Former Ambassador Describes Effort By Trump Associates To Push Her Aside

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch described how the President's allies intimidated her out of her position, while the President intimidated her live on Twitter.

The second day of public hearings in the House of Representatives public hearing in the ongoing impeachment investigation we far different from the first. In that first hearing, the House Intelligence Committee heard from two men who had at least some knowledge regarding the Trump Administration’s effort to get the Ukrainian government to cooperate in efforts to investigate political rivals. Yesterday, though, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch testified regarding the extent to which American policy toward Ukraine was taken over by an unusual cabal that was seemingly headed by the President’s private attorney. Meanwhile, as the hearing folded, President Trump engaged in what many observers characterized as witness intimidation:

WASHINGTON — “In my line of work, perhaps in your line of work as well, all we have is our reputation,” Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ousted American ambassador to Ukraine, said on Friday. “This has been a very painful period.”

It was just after 9 a.m. and the career diplomat and self-declared “private person” found herself engulfed in a ritual camera burst. She had entered the hearing room by a side door, as if she could avoid a fuss.

After a career of far-flung postings and a diplomat’s ease for sizing up exotic cultures, her mission before the House Intelligence Committee still resembled that of a wayward stopover in a strange land. Known as Masha, Ms. Yovanovitch, 61, looked every bit the outsider in a dangerous village.

She walked to her seat with a story to tell. She exited nearly seven hours later — after a presidential tweet denigrating her drew gasps from the audience — to applause.

Ms. Yovanovitch started with some basic housekeeping, the kind you could easily skip past in a less suspicious time. “I come before you as an American citizen,” she said in her opening statement. She also came as a human story, a witness to collateral damage — namely her own.

Ms. Yovanovitch would be the first to assert there is nothing spectacular about her 33 years at State. She was but one of many unsung Foreign Service officials who toiled with distinction on behalf of the country. “Like my colleagues, I entered the Foreign Service understanding that my job was to implement the foreign policy interests of this nation,” she said. “I had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals.”

President Barack Obama gave her Ukraine in 2016, where she would become the highest-ranking female ambassador at the State Department. By nearly all accounts she served with professionalism and a commitment to anti-corruption. Then along came Mr. Trump.

The president, by way of his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, targeted Ms. Yovanovitch as an impediment to the investigations they were trying to advance in Ukraine at the expense of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter — the events leading Mr. Trump to the brink of impeachment.

Ms. Yovanovitch was disdained by Mr. Trump’s allies as an Obama-appointed stooge (Don Jr. called her a “joker”). She was accused without proof of disparaging the president and said she was warned (by Ukraine’s interior minister) to “watch her back.”

When, according to her closed-door testimony, she asked the Trump-appointed ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, how she might improve her crippled standing in Washington, he suggested she tweet something nice about the president. Not normal.

After being derided as “bad news” by Mr. Trump in a fateful July phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Mr. Trump said ominously that “she’s going to go through some things.”

Friday was quite a thing.

“I was shocked and appalled,” the former ambassador said when she learned that Mr. Trump had disparaged her to the Ukrainian president. “The woman,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky, “was bad news.”

“The woman.”

“It was a terrible moment,” Ms. Yovanovitch said of her reaction. She quoted a person who observed her at the moment she learned of the president’s characterization of her: “The color drained from my face.”

Dan Goldman, the majority counsel, invited her to continue, hopefully “without upsetting you too much.” Ms. Yovanovitch then spoke of her disbelief that an American president would talk like this to a foreign head of state about his own diplomat. And not just any diplomat.

“It was me,” she said, her voice creeping off, as she appeared to relive her shock.

And then the president tweeted. About the witness. As she testified, in real time, a little after 10 a.m. It is safe to assume this was another first.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” came the president’s just-discharged words.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who is chairman of the intelligence committee, jumped in to narrate the breaking tweet: “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” There were head shakes and maybe a grimace or two from even the staunchest Republicans on the panel.

This was not your parents’ impeachment (Clinton) or grandparents’ (Nixon).

