Monday, September 30, 2019


Trump accuses a U.S. congressman of "treason" (having reminded us a couple of days ago that the penalty for treason is death)
This is the country this monster has given us: now the whistleblower has been taken into protective custody because of the feral hatred Trump has whipped up
"It’s hard to describe how dangerous and loathsome that invitation to violence is." 

[NB: Give me a minute please. We are past partisanship or the rough and tumble of politics. Faced with an accusation -- BASED ON THE FACTS OF HIS OWN ACTIONS -- that will likely lead to his impeachment and an almost certain electoral loss, Trump is now lashing out with calls of treason and the punishment of death for his accuser and those who oppose him. Yes he is a monster without scruples. But for those afraid to challenge him, the question is now clear: He clearly feels no bounds any more besides the advancement of his interests. If he were to receive a second term there would be nothing to stop him. Are Republicans ready to accept the responsibility for what he might do next?]

Now Trump retweets this
“I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office, overturn the 2016 Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process. . . . If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress

[NB: He's panicking and trying to pull the country down with him. We will hear more about the threat of Civil War if he is impeached . . . and we know whose supporters carry the AR-15s.]

We all know by now that Rudy Giuliani is FOS. He said he would be glad to testify to Congress if Trump gave him clearance to do so -- but Trump already had. Then he said he wouldn't testify if he had to talk to Adam Schiff, then said he would testify only if Schiff would resign, which of course Schiff has no reason to do and won't do. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that maybe Rudy doesn't really want to testify 

Biden Campaign Demands TV News Execs Stop Booking Giuliani

Here's what I want to know: how many former Trump officials with some degree of integrity and decency will start coming forward now? 
Former White House National Security Advisor Tom Bossert said on Sunday that he’s “deeply frustrated” how Rudy Giuliani and the rest of President Donald Trump’s legal team keep pushing the DNC server hack conspiracy theory . . . “It’s not only a conspiracy, it is completely debunked,” Bossert told ABC News’ “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos. The former national security advisor said he was “deeply frustrated with what [Giuliani] and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the President.”

It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again and for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity,” Bossert added. “The United States government reached its conclusion on attributing to Russia the DNC hack in 2016 before it even communicated it to the FBI, long before the FBI ever knocked on the door at the DNC.” 

Real news from Fox News
“Fox News has learned that the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council were ‘unanimous’ in supporting the aid to Ukraine, and that Trump acted alone in withholding the aid over the summer.”

What does THIS tell you?
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe President Trump’s encouragement of a foreign leader to investigate Trump’s political rival and his family is a serious problem, but only 17% said they were surprised by the president’s actions . . . 

Let’s step back.
Forget, for the moment, whether there was an implicit or explicit quid pro quo in Trump suspending and dangling aid to Ukraine just before he asked Ukraine’s president for help dishing dirt on his likeliest 2020 opponent.
Forget, too, whether there was “pressure” applied.
Forget the whistleblower’s (well-supported) allegations that the White House attempted a coverup after the conversation, or that Trump’s lieutenants followed-up extensively with Ukraine.
Forget Rudy Giuliani’s back-channel diplomacy and the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Forget that the White House and the Justice Department attempted to quash the whistleblower complaint.
Forget that Trump essentially confirmed the veracity of the complaint by calling those who provided information for it “spies” and suggesting they committed the capital offense of “treason.”
And forget the umpteen other instances of Trump’s lawbreaking, abuse of power and obstruction of justice, 17 of which I outlined this week. . . .
Even setting all of that aside, what the White House put out this week was enough: The president broke the law when he solicited political help from Ukraine. In doing so, he put his political interests above the national interest. How can Republicans defend the indefensible?

The impeachment messaging war to come

I love it. In addition to Rudy Giuliani, the famed husband/wife team of Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing -- ace lawyers and regular denizens of Fox World -- were helping to dig up dirt on Joe Biden

“According to a top U.S. official, all three were working off the books apart from the administration,” the host added. “The only person in government who knows what they were doing is President Trump.” 

Now read this
As I noted yesterday, material that has been surfacing from The Hill’s ‘opinion’ reporter John Solomon and then echoed by Giuliani seems to originate with one of Ukraine’s richest and most powerful oligarchs who is a former business partner of Paul Manafort and had to flee Ukraine after the overthrow of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. He is in Austria, fighting extradition to the United States to face bribery charges. His name is Dimtry Firtash.

Viktor Shokin is the ‘fired prosecutor’ at the center of all these stories. As part of Firtash’s effort to avoid extradition from Austria to the United States, he asked Shokin to swear out the affidavit in which Shokin accuses Biden of getting him fired to protect his son Hunter. (There is no evidence any of this happened. There was no investigation of Hunter Biden or the company on whose board he sat at the time Shokin was fired.)

