As the greatest reality show on TV since the first season of “The Apprentice” continues to unfold, yesterday’s live broadcast for the open hearings in the impeachment inquiry were cacophonies of lies, bribery, and sexism.
As to the “lies” and “bribery,” House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as a “serial liar,” while at the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of bribery.
In back-to-back press conferences, Pelosi and McCarthy delivered starkly contrasting accounts of the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, with both claiming their respective parties were fighting to protect the U.S. Constitution – and both claiming a kind of victory.
“Democrats are showing great patriotism,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said after the day’s hearings, praising Schiff, D-Calif., for his dignity and statesmanship. “This isn’t about politics or anything political, it’s about patriotism, it’s about honoring our oath of office, and upholding the Constitution.” Adding, “This is something we do with a heavy heart. This is very prayerful, because impeachment is a divisive thing in our country.”
Pelosi went on to accuse the president of “bribery,” citing witness testimony from State Department official George Kent and U.S. top diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor.
“Bribery—and that is in the Constitution and attached to impeachment proceedings,” Pelosi said. “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the election—that’s bribery.”
When asked whether bribery would be included as an article of impeachment, Pelosi replied, “We haven’t even made a decision to impeach. That’s what the inquiry is about. What I’m saying is, [what] the president has admitted to as ‘perfect,’ is bribery.”
Minutes later, McCarthy, R-Calif., took the podium on the other side of the House, claiming it’s Republicans who are “standing up” for the Constitution.
“Are they doing this for political purposes or are they standing for the Constitution?” McCarthy said. “They came to Congress to impeach the president.”
McCarthy went on to blast Schiff, claiming he “has continued to lie to the American public.”
McCarthy outlined several instances where he believed Schiff had lied—including during the congressional Russia probe and when he “on purpose” delivered a parody reading last month of the transcript of Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Meanwhile, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd faced heavy backlash for what critics described as a “sexist” attack aimed at Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. Stefanik was one of several Republicans who spoke out against the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump during its first public hearing Wednesday, but Dowd singled her out on Twitter.
“Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn’t necessarily get you the leaders we need,” the self-proclaimed “proud independent” commentator wrote in the now-deleted tweet.
However, that didn’t stop the avalanche of criticism that Dowd received — including from Stefanik’s colleague, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
“Elise did a great job laying out the facts. And, not least of all, this comment is reprehensible,” Meadows wrote.
Other critics piled on Dowd for the tweet, many of them labeling the tweet “sexist.”
Dowd later claimed people were “misunderstanding” his tweet and stressed the country needs “more leaders with integrity.”
He eventually offered an apology to the congresswoman.
“Hey @EliseStefanik, I just want to apologize for a tweet that is being misinterpreted,” Dowd wrote. “I didn’t mean to suggest you were elected only because you were a woman or a millennial. I deleted the tweet.”
The drama continues with another day of public testimony, stay tuned!
The Republicans have produced their list of the witnesses that they would like call during the soon to be public hearings of the impeachment inquiry. While there may have been some surprising names on the list – including Joe and Hunter Biden, what should come as no surprise, is that Adam “Shifty” Schiff is rejecting most of the names on the list.
The GOP witness list, obtained by Fox News included Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, and the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky triggered the impeachment inquiry.
Schiff immediately rejected the idea of the whistleblower testifying during the public impeachment inquiry hearings, saying that his or her testimony was “redundant and unnecessary.”
In a letter to Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Schiff said, “The committee … will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” ” … The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm.”
The letter continued, “The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president’s own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint … ”
Schiff concluded his letter, “In light of the president’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk.”
Earlier in his letter, Schiff had warned Nunes that the impeachment inquiry and the House Intelligence Committee “will not serve as vehicles” for what he called “sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
Republicans also planned to call the younger Biden’s former long-time business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the board of Burisma. Republicans claim Archer can help the public to understand “the nature and extent of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption information that bears directly on President Trump’s longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country.”
Archer and the Bidens will likely also be rejected as witnesses by Schiff.
