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  • Volker Before Congress

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/04/polit...ump/index.html
    Former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker explained in his opening statement to Congress that he connected the President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with Ukraine's leadership in an effort to convince Giuliani — and, through him, President Donald Trump — there was new leadership in Ukraine that could be trusted.
    In Volker's statement, which was delivered during his closed-door testimony Thursday and obtained by CNN, the US diplomat portrays himself as someone who was seeking to divert Giuliani's influence on the President and help Trump see that the new government was serious about reform.


    Volker said that Trump was "skeptical" of Ukraine's leadership, which he said was understandable given the country's history of corruption, but he also added that the President suggested that Ukraine "tried to take me down," a reference to the unproven allegations that Ukraine was involved in the 2016 election meddling.

    "He said that Ukraine was a corrupt country, full of 'terrible people,'" Volker said of Trump. "He said they 'tried to take me down.' In the course of that conversation, he referenced conversations with Mayor Giuliani. It was clear to me that despite the positive news and recommendations being conveyed by this official delegation about the new President, President Trump had a deeply rooted negative view on Ukraine rooted in the past. He was clearly receiving other information from other sources, including Mayor Giuliani, that was more negative, causing him to retain this negative view."
    Volker's testimony adds new context to the explosive text messages he provided Congress with his testimony. The texts were released Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee. They show that the push from Trump and Giuliani for Ukraine to launch an investigation was linked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's desire to have a face-to-face meeting with Trump.

    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

  • #2
    The Ukraine Text Messages:

    https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019...ges-annotated/
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

    Comment


    • #3
      https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/04/polit...lls/index.html
      The Ukraine call wasn't a bug of this administration. It was a feature.
      President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate debunked allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden were part of a pattern of behavior. As CNN reported Thursday night:

      "During a phone call with [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] on June 18, Trump raised Biden's political prospects as well as those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who by then had started rising in the polls, according to two people familiar with the discussion. In that call, Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed."


      That call was then put into a special, secure electronic system -- the same one where the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky was placed.So, within five weeks this summer, we have Trump on the phone with a foreign leader discussing, at a minimum, his potential 2020 opponents. And at least in the Ukraine call, making clear that he wanted a "favor" for all of the things the US was doing -- and could do -- for the country.
      All of which means that, almost certainly, these are not the only two calls of this sort that Trump has placed. If Trump is willing to talk about Biden and Warren with the Chinese -- not exactly an ally -- or to float an unspoken quid pro quo with Ukraine, who would he not be willing to talk to or use American power as a lever against?
      The answer is, of course, no one. Don't believe me? Just listen to Trump.

      "Well I would think that if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens," Trump said of the Ukrainians on Thursday. "It's a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens." He added: "Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So, I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens."

      He said the quiet part out loud! Why? Because Trump sees nothing wrong with using his perch as the President of the United States to strong-arm world leaders into doing his political bidding. He's President! He can do what he wants! And who is pro-corruption anyway?

      "As the President of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!," tweeted Trump Thursday night. He later added this on top of that tweet: "This isn't about a Campaign, this is about Corruption on a massive scale!"

      (Irony alert...)

      On Friday morning, Trump was at it again. "As President I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries," he tweeted. "It is done all the time. This has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign
      against the Bidens. This does have to do with their corruption!"

      What Trump doesn't get -- or chooses not to get -- is that there's a big difference between rooting out corruption and using (and abusing) the power of America to pressure foreign countries to dig dirt on your two main political opponents in the 2020 election. Especially when, in the case of Biden and Ukraine, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

      That fundamental misunderstanding of how a president should -- and should not -- use the power of his office is the only explanation for why Trump would release the rough transcript of his call with Zelensky, which, if not a smoking gun, is pretty close.
      This sort of behavior isn't aberrant to, or for, Trump. In fact, it's entirely consistent with who he has been his whole life -- always looking for leverage to be used to personal advantage. Being elected president didn't change that worldview. It just gave Trump more power to play with.

      Add it all up and you get this: There will very likely be more calls and conversations like the ones we've learned about of late between Trump and foreign leaders. This is who Trump is. This is what he does.



      We are not now that strength which in old days
      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Massena View Post
        President suggested that Ukraine "tried to take me down," a reference to the unproven allegations that Ukraine was involved in the 2016 election meddling.
        Oops!....CNN did it again....

        Another outright lie, the allegations have been proven:

        Two Ukrainian officials violated the law by revealing information about millions of dollars of alleged illegal cash payments to lobbyist and former chair of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign Paul Manafort, a Kyiv district court said on Dec. 12.

        In reviewing an administrative case filed by lawmaker Boryslav Rozenblat, the court concluded that Artem Sytnyk, director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, and parliamentarian Serhiy Leshchenko acted illegally when they revealed that Manafort’s surname and signature were found in the so-called “black ledger” of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

        The “black ledger” is alleged to be a secret accounting book showing suspicious payments by the party to a range of individuals and officials. It became a key document implicating Manafort in corruption in Ukraine, and helped to end his tenure as Trump’s campaign chair.

        In a statement on its website, the court also appeared to describe the two men’s actions as constituting interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.


        https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-pol...urt-rules.html

        "I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

        Comment


        • #5
          NPR's take on the text release:

          "Based on the first production of materials, it has become immediately apparent why Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo tried to block these officials from providing information," the chairmen wrote Thursday in a letter to their colleagues on the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees.

          The letter did not indicate whether the partial release of text messages was representative of the complete texts in possession of the committees; a full accounting might still take place.

          Republicans pushed for the release of the full transcript of Volker's deposition.


          https://www.npr.org/2019/10/04/76708...e-quid-pro-quo
          "I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

          Comment


          • #6
            Like everything else, the partial release of information leaves the door open for everyone to connect whatever dots they want to to support their view of the world. A view not based on facts because they haven't been given all of the information.....both sides are guilty of this.
            "I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

            Comment

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