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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.


Donald J. Trump Impeachment Inquiry Page 8


The Trump-Ukraine Affair shows Trump is more than willing to accept help from a foreign government, which is against the law. It also shows trump is willing do anything he has to get that help and anything he has to prevent the truth from coming out. It also shows he may have conspired with the Russians to help him win the 2016 election. Donald J. Trump used Russian talking points during his 2016-election campaign and now Trump is using Russian talking points on election interference to dismiss Russian election interference while advancing the Russian agenda around the world. Last time the lie was about adaptions this time it the lie is about corruption. Donald J. Trump is abusing the power of the presidency. Donald J. Trump has corrupted the white house, the DOJ, the state department and other government departments and agencies to protect and defend Donald J. Trump. Instead of putting America and the constitution first, they are putting Donald J. Trump first. Any government employee who puts Donald J. Trump before America and the constitution is not patriot. The oaths they have taking are to America and the constitution not to any individual. Any government employee who puts Donald J. Trump above America and the constitution is neither protecting nor defending America and the constitution. Moreover, they have broken the oath they have sworn to America and the constitution. Republicans continue to protect Trump and subvert justice while the Democrats have started an impeachment inquiry into the actions of Donald J. Trump. We know from the Mueller Investigation that Donald J. Trump committed obstruction of justice at least 10 times. Donald J. Trump is abusing the power of the presidency to make money and to prevent access to information that could show his action arise to level of impeachment. The GOP, the party of obstruction is helping protect Trump by obstructing justice to prevent the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump should be impeached before he does any more damage to our country. Here you can track the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.


A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the constitution. This is the speech given by Representative Barbara Jordan (Democrat-Texas) reminding her colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee of the Constitutional basis for impeachment. The Committee met in Washington, D.C. more...

The phone call and the whistleblower complaint are just the beginning of the evidence.
By William Saletan
Did President Donald Trump commit an impeachable offense by using his office to solicit Ukraine’s help in the 2020 U.S. election? Republicans say the evidence is insufficient. They argue that Trump, based on legitimate concerns about corruption, had every right to do what he did in a July 25 phone call: ask Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. And although Trump made this pitch while withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, Republicans point out that Trump never told Zelensky he was blocking the money. In short, they say, there was no quid pro quo. This defense is weak, in part because the two central pieces of evidence against Trump are damning. One is an official, reconstructed transcript of the phone call. The other is a whistleblower complaint, written by someone in the U.S. intelligence community, that documents efforts by Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to enlist Ukraine’s help in investigating Trump’s domestic enemies. But there’s a lot more to the story. The full sequence of events—Trump’s gripes, Giuliani’s machinations, and the suspension of the aid—shows that the president is lying and that his motives were corrupt. Here are the key episodes. 1. The Lutsenko retractions. Trump claims that he pressed Ukraine for the investigations because he sincerely believed—and believes today—that Ukraine had information implicating Biden and other U.S. Democrats in conspiracies. But Trump escalated these allegations even as Yuri Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor on whose statements the president relied, was admitting that they were false. In April, Lutsenko, who is seen as corrupt by many Ukrainians, retracted his claim that the Obama administration had ordered him not to investigate a list of possible suspects. Despite this, a week later, Trump hyped Lutsenko’s work as “big stuff” that could expose a Democratic plot. In May, Lutsenko retracted additional allegations: that he had evidence of misconduct by Biden or his son and that the family was under investigation. Again, a few days later, Trump repeated the allegations. He wanted dirt on Biden, regardless of whether it was true. more...

by Jerry Dunleavy
An intelligence community whistleblower complaint centered upon a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released on Thursday, setting off a political firestorm in Washington, D.C., as Democrats pursue impeachment. The nine-page complaint, released the day after the transcript of the call was made public, shows Trump asked for Ukraine's help in investigating a conspiracy theory related to the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to look into whether there was any Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election, and suggested that the Ukrainians investigate allegations of corruption related to 2020 Democrat Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The unnamed whistleblower provided the complaint in August to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who determined that the complaint was of an “urgent concern” and “appeared credible,” although acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire consulted with the Justice Department and determined the complaint fell outside the statutory requirements which would compel him to hand it over to Congress. Hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that had been delayed by the Trump administration were released to Ukraine earlier in September. The cast of characters in the Trump-Giuliani-Ukraine saga laid out in the whistleblower complaint is extensive, with more than 20 individuals named. The Whistleblower and Unnamed U.S. Officials The identity of the intelligence community whistleblower is still secret, although the New York Times reported Thursday that they are a “CIA officer detailed to the White House at one point.” Trump has referred to them as a "so-called" whistleblower and likened them to a “spy," but Maguire testified that the whistleblower “acted in good faith” and “followed the law.” The whistleblower admits they were “not a direct witness to most of the events described,” but cited “U.S. officials” and “White House officials” with direct knowledge of the events, including the Trump-Zelensky phone call. The actions of Giuliani and others, and some of what the complaint describes has since been corroborated, though some is disputed. more...