So to review, former Manafort business partner Firtash asks Shokin to swear out an affidavit in which he accuses Biden. The affidavit quickly gets into the hands of Giuliani and Solomon. And who just recently went to work for Firtash’s legal team? None other than diGenova and Toensing . . . So the duo who we now learned has been working on behalf of the President with Rudy Giuliani to extort the Ukrainian government just signed on to represent the oligarch behind the affidavit in which the disgraced prosecutor says Joe Biden got him fired. And yes, the oligarch who got booted from Ukraine in 2014 and is a former business partner of Paul Manafort.   

Trump is furious with Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (who wants so badly to be a REAL BOY) . . . again
“The sources say the President is not upset with Mulvaney for the White House releasing the summary of his July 25 call with Ukraine’s leader or the whistleblower complaint because he had been convinced that it was necessary.” “What Trump and other aides are frustrated with, according to the sources, is that Mulvaney did not have a strategy for defending and explaining the contents of those documents as soon as they were publicly released.”

[NB: I doubt that even Trump would be so wild and impulsive as to fire his CoS in the midst of a major crisis. But who knows?]

Trump is an ignoramus and a liar -- but all his proclivities are made worse by a steady diet of Fox News and lunatic ravings on the Internet
What happens when a president's brain is rotted by Fox News? 

Please wake me, I must be dreaming
Democrats are now eying Trump’s phone calls with Putin 
Just a follow-up. I hope you caught yesterday that the State Dept (after all this time) is RETROACTIVELY CLASSIFYING emails between Hillary and her associates, so they can punish them now for mishandling classified information back then -- when it wasn't classified at the time

[NB: One last chance to go after your 2016 opponent, who got more votes than you? Better hurry before you are forced out of office, one way or another.]

In investigation news . . .

Interesting. After the fiasco of Corey Lewandowski at the House Judiciary committee, Pelosi doesn't want Jerry Nadler to head the impeachment inquiry. And that committee has Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Louis Gohmert. So it will be Adam Schiff taking the lead instead

Schiff says House Intel has reached agreement for whistleblower testimony

TV analyst Jeff Greenfield offers five ultra-dramatic scenarios of what impeachment might look like

[NB: I vote, none of the above.]

In other news . . . 

Trump gleefully retweeted more than 20 almost identical messages about how loyalist Mark Levin "mopped the floor" with Ed Henry during a testy Fox News interview

[NB: Poor fella, I guess he has to take his little pleasures wherever he can get them these days.]

But for some reason he didn't mention this:
Fox News host Chris Wallace blasted White House adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday for refusing to answer questions about the whistleblower
Trump loyalists are working hard to defend the president. It isn’t going well.
You know your defense of high crimes is going well when you are cribbing your most cogent arguments from The Big Lebowski. [read on] 

Here's the blueprint
Trump’s playbook for planting suspicion

It is a real challenge for fact-based journalism to deal with a president who lies and spews disinformation almost every time he opens his mouth. If you just cover him you are giving him free air time to spread his B.S.   MSNBC dealt with it by cutting into his press conference to point out and correct his lies. That did not go down well in Fox World, as you might expect

Just another Republican thug -- don't watch this if you have a blood pressure problem

Bonus item: John Oliver on impeachment

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Sunday, September 29, 2019


Trump has delivered the case for impeachment on a silver platter. Keep it simple
“That’s the mantra we keep hearing from many Democrats in D.C. So many members of the House majority are befuddled by the hyperventilating over messaging, confused at the pretzels some lawmakers twist themselves into as they pursue impeaching President Trump. They say that what Trump has said in the open is enough to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors.” These Democrats suggest this message: The president tried again to strong arm a sovereign European country into injecting itself into the United States’ electoral process. Don’t take my word for it — just listen to the president’s own words.” 

“House Democrats are developing a new plan to deal with any White House stonewalling to their upcoming demands for records and testimony: They will use it as evidence for an article of impeachment against President Trump,” CNN reports. “Democrats are hoping that the tactic will force White House officials to make a choice: They could provide records to bolster the Democratic investigation, or they can resist the House subpoenas and add to the Democrats’ case that Trump has sought to obstruct Congress.”

In the infamous interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump was asked what he would say if a foreign government came to him with dirt on his opponent. Well, he said, I think you would listen. Nothing wrong with listening. 

Actually, there IS something wrong with listening. But let's be clear that in the Ukraine case it is even worse -- it is Trump as president going to another government and soliciting information: Do me a favor, look into my opponent and tell me what you come up with. THAT IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE RIGHT THERE. It doesn't require a quid pro quo: it is an abuse of office for personal political gain.

