How does one even begin to describe what happened this morning outside the White House?
Donald Trump, reading from large print Sharpie notes, yelled to reporters "I WANT NOTHING!"
Trump yelled his notes to reporters: "I say to the Ambassador in response: 'I want nothing, I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky, President Zelensky, to do the right thing.'"
And regarding Sondland, of course Trump doesn't know him. "I don't know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. Seems like a nice guy though. But I don't know him well. He was with other candidates."
The best burn of the day came when it was Rep. Jackie Speier's turn to ask questions of Ambassador Gordon Sondland. She began by countering a Washington Post fact check that the whistle-blower is protected and entitled to anonymity under the statute, which received three Pinocchios from reporter Salvatore Rizzo.
She was noting that credible threats to the employee's personal safety are a factor when she was interrupted by someone who sounds like Rep. Conaway, who pointed out that the article addressed that and still gave Rep. Schiff three Pinocchios.
She shot back, "The President of the United States has five Pinocchios on a daily basis, so let's not go there."
Watch the audience erupt into laughter and applause in the clip above.
This afternoon's testimony will come from two Trump Administration officials: Laura Cooper and David Hale.
Laura Cooper is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs. In that position, she would have been aware of any holds or delays in delivering military aid to Ukraine. She testified in her closed door hearing that she was told there were "concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance," and was told the day after the July 25th telephone conversation that the aid was on hold, and the hold relates to his "concerns about corruption."
Cooper also testified that she drew a "very strong inference" that the Ukrainians understood that the funding was on hold after speaking to Kurt Volker. She also raised concerns in a meeting on July 26th that holding the aid could not be legally done.
David Hale is the undersecretary of state for political affairs. He is the 3rd-highest ranking official at the Department of State and was confirmed by the Senate in August 2018.
Hale testified in his deposition that he knew about the smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, and had been asked to be involved in releasing an official statement backing her up. He also testified that it was likely Pompeo who made the decision not to issue the statement.
Once again, observers in Wednesday's impeachment hearing with Ambassador Gordon Sondland were moved to spontaneous applause after Chairman Adam Schiff's impassioned closing statement summarizing Sondland's testimony and again making the case for why they are doing this at all.
Here is the last 7 minutes or so, with the transcript below, but really, you should watch it because it just drives home how incredibly lame and immoral Republicans are with their idiotic defenses of the ONE PERSON who could stop and start the flow of foreign aid -- Donald Trump.
And as Schiff says at the end, "getting caught is no defense." And with Sondland's testimony, he has definitely been caught.
Transcript below. (Note: I didn't get the first couple of sentences in the video, but they're relevant to the overall argument so I included them here)
Calls for President Donald Trump's advisor Stephen Miller to resign from his position in the White House grew louder Wednesday as over 64,000 people had signed a petition demanding the White House aide's ouster by press time.
"We cannot allow white nationalists in the White House," the petition declares.
The signatures broke the 60,000 mark a day after dozens of civil rights groups signed a Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights letter demanding Miller be fired.
"Stephen Miller represents white supremacy, violent extremism, and hate―all ideologies that are antithetical to the fundamental values that guide our democracy," read the letter. "Allowing him to remain a White House advisor is a betrayal of our national ideals of justice, inclusion, and fairness.
Calls for Miller's resignation exploded last week after a Southern Poverty Law Center report on leaked emails from Miller to rightwing reporters exposed in print the White House aide's affection for white nationalist talking points and conspiracy theories.
According to HuffPost:
The Post-Star, a newspaper serving the Adirondacks in upstate New York that just a few years ago had endorsed Stefanik's re-election bid. Now, after her brazen display at Trump's impeachment hearings, they want nothing to do with her.
Ken Tingley offered this sober assessment of the Washington DC gadfly who manoeuvered her way to a congressional seat in upstate New York, for a district she's never lived in, nor seemingly knows anything about. One thing is certain, people don't like being embarrassed by their elected representatives.
Source: The Post-Star
Maybe we got this all wrong from the beginning.
After all, this Harvard-trained young woman went straight from college to a conservative think tank in Washington before ending up in the George W. Bush White House.
She never lived here.
She didn't really know any of us.
Before college, she went to Albany Academy.
Her exposure to the Adirondacks and the people she represents does not seem to be anything more than an occasional summer dip in Lake Champlain.
Not only is she not one of us, she never even tried to be.
After two incredibly long days of impeachment hearings, some news broke -- and this news is potentially devestating to Donald Trump and the GOP talking points. One of the arguments that the GOP had been making for weeks is that the Ukranians had no idea the aid was being held up. But, Laura Cooper, a high level Pentagon employee blew that talking point out of the water in her opening statement and during subsequent questioning.
Here is the story in a nutshell. Donald Trump had a call with Ukraine's new President, Zelensky, on July 25th. This is the infamous "Do me a favor, though" phone call where he talked about Crowdstrike, Burisma and the Bidens. No corruption, though.
Immediately after that call, the Ukranian's reached out the Cooper or her staff to ask about the status of the aid.
That is bad. It shows they had a feeling that something was off. They may not have been told that the aid was held up, but they suspected there could be a potential issue. And that suspicion led them to reach out to the Pentagon.
Here is what Cooper said when asked directly by Rep. Schiff to elaborate on what happened after the July 25th call.
SCHIFF: Did that connote to you that they were concerned that something was going on with it?
COOPER: Yes, sir.
Later in the exchange, Schiff asked if the Ukranian Embassy staff had also reached out to the State Department and Ms. Cooper said "yes" as well.
NOTE: NBC News cut the live stream at the beginning of the debate. See below for viewing options.
The Candidates qualifying to attend Wednesday's debate in Atlanta are, in alphabetical order,
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Cory Booker (New Jersey)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, Indiana)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii)
Sen. Kamala Harris (California)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
Businessman Tom Steyer
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)
Businessman Andrew Yang
Per Indiewire, the debate will air exclusively on MSNBC, so cord-cutters will need to watch it on the web.
The debate will stream for free on both the MSNBC.com and WashingtonPost.com homepages. The debate will also be available across mobile devices via the NBC News and Washington Post apps. NBCNews.com will be liveblogging the debate throughout the night, offering fact checks and analysis.
You can also listen to the debate on SiriusXM Channel 118 and TuneIn.
Melbourne, Australia's Disco Junk are full of the proverbial piss-n-vinegar that teenager ragers should all have. Their four song 7inch EP Underage Punk confirms any doubts of that. It's a rowdy little slab of vinyl and I am surprised it didn't literally detonate as soon as the needle hit the groove.
What are you listening to tonight?