By Jon Levine
Some Republicans are hoping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will again play the role of Grim Reaper — and kill any vote or even debate on whether to oust President Trump, should the House impeach the president. An impeachment vote from the House likely would result in a trial in the Senate, but there’s no legal requirement for that to happen. McConnell — who famously vowed in April to be a “Grim Reaper” for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All — has the power to just say no. As the House moves toward making impeachment official, all eyes will be on the Kentucky senator, who has previously said he wouldn’t stand in the way of a trial in the Senate. “You’re going to start hearing that argument and much more loudly, because we’re not too far away from the moment when voters start voting,” veteran Republican operative Michael Steele told Politico. “You’ve got to make the case why it matters and why it rises to the level of removing an elected president of the United States from the White House.” And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — who was instrumental in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 — told Politico in an email: “Up to the Senate. No way to force them to act.” If McConnell did refuse to call a Senate trial, it would echo his unprecedented move to refuse a vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016. While McConnell has stated his view that Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, he has previously told NPR that “if the House were to act, the Senate immediately goes into a trial.” For his part, Trump has maintained his innocence and ripped those pushing for his impeachment. more...

By Susan Davis, Claudia Grisales
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, now the lead lawmaker in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, says his panel will be working through the scheduled upcoming two-week congressional recess. "I can tell you it's going to be a very busy couple of weeks ahead," Schiff told reporters. The chairman said the committee is scheduling hearings and witness interviews, as well as working on document requests and possible subpoenas. The Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight committees issued a joint subpoena on Friday for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to compel documents that the State Department has so far declined to turn over to Congress. The committees want State Department records of the president's communications with Ukraine that are now the central focus of an impeachment investigation. "Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry," the chairmen of the three committees warned Pompeo in a letter. Pompeo is facing an Oct. 4 deadline. The committee says it will also take depositions over the course of the next two weeks from five State Department officials who have some knowledge of the events that transpired. They are Trump's former ambassador to Ukraine Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch, special envoy Kurt Volker, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, and Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland. Volker resigned his position as special envoy Friday. more...

By Manu Raju and Alex Rogers, CNN
(CNN) - House Democrats are developing a new plan to deal with any White House stonewalling to their upcoming demands for records and testimony: They will use it as evidence for an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, according to sources involved in the discussions.
Democrats are hoping that the tactic will force White House officials to make a choice: They could provide records to bolster the Democratic investigation, or they can resist the House subpoenas and add to the Democrats' case that Trump has sought to obstruct Congress. On Friday, three Democratic chairmen signaled their plans in the first round of subpoenas issued since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry earlier this week. "Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry," the chairmen wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the impeachment inquiry for now, is focused on allegations that Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July to initiate an investigation that he thought could benefit his reelection. The panel's chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, and other Democrats are signaling they won't put up with efforts to drag out the probe, as the Trump administration has done during its other battles with Congress this year. If the Trump administration does not comply with their subpoenas and turn over records, House Democrats are considering citing that as part of an article of impeachment on defying congressional subpoenas -- similar to an article against then-President Richard Nixon, Democratic sources say. Schiff is preparing for hearings, subpoenas and depositions as soon as next week as Democrats try to finish the probe this fall. When asked how he would handle any White House stonewalling, Schiff told CNN: "It'll just strengthen the case on obstruction." If the White House blocks all their requests, it may only speed up consideration of articles of impeachment, which Democrats are hoping to advance in the House as soon as this fall. "If everything we've seen in the last few days turns out to be the case, and it seems that the President is pretty much admitting it, there is overwhelming evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors that we can act on now," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland. "And so we don't necessarily need to wait on all of the litigation." The discussions amount to a shift in strategy from how Democrats handled the fights between the Trump administration and the House Judiciary Committee, which has been investigating Trump's alleged efforts to obstruct former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. For months, the White House stymied congressional investigations with broad claims of executive privilege and absolute immunity. It blocked numerous requests for records and witness interviews, namely with former White House counsel Don McGahn, prompting the House to sue the Trump administration. Also In April, Trump summed up the strategy with the vow, "We're fighting all the subpoenas." more...

