Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Last Call For Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

So yeah, yesterday we learned that the White House lied about the Ukraine transcript and intentionally left out the part where Trump incriminated himself, because it's 1974 and Nixon erased the tapes again.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the White House editing process. But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House’s most classified computer system — and whether those moves were meant to conceal the conversation’s most controversial aspects.

The phrases do not fundamentally change lawmakers’ understanding of the call, which was first reported by the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose complaint set off the impeachment inquiry. There are plenty of other examples of Mr. Trump referring to Ukraine-related conspiracy theories and asking for investigations of the Biden family. But Colonel Vindman’s account offered a hint to solving a mystery surrounding the conversation: what Mr. Trump’s aides left out of the transcript in places where ellipses indicated dropped words.

We knew about the quid pro quo before.  We knew about the plot to get Zelensky to announce an investigation of Hunter Biden to help Donald Trump's 2020 chances.  What we didn't have before was the indication of what was missing in the call summary the White House put out saying the call was "perfect" and normal.

The idiots covered it up and here's a NSC Ukraine expert testifying under oath that yes, the White House omitted the incriminating parts on purpose.

The Wall Street Journal is backing up the NY Times story on this as well.  The transcript that the Republicans have been yelling about for a month now is bogus.  Greg Sargent explains what this means:

“This doesn’t change our understanding of the underlying betrayal,” Ned Price, a former senior director at the National Security Council, told me. “But it makes it much harder for Trump to argue that this was about ‘corruption.’ The omitted edits underscore the fact that Trump was singularly focused on the Bidens.”

Note that Trump’s claim that the “transcript” totally exonerates him is central to his demand that Republicans defend him on the substance. Trump wants Republicans to forcefully argue that he did nothing wrong by pointing to that transcript, as he is doing.

But not only do they know that the conduct it revealed was indefensible; and not only is the quid pro quo for military aid closer to getting nailed down; it’s now even harder to point to the “transcript,” because it has been overshadowed by the omissions from it. What’s more, these omissions will remind Republicans that they are flying blind about how bad this could get, making them still more skittish.

It's getting worse for the GOP here and they know it.

It's Nobody's Business But The Turks, Con't

Meanwhile, the US House has overwhelmingly voted to recognize the Armenian genocide by Turkey 100 years ago, a point of historical contention that the US has threatened to do for years against Ankara but didn't have the votes for until Erdogan started wiping out Syrian Kurdish allies this month.  The resolution is part of a new US sanctions bill against Turkey and in response, Turkey has called US Ambassador David Satterfield on the carpet and is warning the US that Ankara's NATO alliance is now definitely in jeopardy.

Turkey has summoned the U.S. ambassador after lawmakers in Washington voted to recognize Ottoman-era mass killings of Armenians as a genocide and called for sanctions against Ankara.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution recognizing the genocide — which Ankara denies — and passed a bill aiming to impose fresh sanctions on Turkey over its military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces.

In response, the Turkish government on Wednesday morning summoned David Satterfield, the U.S. representative in Ankara, the state news agency Anadolu reported.

The Turkish foreign ministry rejected the genocide recognition as "meaningless" and "devoid of any historical or legal basis" in a statement issued late Tuesday, suggesting that lawmakers had approved the resolution to "take vengeance" against Turkey over its incursion into Syria.

"Undoubtedly, this resolution will negatively affect the image of the U.S. before the public opinion of Turkey as it also brings the dignity of the U.S. House of Representatives into disrepute," the statement added.

Considering the bill passed 403 to 16, Turkey's probably right to be concerned.  Where the bill goes in the Senate nobody knows, the Senate hasn't tipped their hand yet, but I would think it would pass.

We'll see.

It's All About Revenge Now, Con't

As I mentioned over the weekend, California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill was run out of town after conservative websites leaked her having an affair with a staffer, including some very explicit pictures.  The goal of this was not just to get Hill, one of the freshmen Dems who devastated the GOP last year, out of office in less than a year, but to rally California's GOP and clear the path for convicted Trump regime felon George Papadopoulos to run.

Convicted former Donald Trump advisor George Papadopoulos has filed paperwork to run for Congress in California as a Republican.

Papadopoulos is running for the state’s 25th congressional district, which will be an open seat following the announcement by Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) that she will not run for re-election after being targeted with revenge porn.

In October of 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to make false statements to the FBI. He served twelve days in a federal prison.

Trump has said his former advisor was just a “coffee boy.”

State Assemblywoman Christy Smith, who is a Democrat running for the seat, blasted Papadopoulos.

“If he pled guilty to lying to the FBI – how do we know he’ll tell us the truth? We deserve someone from our community serving as our voice – not Trump’s wannabe political hack,” Smith said.

Again, Hill was forced out of office by the political equivalent of revenge porn by her estranged husband.

Rep. Katie Hill, D-California, announced her resignation Sunday evening, following the publication of a nude image of Hill by conservative website RedState and an announcement Wednesday that the House Committee on Ethics announced it was opening an investigation into allegations that she engaged in an improper relationship with a House staffer in possible violation of House rules. Hill denied that relationship alleged by the conservative blog, and indicated that the photos -- which may amount to revenge porn, which is illegal in California -- were published without her consent as part of an abusive campaign being waged against Hill by her soon-to-be ex-husband. In her resignation letter, Hill made clear that she will focus on fighting against revenge porn when she leaves office. She has called what happened to her "electronic assault." CNN has reached out to Hill's husband for comment but has not heard back. Hill has given no evidence connecting her husband to the circulation of the photo. 
Much of the conversation surrounding Hill over the past week has focused on allegations made by Hill against her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep. Hill, one of the first members of Congress who identifies as bisexual, has admitted to having had a consensual relationship with a woman who worked on her congressional campaign, which some have characterized as a "throuple" involving the 32-year-old congresswoman, her estranged husband and the 26-year-old campaign staffer. In a letter to supporters Wednesday, Hill acknowledged the relationship, saying that it happened "during the final tumultuous years of (an) abusive marriage" and characterized the relationship, while consensual, as "inappropriate." Heslep has not responded to requests for comment from multiple media outlets. 
No one could argue that Hill's actions with the campaign staffer demonstrated good judgment, were professional, or even ethical. Having an affair with a subordinate, regardless of where that person works, is wrong. But what has been done to her over the past week -- the nonconsensual release of nude images of herself -- is against the law in many places. As of October 2019, 46 states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam, have enacted laws against revenge porn.

This is only the beginning, I suspect.


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