Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday that Democrats have had no contact with Senate Republicans or the Trump administration about stimulus negotiations, just days before the GOP is planning to release their draft bill.
“We have not heard a peep from (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell or the Republicans or the administration on any proposal, even though we’ve been asking for weeks and weeks and weeks,” Schumer said on a conference call with public workers and advocates pushing for significant state and local funding — a flashpoint of the looming negotiations.
Schumer decried McConnell’s decision to draft the proposal entirely within his own conference, noting that Democratic support will be necessary for any final package to pass the Senate.
“McConnell knows from the previous bills that passed in the Senate he’s got to work across the aisle,” Schumer said.
Citing the past negotiations that produced nearly $3 trillion in emergency federal funding to try and arrest the dual economic and public health crises created by coronavirus, Schumer said that when McConnell has sought to negotiate among only Republicans, “it fails.”
Pressure is mounting for Congress and the White House to pump money back into the American economy still suffering from the pandemic as the virus resurges around the country and many of the emergency measures, including enhanced federal unemployment benefits and the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, are set to lapse in the coming weeks.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has taken a methodical approach to the next round of federal aid, in large part because his members have pushed to slow the process down as they watch how previously approved money is spent. Republicans have worked through the last two weeks to pull together the pieces of their legislation, which McConnell has repeatedly said will be focused on three primary issues: “kids, jobs and health care.”
Schumer said he has not seen the two-page summary of a central plank of the Senate GOP plan — liability protections for companies, schools and hospitals that McConnell has said must be included in any final proposal, but did tweak Republicans for its emergence. “I think it’s interesting that the first piece of the first proposal the Republicans are offering is something they negotiated with lobbyists that protects big corporations.”
The proposal, obtained by CNN, has been circulated inside the White House and among GOP senators. It would provide temporary legal protections for organizations that make reasonable efforts to comply with public health guidelines and don’t demonstrate gross negligence. Defendants would have the right to move suits to a federal court, according to the summary document, which would cover the period from December 2019 until 2024.
While Schumer didn’t lay out any red lines of his own specifically, he reiterated that Senate Democrats will push for the $3 trillion stimulus measure, known as the HEROES Act, passed by the House.
“The bottom line is we’re going to fight for the whole HEROES bill period,” Schumer said.
He told Senate Democrats on a private conference call this week there would be no negotiations without House Democrats in the room, according to a person on the call.
Just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to consider the nomination of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s protégé to a federal appeals court, the court’s chief judge requested an investigation of McConnell’s role in creating the vacancy.
Demand Justice, a progressive judicial watchdog group, requested a postponement of Wednesday’s scheduled hearing before the Senate Judiciary on the nomination of Judge Justin Walker of Louisville to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The chief judge of that court issued a public order May 1 asking U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to transfer to another circuit Demand Justice’s allegation that a judge on the court may have been persuaded to retire to allow another judge to take his seat.
The order, a copy of which The Courier Journal obtained Monday night, does not mention Walker by name.
However, on Monday, the New York Times reported that the court’s chief judge, Sri Srinivasan, has referred Demand Justice’s request for an investigation to Roberts so it can be transferred to another circuit for review and disposition.
Srinivasan was appointed by President Barack Obama.
The Washington Post recently reported that the White House has been considering Walker for a seat on the appeals court since long before Judge Thomas Griffith, who occupies the seat, announced his retirement.
In a news release, Demand Justice said: “Justin Walker’s nomination was already controversial, but this emerging investigation means an even darker cloud is hanging over his appointment. The hearing on Walker’s nomination should not go forward until we know the truth about what ethical lines Mitch McConnell crossed to get Walker this seat.’’
The group said that at least, “McConnell should come clean about whether and when he contacted Judge Thomas Griffith prior to his sudden retirement.”
McConnell spokesman David Popp said Walker’s confirmation will continue.
“Leader McConnell looks forward to watching Judge Walker’s confirmation hearing this week,” Popp said in a statement.
At McConnell’s urging, President Donald Trump nominated Walker for the D.C. Circuit Court less than six months after he took his seat on the U.S. District Court in Louisville.
The Courier Journal reported the appointment of Walker, 38, to the coveted seat would likely ignite a fierce fight on Capitol Hill over the former University of Louisville law professor’s qualifications to serve on the nation’s second-most influential bench.
The American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary last year rated Walker “not qualified” for the District Court, saying that he had never tried a case, either civil or criminal, as lead or co-counsel.
But Walker was confirmed by the Senate 50-41, and McConnell praised the pick, saying in a statement that Walker is “an outstanding legal scholar” who represents a “new generation of federal judges.”
Walker was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and to now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh when Kavanaugh sat on the D.C. Circuit bench. Walker was a vocal advocate for Kavanaugh when he faced accusations of sexual harassment allegedly committed when he was a young man.
Our United States Congress is in dire need of a really good enema, to get out all the shitstains on the underwear of the Founding Fathers and off the Constitution and rule of law that the Red Russian Repugnants have done, wiping their traitorous asses with it, since Putin’s Puppet, Ronald McDonald Trump invaded the White House.
Tomorrow is the end of Democracy as we know it should be
Tomorrow? The Red Russian Repugnants, led by Moscow Mitch McConnell KY and Leningrad Lindsey Graham SC, along with Devin “The Cow” Nunes, Alexander “I Don’t Care” Lamar TN, John Barrasso WY, Marsha Blackburn TN, Roy Blunt MO, John Boozman AR, Mike Braun IN, Richard Burr NC, Shelley Moore Capito WV, Bill Cassidy LA, Susan Collins ME, John Cornyn TX, Tom Cotton AZ, Kevin Cramer ND, Mike Crapo ID, Ted Cruz TX, Steve Daines MT, Michael B Enzi WY, Joni Ernst IA, Deb Fischer NE, Cory Gardner CO, Chuck Grassley IA, Josh Hawley MO, John Hoeven ND, Cindy Hyde-Smith MS, James M. Inhofe OK, Ron Johnson WI, John Kennedy LA, Angus S. King Jr ME, James Lankford OK, Mike Lee UT, Kelly Loeffler GA, Martha McSally AZ, Jerry Moran KS, Lisa Murkowski AK, Rand Paul KY, David Perdue GA, Rob Portman OH, James E. Risch ID, Pat Roberts KS, Mitt Romney UT, Mike Rounds SD, Marco Rubio FL, Ben Sasse NE, Rick Scott FL, Tim Scott SC, Richard C Shelby AL, Dan Sullivan AK, John Thune SD, Thom Tillis NC, Patrick J Toomey PA, Roger F. Wicker MS, Todd Young IN (Note: Names taken from the current list of U.S. Senators of the 116 Congress as well as the information to each Republican Senate contact info listed at end.) will all more than likely violate not only the oath most of them who call themselves Christian, their oath to God and Jesus they took when they were sworn into office, to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, but also the oath they swore before God and Jesus at the start of the impeachment trial of Donald J Trump in the Senate to be impartial jurors and consider all the evidence, are? Going to not remove Donald J Trump for his crimes, when they would have done so if President Barack Obama or Bill Clinton had done what Donald J Trump did with the Ukraine.
