Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Last Call For Insane In The Membrane, Con't

Indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is fully cooperating with the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Trump now that a judge has cleared him to hand over documents, and those documents are a doozy.

The new documents come to light as the Senate prepares to open Mr. Trump's impeachment trial, and could bolster Democrats' arguments for admit new evidence and hearing from additional witnesses.

The three committees that led the initial phases of the probe released select material from what they called a "voluminous record of data" gleaned primarily from Parnas' cell phones.

The excerpts show Parnas acting as a conduit between Giuliani and current and former Ukrainian officials, including several close aides of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. One handwritten note reads: "get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated" — a reference to the ongoing efforts to get Ukraine to announce probes to benefit Mr. Trump politically.

And yes, the Parnas documents show that Giuliani was acting on orders of Donald Trump.

Committee investigators found an image of a letter from Giuliani to Zelensky dated May 10, 2019, after Zelensky won election but before he was inaugurated. On the day before, The New York Times reported Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to try to dig up dirt against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

In the letter, Giuliani introduced himself as Mr. Trump's personal attorney.

"I am private counsel to President Donald J. Trump. Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as President of the United States," Giuliani wrote. "This is quite common under American law because the duties and privileges of a President and a private citizen are not the same. Separate representation is usual process."

Giuliani requested a meeting with Zelensky on May 13 or 14 and said he had Mr. Trump's "knowledge and consent" to meet. He said he "would be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing, a distinguished American attorney who is very familiar with this matter."

Giuliani and Parnas, in addition to working with Victoria Toensing and her husband, both GOP political operatives, were also working with a man named Robert Hyde.  Hyde is a Connecticut Republican currently running a long shot campaign in CT-5 who apparently has a real problem keeping his mouth shut.

Text messages between Hyde and Parnas were released by the committee and it gets much, much worse, as they were directly monitoring former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich.

The messages released by the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee show Hyde providing Parnas was regular updates on Yovanovitch’s location.

“They are moving her tomorrow,” he writes at one point on March 25.

Hyde, of Simsbury, fires off three more messages to Parnas in quick succession later that evening.

“She’s next to the embassy.”

“Not in the embassy.”

“Private security. Been there since Thursday.”

It wasn’t clear from the messages how Hyde knew about Yovanovitch’s movements.

“They know she’s a political puppet,” he wrote. “They will let me know when she’s one the move. And they’ll let me know when she’s on the move.”

Hyde wrote that his associates “are willing to help if we/you would like a price. Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money... what I was told.”

In a subsequent message to Parnas the next day he wrote:
If you want her out they need to make contact with security forces.”

The text messages, strongly suggesting that Parnas had placed a tail on former Ambassador Yovanovich, also mentions a "price" and "if you want her out".

Doesn't take a genius.

And yeah, we need to hear from Hyde, Parnas, and Giuliani under oath.  Now.

The Vox guys explain more.

Impeachment Reached, Con't

The White House is preparing for some Republican senators to join Democrats in voting to call witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial, which could get underway in the coming days.

Senior White House officials tell CBS News they increasingly believe that at least four Republicans, and likely more, will vote to call witnesses. In addition to Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado, the White House also views Rand Paul of Kentucky as a "wild card" and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as an "institutionalist" who might vote to call witnesses, as one official put it.

Last week, Collins said she was working with a "fairly small group" of GOP senators to allow new testimony, adding that her colleagues "should be completely open to calling witnesses." Romney has expressed an interest in hearing from former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he would testify under subpoena. Murkowski said last week that the Senate should proceed as it did during the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.

By the end of this week, this will become "McConnell tamps down GOP calls for impeachment witnesses" and we'll all have a good uncomfortably long awkward laugh.  This is being done on purpose to sandbag Collins and to justify Trump attacking her to keep her in line.

Look, every time the country has turned to even a few GOP senators to rein in Trump, they have folded and Mitch McConnell has rounded them up, or Donald Trump has openly attacked them in tweets, or both.

Every time, they fold.

This time will be no different.

You are crazy to think otherwise.

Climate Of Fear, EU Edition

The giveaway that the fascist, racist right in America will start adopting climate change as the reason for autocracy as well as ending immigration, the twin battle cries to "save our way of life", is coming from Europe's scarier corners, specifically people like Austria's leader, Sebastian Kurz.

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it is the government's duty to "protect young girls" from the harmful side-effects of immigration, defending his pledge to ban headscarves in schools for girls under the age of 14.

In an interview with the Financial Times, published Monday, Kurz also said controlling illegal immigration is at least as pivotal as tackling climate change, adding that both issues will be on top of his government's agenda.

“It is important to protect our environment but it is also important to decide who will live in our country," he said, adding that better control of immigration is an integral part of protecting cultural identity. He also announced more drastic measures to guarantee national security, such as preventive detention of immigrants suspected of religious extremism.

Kurz leads a governing coalition with the Greens after striking a deal earlier this month. While immigration and cultural identity traditionally are key concerns of Kurz's conservative People's Party (ÖVP), the Greens have long demanded a more ambitious strategy to protect the environment.

Kurz said Austria will strive to attain carbon neutrality by 2040.

Reelected in 2019 after his previous coalition government with the right-wing FPÖ collapsed over the so-called Ibiza scandal, Kurz has long championed tougher immigration rules on the national and European level, earning him both support and criticism.

I know this smacks of "well at least they made the trains run on time" reductionist claptrap, but climate change is going to be so awful over the next decade that fascists are simply going to use it to their advantage as we become a world of isolated, nationalist islands fighting over limited resources.

We won't survive.


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