Ukraine and Trump

When corrupt officials are praised as good,  then those just doing their jobs are bad because they see what is happening.  They know too much.    So bad becomes good, and good becomes bad.   Trump lauds praise on Ukraine’s former chief prosecutor as follows:

     TRUMP: “Good [responding to Zelenskiy’s comment that investigations will be done openly], because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.  A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved.”

The chief prosecutor Trump is referring to, is likely Yuriy Lutsenko, who did not leave office until August 2019.  He was clearly not a “very good man” and is very likely the unnamed co-conspirator in the federal indictment against recently arrested Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.   He has been charged with embezzlement and abuse of office.  Incredibly he did not have a law degree.  The Chief Prosecutor position  in Ukraine is a very powerful position, as the conviction rate is approximately 99%.

The former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, as shown on the left, has 33 years of experience and served under six presidents.  Her qualifications for Ambassador are excellent.  See the Wikipedia summary of her experience.

In March 2019, she was asked to extend her term through 2020.  But then in May, she was ousted.  She was called “bad news” by Trump  and the newly elected President, Zelenskiy surprisingly agreed with him, stating on the July 25, 2019 phone call, “she admired the previous President and she was on his side.”   I found Zelenskiy’s comments incredible, but I have a feeling that Giuliani and friends had told him what would please Trump.

It’s also possible that this rough transcript left out a lot, because she was gone before he became president.   From her testimony, she seemed very positive about the new president.   I have included her opening remarks to the House Intelligence Committee, currently conducting an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.   She was asked by the State Department to refuse to testify.  Marie Yovanovitch was ousted because of unfounded accusations  from Rudy Giuliani and others, that she was disloyal.    Please read her opening remarks.

The current impeachment inquiry will go deeper on Giuliani’s partners who had put making profits far ahead of political gains.   When you are working with corrupt officials,  what they will say or agree to, is just a matter of price.  See “Trump allies pressed Ukraine over gas firm in links.”

We are at the tip of the iceberg, as far as I can tell.   The Global Energy Partners (GEP)  with Lev Parnas,  Igor Fruman and Harry Sargeant III  as partners sought lucrative LNG export contracts from Ukraine, but met opposition from CEO  of Naftogaz,  Andriy Kobolyev.  So, through pressure from the US, they wanted to oust Kobolyev,  and replace him with a friend of Giuliani’s  Andrew Favorov.  Now there is nothing wrong with trying to increase US LNG exports. but definitely wrong when you meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine, just to get better contract terms.  So,  for a country trying to reduce corruption, the Trump administration was going the opposite direction.

There is a whole lot more to come out.   For those who really want to get the full story – it’s all out there, from Poroshenko, Viktor Shokin (prior corrupt chief prosecutor),  and Representative Pete Cotton (Republican from Texas, who wanted Yovanovitch gone in a hurry).   Certainly,  there are some big GOP donors out there, who did not want an honest and very intelligent ambassador in their way.  From the AP news story:

“As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors.”

It really sounds like something a hostile country might do – not one with principles and values.   I believe Mike Pompeo and Rick Perry are doing Trump;s dirty work, or at least turning a blind eye.    This is really an evolving story.

it is important to remember that Trump repeatedly praised Manafort as a “good man”  whose dealing in Ukraine made him rich.  Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort and  National Defense Advisor,  Michael Flynn both ended in prison.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

The President of Ukraine has been referred to as Zelenskyy and Zelensky, however I found recent articles prefer Zelenskiy.    Also Ukraine is often refer to as “the Ukraine.”

CNN: Giuliani’s case rests on two Ukrainians with checkered pasts and suspect motives

Wikipedia:  Yuriy Lutsenko

AP: Trump allies pressed Ukraine over gas firm

Wikipedia: Marie Yovanovitch 

Trump-Ukraine-transcript

Yovanovitch Opening Remarks at House Intelligence Committee (closed door hearing)

Ukraine Envoy Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Out Over Lack of Trust

Lutsenko is unnamed Ukrainian who led plot to oust Yovanovitch, says official

Donald Trump ad misleads about Joe Biden, Ukraine and the prosecutor

Two business associates of Trump’s personal attorney Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance charges

Impeachment inquiry

Just want to make a few points.  First, the impeachment inquiry is valid.  Trump’s actions really put it over the top.   Legal experts  agree that Congress does not have to pass a resolution in front of the full house, before proceeding with an inquiry.

