Open Impeachment hearings Day 3: Say bye-bye to the hearsay guy

So, it’s time to tee off day number three of the open impeachment hearings.  Today’s session has four witnesses who will testify.  The morning session will see Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testify.  The afternoon session will consist of the testimonies of Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison.

Vindman and Morrison both worked on the National Security Council at the time of the July 25th call.  Williams was an aide to VP Pence, and Volker is the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.  This hearing will see us say bye bye to the hearsay guy as witnesses today were listening in on the phone call.  There’s no more “feelings” or “thinking” at this point.  Just as you peel an onion starting from the outside, these hearings started from the outside and are gradually working their way towards the center.

I don’t have much commentary for today as I’m simply waiting to see what transpires.  There have been a new revelation or two during these open hearings that was not known before, and I don’t expect today to be different.  Enjoy the testimony, and as always, make your views known below.

Open impeachment hearings: Day 2

Here we are for the second day of open testimony.  Now, we will get to hear directly from former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.  She will get to tell her story to the American public.  It will be interesting to watch the GOP attack her in that same unintelligible manner they used on Wednesday.

To believe the GOP defense at this point requires that you accept the following premises:

  • The Democrats have not produced anyone who was directly involved with conversations with Trump involving the Ukraine.
  • The Democrats refuse to allow the Republicans to subpoena the whistleblower to testify.  This is after the Republicans have already said the whistleblower’s information is hearsay, and their defense of Trump is that nobody has first hand knowledge.

The Republicans want to hear people who have first hand knowledge, yet they did not want to subpoena Mick Mulvaney, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, or Donald Trump himself.  Sounds reasonable, right?

They (Republicans) want to hear first hand knowledge, but they don’t want to hear from the people with first hand knowledge.  It’s almost like they know Trump is guilty of abusing the power of his office but they don’t want to say so.  I still think the far easier defense would have been to acknowledge Trump’s screw ups but make the claim they were not bad enough to warrant removal from office.  That would have made impeachment a foregone conclusion and made it easier for Republican Senators to vote to not remove Trump.

The Democrats still face the task of pointing out what Trump did was unconstitutional and posed a direct threat to America.  The new information about the phone call between Trump and Sondland can be used to show these folks are not using secure means of communication, so any adversary could be listening in to everyone and everything.  Dems could add that Trump is now trying to extort more money from South Korea as well if they choose to.  They can easily show it is Trump who made that decision too.  The evidence is already there.

So, let’s listen to day 2 and see what falls from the sky or shows up on Twitter.  I still don’t understand why Republicans refuse to decouple themselves from this slow motion train wreck, but who am I to judge?  They may be totally into slow motion train wrecks.

 

Let the hearings begin

Today is the day that we begin to hear the story behind the Ukraine issue.  From where I sit, I see two different tactics that are at play.

First, the Democrats will have to show that Trump has abused the power of his office and violated his oath of office.  They will have to do this in clear and concise terms that our cynical public can understand.  If they try to get bogged down in the specifics, they stand a chance to lose the crowd.  Focusing on the fact that the actions constitute a de facto case of bribery will be their goal.  Bribery is listed in the Constitution as a reason for impeaching and removing the president.

The GOP, on the other hand, have the monumental task of convincing America that Trump’s actions do not warrant removal from office.  Based on the testimony leaked thus far, the Dems have a fairly strong case of bribery.  Add that Trump insists his call was perfect and continually shreds the foundation that the GOP would need to stand on to make their case, and you have the recipe for a hard case for the GOP to defend.

When you look at the defense strategy of calling Hunter Biden to testify, that shows the GOP lacks any strong evidence to defend Trump and are instead left to distraction tactics.  If Biden’s son is needed to testify to defend Trump for wanting to investigate corruption, then that would open the door for Dems to call Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr to show current corruption involving the offspring of an office holder.  I seriously doubt the GOP would agree to the latter three testifying though.

I’ve linked to a live feed via YouTube above.  Hopefully it will work and allow people to listen along as they go through the day.  This is my first time trying to link to a live feed, so my fingers are crossed.  If time allows, I’ll offer a recap of what I’ve heard/read through the day.

Update 6:50pm

The first round of public hearings are done, and things went about as well as I expected.  I haven’t listened to all of the hearing nor have I read the transcripts, but I don’t see any Corey Lewandowski type crap happening with the witnesses.

As far as the members of Congress, I’ve seen that the GOP Reps did what they do best and try to hammer home their talking points without doing anything remotely resembling defending Trump or his actions.  Democrats appear to have tried to walk people along to paint out the actions going on with the administration and how those actions differed from past diplomatic missions.

One huge flashing red light that I see that is not being discussed even among the pundit class is this.  For all the complaining from the Republicans about wanting to have the whistle blower testify so they can hear first hand accounts of things, there is not a single, solitary Republican asking Donald Trump to come testify before the House to hear things directly from the horse’s mouth.  I wonder why?

After all, these are the same Republicans who whined incessantly about closed door testimony and asked for open hearings.  When they got open hearings, they complained about that.  They’ve complained that Trump has no legal representation in the hearings and is unable to face his accusers.  We can end this all in a matter of hours if the GOP asks Trump to come in and testify under oath.

If this is a witch hunt and Trump is innocent, why doesn’t he allow all his people around him who can prove his innocence the opportunity to testify before Congress and present his case?  I don’t know of anyone who is innocent that has refused to give his side of the story to prove his innocence.  I don’t know of an innocent person who has witnesses to verify his innocence that refused to let those witnesses offer their stories.

