Key Diplomat And Trump Supporter Confirms Existence Of Ukraine Quid Pro Quo

A key diplomat and close supporter of the President has essentially confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo between Ukrainian aid and negative information about the President's political opponents.

In addition to yesterday’s election results in Virginia and Kentucky, the Trump White House also received bad news on the impeachment front when Gordon Sondland, the President’s Ambassador to the European Union revised his previous testimony to the House Intelligence Committee and essentially confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo with Ukraine:

WASHINGTON — A crucial witness in the impeachment inquiry reversed himself this week and acknowledged to investigators that he had told a top Ukrainian official that the country would most likely have to give President Trump what he wanted — a public pledge for investigations — in order to unlock military aid.

The disclosure from Gordon D. Sondland, an ally of Mr. Trump who is the United States ambassador to the European Union, confirmed his role in laying out a quid pro quo to Ukraine that conditioned the release of security assistance from the United States on the country’s willingness to say it was investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.

That admission, included in a four-page sworn statement released on Tuesday, directly contradicted his testimony to investigators last month, when he said he “never” thought there was any precondition on the aid.

“I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Mr. Sondland said in the new statement, which was made public by the House committees leading the inquiry, along with the transcript of his original testimony.

Mr. Sondland’s disclosure appeared intended to insulate him from accusations that he intentionally misled Congress during his earlier testimony, in which he frequently said he could not recall key details and events under scrutiny by impeachment investigators.

It also provided Democrats with a valuable piece of evidence from a critical witness to fill out the picture of their abuse-of-power case against the president. Unlike other officials who have offered damaging testimony about Mr. Trump, Mr. Sondland is a political supporter of the president who has interacted directly with him.

The question of a quid pro quo is at the heart of the impeachment investigation into Mr. Trump, which turns on whether the president abused his power when he asked a foreign power to target his political rivals.

Mr. Trump initially strongly denied there was any quid pro quo involving Ukraine, and numerous Republicans took up that refrain. But as the inquiry has unfolded, he and Republican lawmakers have gradually begun to move away from that position. Instead they have adopted the argument that a president insisting on a quid pro quo from a foreign government to benefit himself politically may be of concern, but it is not — in the words of Mr. Trump himself — “an impeachable event.”

More from The Washington Post:

In a significant revision to his testimony nearly three weeks ago before House impeachment investigators, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, now says he told a Ukrainian official that security assistance to the country would be likely to resume only if the authorities in Kyiv opened investigations requested by President Trump that could be damaging to former vice president Joe Biden.

In a “supplemental declaration” provided to the House impeachment inquiry Monday, Sondland wrote, “I now recall speaking individually” with a Ukrainian official and in that conversation saying “that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”

Sondland’s new statement adds to testimony by other national security officials that describes an effort directed by Trump and his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani to link nearly $400 million in security assistance to investigations that could politically benefit the president.

(…)

In his new declaration, Sondland stated that “by the beginning of September 2019, and in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I presumed that the aid suspension had become linked” to Ukraine having not yet committed publicly to the investigation of Burisma and another into a discredited theory about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 U.S. election.

“It would have been natural for me to have voiced what I had presumed,” Sondland said, acknowledging that he told Yermak that “resumption” of U.S. aid would probably not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that the officials had been discussing.

Sondland and Volker testified about Trump’s long-held suspicions of Ukraine and the un­or­tho­dox role Giuliani played in crafting a U.S. policy.
In a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on May 23, Volker, Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry tried to persuade Trump to engage with Ukraine’s new president, Zelensky, whom they had just met after his inauguration.

Trump would hear none of it, Sondland testified.

“The president was railing about Ukraine . . . he was going on and on and on about his dissatisfaction with Ukraine,” Sondland testified. “He didn’t even want to deal with it anymore. And he basically waved and said: ‘Go talk to Rudy, he knows all about Ukraine.’ ”

Sondland, Volker and Perry were disappointed about having to work with Giuliani because it was abnormal and was another impediment to scheduling a Trump meeting with Zelensky, Sondland said.

“Until Rudy was satisfied, the president wasn’t going to change his mind,” he said.

