Holy Bleep

The problem with being in the central time zone is that the east coast can go to hell before I’ve had coffee. While Marie Yovanovitch has been testifying this morning, Trump was tweeting insults at her in real time. For example,

Then this happened during the hearing:

Minutes later, Schiff interrupted questions from Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman to ask Yovanovitch about the tweets.

“Would you like to respond to the president’s attack that everywhere you went turned bad?” Schiff asked after reading parts of the tweets to her.

“I don’t think I have such powers,” Yovanovitch responded. “I actually think that where I served over the years, I and others, have demonstrably made things better.”

Schiff then turned Trump’s motivation in sending the tweets. “What effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said.

Schiff added, “Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Some of you probably saw this; let’s just say I’m not a morning person. MAGA-ites won’t care, but Normals who might be on the fence about impeaching Trump (how can anyone still be on the fence?) are probably not thinking warm, fuzzy thoughts about Trump right now.

See also Trump blows Republicans’ entire Yovanovitch hearing strategy with a single tweet. I can imagine Trump’s lawyers pounding on the bathroom door, yelling DROP THAT CELLPHONE!

Also, Roger Stone was just convicted on all counts.

But what I really wanted to blog about is Gordon Sondland. Yesterday I wrote that he has a hard decision to make. Today I read that Trumpers are making that decision easier. Greg Sargent writes,

The plight of Gordon Sondland is an object lesson in the perils awaiting those who get sucked under by the gravitational pull of Trump’s bottomless corruption and narcissism but fall just short of displaying absolute loyalty and subservience to the Trump cause.

Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is now getting accused by at least one Trump loyalist of fabricating his latest round of testimony in league with Democrats — even though Sondland is a top Trump donor. And another leading Trump sycophant is questioning Sondland’s credibility, something Trump himself tried to do at a rally on Thursday night.

This is from the New York Times yesterday:

Republicans pounced on the inconsistencies to try to discredit Mr. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and Trump campaign donor who had no diplomatic experience before the president installed him as an ambassador.

“I think that if Ambassador Sondland’s credibility is questioned, it makes it really hard for the Democrats to impeach, because everything is based on Ambassador Sondland,” said Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina.

During a rally on Thursday night in Louisiana, Mr. Trump appeared to be trying to do just that. He read aloud from a news article that included new remarks by Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, who said Mr. Sondland had never told him or other officials he knew of a connection between the military aid and the investigations.

So, obviously, they’re throwing Sondland under the bus to discredit his eventual testimony about the phone call. I understand he’s scheduled for Wednesday.

I’m not going to predict what Sondland will do, however. He’s an amateur. I don’t know what motivated him to buy a pass into Trump World, but it probably wasn’t patriotism. But did he notice that Roger Stone was convicted on all counts?

See Besieged on all sides, Gordon Sondland clings to power.

23 thoughts on “Holy Bleep

  1. Didn't see it, but awesome made for TV moment / Turnabout by Schiff re Trump's witness intimidation in real-time. Well-played!

  2. I didn't see if Stone was taken into custody, which probably means he wasn't. Not sure if or why he's not in custody since the flight risk multiplied by a thousand. 

    Sondland doesn't have too many choices. If Trump is trashing Sondland publicly, we're past the stage of Trump demanding loyalty and promising pardons. Sondland is especially vulnerable because he was the go-between in negotiations for the quid pro quo. I don't see how Sondland can avoid repeating communications between him and the president – and between him and Rudy.

    Trump tweeting was stupid and exactly opposite the GOP plan. Wednesday, he tried to pretend he didn't care but he can't stand it. 


    • I saw footage of Stone leaving the courthouse. He didn't appear to be his usual self. I think the jury kinda took the wind out of his sails.

  3. There's nothing like, when one of the accusations against you in impeachment hearings is intimidating witnesses, while a witness is testifying against you about feeling intimidated, you, during her testimony, go right ahead and intimidate that witness with a few tweets!

    I will take this moment to quote the words of two of America's greatest popular philosophers:

    Bugs Bunny: "What a dope!  WHAT A MAROON!!!"

    And Foghorn Leghorn:  "That boy's about as sharp as a beachball!" 

    Boy, I hope the Republican KKKongress creeps left hefty tips for the bartenders after they downed three or four martinin's during the lunch break!

    As I'm watching, the Ambassador is eating the lunch of the GOP's lawyer, the 'oily' Stephen Castor  (who, to me, looks a lot like John McEnroe).  He's asking all sorts of questions, without, imo, any through-line or any purpose.