Perhaps it should not have been a surprise, but the ambassador appeared freshly shaken. “I don’t think I have that power,” she said after

Mr. Schiff asked about the president blaming her for “turning bad” every place that she served. “I made things better,” she countered, less with conviction than disbelief.

“It’s very intimidating,” she said a minute later, of what it was like to have the president of the United States denounce your entire career by tweet and learn about it, along with millions of other people, on live television. She rocked slowly in her chair.

The Washington Post has more:

Yovanovitch said that when she first read how Trump had talked about her to his Ukrainian counterpart in a July phone call — saying ominously that “she’s going to go through some things” — the color drained from her face.

“It sounded like a threat,” she said.

Yovanovitch’s five-hour testimony, which began with a passionate defense of American diplomacy and ended to a crescendo of applause, took a dramatic turn when Trump took to Twitter to denigrate her again as she spoke.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump wrote shortly after the diplomat’s opening statement.

Trump’s attack on a widely respected Foreign Service officer — while she calmly but forcefully denounced previous attempts to smear her — drew widespread criticism, with many Democratic lawmakers calling it witness intimidation and some Republicans distancing themselves from the president’s scorched-earth tactics even as they pushed back against the Democrats’ charge.

Yovanovitch called the tweets “very intimidating.”

“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do,” she said after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) read Trump’s tweets to her. “But I think the effect is to be intimidating.”

While the second day of the House public impeachment hearings ended with both parties still firmly entrenched behind their battle lines, Yovanovitch’s highly personal testimony put Republicans on the defensive, undercutting GOP talking points with a sober account of what she called a “smear campaign” conducted by Trump’s allies in Ukraine.

While her interactions with Trump were minimal, Yovanovitch described how actions by the president and Giuliani served to undermine American interests in Ukraine. A campaign led by Giuliani and supported by corrupt officials led to her abrupt ouster from her post in Kyiv, she said.

Here are the President’s tweets on the hearing as it unfolded

While it appears to me that this falls short of being the crime of witness intimidation as described in 18 USC 1512 notwithstanding the suggestion of some that it did meet the standards, there is no question in my mind that Trump’s tweets were meant to be intimidating without necessarily crossing the legal line. That being said, the fact that the President was lashing out at a long-serving and distinguished foreign service officer who has served both Republican and Democratic Presidents shows the extent to which he is willing to go to protect himself and his interests.

As the hearing went on, it became clear the Republicans on the committee were there to do, particularly Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, both of whom went after Yovanovitch particularly hard in ways that were clearly motivated more by a desire to please the President, While this may have gotten them favorable coverage on Fox News Channel, it didn’t really accomplish anything and, for the second hearing in a row, Republicans largely failed to do anything to create any reasonable doubts about the veracity of the witness.

As anticipated, the biggest takeaway from Yovanovitch’s narrative is the extent to which she was pushed aside when it came to Ukraine policy in the months before being recalled in favor of a cabal close to the President led by the President’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani. We have learned from the testimony of others, for example, that the effort to push her aside came directly from Giuliani himself although Yovanovitch said she never met the former Mayor and had no idea why he would target her. The obvious conclusion, of course, is that Giuliani and those working with him saw her as an impediment to their efforts to influence the Ukrainian government to do the President’s bidding with respect to the investigations of the Bidens and chasing down the ridiculous and discredited conspiracy theory regarding

As Yovanovitch made clear during her opening statement, she had no direct knowledge of the events that led to the July 25th phone call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky, and she was not part of that phone call. Nonetheless, her testimony made clear that the President was seeking to take responsibility for the relationship between the United States and Ukraine out of normal diplomatic channels and hand it over to Giuliani, who was traveling back and forth to Kyiv and other cities in Europe seeking support for the idea of investigating the former Vice-President and his son as well as the discredited conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that was behind the interference in the 2016 election. Second, it demonstrated both in retrospect and in real-time the manner in which the President is willing to treat even esteemed career diplomats like Yovanovitch when he believes they are not loyal to him. In other words, her testimony, while not directly dispositive of the central facts of the impeachment investigation it did fill in another piece of the puzzle that is likely to lead to the President’s impeachment.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Impeachment, National Security, Politicians, Ukraine, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”

    I’m trying not to use the word retard anymore. I’m using it a lot less. But sometimes it’s hard.

