Trump impeachment hearing continues

Fox News: Yovanovitch testifies of being ‘kneecapped,’ as Trump claims everywhere she worked ‘turned bad’

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pointed her finger at President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani while detailing her sudden removal from her diplomatic post during Friday’s nationally-televised impeachment testimony, as the president fired back in realtime and said every place she worked “turned bad.”

Earlier in the week Trump claimed that the hearing was boring and not worth wasting time on.

Trump’s comments ignited an outcry from Democrats: Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff read Trump’s anti-Yovanovitch tweet during the hearing, and called it “witness intimidation.”

During her appearance, Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, relayed her story of being suddenly recalled by Trump in May, saying she believes Giuliani played a key role in telling people she was not sufficiently supportive of the president.

“I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me,” Yovanovitch said.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ousted-ambassador-marie-yovanovitch-testifies-trump-impeachment-hearings

Trump has released the transcript of an earlier phone call with the Ukraine president.

Fox:

At the same time the hearing began Friday, the White House released a new transcript of the president’s first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which showed Trump agreeing to meet with Ukraine’s president-elect — without preconditions — in the first official phone call between the two leaders.

Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., read the entire letter in his opening statement. A separate call between the two leaders ignited the impeachment inquiry, and Republicans suggested the new transcript is helpful to the president’s argument he did nothing wrong in his conversations with Zelensky.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ousted-ambassador-marie-yovanovitch-testifies-trump-impeachment-hearings

That’s a nonsense claim by Nunes. What was said in one call doesn’t negate what was said in a separate later call.

Trump has been busy trying to distract from the hearing.

Trump impeachment hearing

The US Congress is holding a hearing into the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump, with allegations he used the office of President to pressure the Ukraine into investigating a political opponent, Joe Biden.

Partisan lines have been drawn, with the Democrat majority in Congress pushing the impeachment process, while Republicans claim it is a virtual coup attempt.

A White House spokesperson called it boring and a sham, while of course Trump is grumpy about it all.

Remarkably (but probably not surprising given how politics and even law can work in the US these days) it is claimed that public opinion is the key to whether impeachment will proceed or succeed or not.

Real Clear Politics – Watch Live: House Impeachment Inquiry Hearing

Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testify in the first day of public impeachment inquiry hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearing by saying Trump’s alleged actions are not “compatible with the office of the presidency.”

Republican ranking member Devin Nunes called the hearing a “coup against the President” and “televised theatrical performance.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued the first public reaction to Wednesday’s hearing in the House impeachment inquiry, calling it a “sham,” “boring,” and a “colossal waste” of time

In his opening statement, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent said he thought “Giuliani’s efforts to gin up politically motivated investigations” had infected U.S. relations with Ukraine.

William Taylor, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, agreed, saying the “official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani” to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

Stuff – Live: The Donald Trump impeachment inquiry

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic committee chairman, outlined the question at the core of the impeachment inquiry – whether the president used his office to pressure Ukraine officials for personal political gain.

“The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” Schiff said. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander in chief.”

For the first time a top diplomat has testified that President Donald Trump was overheard asking about “the investigations” that he wanted Ukraine to pursue that are central to the presidentialimpeachment inquiry.

William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, revealed the new information as the House Intelligence Committee opened extraordinary hearings on whether the 45th president of the United States should be removed from office.

The anonymous whistleblower’s complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general – including that Trump had pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic foe Joe Biden and Biden’s son and was holding up US military aid – ignited the impeachment inquiry.

The hearing is the first chance for America, and the rest of the world, to see and hear for themselves about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offences.

The first witness, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, said he never heard any US official try to shield a Ukraine company from investigations, directly contradicting a core complaint against Joe Biden being raised by allies of the White House.

It’s hard to see this changing the minds of entrenched Trump supporters who forgive him just about anything, nor Trump opponents who see him as an egotistical and incompetent stain on the presidency.

Trump calls the whole thing a “witch hunt,” a retort that echoes Nixon’s own defence. “READ THE TRANSCRIPT,” he tweeted Wednesday.

At its core, the inquiry stems from Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy when he asked the Zelenskiy for “a favour.”

Trump wanted the Ukraine government to investigate Democrats in the 2016 election and his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, all while holding as leverage military aid the young democracy relies on as it confronts an aggressive Russia.

The anonymous whistleblower first alerted officials to concerns about the phone call. The White House released a rough transcript of the conversation, with portions deleted.

The White House has instructed administration officials not to testify in the inquiry. But over the past month, witness after witness has appeared behind closed doors to tell the investigators what they know.

The circus continues.

If polls are bad demand a new pollster

Donald Trump made the news a month ago (I can’t remember where) – his approval polls were better than Barack Obama’s at the same time in their terms. But that was brief as Obama’s polling recovered and Trump’s dipped.

While polling for past presidents has fluctuated Trump’s approval/disapproval polling has been more consistent – and worse than Obama, GW Bush and Bill Clinton just bout all the time.  See FiveThirtyEight How Trump compares with past presidents

Lately even the Rasmussen polls, which usually tend to favour Trump, have him -11% , and the aggregate is currently 55% disapprove, 41.1% approve.

There have been shows of public disapproval recently – here is the second:

A poll from one of Trump’s favoured media has been described by him as ‘lousy’.

USA Today: ‘I have the real polls’: Trump calls Fox News polls ‘lousy’ after survey finds 49% support impeachment

Trump’s ‘real poll’ has him on 100% approval – it has a sample size of 1 and a margin of error of 0%, according to him.

President Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed polls that have found growing support for his impeachment as a new Fox News poll found that 49% of registered voters think he should be removed from office.

“You’re reading the wrong polls,” Trump told reporters when asked about the surveys outside the White House. “I have the real polls. The CNN polls are fake. The Fox polls have always been lousy I tell them they ought to get themselves a new pollster.”