Sondland negotiated with Ukrainian officials in August to craft a press statement that said they would investigate corruption, as part of a bid to schedule a meeting between the two leaders, he said.

The initial draft, he said, had no specific commitments: “It just said corruption per se.”

Later, he said, Giuliani added new conditions about referencing Burisma, the Ukrainian company that employed Biden’s son.

“Mr. Giuliani was the one giving the input as to what the president wanted in the statement,” Sondland testified. “He wanted Burisma and 2016 election mentioned in the statement.

(…)

As the pressure campaign on Ukraine continued, Trump became more frustrated. In one exchange, Sondland described the president as “in a very bad mood” when Sondland called to ask what Trump hoped to achieve by pressing Ukraine on negotiations.

The call took place moments after Taylor had raised sharp concerns in a text message with Sondland about a possible illicit quid pro quo regarding aid to Ukraine.

Taylor texted Sondland and Volker on Sept. 9: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

That prompted Sondland’s call to Trump, which he described to investigators:

“There were all kinds of rumors. And I know in my few previous conversations with the President, he’s not big on small talk, so I would have one shot to ask him. And rather than asking him, ‘Are you doing X because of X or because of Y or because of Z?’ I asked him one open-ended question: What do you want from Ukraine?”

The president replied, “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelensky to do the right thing,” according to Sondland’s account.
“And I said: ‘What does that mean?’ And he said: ‘I want him to do what he ran on.’ And that was the end of the conversation,” Sondland said. “I wouldn’t say he hung up me, but it was almost like he hung up on me.”
About five hours after Taylor’s text, Sondland wrote back to Taylor: “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

“I had gotten as far as I could,” Sondland told House investigators. “I had asked the boss what he wanted. He wouldn’t tell me, other than: I want nothing.”

As I have said before, the laws governing solicitation of donations or “things of value” in the context of a political campaign do not require the existence of a quid pro quo. All that is required is that a candidate, campaign representative, or individual have solicited a foreign citizen, government, or entity for the donation of “thing of value,” which would obviously include potentially damaging information about a candidate. Such information is generally known as “opposition research<‘ and is considered to be valuable enough that it is common for sophisticated political campaigns to spend tens of thousands of dollars on such research.

Notwithstanding that, the existence of a quid pro quo would obviously enhance the impeachment case against the President since it would lay bare the extent to which the President tried to abuse the powers of his office to help his political fortunes. It would also lay bare the extent to which foreign policy has become transactional for this President to the extent that complying with the explicit wishes of Congress to provide military aid to Ukraine for its battles against Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country. Finally, it would undercut what amounts to the final line of defense on the facts that Republicans and the White House have been relying upon, namely the claim that there was no quid pro quo tying military aid, has been revealed to be a lie.

Because of this Sondland’s revised testimony is incredibly important. Not only does it help tie together the testimony and statements released by other witnesses, it also helps to put context into the text messages that Sondland exchanged with fellow Ambassador Bill Taylor and others regarding the Ukraine matter, the military aid, and the pressure that was being put on Ukraine by Rudy Giuliani and others to investigate both Joe and Hunter Biden and various discredited conspiracy theories regarding the 2016 election. Other witnesses have done the same thing, of course, but Sondland is one of the highest-ranking people to do so, and among the closest to Trump himself.

There is one caveat to Sondland’s revisions that ought to be kept in mind going forward, and that is the extent to which his changes to the transcript of his testimony, which is generally permitted under the rules, constitute substantive changes that appear to change what he said initially under oath. This obviously raises the question of whether he was telling the complete truth when he testified the first time and has led some Republicans to allege that he may have perjured himself. Sondland responded to this in advance by stating that he is making the changes because his recollection of events had been “refreshed” by reading through the opening statements of other witnesses who were involved in the Ukraine matter along with him. This is a perfectly valid reason for such revisions, but it does open up Sondland to cross-examination on the question of which version of his testimony on the quid pro quo issue is the correct one. One point in favor of Sondland’s credibility here is the fact that Sondland’s testimony is in fact corroborated by what other witnesses have testified to. Nonetheless, if and when Sondland does testify publicly you can expect that Republicans will focus heavily on these apparent contradictions.