By Ben Mathis-Lilley
Right now, House Democrats have a lot of things they need to figure out about how to carry out impeachment proceedings. Should upcoming hearings, and the eventual articles of impeachment the hearings produce, cover other subjects (tax returns, federal spending at Trump properties, etc.) besides Donald Trump’s Rudy Giuliani–abetted efforts to browbeat/extort Ukraine’s president into investigating Joe Biden? How much more time should be taken investigating the Ukraine case itself given that Trump essentially already handed over a confession when he released the White House’s notes on his call with Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday? In a Thursday piece for GQ, former Democratic Senate aide Adam Jentleson—he worked for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and frequently criticizes current caucus leaders for passivity—makes a case not to drop the other investigations, but to return to them later after a Ukraine-specific blitz that will force Republicans to talk about the quite incriminating facts of this particular case, rather than the as-yet-hazier issues involved in other inquiries. As to the scope of the Ukraine investigation, he writes, “the length of the hearings … should be determined by a simple test: Are we driving the news? Do we have control of the narrative? If so, keep going. If not, wrap it up and vote.” Luckily for the Democrats, two key figures in the case have already been telling them exactly which potential avenues of investigation should be most narratively fruitful: Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Both the president and his personal lawyer have been behaving for months in a way that could not have been more effective in identifying co-conspirators and disgruntled potential witnesses—and in generally exposing the existence and purposes of their scheme—if they’d done it on purpose. • First, in April, Giuliani said on Fox News that he wanted Attorney General William Barr to look into Biden’s history with Ukraine and into something Ukraine-related that is connected to the 2016 Democratic National Committee email hack in a way that is only comprehensible to truly devoted right-wing conspiracy theorists. Then, in May, he out and told the New York Times that he was going to Ukraine to try to hassle the government there into investigating those two subjects. more...

The committee chairmen also sent a separate letter to Pompeo to schedule the depositions of five State Department officials over the next two weeks.
By Dartunorro Clark
Three top Democratic House chairmen on Friday subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to turn over documents related to the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The three chairmen — Reps. Eliot Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee; and Elijah Cummings of the Oversight Committee — wrote a letter demanding that Pompeo turn over documents related to Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by Oct. 4. "Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry," they wrote. In the Trump-Zelenskiy call, which took place days after Trump withheld congressionally approved aid to Ukraine, Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. "The Committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression," the chairmen wrote. A whistleblower's complaint about the call was released Thursday and revealed that White House officials were so concerned about what the president had said that they intervened to "lock down" the official transcript of the conversation. A description of the July call released on Wednesday showed Trump asking Zelenskiy to look into why Ukraine's former top prosecutor ended an investigation into Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company there. Trump noted on the call that the then-vice president "went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it." Engel, Schiff and Cummings had already requested documents related to the call, pressuring the president to release information on his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and his administration's apparent efforts to withhold approved aid to the country. more...