Heck they would have demanded their impeachment the moment Obama or Clinton sent out a hateful tweet as Trump does on a daily basis.
They would have demanded that President Barack Obama or Bill Clinton be arrested and tried for High Treason against the United States if they had praised Putin or any other dictator as Donald J Trump has done, or taken the side of Putin over our own CIA, FBI and other State Department agencies. Or if they had held an over two hour private, secret meeting in Helsinki with Putin as Trump did and not release any information about that meeting.
But? The Republican Senators are going to walk all over the Constitution and the rule of law tomorrow, the same rules and Constitution they state they are the defenders and protectors of, and find this son of a bitch criminal Donald J Trump? Not guilty. And? By doing so? Prove how much a bunch of complete and total hypocrites they truly are in their refusing to the same rules they demanded during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, that witnesses should be called and evidence admitted, not be applied to Donald J Trump’s impeachment trial. And? Even before the trial? Admit they were never going to find him guilty or remove him from office. So that when they took that oath to swear to be impartial jurors and hear all the evidence and decide on that? They were committing willful perjury because they knew they were never going to keep that oath they swore to take in the first place. And these same hypocrites absolve Donald J Trump of his crimes that they would in fact? Demand President Barack Obama or Bill Clinton be impeached and removed from office for if they had done the same thing.
We who abide by the rule of law and the Constitution could go all meltdown snowflake freakshow like the Trumpsters have, like the psycho Christotaliban preachers Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Jim Bakker, Rick Wiles and others have called for a Civil War if Traitor Trump is removed from office and demand if he is not removed we should start a Civil War. But that is not our style. No, we still believe in the rule of law and the Constitution even if the Red Russian Republicans no longer do.
And of course? With the Red Russian Repugnants absolving Traitor Trump for his crimes, they are also now telling him? YOU are right, just like you said in your campaign, you can in fact? Shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and you will not lose any support from us and we will fight tooth and nail to find you not guilty.
It is time for all of us to do all we can to vote out these Red Russian Repugnants. Get your voting age children, get everyone you know and tell them how serious this is. The Red Russian Republicans have already made their choice to violate their oaths of office, to violate the oaths they took before the trial and to violate the Constitution and rule of law in defense of Traitor Trump.
So, come November 3rd, 2020? Get off your asses and vote Blue no matter who. We created one tsunami during the Mid Terms…this time? Let’s bury them in the biggest Blue Wave they have ever seen.
Chris Cuomo: Closing Argument: You Should Be Mad As Hell And Send Message You’re Not Going To Take It Anymore
CNN’s Chris Cuomo tells viewers they should be angry about the vote against witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, and urges them to speak out. #CNN#News
We could lower ourselves to the level of Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Rick Wiles and Jim Bakker, echoed by Trump with his retweets of Jeffress, and pushed by his radical, hard core followers that if Trump was removed from office they would start a Civil War 2.0. But we are not like they are. We do our best to believe in the rule of law. To abide by the rule of law.
Republicans once stated they were the greatest defenders of the rule of law and the Constitution. But they have proven otherwise. As you said Chris, they stood up for this Criminal in Chief of the White House. I do not know why they fear him so much, I do not know what kind of Kompromat that Trump, or the Russians have on Moscow Mitch McConnell, Leningrad Lindsey Graham, and all the other Republicans who have put Trump above all they supposedly once stood for. Graham got busted outright in his hypocrisy, with all the video of what he said during the Clinton impeachment, and what he now says of Trump.
There is only one hopeful way to end the reign of terror of Trump and McConnell, Graham, and all the rest who have stood up and defended his crimes.
NOW, MORE THAN ANYTIME IN HISTORY? GET OFF YOUR BUTT, MAKE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE, AND GO AND VOTE THESE CRIMINALS OUT OF OFFICE. EITHER THAT?
OR IT WILL CONTINUE TO SLIDE INTO THE DICTATORSHIP OF TRUMP THAT IT IS NOW IS.
On 23 January 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump caused controversy when he stated the following during a campaign rally in Iowa:
I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.
You all tried to overturn an election of Bill Clinton by attempting to impeach him on lying about getting a bj in the Oval office. You all still condemn him for having sex in the Oval Office with a consenting adult. You still condemn him for all of this to this day.
And you mental midget morons display your Clinton Derangement Syndrome, Obama Derangement Syndrome and Democratic Derangement Syndrome on a daily basis, while accusing those of us who dare stand up to Traitor Trump, having Trump Derangement Syndrome.
But you all got no problem with Trump being exposed as a pathological liar. You all got no problem of his proclaiming how because he is a star? That means he can grab any woman by her pussy. That he is recorded stating he walked into his Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pagent dressing rooms to oogle naked girls and women and he can do it and get away with it because hey, he owns them.
Full tape with lewd Donald Trump remarks (Access Hollywood)
You all got no problem he has been accused by 19 women of sexually assaulting them, or his ex wife Ivana claiming he brutally raped her because he had a bad hair day at a hair doctor she referred him to. Or that a woman stated he raped her when she was 13 at one of his buddy Jerry Epstein’s pedo party and when we speak of these things? Why all these women are liars, Trump is the one telling the truth and hey, Clinton was a buddy of Epstein too. Thing is? From Epstein’s own plane records? Trump took six trips to his pedo island, but Clinton actually rented that plane to use for trips across the pond. All of this is evidence that has been released and shown, but you Trumpsters still call it all lies and Fake News.
Trump’s sexual assault allegations: The full list of women who have accused the President
But? You all believed that Pizzagate lie about Hillary Clinton and Poindexter and other Democrats were holding satanic, child rape and cannibal rituals in the basement of Comet Ping Pong pizza shop. And two psycho Trumpsters believed this lie so much? One held the family hostage, shooting off his gun, while terrorizing the family demanding? They show him where the basement was. Thing is? There NEVER WAS A BASEMENT TO THE PIZZA SHOP IN THE FIRST PLACE. So right after this maniac got sentenced? Another Trump psycho went and tried to burn the place down cause he still believed there was a basement there where Hillary and the Dems were holding satanic, child rape and sacrifice rituals.
Washington gunman motivated by fake news ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy
This article is more than 3 years old
Washington restaurant Comet Ping Pong was target of fake news reports it was operating a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton and an aide
I’ve done the best I can to reformat this article since much of the sources for the various images are gone since the article from Vigilant Citizen no longer exists. I have no idea why that is the case; but none the less I put most of them back into this post so that it can effectively show you the grossness of what these people consider to be art and fun.
This pedophile issue is one that needs much light and we’ve been progressively working towards the disclosure of this. Trump has been shutting down human trafficking networks around the world. People are becoming aware of the sick acts these people committed.
I’ve also added some more links to the Resource sections so people can get a better understanding of it.
2. Pizzagate: MUST WATCH! The GREATEST Conspiracy
117,173 views•Dec 6, 2016
Kaamil-Inaam Naicker 1.82K subscribers This is the latest scandal regarding US politicians. It deals with the possibility of them owning a child trafficking ring in Washington DC. While many regard the conspiracy to be fake, I believe that the large number of ‘coincidences’ should render it real.