All that being said, the importance of Sondland’s testimony cannot be understated. Unlike previous witnesses, he is not a career State Department or intelligence community employee, nor is he someone who is known to be a critic of the President. Thus he can’t simply be dismissed as a member of the so-called “Deep State” or a “Never Trumper” as the President and his supporters have done with other recent witnesses. Instead, Sondland was a strong Trump supporter and fundraiser who, in exchange for his loyalty, was made Ambassador to the European Union. Undercutting his credibility would thus be incredibly difficult. This is a big hit for the President and just piles on the bad news he’s been dealing with for the better part of two months now. There’s going to be a lot more to come.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Congress, Donald Trump, Impeachment, 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. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Let’s just stop with the nicety of “Quid Pro Quo”.
    Let’s call it what it is; gross misconduct, abuse of power, violation of his oath of office, conspiracy, and obstruction.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    Do you think the trolls, the @Guarneris and @JKB et al are actually surprised by this?

    See, I think they’ve known all along Trump was guilty and the MSM had the story right. I don’t think they’re merely deluded, I think they’re straight-up liars.

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  3. senyordave says:

    He revised his previous testimony? In other words he and his lawyer saw what others had testified to, and after his lawyer told him what the penalty for perjury is he suddenly remembered what really happened.
    No matter how much of a sycophantic, groveling piece of garbage you are, you probably won’t go to jail for Trump. And that is what Trump and his people are afraid of.

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  4. Gustopher says:

    So, the deep state got to him. Sad.

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  5. JKB says:

    Well, we should hear all this in the televised, public, adversarial proceeding with witnesses subject to depositions, cross-examination and impeachment by the defense. Then the American people can make their own decision independent of the selective Democrat leaks and media narrative.

    Three weeks to Thanksgiving so Nancy should get a move on. Does she not have the majority needed to file the written allegations that are Articles of Impeachment? All those Democrat senators running for the nomination are probably not going to like sitting in the Senate for 6 days a week, hearing testimony, prohibited from making public comment for the weeks it will take to conduct a proper adversarial proceeding. In the past, the House permitted the inquiry to be open, adversarial and so when the Articles were passed the witness testimony was considered valid.

    Trying to bum-rush the removal of the President within a year of the election is unlikely to impress voters. Talk about trying to subvert the will of the voters.

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  6. CSK says:

    @senyordave: Trump is loyal to no one, so no one is loyal to Trump.

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Blah, blah, blah you pathetic fraud.

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  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I was at the gym last night. Three news feed headlines:
    Local PDX station news: Sondland acknowledges quid pro quo.
    MSNBC: Sondland changes testimony, admits quid pro quo
    FOX (on Martha McCallum [supposedly one of the unbiassed “hard news” people]): Dems claim Sondland changed his testimony

    We report, you decide.

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  9. Moosebreath says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    “We distort, you deride.”

    FTFY.

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  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Caption contest entry

    Zelensky: I wonder what’s going on in his head. No, I wonder if anything is going on in his head.

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  11. Kathy says:

    The evolution of the Republican Defense of Trump:

    There was no quid pro quo!

    There was a quid pro quo, but it’s not a crime!

    It is a crime, but there was no corrupt intent!

    There was corrupt intent, and our guy abused his power and broke the law and damaged the country’s foreign policy and America’s standing in the world, BUT HER EMAILS!!!

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Well, we should hear all this in the televised, public, adversarial proceeding with witnesses subject to depositions, cross-examination and impeachment by the defense.

    So, a Senate trial? I’m glad you’re coming around on this. We’re in the deposition phase. I’m sure that as we move to the public phase, Sondland will have an opportunity to explain why he needed to revise his testimony.

    Three weeks to Thanksgiving so Nancy should get a move on.

    Don’t be in such a rush. Reigning in an out of control executive has to be done right — carefully and methodically — as we don’t want to mess it up and have future executives believe that such behavior is acceptable. The future of our country is more important than your thanksgiving plans. There will be turkey and football, isn’t that enough?

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  13. CSK says:

    Trumpkins advise me to “read the transcript” (it’s not a transcript; it’s a call memo) and I can see for myself that there was no quid pro quo. So how, then, do I interpret “Now I would like you to do us a favor”?

