Don't flatter yourself. You're simply tiresome, one-dimensional, and very predictable.
I don't get Bloomberg making noise about entering the Dem primary.
Anyone have a good take on this?
Judge Judy endorsed Bloomberg about a week ago. I guess that makes him a contender.
Of course they are going to Swift Boat Vindman. Of course they are.
In reluctant testimony, former campaign CEO Steve Bannon told a federal court that Stone, on trial for lying to Congress and witness tampering, had boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches of damaging emails.
"The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange," Bannon told the court. "But Roger would be considered if we needed an access point."
It was the first time that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign acknowledged in court that they had actively sought material from WikiLeaks, which released emails that U.S. intelligence agencies determined had been hacked by the Russian government in order to damage Clinton.
The White House had no immediate comment.
Stone, a colorful political operative and Trump ally, is charged with witness tampering and lying to Congress about his attempts to contacts WikiLeaks about the damaging material during the 2016 presidential campaign.
While Stone repeatedly "implied that he had a connection with WikiLeaks," he never stated it directly, Bannon said.
The campaign took Stone's boasts seriously enough to follow up, asking why expected information about Clinton wasn't revealed when Assange held a press conference in October 2016.
Bannon, who testified in response to a subpoena, did not say anything about Trump and said Stone had not been sent by anyone on the campaign to talk to Assange.
Earlier this week, a former FBI agent testified about a flurry of phone calls between Stone and then-candidate Trump — including three calls on July 14, 2016 — the day that a massive hack of the Democratic National Committee's servers was reported. But the agent said she did not know what was discussed on those calls.
As he left the courthouse, Bannon griped about being subpoenaed by prosecutors and Congress in addition to being interviewed several times by special counsel Robert Mueller's team as it investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"I was forced and compelled to come here today," he said as he climbed into a waiting SUV outside the courthouse.
Bannon's testimony came after comedian and radio talk show Randy Credico told jurors that Stone pressured him into backing up lies he told Congress, threatening to take away his dog at one point. Credico said Stone pressed him to "go along" with a false account of the operative's contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
"He wanted me to go along with this narrative," Credico said in his second day of testimony.
Stone called a Credico a "rat" and a "stoolie" in a threatening April 2018 email. Credico also testified that Stone used repeated references from the movie "The Godfather Part II" to intimidate him into either backing up Stone's testimony to Congress or refusing to testify.
"My lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds. I'm going to take that dog away from you," he said in the email, which Credico read aloud in court. And while Credico testified he considered the threat "hyperbole," he also said that Stone "plays hardball" and "I did not want to rile the guy."
The radio host told the court he's had his dog Bianca, a small breed known as a coton de tulear, since 2006. "I have no wife, no kids, I've been around the dog for 12 years," he said.
Credico has occasionally provoked laughter in court and warnings from the judge.
Thursday's testimony detailed the acrimonious collapse of the relationship between the liberal Credico and Stone, a longtime conservative operative who revered Richard Nixon so much that he has the disgraced former president's face tattooed on his back.
Credico and Stone met in 2002 through the campaign of a third-party candidate for New York governor. Despite their political differences, Stone was a regular guest on Credico's radio show.
"He's good on radio," Credico said of Stone. "He's a good guest to have on."
Stone, a longtime Trump confidant and conservative operative who has a tattoo of former president Richard Nixon's face on his back, is accused of telling Congress that Credico was the source of his inside information about WikiLeaks. But Credico said he and Stone never discussed WikiLeaks before late August 2016, making it impossible that he was the "trusted intermediary" that Stone had been referring to for months.
Credico did manage to contact Assange through mutual acquaintance Margaret Kunstler, and hosted Assange on his radio show on Aug. 25, 2016.
He says Stone, who had already claimed in interviews to have a back-channel link to Assange, immediately started asking Credico to put him in touch with Assange.
Prosecutors have said Stone lied about his efforts to learn more about the WikiLeaks releases because the truth about his efforts would "look bad" for Trump.
In an often-testy cross examination, defense attorney Robert Buschel tried to paint Stone as the victim of a con job by Credico, saying that the radio host repeatedly lied to Stone to exaggerate his connection and influence with Assange.
They went through the pair's text exchanges before Credico's September 2016 trip to London. Credico wrote to Stone that a meeting with Assange, who was sheltering from prosecution in the Ecuadoran embassy, was "on the agenda." In reality, there was no meeting planned and the closest Credico got to Assange was delivering a letter from his radio station's administration to the embassy offering Assange a show on their channel.
Credico said Stone was pestering him with requests and that he led Stone to believe he was working on making contact with Assange "just to satisfy him and get him off my back."
Stone's trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
3 days, 5 transcripts: What we’ve learned from recently released impeachment depositions
Listen to this episode of Today, Explained for a breakdown of the latest impeachment deposition transcripts.
Starting next week, the impeachment inquiry into President Trump will go live on television. But this week has been the week of transcripts. House Democrats released transcripts from closed-door impeachment depositions of current and former administration officials.
On Monday, transcripts of depositions by Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, and Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to the secretary of state, were released. On Tuesday, transcripts from Kurt Volker, the former US special representative to Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, were made public. And on Wednesday, we got one from Bill Taylor, who is the current top US diplomat in Ukraine.
Vox’s Andrew Prokop pored through them for revelations and shared what he’s learned on this episode of Today, Explained. Marie Yovanovitch, the subject of the first transcript, was no longer the ambassador when the main events of the Ukraine affair happened, Prokop explains.
[Yovanovitch’s] story is kind of interesting mainly as a prologue to this whole saga. She said ‘I couldn’t imagine all of the things that have happened.’ She describes what is basically a smear campaign against her with the participation of some Ukrainian officials, from Rudy Giuliani.”
