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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

'A Very Stable Genius' Details History As It Happened In Trump White Hou...

Opinion Surprise, Mr. President. John Bolton Has the Goods. Who’s telling the truth about Ukraine? There’s one way to find out.

Surprise, Mr. President. John Bolton Has the Goods.

It’s just possible that common sense and reality have a shot at prying open the doors to the Senate chamber after all. After Republican senators claimed that it was perfectly reasonable to put a United States president on trial without hearing from any witnesses, a few of them are showing signs of recognizing that the truth matters. Or, at least, that the American people believe it does.

What’s changed? Shocking but not surprising revelations from John Bolton’s bookmanuscript, which The New York Times reported over the weekend, have made impossible to ignore what everyone has known for months: President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine to benefit himself politically, and against the strenuous objections of his top aides and both parties in Congress.

On Monday morning, Mitt Romney, of Utah, said, “I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”

It’s refreshing to hear those words. And yet the fact that such a statement is noteworthy at all tells you how far from responsible governance Republicans have strayed. They hold 53 seats in the Senate, and yet the nation is waiting on just four — four!— to do the right thing and agree to call Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser, and other key witnesses to testify in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.

A far more representative attitude in the Republican caucus was expressed by Roy Blunt, of Missouri, who said on Monday, “Unless there’s a witness that’s going to change the outcome, I can’t imagine why we’d want to stretch this out for weeks and months.” With this tautology Senator Blunt gives away the game: All witness testimony to date — all presented as part of the House impeachment proceedings — has only strengthened the case against Mr. Trump, but Republicans will not vote to convict him under any circumstances. By definition, then, no witness in the Senate could possibly change the outcome.

The reporting on Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, which is scheduled for publication in March, has scrambled that strategy. Mr. Bolton’s foreign-policy disagreements with Mr. Trump have been public knowledge for months. Last fall, Fiona Hill, a Russia expert and former Bolton aide, testified in the House that Mr. Bolton was alarmed by Mr. Trump’s aid-for-investigations scheme, which Mr. Bolton characterized as a “drug deal.”

In the manuscript, detailed descriptions of which were leaked to The Times, he recounts nearly a dozen instances in which he and other top administration officials pleaded with Mr. Trump to release the aid, to no avail. He describes Mr. Trump’s fixation on conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, and about the supposed corruption of Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine. He says that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted privately to him that he knew there was nothing to the theories regarding Ms. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump fired last spring.

Mr. Bolton, a hard-line conservative with decades of service in Republican administrations, is no anti-Trump zealot, which makes his allegations against the president that much more devastating. And his decision to tell these stories publicly nearly certainly waives any claims of executive privilege Mr. Trump might try to assert over their communications.

Let’s not forget the newly revealed evidence that came to light on Saturday, in the form of a tape recording released by the lawyer for Lev Parnas, who had worked for Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, in the Ukraine scheme. Mr. Trump has denied even knowing Mr. Parnas, but on the tape the two men can be heard in conversation at a dinner in April 2018. “Get rid of her,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Yovanovitch. “Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

In a late-night tweet, Mr. Trump angrily denied Mr. Bolton’s allegations. “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Mr. Trump wrote.

You know what would be a good way to figure out who’s telling the truth? Subpoena Mr. Bolton to testify under oath.

This isn’t a close call. A majority of Americans of all political stripes want to hear from Mr. Bolton, at the least. They believe, as do congressional Democrats, that you can’t vote on whether to remove a president from office without getting the fullest possible account of his alleged offenses.

But Senate Republicans have so far refused to hear from any witnesses or to demand any documents, following the lead of Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, who has never hesitated to undermine the country’s institutions if he thinks doing so will help his party. Mr. McConnell and nearly all in his caucus seem to imagine that if they block their eyes and ears and let their mouths run, the turbulence of impeachment will eventually pass.

This is a risky strategy. One reason good lawyers insist on deposing witnesses and subpoenaing documentary evidence is to avoid any unwelcome surprises at trial. Mr. Bolton has now provided the latest of those surprises. It is surely not the last.

The most galling part is that Republicans have already admitted how bad the president’s behavior was. Back in September, Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican and one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest defenders, said: “What would’ve been wrong is if the president had suggested to the Ukrainian government that if you don’t do what I want you to do regarding the Bidens, we’re not going to give you the aid. That was the accusation; that did not remotely happen.”

Except that it did, as Mr. Bolton is apparently willing to say under oath. Republicans don’t want him to do that because they don’t want Americans to exercise the simple good judgment that Mr. Graham once did.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Trump Issues Threats Amid Bolton Impeachment Bombshell: A Closer Look

Alan Dershowitz Argues for Trump Cold Open - SNL

America, the Idea, Is Lost

America, the Idea, Is Lost


”The Senate is poised to deliver another blow to voter confidence in our system.




Samuel Corum for The New York Times

The idea of America that most of us have come to embrace — that of a functioning democracy responsible and responsive to its citizens who are entitled to vote and whose votes are equal — is lost. In fact, it may never have existed in that way at all. And the trends in society are now toward the worse rather than the better.
The founders of this country never intended for everyone to vote, and they didn’t even include a right to vote in the Constitution. Instead they let voting default to the states, which erected their own barriers to the ballot. As such, the right to vote has expanded and contracted over time.
In the beginning, generally speaking, property-owning white men were the only people allowed to vote. That franchise has expanded over time to include all white men, black men, women and so forth. But, there remain efforts to restrict access to the ballot, particularly for black and brown people in this country.
This rash of new restrictions seems to have been ignited by the election of Barack Obama, America’s first black president. As the Brennan Center for Justice has pointed out, “After the 2010 election, state lawmakers nationwide started introducing hundreds of harsh measures making it harder to vote.” As the center documented:
“Overall, 25 states have put in place new restrictions since then — 15 states have more restrictive voter ID laws in place (including six states with strict photo ID requirements), 12 have laws making it harder for citizens to register (and stay registered), 10 made it more difficult to vote early or absentee, and three took action to make it harder to restore voting rights for people with past criminal convictions.”
In fact the idea of “one person, one vote” wasn’t fully invoked in the United States until the 1960s, when Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the decision for Reynolds v. Sims in 1964: “The conception of political equality from the Declaration of Independence, to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Amendments can mean only one thing — one person, one vote.”
Furthermore, big money from corporations and candidates themselves is corrupting the process and wielding outsize influence on voters’ choices.
In the 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy came under attack for spending what his competitor Hubert Humphrey thought an unseemly amount on a political campaign. As CBS reported:
“Humphrey called Kennedy’s campaign ‘the most highly financed, the most plush, the most extravagant in the history of politics in the U.S.’ At that point, Kennedy had spent $72,000 (about $575,000, in today’s dollars) on radio, TV and mailers in Wisconsin.”
Kennedy defended himself by pointing out that “President Eisenhower’s campaign in 1952, when costs were lower, was $2,500,000.” That was still only about $20 million in today’s value.
Compare that to the nearly one billion dollars Trump raised in 2016 and the nearly one and a half billion raised by Hillary Clinton.
And, the outside spending — political spending by outside groups, excluding party committees — has skyrocketed in the last couple of decades. From 1990 to 2002, it rarely broke the million-dollar mark, according to OpenSecrets.org. In 2016, it reached $178 million.
This is to say nothing of how Russia’s political influence campaign exposed just how vulnerable individual Americans were to being manipulated by misinformation.
Our electoral process has become corrupted, with politicians seeking to block some from the ballot and plutocrats seeking to beguile those who would vote.
Now, with the Trump impeachment, we are seeing that the structure of government is also showing signs of fracture.
There has been no doubt, since the White House released the quasi-transcript of the phone call between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, that Trump had been engaged in a corrupt act when trying to pressure the Ukrainians to announce an investigation of the Bidens. Indeed, this month, the Government Accountability Office determined that Trump broke the law when withholding funds to Ukraine as part of his pressure campaign.
Then, Trump did everything within his power to conceal what he had done when the House of Representatives launched its impeachment investigation.
Now, Senate Republicans stand poised to cement in precedent, by way of an acquittal, that the president who thought himself king, who considers himself above the law, is in fact above the law. Oaths be damned. Constitution be damned.
An acquittal will say to the world, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the checks and balances built into the Constitution are fatally flawed and unworkable, that they are compromised to the partisanship and therefore unworkable and worthless.
The Senate will be saying to America that corruption is an acceptable feature of the executive branch. This will be another devastating blow to electoral confidence and to trust in government.
Everything from who can vote, how they vote, who influences that vote, who is elected by that vote and who is accountable having been voted in, is broken.
American, as an idea, as a representative democracy with the power ultimately vested in the people and accountable to the people, is vanishing like a vapor.“

