credible.” Mr. Volker also described the conspiracy theories as self-serving, and designed to make Mr. Lutsenko appear valuable to the United States.

    Mr. Volker stepped down from his unpaid State Department post late last month, after House Democrats opened the impeachment inquiry.

    In Athens, Mr. Pompeo said Mr. Volker’s testimony showed that the State Department was focused on building a relationship with Mr. Zelensky’s government, one aimed at rooting out corruption in Ukraine. At the time of the July 25 call, Mr. Zelensky had been in office for only a few months.

    Mr. Pompeo also appeared to try to shift blame for the election interference — which has overshadowed Mr. Trump and his government since taking office — onto the Obama administration.

    “I only wish that the previous administration had protected our elections back in 2016,” he told journalists. “You’ll recall that the interference that took place took place under the previous administration.”

    Mr. Pompeo said he would comply with the impeachment inquiry to the extent that it is required by law, but repeated that any efforts by House investigators to obtain documents or testimony from State Department employees without the knowledge of the government’s lawyers amounted to harassment of diplomats and other staff.

    Mr. Pompeo has been under increased scrutiny since he admitted to listening in on the July 25 call, and as questions mounted as to whether Mr. Giuliani was running a shadow foreign policy with Ukraine, in conflict with career American diplomats.

    The White House reconstruction of the telephone call showed that Mr. Zelensky had sought more United States military aid, leading Mr. Trump to ask for “a favor.” Mr. Trump then asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic rival, as well as the claims of Ukraine election meddling in 2016.

    After a speech earlier on Saturday, Mr. Pompeo said he did not believe that his audience in Athens was interested in the impeachment inquiry and the political drama that has gripped Washington, calling it a “silly gotcha game.”

    He also laughed off a question about whether other countries, including Greece, might be pressured to help the American president.

    “This is what we do,” Mr. Pompeo said, calling it “totally right.”

    “Nations work together and they say ‘Boy, goodness gracious, if you can help me with ‘X,’ we’ll help you achieve ‘Y,’” Mr. Pompeo said. “This is what partnerships do. It’s win-win, it’s better for each of us.”
     
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    Trump orders 'substantial' cut in National Security Council staff: Bloomberg
    OCTOBER 4, 2019

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-security/trump-orders-substantial-cut-in-national-security-council-staff-bloomberg-idUSKBN1WK02X?

    (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has asked for a substantial cut in the National Security Council staff, Bloomberg reported late on Friday, citing five people familiar with the plans.

    The step was described by some sources cited in the report as part of an effort from the White House to make its foreign policy arm leaner.

    The request to do so was conveyed to officials in the agency by current White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien earlier this week, according to Bloomberg.

    The reductions at the agency, in which currently 310 people work, will be carried out through attrition, Bloomberg reported. The report did not mention the exact number by which Trump is looking to cut the agency’s staff.

    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

    The development comes as Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are examining whether there are grounds to impeach Republican Trump based on a whistleblower’s account that said he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to help investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

    Lawmakers are investigating concerns that Trump’s actions have jeopardized national security and the integrity of U.S. elections.
     
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    Witness in ex-Dallas officer's murder trial shot and killed
    Oct 6, 2019

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/witness-dallas-officers-murder-trial-shot-killed-66087786

    A witness in the murder trial of a white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor has been killed in a shooting, the Dallas Morning News reported, citing authorities.

    The newspaper reported that authorities said Joshua Brown, who lived in the same apartment complex as Amber Guyger and Botham Jean, was shot and killed Friday in Dallas. Guyger was still in her police uniform after a long shift when, according to her trial testimony, she mistook Jean's apartment for her own one floor below and shot him after pushing open his unlocked door and thinking he was a burglar.

    Brown, 28, testified in Guyger's trial about the September 2018 night that Jean was killed, saying he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived. He said he heard what sounded like "two people meeting by surprise" and then two gunshots.

    Brown, who became emotional at times and used his T-shirt and tissue to wipe his tears, said he had met Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, for the first time earlier that day.


    Guyger, 31, was fired from the department soon after the shooting. She was convicted Tuesday and sentenced the next day to 10 years in prison.

    The newspaper did not cite authorities by name for confirmation of Brown's death. A Dallas police spokesman on Saturday would not confirm to The Associated Press that it was Brown who was shot Friday. He said the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office would determine the identification Sunday.

    Police said in a news release that they responded to the shooting shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment complex different from the one where Jean was killed. They said several witnesses flagged officers down when they arrived and directed them to an apartment parking lot where the man who was shot was lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds.

    The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.

    Witnesses told police they heard several gunshots and saw a silver four-door sedan speeding out of the parking lot, according to the police news release.

    Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Jean family, said in a tweet Saturday that he spoke with Brown's mother and that she is "devastated."

    "We all are," Merritt said. "Joshua Brown was a key witness in the murder of Botham Jean that helped put Amber Guyger away. We need answers."

    In a statement he included with the tweet, he said authorities have not identified a suspect or determined a motive.

    "Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family," Merritt said in the statement.

    Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus said Brown "bravely came forward to testify when others wouldn't," according to the newspaper.

    "If we had more people like him, we would have a better world," said Hermus, who was lead prosecutor in the case.
     
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    Pompeo not complying with impeachment probe subpoena: lawmaker
    OCTOBER 6, 2019

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-whistleblower-pompeo/pompeo-not-complying-with-impeachment-probe-subpoena-lawmaker-idUSKCN1WL0CI?

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not yet come into compliance with a subpoena for documents in the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment probe, a top Democrat helping to lead the inquiry said on Sunday.

    “He’s not complying with the inquiry so far,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel told the CBS news program “Face the Nation.”

    “They’re in discussions that are ongoing and we’re hoping that he will comply,” he added.

    Engel’s panel issued a subpoena for Pompeo on Sept. 27. The deadline for those documents expired on Friday.
     
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  6. Czer

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    Remarks by President Trump in Briefing with Military Leaders
    October 7, 2019

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-briefing-military-leaders/

    Cabinet Room

    6:15 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, everybody. This is a group gathering of very talented people. And somebody was saying before, I think Mark Esper, our new Secretary of Defense — and, by the way, congratulations.

    SECRETARY ESPER: Thank you, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT: Congratulations on really having done already a really great job. But you were saying this is the first group where just about everybody — they’re appointed by Trump. And that’s good. That’s good. Just about everybody. So we have the people that we want. We’re very happy with them.

    Our military is in great shape. I want to — in particular, I want to congratulate Mark for new — the new boss, right? You’re the new boss. And it’s some somebody that’s respected by everybody in this room and respected by just about everybody outside of this room, I can tell you. So, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The head is — that’s — it doesn’t get any bigger in your world.

    But we are having a meeting tonight. We have a meeting now, and then we’re going to the White House and we’re going to have dinner with the wives and families. And we’re going to have some very interesting conversation.

    Things are going very well with our military. We’ve spent $2.5 trillion since I’ve been President, and rebuilt our military. When I came in, we were low on ammunition and, as you know, we had jets that didn’t work too well. We had a lot of — a lot of old planes, and we have now, beautiful new planes, or certainly we have a lot of them coming, but we have a lot of them right now in stock.

    And we’re — we’re doing things I think that nobody thought was possible. We have had extraordinary relationships with a lot of our allies and, I would say, good relationships with others. But we want fairness, we want — we want to be treated respectfully. We help a lot of nations, and they are not — they’re not sometimes there for us. So we want to help the ones that — that we want, and we want to help the ones that deserve the help. And I think we’ve discussed this at length, all of us. Perhaps there’ll be some changes made, and perhaps not. But we have to be respected as a nation.

    A lot of things are changing. You have some very, very wealthy nations, extremely wealthy nations, where we take care of their military and we take care of their military needs. Nobody can do it better than us. But we are really not being reimbursed for what we’re doing.

    And we’re having some very nice talks, very friendly talks. And for the most part, I would say, without exception, people are coming through and they’re saying, “You know, we have to help out also.”

    So a lot of very exciting things are happening with our military. We have a great team. This is our team right here. They’re some of the best leaders in the world. I think they’re probably the best leaders in the world. We have the greatest men, we have the greatest women, and we have the greatest equipment. Nobody makes it like we do.

    So I just want to thank you all. We’ll have a discussion. Then we’re going to go over and have dinner at the White House. And thank you all very much for being here. Appreciate it.

    Q Mr. President, are you confident that — are you confident that these gentlemen — I guess, mostly who are sitting around you — believe what you’re doing in Syria is the best idea at this point?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ve been in Syria for a long time.
    And it was supposed to be a very short hit, and — hit on ISIS. But it didn’t work out that way. They never left. And they’ve been there for many, many years. And we are — we were down to very few soldiers in Syria. We had 50 in the region that you’re talking about — 50 soldiers — and they’ve been already moved out.

    But we’ll see what happens with respect to a lot of different things. We’ve told Turkey — I spoke with President Erdoğan of Turkey, and I said, “Got to treat them good, and you got to take care of ISIS.” Don’t forget, we’ve captured — we defeated — this group, largely — defeated ISIS. One hundred percent of the caliphate. One hundred percent. And we wanted to do 100 percent. I was going to do this nine months ago, and we were not at 100 percent, but we were pretty close. Everyone said, “Can we get to 100 percent?” Now I get to 100 percent, and they say, “Well, maybe we could stay longer.” I say, “Well, when do we get out?” There’s got to be a time we get out. We have to bring our people back home.

