The Campaign For DA


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Warning: This is Impeachment intensive because I'm stunned at how Trump and Fox News are spinning what happened yesterday. 
  • It all involves around the testimony of Gordon Sondland -- who also gave us the greatest picture so far. Sondland, you may recall, was named Ambassador to the EU after giving Trump $1 million.
  • Understand the allegations are that Trump wanted two things from Ukraine and had two things to bribe the country with. What was wanted: (A) An announcement that the country was investigating Burisma/Biden, and (B) An announcement they were investigating itself, and not Russia, as being the source of the election interference in the 2016 presidential race. What would could be used as a bribe: (C) $400 million in aid and (D) A face to face between the new president of Ukraine with Trump.
  • The bombshell: Sondland, completely and without reservation, said Trump ordered all those involved to work with, whether they wanted to or not, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, in turn, orchestrated all of them working together to obtain announcements of "A" and "B" in exchange for "D", the meeting. He called it a quid pro quo. He said everyone knew about it: Pence, Pompeo , Mulvaney, and Perry. Giuliani could strong arm Ukraine by telling them that he controlled "D", the meeting. (Giuliani, of course, couldn't tell the Ukrainians that he controlled "C", the aid.)  They all worked together and even went so far as to work on the wording of the "announcements" and even began arrangements to book the Ukraine president on CNN. Sondland confirmed he talked to Trump at a restaurant about how the "investigations" were going. Sondland will specifically tell the Ukrainians on July 10th that the meeting, "D", is conditioned on "A" and "B". The Republicans on the panel were completely taken aback. There's no way around it. This, in the words of none other than Ken Starr, is a bombshell. 
  • A note about "C", the aid: Sondland wasn't as bold in saying Trump ordered "A" and "B" for "C". He presumed it to be the case  but wouldn't say it to be a fact.  (His wording that he could only "presume" it to be part of a quid pro quo did Trump a solid. But the presumption is well founded. Hell, even the "transcript" says Trump wants a "favor" for the Javelins ("C") in exchanged for an investigation into the DNC server being in the Ukraine's hands (conspiracy) theory, "A", and an investigation of Burisma, "B".
  • But let me tell you about an all out fraud that Trump and Fox News are running with. Here's how it went down and is going down at this moment: 
    • Sondland talked to Trump on September 9th. Before that call, the Whistleblower had already filed his complaint. Congress knew about it. The White House knew about it. Everyone was on notice that trouble is brewing.
    • On that day and before the call, Sondland received a text from Bill Taylor saying,  "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance ['C'] for help with a political campaign ['A' and 'B']." Everyone knows the gig is up. 
    • Sondland, who once again is Trump's appointee, called Trump after the text. Trump, now having been advised about the Whistleblower complaint and with time to come up with a defense, gets his on-the-record denial and ridiculously, for the first time, uses the words quid pro quo in his favor: ""I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing."  This is nothing different than denying a crime after you committed it.  It is exactly the "Crank call! Crank call!" from Pulp Fiction.
    • But they now have their talking point for Fox News: "Donald Trump specifically told Sondland no quid pro quo for monetary aid!" They act like Trump said this from the very beginning. That's ain't true. That's trying to pull off a fraud.
      From this morning on Fox and Friends
    • And then, yesterday morning, Trump walks out on the White House lawn and goes into a, "Did you hear him!? Did you hear what he said I said!?" performance. And he has even brought big notes to read.
    • How does everyone else handle it this morning? With the truth about the big bombshell from Sondland: Trump ordered them to get "A" and "B" for "D". 
  • Drives me nuts.
  • And, of all things, Giuliani was on with Glenn Beck yesterday saying he's not done in the Ukraine. Good, lord. Even Fox News can't believe it:
  • Messenger: Above the Fold (I forgot again yesterday.)
  • Extra front pages today . . .