    ReplyReply
  2. Teve says:

    Jon Cooper
    @joncoopertweets
    · 17h
    This is the first time I’ve ever seen a witness receive a STANDING OVATION after testifying at a Congressional hearing.

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  3. CSK says:

    “She started off in Somalia…” Uh, no. She started off in 1986 in Ottawa. From there she went to Moscow, then London, then Mogadishu. Then back to the State Dept.

    Do I need to go on?

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  4. Jen says:

    Can anyone explain to me *why* Trump and his goons felt the need to trash her reputation?

    As she, and countless others have noted, ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president.

    Quite literally all he had to do was say that he wanted someone else in the post and that would have been it. The concerted effort to make her the bad guy in all of this–despite ALL indications that she was doing a good job in Ukraine–is what has gotten Trump in hot water.

    Yes there would have been questions on why he was changing ambassadors, but any moderately competent person could have found ways to deflect those questions. Again, it was the effort to trash her that is the issue.

    And Republicans looked/sounded completely atrocious yesterday. I was in the car so was listening, but I gasped when Representative Turner pulled the “I’ll take your original answer, not on my time/you’re done” comment when she was clearly trying to explain her answer. He can take that sh!t right out the door, what a jerk.

    The number of Republican men who are visibly hostile to women in positions of authority is appalling.

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  5. Paul L. says:

    Enjoying the progressive reasoning that a GOP president can’t fire Ambassadors, US Attorneys and other political appointees upon taking office or rescind the DACA DHS memo.
    Dismiss and Handwave away as WhatAboutism.

    Can anyone explain to me *why* Trump and his goons felt the need to trash her reputation?
    …The number of Republican men who are visibly hostile to women in positions of authority is appalling.

    Standard GOP Patriarchy Rape Apologist smear tactics.
    See the treatment of Mike Nifong, Lois Lerner, Dennis K. Burke and lead FBI agent against Ted Stevens Mary Beth Kepner during the scandal free Obama administration.

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen a witness receive a STANDING OVATION after testifying at a Congressional hearing.

    Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi legendary 13 hour testimony, Lois Lerner, Anita Hill or Christine Blasey Ford?

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    They had to get rid of Yovanovitch because her anti corruption work in Ukraine was detrimental to the aims of one of their main sponsors, Dmitry Firtash. If they had stuck with that singular goal they might have gotten away with their little behind the scenes skullduggery, but trump got greedy and insisted on wetting his beak now too. Just. couldn’t. wait.

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  7. Teve says:

    I’m starting to think Paul L’s real name is either David Evans, Collin Finnerty, or Reade Seligmann.

    ReplyReply
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.:

    Enjoying the progressive reasoning that a GOP president can’t fire Ambassadors, US Attorneys and other political appointees upon taking office.

    Name one, just one who says that.

    And no I don’t mean your neighbor Joe who you scream and curse at every morning in your driveway, or some anonymous commentor on a blog who’s nym is SusanSarandonismySpiritAnimal, I mean an elected DEM in Washington or a well known DC DEM operative most of us will recognize. With links to a story in a reputable publication, a campaign page, or a tweet.

    Just one.

    I won’t hold my breath.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Not Box O. Rocks or Sack O. Hammers?

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  10. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: and he posted that right after Jen said it was completely legit for Trump to just fire her.

    He’s a great example of the kind of brainpower the Trump Chumps are working with.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Jen: I think Trump enjoys publicly disparaging or trying to humiliate women he doesn’t consider bedworthy. He’s been doing it all his adult life. Either they’re f*ckable or they’re pigs or slobs or dogs, to use his favorite insults.

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  12. andros says:

    So Trump heads up a foreign policy “cabal” that has usurped functions properly reserved to career bureaucrats. And he was mean to Ms. Yovanovitch who (as I noted yesterday) apparently endorses the view that Trump “colluded” with Russia. I suspect she would feel right at home here.

