Donald Trump Impeachment

Donald Trump’s Last Remaining Impeachment Defense Bites The Dust

Ever since Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House has maintained there was “no quid pro quo,” offering as “proof” two calls the Trump made to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.

On those calls, the administration maintains that Trump insisted there was “no quid pro quo,” but as Just Security lays out in a fascinating article, the two phone calls were actually just one, and it’s incredibly damning for the president:

“The call occurred on September 7th. In this call, Trump did say there was ‘no quid pro quo’ with Ukraine, but he then went on to outline his preconditions for releasing the security assistance and granting a White House visit. The call was so alarming that when John Bolton learned of it, he ordered his’ deputy Tim Morrison to immediately report it to the National Security Council lawyers.

“Sondland has testified there was a call on September 9th in which Trump said there was ‘no quid pro quo,’ but that he wanted President Zelenskyy “to do” the right thing. A close reading of the publicly available evidence shows that the latter call was actually the very one that sent Morrison to the lawyers, and that Ambassador Bill Taylor foregrounded in his written deposition to inform Congress of the quid pro quo.”

In other words, the impeachment inquiry has indeed proven definitively that Donald Trump did indeed ask for a quid pro quo. He demanded something for something else. More specifically, Trump demanded an investigation of the Biden family before he would release $390 million in military aid to Ukraine. The case is rock solid.  But the administration’s so-called “defense” is no defense at all.

Once again, as Just Security notes:

“This ‘defense,’ it should be noted, is hardly a defense at all. There is no dispute that the President used the powers of his office to coerce a foreign state into investigating a domestic political rival, nor is there any dispute that the Ukrainians were informed by the Trump administration that the hold on security assistance would not be lifted until these investigation were publicly announced.”

Even if the GOP-controlled Senate refuses to convict Donald Trump, the facts will not change. Not now and not ever. That’s because Trump has indeed committed high crimes and misdemeanors and will go down in history with a black mark by his name. That alone is enough to drive him even crazier than he already is.

Corruption Crime Elections

Court Filing Suggests Trump May Have Taken Bribes From The Turkish Government

During the 2016 race for the White House, several foreign governments reached out to Donald Trump and his campaign, including Russia and Saudi Arabia.

But now, thanks to court documents, we know that Turkey was also working to influence members of the Trump team in an attempt to get favorable foreign policy decisions if Trump became president, according to Poltico:

“A foreign client paying retired Gen. Michael Flynn more than $500,000 to mount a campaign to advance Turkish government interests during the 2016 presidential campaign explicitly complained to a Flynn aide that then-candidate Donald Trump was not being supportive enough, newly released documents show.

“A set of talking points prepared in October 2016 by Mike Boston, a former U.S. intelligence officer working with Flynn, indicate that ‘the client’ backing the lobbying project complained that the GOP nominee had not gone to bat for Turkey. At the time, Flynn was also serving as a top foreign policy adviser to Trump.”

In notes that Boston made and passed along to Flynn, there are these entries:

  • “Republican Presidential candidate has not defended subject’s home country publicly. He should specifically ask questions about subject’s operations and funding.”
  • “Trump didn’t defend Turkey publically (sic) Potentially ask questions about $.”

Does that dollar sign mean that Turkey was trying to funnel money to the Trump campaign or even Trump himself? Even if they didn’t formally hand the money to Trump, they were already paying $500,000 to the man who would later be appointed as national security adviser in the Trump administration. And that too suggests illegal funds being directed to members of the 2016 Trump campaign. That means Trump would be part of a conspiracy to accept a bribe.

One person has already been found guilty as a result of this information: Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Flynn’s was recently convicted on charges of acting as an unregistered agent for Turkey in the U.S., along with a related conspiracy charge.

So while Russia has made most of the headlines since evidence came to light suggesting contacts between the Trump campaign and foreign governments, it now appears that Turkey was making every effort to guarantee they would be given favorable treatment when Trump was elected.

The Mueller investigation and his report were merely one layer of a much larger and deeper conspiracy. And all of those layers wind up leading back to Donald Trump himself.

Crime Donald Trump Impeachment The Trump Adminstration

Did Rudy Giuliani Just Toss Trump And Pence Under The Bus To Save His Own Hide?

Whenever he gets in trouble, Donald Trump always looks for someone else to blame. Losing the trade war? Blame China. Not getting your border wall built? Blame congressional Democrats and immigrants.

But it looks like Trump has been beaten to the punch when it comes to the Ukraine scandal, because his attorney, Rudy Giuliani. just threw Trump and Vice President Mike Pence right under the wheels of the bus.

As former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi noted on MSNBC, a statement Giuliani made after his two associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested and charged with campaign finance crimes by prosecutors with the Southern District of New York is proof-positive that Rudy isn’t about to take the fall for the administration:

“The Statement that [Giuliani] made to Mike Schmidt, in response to Mike’s article (in the New York Times), that ‘I wasn’t working for the Ukrainians, I was working for Trump,’ that kind of thing is going to be held up against what they have on (a wiretap) tape if they have it, and what they have from human sources.”.