By Richard L. Hasen
House Democrats have a lot of choices to make about impeachment, from whether to focus only on the recent Ukraine controversy or loop in other issues such as obstruction of justice and potential violations of the emoluments clauses. Even if they focus only on the Ukraine allegations, they have to decide how extensive the hearings should be, and whether to subpoena witnesses whose testimony could be blocked by the Trump administration and then subject to protracted litigation. Given the unique nature of the Ukraine allegations—which go directly to interference with the 2020 election itself—the path toward an impeachment vote is clear: House Democrats should move to wrap up the hearings and investigations and bring the full matter to a vote before the end of the year, and before voting begins in 2020 presidential primaries. According to the New York Times, this is just the path Democrats are currently planning on taking. The House will likely have only one shot at voting to impeach the president, at least during this term. It is hard to imagine a second impeachment vote in the throes of the 2020 election season, when voters will soon get to decide whether President Donald Trump deserves a second term. And while there is much in the Mueller report and other conduct that well could merit an impeachment vote, the political momentum on these issues never materialized. If Democrats could not get their act together to push these issues in the first half of 2019, doing so in the first half of 2020 seems a pipe dream. Also, the roadblocks in these cases still exist. The House Judiciary Committee is still trying to enforce its subpoenas through plodding court proceedings that will not likely yield new information in time for a quick turnaround impeachment on Ukraine. The only way to move up the pace on that front would be to try to escalate to inherent contempt charges, which could also be bogged down in the courts and might not only distract from Ukraine but allow Republicans to portray themselves as victims of an overzealous speaker of the House bringing back powers that haven’t been used in nearly a century. Further, the public has already been whipsawed by this administration’s constant scandals, and focusing on old ones that didn’t resonate as well with the public could be portrayed as efforts to “relitigate” issues that had already been put to bed. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - In the wake of Wednesday's release of a rough transcript of a July conversation between the presidents of the United States and Ukraine that showed Donald Trump exerting pressure on Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate debunked corruption allegations involving Joe Biden, Republicans have rallied around the President with a very strange -- and weak -- defense. That defense goes like this: Donald Trump never said to Zelensky, "I won't do X unless you give me Y." He never said the phrase "quid pro quo." Therefore, nothing to see here! "Wow. Impeachment over this?," tweeted South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham after reading the Ukraine call transcript. "What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger." Asked by the Boston Globe's Jess Bidgood what he would consider a quid pro quo from Trump to Zelensky, Graham replied: "'Uh, hey pal, you know, you need to like, go after the Bidens or I ain't gonna give you any money,' [He'd] be really, like, thuggish about it." Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's lawyers, made a very similar argument in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night. "I think it's important to understand what we don't have, and what we don't have is a quid pro quo,'" said Sekulow. "In other words, 'I will do this, you do this.' That is absent." So, that's the bar? Really? Take the logic of Graham and Sekulow out of this context and put it in an entirely different one. If someone comes up to you on the street, points a gun at you and says, "Give me all your money!" then, under Graham's conceit, you aren't being robbed. In order for it to be an actual robbery, the man pointing the gun has to say: "Give me all your money. This is a robbery." Makes zero sense, right? You know what's happening even if the guy doesn't declare that he is using the threat of possible violence to separate you from your money. Why? Because, well, you just know. The human brain is able to look at a series of related inputs -- gun, demand for money, agitation -- and connect the dots: I am being robbed. more...

Ukraine's former Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has categorically rejected claims by Donald Trump concerning Mr Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden. Mr Trump has alleged, without evidence, that Mr Biden pressed for the sacking of a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect a business that employed his son. Mr Klimkin told the BBC that the prosecutor was sacked for corruption. A number of Western bodies, including the EU, had pushed for the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to be sacked, he said. Mr Trump faces impeachment proceedings for using his position as president to push the Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky, to investigate Mr Biden, who was at the time leading polls to be his Democratic opponent in the 2020 election. Meanwhile, it was revealed by US media that the whistleblower whose complaint led to the impeachment inquiry was a CIA officer who once worked at the White House. And 300 former US national security officials signed a letter supporting the impeachment. They described Mr Trump's actions as a "national security concern", and said he appeared to have committed "an unconscionable abuse of power". more...

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Attorney General William Barr and the President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani are likely to be called to testify in the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and Ukraine, according to a House Democrat who sits on the committee.
Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN's Jim Sciutto on Friday that he has "several questions" for Giuliani including whether the President's personal lawyer has a security clearance. "Rudy may be the best source of information, because he doesn't know what he shouldn't say," Quigley said, adding that he thinks Barr is "part of that list" of officials the committee will call to testify. Asked if the committee would enforce subpoenas or hold the two men in contempt should the White House attempt to block their testimony, Quigley said, "I think the committee will take whatever actions are necessary." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who launched the formal inquiry this week, told CNN on Friday that the intelligence committee will decide who to call as witnesses, also adding that she believes Barr "has gone rogue." Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, another committee member, told reporters on Capitol Hill Friday that it "makes sense" for the committee to invite Barr or Giuliani to testify since "both are obviously central figures." "I'm going to probably defer to the chairman on this on who he thinks should come before the committee," he added. According to a White House-released transcript, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July phone call to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, though there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. Trump asked Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Barr, even suggesting four times during the call that Barr will call Zelensky. The call was also part of a whistleblower complaint submitted to the Intelligence Community Inspector General that was publicly released Thursday in which the whistleblower alleged that Trump abused his official powers "to solicit interference" from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and the White House took steps to cover it up. more...