    Implicit in much said here is the dubious premise that any misconduct of the Bidens, however egregious, is irrelevant. That little bubble of sophistry will, in due course, be burst.

    On Nov. 6, Senators Grassley and Johnson wrote Mike Pompeo, demanding that he provide, no later than Nov. 20, all information relating to the apparent attempt of Hunter Biden and Devon Archer to influence State Dept. policy towards Burisma. They reference a State Dept. email of Feb. 2016 advising that one Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies, representing Burisma, was requesting a meeting with Undersecretary Novelli to dispute allegations of corruption against Burisma. Tramontano made it known that Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma. A meeting was set for March 1. Devon Archer managed to schedule a March 2 session with John Kerry.

    Chief Prosecutor Shokin, who had dropped the hammer on Zlochevsky, Burisma’s owner, raiding his home and confiscating his Bentley, was dismissed, pursuant to Biden’s ultimatum, on April 3, 2016.

    There is no way Biden can talk his way out of all this. Hunter will be the anchor around his neck. Allowing (some might say facilitating) Hunter’s career of cashing in on his last name is particularly indefensible. The inquiry won’t stop with the millions said to have been showered on Hunter by Burisma. It will extend to his substantial financial interest in a China fund specializing in corporate acquisitions requiring U.S. approval. It’s all part of a pattern.

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  13. rachel says:

    @Paul L.: Oh. look: Here’s Paul L. showing every woman in America (again) why they should not vote Republican.

    ReplyReply
  14. Paul L. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Name one, just one who says that.

    The Democrats Roger Stones.
    Drumpf is a illegitimate President who lost the popular vote and was Put In Office By The Russians reasoning..
    Jon Cooper @joncoopertweets
    Scott Dworkin @funder.
    Ian Millhiser
    Thom Hartmann
    Claude Taylor
    Pod Save America Obama Bros.
    Hillary Clinton: Trump is an ‘illegitimate president’
    Jimmy Carter: Donald Trump Is An Illegitimate President, Put In Office By The Russians

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: Good timing, just after @Jen: repeated Ambassador Yovanovitch’s statement that ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president.

    There is a central aspect of this that is little remarked. Yovanovitch, and the other “deep state” professionals were implementing the official, stated, policy of the United States toward Ukraine. Just as Trump could at any time replace Yovanovitch he could, at any time, walk into the appropriate principals meeting and announce he’s changing Ukraine policy. He never did.

    All this Giuliani and Three Amigos and Sonderland rat fwcking was undermining the policy Trump himself approved. Why?

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  16. steve says:

    Don’t generally respond to trolls like Paul, but i have to agree that it shows a real lack of effort when he claims progressives said a POTUS can’t fire an ambassador when the post immediately in front of his said that POTUS certainly did have that right. This is exceptionally lazy and/or stupid trolling.

    Also, isn’t it fun how the Republican congressmen keep referring to the prior hearings as secret? If I had the energy and time would love to know how many of those making that claim were the Republican committee members who actually attended the hearings.

    Steve

    Steve

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  17. Gustopher says:

    While it appears to me that this falls short of being the crime of witness intimidation as described in 18 USC 1512 notwithstanding the suggestion of some that it did meet the standards, there is no question in my mind that Trump’s tweets were meant to be intimidating without necessarily crossing the legal line.

    I’m not sure how you come to the conclusion that Trump is aware of the legal line, let alone that there is a careful plan to try to go near, but not over, a legal line. It’s Trump being Trump — he’s a gross, horrible human being.

    I do wonder whether Yovanovitch has a slander case against the President, Giuliani, et al. Not for this, but for the smear campaign against her before all of this became public. She definitely suffered damages. Are ambassadors public figures?

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  18. wr says:

    @Paul L.: “Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi legendary 13 hour testimony, Lois Lerner, Anita Hill or Christine Blasey Ford?”

    Gosh, let’s look at this list of all these people Paul L hates or is scared of. Seems to me they have something in common, but darned if I can put my finger on it. Is there a certain type of person that scares poor little Paul? And is there any chance this is why he worships Trump?