5 Takeaways on Trump and Ukraine From John Bolton’s Book

5 Takeaways on Trump and Ukraine From John Bolton’s Book

“New revelations from the former White House national security adviser could complicate President Trump’s impeachment trial.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump directly tied the withholding of almost $400 million in American security aid to investigations that he sought from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript of a book that John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, wrote about his time in the White House.

The firsthand account of the link between the aid and investigations, which is based on meetings and conversations Mr. Bolton had with Mr. Trump, undercuts a key component of the president’s impeachment defense: that the decision to freeze the aid was independent from his requests that Ukraine announce politically motivated investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter.

In their opening arguments on Saturday in Mr. Trump’s trial, the president’s lawyers asserted that Mr. Trump had legitimate concerns about corruption in Ukraine and whether other countries were offering enough help for its war against Russian-backed separatists, which his lawyers said explained his reluctance to release the aid. They also said that Democrats had no direct evidence of the quid pro quo they allege at the heart of their impeachment case.

Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account. A draft of the manuscript, which offers a glimpse into how Mr. Bolton might testify in the trial if he were called to, was sent to the White House in recent weeks for a standard review process.

Here are five takeaways.

Mr. Trump tied his willingness to release aid to Ukraine on investigations he sought.

During a conversation in August with Mr. Trump, Mr. Bolton mentioned his concern over the delay of the $391 million in congressionally appropriated assistance to Ukraine as a deadline neared to send the money.

Mr. Trump replied that he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Hillary Clinton in Ukraine, referencing unfounded theories and other assertions that Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, had promoted about any Ukrainian efforts to damage Mr. Trump politically.

The president often hits at multiple opponents in his harangues, and he frequently lumps together the law enforcement officials who investigated his campaign’s ties to Russia with Democrats and other perceived enemies, as he appeared to do with Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Trump was at odds with his senior national security officials.

According to Mr. Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper joined him in pressing Mr. Trump to release the aid in the weeks leading up to the August meeting.

Mr. Trump repeatedly set aside their overtures by mentioning assorted grievances he had about Ukraine, some related to efforts by some Ukrainians who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and others related to conspiracies and unsupported accusations about, among other things, a hacked server at the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Bolton says he talked to Mr. Barr and Mr. Pompeo about Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Bolton wrote that Mr. Pompeo privately acknowledged to him last spring that Mr. Giuliani’s claims about Marie L. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador to Ukraine, had no basis, including allegations that she was bad-mouthing Mr. Trump. Mr. Pompeo suggested to Mr. Bolton that Mr. Giuliani may have wanted Ms. Yovanovitch out because she might have been targeting his business clients in her anti-corruption efforts. Yet Mr. Pompeo still went through with Mr. Trump’s order to recall Ms. Yovanovitch last May.

Mr. Pompeo lashed out at a National Public Radio host on Friday and Saturday after she asked him in an interview about Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal.

Mr. Bolton also wrote that he had concerns about Mr. Giuliani. He said he warned White House lawyers last year that Mr. Giuliani might have been using his work representing the president as leverage to help his private clients.