The whistleblower complaint released Thursday charges that White House officials attempted to limit access to potentially damaging details about President Trump's call with Ukraine's president by using a classified system reserved for highly sensitive information. If this allegation is true, former National Security Council officials say, it would represent a highly unusual misuse of procedures that were created to keep America's most important intelligence secrets safe. According to the complaint, senior White House officials intervened to "lock down" records of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. To do this, the whistleblower said, the rough transcript was loaded into an electronic system meant for classified information "of an especially sensitive nature." "I have never seen it done in my time in the White House, and I doubt that other presidents have engaged in this, although you never know what happened in the Nixon White House," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told NPR's Here & Now on Thursday. Panetta also previously served as the director of the CIA and White House chief of staff, all in Democratic administrations. A former Trump NSC official confirmed to NPR that the Trump White House does use such a system. That official, who spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity, said about four to six people in the White House likely had access to the system. Access is so tightly controlled that not even the president's national security adviser can input or retrieve information from it — though high-ranking officials could direct information there. Information stored in the system is shared in person and not over email or secure phone lines. "The only reason to do that is to possibly obstruct justice," Panetta said. "When these kinds of tapes are isolated this way, there was a recognition that they contained possible evidence of wrongdoing." "I had never heard of anything like that," said Ned Price, who was a senior director for strategic communications at the NSC during the Obama administration. Price said then-President Obama's phone calls with world leaders were classified, but they weren't stored on the top-secret system. Another former NSC official, Michael Green, also described the alleged storage of the rough transcript on this separate system as "deeply disturbing." Green served as director for Asia at the NSC between 2001 and 2005, when George W. Bush was president. more...

By Ledyard King, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – It started with the White House going after a political opponent and ended up with a disgraced president being forced from office. It might be too early to invoke the specter of the Watergate scandal that cost President Richard Nixon his job 45 years ago. But President Donald Trump's pressure on Ukraine to investigate 2020 presidential challenger Joe Biden is increasingly drawing comparisons to one of America's darkest chapters. Trump's efforts to lean on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is reminiscent of the way Nixon created a team of secret investigators, known as "the plumbers," to find incriminating or embarrassing evidence about his enemies, said Ken Hughes, a leading Watergate authority and research specialist at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. "The difference between Nixon and Trump is that, for Nixon, the plumbers' operation was run and staffed by Americans, but Trump is outsourcing the dirt-digging operation overseas," Hughes said. "So it's actually shockingly similar." The comparisons are flowing more frequently since Wednesday's release of a summary detailing Trump's July 25 call to Zelensky and Thursday's release of a whistleblower complaint that the administration had taken steps to cover up details of the phone conversation. On the call, Trump reminded Zelensky that "we do a lot for Ukraine" before asking the Eastern European leader for "a favor." Later in the call, Trump asks that Zelensky talk with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been investigating the activities of Biden and his son, Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukraine energy company. The revelations prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to launch an impeachment inquiry Tuesday and accuse Trump of betraying his oath of office and endangering national security. Trump has emphatically denied that he applied any pressure on Ukraine. And he lashed out angrily Thursday at the unnamed officials who provided the whistleblower with details of his phone call, calling the source of the leak “almost a spy” and suggesting the culprit had committed treason. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right?” Trump said, according to published reports. “We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” more...

Over 90% of the 235 Democrats in the House of Representatives now either support impeachment proceedings or have signaled they are open to supporting impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The number rose after allegations surfaced in September that President Trump may have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. In late July, the House Judiciary Committee said in a court filing that it was actively considering articles of impeachment and was seeking access to material redacted from the special counsel's report in order to decide whether to move forward with the process. Although initially, just a handful of Democrats had called for Mr. Trump's impeachment, a growing number of lawmakers began to consider opening an impeachment inquiry against the president in light of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. more...

By Emily Tillett
More than 300 former national security officials — from the Bush administration to the Obama White House — have urged Congress to hold President Trump accountable for his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a conversation in which he pressured the foreign leader to investigate a political opponent. They wrote in a letter published by the group National Security Action on Friday that they consider the president's actions during that call to be a "profound national security concern." "President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes. That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power. It also would represent an effort to subordinate America's national interests -- and those of our closest allies and partners -- to the president's personal political interest," the bipartisan group wrote. The group suggested that any effort to thwart U.S. interests on the global stage based on personal gain could make the country "more vulnerable to threats, and sends a message to leaders around the world that America's foreign policy can be dangerously corrupted by catering to a single individual." They added, "If we fail to speak up — and act — now our foreign policy and national security will officially be on offer to those who can most effectively fulfill the President's personal prerogatives." more...