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  19. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: While that was an impressive display of one-handed typing, perhaps you would make a more cogent point if you were not pleasuring yourself while responding.

    ReplyReply
  20. Mikey says:

    @steve:

    This is exceptionally lazy and/or stupid trolling.

    And it’s BORING. The same lame, dopey schtick over and over and over. Nothing new, nothing of value added to the conversation, just a continual repeat of banal crap.

    Wait…was I describing Paul L., or all Trump supporters? Hmmm…

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  21. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    All this Giuliani and Three Amigos and Sonderland rat fwcking was undermining the policy Trump himself approved. Why?

    David Holmes, who directly heard the President’s call with Sondland, provided the answer yesterday: Trump doesn’t give a shit about Ukraine. All he wanted was for Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens. Accomplishing that bit of ratfucking far superseded any official public policy on which he had signed off.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    @andros:

    Chief Prosecutor Shokin, who had dropped the hammer on Zlochevsky, Burisma’s owner, raiding his home and confiscating his Bentley, was dismissed, pursuant to Biden’s ultimatum, on April 3, 2016.

    While I think Biden should have recused himself on all matters Ukraine because of his son’s position, it is worth noting that he was not a rogue actor here. He was doing what he was told to do.

    This either means that Obama and the test of his administration were united in protecting Biden’s son, or that it was part of a larger policy that raised no questions at the time.

    There’s probably a significant paper trail on that policy and that decision. Yet, the Republicans in the Senate intelligence committee haven’t bothered exploring it, nor has the Trump Administration. Maybe there’s nothing there but innuendo.

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  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    This either means that Obama and the test of his administration were united in protecting Biden’s son

    And the EU.

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  24. andros says:

    @Gustopher:
    Or maybe Obama was relying on Biden’s judgment. What makes you think he knew about Hunter’s little caper? And maybe Trump knows a lot more than you think he knows.

    “Innuendo”? I know you can do better than that.

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  25. gVOR08 says:

    @andros: For which see @gVOR08: immediately above. And let me spell it out. US policy, arrived at through the proper processes, was that Shokin had to go. Obama didn’t decree it, nor did Biden. The US government so decided. As did the governments of the EU, who are in no way beholden to Biden.

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  26. mattbernius says:

    @gVOR08:

    US policy, arrived at through the proper processes, was that Shokin had to go. Obama didn’t decree it, nor did Biden. The US government so decided.

    Yes and no. Ultimately it was Obama’s policy as he approved it and Biden taking point on it for the US.
    Yes it did develop though State and DoJ, but Obama pulled the trigger (if you will).

    The fact that Biden was acting on behalf of PoTUS Obama is a point that our favorite John Solomon editorial gained sentience seems to gloss over.

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  27. grumpy realist says:

    @mattbernius: The EU also had a lot to say in the issue, methinks.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @andros: Yes, the entire Biden smear is innuendo. No evidence has been presented for any corrupt actions or intent.

    Biden should have stayed away, and had the Secretary of State or whoever carry out the policy. There is an appearance of impropriety, but no evidence of actual impropriety.

    I would welcome the Senate intelligence committee investigating how the decision to insist upon Shokin’s removal was made. No one had a peep of question about it at the time, but that was before the Republican Party took a pro-Russian position, so maybe no one cared to look when they could investigate BENGHAZI!!! one more time and find nothing.

    There’s going to be a paper trail, and I would bet that there’s nothing there — and, if Biden was going rogue to protect his son (by firing a prosecutor who had dropped the investigation into the company that had hired his son), and got the Obama administration and the EU to follow along, we should know.

    And, that works better than a back channel foreign policy run by amateurs that tries to push the Ukraine government into investigating. For instance, it’s not a shake-down that leads to impeachment.

    If the Trump Administration does know something we don’t, they should put their cards on the table. If there is a grand deep state conspiracy that requires crazy back channels to implement policy, and none of the US executive branch below the cabinet can be trusted, so we need to outsource it to the Ukrainians, then there should be congressional hearings on that. But there haven’t been.