That leads me with my investigative intuition to surmise that Trump’s story is crap.  He undoubtedly knows he is not innocent.  His handlers know he is not innocent.  They’re going to sling as much mud as they can to avoid anyone giving a first-hand account to blow his bs story out of the water.  You can mark my statement on that this date.

Trump abused his power and attempted to extort the president of Ukraine to further his political career.  His cover up actions are no different now than they were when Mueller was investigating the Russia interference.  The crap the GOP throws out about Crowdstrike is proof positive.  They claim Crowdstrike helped Dems yet the RNC currently is contracting some of their cyber operations to that very same group.  What person of a sound mind would do business with a group that supposedly conspired against them?

Keep digging Dems.  At some point, reality has to finally sink in for America.

A Veteran’s Day salute to all who served

For those who have all raised their hands to take that oath, I sincerely thank you.  This goes for my brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and those whom I don’t know but have served in the armed forces.  It doesn’t matter whether you served during war time or in times of peace.  I don’t differentiate between the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard.  Each group has a role to play in protecting the country and the Constitution.

If you know a vet, then thank them.  If you know a Vietnam Vet, then tell them “Welcome Home”.  Also, if you know any veteran who needs assistance of any kind, I want to point you all to an organization that my best friend is working with.  This group is awesome and they do a lot for vets here in the Atlanta area and beyond.

*Click the image to learn more about The Warrior Alliance

They’ve done collaboration work in the past with the Wounded Warrior Project. They also did a run for the Shepherd Center’s Shepherd’s Men organization.  I got to watch my friend even ring the bell for one of the stock exchanges as this group has worked hard to shine a light on the needs of our veterans.  If you don’t already, think of finding a good veteran’s organization to support so that we can show all veterans that this country does care about them and their needs.

Once again, thanks to all who have served.

Should Trump be impeached?

While the photo above gives you my personal answer, that question is the million dollar question that 435 members of the House of Representatives will have to deal with in the near future. The country as a whole is split on their answers, so let me walk you through my reasoning to come up with such a strong answer to the question.

First, let’s define what impeachment entails.  Impeachment is a two-part political CONSTITUTIONAL process.  The U.S. Constitution provides only one true method to reprimand the president if he is not upholding his oath of office, and that one method is impeachment.  Sure, Congress can pass a resolution to censure the president.  Passing that resolution results in a public rebuking of the office holder, but that resolution comes with absolutely zero legal implications to it.  Basically, a resolution of censure has no more meaning or implication than a member of Congress standing in the well of the House or the Senate and giving a rebuke from the floor.

That two-part Constitutional process begins in the House where articles of impeachment are presented and voted upon based on evidence gathered during investigation(s) and then presented in hearings.  In the recent past, the investigation part was done by a special prosecutor and grand jury (Nixon) and by an independent counsel (Clinton).  In the present process, the House of Representatives itself is conducting the investigation which is why there have been numerous closed-door depositions taking place.  The vote this past Thursday set up the process in which the process will be handled once the investigation is complete.

Now, even though the investigation into the Ukraine matter is not complete, I believe that Trump should be impeached for failing to uphold his oath of office.  I do not waiver in this belief either because I feel there have been more than enough instances of Trump abusing or misusing his official power to warrant impeachment.  That said, I do not have an opinion on whether or not he should be removed from office at this point.  While I think there is more than enough information in the public domain to warrant impeachment, I don’t know if the details are serious enough that he should be removed from office by Congress instead of the voters.

Since January 20, 2017, I think these instances here all point to Trump’s failure to uphold his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution or show an abuse of power of his office:

I could go on listing many other instances, but I think these are some of the more egregious actions of this administration with major emphasis on the last two listed as they are direct violations of duly passed laws by the legislative branch.  The primary function of the Executive Branch is to enact and enforce laws passed by the Legislative.  I did not mention the ten counts of Obstruction found by Mueller’s investigation as those ten counts do not include the 100% obstruction to Congress that Trump has enacted since then.  Since the Mueller investigation, obstruction has become the norm for this administration.

Should the House decide to expand their inquiry beyond the Ukraine issue, the Democratic Party undoubtedly have vast resources of untapped potential of evidence to suggest removal from office.  The parade of evidence that could be given to the public is enough to make a person’s eyes roll up into their heads because of the sheer amount alone.  I don’t know if America has the attention span necessary to listen to that evidence and be able to retain it to make a coherent opinion on it’s weight for impeaching Trump.

The GOP also has quite the quandary on their hands.  In their current defense mode of attacking the process, they are implicitly suggesting that Trump’s actions are all a-okay.  That sets a bad precedent for future presidents as well as normalize behavior that Republicans would obviously not condone from a Democratic president.  Republicans should have instead used a defense of Trump’s actions were wrong, but they do not warrant removal from office.  They could have maintained that now known charade that they love and protect the Constitution.  Their actions over this past year show that is a bold faced lie.

Had Republicans gone with that latter defense, then they could easily explain to their voters that bad behavior deserves to be punished, but he does not have to be removed from office.  That would have put Democrats on the spot to have to argue why Trump’s actions deserve removal by Congress instead of the voters.  That would have been a much harder argument for Democrats to make instead of what they have to do now.  Based on his actions, Trump does deserve to be impeached.  That is the only way the Constitution gives us to admonish a president who is derelict in his duties.