Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Last Call For Spies Like Us, Con't

I'm shocked, but apparently the reason why the Trump regime allowed Acting DNI Joseph Maguire to testify to Congress this week is because he threatened to resign if they stopped him.

The acting Director of National Intelligence threatened to resign over concerns that the White House might attempt to force him to stonewall Congress when he testifies Thursday about an explosive whistleblower complaint about the president, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The revelation reflects the extraordinary tensions between the White House and the nation’s highest-ranking intelligence official over a matter that has triggered impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

The officials said Joseph Maguire, who was thrust into the top intelligence post last month, warned the White House that he was not willing to withhold information from Congress, where he is scheduled to testify in open and closed hearings on Thursday.

Maguire denied that he had done so. In a statement, he said that “at no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now. I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our nation.”

The White House also disputed the account. “This is actually not true,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a tweet.

After these statements were issued, Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said, “We stand by the story.”

Somebody, maybe Maguire himself, wanted to make him look more sympathetic and honorable. We've had our fill of Trump regime employees who walked away from their train wrecks and refused to say anything about how Trump was hurting the country, previous DNI Dan Coats and previous Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis among them.

Meanwhile, Trump's new Ukrainian friends aren't exactly in a good place, and they can smell what's coming down the pike.

When Ukrainians voted to elect comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy as their next president in the spring of 2019, the fledgling administration was eager to coordinate a phone call with Kyiv’s most important benefactor -- the United States, according to an adviser to Zelenskiy.

But after weeks of discussions with American officials, Ukrainian officials came to recognize a precondition to any executive correspondence, the adviser said.

"It was clear that [President Donald] Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case," said Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption advocate and former member of Ukraine's Parliament, who now acts as an adviser to Zelenskiy. "This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood."

The Trump administration’s alleged insistence that the two leaders discuss a prospective investigation into Biden, one of the president’s political opponents, casts his July 25 conversation with Zelenskiy in a new light.

During the call, a rough summary of which was released by the White House Wednesday, Trump repeatedly encouraged Zelenskiy to work with Attorney General William Barr and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to probe Biden’s role in the dismissal of the country’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, in 2016.

Why yes, the Ukrainians knew full goddamn well that before Trump would even talk to Zelensky that they had to agree to come up with something on Joe Biden's son.

That's it, guys.  That's the crime.

How It's Playing In Hillsboro

Just a reminder that nobody cares about Trump scandals in Trump country and they never will, so don't expect impeachment to move the needle, much less matter out here in red states one goddamn bit.

This time of year in bellwether rural Ohio, we go from the diner full of MAGA hats that always has FOX News playing on the TV to the county fair full of MAGA hats with FOX News on the radio.  Thirty miles east of Cincinnati in Highland County, Donald Trump will be their man forever.

The fair is not a political rally, and Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters commingled and fellowshipped throughout the week. But in a county Trump won with 76 percent of the vote, signs of continued support for the president were common. There were bumper stickers in the parking lots — “Trump 2020” and “Keep America Great” were new additions. Numerous MAGA hats and Trump T-shirts could be spotted. One teenage boy casually strolled across the midway with friends, a huge “TRUMP” flag draped around his shoulders. 
Even more prolific, but almost synonymous with Trump’s name on a banner, were sartorial declarations of Second Amendment adherence, such as “I’m a bitter gun owner clinging to my religion” and “Criminals Love Gun Control, It Gives Them A Safe Work Environment.” 
As fairgoers sat on bleachers inside the many barns to bid on champion livestock, or relaxed on benches dotting the fairgrounds enjoying a pulled pork or fish sandwich, conversations mostly centered on the fair exhibits and this year’s near-perfect weather. But also overheard were inevitable complaints about the constant attacks on Trump. 
“Russian collusion” failed, several noted, but critics moved seamlessly to “obstruction.” During the week of the fair came “Sharpiegate,” Trump’s alleged weather-map manipulation. In the media, it brought hyperbolic accusations of illegality, but as fair visitors waited in line at the ticket gate ($10 admission, rides included), a few were heard chuckling over how little it takes for Trump to drive the media nuts. And so it went among residents of this alternate reality far removed from the cascade of negative images and narratives about Trump beamed daily onto their TV and smartphone screens. 
The Highland County Fair has endured, rain or shine, for more than 70 years, despite occasions of drought, crop failure, trade wars and grain embargoes. “Like a tree that’s planted by the waters,” the old hymn declares, “I shall not be moved.”

Next year’s fair will be held just two months before the 2020 election. No matter the hardships that might befall farm families, livestock will be exhibited and blue ribbons will be awarded. Regardless of how hot or cold it might be or how much rain might fall, the tractor pulls will be held into the wee hours of the morning. And despite the outrages and scandals that will be relayed from that galaxy far, far away called Washington, for most fairgoers Trump will still be their man. They shall not be moved.

It's all one cosmic joke to them, the stupid liberals out in New York and California who don't get it and never will, that the Obama era was a mistake that will never be allowed to be repeated because of how ungrateful those people were, and the fairgoers knowingly laugh and smile and everything's great again and it's back to The Way Things Should Be™ and impeachment won't matter either.

I mean they'll be pissed off, but what are they gonna do other than Trump winning the county by 45 points like he did last time?  The one thing impeachment means is that Dems have finally stopped chasing rural red state white voters, because they're lost for good now.

They were lost for good before though.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

I do believe the Trump regime has found their Michael Cohen for this particular act of "Who's going to jail for this one?"

President Trump’s attempt to pressure the leader of Ukraine followed a months-long fight inside the administration that sidelined national security officials and empowered political loyalists — including the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani — to exploit the U.S. relationship with Kiev, current and former U.S. officials said.

The sequence, which began early this year, involved the abrupt removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, the circumvention of senior officials on the National Security Council, and the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid administered by the Defense and State departments — all as key officials from these agencies struggled to piece together Giuliani’s activities from news reports.

Several officials described tense meetings on Ukraine among national security officials at the White House leading up to the president’s phone call on July 25, sessions that led some participants to fear that Trump and those close to him appeared prepared to use U.S. leverage with the new leader of Ukraine for Trump’s political gain.

As those worries intensified, some senior officials worked behind the scenes to hold off a Trump meeting or call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky out of concern that Trump would use the conversation to press Kiev for damaging information on Trump’s potential rival in the 2020 race, former vice president Joe Biden, and Biden’s son, Hunter.

“An awful lot of people were trying to keep a meeting from happening for the reason that it would not be focused on Ukraine-U.S. relations,” one former official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

White House officials disputed these accounts, saying that no such concerns were raised in National Security Council meetings and that Trump’s focus was on urging Ukraine to root out corruption. A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

But Trump admitted this week that he had done some of what his own advisers feared, using the call to raise the issue of Biden with Zelensky. And the wave of consternation triggered by that call led someone in the U.S. intelligence community to submit an extraordinary whistleblower complaint, setting in motion a sequence of events that now includes the start of an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.

Though the whistleblower report focuses on the Trump-Zelensky call, officials familiar with its contents said that it includes references to other developments tied to the president, including efforts by Giuliani to insert himself into U.S.-Ukrainian relations.

Today is going to be A Day in DC, I can tell you that.

Rudy, call your lawyer.  There are a whole hell of a lot of people in the Trump regime who are going to crucify you in order to escape this, up to and including Trump himself.
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