Friday, October 4, 2019

Last Call For Biden Derangement Syndrome

And in less than 24 hours after Donald Trump stands on the south lawn of the White House and demands Ukraine investigate Joe Biden, the former Soviet republic moves to make Trump happy.

Ukraine’s new chief prosecutor said Friday his office will conduct an “audit” of an investigation into Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that had recruited Hunter Biden for its board.

A criminal probe of the company was closed in 2016, and President Trump has alleged it was because of pressure by Hunter Biden’s father, then-Vice President Joe Biden. Trump has insisted that Ukraine open a new investigation.

Ukrainian officials said previously that the probe was focused on the years 2010 to 2012, before the younger Biden joined the board. They also have said that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part.

Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka reiterated at a news conference Friday that he knows of no evidence of criminal activity by Biden.

He said that he is aware of at least 15 investigations that may have touched on Burisma, its owner Nikolai Zlochevsky, an associate named Serhiy Zerchenko, and Biden, and that all will be reviewed. He said no foreign or Ukrainian official has been in touch with him to request this audit.

The audit does not mark a reopening of the investigation, but it could buy Ukraine some time in dealing with the White House, analysts said.

But it should get Trump off their backs.  Meanwhile, we've absolutely discovered the quid pro quo in a series of devastating text messages involving US special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who has come forward with the goods.

House investigators released numerous text messages late Thursday night illustrating how senior State Department officials coordinated with the Ukrainian president’s top aide and President Trump’s personal lawyer to leverage a potential summit between the heads of state on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate the 2016 U.S. election and an energy company that employed the son of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

The texts, which former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker provided investigators during a nearly 10-hour deposition Thursday, reveal that officials felt Trump would not agree to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless Zelensky promised to launch the investigations — and did so publicly
Although the texts do not mention Biden by name, congressional Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry are pointing to them as clear evidence that Trump conditioned normal bilateral relations with Ukraine on that country first agreeing “to launch politically motivated investigations,” top Democrats said in statement Thursday night.

“heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington,” Volker texted Zelensky’s aide, Andrey Yermak, on July 25, hours before Trump and the Ukrainian president spoke via phone. The rough transcript of that conversation was released by the White House last week.

Yet two weeks after that call, the president still had not agreed to meet with Zelensky — and administration officials sought to convince the Ukrainians that Trump would need a public pledge before agreeing to the meeting, according to the text messages.

I think potus really wants the deliverable,” U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland texted to Volker on Aug. 9, noting that Zelensky might give a news conference announcing his intent to investigate. “To avoid misunderstandings, might be helpful to ask Andrey for a draft statement (embargoed) so that we can see exactly what they propose to cover.”
By the next day, the Ukrainians had agreed to announce their plans to carry out Trump’s investigations alongside the date for a meeting between the two heads of state, the messages indicate.

“Once we have a date, will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of US-UKRAINE relationship, including among other things Burisma and election meddling in investigations,” Yermak texted Volker on Aug. 10. Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, sat on the board of Burisma for five years.

But Trump never committed to a meeting. And as the United States resisted giving Zelensky an audience with Trump, administration officials’ discussions suggest the White House was issuing an escalating series of demands.

Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” U.S. Charges D’affaires in Ukraine William B. “Bill” Taylor texted to Sondland on Sept. 1, after Trump skipped a trip to Poland where he was meant to visit with Zelensky. Sondland swiftly moved the conversation from text messages to a phone call.

And that's exactly what happened.  The deal to push Ukrainian President Zelensky for dirt on Biden in exchange for a face-to-face meeting with Trump in Washington was in the works before the July 25th call and the texts make that painfully clear.

The story isn't about Biden.

It's about Trump selling out the country to win an election.

Mitch McConnell Has To Go

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be telling reporters that there will be Senate trial if Trump is impeached, but in ads running here to Kentuckians online, he's telling everyone that'll never happen.

In a new campaign video on Facebook, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell pitches himself as the man who can end the House's impeachment inquiry, a sign of how the chief Republican in the chamber might handle an impeachment trial should the House pass articles charging President Donald Trump with crimes. 
"Nancy Pelosi is in the clutches of a left-wing mob," McConnell says directly to a camera. "They've finally convinced her to impeach the President. All of you know your Constitution. The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority, with me as majority leader." 
"But I need your help," he adds. "Please contribute before the deadline." 
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her support for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, asserting that Trump used his office for personal political gain in July when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter. 
On September 25, a day after Pelosi's announcement, McConnell said Senate Republicans "support the established proper procedures" for considering a whistleblower's complaint at the center of the House's investigation. McConnell told Politico that the Democrats had "already overplayed their hand" and there was "no quid pro quo" between Trump and Zelensky, according to a White House's summary of the call. Democrats countered that Trump had held up nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine not long before asking the Ukrainian leader to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on the probe into the Bidens, even though he did not explicitly mention the aid on the call. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. 
That same day, the McConnell campaign account unveiled Facebook ads on the topic that consumed Washington, according to Facebook's ad library. "Pelosi is obsessed with impeaching President Trump," said one ad. "And your conservative Senate Majority is the ONLY THING standing in her way." A couple days later, McConnell's video was attached to the ads

And yes, those ads are running here in Kentucky.  Kinda awful really.

Also, there's no way McConnell will let a true Senate trial proceed.  You can take that to the bank.

Time for us to elect Amy McGrath.

Beijing In The Membrane

With Donald Trump casually mentioning on the White House south lawn yesterday that China should investigate Joe Biden because hey, trade talks are coming up guys, the crew at CNN decided to follow up on Trump's most recent call with President Xi Jinping and wouldn't you know it, of course he brought up Biden, the quid pro quo this time being Trump remaining silent on Hong Kong protests.

When President Donald Trump suggested — without prompting — that China should investigate Joe Biden and his son, he thrust another political grudge into what was already the world's most complicated and consequential relationship. 
The move startled Chinese officials, who say they have little interest in becoming embroiled in a US political controversy. And it amounted to the latest extraordinary effort by Trump to openly request political assistance from foreign governments. 
Thursday's comments weren't the first time Trump has injected Biden into his relationship with China, though he said Thursday he has never pushed Xi to investigate the former vice president. Nor is it the first time he has sought to trade favors with Xi, who this week celebrated the 70th birthday of his ruling communist party with a note of congratulations from Trump. 
During a phone call with Xi on June 18, Trump raised Biden's political prospects as well as those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who by then had started rising in the polls, according to two people familiar with the discussion. In that call, Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed. 
The White House record of that call was later stored in the highly secured electronic system used to house a now-infamous phone call with Ukraine's President and which helped spark a whistleblower complaint that's led Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry into Trump. 
On Thursday, Trump told reporters at the White House he'd consider asking his counterpart in Beijing to investigate the Bidens, adding to a growing list of foreign leaders he's tried to enlist in his attempts to bring down a potential Democratic challenger. 
"It's certainly something we can start thinking about," Trump said when questioned whether he would seek the help of Xi in investigating Biden. "Because I'm sure that President Xi does not like being under that kind of scrutiny."

The impeachable offenses keep adding up, Trump admits more seemingly daily at this point.

Dems can impeach, but there's no guarantee it will matter.


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