Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert who listened to President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in his House testimony “there was no doubt” that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, the Washington Post reports.
Said Vidnman: “It was a demand for him to fulfill his — fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting.”
Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s lawyer told lawmakers he has knowledge of “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators do not yet know about, the New York Times reports. Well, that’s great. So get his ass into a deposition chair today. Stop delaying Bolton. This isn’t a contract negotiation where you are holding out for a better deal.
“House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Rudy Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy,” the Washington Post reports.
“All three occupy a special place in the Ukraine narrative as the people in most direct contact with Trump. As Republicans argue that most of the testimony against Trump is based on faulty secondhand information, they are sowing doubts about whether Sondland, Giuliani and Mulvaney were actually representing the president or freelancing to pursue their own agendas. The GOP is effectively offering up the three to be fall guys.”
And as if on cue…
New York Times:: “For a while at least, he seemed to have found his Roy Cohn, a lawyer to defend him against his accusers and go after his enemies. But the relationship between President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr may be growing more complicated with the rising threat of impeachment.”
“Rather than publicly join the fight against House Democrats pursuing the president, Mr. Barr has remained out of the fray, resisting requests by intermediaries from Mr. Trump to go before the cameras to say no crime had been committed. While Mr. Barr exonerated the president in the spring at the end of the Russia investigation, he has been more reticent in the current matter.”
“The reluctance hints at a new distance between the two men.”
President Trump said on Friday he was considering attending Russia’s May Day parade, Reuters reports. It is an undisputed fact that President Trump is a Russian Asset if not a Russian Agent. He is a traitor to America. So of course, going to Russia on May Day to kneel before his God is not at all surprising.
“They shouldn’t be having public hearings… It’s a hoax.” — President Trump, quoted by PBS, denouncing public impeachment hearings after weeks of Republicans criticizing the closed-door depositions.
Christian Bale told Yahoo Entertainment that he received a message from an unhappy Dick Cheney after playing him in the 2018 biopic Vice. Apparently, a woman Bale knows ran into the former vice president at a party and asked if there’s anything he’d like to say to the actor.
Cheney responded: “Tell him he’s a dick.”
“A professional referee says in a lawsuit that disgraced doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower after a wrestling match at Ohio State University, and he reported the encounter directly to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) who was then the assistant coach,” NBC News reports.
“Jordan has repeatedly denied knowing anything about what Strauss did to the wrestlers he helped coach from 1986 to 1994.”
The Washington Post quotes Donald Trump Jr. in his new book, Triggered, in which he recounts a visit to Arlington National Cemetery which made him think of all the business “sacrifices” his family had to make in their father’s quest to become president.
Writes Trump: “I rarely get emotional, if ever. Yet, as we drove past the rows of white grave markers, in the gravity of the moment, I had a deep sense of the importance of the presidency and a love of our country.”
He added: “In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed—voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off the office.’”
“There is growing talk on Capitol Hill that Mark Meadows is angling to become the next White House chief of staff amid signs President Trump has been unhappy with the current acting holder of the position, Mick Mulvaney,” the Washington Examiner reports.
“Senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a ‘midnight self-massacre’ to sound a public alarm about President Trump’s conduct, but rejected the idea because they believed it would further destabilize an already teetering government, according to a new book by an unnamed author,” the Washington Post reports.
“In A Warning by Anonymous, obtained by The Washington Post ahead of its release, a writer described only as ‘a senior official in the Trump administration’ paints a chilling portrait of the president as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation he was elected to lead.”
“The book is an unsparing character study of Trump, from his morality to his intellectual depth, which the author writes is based on his or her observations and experiences.”
Literary agent Matt Latimer tells the New York Times: “The author is aware that their identity may be revealed as a result of this book. Every precaution has been taken to mitigate this possibility, but it’s still a real one and we all know that.”
Ivanka Trump told the AP that the identity of the whistleblower is not important. Said Trump: “I don’t view the whistleblower as… it shouldn’t be a substantive part of the conversation because this is a third-party who was not privy to the call and did not have firsthand information.”
Her position, of course, is in stark contrast to that of her father and many of his supporters.
The political nature of the now-infamous July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly stuck out to an aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
Two sources familiar with the closed-door Thursday testimony of Pence aide Jennifer Williams told CNN that she found the conversation between Trump and Zelensky to be out of the ordinary because it did not have the typical tone of a diplomatic call. Williams testified that she did not bring up her concerns regarding the call with her superiors.
“The House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine issued a subpoena Thursday night for acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to testify at 9 am on Friday as part of their impeachment inquiry,” two sources familiar tell Axios. Of course, Mulvaney did not show up.
“Mulvaney is the highest-ranking White House official to be subpoenaed yet, and the midnight-hour move suggests the committees are reaching into the final phase of their private investigation as they prepare to take their inquiry public next week.”
Politico: “Nearly three years into office, Trump’s attempts to match the lofty campaign promises he made on immigration are in disarray — the wall remains largely unbuilt, so-called sanctuary cities are still receiving federal money and birthright citizenship remains intact. And over at the sprawling Department of Homeland Security, a bitter dispute recently erupted over who should head the agency tasked with enacting Trump’s immigration policies, leading some frustrated aides to plot ways to circumvent federal law and push for the leader of their choice.”