CNN Newsroom - Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on the whistleblower complaint. Source: CNN more...

While many in the Trump White House are battle-tested from the Mueller investigation, this is starting to feel different, aides and advisers said.
By Shannon Pettypiece, Kristen Welker, Hallie Jackson and Carol E. Lee
WASHINGTON — White House officials were scrambling Thursday to figure out how to counter the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, with one source familiar with the situation describing a sense of “total panic” over the past week at the lack of a plan to address the new reality. There appears to be rising “anxiety, unease, and concern” — as one person close to the White House described the mood in the West Wing — that the whistleblower’s allegations could seriously wound the president and some of those around him. “There’s not a lot of confidence that there’s no there there,” this person said. White House officials remained unsure of how to proceed, not only because there is no apparent plan to deal with the situation, but because the allegations are so serious that the usual methods the president has used to successfully escape past controversies may not apply: “This doesn’t look like something that’s going to be overtaken by the next news cycle,” the person said. Another person familiar with the discussions described the mood inside the White House as “shell-shocked,” with increasing wariness that, as this impeachment inquiry drags out, the likelihood increases that the president could respond erratically and become “unmanageable.” That concern was echoed by another source, who said that some around the president anticipate he will engage in more “impulsive” behavior, with pressure expected to build on him daily during the impeachment inquiry. That’s sparking worries that Trump could display increasingly unpredictable behavior and lash out in unexpected ways — both a presidential and a political concern in an election year. With his presidency facing what may be its biggest threat yet, Trump has cycled from offense to defense, reviving a strategy that he viewed as effective during Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He tried to downplay his request for the Ukrainian president to help investigate his political rivals, to divert attention to actions by Democrats and presidential contender Joe Biden, and to discredit the whistleblower as having partisan motives. more...

By Maggie Haberman
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday morning told a crowd of staff from the United States Mission to the United Nations that he wants to know who provided information to a whistle-blower about his phone call with the president of Ukraine, saying that whoever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days,” spies were dealt with differently. The remark stunned people in the audience, according to a person briefed on what took place, who had notes of what the president said. Mr. Trump made the statement several minutes into his remarks before the group of about 50 people at the event intended to honor the United States Mission. At the outset, he condemned the former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s role in Ukraine at a time when his son Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Mr. Trump repeatedly referred to the whistle-blower and condemned the news media reporting on the complaint as “crooked.” He then said the whistle-blower never heard the call in question. “I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy,” Mr. Trump said. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” more...

By Suzanne E. Durrell and David W. S. Lieberman, Opinion contributors
Evidence is evidence, no matter who brings it to light. Politicians would be well advised to keep that in mind. With the news that the White House whistleblower is willing to speak to Congress, it appears inevitable that his or her identity will become public. Some have argued that the whistleblower should publicly make the case against the president. We and our partners are former government prosecutors who now represent whistleblowers alleging fraud against the government. Together, we have represented scores of whistleblowers raising allegations of impropriety under federal and state law. When necessary we take these cases to trial. That experience has taught us that while the whistleblower’s identity may eventually become public, voluntarily disclosing it, or worse, expecting the whistleblower to “prove” these allegations, would be a strategic error. There are many reasons one would choose to speak out: Our clients speak out against employers, friends and colleagues to report violations of the law. Every whistleblower has his or her own reasons, and the decision to come forward invariably requires great courage. They are heroes — whether or not they carry baggage. more...

BBC News - Joseph Maguire, acting Director of National Security, says in opening statement: "The American public expects us to keep them safe. The intelligence community cannot do that without this committee's support. "Before we turn to the matter at hand, there are a few things I would like to say. I am not partisan and I am not political. I believe in a life of service and I am honoured to be a public servant." He says he has served in uniform under eight presidents and taken his oath 11 times. Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry against the Republican president on Tuesday, accusing Mr Trump of seeking foreign help in the hope of smearing Mr Biden and of using military aid to Ukraine as a potential bargaining tool. The report's release comes as US lawmakers are beginning to question President Trump's top intelligence official over the issue. Acting national intelligence director Joseph Maguire had initially refused to share the complaint with Congress. President Trump has dismissed the impeachment proceedings as a "hoax" and a "witch-hunt". more...

