11/16/2019

Impeachment Hearings: Yovanovitch Kicks Trump's Ass

Apparently, President Donald Trump, who is just large sack of yams mashed with sadness, decided that he would try to distract from the impeachment hearings today. He first tried by releasing the pseudo-transcript of a phone call between him and Ukrainian President Zelensky that occurred before the one where he pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden's son.

Of course, it's a mostly banal congratulatory call, although Zelensky has the air of a desperate fanboy and Trump is his usual lumpen self. At one point, Trump pretty much compliments Zelensky on the hotness of the women in his country: "When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people. Ukraine was always very well represented."

Republican Devin Nunes eagerly read it into the record of the hearing as if it was a pot of exoneration gold for Trump when all it really proved is that, occasionally, Trump didn't commit an impeachable offense.

Besides, the rest of the day revealed that not only did Republicans have nothing to counter the genuinely cruel behavior of Donald Trump and his minions towards former Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch, but they looked smaller and pettier before someone who spent her career working for her country. Yovanovitch, composed with an edge of emotion every now and then, laid out how Trump's mistreatment of her and his bumblefuck betrayal of the work of the Foreign Service officers was a dangerous precedent.

Even more so, Trump came across, not unsurprisingly, as a bully and a cheap mobster, aided and abetted by other cheap mobsters, like Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. Trump and Republicans have been chanting for weeks to "Read the transcript," the memo that the White House put out of the second call, the July 26 one between Trump and Zelensky. So when that memo was quoted, remember that that is what Trump was admitting he said. And what he said about Yovanovitch was "Well, she' s going to go through some things."

Asked about that by Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman, Yovanovitch responded, "It didn't sound good. It sounded like a threat." Goldman asked her if she felt "threatened," and she said, "I did."

That should be that on impeachment. It's simple: The president of the United States threatened an American ambassador to another leader. What more do you need?

The whole thing is pathetic because, as Yovanovitch said, Trump could have just recalled her for no reason, but he decided to use Giuliani and assorted goons to smear "the woman," as Trump made sure to specify to Zelensky. You may have the right to fire someone. You don't have the right to spread lies about them because they suit your political purposes. And your decisions can be questioned, even investigated. That's how this shit works.

But Trump wasn't going to let "the woman" get away with talking shit about him. So, of course, of course, of course, he tweeted in the middle of the hearing. Of course, of course, of fucking course, it was a completely scurrilous, lie-filled, stupid attack on Yovanovitch. "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him," he said, before asserting his "absolute right" to change ambassadors, which not even Yovanovitch was questioning. For the record, she was a low-level officer in Somalia so I'm pretty sure it'd be awfully fucking hard to be responsible for that nation's descent into chaos. And, yeah, Zelensky brought up Yovanovitch because Trump had brought her up first and he was obviously, and nauseatingly, sucking up to Trump.

The real damage, though, is that in real time, with the fucking nation watching, Trump committed witness intimidation. He was trying to silence her, discredit her, and send a message to anyone who would fuck with him. And to anyone who says it wasn't intimidation, you haven't been subject Trump's idiot hordes sending death and rape threats to any woman who dares cross him. And to anyone who would say, "Well, it can't be intimidation because she wouldn't have known about the tweet if Committee Chair Adam Schiff hadn't read it to her," I'd say, "Shut up, you dumb motherfucker. They take breaks. You don't think she'd've been told about it, you savage shitheel? Just shut the fuck up!" and then I'd throw my drink in your stupid face.

Republicans barely tried to ding Yovanovitch. They knew they had nothing. Oh, sure, they tried to say that her testimony had nothing to do with the subject of impeachment - the attempt to bribe Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden - but, as Schiff and others said, umm, she's in the phone call. How is she not important? The one attempt at a gotcha moment was when a couple of the GOP stooges brought up that, prior to her 2016 confirmation hearing before the Senate, Democrats prepping her had raised Biden and the Ukrainian company that hired him, Burisma. To Republicans, this showed that Democrats knew something was hinky with the deal. But, really, and come the fuck on, it was because they suspected that the GOP would ask about it.

But here's the thing: In that confirmation hearing and in written questions, not a single Republican senator bothered to do so. It didn't fucking matter enough to them to do so. And she was confirmed on a voice vote.

Then the day ended with the closed-door testimony of State Department aide David Holmes, who overheard a blustering Trump on the phone with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland talking specifically about investigating Biden, followed by the revelation that one of the Russians who helped smear Yovanovitch, Lev Parnas, was sent by Trump to pressure Ukraine on the investigation.

This dime store Mafia in the White House is getting its ass handed to it by the bureaucrats who actually give a shit about the United States. 