    And frankly, our great soldiers have been talking about this on the campaign. You go back three years ago and more, and you watch the speeches. We want to bring our soldiers back home. These are the endless wars.

    And we’re not fighting; we’re policing, to a large extent. We’re policing in certain areas. We’re not police, we’re — these are fighters, great fighters; the greatest in the world. And that’s what they do.

    So I’ve told President Erdoğan — I hope he’s going to treat everybody with great respect. You have to understand, they’ve been fighting various of the people that we were working with, and they — Turkey has been fighting them for many years. Somebody said hundreds of years. You had just mentioned to me yesterday, 200 years, maybe more.

    At some point, we have to bring our people back home. And that’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing.

    Q Is it a firm decision, sir?

    THE PRESIDENT: It’s always a firm decision. Last time I made a firm decision, but — and I said, “We’ll do it over a period of time.” We’ve been doing this, actually, over a period of time — over a very long period of time. And we’ve been working with the people in this room, and our soldiers have been coming back over that period of time.

    I think that one of the very big factors when we defeated ISIS — we have thousands right now, of ISIS fighters and families. We have family members, wives, children. And many of them come out of Europe, they come out of Germany, they come out of France and other countries of Europe, and I told them, “You have to take these people back.” You have to take them back, give them trials, do whatever you have to do. And they said, “No, we don’t want to do that. I said, “Well, you have to do that.” That’s not fair to the American taxpayers. It’s not fair to America. It’s not fair to the United States not to do that. But they chose not to do it. I said, “Again, you got to take them back.” We can’t take care of sixty, seventy thousand people.

    And we’re not going to move the fighters to Guantanamo Bay and take care of them for many, many years into the future. It’s not for us. We did you a great service, a great favor. We defeated the caliphate 100 percent, and now it’s time for Germany and France, and all of the nations where they came from, to take them back. And they chose no. And maybe they’ll — maybe they’re going to change their tune now. I don’t know.

    But in the meantime, we’ll have to rely on the European nations. We’ll have to rely on various other nations — as an example, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Russia, and some other nations — to take care of these fighters. But the American taxpayer is not going to spend 50 years of paying tax, or whatever it may be that they’re — wherever they may be, for instance, Guantanamo, or, for instance, prisons in the United States. The American taxpayer won’t put up with that.

    Q Mr. President, are you concerned with what the second whistleblower may reveal about your conversation with Ukraine?

    THE PRESIDENT: Not at all, because the call was a perfect call. You had stenographers, you had people that took it down exactly. It was a perfect call. It’s just a scam. This is a scam by the Democrats to try and win an election that they’re not going to win in 2020.

    All you have to do is take a look at the polls, see what happened. One poll had me up 12 points, 16 points, or 17 points.

    We — just take a look at what’s going on. The people understand it’s a scam. They’re trying to win an election in 2020 by using impeachment. If you look at that call, it’s a perfect call. It’s congenial. There was no pressure. And what did the head of Ukraine say? What did the head — did he say there was no pressure? Did his person say — his top representative, his foreign minister, say there was no pressure whatsoever. There was no pressure put on him. This is a scam. This is one of the greatest scams we —

    Look, we beat you on the — we won on the Mueller scam. That was a whole big deal. That lasted for two and a half years. We had a few days of peace and then, all of a sudden, they came up with this one. But I guess it’s just part of my life. This is the most ridiculous thing many people have ever seen. All you have to do is read. All you have to do is read what they wrote down, the stenographers. They wrote down an exact call.

    Now, what happened is Schiff, Adam Schiff, went up before Congress, and he read the most horrible speech, attributed the speech to me. These people won’t believe this one. If you went to Annapolis, West Point, or the Air Force Academy, you’re not going to believe this one happened. He went up, and he took a speech, and he made it up. It was horrible. And he said, “The President of the United States said this on the call.” It’s a fraud. He real- — I mean, it’s a fraudulent speech. What he did is incredible. And it shouldn’t be allowed. And I don’t think it’s going to be allowed. I think a lot of things are happening.

    By the way, Nancy Pelosi knew it was a fraud, and she didn’t say anything about it. But if you look at the call — you just take a look at that call — that call is a very — a terrific call. It’s congenial, there was no pressure, there was no anything. And you know it, and so do I, and so does everybody else. And that’s why the polls are doing well. That’s why — I don’t bring up fundraising, but that’s why, I believe, in the history of the Republican Party at this time, they’ve never had anything like the numbers that have been raised. They raised $13 million in many small donations in a 24-hour period. That hasn’t even happened.

