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Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
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Republicans can't defend the indefensible

McCarthy, though he struggles with spoken English, stumbled onto inadvertent honesty: Trump might have done wrong, but McCarthy thinks the transgression isn’t impeachment-worthy. Fair enough. But Trump’s violation of the law is as clear as if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue. Trump’s partisans are free to choose their president over the law, but make no mistake: This is the choice they face.

“It shall be unlawful for —

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make —

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election . . .

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) . . . of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.”

— 52 U.S. Code 30121

“There’s a lot of talk about [Joe] 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. . . . I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General [William] Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out.”

— President Trump, soliciting a
“thing of value” for his reelection from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky 
on July 25

But we’re not hearing Republicans defend Trump’s illegal behavior — because there is no defense.

McCarthy simply pretended it didn’t happen. “Let’s be very clear: The president did not ask to investigate Joe Biden,” he told reporters. (Which part of “look into it,” “get to the bottom of it” and “figure it out” did McCarthy not understand?)


Russia's Fingerprints Are All Over Trump's Ukraine Whistleblower Scandal

Elements of the bombshell whistleblower report outlining various aims pursued by the Trump administration with respect to Ukraine keep connecting back to Russia. 

Several of the reported objectives of President Trump, his administration officials, and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani would benefit the Kremlin, and not the United States or its national security. Namely, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was urged to make a deal with Putin, pressured “to play ball” with respect to providing or manufacturing compromising materials about Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, and essentially tasked with concocting “the evidence” to disprove the well-established fact that the Democratic National Committee server was hacked by Russian intelligence agents in 2016.

The unconscionable demand for Ukraine to make “a deal” with an invader— which has annexed and occupied its territory and continues to fuel an armed conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives—would mean a surrender of Ukraine’s national interests for the benefit of the Kremlin. It would also lead to the lifting of sanctions against Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. Casting doubt on Russia’s involvement in the hack of the DNC server would potentially lead to the lifting sanctions against Russia for its election-meddling and other malign activities.


Trump says the whistleblower complaint isn't accurate. The White House keeps showing how it is.

This is an unsubtle and obvious effort to encourage his supporters to adopt this new line of argument. It’s secondhand! It’s inaccurate! How can this be used to criticize Trump?

The answer is simple. Although much of what the complaint includes is indeed secondhand or based on news reporting, those are hardly disqualifying. The news reports are mostly citations of Trump’s mentions of the situation with Ukraine or references to Trump-friendly articles at the Hill. And those secondhand assertions in the complaint (read them here https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/read-the-whistleblower-complaint-regarding-president-trump-s-communications-with-ukrainian-president-volodymyr-zelensky/4b9e0ca5-3824-467f-b1a3-77f2d4ee16aa/) that can currently be verified have been verified — by White House comments or in the rough transcript (read it here https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/25/rough-transcript-trumps-call-with-ukraines-president-annotated/) of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
What has garnered more attention over the past 24 hours is another assertion made in the complaint.

“White House officials told me that they were ‘directed’ by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials,” the whistleblower writes. “Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.”

On Friday morning, the White House provided a statement to CNN: That move did happen, at the request of National Security Council lawyers.


The Whistleblower Could Teach Mueller Some Things About Writing

The complaint accusing President Donald Trump of misconduct should be held up as an example of how to write well.

Writing a good letter whose purpose is to publicly charge the leader of the free world with democracy-destroying misconduct ―  with brevity and clarity ― is a monumental task.

WB got all of that on the first page. Taken together, the first three paragraphs provide the reader the who, what, where, when and why, the foundation of good writing taught from the get-go in elementary school classrooms across the country.

WB could have used a huge block of text to explain how Giuliani and Barr aided in election interference ― an accusation of this magnitude requires a lot of evidence, after all. But this isn’t the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, with all its dense, legal lingo. WB wanted Burr and Schiff to comprehend the stakes immediately, so WB broke the accusations down into easy-to-read bullet points. 


4 Pinocchios for Trump's claims about Hunter Biden's China dealings

The president says Hunter Biden “walked out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund” and earned “millions” of dollars from the deal. There is no evidence to support those claims.
The supposed size of the China fund — $1.5 billion — comes courtesy of “Secret Empires,” a 2018 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer, who earlier had targeted Hillary Clinton in the book “Clinton Cash.” The Fact Checker spent a lot of time in the 2016 campaign chasing down dubious claims touted by Schweizer, such as about the Uranium One deal.

Affiliates of the advisory firm had said they planned to raise $1.5 billion, but it appears the fundraising fell far short of that.

“To date, Mr. Biden has not received any return or compensation on account of this investment or his position on the board of directors,” Mesires told The Fact Checker after Trump’s remarks with Zelensky. “The characterization of Mr. Biden as owning a $1.5 billion private equity firm funded by the Chinese, or suggesting that Mr. Biden has earned millions of dollars from the firm is a gross misrepresentation of Mr. Biden’s role with BHR.”

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