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  14. CSK says:

    @JKB: Asking politely, and out of genuine curiosity: How do you interpret “Now I would like you to do us a favor”?

    Trump fans never seem to address this query.

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  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t think they’re merely deluded, I think they’re straight-up liars.

    I don’t think they are deluded, or liars. I think they don’t care. Maybe that’s because they don’t believe the facts, but at the end of the day they don’t believe the facts because they have been have been brainwashed, and they just don’t care.
    It’s like the PTL, or the 700 Club, or any of these other cults. The rubes watched on TV and sent in what little hard-earned money they had, and the Jim and Tammy Bakers lived in big ugly houses and flew around on private jets, and the rubes just didn’t care.
    Murdoch and Ailes simply took that wildly successful business model, toned down the religion just a bit, and took it nationwide with Fox News. And it worked…the rubes simply do not care.
    We all marvel at how much Trump an Fox resemble Orwell’s 1984. But Orwell was a Social Psychologist; he understood how these things work. And while you and I have the cognitive ability to see what is happening…JKB and Guarneri and the rest of them do not. The very techniques that we see and think “hmmm, look at that, I see what they are doing”…they are incredibly susceptible to because they are just unable to recognize and process it.
    Fox News, since it’s inception in 1996, has been brainwashing it’s viewers…a small portion of America, maybe 18-19% at most…but apparently it is 40% of the electorate.
    There is really no other way to explain what is going on, today, other than brainwashing….absolute belief in Trump (Big Brother) despite the completely contradictory, and unassailable, facts that are constantly presented to them.
    These people are neither delusional or lying…they are brainwashed. They don’t know any better, and thus they don’t care. Trump could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and they have been programmed to just not care.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    I think this is broadly true of the masses:

    I think they don’t care.

    I disagree with this:

    JKB and Guarneri and the rest of them do not.

    They display ample evidence of consciousness of guilt, not just in their calculated lies but in their avoidance of so many issues. Most Trumpaloons are just stupid people with shitty values (Copyright: @Teve) but some are smart people with even shittier values – racists, misogynists and propagandists like JKB and Guarneri who lie to advance a racist, misogynist agenda.

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  17. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    @Guarneris, according to a recent post, lives near me. It made my wonder if I know him or her, as the arguments sounded familiar to me beyond just being talking points.

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  18. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    Talk about trying to subvert the will of the voters.

    I will believe in the sincerity of your concern in this regard when you can show me the similar comments you made at the time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

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  19. Mister Bluster says:

    …trying to subvert the will of the voters.

    Clinton 65,853,514
    Trump 62,984,828

    Looks like the Electoral College did that already.

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  20. Jen says:

    The level of brainwashing necessary to somehow spin this conduct into something innocuous is unreal.

    Just. Stop.

    The entirely transactional real estate businessman, who has gone through his entire LIFE only doing things if they somehow benefit him financially (including using funds raised for charity!), wouldn’t engage in a foreign policy goal that was the stated aim of the United States unless he could find a way to wring some personal favor out of it.

    This should surprise exactly no one.

    He is a small, petty, and very stupid man.

    What is alarming and disgusting to me is the concerted effort on the part of the President, his appalling offspring, and certain Republican members of the U.S. Senate, to publicize the name of the whistleblower. This is clearly an attempt at intimidation, meant to suppress other whistleblowers from coming forward in the future.

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  21. Kingdaddy says:

    Meanly, heads at the National Review remain firmly in the stands. All of the top stories have nothing to do with Sondland’s reversal:

    Facing the Uyghur question, &c.
    State Elections Aren’t All about Trump
    The Bible Is Our National Book
    Warren and Trump Have More in Common Than You Think
    English Is the International Language of Success — Except in California
    The Quest to Ban Selective Abortion
    Against Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

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  22. Mike in Arlington says:
  23. Jen says:

    @JKB:

    Talk about trying to subvert the will of the voters.

    Impeachment is meant to punish conduct that amounts to high crimes and misdemeanors. It doesn’t subvert the will of the voters–the voters had their say, and Trump was elected.