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: None of those people have said that the President cannot remove an ambassador. Nor have you provided any citations of them doing so.

    And I have no idea who half those people are.

    Am I following Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals by pointing out that you have not backed up your claims? Perhaps.

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  30. mattbernius says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Completely. That’s clear from the reportage at the time. This wasn’t Biden or the US acting unilaterally – no matter what a disgraced reporter claims.

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  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Can anyone explain to me *why* Trump and his goons felt the need to trash her reputation?

    Because they have to at least TRY to provide talking points for all of the Paul L.s, JKBs, and Ms. Cris Ericsons out there who are doing the heavy lifting out in the hustings.

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  32. dazedandconfused says:

    I think what Paul and Andros are missing is what is being established is that Trump circumvented his own State Dept to do this, key in establishing proof of awareness of it being wrong.

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  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Paul L.: You’re conflating the two ideas. “Trump is an illegitimate President” is not the same as “…a GOP president can’t…” in any meaningful way.

    (And by the way, I personally don’t care for the whole “Trump is illegitimate” line of argument, don’t use it myself, and discount the pronouncements of people who do. Trump was elected via the rules that are in place; that makes him the President. The fact that he was elected is emblematic of a deep-rooted sickness in our society for which you and others are the presenting phenomena. Again, my apologies to Angela, Huey, Eldridge, and the others. Instead of doing what little I could to hold things together, I shoulda been throwing gasoline on the whole mess so that we needn’t have gotten to where we are. Live and learn. 🙁 )

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  34. An Interested Party says:

    Gosh, let’s look at this list of all these people Paul L hates or is scared of. Seems to me they have something in common, but darned if I can put my finger on it. Is there a certain type of person that scares poor little Paul? And is there any chance this is why he worships Trump?

    Notice too that Trump didn’t trash live the two male witnesses from earlier in the week…no, he only did that to a woman…

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  35. Jen says:

    @andros:

    Or maybe Obama was relying on Biden’s judgment. What makes you think he knew about Hunter’s little caper?

    As Yovanovitch testified yesterday, when she was appointed Ambassador in August of 2016, one of the questions in her briefing book prior to confirmation was about Hunter Biden’s role. The answer in the briefing book referred any questions about that role/position to the Office of the Vice President.

    For background, when someone appears before the Senate for a confirmation hearing, they are generally presented with a briefing book well in advance of the hearings. The nominee reviews potential questions that might be asked, and what the administration’s opinion is on those issues. Basically, when she was nominated for the role of Ambassador to Ukraine, a group of people gets together and brainstorms all of the potential questions a nominee might be asked.

    Biden’s son’s role at Burisma was one of those questions. Everyone knew, it wasn’t a secret for heaven’s sake.

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  36. andros says:

    @Jen:
    It was certainly recognized as an impropriety by “insiders.”

    You guys aren’t going anywhere near Hunter’s self-enrichment spree, permitted by Joe, are you?

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  37. Gustopher says:

    @andros: Hunter Biden is an adult, and Joe Biden cannot stop him from doing legal acts. (Or illegal acts, except in case of self-defense). He can ask, but not block. Locking Hunter in a room would be kidnapping.

    Joe should have recused himself from actions involving Ukraine after his son took that job, or at least from this action. There is an appearance of impropriety.

    That said, you seem to be ignoring the fact the Joe Biden was just implementing US policy, in tandem with the EU, so there is no evidence of actual impropriety.

    And you are ignoring the timeline — the Burisma investigation was closed by the time Joe Biden went to Ukraine and delivered the message that the corrupt prosecutor be sacked.

    Further, I would inquire as to your feelings on the business dealings of the Trump spawn.

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  38. wr says:

    @andros: “You guys aren’t going anywhere near Hunter’s self-enrichment spree, permitted by Joe, are you?”

    One hilarious thing about this whole Hunter Biden slimefest is watching rich Republicans screaming about the huge fortune he got away with from Ukraine — fifty thousand dollars a month!!! Which, if you do the math, is 600 thousand a year. Not a bad living, to be sure, but a fraction of what Trump steals from the federal government every month simply by overcharging the secret service when he stays at his properties.