    So, people understand that it’s a fraud. It’s a scam. It’s a witch hunt. And all we do is just keep fighting for the American people, because that’s all I do.

    We win. Our economy is doing great. Our jobs numbers are the best they’ve ever been. Just about the best they’ve ever been for many groups: African Americans, Asians, Hispanics. They’re the best they’ve ever been in the history of our country. And overall, they’re the best numbers in 51 years.

    So, we’re doing great things and we’re going to keep going. Thank you very much.
     
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    I find it strange that both sides are able to come together to criticize the end of war, but keeping kids in camps by the thousands, or the thousands that have gone missing.

    That's not the bridge too far, the war for Israel and the military is
     
  8. Czer

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    Three justices attend Red Mass to mark new judicial term (CORRECTED)
    October 6th, 2019

    https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/10/three-justices-attend-red-mass-to-mark-new-judicial-term/

    This morning Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas, retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, Attorney General William Barr and Solicitor General Noel Francisco attended the Red Mass, a Roman Catholic liturgy held each year on the Sunday before the Supreme Court’s new term to “invoke God’s blessing on those responsible for the administration of justice.”

    The principal celebrant and homilist for the mass was the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, who was installed as the archbishop of Washington in May of this year. Gregory’s message focused on the twin virtues of justice and mercy in the practice of law. Gregory said “the pursuit of justice is a legitimate expression of our freedom and our hope” and reminded the audience that even in as they face daily demands, they must not overlook or underestimate the importance of a new judicial term. “New beginnings are always good for the soul,” he preached.

    Although the court granted an abortion-related petition after its long conference last week, Gregory did not mention any pending cases specifically. The archbishop’s only reference to the church’s “pro-life” agenda – namely, against capital punishment and abortion – was indirect:

    Yours is the tremendous responsibility of attempting to reflect god’s perfect mercy in interpreting the laws of our nation. And for all who come before you in this next year, including those who may have committing a horrendous crime, for those whose language, culture, race, or religion are not your own, as well as those who are at a precarious moment in the spectrum of human life – none of them are unimportant.

    The Supreme Court’s October 2019 term begins Monday at 10 a.m., with oral argument in Kahler v. Kansas, a capital case that asks whether it is constitutional for a state to abolish the insanity defense.



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Mass


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Czer

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    White House says it will refuse to cooperate with impeachment inquiry
    OCTOBER 7, 2019

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-whistleblower-idUSKBN1WN0CV

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday it would refuse to cooperate with an “illegitimate, unconstitutional” congressional impeachment inquiry, setting Republican President Donald Trump on a collision course with the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives.

    Hours after the administration abruptly blocked a key witness in the Ukraine scandal from testifying to congressional panels, White House lawyer Pat Cipollone criticized the decision by lawmakers to proceed with an impeachment inquiry without a full House vote.

    “You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” he said, adding House Democrats had left Trump “no choice.”

    “To fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances,” he said.

    In the White House’s most aggressive response to the inquiry yet, the State Department had said earlier the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, a Trump political donor, would not be allowed to appear before what Trump decried as a “kangaroo court.”

    Democratic lawmakers denounced the effort to block testimony from Sondland, who had already flown in from Europe for the appearance, calling it an attempt to obstruct their inquiry. They issued a subpoena compelling him to appear on Oct. 16 to submit to questions.

    The Ukraine investigation has cast a pall over Trump’s campaign to win back the White House in 2020. A whistleblower complaint about a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, prompted the inquiry.

    Biden is a leading candidate among the crowded field of contenders seeking the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.

    Trump has denied he did anything wrong in the phone call.

    The investigation could lead to the approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against Trump in the House. A trial on whether to remove him from office would then be held in the U.S. Senate. Republicans who control the Senate have shown little appetite for ousting Trump.

    “Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in response to the White House letter. She did not indicate what steps, if any, House Democrats might take to compel Trump’s cooperation.

    ‘NAKED POLITICAL STRATEGY’

    The White House letter spelled out Trump’s evolving strategy of stonewalling lawmakers’ demands for witnesses and documents, while questioning the legality of the inquiry.

    White House lawyer Cipollone described the probe as “a naked political strategy” that violated Trump’s due process rights and was designed to reverse the 2016 presidential election and influence the November 2020 election.

    “Your transparent rush to judgment, lack of democratically accountable authorization, and violation of basic rights in the current proceedings make clear the illegitimate, partisan purpose” of the inquiry, he said.