The list of witnesses also includes Nellie Ohr, a researcher at the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the now-infamous anti-Trump dossier; Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly met with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials; ex-National Security Council official Tim Morrison; former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker; and high-ranking State Department official David Hale.
One of the reasons that this current phase of impeachment folly is called an “inquiry” is that it is the normal responsibility of the House Judiciary Committee to hold a REAL impeachment hearing – one that will lead to Articles of Impeachment, or not.
What is going on in the House today is nothing more than a long public relations stunt with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as the current ringmaster. There was no reason that Democrats could not have simply voted to launch an impeachment HEARING – as has been the normal course in the past. They could have had all the same witnesses – even some behind closed doors. The only difference is that the rights of the accused – in this case the President of the United States – would have been preserved.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose to bypass the normal impeachment process in order to gin up a political lynching. (Yes, I called it that in the colloquial sense of the word.) She assigned six committees to “inquire” as to whether Trump committed any offenses worthy of an impeachment HEARING.
You will notice I did not say “crime.” That is because impeachment – as currently defined — does not require a crime even though the Constitution says that impeachment must be founded on “treason, bribery HIGH CRIMES and misdemeanors.” That sounds like serious stuff.
Pelosi and Co. understand that the Constitution be damned, the only requirement for impeachment is getting a majority of one political party to pass Articles of Impeachment. Consequently, she has undertaken the most political and unnecessary impeachment process in the history of the nation. She has weaponized impeachment.
Of course, such Articles must be filled with language suggesting abuse of power, obstruction of justice and other dubious accusations that can be made to sound like crimes. In fact, the Democrats have all those talking heads on television saying flat-out that Trump is guilty of this crime or that crime. Of course, that is only their opinion – or at least their politically-based claim.
Once the Democrats finish their repetitious “inquiry” – rolling it into a quasi-public phase — they will transfer the impeachment business over to the Judiciary Committee to conduct the “hearing” that will most likely lead to a highly partisan vote on Articles of Impeachment.
In the meantime, we will have the impeachment ball lateraled to Jerry Nadler, the diminutive chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a stridently partisan New York Democrat, who makes Schiff look like the champion of bipartisanship.
Nadler craves the center stage over impeachment. He was among the earliest voices demanding impeachment – a full-fledged member of the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement. We got a preview of Nadler when he was undertaking his own investigation of the Trump administration – saying that HIS investigation was essentially an impeachment hearing.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi squelched that idea as being a bit premature. Instead, she concocted the impeachment “inquiry” concept as a precursor to a legitimate hearing. It was only a temporary setback for Nadler since the impeachment process would eventually have to come to his Committee.
Anyone who holds any hope that Nadler will conduct a fair and nonpartisan hearing does not know the guy. He has already accused Trump of every crime in the book. He even claims that Trump criminally colluded with Russian even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller made it VERY clear that he had not – nor had anyone associated with the Trump campaign.
Nadler insists that the Mueller Report accused Trump of at least 10 counts of obstruction of justice – even though he left that decision to the higher-ups at the Department of Justice – and they declared that NONE of the examples of POSSIBLE obstruction rose to the level of a crime. End of subject.
Some Democrats – apparently including Pelosi – want to limit the charges in any Articles of Impeachment to abuse of power associated with the allegations that Trump attempted to enter into an inappropriate quid pro quo with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Others – including Nadler – want to include every conceivable charge – even those discredited in the Mueller Report.
If we were dealing with a court-of-law, all the charges leveled against Trump would not likely survive the first Motion to Dismiss. But this is not a court-of-law. Impeachment is a political process, and Nadler is the consummate political creature. His only interest is to create enough cover for the Democrat majority to impeach Trump.
If you think the Schiff inquiry was marred by political acrimony and shenanigans, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
So, there ‘tis.
The name Eric Ciaramella has been bandied about as the likely whistleblower that kicked off the impeachment campaign against President Trump. Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff and the House democrats leading the impeachment inquiry have neither confirmed nor denied that Ciaramella is the whistleblower. They have instead insisted on “his or her” protection, whoever “he or she,” may be.
But did they just screw up and reveal that the man they have been trying to protect – Eric Ciaramella – is indeed the whistleblower?