Among other names Mr. Bolton referenced in the manuscript: Attorney General William P. Barr. Mr. Bolton wrote that he raised concerns with Mr. Barr about Mr. Giuliani’s influence on the president after Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president. That call was a critical piece of the whistle-blower complaint that prompted the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Barr on Sunday denied Mr. Bolton’s account through a spokeswoman.

Mr. Bolton is willing to testify. The White House doesn’t want him to.

Mr. Bolton, who released a statement this month saying he would appear at Mr. Trump’s trial if he is subpoenaed, is prepared to testify before the Senate, according to his associates. He believes that he has relevant insight to present before senators vote on whether to remove Mr. Trump. He is also concerned, his associates said, that if his account of Mr. Trump’s Ukraine dealings comes out after the trial, he will be accused of withholding potentially incriminating material in order to increase his book sales.

Mr. Trump and the White House, however, do not want Mr. Bolton to appear.

The White House had already ordered Mr. Bolton and other key officials not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. The manuscript has intensified concern among advisers that they need to use a restraining order to block Mr. Bolton from testifying, according to two people familiar with their concerns. It was unclear whether they would be successful in doing so.

The manuscript introduced a significant twist to the impeachment trial.

The revelations from the draft of Mr. Bolton’s book could complicate the impeachment trial. A handful of moderate Republican senators who have signaled an openness to calling witnesses did not appear persuaded by the case that the Democratic House managers made last week at the trial, which The Times reported on Friday was heading as early as this week toward a vote on Mr. Trump’s acquittal.

Mr. Bolton’s revelations could unearth support among that group and a handful of other senators who have indicated they might be open to hearing from him. Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee said Friday he planned to wait until after Mr. Trump’s lawyers presented and after senators asked the lawyers questions to decide on whether to support new testimony and evidence.

At least one senator who will vote on impeachment was mentioned by name in the draft of the book: Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. Mr. Bolton said Mr. Johnson was at a meeting last May with Mr. Trump in which the president railed about Ukraine trying to damage him politically.

If the Senate does vote to hear from Mr. Bolton, the trial could stretch deep into February.“

Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says

Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says


“Drafts of the book outline the potential testimony of the former national security adviser if he were called as a witness in the president’s impeachment trial.


Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.
Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.
Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.
The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.
Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.
For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.
Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.
And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.


Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times
During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.
The White House did not provide responses to questions about Mr. Bolton’s assertions, and representatives for Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents. “It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said Sunday night.
He said he provided a copy of the book to the White House on Dec. 30 — 12 days after Mr. Trump was impeached — to be reviewed for classified information, though, he said, Mr. Bolton believed it contained none. 
The submission to the White House may have given Mr. Trump’s aides and lawyers direct insight into what Mr. Bolton would say if he were called to testify at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. It also intensified concerns among some of his advisers that they needed to block Mr. Bolton from testifying, according to two people familiar with their concerns.
The White House has ordered Mr. Bolton and other key officials with firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Bolton said in a statement this month that he would testify if subpoenaed.
In recent days, some White House officials have described Mr. Bolton as a disgruntled former employee, and have said he took notes that he should have left behind when he departed the administration.
Mr. Trump told reporters last week that he did not want Mr. Bolton to testify and said that even if he simply spoke out publicly, he could damage national security.
“The problem with John is it’s a national security problem,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. “He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive?”
“It’s going to make the job very hard,” he added.
The Senate impeachment trial could end as early as Friday without witness testimony. Democrats in both the House and Senate have pressed for weeks to include any new witnesses and documents that did not surface during the House impeachment hearings to be fair, focusing on persuading the handful of Republican senators they would need to join them to succeed.
But a week into the trial, most lawmakers say the chances of 51 senators agreeing to call witnesses are dwindling, not growing.
Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said the Bolton manuscript underscored the need for him to testify, and the House impeachment managers demanded after this article was published that the Senate vote to call him. “There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president’s defense,” they said in a statement.
Republicans, though, were mostly silent; a spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declined to comment.
Mr. Bolton would like to testify for several reasons, according to associates. He believes he has relevant information, and he has also expressed concern that if his account of the Ukraine affair emerges only after the trial, he will be accused of holding back to increase his book sales.
Mr. Bolton, 71, a fixture in conservative national security circles since his days in the Reagan administration, joined the White House in 2018 after several people recommended him to the president, including the Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.
But Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump soured on each other over several global crises, including Iranian aggression, Mr. Trump’s posture toward Russia and, ultimately, the Ukraine matter. Mr. Bolton was also often at odds with Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney throughout his time in the administration.
Key to Mr. Bolton’s account about Ukraine is an exchange during a meeting in August with the president after Mr. Trump returned from vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Mr. Bolton raised the $391 million in congressionally appropriated assistance to Ukraine for its war in the country’s east against Russian-backed separatists. Officials had frozen the aid, and a deadline was looming to begin sending it to Kyiv, Mr. Bolton noted.
He, Mr. Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper had collectively pressed the president about releasing the aid nearly a dozen times in the preceding weeks after lower-level officials who worked on Ukraine issues began complaining about the holdup, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Trump had effectively rebuffed them, airing his longstanding grievances about Ukraine, which mixed legitimate efforts by some Ukrainians to back his Democratic 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, with unsupported accusations and outright conspiracy theories about the country, a key American ally.
Mr. Giuliani had also spent months stoking the president’s paranoia about the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, claiming that she was openly anti-Trump and needed to be dismissed. Mr. Trump had ordered her removed as early as April 2018 during a private dinner with two Giuliani associates and others, a recording of the conversation made public on Saturday showed.
In his August 2019 discussion with Mr. Bolton, the president appeared focused on the theories Mr. Giuliani had shared with him, replying to Mr. Bolton’s question that he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine.
The president often hits at multiple opponents in his harangues, and he frequently lumps together the law enforcement officials who conducted the Russia inquiry with Democrats and other perceived enemies, as he appeared to do in speaking to Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Bolton also described other key moments in the pressure campaign, including Mr. Pompeo’s private acknowledgment to him last spring that Mr. Giuliani’s claims about Ms. Yovanovitch had no basis and that Mr. Giuliani may have wanted her removed because she might have been targeting his clients who had dealings in Ukraine as she sought to fight corruption.
Ms. Yovanovitch, a Canadian immigrant whose parents fled the Soviet Union and Nazis, was a well-regarded career diplomat who was known as a vigorous fighter against corruption in Ukraine. She was abruptly removed last year and told the president had lost trust in her, even though a boss assured her she had “done nothing wrong.”

Mr. Bolton also said he warned White House lawyers that Mr. Giuliani might have been leveraging his work with the president to help his private clients.
At the impeachment trial, Mr. Trump himself had hoped to have his defense call a range of people to testify who had nothing to do with his efforts related to Ukraine, including Hunter Biden, to frame the case around Democrats. But Mr. McConnell repeatedly told the president that witnesses could backfire, and the White House has followed his lead.
Mr. McConnell and other Republicans in the Senate, working in tandem with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, have spent weeks waging their own rhetorical battle to keep their colleagues within the party tent on the question of witnesses, with apparent success. Two of the four Republican senators publicly open to witness votes have sounded notes of skepticism in recent days about the wisdom of having the Senate compel testimony that the House did not get.
Since Mr. Bolton’s statement, White House advisers have floated the possibility that they could go to court to try to obtain a restraining order to stop him from speaking. Such an order would be unprecedented, but any attempt to secure it could succeed in tying up his testimony in legal limbo and scaring off Republican moderates wary of letting the trial drag on when its outcome appears clear.
Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.
Trump’s Shadow Ukraine Agenda”


Sacramento Bee Editorial Board Slams Devin Nunes’For Lying About Doing Trump’s Political Dirty Work And Betraying the Voters of CA-22

Sacramento Bee: Nunes has “betrayed the truth, betrayed the trust of voters and, quite possibly, betrayed our country.

