More On “The Coup”

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

Many developments in the past 12 hours. Let’s start with Trump:

Yeah, he’s been busy. I will get to the “delooted” tweet in a moment

Yup. A coup. This rhetoric is pure Trumpian but many like me wonder if he is not-so-subtly engaged in a call-to-arms. You just know that there are more than a few rightwing gun nuts who will do what they can to suppress the “coup”.

It looks like Trump is laying off the whistleblower lately, and making about Democrats. He’s got a new phrase he was trying out this morning:

House Democrats have passed 255 pieces of legislation which languishes in the Senate. The bills include everything from universal background checks on guns to lowering drug prices.

Whooop, he just used it again as I typed this:

“Bullshit”? Okay. He went there. And the final electoral vote was 304-227.

His attacks on Pelosi and Schumer right now are because of a press conference they just gave. They slammed Trump’s remarks aimed at a whistleblower who came forward about Trump’s Ukraine-related conduct. The Democratic leaders called Trump’s comments “dangerous,” witness intimidation, and an “incitement of violence.”

Trump has equated the whistleblower’s sources to spies, suggested that those sources committed treason punishable by death, and demanded the he get to interview the whistleblower.

“This is a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said a press conference on Wednesday, adding that those comments were an “incitement of violence.”

Oh, and getting to the delooted Trump tweet:

Yup. The president suggested shooting immigrants in the legs at the border to slow them down. Also alligators and snakes in a moat.

Trump denied it in this tweet:

He deleted the tweet and and corrected his spelling, but #Moot is the top trending hashtag on Twitter.

What else has happened?


The State Department’s inspector general is expected to give an “urgent” briefing to staffers from several House and Senate committees on Wednesday afternoon about documents obtained from the department’s Office of the Legal Adviser related to the State Department and Ukraine, sources familiar with the planned briefing told ABC News.

Details of the briefing, requested by Steve Linick, the inspector general at State, remain unknown. Linick is expected to meet with congressional staff in a secure location on Capitol Hill.

The unusual nature and timing of the briefing – during a congressional recess – suggests it may be connected to a recent intelligence community whistleblower allegation which describes, in part, the State Department’s role in coordinating interactions between Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, and Ukrainian officials.

That was last night. The meeting has presumably already taken place, but we don’t know what it is about, but these are the rumors:

And this, too:

The House threatened on Wednesday to subpoena the White House if it did not comply by Friday with broad requests for documents related to President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son and any attempt by the administration to conceal his actions.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, notified his committee of the impending subpoena on Wednesday. He said the White House had thus far ignored Congress’s voluntary requests.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Mr. Cummings wrote. “Over the past several weeks, the committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — the committees.”

And this too:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that he had listened in on President Trump’s telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine — a call that has become the subject of a whistle-blower’s complaint and is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

“I was on the phone call,” Mr. Pompeo said at a news conference in Rome — the first time he has addressed the topic publicly since reports surfaced that he had heard the exchange.

He did not elaborate on the conversation and did not answer a question about whether anything in it had raised a red flag for him.

In the July 25 call, Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate the activities in Ukraine of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter.


In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 46 percent of voters said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings vs. 43 percent who said they should not. Eleven percent had no opinion. That support represented a 3-point bump from last week, when voters were evenly split.

Breathless day.

Trump will have a press conference with the Finnish president shortly. I’m sure questions will be asked. And I will update.

UPDATE: Nah. It’s mostly Schiff and Pelosi bashing. He bashed Schiff for criticizing Mike Pompeo, saying “he couldn’t carry his blankstrap,” meaning jockstrap.

This happened:

Asked about whistleblower protections, Trump says a whistleblower should be protected “if the whistleblower’s legitimate.” That kind of begs the question, doesn’t it? Trump says “the person” who gave the whistleblower his information is “a spy.”

About 2020, Trump says “I’d rather run against Biden than almost any of those candidates.” He says Biden has “never been a smart guy” and is “less smart now than he was.”

Rails against Washington Post and the story about the fence/moat/etc. Fake news blah blah blah but now he is going to change the term to “corrupt media” which is “the enemy of the people.”

And that’s over.

It makes me ask which side in this is the REAL “Deep State”? The ones who wish for transparent open government, or the ones trying to squirrel away information and evidence into inaccessible dark corners?

Oh joy! ANOTHER joint press conference with Trump and the Finnish President.

After talking about his visits to the African American History and Culture museum and National Museum of the American Indian, Finland’s president Niinisto told Trump, “Mr. President, you have a great democracy. Keep it going on.”

Finnish President is now politely delivering a mini-lecture to Trump on the environment and arms control; Trump has to stand next to him and take it.

As often, Trump gives the first question to John Roberts of Fox News. Roberts asks about subpoenas to the White House. “I always cooperate,” Trump says (?), and calls all this a “fraudulent crime on the American people.” He promises to “work together with Shifty Schiff.”

Trump says Schiff’s rendition of his phone call has to be a crime. It very much is not. He also says some people even say it was treason. Those people are not people who understand what treason is.

Trump is now attacking the Mueller investigation. “I get three days of peace,” he complains, and now “I hear about the word impeachment. I said, ‘What did I do now?'” He says he learned it was about a “beautiful conversation.”

Fox news guy has to beg Trump to let him ask a friendly question. Trump gives Fox’s John Roberts a hard time about asking a second question, tells him to ask a question of the Finnish president, then says it seems like Roberts might have a good question and lets him ask it.

Responding to NY Times report that Schiff know about the whistleblower’s complaint days before it was even filed, Trump accuses Adam Schiff of helping the whistleblower write his complaint: “I’d go a step further, I think that he probably helped write it.”

Trump says that shows the whole thing is a scam. Like Russia. “You can ask Putin: nobody’s been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump,” Trump says. He says that, “with that being said,” it’d be good to get along with Russia.”

Trump bragging on himself now about how well he is handling all the scandal.

Trump said they produced the “exact transcript, word for word, comma for comma” — that’s a lie — and that it showed the whistleblower is wrong — that is wrong, too.

Trump is repeating his usual lie about getting the Veterans Choice program passed. It was signed into law by Obama; Trump signed a modification of the program; Trump has said this more than 100 times now.

Trump calls himself a very stable genius again.

Trump says he’s going to bring “a lot of litigation” against “a lot of people,” apparently related to the Mueller investigation. (He has sued a lot of people in his life; he has also threatened a lot of litigation he has never actually initiated.)

Asked about what he wanted from Ukraine president regarding Biden, Trump gives rambling response full of half-sentences. Says Ukraine was corrupt and he hates giving money to them. Doesn’t want to be the “sucker”.

Wow. Another reporter presses him again for an answer. Trump lashes out at fake media and corrupt media but doesn’t answer the question. Amazing exchange. I will get the video.

Trump says is democracy. And he ends it.

But this was a great moment.

Ah, the video:

Rep. Raskin says State Department IG handed over to lawmakers a “packet of disinformation” which was being circulated in May of this year, including conspiracy theories about origins of Mueller investigation and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. The origins of said packet are not clear.

Raskin says the packet of propaganda “raises profoundly troubling questions.” “Why was Sec. of State Pompeo in possession of this packet of disinformation? Why did he distribute it and circulate it? … So I’ve got to say that it raises more questions than answers.”