Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Political Blotter for Week Ending 24 November 2019

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 23, 2019

After weeks of public hearings, bipartisan political theatrics, and Tweets, POTUS Trump’s “ass is in a sling” after Gordon Sondland, his Ambassador to the European Union, and political donor who gave $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, testified before the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and said that “I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is ‘yes’.”

Ambassador Sondland further testified that, “They knew what we were doing and why. Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”

Regarding any official explanation for why POS45 held up the Congressionally-mandated money for Ukraine, he said, “I tried diligently to ask why the aid was suspended, but I never received a clear answer.”

Of course, POS45 had to deny it all and had the unmitigated gall and audacity to say of Sondland – again, whom he appointed as Ambassador to the European Union after Sondland donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee – that, “This is not a man I know well.”

Aside from the obvious bomb drops which’ve occurred this week in the Impeachment Investigation being conducted by the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – which include testimony by:

• Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union,
that
“yes,” there was “a quid pro quo.”

• Dr. Fiona Hill, Former Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia and Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council,
that
“It is a fiction that the Ukrainian Government was launching an effort to upend our election, upend our election to mess with our Democratic systems.”

• Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, Director for European Affairs, National Security Council,
that
“supposed Ukrainian involvement in partisan support of candidate Clinton and in opposition to President Trump,” was a “key element of that particular narrative that developed… that the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens,”
-and- that,
“in the President asking for something, it became — there was — in return for a White House meeting, because that’s what this was about. This was about getting a White House meeting. It was a demand for him to fulfill his — fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting.”

• Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, Former Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,
that,
“I was concerned about what I saw as the lack of public support for Department employees,”
and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s continued refusal to interact, or respond to him on the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, or of his own intent to resign,
indicated a lack of support that was broader than simply a question of statements.”

• William B. Taylor, Jr., Chargé d’Affaires Ad Interim for U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine,
that
“That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation,”
and
“that President Trump would like to hear about the investigations” of the Bidens, that “it was becoming clear to the Ukrainians that, in order to get this meeting that they wanted, they would have to commit to pursuing these investigations. And Mr. Danyliuk, at least, understood — and I’m sure that he briefed President Zelensky, I’m sure they had this conversation — believed that openingthose investigations, in particular on Burisma, would have involved Ukraine in the 2020 election campaign. He did not want to do that,”
-and- that
“In a regular, NSC secure video conference call on July 18th, I heard a staff person from the Office of Management and Budget say that there was a hold on security assistance to Ukraine but could not say why. Toward the end of this otherwise normal meeting, a voice on the call, the person who was off screen, said that she was from OMB and her boss had instructed her not to approve any additional spending of security assistance for Ukraine until further notice,”
-and- that
“President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to do this himself. Mr. Morrison said that he told Ambassador Bolton and the NSC lawyers of this phone call between President Trump and Ambassador Sondland.”

And then, there’s this – though it’s not now receiving much press – which recently happened:

Lev Parnas Helped Rep. Devin Nunes’ Investigations
“The indicted Giuliani associate helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for the Republican congressman in 2018.”

by Betsy Swan, Political Reporter
Updated Nov. 21, 2019 3:16AM ET
Published Nov. 20, 2019 7:58PM ET
https://www.thedailybeast.com/lev-parnas-helped-rep-devin-nunes-investigations

“Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, Parnas’ lawyer Ed MacMahon told The Daily Beast.

“Nunes aide Derek Harvey participated in the meetings, the lawyer said, which were arranged to help Nunes’ investigative work. MacMahon didn’t specify what those investigations entailed.

“Nunes is the top Republican on the House committee handling the impeachment hearings—hearings where Parnas’ name has repeatedly come up.

“Congressional records show Nunes traveled to Europe from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018. Three of his aides—Harvey, Scott Glabe, and George Pappas—traveled with him, per the records. U.S. government funds paid for the group’s four-day trip, which cost just over $63,000.

“The travel came as Nunes, in his role on the House Intelligence Committee, was working to investigate the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election-meddling.”

