There’s a quote often misattributed to Einstein that says time is what keeps everything from happening all at once. I think time may be breaking down. Everything is happening all at once.
About last night’s debate, before we move on to the juicy stuff — First, Pete Buttigieg annoyed the hell out of me. He was even more annoying than Tom Steyer, who actually said a few sensible things this time. Mayor Pete needs to take his Republican talking points on health care and stuff them someplace.
Regarding the hoped-for Sanders-Warren smackdown, I’ve been ignoring it because it seemed to me the whole flap could be attributed to miscommunication combined with the exhaustion and burnout that must happen during a long campaign. People who wanted reasons to hate one or the other candidate have been riding it hard on social media, but as I like them both the so-called controversy just annoys me. But not as much as Pete Buttigieg annoys me.
And I miss Andrew Yang and Cory Booker. Oh, well.
Other than that, I think everyone did okay. Probably no minds were changed. But see also Does CNN have it in for Bernie Sanders? by John Judis at TPM.
As the Dem candidates were taking the stage last night, other Dems were opening a big ol’ can of whoop-ass on Donald Trump, in the form of the Lev Parnas papers. As Greg Sargent wrote today, the Parnas papers prove beyond doubt (except, of course, to Republicans) that Rudy G. was in Ukraine as Trump’s personal attorney, with Trump’s approval, to make a deal for dirt on Joe Biden. This pretty much shreds any pretense that Trump was acting in U.S. interest and not his own.
Part of the deal was, explicitly, to get Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired because she was in the way of Rudy’s various machinations. The campaign against Yovanovitch was outrageous and sinister; some marginal character named Robert Hyde even claimed to be tracking her movements. Why, to assassinate her? But this opens up the question — what did SecState Mike Pompeo know about this? Rep. Eliot Engel, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told Greg Sargent that his committee would be investigating this.
As part of the impeachment inquiry, Democrats had subpoenaed the State Department for documents that could shed light on any knowledge that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had of this ongoing campaign, on Giuliani’s communications with the State Department about it, and on efforts by Trump and other henchmen to pressure Ukraine more generally.
The State Department defied this subpoena, and Pompeo just blew off a request that he testify to the Foreign Affairs Committee about Trump’s Iran policies. The State Department is responding to journalistic inquiries with radio silence…
…Democrats will simply have to go on an investigative war footing that will continue after the impeachment saga, and it is likely to produce new revelations. …
… An official involved with the impeachment inquiry says more documents are coming from Parnas soon. Meanwhile, there will be extensive investigative media digging that will almost certainly establish more about what, precisely, Giuliani ordered done on Trump’s behalf.
As Charles Pierce says, I Don’t Think the Lev Parnas Texts Are the Last Hound to Be Unleashed. I can’t believe that the State Department was completely in the dark about what Rudy was up to.
Senate Republicans must realize that time is not on their side. More crap will be raining down on their heads throughout the election year of 2020. Some of them may be considering allowing a bit of daylight to come between themselves and Trump. This may affect the Senate vote over witnesses at the trial.
Speaking of which — the House impeachment trial managers are chosen, and the House has voted to send the articles of impeachment on to the Senate. Amber Phillips explains who the managers are and why Pelosi chose them.
Update: Then this happened —
The State Department abruptly canceled two classified congressional briefings Wednesday that were supposed to focus on embassy security and the U.S. relationship with Iran, Capitol Hill aides said, infuriating lawmakers and staffers seeking answers on the fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a senior Iranian general.
The cancellations also coincide with the release of documents suggesting that associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had put the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine under surveillance — an issue that touches on both embassy security and the president’s impeachment.
“Staff are furious,” a House aide said about the scuttled embassy security session. “This briefing is required by law every month, and today’s was the most important we’ve had scheduled in a long time. The State Department has given us no explanation whatsoever.”