Keep changing the pollster until you get the results you want? Funny how he says that CNN polls are fake, but Fox polls are just lousy.

Trump said “the real polls” that came out that same morning showed that “people don’t want anything to do with impeachment.” But the president did not explain what polls he was referring to.

He may have made that up. probably. He is well known for making things up. Lying.

Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry for allegedly using military aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine into investigating potential interference in the U.S. 2016 election and allegations involving former Vice President Joe Biden.

Despite several witnesses who have appeared to corroborate the allegations against Trump, the 49% who said they want the president removed from office actually represented a two-point drop from the previous Fox News poll in early October.

When asked if there was a chance that new evidence could sway their opinion on impeachment, 57% of those who opposed it said there was nothing that could get them to change their minds.

There is a significant minority of Trump supporters who re unlikely to change their minds no matter what he says or does. But another significant portion of voters are the key to his re-election chances, if he lasts in the job long enough to stand again.

Thirty-four percent said new evidence could make them support impeachment.

Sixty percent of voters said they thought Trump had asked Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and 52% believed he held up military aid to add pressure for Ukraine to do it and 46% said the affair had worsened their opinion of Trump.

Trump and his Republican defenders have dismissed the impeachment inquiry as a politically motivated “witch hunt” but a majority (52%) of voters said it was legitimate. Thirty-nine percent said it was a “bogus attempt to undermine Trump’s presidency.”

The US political circus continues.

Of course there’s a chance that Trump will survive impeachment, and win the presidential election next year. If he does that will have more to do with the lack of decent Democrat candidates than his own achievements and behaviour.

Sure Trump has achieved some positive things. All presidents do. But one of Trump’s biggest achievements  is how much he has degraded the position of president of the United States. On that he is well ahead of anyone else.

With the help of his family:

 

Trump claims risk of market crash if he is impeached

It’s odd to see Trump talking of impeachment. It’s been a tough week for him, but while the guilty verdicts of Paul Manafort and guilty pleas of Michael Cohen reflect poorly on Trump’s choice of campaign leader and personal lawyer look questionable, the degree of legal jeopardy he faces is debatable.

I don’t think things are anywhere near impeachment yet, especially given that Congress still has a republican majority, as does the Senate.

This looks like a pre-emptive warning by Trump.

Fox News: Trump declares ‘market would crash’ if Democrats impeached him

President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt, warned that the “market would crash” if he’s ever impeached — while questioning why Democrats would even consider that course in the future.

“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job,” Trump said, in the interview which aired Thursday on “Fox & Friends.”

The president argued that he’s done a great job in office, despite the critical coverage in connection with the Cohen case and other controversies.

Further, he warned, “If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking, you would see — you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”

The president touted his economic accomplishments, claiming that the economy was going to be “down” if he hadn’t been elected.

“Had Hillary and the Democrats gotten in, had she been president, you would have had negative growth. We picked up $10 trillion worth.”

And added a huge pile of debt, which increases future financial risks.

It’s probably at least as likely that trump could precipitate a market crash if he stays unimpeached.

The US stock market has actually been on a record bull run since well before Trump took office.

Image result for us stock market bull run

Fox Business: US stock market sets record-long bull run

The current bull market began on March 9, 2009, when the S&P 500 was at 676 points, hard hit by the Great Recession.

Nine and-a-half years later, and the S&P 500 has rallied about 323 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has been the biggest winner, with a 611 percent gain, a clear testament to the strength of the tech sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has appreciated about 300 percent.

So the market may be overdue for a correction – or crash – regardless of a possible future impeachment.

Also from the Fox & Friends interview – from CNN: Jeff Sessions finally punches back at Donald Trump — hard

“I put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions never took control of the Justice Department and it’s a sort of an incredible thing.”

That was far from the only time Trump ran down Sessions in the Fox interview. He told Earhardt that “even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in.” Trump added that the only reason he gave Sessions a job in his administration was because he was loyal. And, in perhaps the most cutting and personal attack, Trump said this of Sessions: “He took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ I said, ‘What kind of a man is this?'”

“What kind of man is this” — a shot at both Sessions’ masculinity and his ethics.

What kind of a man, let alone president attacks the Attorney General like this?

Sessions has been attacked by Trump before, quite a lot. Unusually, this time he responded with this statement:

“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda — one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.

“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.

“I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.”

This looks very messy.

Mugabe may now be impeached

Robert Mugabe has refused to step down as president of Zimbabwe, so an attempt at impeachment is under way.

CNN: Zimbabwe’s ruling party plots Robert Mugabe’s impeachment

Zimbabwe’s ruling party has set in motion a plan to impeach President Robert Mugabe, who has refused to answer repeated calls to step down even after effectively being stripped of his powers.

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, which he co-founded and led for nearly four decades, ousted the 93-year-old as party leader on Sunday and gave him an ultimatum — relinquish the presidency by midday on Monday or face an impeachment vote in Parliament. The party has said it will introduce the plan to Parliament on Tuesday.

A source told CNN that Mugabe had agreed to terms for his resignation in talks with military leaders who have seized control in the country, and that a letter had been drafted. But the midday deadline to resign passed Monday with no word from the defiant leader.

Latest developments:

Mugabe loses allies: The embattled President has lost his most powerful associates, his party and control of the military, and tens of thousands of people have protested to call for his ouster.

Mugabe’s odd speech: The nation was stunned Sunday when instead of hearing Mugabe deliver his resignation speech, gave a rambling televised address that raised more questions than answers.

Deal or no deal?: A source told CNN earlier Monday that the military had given into demands from the President for full immunity for himself and his wife, but there is still no confirmation that Mugabe has accepted a deal.

Very messed in a severely messed up country.