“Shifty” Schiff and his fellow Democrats have lambasted the president and GOP lawmakers for demanding the release of the alleged whistleblower’s name. They claimed Republican efforts to out the informant violated federal law and could jeopardize the person’s safety. “The president’s allies would like nothing better than to help the president out this whistleblower,” stated House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff. “Our committee will not be a part of that — we will not stand for that.”
However, it appears Schiff may have accidentally leaked the alleged whistleblower’s name in the transcript of a witness testimony. On page 236 of the just released transcript of Bill Taylor’s testimony, the name “Eric Ciaramella” is included in a question the top Ukraine diplomat was asked during his closed-door session. Taylor was asked if the name rang a bell. He denied familiarity with the name as well as any communications with Ciaramella.
RealClear Investigations recently suggested that the alleged whistleblower could be Ciaramella. He is a registered Democrat who previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan. His name has been tossed around on social media platforms for weeks and is known by many on Capitol Hill.
Now, the very fact that Schiff did not redact the name in the transcript after saying that he would, should the whistleblower’s identity be revealed in any testimony, could simply mean that Ciaramella is not the whistleblower. Or, it could mean that someone on Schiff’s staff screwed up royally, and accidentally released the name that they were trying so hard to keep secret.
President Trump has been pushing for the name of the whistleblower to be made public. “The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories,” stated the president. “Some people would call it a fraud.”
President Donald Trump has implied that he has evidence that will expose the bias against him of decorated war veteran Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
Over the weekend, Trump seemingly threatened to expose information on Vindman, whose damning testimony reportedly included that the president omitted certain “keywords and phrases” from the White House’s memo of the Ukraine phone call at the center of an impeachment inquiry.
Vindman sat in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that spurred the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation.
While speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump repeated his earlier claims that Vindman is a “Never Trumper,” a label he also bestowed on former Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor after his impeachment inquiry testimony outlined how Trump officials made demands of the Ukrainian government in exchange for investigations into the Bidens.
Vindman, reportedly testified that he was instructed by White House counsel John Eisenberg to keep quiet about the call after voicing his concerns. “It’s a whole scam… it’s between the Democrats and the fake news media,” Trump said of the inquiry. When asked what evidence he had that Vindman is a “Never Trumper,” the president cryptically responded, “We’ll be showing that to you real soon.”
It’s no secret that President Trump has accused the “fake news media” of shielding the whistleblower’s identity. In a recent tweet, the president said the whistleblower “got it so wrong” and added that he must come forward. The president has claimed that the media outlets know the identity of the whistleblower, but refuse to reveal him because there would be “hell to pay” from the Democrat Party.
It seems that not only may the president be right – that the lame-stream media knows the whistleblower’s identity – but we may now know why they are protecting him and that info.
Reports have surfaced that say that the whistleblower is likely Eric Ciaramella. Ciaramella, an ex-CIA operative, has ties to major Democrats and anti-Trump members of the intelligence community that are as thick as an elephant’s trunk!
It’s no wonder “Shifty Schiff,” the Dems and the media are so adamant about his identity remaining hidden. This wasn’t just standard whistleblower protection. This was narrative protection first and foremost.
If the whistleblower is indeed Ciaramella, the president was absolutely right in his speculation that “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but what they said is he’s an Obama person,” stated President Trump, “and that he was like a big, big anti-Trump person — they said terrible things.”
Here are some things you need to know about Eric Ciaramella. He was fired from National Security Council for leaking sensitive information from the White House. If that kind of information got out about the “whistleblower” that alone would have left people kind of skeptical. But, what if they also learned he worked for Joe Biden and traveled with him to Ukraine? Ciaramella did both of those things. Could this have been his real motive for filing the complaint?
Ciaramella is known to have direct ties to current Schiff staffers who worked with him for a time at the NSC and to associate with people like Susan Rice, James Clapper, and John Brennan. But it gets worse. It turns out his connections to taking down President Trump date back to before the 2016 election. He worked with Alexandra Chalupa, who Glenn Beck exposed as directly contributing to the Russian-collusion hoax, among other things.
The bottom line is, if the whistleblower is indeed, Eric Ciaramella, he’s a manufactured stool pigeon who may be the only person in Washington DC with less credibility than Adam Schiff.
We can all recall how former Democrat Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke entered the presidential race with the adulation of the liberal media. He was compared to Jack Kennedy – a new young face. Dynamic! Charismatic!! Able to leap tall buildings in a single … or that was the fictional superman. Sorry.
O’Rourke was catapulted to national prominence by his campaign against incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The press praised the great campaign O’Rourke had waged, admired his fundraising capabilities and were celebratory of his vote totals. That was a lot of high praise for a guy who lost the race – but O’Rourke-Ophelia in the press is not conditioned on actually winning,
Beto was everything the mavens of the media love – a young liberal Democrat with a gift for gab. Not only did the press heap praise on the one-time legislator, but they predicted that he would be a serious contender in the Democrat presidential contest. He was a man with a great future in the Democratic Party.
Beto agreed. He saw the presidency as his personal manifest destiny. He said as much when asked why a rather unaccomplished obscure congressman would seek the highest office in the land. In a Vanity Fair interview, O’Rourke describes his political ambition as mystical – almost messianic terms.
He describes his speechifying as of pupil of Star Wars’ Obi Wan Kenobi . O’Rourke said, “… every word was pulled out of me. Like, by some greater force, which was just the people there. Everything that I said, I was, like, watching myself, being like, How am I saying this stuff? Where is this coming from?”
Speaking of his wife, O’Rourke said, “There is something abnormal, super-normal, that we both experience when we’re out on the campaign trail.” He summed up his presidential campaign as “I am just born to be in it.”
After his exaggerated accomplishment in the Texas Senate race and his overly hyped entrance into the 2020 presidential contest, reality has finally come to the O’Rourke ambitions. In the Whack-A-Mole Democrat race for the Democrat nomination, O’Rourke got whacked pretty early by another young charismatic candidate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The latter had the advantage of being gay – a definite plus among the more politically correct Democrat voters.
Despite being the momentary darling of the liberal media he sank into single digits, O’Rourke continued to sink. He tried to revive his campaign with the equivalent of political shock treatments. He gained headlines – but not support – for his bold promise to come and get our guns. He then tried to swear his way back into contention by giving out the f-bomb like it was Halloween candy.
With his polling numbers falling below the margin of error – and his highly vaunted fundraising ability fading – O’Rourke responded to the inevitable. His polling number in the first-in-the-nation Iowa primary is close to zero.
His lackluster congressional career – and his subsequent political failures since – have not diminished the idolization of O’Rourke by the east coast elitist press. In reporting his exit from the presidential race, the one-wing news media praised his efforts and assured us that O’Rourke has a bright future in the Democratic Party as well as in the nation. They gushed over his courage (what courage?). For his fans in the newsrooms, O’Rourke is a political Paris Hilton – a celebrity for little more than the media’s willingness to talk about him. But even that has a shelf life.
It is more likely that O’Rourke will slip into the bin of political has-beens – close to a never-was. He will be remembered for … very little for a short time.
So, there ‘tis.
Several key Republican senators have said, should Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump – which seems likely—come to the Senate for trial, would be a mistake if dismissed.
CNN is reporting that several “key Republicans” have told them that the Senate should conduct a full trial of President Trump, should it come to that, “and not try to jam through a motion that would allow them to dismiss the case quickly on a partisan vote.”
For the same reason that they have forced the House investigation to now be conducted more out in the open, the Republicans advocating against swift dismissal believe that a comprehensive and public examination of the charges would be best for Trump, who wants to clear his name and stay in office, and best for the American people, who deserve to learn what happened, and also best for the Senate as an institution — to demonstrate that even in these harshly partisan times, a careful examination of the charges can be conducted.
“Unlike the process up to this point, I think it is important the Senate process be viewed as fair and serious and give serious consideration to whatever the House is going to bring us,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the Republican leadership, who added that he is “very doubtful that there will be some immediate attempt to try to dismiss the charges.”