The inquiry will examine the evidence of wrong doing by Trump.  It will be highly contentious.  No way to get around that.

Finally, I like Representative Adam Schiff.  He’s the right man to lead the inquiry.   He is intelligent, patient and does not engage in name calling like some people we know.

I suggested previously that this will end in the Senate with a vote of not guilty on all articles, with the voting split along party line.  For this reason, I wish the whole impeachment process can be concluded rapidly  and we can resume looking at who would be the best next president.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

 

 

 

 

 

Still against impeaching Trump

If you are a Democrat, you’re supposed to be wildly enthusiastic about impeaching Trump and if you’re a Republican, you call it a coup.  So call me a Republican, who cares! I don’t support impeaching Trump.  I support letting the voters decide in November 2020.

Impeachment will end  badly with the Senate voting down every article of impeachment, and Trump will declare he prevented an illegal coup.  This is the hard cold reality of impeachment.  The two times in our nation’s history that the Senate has voted on articles of impeachment, it has been in a highly partisan manner, No president has ever been thrown out of office by impeachment.  Nixon resign, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson both won.    There just are not enough Republicans in the Senate that will vote to convict.

Secondly, a recent article in the Washington Post (yes, the Washington Post that Trump hates)  makes excellent arguments why there really is no legal obligation for Congress to impeach a president for what they consider impeachable offenses.  It is really time some members of Congress get off their high horse, and see that impeachment is a radical solution, overturning the results of an election.  The US Constitution only states that our Congress has the sole authority to impeach elected officials for high crimes and misdemeanors and conviction means they are removed from office.

Congress need not vote to impeach.  They can stop after the inquiry, and simply say for the good of the country,  let Trump complete his last 6 months in office, in deference to the electorate that put him there.    Congress is not a law enforcement agency, but should act in what is best for the country.     Further, the trial of impeachment is not a fair trial with an unbiased jury.  It is just the opposite, a highly emotional and partisan trial.  Every American has the right to a fair trial except the President in the removal of office.  The question will be not whether Trump actions  were wrong,  but whether they rise to the level of impeachable offenses?

The inquiry will get bogged down with a long list of subpoenas and nuances about who said what.  It is going to be difficult to have a simple clear summary of the offenses.   Trump will claim that the Democrats are inventing their own facts and  grandstanding.     Sure,  there are important  questions here related to the Mueller report and  the whistleblower scandal.  At the end of the day,   Democrats will cry guilty on all accounts, and Republicans will cry innocent.   Trump has recently added to his international dirt finding mission, by enlisting Australia and China’s help.  Yes, things are getting nutsy at the White House as Trump tries to the old “distract and deflect” tactics over his reckless actions.   One commentator opined that Trump is trying to normalize recklessness and hubris.

If I were in Congress, I wouldn’t support impeachment.   Impeachment means months will be wasted ignoring very important issues:  climate change, China trade wars,  the stalled out talks with North Korea, and the worsening relations with Iran, potentially putting them back on to developing nuclear weapons.   Domestic issues are important and our immigration problems are not solved just by wll construction.   Yes, I’d like elections to be called right now, but this isn’t Britain.

I have no confidence in Trump and want voters to show him the door in November 2020.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

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Trump’s new occupation – Farming

Actually, he’s been at it for a long time.  Trump loves “dirt” and somehow I really believe he thinks it puts him out in front of the others.   He uses a blended mix, some actual facts mixed in with pure cow manure.  He connects up with experts in this area, who know how to concoct a good story and spread it on social media.   Trump did not write “Clinton Cash”  a book  filled with false accusations against Bill and Hillary Clinton, but he quickly connected with those involved, including Steve Bannon.

Trump has crossed the line between legitimate accusations and complete fabrication so many times,  he just doesn’t see the line anymore.    If you want to see a pattern of behavior that is so ingrained in Trump, you have to go back to his failed Taj Mahal casino, where he not only blasted a financial analyst who said his hotel was in trouble, but Trump was actually able to get the analyst fired from Barrons.  In this case, the story does have a happy ending, as the casino failed just as the analyst predicted, because revenues came up short during New Jersey’s winter months, and the analyst sued his investment firm and won.  I wrote about this in a two part blog, “I’ll see you in court”   See link

He needs help on his farm.  Sean Hannity, a commentator with Fox News is one hand who is so predictable and loyal to him.    “Sean, throw dirt on ___” and Sean will do it.  Lou Dobbs is another one.   The dirt farm bankers are the Koch brothers and Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire hedge fund manager, Robert Mercer.   Rebekah gets her way because she’s got so much ready cash.   She’s on the board of the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations.  The Mercers contributed 25 million dollars to Trump’s campaign, in 2016.   Trump aided by Steve Bannon was lambasting Hillary’s connections to wealthy elites, and Trump as an independent with a self funded campaign.  This was a joke.