    But we need to give this conservative sleazebag a break.  I mean, what the hell does he have to work with?!?  The presiDUNCE literally, JUST INTIMIDATED THE WITNESS AS SHE WAS TESTIFYING TO FEELING INTIMIDATED WHEN SHE WAS ORDERED TO LEAVE UKRAINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BECAUSE SHE FELT THREATENED BY THE presuDUNCE AND GHOULIANI, HIS "LAYWER!!!!!"

    "You vitness, coushcelor.  Ah din't finis my 1.75 boottle of 100priif vidka du… du… during lunch… HIC!"

    • I read somewhere (probably a comment by a lawyer) that Castor gets caught off-guard at times by unexpected answers, the commenter remarked that he's unprepared for this and thus not a top tier lawyer.

    • Castor was deliberate in his questioning – deliberately boring. This is reality TV directed by the Democrats but the democrats are writing half the script. The GO wants their half to be so boring this show gets canceled. 

  4. Jim Jordan was assigned to the House Intelligence Committee only about a week ago. That's because he's considered one of the Republicans' best fast-talking liars and has an encyclopedic knowledge of talking points and conspiracy theories. His protection of a sex offender in the Ohio State athletic program is probably also a point in his favor as far as Republicans are concerned.

    Yesterday he set up a laugh line when he complained about not being able to question witnesses with first hand knowledge. Democrat Peter Welch responded that the committee would be glad to have Trump testify.

    Today he's being more careful. He's sticking more closely to Devin Nunes' gamut of asking only questions that can be turned into wingnut news soundbites to be repeated all weekend.

  5. Holy bleep doesn't even begin to sum it up. Schiff made short work out of them today.

    Point of order!…not recognized. Point of order!…not recognized. Point of order!..not recognized.

    • At one point the Ambassador asked Jim Jordan if there was a question in there after a long diatribe (where there barely had been a question) and Y asked Jordan to repeat it as time ran out. Schift allowed it.

      • Did you catch the part where Schiff shut Jordan down and Jordan backed away from his microphone and said, Holy Cow!

         It was good to see that Schiff was wise to their game playing and didn't allow them to get a toe hold. I think back to the Judiciary Committee with the Lewandowski hearing where they made Jerry Nadler look unprepared and inept by hitting him with every kind of procedural tactic known.

  6. For a Dem that damn Schiff has a pair.  When you are my age, from my country, that is about the highest complement you can give someone.  He is from California, so I am not sure I can say words like that for them.  But I writ what I writ and I writ it. If you don't like it you know where to find me.  I'm so damn proud of him I can just spit.

    • I moved to CA 20+ years ago, and it's great to live in a place that can field almost an A-Team: Schiff, Pelosi, Lieu, and even the junior members: Swalwell and my own Katie Porter. The GOP is too extreme for this state, and so they're almost extinct here – much to the consternation of the conservatives still living here. Schiff in particular was born for this moment. I've made many poor choices in this life, but moving here wasn't one of them.

  7. Heck, I wish I were as close as the Central time zone.   I'm in Hawaii and basically the day is almost over for the East coast by the time I get up.  It's worse in the summer than in the winter when all you folks "move" closer to us by  1000 miles but it is still 5 hours to the Eastern time zone from us.

    We were here in 2001 and the attacks in NY and Washington were over and done with by the time we got up.  I got the whole thing "explained" to me in a series of NYTimes email headlines dropping in to my inbox over my old dialup connection.  It was surreal.

    On the Sondland front, man is that guy screwed.  If he really lets loose with all he knows trump is probably screwed even with enough Republicans to make a difference.

    My question about Sondland, which no one in the media seems able to explain or even ask about, is did he call trump from that restaurant on his cellphone or did trump call him?  Either way it's a remarkable event that puts the total lie from trump that he barely knows the guy.  Plus calling POTUS on an unsecured cellphone in an environment completely compromised by surveillance is beyond idiot…you know…like "her emails".

    But I digress.

    I did note today that the Republicans and their counsel became immediately terrified of Yovanavitch once the trump tweet hit the news.  Their questioning was incoherent and they were too scared to do the attacks on her they had planned.  They obviously had them planned because their idiot counsel kept flipping pages from his script before he could find a benign question to ask or topic to cover.  It was almost funny watching them trip over their tongues.

  8. Tom, I got a different impression of the questioning. I think they did attack Shift to try to hijack the proceedings but they didn't plan to attack Yavanovitch. They intended to discredit her to his degree – 1) She didn't meet Trump. 2) She never talked with Trump. 3) She never received direct instructions from Trump. 4) The president can recall any ambassador for any reason. That was it.

    They wanted her to be an audience to tin-foil conspiracy theories which she knew nothing about. They wanted to suggest that Ukrainian officials in the election had sided with Clinton. (After Candidate Trump suggested giving Crimea to Russia. Go figure. Some people are so sensitive.) I think they intended to make their half of the proceeding as boring as possible.