    In exchange for being elected, Trump–and any other elected official for that matter–is expected to faithfully execute the duties of his office. This does not include committing crimes while in office.

    Getting elected doesn’t convey carte blanche to do whatever he chooses if it amounts to a “high crime or misdemeanor.”

    For a party obsessed with personal responsibility, y’all sure picked an odd leader. The buck stops anywhere but with him, doesn’t it?

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  24. senyordave says:

    @Kingdaddy: Warren and Trump Have More in Common Than You Think
    Other than being members of the same species I can’t think of anything else

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  25. Kathy says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    “The Bible Is Our National Book”

    I wonder if they realize it was written by foreigners who didn’t speak English.

    Probably not.

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:

    Talk about trying to subvert the will of the voters.

    Please explain to us how using a Constitutionally dictated process to remove an executive from elected office, for actions he took during his time in elected office, subverts the will of the people?
    Bonus points if you can explain how someone who lost the popular vote represents the will of the people?

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  27. EddieInCA says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    National Review? Crickets
    The Federalist? Trump didn’t do it. Deep State. Obama caused it. Investigate the investigator.
    The Resurgent? Trump had nothing to do with Bevin’s loss. VA will soon be Red again.
    Hot Air? Blah. Blah. Blah.
    Drudge: Donald Trump Jr outs the Whistleblower.

    You can sense the desperation.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    Trumpkins advise me to “read the transcript”

    I would love for someone to put together an audio play of the transcript, and promote the he’ll out of it.

    People don’t read. That’s what the Trumpkins are counting on when they say “Believe our lies, or go read something.”

    Get a decent Trump impersonator in there reading the words “I’d like you to do us a favor, though.”

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  29. KM says:

    @JKB:

    Trying to bum-rush the removal of the President within a year of the election is unlikely to impress voters. Talk about trying to subvert the will of the voters.

    Wait – so you want to rush to the trial part but claim Dems are “bum-rushing”? Make up your mind, man – your trolling is suffering.

    Also, who gives a damn what you think about impeachment? You were going to vote Trump anyways and so would anyone watching this shitshow and thinks Trump’s being railroaded. Nobody watching this will go Trump is they weren’t already heavily Trump-inclined. You already sold your soul so no refunds.

    As for “the will of the voters” there’s an unstated expectation they voted for a President who was going to, you know, not commit crimes left and right while in office. Sure, there’s probably someone like you who’s OK with it but most voters didn’t expect Trump to flat out go a-crimin’. You don’t get to break the law and use popularity as an excuse. “The will of the voters” is not permanent nor is it inviolate – the Constitution takes precedence over their will. Let’s say every leftie and independent wrote-in Greta Thunberg so she swept to victory in the electoral college. She can’t hold office because (a) minor (b) not US citizen and (c) doesn’t met the criteria set for in the Constitution. Would you be screaming about “the will of the voters being subverted” then?

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz: People know his first name (or what he has claimed his first name is), but I don’t think you want to try to figure out if you know him. Doxxing people is bad.

    His arguments sound the same as most other Trumpkins, so that’s why it sounds so familiar.

    (Just pretend that he is a sock puppet Michael Reynolds created to continually abuse.)

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  31. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    Would you be screaming about “the will of the voters being subverted” then?

    Where was all the concern for the will of the voters when the electoral college installed popular vote loser Donald Trump in office?

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  32. Kingdaddy says:
  33. Teve says:

    You can plead the Will of the People, or you can assert We’re A Republic, not a Democracy, but you don’t get both moves.

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  34. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: I believe Monsieur Trump has graciously offered to read the “transcript” to an adoring nation himself.

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  35. reid says:

    @Kingdaddy: “The Bible Is Our National Book”? Please tell me that’s some form of satire. (I’m not going to give them the traffic.)

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  36. CSK says:

    @reid: What’s interesting is that Cult45 regards the National Review as a leftist rag.

    No, I’m not joking.

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  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Even worse than you may have imagined…

    Editor’s Note: The following is part of a series of excerpts adapted from Rich Lowry’s new book The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free. Read previous excerpts here and here.

    And it’s an argument for the King James Bible as unique to the foundations of Constitutional America.

    It just never stops in the Evangelical community.

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  38. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    I believe Monsieur Trump has graciously offered to read the “transcript” to an adoring nation himself.

    I hate to break it to you, but Señor Donald Trump Senior was employing an advanced rhetorical device called “bullshitting” when he made that offer.

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  39. JKB says:

    @Gustopher: Don’t be in such a rush.

    When this all started, Schiff was targeting to be done by Thanksgiving. I’ve heard there is now talk of it taking longer. Of course, any trial would probably need to be put off until after New Years, then it can run through Super Tuesday. It will certainly control the news cycle. Perhaps to bury Warren’s insane policies

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  40. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    And it’s an argument for the King James Bible as unique to the foundations of Constitutional America.

    But… we revolted against King George… If it was so inspirational for a constitutional democracy, it would have transformed England… I mean, they had King James on their side…

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  41. Teve says:

    And it’s an argument for the King James Bible as unique to the foundations of Constitutional America.

    the first commandment says you shall have no other god, the first amendment says you can have whatever TF god the you want to have. That second one is a much better rule.

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  42. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: Having worked in software for decades, I can tell you that estimates for any bespoke process with few precedents are always very optimistic.

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    You can plead the Will of the People, or you can assert We’re A Republic, not a Democracy, but you don’t get both moves.

    I have one phrase for you that explains the conundrum: Triumph Of The Will Of The People.

    I’m not sure what it means, but I’m sure it explains it.

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  44. JKB says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Sadly, Democrats went with a partisan public spectacle and have denied even Republicans on the committee the right to ask question unless the questions are approved by the corrupt Adam Schiff and the President’s attorneys have no rights at all. That is not a fair adversarial proceeding.

    This “Impeachment Inquiry” is just a partisan effort to damage Trump for the election and the American people see that.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’m glad my students didn’t write stuff like this. My pledge to them was to be interested in what they wrote for long enough to evaluate it honestly. I’d have never made it through this one.

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  46. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: No!!! You don’t say. Really? Seriously? And here I thought he was as honest as the day is long.

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  47. CSK says:

    @JKB: Would you like to answer the question I posed to you?

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  48. JKB says:

    @CSK: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country”

    So the “us” are you assuming Trump was speaking as a king in the royal “we”?

    Ukraine was regarded as corrupt. Trump was sounding out the new president. He was using a familiar “good feeling” technique in asking them for a “favor”.

    The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.

    More talk, Zelenskyy responds, more Trump talk

    The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

    See how everything goes back to US law enforcement and is in accordance with the treaty for cooperation on corruption. There is a lot of conversation between the words favor and Biden

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  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    You’re a liar in service to a criminal who is attacking the US constitution and weakening this country. What do you think that makes you? A hero?

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  50. CSK says:

    @JKB: What I see is a request for two favors: dirt on Clinton and dirt on Biden. And I would like to see what’s missing, as represented by the ellipses. Thanks, though, for your response.

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  51. the Q says:

    When the 1939 German version of JKB was asked, “but he is transporting Jews in cattle cars to camps”, the reply, “so? Where’s the violation? perfectly legal under the Nuremberg laws, so no crime was committed. Now back off socialists. And quit trying to subvert the will of the voters.”

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  52. steve says:

    “There is a lot of conversation between the words favor and Biden”

    There is a lot of word salad, then he very clearly articulates what he really wants, investigate Biden. Heck, even Trump has some grasp on the concept of foreplay. You have to grab the pussy first before you screw it.

    Steve

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  53. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Sadly, Democrats went with a partisan public spectacle

    But, you were just complaining it was private. Was it all the p words? Partisan, public, private and porcupiney?

    Please pick a position, por favor.

    And they have been operating under the same rules the Republicans wrote for the BENGHAZI!!! hearings.

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  54. Mike in Arlington says:

    @JKB: That stunningly false. I mean, by a lot.