Now we learn that Trump was asking other foreign governments for similar help
During his closed-door speech at the United Nations on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he brought up his unfounded claims about 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s son with his emissary to the Chinese government. . . .  

The Ukraine scandal is the crystalization of everything cynical and twisted about this administration

Trump's denial is one of our big advantages
“One administration official described the president as ‘shell shocked’ by the sudden political gut punch even as he insists the impeachment fight will help him win reelection next year by rallying his base and angering independents.” Said a Trump campaign adviser: “I think he’s badly wounded right now. I’m suddenly very worried about 2020.” 

Will recently fired (I quit!) John Bolton tell what he knows?
Will recently departed Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker tell what he knows?


Will recently humiliated Attorney General Bill Barr tell what he knows?

Donald Trump sometimes seems to see little distinction between personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and AG William Barr.

[NB: Well, DUH. My question is, how much longer will Barr keep playing that role?]

In investigation news . . .

Public opinion is shifting on impeachment 

Will impeachment drown out everything else about the 2020 elections?

A Realist’s Guide to Impeachment

What will GOP Senators do, given clear evidence of Trump's abuse of power and cover-up?
“At this point, [Trump] could be caught walking out of a Federal Reserve bank with two giant sacks of money in his hands and no Republican would vote to impeach him for grand larceny,” said a senior Senate GOP aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Our voters want two things from their congressmen: [dumping] on the media and blindly defending the president,” the aide added. “That’s what being a Republican has come to.”

What if Robt Mueller had known that Trump told two Russian officials that he didn’t mind their 2016 election interference? (And -- why DIDN'T he know?)
That May 10 2017 White House meeting was the subject of intense scrutiny by the Mueller probe, because it went directly to the question of why Comey was fired. Page 71 of the second volume of the Mueller Report notes that “In the morning on May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.” . . . [read on]

If Hillary is guilty, that proves Trump is innocent? What the hell?
“The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email . . . As many as 130 officials have been contacted in recent weeks by State Department investigators — a list that includes senior officials who reported directly to Clinton as well as others in lower-level jobs whose emails were at some point relayed to her inbox…Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations.”

In other news . . . 

Not hard to read Trump's id: he rails against blacks, ethnics, and Jews as "Democrat Savages"

[NB: No mention of Pelosi, who is turning into his toughest adversary. Hmmm . . .]


“As Trump tells it, he is a hard-working and honorable president whose conduct has been ‘perfect’ but who is being harassed and tormented by ‘Do Nothing Democrat Savages’ and a corrupt intelligence community . . . Victimization always has been core to Trump’s identity, both as a politician and as a real estate promoter and reality-television star. It is the emotional glue that yokes Trump to the grievance politics of the right. Many of Trump’s grass-roots followers have said they feel protective of the president in part because they also feel oppressed and ostracized by elites.”

Watch how Trump leans into it:   
"They are trying to stop ME, because I am fighting for YOU!"
The scary, creepy wingnut drive to find (and kill?) the whistleblower
"Your president has asked for your help"

The governor of Florida
DeSantis insists that he backs Trump “100%” and has a “duty to protect him” . . . [read on]

I can see why
D.C. police union members outraged over Trump hotel holiday party 

Here is one sign that the Ukraine issue is different: even in Fox World people see that this was totally unacceptable and wrong. And key people on the news side aren't playing along any more

Trump’s Fate Is In the Hands of Fox News

Bonus item: Bill Maher on Trump and Ukraine
“I know why you’re happy this week: we have an impeachment inquiry,” exclaimed Bill Maher . . . “Look, there is a real chance we will know once and for all if Trump did the things he openly admits to doing,” joked Maher. “Well, he did admit it this week. You know, we saw a transcript of the call that’s at the center of this big controversy with the Ukrainian president where he asked a favor of the Ukrainian president, and this raises some serious questions, like: Is there a foreign country that he hasn’t asked to interfere in our elections?” . . . “Every day he says over and over that the phone call was a ‘perfect’ call,” says Maher. “My question is: If it was such a perfect call, why are you behaving like a bed-wetter trying to hurry up and wash the sheets? These people, they are so comically inept at covering up the crimes they are committing. The White House—this is true—wrote two pages of talking points about this, as innocent people do, and sent it out to the Republicans in Congress, but also accidentally sent it to the Democrats. This is the political equivalent of sending a d--k pic to your mom.” “And of course, who do they pick as the centerpiece of this? Rudy Giuliani,” added Maher, “who is not a federal employee—he’s an Uber driver, he’s an independent contractor. He’s at the center of all this, pushing the Biden conspiracy, meeting with the Ukrainians, which explains Rudy’s new nickname: America’s Traitor.” 

Extra bonus item: SNL is back!

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***