Sacramento Bee Editorial Board Slams Devin Nunes’For Lying About Doing Trump’s Political Dirty Work And Betraying the Voters of CA-22

Another week in Washington D.C., another week of mounting evidence piling upagainst Rep. Devin Nunes. The corrupt California Congressman continues to be an active player in a Washington Republican cover-up on behalf of the President – publicly dismissing his duty to the residents of California’s 22nd congressional district.

From calls and text messages between Nunes, his staff and the now criminally indicted Giuliani-aide Lev Parnas, we now know that Nunes and his office were involved in the underlying effort to obtain information from Ukraine and pressure foreign officials for political dirt on behalf and in defense of the President’s reelection efforts.

His pattern of lies not only betrays the voters of CA-22 but also betrays American democracy itself. The Sacramento Bee says it best:

“Devin Nunes has betrayed the truth, betrayed the trust of voters and, quite possibly, betrayed our country. We don’t know exactly where this new evidence will lead, or what fate has in store for Nunes, but we do know this: The people of California’s 22nd congressional district deserve better.”

The people of California’s 22nd Congressional district deserve better…when it comes to Nunes, no truer words have been uttered.

Read the full blistering critique of Nunes’ lies and betrayal of the voters, HERE or below.

Sacramento Bee – Editorial: Devin Nunes’ Ukraine lies are a betrayal. Voters in his district deserve better

Sacramento Bee // Editorial Board  // January 20, 2020

Kiev, Ukraine, is nearly 6,200 miles from Tulare, Calif. That’s a long way from home for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, who now faces explosive allegations that he and his staff contacted shadowy Ukrainian figures in an effort to betray American democracy.

Text messages released by the House Intelligence Committee last week reveal that a top Nunes aide named Derek Harvey – who on Trump’s National Security Council before he joined Nunes’ staff – sought direct contact with Ukrainian officials in an effort to smear former Vice President Joe Biden. This developing story about Nunes and his staff should raise serious concerns for all Americans.

“An aide to Rep. Devin Nunes exchanged dozens of text messages with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas about a search for information on former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukrainian prosecutors,” wrote Sophia Bollag of The Sacramento Bee. “The exchanges include repeated references by Nunes aide Derek Harvey and Parnas to Biden. Parnas allegedly helped carry out President Donald Trump’s campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government for investigations that would benefit Trump’s re-election.”

Harvey still works for Nunes.

For months, Nunes has acted as Trump’s attack dog, defending the president from accusations that he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden. Nunes sat in House Intelligence Committee meetings and derided the impeachment proceedings against Trump as a “hoax.” Yet he was sitting on a ticking time bomb the entire time. The newly-released texts prove that Nunes’ staff also engaged in secret efforts to damage Biden.

Nunes knew the Ukraine allegations were true because his office was involved in the same plot.

[…]

Oh, really? Nunes hasn’t held a townhall with his constituents in years, yet he expects people to believe his conversation with a now-indicted Ukrainian-American operative was completely normal? We doubt any regular constituent from Nunes’ district would have much luck getting the congressman on the phone. Yet some “random” businessman with Ukraine connections had no trouble reaching Nunes on his cell.

[…]

Regardless of whether you lean Democratic or Republican, here’s an undeniable fact: Nunes lied. He lied to the American people and to his own constituents about the Ukraine allegations, dismissing them although he knew they were true. He deliberately misled the American people by attempting to undermine impeachment hearings that examined an anti-Biden effort in which his own office had direct involvement.

Even if you support President Trump, there’s no denying the fact that Nunes’ actions have backfired and will only hurt Trump. Knowing his own staff was neck-deep in an effort to smear Biden using foreign contacts, Nunes should have let someone else play defense. (And if Nunes didn’t know what Harvey was up to, why hasn’t he fired his aide?)

Devin Nunes has betrayed the truth, betrayed the trust of voters and, quite possibly, betrayed our country. We don’t know exactly where this new evidence will lead, or what fate has in store for Nunes, but we do know this: The people of California’s 22nd congressional district deserve bette