Nearly half of registered Republicans believe Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign is implicated in a satanic child abuse ring operated from beneath a Washington, D.C., pizzeria, according to the results of a new poll released this week.
In spite of being debunked and refuted as a baseless conspiracy theory, 49 percent of Republicans questioned during a recent YouGov/Economist survey said there’s at least some truth to the so-called “Pizzagate” scandal said to involve Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
BUT DO ANY OF YOU CARE THAT THIS ONE LIE PRESSED BY TRUMPSTERS, FOX NEWS AND OTHERS, CAUSED INNOCENT FAMILIES AND THEIR BUSINESSES TO SUFFER? THAT THE OWNER AND HIS FAMILY AND WORKERS WERE HELD HOSTAGE BY A PSYCHO? OR THAT THEIR PLACE WAS ALMOST BURNED TO THE GROUND? NOPE, NOT ONE BIT. AND YOU LOSERS ARE STILL PROMOTING THIS PIZZAGATE LIE ONLINE.HELL NO YOU DO NOT.
Or his recorded interviews over his daughters Ivanka and Tiffany. Where he stated on national tv show that the thing he has in common with Ivanka was sex while she stated it was real estate and golf. Or how he proclaimed yeah, she has a great ass and would date her if she was not his daughter. Or how when he was giving an interview with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and was standing over the crib of his one year old daughter Tiffany? He stated that she already had great legs like her mother and hopes she gets big boobs like she has too.
Donald Trump said he has sex in common with his daughter IVANKA TRUMP
“Ivanka posing for Playboy would be really disappointing… not really. But it would depend on what was inside the magazine…I don’t think Ivanka would [do a nude shoot] inside the magazine, Although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that President-elect Donald Trump once asked, “Is it wrong to be more sexually attracted to your own daughter than your wife?” — but the quote was quietly removed before the syndicated column was published Tuesday.
Trump was reportedly referring to his daughter, Ivanka, who was 13 years old at the time.
The quote was circulated Monday in a draft of Cohen’s piece “Our Next President, The Godfather” that was sent to outlets that syndicate the column, a source told BuzzFeed News. The quote did not appear in the later, final version of the piece carried by the Post and other outlets.
Cohen’s column details the president-elect’s increasingly blurred familial and political ties as he prepares to enter the White House.
Watch Donald Trump Speculate on Baby Daughter Tiffany’s Future ‘Assets’ in 1994 Clip
Donald Trump made a suggestive comment about daughter Tiffany’s body during a 1994 appearance on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
A clip The Daily Show dug up from a 1994 episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous shows Trump making a suggestive comment about his younger daughter Tiffany‘s body – when she was just 1 year old.
It happened after host Robin Leach asked Trump and his then-wife Marla Maples what attributes their infant daughter inherited from her parents.
“I think that she’s got a lot of Marla, she’s really a beautiful baby,” Trump said. “She’s got Marla’s legs. We don’t know whether or not she’s got this part yet but time will tell,” he added, holding his hands in front of his chest to represent breasts.
You all cried about President Barack Obama going golfing right? Including Trump. But hey, you all got no problem with Trump now spending $115 million on his golf trips to his golf courses, which equals? 287 years of Presidential salaries.
You all cried about Hillary and her using a personal email account to send her emails right? But you got no problem with Trump using an unsecured phone to send his tweets, or the fact that Ivanka, Jared, Priebus, Bannon, Gary Cohn, and Steven Miller using their personal email accounts to receive governmental emails.
You all cried about the Clinton Foundation and how corrupt it was. But you got no problem with Trump’s charity being shut down for fraud and the fact he and his family used the funds for themselves right?
The Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely set off harsh criticism in China, as well as international opprobrium. But the power grab appears to have at least one fan: Donald Trump.
“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said of Xi at a lunch and fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago estate, according to CNN, which obtained a recording of the remarks. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”
Context, of course, is everything. Trump may well have been joking (CNN hasn’t yet released the audio of the remarks), but his comments about Xi’s hold on power in China, a Communist dictatorship, add to Trump’s long history of offering support or even outright praise for dictators and strongmen the world over.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
What Trump said about him: “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him. I’ve already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, ‘Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing’—the man has very strong control over a country. Now, it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”
When: September 2016
Context: The remarks weren’t the first time Trump expressed his admiration for the Russian leader. He’d done it well before he announced was running for president, and before interference in the U.S. election system was a glint in Putin’s eye—as well as many times afterward. But praising Putin’s strong leadership in a country where the Russian leader’s political opponents are harassed, jailed, or simply disappear is a bit like praising the punctuality of the railways in a fascist regime. The U.S. State Department, in its most recent human-rights report, described restrictions in Russia on political participation; the suppression of civil society; and allegations of torture. Human Rights Watch said that the government had “tightened control over the already-shrinking space for free expression, association, and assembly and intensified persecution of independent critics.” The Russian presidential elections later this month, which are expected to result in another term for Putin, all but ensures that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
What Trump said about him: “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.”
Context: The Philippines president has boasted about killing suspected drug dealers when he was a local mayor. Extrajudicial killings of drugs suspects have risen since Duterte became president in June 2016. Trump reportedly favors the death penalty for drug dealers—presumably ones who have been convicted. The U.S. State Department noted last year that “police and unknown vigilantes have killed more than 6,000 suspected drug dealers and users as the government pursued a policy aimed at eliminating illegal drug activity in the country by the end of the year.” Human Rights Watch said “Duterte has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s.” It added that Duterte’s most prominent critic was detained on “politically motivated drug charges.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
What Trump said about him: “Frankly, he’s getting very high marks. He’s also been working with the United States. We have a great friendship and the countries—I think we’re right now as close as we’ve ever been … a lot of that has to do with a personal relationship.”
When: September 2017
Context: The president’s remarks came shortly after Erdogan cracked down on Turkish civil society, the media, and his opponents. Erdogan accused members of democratic institutions of being part of a failed coup attempt against him the previous year. Trump even congratulated Erdogan after last year’s referendum that gave him—and subsequent presidents—more power. The U.S. State Department has cited “inconsistent access to due process” in Erdogan’s Turkey, along with other abuses against civil society. Human Rights Watch called the new presidential system “a setback for human rights and the rule of law.” Trump’s “personal relationship” with Erdogan appears to have its limits, however. Turkish forces are pounding a Kurdish-controlled Syrian town despite pleas from the U.S. to obey a 30-day UN-mandated ceasefire.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
What Trump said about him: “We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”
Context: Sisi, who seized power in a coup, has cracked down in Egypt, where a brief flirtation with democracy during the Arab Spring resulted in a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government (which Sisi ousted). The U.S. State Department says the most serious human-rights problems there involve “excessive use of force by security forces, deficiencies in due process, and the suppression of civil liberties.” Human Rights Watch says Sisi’s government “maintained its zero-tolerance policy towards dissent… and [continued] near-absolute impunity for abuses by security forces under the pretext of fighting ‘terrorism.’”
Trump even said China’s brutal crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 “shows you the power of strength,” contrasting the Communist Party’s action with the United States, which he said “is right now perceived as weak.” Trump made those comments in 1990. When asked about the remarks during the presidential debate in 2016, Trump defended himself and appeared to take the Chinese Communist Party’s view of the events at Tiananmen. He dismissed the deadly military response as a “riot.”
