What Now?! – 11/2/2019

A lawyer for former National Security Adviser John Bolton says his client will testify in the impeachment inquiry if subpoenaed by House Democrats, CBS News reports.

Politico: “Their list of cooperative witnesses is dwindling. The ones who are showing up are increasingly just corroborating what has already been revealed.”

“And a growing number of House impeachment investigators say the evidence is overwhelming that President Donald Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine’s government to open spurious investigations into his political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden.”

“At this point, the investigators say they’re seeing diminishing returns on the parade of closed-door depositions — and they’re eager to move to the public phase of the process. That means it’s decision time for Democrats.”

“The House impeachment inquiry is zeroing in on two White House lawyers privy to a discussion about moving a memo recounting President Trump’s phone call with the leader of Ukraine into a highly restricted computer system normally reserved for documents about covert action,” the AP reports.

“Deepening their reach into the West Wing, impeachment investigators have summoned former national security adviser John Bolton to testify next week. But they also are seeking testimony of two other political appointees — John Eisenberg, the lead lawyer for the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a senior associate counsel to the president.”

Bloomberg: “As Stone goes on trial for lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering, it is one of the lingering mysteries of the special counsel’s 22-month probe of Russian interference in the election. And it’s one of the many reasons the trial, starting next week, will be closely watched, even as House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry gathers steam just around the corner.”

“Did Stone, an early Trump confidant and booster, know what documents WikiLeaks had and when it would release them? The government claims he tipped off the campaign, and Mueller’s report refers numerous times to WikiLeaks or Trump’s interest in its stolen cache. Mueller says Trump and campaign advisers “privately sought information” about further releases.”

“A defiant President Trump signaled he will not cooperate with the Democratic Party’s impeachment proceedings, insisting his telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was ‘a good call’ and that he might read it aloud to Americans so they can see his point,” the Washington Examiner reports.

Said Trump: “This is over a phone call that is a good call. At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.”

CNN: “In recent days, Giuliani has been in advanced discussions to hire Daniel L. Stein, a white-collar criminal defense attorney who is a veteran of the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, to represent him in the investigation.”

“The White House is leaning toward appointing Chad Wolf as the next acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and shifting focus for its nominee for the permanent position to Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, rather than Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: “The proof is largely undisputed, except by the president himself. It consists of admissions, testimony and documents, which show that Trump sought to induce the government of Ukraine to become involved in the 2020 presidential election.”

“Specifically, Trump held up $391 million in American military hardware and financial aid to Ukraine – which is at war with Russia after the Russian seizure and continual occupation of what was until 2014 a Ukrainian province – until Ukrainian prosecutors commenced a criminal investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.”

“That is a mouthful of facts to swallow in one bite, but the legal implications are straightforward and profound. Whether one agrees with federal law or not, it is a crime to solicit assistance for a federal campaign from a foreign government. As well, the crime of bribery consists of a government official refraining from performing a legal duty until a thing of value is delivered to him.””

Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an NSC lawyer specializing in ethics, may be asked to testify in the wake of his twin brother’s, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s, bombshell hearing this week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yevgeny Vindman witnessed the decision to move the call memo of President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to the secure server. During that conversation, Alexander Vindman also voiced his concerns to NSC lawyer John Eisenberg about the content of the call.

Eisenberg is slated to testify before the House committees on November 4.

House committees have contacted Yevgeny Vindman’s lawyer, but no decision has yet been made.

David Brooks: “The evidence against Trump is overwhelming. This Ukraine quid pro quo wasn’t just a single reckless phone call. It was a multiprong several-month campaign to use the levers of American power to destroy a political rival.”

“Republican legislators are being bludgeoned with this truth in testimony after testimony. They know in their hearts that Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses. It’s evident in the way they stare glumly at their desks during hearings; the way they flee reporters seeking comment; the way they slag the White House off the record. It’ll be hard for them to vote to acquit if they can’t even come up with a non-ludicrous rationale.”

“And yet when you get outside Washington it’s hard to imagine more than one or two GOP senators voting to convict.”

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) headbutted a camera when activists asked him if it was acceptable to ask foreign governments to interfere in our elections.

“A growing number of Senate Republicans are ready to acknowledge that President Trump used U.S. military aid as leverage to force Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his family as the president repeatedly denies a quid pro quo,” the Washington Post reports.

“In this shift in strategy to defend Trump, these Republicans are insisting that the president’s action was not illegal and does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense as the Democratic-led House moves forward with the open phase of its probe.

“But the shift among Senate Republicans could complicate the message coming from Trump as he furiously fights the claim that he had withheld U.S. aid from Ukraine to pressure it to dig up dirt on a political rival, even as an increasing number of Republicans wonder how long they can continue to argue that no quid pro quo was at play in the matter.”

The New York Times analysis of census data had a quick blip about health insurance: the number of uninsured increased by 1.3 million from 2004 to 2005. People on the lowest economic rung had already been going naked that is, living without health insurance. The new 1.3 million represents a continuing expansion of middle class people who can’t afford health insurance.

Newsweek reporter Karen Springen and I had blunt conversation about the economics of health care for the middle class. Perhaps I should have suggested we give up on the term middle class, and divide America into the Insured Class and the Uninsured Class.

The difference between the IC’s (insured class) and the UC’s (uninsured class) would not be whether they were vulnerable to an economic collapse as a result of a medical problem. The difference would be how much vulnerability each group faces. The current health care finance system assures that everyone is vulnerable, and insurance makes the difference only between those who can be felled by one trip to the emergency room and those who are brought down financially only by the co-pays, uncovered expenses, and caps that eat them up when a more serious illness strikes.

“The senior White House lawyer who placed a record of President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president in a top-secret system also instructed at least one official who heard the call not to tell anyone about it,” Politicoreports.

“Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated Army officer who served as the National Security Council’s director for Ukraine, told lawmakers that he went to the lawyer, John Eisenberg, to register his concerns about the call…”

“Eisenberg recorded Vindman’s complaints in notes on a yellow legal pad… The lawyers then decided to move the record of the call into the NSC’s top-secret codeword system—a server normally used to store highly classified material that only a small group of officials can access.”

“Vindman did not consider the move itself as evidence of a cover-up… But he said he became disturbed when, a few days later, Eisenberg instructed him not to tell anyone about the call”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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