    Legal experts said the U.S. Constitution gives the House broad discretion to decide how to conduct an impeachment investigation and that the Supreme Court would not second-guess the procedures Congress adopts.

    “They can do the investigation in more or less any order they want,” said Frank Bowman, a law professor at the University of Missouri and the author of a book on impeachment.

    But Bowman added: “Politically, it would certainly seem helpful to allow some participation by presidential representatives at some points.”

    During the impeachment investigation of President Bill Clinton, the House adopted procedures that allowed his lawyers to respond to evidence and make requests for witness testimony.

    On a conference call with reporters, a senior administration official said Trump had not been given procedural protections granted in earlier impeachment proceedings, including “the ability to see evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, to have counsel present at all hearings, the ability to object to testimony and the ability to call witnesses.”

    Republican strategist Rick Tyler, a frequent Trump critic, said the White House letter “reads like a political press release.”

    “It doesn’t seem to be based on any sound legal theory,” he said.

    ‘OBSTRUCTING CONGRESS’

    A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found support for impeachment unchanged among all Americans -holding at 45% since last week - but rising among Democrats. Opposition to impeachment also dropped by 2 percentage points from last week to 39%.

    Among those who identify as Democrats, 79% said Trump should be impeached, up 5 percentage points from a similar poll that ran Sept. 26 to 30. Only 12% of Republicans and about one in three independents supported impeachment, which was mostly unchanged.

    Trump defended the decision not to allow Sondland to testify, writing on Twitter that he would “be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republicans’ rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public ... to see.”

    Democrats view Sondland as a key witness who can help shed light on whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure it to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm.

    Trump has alleged corruption by the Bidens, but has not provided any evidence to back that up.

    According to text messages between Sondland and Trump’s former envoy to Ukraine, released by House committee leaders last week, the two U.S. diplomats sought to set strict conditions for Zelenskiy meeting Trump at the White House, including Ukraine drafting a statement committing it to carrying out the investigations sought by Trump.

    Sondland placed a call to Trump after a top American diplomat in Ukraine expressed concern that Washington was linking the U.S. military aid to a request for an investigation that would help Trump’s political campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    A career diplomat, Marie Yovanovitch, is scheduled to meet with the committees behind closed doors on Friday. Yovanovitch was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine until Trump recalled her in May before her term was up, after the president’s supporters questioned her loyalty.

    A second whistleblower has come forward with direct knowledge of the allegations about Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to probe Biden.

    Congressional staff and lawyers for the first whistleblower are close to making arrangements for the witness to speak to congressional investigators away from Capitol Hill as early as this week, a source close to the parties said on Tuesday.
     
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    Pelosi Statement on Trump Administration Refusal to Comply with House Subpoenas
    OCTOBER 8, 2019
    PRESS RELEASE

    https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/10819-0

    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released this statement when the White House asserted that the Administration will not comply with House Committee subpoenas as part of the impeachment inquiry, making false claims about the Constitution, House rules and House precedent:

    “For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue. The American people have already heard the President’s own words – ‘do us a favor, though.’ The President’s actions threaten our national security, violate our Constitution and undermine the integrity of our elections. The White House letter is only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law.

    “This letter is manifestly wrong, and is simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections. Despite the White House’s stonewalling, we see a growing body of evidence that shows that President Trump abused his office and violated his oath to ‘protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.’

    “The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction.

    “Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”
     
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    Justice Department asks judge to block House from getting Mueller grand jury materials, says Watergate decision was wrong
    OCT 8 2019

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/08/jus...to-house-getting-mueller-grand-jury-info.html

    • Justice Department lawyers used the example of Richard Nixon’s impeachment inquiry to argue that the House Judiciary Committee should be denied its request to obtain information about grand jury materials assembled under special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of President Donald Trump.
    • Lawyers from the Justice Department surprised the judge, Beryl Howard, by arguing that the decision to release normally secret grand jury materials to the House in 1974, when Nixon faced impeachment, was incorrect.
    • The House is currently conducting an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
    Justice Department lawyers on Tuesday used the example of Richard Nixon’s impeachment inquiry to argue that the House Judiciary Committee should be denied its request to obtain information about grand jury materials assembled under special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of President Donald Trump.

    Lawyers from the Justice Department surprised the judge, Beryl Howell, by arguing that the decision by former Chief Judge John Sirica to release normally secret grand jury materials to the House in 1974, when Nixon faced impeachment, was incorrect, and that those materials should have been kept from Congress at the time, according to NBC News.

    Those materials were considered the “roadmap” that led to Nixon’s expected impeachment that year. Nixon ended up resigning after before he was formally impeached.

    “Wow,” Howell said after the hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that the Justice Department now disagreed with Sirica’s ruling.