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Butterfly Effect:
  • I can't tell you how ridiculous this is. There's no reason an assistant DA could represent the DA in the contempt proceeding (a visiting judge ruled so just last week), and the amount of $30,000 is robbery.  There's no way the DA is going to jail in this contempt proceeding -- a fine is the worst thing that will happen and even that's unlikely -- but the county is writing a check with taxpayer money like he's a family member accused of capital murder. And get this: The lawyer that the DA has chosen to represent him is the same one in the stalled Ken Paxton prosecution -- the one that is now in a black hole because the county doesn't want to pay him $300 an hour.   He's charging the DA in the contempt case $400 an hour!
  • Trump explained his trip to the hospital. So his wife didn't know about a planned physical and when she thought he was having a heart attack she had no way to get in contact with him? (The biggest lie is that she would ever refer to him as, "Darling.")
  • In District Court in Wise County, some of the inmate court appearances are handled by video conferencing. The gallery can't see the inmate but can hear him. Some of the most awkward moments occur when one of them is brave enough to go off on his court appointed attorney for not coming to see him. In related news:
  • Note to a Wise County trooper who during a traffic stop told a former marine that "You are a disgrace to your country!": That's a bad look. 
  • Impeachment Hearings: I don't understand the Republican strategy. Why not just admit the obvious, that Trump pressured Ukraine to make an announcement on CNN that the country was investigating a political opponent, but say it was no big deal.   That's where this is headed. Why spend all this energy bashing good people who everyone knows are telling the truth?
  • Heck, that proposed strategy is the one used in 99% of the DWI cases that result in an acquittal: Yes, the man was drinking and driving. Yes, that wasn't the best decision to make. But, no, he wasn't intoxicated so it wasn't a crime. And, yes, he's learned his lesson and won't put himself in that position again. So, by analogy: Yes, the man made the call and put a little pressure on the Ukraine. Yes, that wasn't the best decision to make. But, no, that's not a high crime or misdemeanor so it's not impeachable. (Forget the "learned his lesson" part. Trump will never learn.)
  • Big Edit: Based upon Gordon Sondland's testimony at this very moment, they better adopt that strategy now. Any other defense is now over. He's flipping. He says it's a quid pro quo, Trump ordered it, "everyone is in the loop" and, if I heard that right, he has brought documents and emails.  Opening statement here.
  • I ended up in a brief Twitter war yesterday over whether a "good guy with a gun" stopped the Duncan Walmart shooting. Recall, one guy shot two people in the parking lot and then killed himself. But USA Today was the only paper to have a quote from a guy. Aaron Helton, who said another man pulled his gun and pointed it at the shooter's head.   I thought that was suspicious and my patented Skepticism Radar went off. I finally found the on-the-scene interview with Helton. He said that the bystander put the gun to the shooter's head, he stopped shooting, and, at that moment, "there were three bodies on the ground beside the shooter." (At thirty seconds into the video.)  Nope. That didn't happen. The three bodies including the shooter. That's why no one ran with the story, and I'm at loss to understand why USA Today included it.
  • Here's the year-to-date number of cases filed in Justice of the Peace courts in Wise County. (They are punishable by fine only. Speeding tickets comprise 1,855 of those cases.)
  • Welcome to the neighborhood. I've been licensed for over thirty years, and I can't recall a single time I've played the I'm-A-Lawyer-Card outside of work. (And that guy is the worst writer in the history of ever.)
  • This last bullet point is being written as I'm listening to Sondland giving his opening statement. Holy cow. It's over. 


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Well, we've got us a Full Blown Christian Yardbird controversy on our hands! In a press release, Chick-fil-A announced it would no longer provide donations to the Salvation Army or the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (although the press release doesn't technically mention those organizations at all.) The company has the gall to want to focus on feeding the homeless! This, of course, creates a great deal of questions. 
    • How will the Texas Legislature react after protecting the company's religious freedom with a a specific Chick-fil-A Bill last session?  They didn't plan on that freedom being exercised like this.
    • Will Gov. Abbott receive blow-back for at one time supporting chicken tenders which were in reality deep fried by the devil? 
    • What's that nice lady over at the Messenger -- the one who always has a count of days Wise County has gone without Chik-fil-A -- going to do?  Will she be considered a Dirty Lib who supports a non-God-fearing fast food restaurant if she continues with that bit?  And what about that suspicious looking guy? Did he know all along? 
  • The law practice over in Denton went a little Wild West last week.
  • This is a crazy story out of Waco. These two women were arrested after a traffic stop and are now linked to a double murder of an elderly couple in Plano.  Get this: They were driving two separate cars both registered to one of the dead. So did cops just happen to stop both cars at the same time? Nope. "As deputies were dealing with the first driver, a second car pulled up on the shoulder and a woman . . .  who was covered in blood got out and told them she needed to get something from the woman who was driving the first car."
  • I thought last week that 10-1 Decatur having to travel to Childress to playoff game seemed unfair. Well, this week put it to shame. The Eagles travel to Odessa on Friday. That's 330 miles away!
  • North Dakota has unveiled an anti-meth campaign to much Internet scorn and mocking. I'll admit that I thought it was a joke at first, but it's real:   Honestly, after about five minutes of being taken aback, I did a 180 degree turn on this. I think it's great. A campaign like this is to get attention, create awareness, and get people talking. It's a home run in that area. 