Prokop also breaks down the big admission of Sondland’s updated testimony, how Bill Taylor’s testimony basically debunked Sondland’s version of events, and how Republicans have been questioning these witnesses.
Whose transcripts were released after [Yovanovitch’s]? Any bombshells?
Gordon Sondland has] been widely viewed as the least credible witness to have testified in this entire saga so far. He was plagued by repeated failures of memory. “I don’t recall. I don’t recall. I don’t recall,” he kept saying.
What happened after he testified is that two other witnesses, Bill Taylor from the State Department and Tim Morrison from the National Security Council, testified at some length about various conversations with Sondland they were involved in, and described what Sondland was telling them ... how he said that, in fact, the aid to Ukraine did hinge on whether they launched the investigations Trump wanted, that Sondland said that he was in contact with Trump on this, and that Trump kept saying, “There’s no quid pro quo, but I want the Ukrainian president to do these things, to commit to these investigations publicly.”
Sondland didn’t remember any of this, so he claims initially. And before his transcript was released on Tuesday, he and his lawyer submitted an addendum to his original sworn testimony saying that the testimony of Taylor and Morrison has “refreshed my recollection” about certain conversations in early September 2019.
He says that he now recalls telling a senior adviser to Ukraine’s president that the hundreds of millions of dollars in withheld military aid probably hinged on whether they launched those investigations into the company tied to Joe Biden’s son and into the 2016 election ... supposedly Ukrainian interference. It may seem hard to believe that you would forget telling the Ukrainians this, but that is what Sondland is claiming.
And what kind of example is that setting for the children, Andrew?
It’s possible that he just is really suffering from some memory problems, but maybe he shouldn’t really be in this post if his memory of things that happened just a couple months ago are so poor. And his memory is continuing to be quite flawed. He is not remembering conversations he was telling others that he had with Donald Trump about this, and he is notably vague in the new statement on how he learned that the military aid was being tied to the investigations. He says that he simply presumed this. So even the updated testimony is a little hard to believe.
But Sondland still isn’t saying the president ordered some sort of quid pro quo?
The big admission of Sondland’s updated testimony was the acknowledgment of what other witnesses have said, that in fact, the quid pro quo — military aid for investigations — was communicated to the Ukrainians. He had been saying he didn’t remember doing this. Now, he admits it. He’s still not admitting that it came from President Trump.
However, other witnesses have said that at the time, Sondland told them he talked to President Trump multiple times and that this is, in fact, what President Trump wanted.
Who is he throwing under the bus, if not President Trump?
He’s trying to pin as much on Rudy Giuliani as possible. He keeps saying that this whole idea of the investigations came from Rudy.
What’s up with Bill Taylor? What’s in his transcript?
He basically really debunked Sondland’s version of events by making clear how explicit the quid pro quo was. What I thought was most interesting from Taylor’s testimony was a bit of a plaintive note. He was describing how the Ukrainians reacted when they found out that this hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that they were relying on for use in their military conflict with Russia was being held up. Taylor says that they were just desperate. He said “they thought there must be some rational reason for this being held up. And maybe in Washington they didn’t understand how important this assistance was to their fight and to their armed forces.”
It’s a reminder that Trump was trying to play this game, his political machinations, and pressure the Ukrainian government to do this. But they’re embroiled in a serious war. And there are real consequences to what Trump was trying to do here.
Some of the details here are new, some of this stuff we already had a sense of. But one thing that should be coming out of these transcripts is how Republicans have been questioning these witnesses, right? From what you’ve read, I know there’s a lot of pages here. Have you seen Republicans honestly trying to get to the bottom of this controversy and figure out what happened?
I’ve seen them trying to get to the bottom of figuring out who the anonymous whistleblower is.
Oh! Have they figured it out?
They seem to be pretty confident in their assessment of who it is at this point. They bring up this person’s name in the transcripts and say they ask various witnesses, Have you ever talked to this person about what happened in Ukraine? And when asked to defend that, they generally characterize it as just trying to get some facts, but in context, it sure looks like a way to try to get this person’s identity out.
Does everyone now know who the whistleblower is?
The name has been written by some conservative media outlets, been tweeted out by one of the president of the United States’ children. But major media outlets like, for instance, Vox, have been hesitant to repeat this whistleblower’s supposed name, questioning the news value of this. It seems more of an effort at retaliation rather than a good faith effort to check their information, because the person’s information has already been completely confirmed at this point by all the documents and testimony from other witnesses that have come out.
The whistleblower’s identity seems pretty irrelevant at this point, but Trump really wants a villain and he is trying to put a face on this whistleblower to have a new hate figure for conservative media to fulminate about deep state conspiracies against the president. Fox News apparently told its hosts that they are not permitted to repeat the alleged whistleblower name on air. That means you, Sean Hannity.
now it seems the republicans line of defense, it is qui pro quo, but it's ok, everybody does it and it didn't work out anyway, so no crime was committed.
No everybody does not do it.
Trump wanted dirt on a political rival for his re-election campaign
and he wanted to prove his stupid conspiracy theory of Ukraine hiding the DNC server.
Trump abused his office of presidency for his own personal gain to help in his re-election. It's that simple folks.
I don't get Bloomberg making noise about entering the Dem primary. Is this just that sense of entitlement many multi-billionaires seem to have that they are actually way, way better, smarter, more deserving than everyone else? A personal grudge against Warren and/or Sanders? A consequence of his membership in the captialists-R-us crowd?
Trump abused his office of presidency for his own personal gain to help in his re-election. It's that simple folks.
I’m not thinking about interference. Just a meeting or acknowledgement of their basic policy agreements. A nod.