By Dan Mangan
Damning allegations against President Donald Trump and White House officials were exposed Thursday with the release by Congress of a complaint by a whistleblower who is a member of the U.S. intelligence community. Among them is the whistleblower’s belief that Trump’s actions were so obviously egregious that White House officials promptly launched a cover-up to minimize the chance that Trump’s efforts to have a foreign power dig up dirt on a leading Democratic presidential contender would become public. The complaint says that “more than half a dozen U.S. officials” provided information detailed in the report over a four-month period. Here are the biggest bombshell claims in the complaint: Trump used the power of the presidency to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 election by launching an investigation of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who had served on the board of a Ukraine company. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was a “central figure” in that effort, who reached out to and met with key Zelensky advisers. Officials told the whistleblower that Ukrainian leaders were led to believe that a meeting or call between Zelensky and Trump would depend on whether Ukraine’s president “showed willingness to ‘play ball’ on the issues” that Giuliani was raising. Attorney General William Barr appeared to be involved in the effort to get Ukraine to cooperate with Trump’s desire for a probe of Biden. White House officials were “deeply disturbed” by a July 25 phone call Trump had with Zelensky. There were discussions “with White House lawyers because of the likelihood,” in the minds of officials, “that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.” Senior White House officials intervened to “lock down” records of the call with Zelensky, which “underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.” White House lawyers directed White House officials to remove the electronic transcript of the Zelensky call from the computer system where such transcripts normally are stored. That transcript then was loaded into a “separate electronic system” that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. “One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” more...

By Dan Mangan
Damning allegations against President Donald Trump and White House officials were exposed Thursday with the release by Congress of a complaint by a whistleblower who is a member of the U.S. intelligence community. Among them is the whistleblower’s belief that Trump’s actions were so obviously egregious that White House officials promptly launched a cover-up to minimize the chance that Trump’s efforts to have a foreign power dig up dirt on a leading Democratic presidential contender would become public. The complaint says that “more than half a dozen U.S. officials” provided information detailed in the report over a four-month period. Here are the biggest bombshell claims in the complaint: Trump used the power of the presidency to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 election by launching an investigation of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who had served on the board of a Ukraine company. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was a “central figure” in that effort, who reached out to and met with key Zelensky advisers.     Officials told the whistleblower that Ukrainian leaders were led to believe that a meeting or call between Zelensky and Trump would depend on whether Ukraine’s president “showed willingness to ‘play ball’ on the issues” that Giuliani was raising. Attorney General William Barr appeared to be involved in the effort to get Ukraine to cooperate with Trump’s desire for a probe of Biden. White House officials were “deeply disturbed” by a July 25 phone call Trump had with Zelensky. There were discussions “with White House lawyers because of the likelihood,” in the minds of officials, “that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.” Senior White House officials intervened to “lock down” records of the call with Zelensky, which “underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.” White House lawyers directed White House officials to remove the electronic transcript of the Zelensky call from the computer system where such transcripts normally are stored. That transcript then was loaded into a “separate electronic system” that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. “One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” more...

By Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz, David Shortell, Tammy Kupperman and Michael Callahan, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump abused his official powers "to solicit interference" from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and the White House took steps to cover it up, according to a stunning whistleblower complaint released Thursday. Several White House officials were "deeply disturbed" by Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and tried to "lock down" all records of the phone call, especially the word-for-word transcript produced by the White House, the complaint states. The complaint has been at the center of a controversy that has spurred Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. The White House on Wednesday also released a rough transcript of the call that shows Trump repeatedly pressed Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Caving to Democratic demands, the Trump administration let Congress release a declassified version of the complaint, one day after releasing a rough transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call. The developments triggered a flood of Democratic lawmakers to publicly support impeachment. Trump has maintained that he didn't do anything wrong, while simultaneously promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the Bidens, Ukraine, and Russian meddling in 2016. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. more...