Figliuzzi added:

“As is usually the case when Rudy opens his mouth, he may have defended himself against a FARA charge today, but he certainly threw Trump under the bus when he said, ‘I was working at the direction of the United States.’ That’s a problem.”

But it’s not just Trump that’s screwed if indeed Giuliani is about to turn state’s evidence to save his own hide, which is the only chance he has of not being locked up in federal prison for the rest of his life.

Mike Pence is also under suspicion and has been unable to provide a credible alibi for what role he may have played in the Ukraine scandal, as MSNBC reports:

“It was against this backdrop that Pence was in Iowa yesterday, where NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard asked the vice president whether he was aware the Trump administration was delaying aid to Ukraine, at least in part to get Ukraine to go after Joe Biden. Pence said several words, none of which answered the question.

“So, Hillyard asked again, and Pence evaded again. In all, the video of the event showed the NBC News reporter asking the vice president four times. It wasn’t a trick question. A ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ would’ve sufficed.”

The impeachment inquiry, we already know, is indeed looking at both Trump and Pence, so no one should be surprised if articles of impeachment are drawn up against both of them.

Looks like Rudy just beat Trump at his own game of backstabbing. And Pence gets to come along for the ride, too.

Corruption Crime Donald Trump

Grand Jury In New York Now Has Key Witness Who Can Help Indict Donald Trump

Everywhere he turns, things are falling apart for Donald Trump.

Here’s just a few things that have transpired recently:

  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced that he written a report regarding possible high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the president in the Ukraine scandal.
  • A federal court ruled that former White House Counsel Don McGahn must obey a subpoena and testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Then, just last week, came news that a key witness in the investigation being conducted by New York Attorney General Letitia James has agreed to cooperate with a sitting grand jury:

“David Pecker, the head of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, has spoken with prosecutors with the New York district attorney’s office as part of its investigation into the Trump Organization’s handling of hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with President Donald Trump, sources with knowledge of the meeting tell CNN.

“The America Media Inc. chairman’s late October meeting with prosecutors from the major economic crimes bureau could provide key details on discussions that took place involving Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who allegedly had an affair with Trump, and agreements that were made with former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the sources said.”

Pecker — along with Cohen — can provide details regarding hush money payments made to Daniels in order to buy her silence. And since all of this was done in the heat of the 2016 election, that means there are potential campaign finance violations, not to mention that all of this once again calls into question Trump’s legitimacy as president, which is something he’s said to be incredibly insecure about.

But the bottom line is criminal exposure on Trump’s part. He could be facing numerous indictments in New York, where neither he or any future president has any pardon power.
Impeachment appears to be the least of Trump’s problems. Now he’s worried that the minute he leaves office, one or more more jurisdictions could be waiting to slap handcuffs on him. What a beautiful sight that would be!

Crime Donald Trump

Multiple States Reportedly Preparing To Indict Donald Trump

No matter what President Donald Trump and his defenders say, the only reason he wasn’t indicted by a federal grand jury for his actions in the 2016 election and his repeated attempts to obstruct the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is because there’s a memo from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel that says a sitting president can’t be indicted.

But that prohibition on indicting a president is at the federal level, and it’s starting to become clear that states such as New York may be actively seeking to indict Trump at the state level.  And they have every legal right to do so.

According to former Obama administration Solicitor General Neal Katyal, the states are where the action will be in the coming months, until Democrats in the House begin an impeachment inquiry.

Appearing on “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” recently, Katyal noted that a state (and 27 states have a Democratic attorney general) can do as it pleases when it comes to indictments:

“Now there is this Office of Legal Counsel opinion that is being talked about, that Mueller is talking about, that’s a federal opinion. That’s about federal prosecutions, but in our constitutional system, we also have a separate set of prosecutors, state prosecutors, and they aren’t bound in any way, shape, or form by the office of legal opinion.”

If that happened, Katyal continued, Trump would likely say the same restrictions apply at the state level as do at the federal:

“Now, I expect the president, were he indicted by a state prosecutor, to make the same kinds of arguments that he’s been making all along, ‘he’s immune, he’s the king’ and so on and I think that those arguments will get somewhere when it comes to the trial of a sitting president, but I don’t think it’s going to get to the indictment part. That is, I think that the best arguments, in terms of constitutional law, say you can indict a sitting president at the state level.

“I think the indictment could happen and so I suspect if there are state charges that are viable, that those can and will be brought against the president.”

Don’t be the least bit surprised if states such as New York, California — and any other where a Trump business entity is located — do indeed indict Trump. And once he’s indicted at the state level, that would also help bolster the argument that he needs to be impeached.

Trump is not in the clear legally. Not even close.

Here’s Neil Katyal on MSNBC: