GOPHER CONTORTIONS CAN’T HIDE TRUMP EXTORTION…

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran who was working in the White House as the National Security Council’s Ukraine expert, testified that he saw Trump’s push for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as an “order” to Zelensky and felt compelled to report it up the chain of command. Vindman is registered to vote with no party affiliation. Asked if he was a “Never Trumper,” he called himself a “never partisan.”

State Department official Jennifer Williams said she found Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone call to Zelensky “unusual” because it involved discussion of a domestic political matter. Williams, who Trump attacked in a tweet as a “Never Trumper,” serves as an adviser on Russia to Vice President Mike Pence and campaigned for ex-President George W. Bush in 2004. She testified that “the reference to Biden” on Trump’s call with Zelensky “sounded political.”

Impeachment Day 3: Republicans Continue Their Attack on Reason and Reality

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On Tuesday, the third day of the House impeachment hearings, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were confronted by witnesses, particularly Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, who presented unambiguous evidence that President Donald Trump used his office to pressure Ukrainian officials to launch investigations to produce dirt on Joe Biden and prove a debunked conspiracy theory that absolved the Russians of hacking the 2016 US election. Vindman and Jennifer Williams, a State Department official assigned to Vice President Mike Pence’s office, each told the committee that Trump, during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pressed the Ukrainian to initiate these two inquiries and that Burisma—the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, worked for—was referenced by name. (The reconstructed transcript of the call released by the White House, for some not-yet-explained reason, did not mention “Burisma.”) Vindman also testified about a July 10 White House meeting with Ukrainian officials in which Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who was working with the private channel overseen by Rudy Giuliani, piped up and said that before Zelensky could get a much-desired meeting with Trump, the Ukrainians had to “deliver specific investigations.” Other witnesses have told the committee that the release of nearly $400 million in security assistance that Trump put a hold on was also tied to Ukraine pursuing investigations of the Bidens and the conspiracy theory that holds that Ukraine, not Russia, intervened in the US election. 

Republican impeachment tactics backfire as GOP congresswoman Elise Stefanik sets her career on fire

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Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives following sweeping midterm victories last year, Republicans have had little recourse to stop attempts at congressional oversight of the Trump administration. So, they’ve resorted to rotating a few willing members to dutifully gaslight, grandstand and exhibit fake outrage while hoping to create the illusion of fighting the good fight — all for Fox News hosts who hail them as the true heroes of the republic.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, is on permanent assignment, as witnessed by his disgraceful conduct during impeachment hearings. Important supporting roles are filled by Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio (and of the Ohio State wrestling team’s sex scandal), and now the newest rising Republican star, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.

One of the Republicans’ witnesses confirmed a quid pro quo on TV

This may be the biggest moment in the impeachment hearings so far.

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Under questioning from Democrats, Tim Morrison, the former top National Security Council official for Russia and European affairs, was asked to recall a September 1 conversation between US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and Ukraine official Andriy Yermak. That discussion has become central to the question of whether US military assistance to Kyiv was conditioned upon Ukraine opening investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden’s family and other Democrats.

According to Morrison, it clearly was.

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