The minute Traitor Donald J Trump withheld the Congressional approved funds and military weapons to the Ukraine, in order to use as a carrot to dangle in front of the President of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to do his bidding and dig up dirt on the Bidens, Burimsa and find out about the bogus claims of Crowd Strike and the DNC server and it being the Ukraine that interfered in his election to the Presidency, not the proven fact it was Russia and Putin and their troll bots who did so? He committed High Treason Against the United States. And ANY Republican who defends and supports the actions of Donald J Trump? Have also committed High Treason Against the United States.
I shall reveal his and the Republicans High Treason Against the United States by posting three news stories and nine video links that back up my assertions and my own comments after posting those stories and videos.
Story One: Impeachment Day 3: Republicans Continue Their Attack on Reason and Reality
Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman’s testimony was devastating. So GOP lawmakers resorted to spin and conspiracy theories.
By David Corn, Washington DC Bureau Chief, Mother Jones
On Tuesday, the third day of the House impeachment hearings, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were confronted by witnesses, particularly Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, who presented unambiguous evidence that President Donald Trump used his office to pressure Ukrainian officials to launch investigations to produce dirt on Joe Biden and prove a debunked conspiracy theory that absolved the Russians of hacking the 2016 US election.Vindman and Jennifer Williams, a State Department official assigned to Vice President Mike Pence’s office, each told the committee that Trump, during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pressed the Ukrainian to initiate these two inquiries and that Burisma—the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, worked for—was referenced by name.(The reconstructed transcript of the call released by the White House, for some not-yet-explained reason, did not mention “Burisma.”) Vindman also testified about a July 10 White House meeting with Ukrainian officials in which Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who was working with the private channel overseen by Rudy Giuliani, piped up and said that before Zelensky could get a much-desired meeting with Trump, the Ukrainians had to “deliver specific investigations.” Other witnesses have told the committee that the release of nearly $400 million in security assistance that Trump put a hold on was also tied to Ukraine pursuing investigations of the Bidens and the conspiracy theory that holds that Ukraine, not Russia, intervened in the US election.
So it’s as clear as the sky is blue: Trump was muscling the Ukrainians to help him influence the 2020 election and to clear Moscow. The quasi-transcript of the July 25 call even shows Trump saying that if Zelensky wants more Javelin anti-tank weapons, he will have to do Trump the “favor” of kicking off these investigations.(And as Vindman said, considering the power disparity between the two men, this was not a polite request that could be turned down—it was a “demand.”)Yet when Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the pro-Trump bulldog recently placed on the intelligence committee by the GOP leadership, had his chance to ask questions of Vindman and Williams, he seized his moment in the sun to declare the sky is green. Or purple. Or whatever. There is no evidence of “linkage,” he thundered. “The transcript shows no linkage…to an investigation.”
But that’s exactly what the transcript shows. You want Javelins? Then we have this favor for you to do—investigations. This is brazen linkage. And there’s now a mountain of testimony linking a White House meeting and the release of the security assistance to Ukraine opening the political investigations Trump craved. But…still…nevertheless, the Republicans on the committee won’t accept this basic reality.
Instead, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the committee, Jordan, and their party-mates have forged an alternative reality in which this controversy is no more than a “hoax” concocted by Democrats and the media and that the focus should be not on Trump’s action but on the whistleblower who initiated the Trump-Ukraine scandal and on the involvement of Hunter Biden in Burisma and the fact-free allegation that his dad took action to thwart an investigation of the firm.
In his opening statement, Nunes depicted a wide-ranging conspiracy of Democrats and mainstream media outlets that first cooked up “the Russia hoax” and then, when that scandal did not lead to Trump’s ouster, devised a whole new bogus Ukraine scandal. In this world, Russia’s attack on the 2016 election (which was mounted partly to help Trump win) does not exist. Rather, Ukraine was somehow the true meddler. (Republicans have repeatedly cited the public anti-Trump statements of a few Ukrainian officials who in 2016 were worried about Trump—and justifiably so, after Trump had said that perhaps Russia should be allowed to keep Crimea, the chunk of Ukraine that Vladimir Putin seized in 2014.) The Republicans were hardly slowed by Vindman’s reality-based statement that the Ukraine-meddled accusation “is a Russian narrative that President Putin has promoted.”
Nunes even exclaimed that the Democratic media conspiracy against Trump included “a concerted campaign” of journalistic organizations “smearing” John Solomon, the writer for The Hill who published a series of stories that disseminated unfounded allegations about the Bidens and former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. In a bizarre twist, Nunes pointed to the fact that The Hill is now reviewing Solomon’s articles as proof of this sub-conspiracy and an indication this despicable cabal would go to any lengths to prosecute its evil plan.
Nunes declared that what most needed exposing was the whistleblower’s contacts with the media and the Democrats on the committee. He did not explain the relevance of this. But Nunes was suggesting that the whole Ukraine business was manufactured by the Ds and the press—and the whistleblower is the key to uncovering this diabolical plot. The whistleblower’s lawyers have denied on the record that their client has been talking to the media or coordinating with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the intelligence committee, or other Democrats.
Nunes also promoted the never-will-die innuendo that Joe Biden pushed for the dismissal of a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor to protect his son and Burisma. And there were other insinuations hurled by the Republicans. At one point, they dwelled on an anecdote—a Ukrainian official once asked Vindman if he wanted to serve as defense minister for Ukraine, and Vindman dismissed the offer as a joke—to hint that Vindman, who was born in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, possessed dual loyalties.
The Rs have concocted a dark world in which Trump is an innocent victim. In their view, he was the target of foreign intervention in 2016, not the beneficiary; there was nothing to the Russia investigation. (Don’t mention the convictions of his campaign manager, his national security adviser, his longtime political adviser, and others.) And the Ukraine scandal—based on a suspect whistleblower (disregard all the testimony from known officials)—is merely another front in the unrelenting war the Democrats have been waging against Trump because, as Jordan yelled on Tuesday, “the Democrats have never accepted the will of the American people.”
Toward the end of Vindman’s and Williams’ time before the panel, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked Vindman to read aloud the last paragraph of the prepared testimony he delivered at the start of the hearing: “Dad, [that] I’m sitting here today in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.” Maloney asked why he reported Trump’s phone call to lawyers at the National Security Council. “Because that was my duty,” Vindman replied.
With his testimony, Maloney told Vindman, “You were putting yourself up against the president of the United States.” (Trump and his henchmen have viciously attacked Vindman.) Maloney asked the colonel, “Why did you have confidence you can do that?” Vindman, a recipient of the Purple Heart, answered, “Because, Congressman, this is America. This is the country I have served and defended…And here right matters.” The audience responded with loud applause. The Republicans on the panel looked glum. Moments later, when Nunes had the chance to make a concluding statement, he snorted, “Act One of today’s circus is over.”
Story Two: Impeachment hearings reveal the extent of the damage Trump’s inflicted on our national security
The GOP is trying to use the broken national security system to discredit and undermine the officials who are testifying, rather than fix it.