    Trump threw them for a loop with a strategy that was the complete opposite. He attacked Yavanovitch in the opening minutes of the hearing as a signal to Republicans what he wanted them to do. They were not prepared to follow Dear Leader's instructions. They had no time to consult each other what to do with the new plan and they weren't sure what would happen if they failed Dear Leader.

    Love to hear from others what they observed about the GOP strategy.

    • I think their strategy is one of attrition and sowing confusion to ultimately provide cover for Senate repuglicans when it comes down to the trial in the Senate. I think they are relying on individual members to attack from whatever direction they see fit rather then a unified theme. I think it should be called a Hydra strategy.

       There are times I feel the effects of that strategy even though I know to the core of my being that Trump is a corrupt bag of shit and America needs to get rid of him.


      • To further illustrate my point look at Ratcliffe's statement to  Kent and Taylor where he asks both of them what 'evidence' they have on Trump that is an impeachable offense. And after they are both dumbstruck by the absurdity of the question and can't answer. Ratcliffe sits there beaming with self satisfaction that he stifled them with his rhetorical abstraction. I got 'em on that one, boss.

  9. I got home Friday and watched the earlier exchange between Schiff and Yovanovich over Trump's tweet – here's hoping that this becomes Trump's Katrina moment.

    I hope there's enough good left in the American character, that enough people see this disgusting, obnoxious brute slice up this innocent and well-meaning woman, reduced to tears, without a shred of conscience or remorse, and are finally revolted by it all.

    By contrast, George Bush was just inept, and nowhere the monster Trump is, just a stupid rich kid from a relatively good family, but in over his head.  After five years of W, the public mood finally began to turn against him with his bungling of Katrina. 

    Trump really is a monster, and his henchmen, such as Nunes have no conscience.  I'm reminded of that famous quote of Voltaire: "those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities"

  10. Marie Yovanovitch is a genuine American hero, as are the other current and ex public employees who defied the White House to testify. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, who have finally figured out how to throw a monkey wrench into the right wing noise machine, aren't far behind. While it's true they've been lucky to have a thoroughly corrupt, mentally deficient old coot as an adversary, they haven't blown it as Democrats often do. They've been impressively skillful. It's a reminder that Americans once elected Barack Obama to the Oval Office, and that purple state Democrats put their heads on the block to pass the ACA.

    These past three years have been so embarrassing and destructive. At last there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe at the tunnel's mouth the far right will again be known as the lunatic fringe and will have to be satisfied with John Birch society meetings and billboards screaming "Impeach Ruth Bader Ginsburg!" and "Get US out of NATO!". One can hope.

    • "Get US out of NATO" – I remember growing up in western PA, and seeing signs like this out in the sticks, well away from even my modest little working class heartland city. Even as a kid these signs struck me as "huh?". Never did I dream that these mean-spirited drooling kooks would crawl out of the mud and take over. Easy Rider captured this well, it's still relevant today.

      All of the dark material in the American shadow is getting surfaced and begging to be reckoned with. This why figures like Marianne Williamson – as ill-suited as she was to be a leader – was at least important to be heard from.

      • In the late 60's I drove to Indiana University in southern Indiana to visit friends. The original billboards in rural spaces read "Get US out of the UN!" and "Impeach Earl Warren!" and were sponsored by the John Birch Society. As a boy Dan Quayle attended John Birch meetings with his parents. Putting him on the ticket was just as loud a dog whistle from Bush I as the Willie Horton ad. Easy Rider represented a lot about the times.

  11. Legally, Trump didn't just commit witness intimidation. He 'owned' the decision to remove Yavanakovitch from her post. If sympathy goes with her for being the victim of the smear campaign, Trump can't distance himself (easily) by saying it was a State Department recommendation. And throwing Rudy under the bus carries risks. Mayor Bug-eyes said to reporters that if Trump tries to blame him, Rudy has 'insurance'. Rudy's attorney quickly clarified, "He's joking." But Rudy has announced, if he goes down, he's taking Trump with him. Sondland is in a box – he has to come clean about the phone call there are two witnesses to. That's gonna tie Trump directly to the hit on the Bidens. One of the Florida clowns has said he smeared  Ambassador Y at Rudy's direction. We're gonna wind up exactly where Mick declared it – "We did it – get over it!" And that's where the GOP will be – openly endorsing criminal behavior. 

  12. The GOP says the democrats just want to impeach. Barr says the right and religion are under assault.

    Does anyone remember the republicans loudly proclaimed in 2016 that they would impeach H.Clinton on 1/21/17?

    How many volumes could we fill of examples of their projection? Many tomes.

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