By Laurence H. Tribe, Opinion contributor
Whatever additional evidence against Donald Trump the impeachment inquiry digs up, we already know enough to say: The president must be impeached. Let us count the ways. The White House readout of President Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that the American president has committed a multitude of high crimes and misdemeanors, all of them impeachable. Even without considering the many prior offenses that were surfaced in the Mueller report and in the special counsel’s prosecutions of numerous Trump allies and associates, including in the Southern District of New York, this readout — which must be the least incriminating version the White House could compose despite its remarkable skills at shading the truth or falsifying it altogether — is utterly devastating. The “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the readout reveals — to use the Constitution’s term for impeachable offenses beyond “treason” and “bribery” (both of which the readout comes close to establishing) — begin with Trump abusing the foreign policy powers entrusted to the president by Article II in order to serve his own political interests rather than the interests of the American people. Ukraine pressed by Trump, Russia: Those interests were defined here by a bipartisan decision of the Congress we elected to represent us in world affairs using its Article I spending power: Congress decided that it was in our nation’s security interest to provide nearly $400 million in aid to the beleaguered patriots of an American ally fighting a bloody battle with an American adversary. The ally was Ukraine. The adversary was Russia, which had — not so coincidentally — tried to help Trump win office in 2016. Even if this action weren’t payback to Russian President Vladimir Putin and yet another indication of how beholden Trump is to that brutal dictator — which it may well have been — it was a blatant usurpation of Congress’ Appropriation Clause authority for Trump to withhold the aid the Ukranians needed. When asked by Ukraine’s president in this July 25 phone call to purchase more Javelin missiles from the United States for defense purposes, Trump respond that he would gladly do so, although — he actually used the word “though” — he would greatly appreciate that foreign president’s aid in, among other things, gathering evidence to effectively help prosecute Trump’s main rival for the presidency in the forthcoming election. more...

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley on Wednesday described the whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump's communications with Ukraine as "deeply disturbing" after viewing the document. "I can't detail what it involves. Period," Quigley told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "I will tell people that it is deeply disturbing. It reinforces the concerns that what we previously learned and I think it is a blueprint for what we still need to know." Quigley asserted the whistleblower complaint "is the political equivalent" of Trump's claim during his 2016 presidential campaign that he could "stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody" without losing voters. "What the President said during the campaign, he said he could shoot someone on the street and his base would stay with him. I guess what I read, to me, was the political equivalent of that: defying the constitution, committing a criminal act and thinking, 'Well I can get away with it,' " he said. "Some sort of bizarre cult of personality. Deeply disturbing what we read this morning. Alarming." The whistleblower complaint -- which was hand-delivered to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for lawmakers to review -- deals, at least in part, with a phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. A transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. Even before the whistleblower complaint was made available to lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday declared Trump had betrayed his oath of office and announced she was opening a formal impeachment inquiry intot he President. more...

By Dave Goldiner - New York Daily News
Rudy Giuliani sought to pass the blame for his botched Ukraine dirt-digging operation to Trump administration officials and diplomats in an shouting match on Fox News — and they quickly punched back at him for causing the debacle that sparked impeachment. The ex-mayor waved his cell phone and claimed that the State Department directed him to arrange meetings with Ukrainian officials that Democrats call a brazen effort to get them to join a smear campaign aimed at presidential rival Joe Biden. Rudy Giuliani sought to pass the blame for his botched Ukraine dirt-digging operation to Trump administration officials and diplomats in an shouting match on Fox News — and they quickly punched back at him for causing the debacle that sparked impeachment. The ex-mayor waved his cell phone and claimed that the State Department directed him to arrange meetings with Ukrainian officials that Democrats call a brazen effort to get them to join a smear campaign aimed at presidential rival Joe Biden. “Rudy — he did all of this,” one U.S. official told the Washington Post. “This s--t show that we’re in — it’s him injecting himself into the process.” more...

By Greg Miller, Shane Harris and Karoun Demirjian
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 that 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, Maguire 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. But other officials said that Maguire had pushed the White House to make an explicit legal decision on whether it was going to assert executive privilege over the whistleblower complaint, which centers on a call that Trump made with the leader of Ukraine in late July. Maguire has been caught in the middle of a fight between Congress and the executive branch over the contents of the whistleblower report since it reached his office late last month. He has at times expressed his displeasure to White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others that the White House had put him in the untenable position of denying the material to Congress over a claim that it did not fall within his jurisdiction as leader of the intelligence community. more...

Trump is facing allegations that he tried to strong-arm a foreign leader into launching an investigation that might hurt Democratic contender Joe Biden.
By NBC News
Here is the full, five-page transcription memo released by the White House Wednesday detailing the July 25 phone conversation between President Donald Trump of the United States and Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine. Trump is facing allegations that he tried to strong-arm a foreign leader into launching an investigation that might hurt Democratic contender Joe Biden. In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday for the first time endorsed impeachment proceedings. more...

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