    While I will grant that the majority have more rights under the rules of the impeachment inquiry than the minority, the rules are set up so that the question periods are split equally between majority and minority, and those questions do not have to be approved by the Chair of the committee. If you’re curious, you can read the text of the resolution here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/660/text

    The Chair (Schiff) does have a lot of discretion, he can add more question periods, but even those must be evenly split between the majority and minority. It is true that the minority can’t subpoena witnesses without a majority vote on the committee, but I guess the republicans should have thought of that when they stripped the democrats of that power in 2015 during the Benghazi hearings.

    I will also grant that the president does not have any right to representation at this stage of the investigation. However, the inquiry resolution specifically considers that the Judiciary Committee will promulgate procedures for involvement by the president’s counsel when they pass the ball to the Judiciary Committee.

    You might consider this a dodge, but I believe that there is a lot of incentive to create hearing procedures that at least seem fair, which will mitigate against it being too one sided.

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  55. wr says:

    @JKB: “Ukraine was regarded as corrupt. Trump was sounding out the new president. ”

    You’re either lying or you’re stupid or both. The Department of Defense had certified that the new government of Ukraine was not corrupt, as needed to be done before the aid could be released.

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  56. Jen says:

    He was using a familiar “good feeling” technique in asking them for a “favor”.

    This is patently absurd.

    He was using a familiar “good feeling” mob technique in asking them for a “favor”.

    FIFY.

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  57. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    Oh no, i would never out him. I don’t doxx people. Nor do i really care too much about whether i know him or not.

    He just revealed where he lived and where thought he sounded familiar–it is not a giant place. Plus, it was more than just what he was saying, it was like an immediate recognition.

    The thing is, if it is someone i know they would probably have an easier time identifying me than i would them.

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  58. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Even worse than you may have imagined…

    To paraphrase J.B.S. Haldane, “Things are not just worse than you imagine, but worse than you can imagine.” This is very true when it comes to religion.

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  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB:

    This “Impeachment Inquiry” is just a partisan effort to damage Trump for the election and the American people see that. [emphasis added]

    So you have nothing to whine about. Given that, why are you whining–and soooo pitifully at that?

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  60. PJ says:

    @Gustopher:

    Please pick a position, por favor.

    It’s spelled pfavor, the p is silent.

    😉

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  61. PJ says:

    List of things subverting the will of the voters:
    * The Senate voting on a Supreme Court Justice nominee within in a year of a Presidential election
    * Impeaching the President within a year of a Presidential election

    Important:
    The the first rule is only for Democrats.
    The second rule is only valid for Presidential elections, it’s ok for the House to initiate the impeachment process less than a month before a midterm election. IF the House is controlled by Republicans. So, again, that rule is only for Democrats.

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  62. An Interested Party says:

    This “Impeachment Inquiry” is just a partisan effort to damage Trump for the election and the American people see that.

    Certainly a minority of the American people see that…but such people probably also believe in silly nonsense like “the deep state” and “fake news” so their opinions can be easily ignored…

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  63. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: kiddo, is there anything that Trump could do that would cause you to finally say “no. That’s too much. I don’t accept that; that is against the U.S. Constitution.”

    Because if not, you’ve outed yourself as a cult member who would blow your brains out if Trump asked you to do so.

    …..ever heard of Jonestown?

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  64. Teve says:

    Andrew Lawrence
    @ndrew_lawrence
    ·
    29m
    Lindsay Graham is now speculating that Gordon Sondland (who donated $1M to Trumps inauguration) is in cahoots with Democrats

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  65. Steve V says:

    @Teve: Ha ha I saw that! They will say anything. It is just nuts.

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  66. Mikey says:

    The dumbest shit I’ve seen so far is the assertion Sondland’s use of the phrase “I presumed” is fully exculpatory of Trump and the media are essentially lying by not focusing on it.

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  67. Blue Galangal says:

    @grumpy realist: I mean, technically, shooting a guy on 5th Avenue isn’t in the Constitution, amirite?

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  68. john430 says:

    So Mataconis is using his lawyer-ly drivel again. The man offered his “opinion” and he has no hard evidence or first-hand knowledge. Last time I looked, U.S. law prohibits opinions as actual fact.

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  69. DrDaveT says:

    @john430:

    The man offered his “opinion” and he has no hard evidence or first-hand knowledge.

    Is this another one of those “evolution is just a theory” arguments?

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