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Sat Oct 5, 2019, 07:56 AM

Josh Marshall: The Rush to Testify is Bad News for the White House

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-rush-to-testify-is-bad-news-for-the-white-house?fbclid=IwAR2UIPZC0Xdt6UeFryHYj-yIUGmphB4JiMClshveefBsuK3otM5jkME0lrQ


The Rush to Testify is Bad News for the White House
By Josh Marshall
October 5, 2019 12:14 am


This afternoon we learned that Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the EU and GOP megadonor, will appear for a closed door deposition before House committees on Tuesday, October 8th. According to CBS News it will be the “same format” as Ukraine Envoy Kurt Volker’s testimony yesterday. (I take this to mean that he will appear without a government lawyer.) This seems to me to be a development of great importance.

The White House is putting up a strong bluff. They say they won’t comply with subpoenas. They are even hinting at a challenge to the House’s internal governance, arguing that there actually is no impeachment inquiry because Speaker Pelosi has not held a vote of the whole House to authorize it. It’s the same brash, aggressive and total defiance that has served them so well for the last nine months. The President says he has every right to do what he’s done and his top lieutenants are lining up to agree.

But the people closest to the action, the ones with the most at stake are belying that confidence not with their words but their actions. Secretary Pompeo threatened a dogged fight against any attempt to depose State Department officials or get documents for the House inquiry. Volker, Yovanovitch, Sondland and others could have used that shield Pompeo threw up around them to refuse or at least delay or negotiate over testifying. That was clearly the intention. But they haven’t. Volker resigned his appointment and quickly testified. Now Sondland, much more of a Trump partisan and apparently much more of a driving force in the extortion scheme, is doing the same.

Take it as a given that everyone here will act in their own interests. If the President’s position was strong and he had the ability to protect or threaten these secondary players they’d almost certainly be following his lead. But they’re not. They’re moving quickly, if not to make deals with the Congress then at least to share what they know and hand over documents in their possession. In other words, they’re protecting themselves. We don’t know for certain Sondland is doing this yet. But if he weren’t it would be folly to submit to a deposition without a government lawyer present and without trying to negotiate protective ground rules.

One of the things we learned over the last nine months is that a posture of total defiance can be quite effective. If no one talks or produces any records it’s almost impossible for an investigation to get traction or build momentum. By cooperating they are significantly undermining the administration’s strategy and creating incentives and pressures for others to come forward as well. For a White House where law means little and loyalty means everything that is total betrayal. But that does not appear to be stopping them.

Again, everyone will act in their own interests. The White House is telegraphing a cavalier defiance meant to tell everyone they still hold all the cards. But these underlings’ actions speak louder than words. They know much more than we do and they have much more on the line. So we should listen closely to what their actions are telling us.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Josh Marshall: The Rush to Testify is Bad News for the White House (Original post)
babylonsister Oct 2019 OP
dem4decades Oct 2019 #1
ooky Oct 2019 #2
bitterross Oct 2019 #8
MyMission Oct 2019 #19
asiliveandbreathe Oct 2019 #3
bitterross Oct 2019 #4
Scarsdale Oct 2019 #5
defacto7 Oct 2019 #7
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 2019 #12
Hortensis Oct 2019 #14
pangaia Oct 2019 #6
lindysalsagal Oct 2019 #9
BlancheSplanchnik Oct 2019 #10
getagrip_already Oct 2019 #11
Shrike47 Oct 2019 #13
Nevermypresident Oct 2019 #15
MFGsunny Oct 2019 #16
gristy Oct 2019 #17
Arazi Oct 2019 #18

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:13 AM

1. I'm shocked Sondland will appear. He's a Trump stooge isn't he?

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Response to dem4decades (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:22 AM

2. He's a Republican rich shit who bought his ambassadorship and tried to

do Trump's bidding and got caught.

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Response to ooky (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:32 AM

8. Exactly! And, Rich people don't like jail.

It gets in the way of making profit off the serfs. Like the rubes who keep voting for Trump.