    They’re counting on the GOP base, basically working minimum wage and fighting against seeing it raised in case any of it might go to that colored fella down the road, to hear fifty thousand and believe it’s a fortune. But I doubt there’s a Republican in congress who isn’t pulling down several times that every month.

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  39. Jen says:

    @andros: Are you new to politics? I ask that in all earnestness, without any sarcasm. Because only someone new to the political sphere would be unacquainted with the problematic issue of board of director positions, by former politicians, political spouses and offspring, etc. It is a well-known problem for which there is little potential for a solution.

    You seem to think Hunter Biden is the only person who has tacit connections to political leadership who has received an appointment to a board. Here is a Bloomberg article from 2016 showing how entrenched this problem is.

    As the article states “you can’t outlaw people from working.” This is the crux of the issue. Hunter Biden is a fully formed adult human being, and there is no law stating that he couldn’t take that board seat. Sure, it looks sketchy AF, but you must be familiar with all of the controversies (yes, plural) regarding Elaine Chao’s board appointments, correct? And how she, as the spouse of the Senate Majority Leader AND as Secretary of Transportation herself, has intervened on issues that involve her father, a shipping magnate with connections to China, right?

    In fact, she is listed as *currently serving* on the boards of Ingersoll-Rand, Vulcan Materials Company, and Wells-Fargo. Vulcan Materials has had issues pending before the US DOJ as recent as 2017 (regarding an acquisition), Wells-Fargo has been up to its eyeballs in compliance issues, and Ingersoll-Rand has a number of government contracts.

    This is just ONE example. Up and down the line, the connections between lucrative board of director positions and well-connected former politicians and their family members is a problem.

    Not to mention the direct grifting of the president’s adult children and each of their businesses.

    You do not get to single out Hunter Biden on this. If you have a solution to this long-standing and systemic issue, offer it. If not, stop.

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  40. David M says:

    @Jen:

    Not to mention the direct grifting of the president’s adult children and each of their businesses…You do not get to single out Hunter Biden

    Yes, this is what’s so perverse and infuriating about this entirely fake controversy. If one is at all concerned about corruption and conflicts of interest in the US Government, the most concerning issue is the current President and his adult children. These are government employees, currently very involved in running private, for-profit businesses, some of which are obvious bribe acceptance factories.

    Hunter Biden sitting on the Burisma board while Biden was President would be a significant improvement and reduction in corruption compared with the current situation.

    I mean Trump just tried to host the G7 at one of his own clubs. Foreign dignitaries make a visible show of staying at Trump Hotels, as do US parties seeking favors from the Trump Administration. It’s as open and brazen corruption as we’ve seen during my lifetime.

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  41. Scott F. says:

    @Jen: @David M:

    You do not get to single out Hunter Biden on this. If you have a solution to this long-standing and systemic issue, offer it. If not, stop.

    They do get to single out Democrats. IOKIYAR is exactly how their rule book is designed. They are NEVER going to stop the hypocrisy and duplicity. It is all they have.

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  42. An Interested Party says:

    This is hilarious how Hunter Biden keeps getting brought up by the president’s defenders…as if Trump is so worried about corruption…Donald Trump? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

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  43. An Interested Party says:

    Once again, leave it to Nancy Pelosi to illustrate exactly who and what Trump is…

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  44. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    I’m starting to think Paul L’s real name is either David Evans, Collin Finnerty, or Reade Seligmann.

    I think it is Paul Linn (probably Paul D. Linn), author of the feted (fetid?) blogs kingdomofidiots and herocops.

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  45. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    You guys aren’t going anywhere near Hunter’s self-enrichment spree, permitted by Joe, are you?

    Yawn…it’s been investigated and was not found to be illegal. Inappropriate, sure. But not illegal. But what Trump did is illegal. Bribery is right there in the Constitution as a reason for impeachment.
    The guy is a fraud…and you are one of his dupes.

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