    “As I said, the department is taking extraordinary positions in this case,” Howell said.



    The Judiciary Committee is seeking the Mueller grand jury information as part of its ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump. That information would include transcripts of testimony by witnesses to the grand jury.

    Douglas Letter, a lawyer for the committee, told Howell that the House of Representatives is entitled to “absolute deference” in impeachment inquiries, according to NBC News.

    But Elizabeth Shapiro, an attorney in the DOJ’s civil division, argued to Howell that in order to properly seek the grand jury material the House should first vote on a resolution authorizing a formal impeachment inquiry, and then seek the material through a judicial proceeding.

    Letter disputed that idea.

    “We are in an impeachment inquiry, an impeachment investigation, a formal impeachment investigation, because the House says it is,” Letter said.

    Howell ended the hearing without making a decision on the House’s request.

    The impeachment inquiry kicked off two weeks ago after it was revealed that Trump, who had been withholding congressionally appropriated military aid from Ukraine, pressured that country’s newly elected president in July to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

    Letter said the fact that the inquiry was sparked by the Ukraine issue did not mean that the House cannot examine Mueller grand jury material, which is not related to Ukraine, and which was produced before Trump’s call with the country’s president in July.

    Letter said House committees are eyeing different articles of impeachment, which could include obstructing Congress from getting information to which it is entitled.

    Before Trump released a transcript of his call with Ukraine’s leader, the Trump administration had blocked efforts by Congress to get information about a complaint by an intelligence community whistleblower who had raised red flags about that phone call.

    Howell asked a Justice Department lawyer if grand jury materials that the department is currently withholding from Congress have been shared with foreign government officials.

    “I don’t know the answer to that,” the lawyer responded. The attorney said the department would update Howell by Friday on that question.

    The Mueller grand jury had investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible coordination with Russians by members of the Trump campaign, and possible obstruction of justice in the Russia probe by Trump himself.

    Mueller’s report on his investigation found Russia had made repeated efforts to interfere in the election, but did not find evidence that Trump campaign affiliates conspired with Russian agents in those efforts.

    The report did not accuse Trump of obstruction, but also pointedly did not exonerate the president of such conduct.

    Letter told Howell that what Trump knew as a presidential candidate about WikiLeaks, the document disclosure activist group, could be highly relevant to the ongoing impeachment inquiry. During the 2016 presidential campaign WikiLeaks released emails that had been stolen by alleged Russian agents from the Democratic National Committee and from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

    Referring to Trump’s possible knowledge about WikiLeaks’ activity, Letter said questions for the impeachment inquiry included, “Did he lie? Did he fix the election? Did he obstruct justice?”
     
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    U.S. Defense Secretary participated in call between Trump and Erdogan: official
    OCTOBER 8, 2019

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...ween-trump-and-erdogan-official-idUSKBN1WN2K9

    [​IMG]
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is seen at a news briefing held with French Defense Minister Florence Parly (not pictured) in Paris, France, September 7, 2019.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley took part in a recent call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

    “Given the likely military issues raised on the call between (Trump) and President Erdogan, Secretary of Defense Esper and Chairman Milley participated on the call,” the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said. The official did not provide further details.

    After a phone call between Trump and Erdogan on Sunday, the Trump administration announced it was withdrawing U.S. troops from northeast Syria.
     
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    Arizona politician charged in human trafficking adoption scheme
    10/9/2019

    https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019...charged-in-human-trafficking-adoption-scheme/

    [​IMG]
    MARICOPA COUNTY ASSESSOR’S OFFICE VIA AP

    PHOENIX >> An Arizona elected official ran a human smuggling scheme that promised pregnant women thousands of dollars to lure them from a Pacific Island nation to the U.S., where they were crammed into houses to wait to give birth, sometimes with little to no prenatal care, prosecutors allege.

    Paul Petersen, the Republican assessor of Arizona’s most populous county, was charged in Utah, Arizona and Arkansas with counts including human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

    The charges span about three years and involve some 75 adoptions. Investigators also found eight pregnant women from the Marshall Islands in raids of his properties outside Phoenix, and several more are waiting to give birth in Utah, authorities said.

    “The commoditization of children is simply evil,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes.

    The adoptive parents are considered victims along with the birth mothers, and no completed adoptions will be undone, authorities said.

    Petersen’s attorney, Matthew Long, defended his client’s actions during a Tuesday court hearing in Phoenix as “proper business practices” and said they disagreed with the allegations.

    Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Petersen should resign from his elected position determining the taxable value for properties in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs.

    Petersen served a two-year mission in the Marshall Islands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Reyes said. He was later recruited by an international adoption agency while in law school because of his fluency in Marshallese, according to a 2013 Phoenix Business Journal story.

