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Archive of Articles in the "Russia" Category

The Phase Two Hearings Begin

[ Posted Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 18:31 UTC ]

Today, I watched some more daytime television. Eight-and-a-half hours of it, to be precise. Because it was time once again to view gavel-to-gavel coverage of an event that has only taken place three (or four, if you count Nixon) times in our nation's history: the impeachment of a sitting U.S. president. The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its work for now by voting on and making public their report on their findings of fact, and by doing so handed the impeachment inquiry off to the House Judiciary Committee. Which held its first public hearing today by opening with four constitutional scholars as witnesses.

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What Will Bolton Do?

[ Posted Monday, November 25th, 2019 – 18:00 UTC ]

The biggest remaining question in the impeachment inquiry now is what John Bolton is going to do (or not do, as the case may be). The ball is now squarely in his court, after a federal judge ruled today that Don McGahn can indeed be compelled to testify before a House committee. The judge rightly rejected the "blanket immunity" claim that the White House tried to use to block McGahn's testimony, but of course the case won't be ultimately decided until it gets to the Supreme Court (unless the White House backs down, which seems highly unlikely at this point). Bolton could either use this initial ruling as a reason for deciding to testify, or he could continue to play it coy. This could be a crucial step in the entire impeachment inquiry.

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Friday Talking Points -- And Here We Are

[ Posted Friday, November 22nd, 2019 – 19:30 UTC ]

That title comes from Fiona Hill's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings this week. When Hill confronted Gordon Sondland over the quid pro quo Trump was forcing Ukraine into, she angrily told him: "This is all going to blow up." To which she added, to the congressmen questioning her: "And here we are."

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Fifth Debate Roundup

[ Posted Thursday, November 21st, 2019 – 19:51 UTC ]

I'm veering away from the impeachment hearings today to write up my reactions to last night's fifth Democratic presidential debate. This morning's testimony was pretty powerful, and Adam Schiff's closing statement was one for the history books, but it'll all have to wait until tomorrow.

The Democratic field now has 18 people in it, as Wayne Messam formally dropped out but Michael Bloomberg formally took his place. Other than Bloomberg, the candidates who are still running but who didn't appear last night are: Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Joe Sestak, and Marianne Williamson. The ones who did appear on last night's debate stage: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, and Tom Steyer. Hopefully, by the next debate, that entire list will have shrunk a bit more, but these days you never know -- maybe it'll even get bigger!

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Two Plus Two Equals Four

[ Posted Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 – 17:24 UTC ]

You'll have to forgive me, but during this morning's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee by Gordon Sondland, I kept thinking of a few key passages from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you watched the hearing, you'll understand what I'm referring to. Here are the quotes that sprang to my mind during this extended math lesson:

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Day 3 Reactions

[ Posted Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 – 19:44 UTC ]

I'm starting to write this at about 10 hours in to Day 3 of the public impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee. The five minute segments are continuing as I write this, but at this point they could go on all night. Or so it seems -- you'll have to forgive me for being a bit loopy, since I'm not used to sitting and watching 12 straight hours of television at a time, and certainly not beginning at six o'clock in the morning (my time). So today's review is going to be rather choppy, as I type up what seemed to me to be the high and low points of the testimony so far.

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Friday Talking Points -- Everything's Just Impeachy-Keen

[ Posted Friday, November 15th, 2019 – 18:13 UTC ]

Rather than our usual weekly roundup, we are going to focus today solely on the public impeachment hearings. This is due to them being the most important thing that happened politically during the week, as well as the fact that we're admittedly more than a little frazzled sitting down to write this, after getting up at 6:00 A.M. and staring at the television for over six hours straight. Normally we would have used a good chunk of that time to sift the news stories from the past week, but that's simply not possible today. Nor is it all that important, because as mentioned everything else really pales in comparison to what is being witnessed right now by the American public.

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Round One Of The Impeachment Hearings

[ Posted Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 – 18:14 UTC ]

The first public impeachment hearing was held today, in front of the House Intelligence Committee. It lasted almost five hours, and painted the same picture as all of the closed hearings -- at least, for anyone who has paid attention to them to date. The case was methodically laid out by the Democratic questions and the witnesses' answers that Donald Trump abused the power of his office to leverage both a personal White House meeting with him as well as military aid appropriated by Congress to Ukraine to force the Ukrainian leader to publicly announce an investigation into the 2016 election interference as well as Hunter Biden's work for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Both of these were not some sort of broad push to get Ukraine to fight corruption, as Trump has maintained, but rather to dig up dirt on his likely political opponent in next year's election. As such, it is not only unethical and illegal, but also an impeachable offense.

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Friday Talking Points -- See You In The 'Burbs, Baby!

[ Posted Friday, November 8th, 2019 – 18:56 UTC ]

Republicans, it seems, are just never satisfied. First, they howled for a full House vote on impeachment. When the Democrats gave them one, they were not happy for some unfathomable reason. Then they demanded the end to "secret hearings" with no public transcripts. This week, Democrats began releasing all the transcripts to the public. When the first two were released, Republicans complained that the transcripts released were "cherry-picked." By week's end, all the major transcripts were released, putting the lie to this notion. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham, in a snit, said that he wouldn't be reading the transcripts, for some unfathomable reason. Next week, public hearings will begin. So of course now Republicans are decrying the very idea of public hearings, for some unfathomable reason (President Trump: "They shouldn't be having public hearings."). It's almost as if Republicans don't care what they're complaining about as long as they get to complain about something. Hey, it's easier than trying to defend the indefensible, we suppose.

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Friday Talking Points -- Infair To Rupublicans!

[ Posted Friday, November 1st, 2019 – 18:02 UTC ]

Does President Trump's phone even have a spell-checker? One has to wonder, when he tweets so many idiotic misspellings on such a regular basis. This week's gem came directly after the House voted on impeachment inquiry procedures, which Trump wasn't exactly happy about:

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