Need more support for the dirt farm?  Got money  and we’ve got the time,  Ready and willing conspiracy inventors includes Peter Schweizer, who is a master in world wide conspiracy theories.   It used to “all about Bill” or the Clinton Foundation.   I haven’t  read any of his books because from all serious writers, they are filled with unsubstantiated accusations. For 3 years, we’ve had a Department of Justice, CIA and FBI, all run by Trump nominees.   Yet,  no indictments.  The person leading the “Lock her up” chants at the Republican Convention, Michael Flynn went to jail.   He’s since is trying to get into the Republican conspiracy racket.

A lot of investigations are started with little information.   But, at some point, prosecutors at either the state of federal level, have to decide whether a crime been committed.   Now, the right wing conspiracy promoters were forever saying there was a massive coverup, because  Obama’s DOJ was not charging either Bill or Hillary Clinton with anything criminal.   Sean Hannity or Lou Dobbs had  already concluded there was enough on them that any half wit prosecutor could come and haul them to jail.   Trump gave the impression he would and for the last 3 years, the FBI, CIA and the Department of Justice did not charge the Clintons or anyone associated with the Clinton Foundation.  Note that the Department of Justice employs 11,000 lawyers.

In preparation for the 2020 election,  Trump has extended his search for dirt to the Ukraine, Australia and China.  I’ll have to do each of the dirt expeditions later.   It does remind one of the McCarthy era, where there were communist agents hiding our FBI, State Department  and finally the Army.   Joseph Welch, representing the Army finally let him have it, after McCarthy

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”  Welch asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” 

Why do commentators like Sean Hannity continue to be Donald Trump’s messenger boy?  Because it’s great money.  Sean makes approximately 36 million  dollars a year.   This stuff really pays!  Remember, that Trump  loved to talk about draining the swamp.  Well the swamp is huge now.

So,  even after allegations are found to be shot full of holes by real investigative  journalists, the myths live on in their own little world.   And stations like Fox News really don’t care.  That’s the real tragedy.

The conspiracy theories tend to morph themselves into huge cover-up fantasies.  The Hillary email scandal “cover-up” now extends over both Democratic and Republican administrations and now, via Trump’s call, extends to a potential hidden server in the Ukraine.  Pure tabloid trash.  It’s the only way for advocates to keep the story alive without admitting that it was a myth.    I call it the hot air balloon effect.  To keep a hot air balloon rising, it must be constantly fed more hot air.   Conspiracy theorists like to link a lot of myths together, which include FBI and CIA covering up crimes, in  smokey back rooms, to mislead people the directors of their respective agencies (which happen to be Trump appointees) in the fantasized “Deep State.”  I guess now the Deep State extends to the Ukraine, China and Australia.  Where to next?

Hot air balloons tend to use up all their fuel eventually.

I think the farm has enough cow made fertilizer to last for the next 15 months.

Dave

Links:

Feds say Michael Flynn is pushing conspiracy theories in bid to hinder case

“Have you no sense of decency?” Sen. Joseph McCarthy is asked in hearing

Wikipedia- Sean Hannity 

-Sean’s latest target is Adam Schiff, which seems to involve mostly name calling.

 

I want it all, I want it now!

Wonderful lyrics from Queen + Adam Lambert, which was the closing act of the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York City.  Really powerful.

Even Donald Trump would like the lyrics, but with a slight change:

“I want all the credit, and none of the blame”

The stock market goes up, it is an affirmation of his good work and in defiance of all the naysayers from the left.

The stock market goes down, it can’t be the trade war with China.  Has to be the misguided Federal Reserve.

So it goes.  And Trump often takes credit for things he didn’t do.

I’m certain that’s not the meaning of these lyrics.  Wanting all from life, and not waiting for things to happen are the right messages.

Stay tuned,

Dave