Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Reach To Impeach, Con't

More news from late last night, as the Washington Post broke the story that Trump is outright buying off dozens of House Republicans on the subject of impeachment with weekend trips to Camp David.

President Trump, partial to gold and marble elegance, never took a shine to rustic Camp David. So acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney pitched to him an unusual idea at the start of the House impeachment inquiry: Use the secluded mountainous presidential retreat to woo House Republicans.

Since then, Mulvaney and top White House officials have hosted weekend getaways for Republicans at the historic lodge, seeking to butter up Republicans before the big impeachment vote
. The casual itinerary includes making s’mores over the campfire, going hiking, shooting clay pigeons and schmoozing with Trump officials, some of whom stay overnight with lawmakers.

During dinners, Trump has called in to compliment members personally.

“I’ve worked with a number of Republican presidents over various administrations . . . and I’ve never, ever been invited to Camp David,” said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.). “It was amazing to go for the short weekend. So historic.”
The Camp David excursions are one prong of a broad White House charm offensive, meant to hold House and Senate Republicans in line through a House impeachment vote and a trial in the Senate that appears all but inevitable. 
Never shy to feud with his own party, Trump has for weeks refrained from full-throated attacks against Republicans who have been even remotely critical of the conduct now under scrutiny by the House: The president’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

The White House has made sure that a small clutch of Republican lawmakers have accompanied Trump to a trio of recent sporting events, whether at the Ultimate Fighting Championship in New York, the World Series in Washington or at the football game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., between the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University

In recent weeks, the White House has also invited a group of GOP senators every Thursday to have lunch with the president, where the mealtime conversation rarely centers on impeachment but inevitably veers toward it, according to participants.
Trump’s message to the senators echoes what he has said publicly against charges that he abused the powers of his office, and Republicans who’ve attended say they feel no overt pressure from the president to stay on his side.

The corruption at this point is open and the whole Republican Party is coming along for the ride.  Transactional Trump is buying off lawmakers with trips and events because that's how he's always done business, so why should it be any different among House Republicans passing judgment on Trump's lawlessness?

It's the equivalent of a mob boss buying off grand jurors.

Oh, but it gets worse.  It always gets worse for the corrupt Trump regime, doesn't it?  Ethics watchdog group American Oversight released multiple documents from the State Department late Friday night obtained through FOIA requests, and they show contact between Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and between Giuliani and House Intelligence Committee GOP ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes all the way back in March of 2019.

Statement from American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers:

“We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this information to Congress. It reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.

“This is just the first round of disclosures. The evidence is only going to get worse for the administration as its stonewall strategy collapses in the face of court orders.

“That American Oversight could obtain these documents establishes that there is no legal basis for the administration to withhold them from Congress. That conclusively shows that the administration is engaged in obstruction of justice. The president and his allies should ask themselves if impeachment for obstruction is worth it if the strategy isn’t even going to be effective.

“This lawsuit is just one of several American Oversight is pursuing to bring transparency to the Ukraine investigation. The public should expect more disclosures, over the administration’s strong objection, for the foreseeable future.”

In the Documents:

New: The documents show a March 26, 2019, call between Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pompeo. (Page 39 of document)

A March 28, 2019, email includes a list of scheduled calls for Pompeo. Calls include Rudy Giuliani on March 29, and Rep. Devin Nunes on April 1, 2019.

On March 27, 2019, Rudy Giuliani’s assistant contacted Madeleine Westerhout, who was serving as the president’s Oval Office gatekeeper at the time. She asked Westerhout for a “good number” for Pompeo, adding that she had “been trying and getting nowhere through regular channels.” Westerhout contacted someone at the State Department to ask for a number she could provide. (Page 55)

During his closed-door testimony, career diplomat David Hale mentioned two calls between Pompeo and Giuliani, one on March 28, 2019, and one on March 29. The documents include a March 28 email to Hale indicating that Pompeo had been the one to request a call with Giuliani. (Page 45)

The March 29 call appears on page 46, and the confirmation of its scheduling is on page 44.

Also in the documents: An April 5 letter to the State Department from six former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine (including Bill Taylor), expressing their concern about the attacks on U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. (Page 13)

On April 12, 2019, Reps. Steny Hoyer and Eliot Engel wrote to Pompeo, also expressing their concern (page 28). The State Department responded on June 11, saying “Yovanovitch was due to complete her three-year diplomatic assignment in Kyiv this summer.” (Page 34).

The documents are here.

This criminality continues to be overwhelming at this point.  The corruption is across the board.  After Justin Amash's political career was butchered and hung to bleed out for everyone to see, no Republican will dare to lift a hand against Trump. 

So Trump will continue to buy loyal lawmakers with trips to Camp David and sporting events and more to protect himself, and the Republican party is now so utterly corrupt that they cannot escape Trump's criminal gravity without destroying themselves.

They would rather destroy the country than risk what happened to Amash happening to them.

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