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" had Trump saying he wanted 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 jig 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 . . .