    Prosecutors say Petersen used associates there to recruit pregnant women by offering many of them $10,000 each to give up their babies for adoption. Petersen would pay for the women to travel to the U.S. days or months before giving birth and live in a home that he owned until delivering the baby, according to the court records.

    The expecting mothers were often crowded in the homes, with Marshallese women Petersen employed helping with things like translation, transportation, legal documents and applications for Medicaid benefits, prosecutors said.

    Women got little to no prenatal care in Utah, and in one house slept on mattresses laid on bare floors in what one shocked adoptive family described as a “baby mill,” according court documents.

    Petersen sold the house this spring as complaints mounted from neighbors in the working-class area in suburban Salt Lake City, said new owner Alanna Mabey.

    She was told it had been used as a rental, and since purchasing it she has found trash like dirty diapers in the bushes, she said. The news about how prosecutors say expecting mothers were treated there is “horrible,” she said. “It makes me sick to my stomach.”

    In Arkansas, it wasn’t uncommon to find a dozen Marshallese mothers on the verge of giving birth in one house, said Duane Kees, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas.

    “Many of these mothers described their ordeal as being treated like property,” Kees said. “Make no mistake: this case is the purest form of human trafficking.”

    Arkansas has one the largest concentrations of Marshallese immigrants in the U.S. and the women would then be flown there or back to the Marshall Islands after giving birth, authorities said.

    Petersen charged families $25,000-$40,000 per adoption and brought about $2.7 million into a bank account for adoption fees in less than two years, according to court documents.

    Petersen’s Mesa, Arizona, home is worth more than $600,000 and located in an affluent, gated community.

    The Utah probe began after investigators got a call to a human-trafficking tip line in October 2017. Staff at several hospitals in the Salt Lake City area would eventually report an “influx” of women from the Marshall Islands giving birth and putting their babies up for adoption, often accompanied by the same woman.

    The scheme defrauded Arizona’s Medicaid system of $800,000 because the women had no intention of remaining in the state when they applied, according to Arizona prosecutors.

    Under a compact between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Marshallese citizens can enter the U.S. and work without a visa, unless they’re traveling for the purpose of adoption, authorities said.

    Petersen has faced troubles with his adoption practices in the past. An Arizona juvenile court judge in 2016 denied a couple’s request to adopt a child born to a Marshallese woman because he feared the arrangement set up by Petersen had violated that country’s law. A court of appeals reversed the decision, saying no Marshallese approval was necessary.

    Authorities do not believe the women were misled into believing their children might be returned at some point.

    Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said adoptive parents who went through Petersen’s agency have nothing to worry about.

    “No one’s going to go back and redo adoptions or any of that kind of stuff,” Brnovich said.
     
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    If this truly happened, take in what that means they think of the plane system after receiving the S-400.

    Trump reportedly offered to sell F-35 jets to Turkey in exchange for not attacking Kurdish forces in Syria
    10/9/2019

    https://www.businessinsider.com/tru...-syria-invasion-2019-10?utm_source=reddit.com
    • President Donald Trump reportedly advised Turkey not to invade northeastern Syria and offered to resume sales of the US's fifth-generation aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35.
    • Trump reportedly offered Erdogan "a really good package," in addition to other benefits and a presidential visit, a senior official said, according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.
    • The purported offer marks a departure from the US's policy not to include Turkey in its flagship F-35 program starting in July.
    • The US granted F-35 contracts to several allies, including the UK and South Korea, but took Turkey off that list when it purchased Russia's advanced S-400 air defense systems.
    • In a phone called between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, the US president reportedly advised Turkey not to invade northeastern Syria and offered to resume sales of the US's fifth-generation aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35.

    Trump offered Erdogan "a really good package," in addition to other benefits and a presidential visit, a senior State Department official told Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

    Erdogan is still scheduled to visit the White House in November.

    Trump made the decision to withdraw roughly 1,000 US troops from the region on Sunday following his call with Erdogan. Thousands of US-backed Kurdish allies are stationed in northeastern Syria, and observers say Trump's decision has left the Kurdish fighters vulnerable to Turkish attack and may even fuel an ISIS resurgence.

    Turkey has long cited the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, and the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as terrorist threats with links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PPK is a Turkey-based rebel group that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the US and Turkey.

    F-35s or the Russian S-400

    Trump's purported offer to Erdogan marks a departure from the US's policy not to include Turkey in its flagship F-35 program starting in July. The US granted F-35 contracts to several allies, including the UK and South Korea, but took Turkey off that list when it purchased Russia's advanced S-400 air defense systems.

    "The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities," the White House said in a statement at the time.