By Brett Bruen, former director of global engagement in the Obama White House. Brett Bruen was the director of global engagement in the Obama White House and a career American diplomat. He currently runs crisis communications agency the Global Situation Room and teaches crisis management at Georgetown.
We are in real danger. There are certainly many conclusions to be drawn from the recent days of detailed testimony by officials on the National Security Council and at the State Department in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. But beyond the political points scored and the possibility of removing a president, there’s an even more unsettling feeling that I can’t shake. These hearings have laid bare just how crippled the staff, systems and structures designed to protect our country really are.
This troubling state of insecurity ought to jolt even the most jaded member of Congress into sitting up straight and starting to think about how to straighten it out really fast. But instead of trying to address the damage to our defenses, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting the inquiry, opt to exacerbate matters. They are trying to use this broken system to discredit and undermine the witnesses who are testifying to Trump’s bad behavior.
Repeatedly, these members of Congress have asked the public servants testifying— who have information about Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine into investigating a major political rival, Vice President Joe Biden, and his son in exchange for aid and a White House visit — whether they themselves had ever met the president. The implication they hope will be drawn from their answers that they never once met him is that these individuals lack the stature and direct knowledge to be credible.
Trump himself cast the same aspersion Tuesday, specifically about the top National Security Council expert on Ukraine, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who that day provided devastating testimony about the president’s impropriety in a now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Vindman and other staff had listened in on that call from a separate room.
At the hearing, Ohio Rep. Michael Turner asked Vindman directly: “You’ve never met the president of the United States, right?” And then followed up with, “So you’ve never advised the president of the United States on Ukraine?”
Vindman said he advised him “indirectly,” through preparing calls and
materials for him without having met him, Walked rejoined: “But you’ve
never spoken to the president of the United States and told him advice
on Ukraine?” Vindman conceded, “That is correct.”
The problem with putting down Vindman and other witnesses because they never met Trump is that it shows the president’s gross negligence in handling national security rather than the inadequacy of those testifying on impeachment. The lack of contact and communications between the National Security Council and the Oval Office, especially on critical issues such as Ukraine and ISIS, should set off alarm bells; we are precariously close to a catastrophic crash.
When I was on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, the staff interacted fairly regularly with the big boss. Depending on the portfolio, someone at Vinman’s level could see him every week.
It was our job, as advisers on the White House
body devoted to gathering information and forming policy on
international and security issues, to brief President Barack Obama
before key calls and meetings. So even though I wasn’t particularly
senior, I occasionally spent up to two and a half hours meeting with
him, where there would be opportunities to both present and answer his
questions. Obama was notorious for calling on those sitting on the back
benches to get different views on key issues.
This president is flying blind. I was struck in listening to the testimony over the past week how few of his advisers are consulted on major policy decisions. Sure, we have long known about his tendency to freelance. Yet, there’s a difference between dismissing or discounting advice and never getting it in the first place. I was shocked that Trump had never spoken to either of our top diplomats in Ukraine prior to halting aid and endangering the country.
There are two primary effects of this
disconnect. First, as we have clearly seen in the testimony, our people
have no clue what they are supposed to do. They play an elaborate and
elusive game of telephone, trying to figure out how the heck they should
steer the ship through rough waters. Messages get relayed through
multiple layers in the Trump administration, often passed by external,
The second effect is that those who know national security best are unable to warn the president about potential risks or unintended consequences. Trump’s sudden decision to pull our troops out of northern Syria is a prime example of such impulsive and ill-informed decisions. Without the benefit of GPS, we regularly find ourselves driving far off course, as has been the case with North Korea. There is then the challenge of the president taking counsel directly from unscrupulous actors who often drive him into minefields, such as Rudy Giulliani and Lev Parnas, as they did on Ukraine.
Trump has gone even further. The president and the White House have
tweeted against Vindman and Vice President Mike Pence’s aide on Ukraine,
Jennifer Williams. During Vindman’s testimony, Trump tweeted that his boss “had concerns about Vindman’s judgment.” And he slammed Williams
as a Never Trumper “who I don’t know.” Attacks like these don’t just
shatter the confidence of Williams and Vindaman but also shake the
confidence of everyone working on the National Security Council.
country is endangered when those responsible for the most serious
threats we face have to worry about personal threats from our leaders.
And the number of those interested in taking on this difficult if
important work will only decrease. Service on this National Security
Council was already fairly unpopular these days. I know from speaking
with friends that many are already shunning the previously prestigious
positions at the White House. The developments of the last few weeks
will make it untenable for many of those who are best qualified for
We will end up in a
situation where the most important jobs for protecting our country are
going to be occupied by second- and third-string players. Again, this
creates massive vulnerabilities that should alarm lawmakers and those
responsible for the defense of our country.
What happens when the next person sees
something of concern? After having witnessed the fierce political
attacks to which we now subject whistleblowers and those such as
Williams and Vindman who reluctantly speak up publicly, many will be
simply too afraid to come forward. Instead, they will allow problems to
fester and dangerous decisions to go unchallenged. This again places our
nation in a very serious situation. Fraud, waste and abuse will spread,
eating away at the pillars of stability and security on which our way
of life has depended for so long.
Some may argue that I’m overdramatizing the risks. But the testimony has brought to light some of the dark developments of the last several years. Our national security officials now have little contact with an isolated and erratic president. They don’t have clear guidance or even a basic plan for how to execute our foreign policy. Many of them are overly afraid for their jobs, their colleagues and even their safety. It is exceptionally hard to keep America safe when you’re in the dark, alone and afraid.
Story Three: Does Ukraine have the DNC server like Trump says? We fact checked that.
During a nearly
hourlong phone interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump defended his
administration’s freeze on military aid to Ukraine this year as well as
his July 25 call with the Ukrainian president that prompted a whistleblower complaint, saying he was simply trying to root out corruption in the country.
lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine,” he began, before alleging
that the country has the DNC server that was hacked in 2016.
“The FBI went in and they told them get out of here, we’re not giving it to you. They gave the server to CrowdStrike … which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, and I still want to see that server,” Trump said of the DNC’s actions upon learning that it had been hacked in the run-up to the election. “You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”
Almost none of these claims are remotely true.
CrowdStrike is the California-based cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC to investigate a breach that turned out to be a Russian hack aimed at sowing discord and disrupting the U.S. election. It’s not owned by a wealthy Ukrainian — it’s publicly traded on the Nasdaq. Its largest shareholder is Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm with ties to Trump himself. One of CrowdStrike’s founders, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian-born American citizen, which may be what Trump is getting at. But Alperovitch frequently consults with the U.S. government on cybersecurity, Esquire reported.
It is true that the FBI was not given the DNC’s physical computer equipment, but there’s no evidence that the Democratic Party held anything back from U.S. law enforcement investigating the breach. During investigations, it’s common for physical servers to be digitally copied and preserved as evidence, as Robert Johnston, a cybersecurity expert who led the investigation into the DNC hack in 2016, explained to NBC News earlier this year.
There’s also not just one server, as Trump seems to think. The DNC has said they decommissioned 140 servers and rebuilt 11, to be specific, related to 2016. One of them is on display at the DNC’s office in Washington, next to a filing cabinet broken into by Watergate burglars, according to this 2016 photo in The New York Times.