It’s All Up to Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said publicly that he wants to force a quick vote to end the case. But he also hasn’t yet outlined what he thinks an appropriate process should be, outside of acknowledging he is constitutionally required to put it on the floor.
Democrats feared McConnell might try to block a trial — in the way he blocked Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court — and were alarmed when the Kentucky Republican began running campaign ads for his reelection, vowing to stop impeachment.
“I haven’t heard anyone espousing a quick dismissal,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican. “I certainly think we need to hear it out from the House. This is a serious thing. When you are considering removing somebody from office or impeaching them in that way. I think you’ve got to hear it.”
Even if it were to go in that direction, it remains unclear if Republicans, who hold a 53-47 advantage over the Democrats, could even get enough votes to dismiss. Some senators, especially those running for reelection next year, may be wary of not giving the evidence a thorough review, but for now, most won’t comment on the record.
A key former White House staffer is refusing to testify in the ongoing Democrat impeachment probe. Charles Kupperman, the deputy to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, will not provide testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
A letter from Kupperman’s attorney said his client isn’t contesting a constitutional right to testimony, but rather it’s President Trump who’s asserting testimonial immunity to confidential advisors such as himself. The letter says if the committee’s position prevails in court then Kupperman will comply. He filed a lawsuit last week, asking the courts how much he can cooperate after the White House invoked constitutional immunity for Kupperman.
CNN is reporting that The Justice Department and the House have both asked a federal judge to postpone the court hearing about Kupperman’s compliance with the request to appear, which was scheduled for Thursday, October 31. Two hearings are scheduled that will test the White House’s claim that its staffers are immune from testifying. The House and Justice Department agreed to seek the postponement, according to their filing Tuesday, because another court hearing they must attend is happening the same afternoon before a different judge. That case is about immunity from congressional testimony for another White House staffer, former White House counsel Don McGahn, as the House seeks his testimony in its impeachment probe.
The judge, Richard Leon of the US District Court in Washington, has not yet responded.
In the popular vernacular it’s known as a “butt call” or “butt dial. It means when you inadvertently call someone by mistake from your cell phone. Most times they result in a simple “sorry,” and a hang-up, but other times they can lead to a major embarrassment.
Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani seems to have recently suffered the latter. According to reports, in the calls that accidentally connected to an unintended party, Mr. Giuliani spoke about needing money and attacked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
As you probably know, lawmakers have demanded documents from Trump’s outspoken lawyer earlier this month as part of the presidential impeachment inquiry. In the past, he publicly admitted asking Ukrainian officials to investigate widely debunked corruption allegations against Mr. Biden. Three Democratic-led committees are currently investigating whether President Trump tried to pressure Ukraine’s president into investigating Mr. Biden in exchange for military aid.
What Did Rudy Say?
NBC investigative reporter Rich Shapiro says he received two voicemails from Mr. Giuliani in the space of a month. He described them as the result of “what is known, in casual parlance, as a butt dial.”
Mr Shapiro missed the first call, mid-afternoon on 28 September, because he was at a child’s birthday party. He had interviewed Mr. Giuliani for an article the day before. For the entirety of the ensuing three-minute voicemail – which Shapiro assumes that Rudy did not know was connected, nor being recorded — Giuliani reportedly attacked Mr. Biden and his family.
“Biden has been trading in on his public office since he was a senator,” Mr Giuliani reportedly said to an unidentified man. In the conversation, he brought up the discredited allegations that Joe Biden, when vice-president, stopped an investigation in Ukraine to protect his son Hunter.
“He did the same thing in China. And he tried to do it in Kazakhstan and in Russia,” Mr. Giuliani reportedly added. “They don’t want to investigate because he’s protected, so we gotta force them to do it,” Giuliani says near the end of the recording
In the second voicemail, left on the night of 16 October, Mr. Giuliani again inadvertently recorded a conversation with an unknown man.
“We need a few hundred thousand,” Mr. Giuliani reportedly said at one point, in a conversation that Mr. Shapiro says covered Bahrain and an unknown man named Robert.
Mr. Giuliani has not yet commented on the calls.