  • There were 90 indictments handed down in Wise County last Thursday. By my count, 56 of them were for drugs.
  • I'm not saying a family member is dating, but I heard she "had a DTR with him the other night."  Yes, that stopped me down in a state of confusion.  From the best I can tell, they talked about "defining the relationship." Sheesh. They better do that while they get off my lawn. 
  • Compare and contrast. Today's Impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman with a 1st Lieutenant Pardoned By Trump: 

  • A student photographer was knocked unconscious on the sideline at the Georgia/Auburn game on Saturday. She's fine and gives us this update. (Watch the event here.)
  • Well, certainly someone mentioned it over the last three years. No? Well then someone certainly took a picture. What? No?  In the world of lies, she gives Sarah Sanders a run for her money -- even if she is scared to hold press conferences.
    "Every office"
  • Does this happen more often than we know? There sure are a ton of "missing teen" posters in Walmart. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold (I forgot yesterday)


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • The Aggie Bonfire tragedy was twenty years ago this morning.  Twenty years. I've said it before: If you ever get a chance to visit the memorial site on campus you need it to do it. 
  • Remember that prostitution sting at the Radisson in Fort Worth of Meacham Boulevard? The  the Fort Worth PD implied that prostitutes were using the hotel as a base instead of clearly stating the sting involved cops at the hotel baiting prostitutes to come to them. The hotel was not pleased.  Fort Worth PD must be nervous because they issued a press release to clear it up. What's even more unusual is that the department admitted it "caused the hotel's reputation to be questioned and caused the hotel to lose a significant amount of revenue." Not "may have caused" but actually "caused." 
  • A 16 year old Allen High School student was shot dead at a "house party" on Saturday night. Yesterday in Fresno, four were shot dead and six were wounded at a "football watching party." 
  • Trump made an unplanned trip to the hospital over the weekend. He later claimed it was just part of a "physical", but we all know that's a lie. I wonder what happened? And for a guy who is all about optics, how in the world did anyone convince him that he needed to go to the hospital? And what was wrong that his on-site White House physician couldn't handle it? He was walking just fine when he left to go there.
  • I wouldn't rule out stress finally getting to Trump: 
    • (1) The impeachment hearings have him really bent out of shape. He's firing off a constant Twitter storm, 
    • (2) He was accused of witness intimidation on Friday -- even by Fox News, 
    • (3) He's mad at his Secretary of State for naming impeachment witness Bill Taylor a diplomat to Ukraine, 
    • (4) He just called another witness, one of Mike Pence's top aide's, a "never Trumper", 
    • (5) He got into some type of tiff with AG Barr in the Oval Office delaying a campaign trip to Louisiana by 30 minutes, and
    • (6) That trip to Louisiana (and three others) to support a Republican gubernatorial candidate resulted in a defeat on Saturday. Trump doesn't like being associated with a "loser."
  • Decatur's Police Chief Rex Hoskins is running for  constable in the Decatur-intensive Precinct 1. He has a genius platform: If he wins, he'll quit his 30+ year job as Decatur Police Chief.  If you like Rex (and I really do), you'll vote for him because you like him. But if you're a Decatur resident who wants him booted as chief of police, well, you'll vote for him, too.
  • From the corrupt Texas county that brought you the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, we have another! If a child "victim" says she doesn't remember (because there might not be anything to remember), a prosecutor has to disclose that information.

  • Trump's buddy Roger Stone was convicted on Friday.  
    • Why was this guy so close to the White House? Who is he? (Video.)
    • Random observation: I didn't know that in federal court the jury informed the judge they had a verdict by sending a note. In every Texas state court I've seen the jury just opens the door and tells the bailiff they have a verdict or, in high tone counties, there is a light switch or buzzer the jury can push. 
  • That Baylor/OU game was the most insane thing I've ever watched. Yes, it was gut-wrenching. But to prove to you what a Sports Genius I am, look at my text with a family member when Baylor was up 28-3.
  • Mrs. LL and I watched that game in a bizarre way -- one I've just discovered. We chose ESPN's "Skycam" broadcast. It uses just the camera hovering over the field and none other, and you can only hear the sounds from the stadium. No play-by-play or color. It's as close to being there as you can get. (And there's less commercials, the camera hovers over the scoring bench during extra points, and, much to Mrs. LL's delight, it shows the band at halftime.)
    Chip and Joanne were the "guest pickers" on College Game Day in Waco.
  • Get ready for your annual fraudulent story involving a reporter standing in DFW Airport claiming it is the "busiest travel day of the year." The Dallas Morning News starts us off. 
  • Well, it actually happened. These two Biblical scholars got together this weekend. 
    "Closed on Sunday, you're my Chick-fil-A" 
  • Bud Kennedy celebrated 32 years as a columnist at the Star-Telegram by posting this picture. I have never forgotten that headline after I saw it in news racks in downtown Fort Worth at the time.  There's something just so insane about it. I don't if was the use of the word "Slain" (not "killed") or that fact it was a "Poodle" (not "dog"). And the fact it was an "Archer" really put it over the top. 
  • Nope. Tariffs are paid by the American taxpayer. And most people call giving cash from one taxpayer to another "socialism."
  • Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa is about to have hip surgery in Houston. It will truly do your heart good to hear him singing and playing a ukulele. Turn the sound on. That's a heck of a voice.

  • Trump just tweeted he is "strongly considering" testifying. Place your bets.