With those claims, Trump made clear Friday
that he is holding fast to the broader, debunked conspiracy that Ukraine
was responsible for interfering in the 2016 election. Republicans on
the House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the impeachment
inquiry, framed much of their questioning around this idea, so much so
that Trump’s former Russia expert, Fiona Hill, targeted it in her
testimony Thursday for a thorough dismantling.
“Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” Hill said. “In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”
“These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” she said.
The broader conspiracy of Ukraine election
interference Trump hints at in his interview purports that the
Democratic Party orchestrated, with that nation’s help, the hacking of
their own systems and framed Russia in order to discredit a Trump
The president has for years been alluding to this baseless theory — the origins of which NBC News’ Ben Collins traced back
to far-right message boards as early as March 2017 — though he does not
spell it out, perhaps because it’s quite a stretch to suggest that
Democrats ran a massive, international conspiracy to lose the election.
Behind closed doors, Trump has claimed Ukraine tried to stop him from winning.
Ukraine “tried to take me down,” Trump said in a meeting with his advisers, according to the impeachment inquiry testimony of U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, and Kurt Volker, then-U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.
Despite being repeatedly
dismissed by Trump’s own intelligence community and advisers, the theory
appears to have been a motivating factor behind the efforts of his
personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to run a highly unusual shadow policy
team with the goal of pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce
investigations into the 2016 election and Burisma Holdings — the
Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden joined as a board member in
Fox News’ Steve Doocy on Friday pressed the president on whether he was “sure” about the claims.
“Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?” he asked of the DNC server.
“Well, that’s what the word is,” Trump said.
what I asked actually in my phone call, if you know. I mean I asked it
very point blank, because we’re looking for corruption. There’s
tremendous corruption. We’re looking for — why should we be giving
hundreds of millions of dollars to countries when there’s this kind of
The foreign aid to Ukraine
that the Trump administration held up for 55 days is one aspect of the
Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, as witnesses have alleged that there was an effort
to condition the release of that aid on public assurances that Ukraine
would launch the politically advantageous investigations Giuliani and
Video One: Ukrainian forces at risk as Trump admin. withheld military aid
The lives of Ukrainian troops fighting a hot war against Russian forces were on the line as the Trump administration withheld aid now at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry. Retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis reacts.
Video Three: It doesn’t matter if Trump committed a crime. He should still be impeached.
With impeachment depositions set to begin soon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have narrowed the focus of the impeachment inquiry to Trump’s Ukraine call and the subsequent whistleblower complaint. Corey Brettschneider, professor of political science and policy at Brown University, joined THINK to explain why he thinks that’s a mistake.
Video Five: Day 1,037: Trump floats Russian conspiracy theory on Ukraine on FOX News
After Fiona Hill blasted lawmakers on the Hill for sharing a Russian-created conspiracy theory about Ukraine hacking the 2016 U.S. election, Trump went on FOX News and again repeated the bogus allegation.
Video Six: Russia expert Fiona Hill blasts ‘fictional narrative’ of Ukraine election interference
President Trump’s former top Russia advisor Fiona Hill testified on the fifth day of public impeachment hearings, blasting Republicans for unfounded theories of Ukrainian election interference and taking aim at the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Embassy aide David Holmes also testified, detailing a cell phone conversation he says he overheard between Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Trump.
Video Nine: ‘I don’t know what the hell Jim Jordan is doing’: Congressman says
Rep. Adam Smith discusses the impeachment inquiry hearings this week and the Republican defense of President Trump. Smith says about Rep. Jim Jordan, “I don’t know what the hell he is doing. He is obviously sticking to this narrative that is untrue.”
House Republicans make it clear they feel Trump has done nothing wrong
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talking to reporters at the
GOP House leadership press conference, was asked by a reporter if he
would say Trump has done nothing wrong.
“A very clear
yes,” he responded. The cadre of House GOP leaders standing behind him
yelled in affirmation as McCarthy responded.
to a subsequent question, McCarthy claimed Republicans in Congress will
vote on impeachment — if and when articles are formally introduced —
“based on the facts.”
“Show us the truth. We always vote based on the facts,” he said.
Rep. Jim Jordan: Americans ‘will not tolerate this’
House leaders, speaking at their post-vote press conference, continued
their criticism of House Democrats, accusing their rival party’s leaders
of going against the wishes of the American people
American people see this for what it is,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the
ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said.
“They will not tolerate this.”
Rep. Michael McCaul, a
member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, claimed the Democrats’
procedural approach to the impeachment inquiry “defies historic
Rep. Dingell ‘very disturbed by the undue influence’ being put on Republicans
Rep. Debbie Dingell, R-Mich., said Friday that she was “very
disturbed” by the pressure she said is being put on Republican
lawmakers to toe the line during the House impeachment inquiry.
on Fox News whether Democrats should move forward with impeachment
without GOP backing, Dingell responded, “First of all, I don’t know that
there is no Republican support. I have talked to a number of people who
are deeply disturbed, and they’re being very cautious in their words.
Their arms are being broken, and I’m very disturbed by the undue
influence I’m seeing put on Republicans too.”
said what she heard in testimony over the last two weeks “deeply
disturbed” her and would accurately be described as bribery.
is very clear that the Ukrainian president was — the word ‘bribe’ does
work with being told you are not going to get this aid that you need
unless you agree to do this investigation, and you do it publicly,” she
said. “And we do have evidence that money was held up.”
congresswoman added that the Intelligence Committee was already
drafting its report, after which the Judiciary Committee will make its
recommendations, and she would wait to see those before coming to any
conclusions about impeachment.
Dingell also weighed in on
the debunked conspiracy theory Trump and his allies have been chasing
that it was really Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016
election — which former top Russia expert Fiona Hill called a “fictional narrative” that echoed Russian propaganda during her testimony on Thursday.
of the things we do know and one of the reasons why I have been fearful
about impeachment, but I am getting madder and madder … is that we do
know, there were Republican Cabinet members that testified that Russia
interfered in our last elections. Russia is trying to divide us as a
country. That’s documented in the Mueller report. Intelligence agency
after intelligence agency around the world is saying that they’re trying
to destabilize democracy.
“We need a president that’s
going to protect the United States of America, not help destabilize
democracies around the world,” she said.
DONALD J TRUMP, RUDY GUILIANI, WILLIAM BARR, RICK PERRY, MIKE POMPEO, MITCH MCCONNELL, LINDSEY GRAHAM, MICK MULVANEY, DEVIN NUNES, JIM JORDAN, AND THE REST OF THE REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORT AND DEFEND DONALD J TRUMP? HAVE ALL COMMITTED HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.
Treason is an act of disloyalty or betrayal of trust to a person’s own government. Examples include assassination of a state figure, fighting against his or her own nation in a war, assisting enemy combatants, or passing vital government information to the enemy. Historically, this crime has been severely punished, because an act of treason can destroy a nation. In the modern day, a conviction is accompanied at a minimum by a long jail sentence and a heavy fine, and may merit the death penaltyunder certain circumstances.
