Impeachment Inquiry Updates:

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Ukraine, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

Things are moving very quickly.

Nobody is talking about this, but this story caught my eye:

Attorney General William Barr reportedly met with media mogul Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday night, The New York Times reports. The Trump official and the Fox News owner reportedly met at Murdoch’s home in New York. It’s unclear what they discussed, or if anyone else attended the meeting. Staffers for Barr and Murdoch declined to comment on the meeting. On Thursday, Trump criticized Fox News in a series of tweets. “From the day I announced I was running for President, I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck. But @FoxNews is also much different than it used to be in the good old days,” he wrote, lamenting that the network “doesn’t deliver for US anymore” and was “so different than it used to be.”

I don’t think this has anything to do with the Fox poll. I think this has to do with the arrest this week with Rudy’s “associates”, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman, were arrested on campaign finance violations on Wednesday night at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

UPDATE: Or maybe something to do with THIS?

Smith says he asked to leave and the company balked but finally gave in. That would seem to preclude Barr having a hand in this.

Back to Rudy’s henchmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman.

As I discussed, they were going to Vienna (with Rudy Giuliani), possibly to meet a known Putin ally awaiting extradition to the US on bribery charges. That Putin ally is represented by known Fox contributors Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing (who are married). There seems to be a pipeline from Putin to Fox. Perhaps that was what they were discussing

In other impeachment inquiry news:

Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, is testifying today on Capitol Hill. It is closed-door testimony. She was removed by Trump based on complaints which can now be sourced to Rudy and his henchmen.

Yovanovitch has said she was removed from her ambassadorship by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who told her she had done nothing wrong, but POTUS had lost confidence in her. He said State had been under pressure to remove her since summer 2018.

And Giuliani said recently that he pushed to fire the ambassador for months, that Trump had ordered it three times and that it finally happened. “The State Department was undercutting it,” Giuliani said. “They were protecting her.”

Yes. From you, Rudy. Here is her opening statement:

Maybe more importantly — Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, has agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction to him not to appear before lawmakers, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer said today. He was prepared to testify on Tuesday, but the Trump administration directed him not in the 11th hour.

“Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States,” his lawyers said in a statement Friday. “He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

He is not providing documents, however, since the State Department is holding those.

In other testimony news, NBC is reporting that Fiona Hill, who was until recently President Donald Trump’s top aide on Russia and Europe, plans to tell Congress that Rudy Giuliani and E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland circumvented the National Security Council and the normal White House process to pursue a shadow policy on Ukraine:

Hill’s appearance next week before Congress has stoked fear among people close to the president, said a former senior White House official, given her central role overseeing Russia and Ukraine policy throughout most of the Trump administration.

Her plans to testify also pose a key test for whether congressional committees pursuing an impeachment inquiry can obtain testimony from other former officials who have left the administration, given the possibility that the White House may try to assert executive privilege to stop them from testifying.

Hill plans to say that Giuliani and Sondland side-stepped the proper process for accessing Trump on Ukraine issues, the person familiar with her expected testimony said, including circumventing John Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser until September.

The New York Times is reporting that at least four national security officials were so alarmed by the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they raised concerns with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after President Trump’s July 25 call with that country’s president, according to U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter.

What else?

Michael McKinley, a career diplomat and senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has resigned his position amid rising dissatisfaction and plummeting morale inside the State Department over what is seen as Pompeo’s failure to support personnel ensnared in the Ukraine controversy. Good for him.


In a 134 page opinion, the DC Court of Appeals this morning ruled that the House Oversight Committee is entitled to get Trump’s financial records. The Appeals Court is a three-judge panel and the score was 2-1. The dissenting judge, Justice Neomi Rao, is a Trump appointee (she took Kavanaugh’s seat) and went to law school at Antonin Scalia Law School. She wrote that Congress does not have any subpoena power

Next stop: SCOTUS

By the way, I was wondering how rightwing blogs were reacting to the news that Rudy’s henchmen were arrested. Well, here’s a sample from The Gateway Pundit:

Americans are fed up with watching the injustice in this country — anyone and everyone who helps Trump is targeted for ruin.

There is a two-tiered justice system where only Trump supporters go to jail for process crimes while Democrats can commit treason, extort, launder money and make millions of dollars in pay-to-play schemes without fear of reprisal — truly a Banana Republic.

Yup. It’s the Deep State at work. And the comment section is even more delusional:

We have been waiting 3 years for the DOJ to arrest Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe etc.. The DOJ arrests these two guys minutes after lunch with Guiliani on a civil matter. We need to disband the FBI/CIA and fumigate the DOJ, get rid of all of them

Welcome to the United States Banana Republic. Owned and operated by the corrupt Deep State and their cronies. I suppose soon they will be coming for us — the average people — who just post their comments online. Our IP addresses will be mined and jackbooted thugs will knock our doors down at four in the morning with CNN in the front yard (who just happened to be in the area, right?).

This is a Deep State setup. They’re going to attempt to arrest Giuliani. I suspect they will have a harder time when they anticipate, when the Marines show up at SDNY to suppress insurrection.

Yikes. And these people like their guns.

Look, to me, the fact that Bill Barr know of, and approved the arrests of Rudy’s goons, might be a clue that Barr is actually — dare I say it — on the side of the angels. Maybe he has learned that Trump is, through Rudy, a Russian puppet. And that he’s going around the world, and meeting with Murdoch, to gather all the information. Maybe????

Anyway, more cracks in the government as whistleblowers come forward. Daily Beast writes today:

New potential whistleblowers are coming forward to the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, two congressional sources tell The Daily Beast. 

They seem to be emboldened by the actions of the whistleblower whose explosive account of President Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating Trump’s domestic political rivals ignited the impeachment inquiry. Another whistleblower is known to have come forward

Congressional investigators are currently vetting the new accounts they’ve received for credibility. Accordingly, knowledgeable sources would not discuss where in the government these new would-be whistleblowers come from, nor what they purport to have to say. 

It’s also unknown if their accounts are as significant as that of the intelligence whistleblower whose alarm over President Trump’s July 25 phone call sparked the impeachment probe. Investigators often encounter cranks as well as those with genuine knowledge of wrongdoing. Nor is it clear if these new ostensible whistleblowers have contacted any inspectors general, as the original two whistleblowers did.

“There are clearly numerous whistleblowers out there and many people who possess firsthand relevant information who could come forward, and I expect some will,” said attorney Mark Zaid, who represents those two whistleblowers (and also represents The Daily Beast in freedom-of-information lawsuits). 

This is interesting:

And another defection:

President Trump announced Friday the resignation of Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security who spent his six-month tenure trying to curb a surge of asylum seekers at the southwestern border while managing a turbulent relationship with a president intent on restricting immigration.

He resigned. He was not fired.