11/13/2019

Impeachment Hearings: Devin Nunes Leads the GOP Shit Spewers

Of course, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the leading minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, was going to bring up the nude photo prank today, the first day of public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump. Nunes brought it up at the start of the inquiry back in late September, so he's a little obsessed with this. The story is simple: In April 2017, a pair of Russian pranksters pretended to be Ukrainians, with one specifically saying he was the leader of the Rada, Ukraine's parliament, and they called and got through to Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, currently chair of the House Intelligence Committee. They told Schiff that a female Russian TV star had had an affair with Trump and now possessed nude photos of him. They also had recordings, they claimed, of the woman and a journalist discussing this kompromat. Schiff was poker-voiced through the entire thing and ended it by saying he would refer it to the FBI. That's it. That's the whole episode. Schiff's spokesperson said later that Schiff suspected it was a prank.

For Nunes and others on the right, the fact that Schiff didn't yell, "Bullshit!" and cut off the call is prima facie evidence that Schiff cannot be trusted because he so badly wants to get Trump that he wanted naked pics, which, let's be honest, no one fucking wants ever, except possibly Devin Nunes. Nunes said in September, "Of course, Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump."

And today, in his opening goddamn statement, Nunes brought it up again, saying that Democrats want Americans to "forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials." No one asked for Trump dick pics to be sent to them. It's simply not true. But it was par for the course for Nunes, who veered between total cock and skeevy weasel for his entire opening, and it set the tone for Republicans, who were all just the most awful assholes and twatmites for the whole goddamn day.

Nunes took the hearing room and the country on a tour through the fevered shit bog of Fox "news" and Twitter-twisted conspiracy theories, dropping items and names that meant just about nothing to rational humans. But they were signals to the drooling hordes of Trump voters that every lie that has been Hannitied into their tiny brains would be trotted out. "For years they accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia when they themselves were colluding with Russia by funding and spreading the Steele dossier, which relied on Russian sources," he said, which is like a parfait of lies layered with slander with bullshit sprinkles on top. I mean, fucking hell, Nunes even brought up Schiff mocking Trump's phone call with Zelensky, which is something Trump can't get over.

He dropped in Alexandra Chalupa (do yourself a favor and don't google her), he lied about the whistleblower and his lawyer, and he offered that witnesses were subject to "a closed-door audition process in a cult-like atmosphere in the basement of the Capitol, where the Democrats conducted secret depositions." Yeah, bitch, they were so secret that dozens of Republicans could attend and ask questions. And "cult-like" is rich coming from a side that is worshipping at the bone-spurred feet of its orange idol.  Of course, they brought up Hunter Biden, and no one asked the GOP members, "Hey, motherfuckers, you ran the joint for two years. How come you didn't investigate him then?"

Seriously, if there is a God and lying matters to Him, then Nunes should have been squeezed by His holy fingers and popped like a filthy human pimple. The fact that that didn't happen is absolute proof to me that either there is no God or he just fucked off out of here a long time ago.

The right-wing nutzoid part of Onlineville fucking lapped it up like Jesus's jizz.  Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit declared that Nunes just "destroyed Democrats." The Blaze said Nunes "shredded" them. Katie Pavlich at the conservative shitpot Townhall squeed that Nunes "did not hold anything back and slammed Democrats for damaging the country." No, I'm not linking to any of them because fuck them all. Fuck. Them. All. Individually and as a group. Fuck 'em.

There are competing narratives going on here: one based on facts and law and observable reality, and another based on whatever batshit thing they can get away with saying. And it's going to infect this process until there is something so shocking and compelling that it breaks through to the 35-40% or so of Americans who get their news from fucking liars.

What's going on now is that Republicans are throwing up a screen of shit, just shooting shit out of their mouths and through their social media and their websites, hoping they can create an opaque curtain of shit that they can hide behind until this all passes. It's disgusting and harmful, but they're Republicans. "Disgusting and harmful" is pretty much their motto now.

11/07/2019

In the Trump Foundation Lawsuit, Donald Trump Admitted He Broke the Law

Oh, listen, dear children of America. There was a time, a generation ago now, when the financial conduct of president of the United States was enough to prompt an endless investigation by the Justice Department. You might have heard about how, way back in the 1990s, President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about getting blow jobs from a White House intern (Monica Lewinsky, who is ten kinds of awesome nowadays).

Except, see, what started the investigation into Bill Clinton was a hinky land deal that both Bill and Hillary Clinton were involved in before Bill became president. Without getting too much into the weeds of Whitewater, there were allegations of fraud and financial improprieties, none of which had anything to do with Clinton's job as president, but it was enough to stoke the engine of the right-wing rage machine for years.

Except, see, the Clintons were cleared of any wrongdoing on it, by the same independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, who ended up finding the blow job lie. They didn't do the supposedly really bad crimes, so the GOP had to settle for the semen-stained dress.

Today, in the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Saliann Scarpulla agreed to a settlement on a case involving Donald Trump, his three terrible older crotch spawn, and his disgraced charitable foundation. The settlement had the president of the United States admitting to breaking the law and being forced to pay a $2 million penalty. Those laws include "breach of fiduciary duty and waste under New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law" and "failure properly to administer Foundation assets and waste under New York’s Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law."

The decision goes on, "A review of the record, including the factual admissions in the Final
Stipulation, establishes that Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation and
that waste occurred to the Foundation." I'm no fancy lawyer,  just a big city blogger, but that seems to me that Trump is admitting he broke the law. A "factual admission" here means that the defendant, Trump, agrees with the court.

Scarpulla gutted Trump's big 2016 show where was going to raise and give a bunch of money to veterans: "Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign." Trump has to pay $2 million that will be distributed to charities like the United Negro College Fund and, in an in-yer-stupid-face to Trump's Nazi supporters, the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

The reason the judge gave for no additional penalties is that "Mr. Trump has stipulated to a number of proactive conditions so that the conduct which engendered this petition should not occur in the future." Yeah, tough guy Trump totally punked out and did what Scarpulla wanted. As New York Attorney General Letitia James, who did want more fines, put it, "No one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States." I suppose we shall see about that in the long run.

So this is where we are: Bill Clinton would have been excoriated had any slight illegality been proven on Whitewater, which was over and done before he even ran for president, but he was innocent. Donald Trump admits, in a court document, that he broke laws that govern charities, laws that were broken in service of him running for president. It's a bit worse than Whitewater.

Donald Trump is guilty of bilking people out of money, lying that it was going to help veterans' organizations and instead using charity to further his campaign. It seems like it ought to be a really big deal.

And somehow that's just supposed to be okay now and it's just another log tossed on the scandal bonfire, ready to burn into ash and blown away, forgotten, like the Trump University lawsuit, in the smoke that engulfs and chokes the whole goddamn country now.

11/05/2019

Impeachment Transcripts Reveal That Republicans Continue to Be Utter Dicks

Yes, there are a whole bunch of fascinating things in the transcripts of witness testimony that have been released by the House joint committee looking into whether or not to impeach President Trump. From the unending obsession with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden to the mistreatment of people who gave their entire careers to serving the United States, only to see themselves treated like shit when this orange creep got into office, you can find nugget after nugget of pure impeachable gold.

Something else that comes through loud and clear is just how dickish Republicans are. Remember: these hearings were done behind closed doors in order to investigate the alleged crimes, with the knowledge that there would be a transcript. So Republicans on the committee aren't performing for the cameras. They want to go down in history as vigorous nuzzlers of Donald Trump's balls, and they like to do it from behind so they get a face full of taint while rubbing themselves on his walnut scrotum, getting that scent all over them. 

In the hearing with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Chair Adam Schiff, a Democrat, obviously, patiently allows Republican Lee Zeldin from New York to question Schiff's authority to even hold a hearing. Schiff dismisses the obvious bullshit and attempts to move on, but Trump's loyal "Boo" buddy, Mark Meadows, jumps in to "point of order" the hell out of the situation for no good reason. Schiff is able to get the deposition under way. During the questioning, Meadows goes out of his dickish way to ask Yovanovitch about everyone who has been mentioned in the conspiracy theory quarters of Fox "news" and in even more devolved places, but he gets nothing. 

Even worse was freshman cockknob Scott Perry, who just decides to give shout-outs to all his right-wing crazies. He asks her if her staff was looking into the social media accounts of people like Sebastian "Discount Bin Bond-Knockoff Villain" Gorka, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Pam fuckin' Gellar. And, as if from the fevered, Cheeto-stained fingers of an incel in a Pepe the Frog "Fuck your feelings" shirt, he asks, "Do you know if you promoted the use of the following search terms intersecting with the above people: 'Yovanovitch,' 'Ukraine ambassador,' 'Ukraine Soros,' or 'Ukraine Biden'?" She did not.

The hearings have just gone like this. Schiff brings it to order, makes an opening statement about the witness, and turns to the Republicans. Some asshole like Jim Jordan gives a bitchy whine of a complaint about the process and accuses Schiff of being evil. Then Schiff tries to get to the interview, which prompts another asshole like Meadows to jump in for a point of order or parliamentary inquiry and then, when recognized by Schiff, goes deeper into his own assholishness. 

Sometimes it gets even stupider, as when toothy douche Michael McCaul of Texas asked to make another opening statement after Jordan during the interview with Ex-State Department Adviser Michael McKinley. McCaul tried to say some bullshit about Schiff being unfair and Schiff bitch-slapped by reminding him that "Unlike Watergate and unlike the Clinton impeachment, there is no
special counsel who has investigated the President's misconduct vis-a-vis Ukraine. We are, therefore, forced to do it."

This pattern continued in the testimony of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, usually led by Jordan, with special appearances by creepy-ass Devin Nunes and others. 

We're getting a wave of revelations in these transcripts (or, in the case of Sondland, in his supplemental testimony which might as well be titled "Please Don't Take My Hotels Away"). Some of it is surprising in how deep this particular pit of bullshit goes. But one thing that hasn't changed is that Republicans are standing firm to their dickish ways. They're not going to ask reasonable questions and they're going to act outraged that anyone is even doing any questioning.

Motherfuckers cannot be reformed. And thus more mothers get fucked.