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Response to ooky (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:05 PM

19. The ones who talk first get the deals

Which is why he's talking, and why others will.

He and they will try to save themselves. Those with some degree of smarts, and or patriotism will recognize the way to do that is to tell what they know.

But some will not talk, and will coerce others to follow their lead. The dumbest and most corrupt ones. They will go down hard, for failure to provide testimony or documents. By the time they realize they should not have tied themselves to the sinking ship 45 it will be too late! They will be implicated by the testimony and records of others. Then many will give testimony, hoping for a lenient sentence that they hopefully won't get.

But the best deals go to those who talk first.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:36 AM

3. Sondland should read up..review, Nixons Watergate investigation that

net so many...perhaps he knows full well..

The Watergate scandal resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were top Nixon officials.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:54 AM

4. They're smart enough to know Trump will throw them under the bus

These people are far more experienced at this sort of game than Trump. They know that whoever rolls first gets the best deals. Thy know that they are not the object of the investigations.

They know Trump has loyalty only to himself (and, maybe, Ivnka), he will throw them under the bus in a heartbeat to save himself. Protecting themselves is the smart move.

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Response to bitterross (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:10 AM

5. Who in their right mind

is willing to go to prison to protect tRump? He is a cheap thug, pure and simple. Not too bright. All bluff and bluster. Repulsive excuse for a human being. He IS going down, regardless of how many gop members try to protect him, at their own risk.

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Response to Scarsdale (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:25 AM

7. Who would be willing to protect him....

It would probably be those who are just as deep in crimes as he is and think they still have a chance to break the government. And then there's ideology.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:53 AM

12. you describe the despicable Moscow Mitch ...

"[J]ust as deep in crimes", "chance to break the government", "ideology" -- yep, Moscow Mitch matches all of them.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 11:01 AM

14. Many have a huge stake in overthrowing the sovereignty

of the people. But presumably they believe their rewards will be great if they carry it off. And, as you say, there's ideology.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:16 AM

6. "They're moving quickly, ..."

HUH !! They've had three damn years. I don't call that QUICKLY.
''I call that waiting until the ship starts to think and people start running for the too few lifeboats.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:38 AM

9. Maybe Sondland is dumber that frump, and thinks he can

Fool congress?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:42 AM

10. Yes! Actions, not words.

That was a great analysis. Encouraging, too. They will absolutely move to protect themselves.

Thanks, babylonsister!

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:45 AM

11. Don't overlook the chances of a rat@#$% dirty trick.....

Any of these guys from perry on down could be planning to provide doctored evidence absolving trump. What's a perjury charge after all they have done?

But it gives the sycophants something to grab on to and yell at the tops of their lungs as a way to discredit the investigation and provide figleafs to gop house and senate votes.......

watch for it. If he can get a doctor to say he is the healthiest person in the country, he can get any one of his toadies to say anything.

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Response to getagrip_already (Reply #11)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:54 AM

13. Volker didn't do him any favors. Taylor tried to block what was happening. There are good people.

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Response to Shrike47 (Reply #13)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 11:50 AM

15. I respectfully differ with your opinion, especially re Volker. His opening statement yesterday was

covering his own ass and you can tell by the texts, he was deep in the "conspiracy".

Except for the whistleblower, we would not know about Ukraine-gate.

To my knowledge, Taylor was alarmed, but did not actually block. Unless he happens to be the whistleblower, he did not report this abuse of power to the FBI, Congress.



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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 03:26 PM

16. The cornerstone caveat still holds .....


WATCH WHAT THEY DO ..... not simply what they say.



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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 05:39 PM

17. Agreed, but the author of this piece is missing something. Or at least not mentioning it.

And that is, when someone who knows something about what's been going on and they talk to authorities (or to Congress), they name names. Who was in this or that meeting? Who did they speak with about this issue? Who can corroborate what you are telling me today? Good lord, when all done, Congress will have a certifiable rope to pull.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 06:16 PM

18. Is there a firm date for Yovanovitch's testimony yet?

She's another lynchpin here and no friend to the WH. We need her up there asap

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