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any treason against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both. (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
While we may not be officially at war with Russia and Putin, we are in a proxy war with them through the Ukraine. The Ukraine is an ally of ours. We are supporting and helping them because of the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea and their proxy war, using Russians, to overtake the Ukraine. We are in essence? In a proxy war, defending the Ukraine against Russia and Putin against their invasion of the Ukraine.
This would be similar to what Traitor Trump just did in helping his disgusting, dicktater buddy Erdogan in Turkey and Syria and his now allowing the Kurds to be slaughtered by the Russian backed and supported Turkish government.
By Traitor Trump withholding the funds and the military weapons that were to go to the Ukraine, under the rules and laws of Congress, that approved these funds and military weapons for the Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion and Putin? All so he could have the Ukrainians dig up dirt on Biden and all the bullshit con of the DNC server? He immediately gave aid and comfort to his Puppet Master, Putin and Russia and by his actions? Caused Ukrainians to be killed. This again? Is giving aid and comfort to our enemy Russia and Putin.
Russia’s Crimea plan detailed, secret and successful
The annexation of Crimea was the
smoothest invasion of modern times. It was over before the outside world
realised it had even started.
And until Tuesday 18 March, when a
group of pro-Russian gunmen attacked a small Ukrainian army base in
Simferopol, killing one officer and injuring another, it was entirely
For much of February, thousands of extra soldiers were
quietly sent in to the bases which Russia was permitted by treaty to
own in Crimea. Civilian “volunteers” moved in too. The plan was carried
out secretly and with complete success.
The first obvious sign that Crimea was being taken over was on Friday 28 February, when checkpoints were established at Armyansk and Chongar – the two main road crossings from mainland Ukraine to the Crimean peninsula.
cut-off points were controlled by men wearing a variety of uniforms:
Ukrainian army, Ukrainian police, as well as camouflage without national
insignia. Several wore civilian clothes.
When I tried to get
through the Armyansk checkpoint on Saturday 1 March, together with a BBC
cameraman, these men were hostile and threatening.
They stole the
bags containing our body armour from the boot of our taxi, and went
through our suitcases aggressively, pulling out the things inside and
dropping some of them on the road. They took our camera away and filched
the expensive electronic recording cards from it, together with the
They knew exactly what they were looking for.
There were more bags containing body armour piled up at the side of the
road, where other journalists had tried to get through before us.
men at the checkpoint were stopping everyone except local people from
passing through. I found it hard to work out what was going on.
It was only when one of them, wearing a police uniform, called out “Welcome to Russia!” that I understood – their uniforms might be Ukrainian, but they were sealing off Crimea on behalf of Moscow.
By the next day, Sunday 2 March, it was all over. The outside world
was still expecting Russian ships to arrive and capture Crimea. But it
had already happened by stealth.
On Sunday and Monday the
Ukrainian military bases were taken over by tough-looking soldiers. They
carried the latest Russian military weapons, but their uniforms had
neither national or unit markings, nor badges of rank.
them were the “volunteers” – usually older men, many of whom had
apparently come in from Russia itself. Some wore bits and pieces of
uniform, others plain clothes. They lined up outside the Ukrainian bases
and prevented anyone getting too close.
Presumably they were
Russian reservists. They were tough and aggressive, but they obeyed the
orders of their superiors. Many were obviously heavy drinkers, and at
night a few were openly drunk.
Yet their discipline held. There was no looting, and although their behaviour was threatening they did not attack civilians.
In the days that followed, other groups appeared. These were genuine volunteers, who had come from Moscow to join what they saw as the liberation of Crimea. I spoke to three members of an ultra-nationalist group whose uniforms bore the colours of an extreme royalist organisation.
They were all from Moscow, and they all planned to move on from Crimea to the mainly Russian-speaking cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk. Why? To show solidarity, they said.
Later I came across a
group of seven or eight bikers wearing leathers with badges of rank on
them – president, vice-president and so on. They had also come down from
Moscow, and were planning to head off to Kharkiv and Donetsk. “It’s a
great day,” the “president” said.
But these were
Johnny-come-latelys – amateurs who just wanted to join the fun. There
was absolutely no sign the Russian government had sent them.
modern times, Moscow has staged three major invasions: Hungary in
November 1956 and Czechoslovakia in August 1968, when the Communist
governments there began showing dangerously Western tendencies; and
Afghanistan in December 1979, when the pro-Communist regime was on the
point of collapse.
These were huge and brutal operations, involving large numbers of tanks, and sometimes great bloodshed.
takeover of Crimea has been completely different. This was an
infiltration, not an invasion. And unlike in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and
Afghanistan it was welcomed by a large proportion of the local
According to a well-known opponent of Mr Putin’s, the
vote in Crimea to join the Russian Federation was “a referendum under
the Kalashnikov”. But it wasn’t. The outcome was what the vast majority
of Russian-speakers in Crimea really wanted, and there was little need
for Kalashnikovs in the streets.
Those who wanted to keep Crimea a part of Ukraine were far too shocked and intimidated to resist.
entire operation was very cleverly planned and carried out. But there
is absolutely no doubt what it was – a remarkable, quick and mostly
bloodless coup d’etat.
How U.S. military aid became a lifeline for Ukraine
The U.S. provided about $1.5 billion in military aid to Kiev between 2014 and this past June, according to a Congressional Research Service analysis.
The military aid scandal that spawned
the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has a very different
significance for Ukraine, where years of U.S. assistance have just
begun to turn a ragtag army into a better-armed and professional force to counter Russian aggression.
The U.S. has provided about $1.5 billion in military support to Kiev between 2014 and this past June, according to an updated analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. And Trump’s temporary cut off of the aid represented a significant setback for the country.
“Ukraine would never be where it is without that support from the United States,” said Ash Carter, who served as President Barack Obama’s defense secretary from 2015 to 2017. “Everything we were doing there to train their military forces, their National Guard, to improve the professionalism and reduce corruption in the defense ministry … all that was critical.”
Before the aid influx, “the
Ukrainian military was in woeful shape,” said Mariya Omelicheva, a
professor of national security strategy at the Pentagon’s National
Defense University who specializes in the region.
“There has been a tangible, measurable impact,” added Omelicheva, who visited the Ukrainian training center in March. And beyond that, she said, the help created “an immeasurable, psychological impact — that the U.S. has our back.”
Now Trump’s aborted aid cutoff — first reported by POLITICO in late August
— has mushroomed into a titanic political fight, centered on
allegations that the president was using the military assistance as
leverage to push Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice
President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. House oversight committees are
demanding more data from the White House Office of Management and Budget
on when and how the decision to sever the aid arose, including
requesting that some documentation be delivered to Capitol Hill by
The military aid program has steadily
shifted American support in recent years much more heavily toward
security after economic development, loan guarantees and anti-corruption
programs defined much of the support following Ukraine’s independence
from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The U.S. bumped up its military support in 2014, soon after a popular uprising ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russian troops annexed the Crimean peninsula while fomenting a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region.
The vast majority of the funds, approved with bipartisan support in Congress, has financed items such as sniper rifles; rocket-propelled grenade launchers; counter-artillery radars; command and control and communications systems; night vision goggles; medical equipment; as well training and logistical support.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is especially interested in buying more Javelin anti-tank missiles to combat Russian tanks and other armored vehicles — a topic he broached during his July 25 telephone call with Trump that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry .
“Mr. Trump brought up American aid to
that country — without explicitly mentioning that he had just frozen a
military aid package of hundreds of millions of dollars — and then
pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate Mr. Biden,” says the unclassified
copy of the whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration
released last week. “White House officials believed they had witnessed
Trump abuse his power for personal political gain.”
The call came a week after Trump ordered his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to instruct OMB to halt the remainder of $390 million in military aid appropriated by Congress this year in the Pentagon and State Department budgets. The administration released the aid earlier this month after demands from Congress.
Even before the current furor,
questions of how much or how little to help Ukraine’s military counter
Russian aggression have embroiled Washington for years.
Nowhere was it more pointed than the Ukrainians’ request, as far back as 2014, to purchase the advanced Javelin anti-tank missiles.
The Javelin issue “became fetishized
and it became a litmus test: ‘Will you stand up to Putin or will you
kowtow to him?’” said Samuel Charap, a former senior adviser at the
State Department specializing in Russia and Eurasia. “It was like a
“It had nothing to do with the merits
of the Javelin or the question of what would actually be most effective
and important for helping Ukraine,” added Charap, who is now a senior
political scientist at the government-funded Rand Corp.
The Obama administration agonized over
the issue but never approved the sale out of fear of escalating the
conflict — despite entreaties from Carter, who served in several top
Pentagon positions at the time.
The aim was to “do everything we could within the boundaries of what was wise without baiting the Russians into doing something worse,” recalled Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator who was Obama’s secretary of defense from 2013 to 2015.
The Javelins also helped spur a controversy over the Republican Party’s platform in 2016, after Trump’s campaign succeeded in watering down anti-Russia language and ensuring it would not call for “providing lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine.
Yet once Trump was in office , the Ukrainian government and its allies in Congress kept pushing the request.
Finally, in 2018, long after the
Russian tanks pulled back from the front, the State Department finally
approved a foreign military sale of 210 Javelin missiles, along with
launchers and training, for $47 million.
Charap said the missiles’ military value was limited — they “ended up on the other side of the country from where the conflict is and under lock and key.” But they held significant value in eastern Ukraine, where retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Gronski credits the missiles with helping to stabilize the military crisis by “deterring the separatists from bringing armor into the region.”
The Ukrainians “really appreciate the
Javelins,” said Gronski, who served as the deputy commanding general of
U.S. Army Europe until June of this year.
Michael Kofman, a senior research
scientist at CNA, a government-funded think tank, also called the
Javelins an “insurance policy” against Russian escalation.
But in Carter’s view, “its political significance was greater than its military significance.”
However, the less controversial military aid — including some of the $390 million dollars slated to go to Ukraine this year from the Pentagon and State Department — has come to represent a lifeline for the Ukrainian military, which has achieved key milestones in recent months.
And Trump’s recent assertion that the
aid initiated under Obama has merely provided “sheets and pillows” is
directly refuted by those who oversaw it.
The Pentagon, which opposed cutting off the
aid this summer, told Congress in May that efforts to help reform the
country’s military and armaments industry, which has historically been
notoriously corrupt, have paid major dividends.
“Through these engagements, the United
States has effectively helped Ukraine advance institutional reforms
through a number of substantial actions to align Ukraine’s defense
enterprise more closely with NATO standards and principles,” John Rood,
the undersecretary of Defense for policy, told oversight committees.
He certified that Ukraine’s military
“has taken substantial actions” to tackle corruption, improve
accountability and is “sustaining improvements to combat capability
enabled by U.S. assistance.”
That applies especially to the
U.S.-financed military training, which takes place at the Yavoriv
training center in western Ukraine near the border with Poland.
Initially, American, Polish,
Lithuanian and Canadian troops conducted the training of Ukrainian
forces — first for smaller, company-sized units of several hundred
soldiers and then up to the level of a brigade, which can include
thousands of troops.
But now, battle-experienced Ukrainian troops are conducting most of the training, Gronski said, leaving the U.S. forces “in more of an observer role.”
And U.S. instruction in combat
medicine has had a direct impact on the battlefield in the east, Gronski
said. “Several times, across several visits, Ukrainian battalion
commanders told me that those kits and that training absolutely saved
So here we see that Traitor Trump, in his actions, gave aid and comfort to our enemy Russia and his Puppet Master Putin, in his withholding the funds and military weapons to the Ukraine to fight the Russians annexation of Crimea and their proxy war against the Ukraine. And this costed Ukrainians lives by his actions.
And by Traitor Trump and the Republicans spreading the bullshit story that it was the Ukraine and not the Russians and Putin who interfered in the election of Traitor Donald J Trump? They are all giving aid and comfort to the enemy Russia and Putin.They are spreading the bullshit propoganda of Putin and Russia on Ukraine everywhere to defend the actions of this treasonous scumbag Donald J Trump.
While we are in essence a peacetime and not at officially declared war with Putin and Russia? Historical prosecution of people who have been arrested, tried and convicted and executed for Treason against the United States during peacetime? Is the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg, Ethel Rosenberg née Ethel Greenglass, (respectively, born May 12, 1918, New York, New York, U.S.—died June 19, 1953, Ossining, New York; born September 28, 1915, New York City—died June 19, 1953, Ossining), the first American civilians to be executed for espionage and the first to suffer that penalty during peacetime.
The Rosenbergs were charged with espionage and brought to trial on March 6, 1951; Greenglass was the chief witness for the prosecution. On March 29 they were found guilty, and on April 5 the couple was sentenced to death. (Sobell and Gold received 30-year prison terms, and Greenglass, who was tried separately, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.) For two years the Rosenberg case was appealed through the courts and before world opinion. The constitutionality and applicability of the Espionage Act of 1917, under which the Rosenbergs were tried, as well as the impartiality of the trial judge, Irving R. Kaufman—who in pronouncing sentence had accused them of a crime “worse than murder”—were key issues during the appeals process. Seven different appeals reached the Supreme Court of the United States and were denied, and pleas for executive clemency were dismissed by Pres. Harry Truman in 1952 and Pres. Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. A worldwide campaign for mercy failed, and the Rosenbergs were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. Ethel became the first woman executed by the U.S. government since Mary Surratt was hanged in 1865 for her alleged role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
If Julius and Ethel Rosenberg can be prosecuted for High Treason against the United States, during peacetime? Then the same rules and laws can be used that prosecuted them, 18 U.S. Code § 2381. Treason , and sedition: 18 U.S. Code § 2384. Seditious conspiracy for the treasonous actions on the crimes of Donald J Trump, Rudy Guiliani, William Barr, Mick Mulvaney, et al and their withholding Congressionally approved funds and military weapons to go to the Ukraine, to fight the Russians and Putin’s invasion of and annexation of Crimea and their war against Ukraine, who are our ally. This gave aid and comfort to our enemy, Russia and Putin.
Any Republican Senator or Congressperson who stands up and defends Traitor Trump and spreads the bullshit lies that it was the Ukraine that interfered in our elections and not the Russians, as has been proven? Then they are in fact? Guilty of 18 U.S. Code § 2382. Misprision of treason. Such as Senators Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Congressmen Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan and many others.