    "Turkey has been a longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years, but accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems," the statement added. "This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the Alliance."

    Turkey, which created over 900 parts for the F-35, was removed from the program and is expected to be replaced by American manufacturers by March 2020, according to Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson. The country has said it would buy 100 F-35As.

    The US also withdrew its offer of a $3.5 billion Patriot missile system contract due to Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400s.

    Turkish officials protested the expulsions and described it as a "mistake which would open irreparable wounds."

    Despite warnings from Congress, Trump sympathized with Turkey and signaled the resumption of F-35 deliveries. Under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, Turkey's purchase of Russian military equipment makes it liable to US sanctions.

    "It's a very tough situation that they're in, and it's a very tough situation that we've been placed in the United States," Trump said to reporters in July. "We'll see what happens. But it's not really fair."

    "Because of the fact that you bought a Russian missile, we're not allowed to sell them billions of dollars' worth of aircraft," he added. "It's not a fair situation."
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
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    Yeah, they are linked to Israel

    These Arrested Giuliani Associates, Linked to Trump's Ukraine Scandal, Have Ties to Israel's Right
    Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who have been arrested while trying to leave the U.S., were pictured next to Netanyahu's son and envoy Friedman at a Jerusalem party
    Oct 10, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.pr...scandal-have-ties-to-israel-s-right-1.7966022

    [​IMG]
    Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019.

    WASHINGTON – Two businessmen linked to the Trump-Ukraine scandal and who were arrested by federal authorities in Virginia on Thursday visited Israel last year as part of a group that met U.S. Ambassador David Friedman.

    A photo from that visit, which was originally published by an American publication, shows Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, at the home of billionaire Simon Falic, one of the Israeli premier’s most important donors.

    Falic is also known to have donated funds to various right-wing causes in Israel. The picture in question was taken during a party at Falic’s home in Jerusalem. Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's former communications director, was also part of the delegation and appears in the group photo.

    Parnas and Fruman are close associates of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who led the president's attempts to recruit the Ukrainian government to open a probe into Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and candidate to be the 2020 Democratic nominee, Joe Biden. Parans and Fruman were supposed to appear at depositions in Congress on Thursday about their work with Giuliani on the Ukrainian issue, and were arrested at Dulles Airport while trying to leave the country.



    [​IMG]

    The two men were charged with campaign finance violations related to a $325,000 donation to a political action committee supporting Trump's reelection. Prosecutors allege that Parnas and Fruman conspired to make illegal contributions in an effort to skirt the limit on federal campaign contributions.

    In the summer of 2018, Parnas and Fruman visited Israel as part of a delegation of right-wing Jewish and evangelical Christian supporters of Trump.

    The group was led by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During their visit to Israel, Parnas and Fruman were photographed together with Friedman, who was involved in religious right-wing activism in support of Israeli settlements in the West Bank before he was narrowly confirmed as ambassador in 2017.

    Parnas and Fruman are also tied to the Orthodox organization the National Council of Young Israel, which bestowed a "Lovers of Zion" award on the two at a gala dinner earlier this year.

    Another person receiving an award from Young Israel that night was Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who happens to be among the politicians who received donations from Parnas and Fruman.

    It’s not entirely clear why Young Israel gave Parnas and Fruman special recognition during that event, but one explanation offered by a senior figure in the organization was that the pair “brought Rudy Giuliani” to the dinner. The two had a business relationship with Giuliani, and according to recent reports in several U.S. newspapers, they were trying to capitalize on their contacts with the former New York mayor to promote their business interests in Ukraine.
     
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    Barr met privately with Murdoch amid impeachment scrutiny: report
    10/10/19

    https://thehill.com/homenews/media/...with-murdoch-amid-impeachment-scrutiny-report

    Attorney General William Barr met privately Wednesday night with Rupert Murdoch, the media giant and known confidant of President Trump, at Murdoch's home in New York, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

    It is unclear what the two discussed, as aides of both men declined to speak with the Times.

    The move comes amid House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into Trump over his interactions with Ukraine, matters with which Barr played an integral role.

    During his now-infamous July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked the Ukrainian president to do him the favor of looking into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 candidate, as well as Biden's son, Hunter. Trump told Zelensky to coordinate with Barr and Rudy Giuliani on the effort.

    Barr has also contacted multiple foreign governments asking them for assistance with the Justice Department's probe into the origins of the Russian interference investigation.

    The personalities on Fox News, one of Murdoch's multiple media holdings, include multiple staunch supporters of the president, though he has started to object more to the network's coverage.

    On Thursday, Trump attacked Fox News after its latest poll showed that 51 percent of Americans believe that he should be impeached and removed from office.