See: http://clerk.house.gov/foreign/reports/2019q1mar04.pdf

-AND-

Lev Parnas Says He Has Info on Devin Nunes’ Role in Trump’s Ukraine Dirt-Digging Mission
“Parnas has said he learned of a Vienna meeting between Nunes and the former Ukrainian official who Trump allies claim was unfairly ousted by Joe Biden.”

by Allison Quinn, News Editor
Updated Nov. 23, 2019 4:23AM ET
Published Nov. 22, 2019 9:25PM ET
https://www.thedailybeast.com/lev-parnas-ready-to-testify-about-devin-nunes-role-in-trumps-ukraine-dirt-digging-mission-cnn

“Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman whose involvement in helping the president’s personal attorney seek out kompromat on Joe Biden in Ukraine is at the center of an impeachment inquiry, is reportedly prepared to testify to Congress about Rep. Devin Nunes meeting with a Ukrainian official as part of the same dirt-digging mission.

“Nunes, the top-ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has been a staunch defender of President Trump throughout impeachment hearings. But Joseph A. Bondy, an attorney representing Parnas, has said his client has information about Nunes himself being directly involved in at least some aspects of the political pressure campaign for which Trump is under scrutiny, according to CNN.

“The news comes after The Daily Beast broke the news earlier this week that Parnas helped Nunes arrange meetings in Europe late last year to investigate the origins of the Russia probe.

“Parnas has said he also helped connect Nunes to Ukrainians who could provide information on Biden and Democrats in Ukraine. According to Bondy, Parnas said he was informed by Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, that he met with Nunes in December, CNN reports.”

In response to the revelations of Nunes’ collaboration, cooperation, and collusion with Lev Parnas on investigating Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, ethics complaints have been filed with the House Ethics Committee against California Representative, Devin Nunes, Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee for his failure to reveal the relationship he had with Lev Parnas, the indicted Ukrainian-born naturalized American citizen who sought to exploit corrupt individuals for his, and others’ private profit.

See: Congressional Record, House Expenditure Reports Concerning Official Foreign Travel  http://clerk.house.gov/foreign/reports/2019q1mar04.pdf

House Ethics Complaint against Nunes: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6558128/Devin-Nunes-Congressional-Ethics-Complaint.pdf

Ed MacMahon, the lead criminal defense attorney representing Lev Parnas, initially told The Daily Beast that in 2018, his client helped arrange meetings and phone calls in Europe for California U.S. Representative Devin Nunes.

Joseph A. Bondy, a criminal defense attorney on the team representing Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian-born naturalized U.S. citizen who is indicted for violating U.S. Campaign Finance laws by making political contributions through shell corporations, and by bundling foreign money into U.S. election campaigns, is at the heart of the Ukraine corruption scandal afflicting the POTUS, has said that, “Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December.”

Shokin is the corrupt Ukrainian former prosecutor who was fired in March 2016, after less than 14 months in office, with whom Trump had spoken with and called “very good.”

Bondy also said that, “Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.”

In a separate confirming statement, Bondy told NBC News that “I can confirm that Victor Shokin told Lev Parnas that he had met with Nunes in Vienna in late 2018, and that Derek Harvey informed that they were investigating the activities of Joe and Hunter Biden related to Burisma.”

Public records published in the Congressional Record March 4, 2019 for EXPENDITURE REPORTS CONCERNING OFFICIAL FOREIGN TRAVEL, show that Nunes, traveled to Ukraine from 11/30-12/3/2018 in his official role as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and at the time was working to investigate the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election-meddling. Accompanying him on that $63,000 taxpayer-funded trip were: Scott L. Glabe, George J. Pappas, and Derek J. Harvey, an investigator hired by Nunes.

http://clerk.house.gov/foreign/reports/2019q1mar04.pdf

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty had reported on Trump’s connection to the corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor Shokin in September 2019.
https://www.rferl.org/a/why-was-ukraine-top-prosecutor-fired-viktor-shokin/30181445.html

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