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Friday, September 20, 2019

The Ukraine scandal deepens: Identifying the whistleblower and more

Both Rudy Giuliani and now Ukrainian official Anton Geraschenko have confirmed that this is a cash-for-trash deal: American taxpayers will give Ukraine cash if Ukraine offers "evidence" intended to trash the Biden family.
“Clearly,” said Geraschenko, “Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.”
Toward the end of August, the White House reportedly was considering whether to block $250 million of funds to support Ukraine’s military in its war against Russian-backed separatists. On Sept. 12, however, that funding was released, and even increased. Congressional pressure played a role, and it is unclear whether the whistleblower’s reported “promise” allegations, made soon after the Zelensky phone call, did as well.
Oh, it's plenty clear to me. I just hope that the American people understand that the pay-off destroys the credibility of the Ukrainian "evidence." This is why we don't allow murder trials to turn on the testimony of witnesses who get millions if they say what the prosecution wants them to say. 

Trump, in his press conference (if we can call it that), proclaimed that the whistleblower was party to an Evil Dem plot. He also claimed not to know who the whistleblower was. Obviously, both statements cannot be true -- unless someone can come up with a scenario whereby one can learn motive but not identity.

In a tweet, Trump said that his phone conversation was "perfectly fine and respectful." Then why the cover-up?

The most frightening aspect of this entire affair may be the assertion of both the Acting DNI and the Justice Department that they can hide the findings of a (Trump-appointed) Inspector General. The IG is the equivalent of Internal Affairs in a police department. Obviously, if a police chief were allowed to squelch Internal Affairs, corruption would reign supreme.

Hell, why doesn't Trump just allow the IG to present his evidence to Congress? Trump must know that it's all going to come out anyways -- besides, he and Giuliani have already pretty much debagged the cat.

I couldn't stomach much of Rudy's drunken antics on teevee, but his "You're goddamned right I ordered the code red" confession was pretty damned memorable. Actual Rudy quote:
"You want to cover some RIDICULOUS CHARGE that I urged the Ukranian government to investigate corruption. Well, I DID. AND I'M PROUD OF IT."
My god. Even the Trumpiest Trumpers must have cringed at that one.

Rudy's attempts to "prove" that the Bidens got up to perfidy in Ukraine are, of course, provably inane.

Is the whistleblower known? I mean, is the name known to people with better connections than I?

Conason here strongly suggests that he knows the name. At least, he seems to know the right pronoun to use (ruling out Susan Gordon) and he knows that Trump appointed him.

China syndrome. Rudy stated that Hunter Biden got "billions" from China. Where's the evidence that the Biden family has anywhere near that kind of money? The right has been pushing this nonsense for months now -- for example, here's Peter Schwiezer, the man who gave us the "Hillary and Rosatom" Big Lie.

Watch Schweizer. He always signals the modes of attack which will dominate the next election.

Here he is peddling the same crap for the New York Post. This isn't the place for a point-by-point takedown, so let's look at just one paragraph. In the following, BHR refers to Bohia Harvest, a Chinese investment company.
Finally, in 2015, BHR joined forces with a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American precision-parts manufacturer Henniges. Because Henniges manufactured technology with possible military applications, the transaction required approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. CFIUS reviews are required for business transactions that have potential national security implications.
Newsflash: Henninges is an automotive company. Not a defense contractor. They make parts for luxury cars. Sneaky Schweizer didn't tell you that.

But even if Henninges were a defense contractor, one fact would be beyond dispute: Schweizer is pulling the same sneaky trick he pulled when he tried to make the Rosatom deal look like something it wasn't. On both the right and the left, nobody but me bothered to ask the obvious question: If Rosatam's ownership of two American uranium mines is so damned intolerable, then why didn't Trump force divestment? He has that right.

Same shit; different election. If BHR shouldn't own Henninges, why hasn't Trump forced a divestment?

Here's how you can tell whether Peter Schweizer is a real investigator or a partisan hit man: If Schweizer is sincerely concerned about these foreign investments -- if he's concerned about principle rather than party -- why has he not offered one word of complaint concerning Trump's years of inaction? Why hasn't he mentioned divestment, as I have?

The truth is, neither Trump nor Schweizer truly cares about these issues except insofar as they provide fodder for anti-Dem smear jobs.

Almost needless to say, Schweizer's attempt to connect Hunter Biden to BHR is really, really strained. Read it for yourself.

Frankly, it's ridiculous to suggest that the non-Trump media is covering up for Biden. If you watch MSNBC or CNN at all, you'll get the strong sense that there are many on-air personalities who would love to knock Joe Biden out of the race now. If Hunter Biden had done something wrong, Chis Hayes or Rachel Maddow would be the first to tell you. I'm pretty damned sure that they would prefer Warren. And if they refuse to do the job, then the task would be -- eagerly, gratefully -- taken up by one of the many pro-Warren or pro-Sanders writers/reporters out there.

But...no. When it comes Schweizer's allegations, even fucking Salon won't go there. Nobody touches Schweizer's shit because it is, in fact, shit.

Ukraine, Russia and Trump
Here's Asha Rangappa:
But what the showdown is really about is the government’s inability to cope with an unprecedented problem: what to do when the president of the United States poses a national security threat.
And this leads us back to the Mueller investigation. Rangappa reminds of something that most people prefer to forget: The Mueller report did not tell us anything about the FBI's counterintelligence investigation. That's the truly important part -- yet it remains a Big Damn Secret. Why?
The final report lays out only the decisions to charge or not charge individuals based on the evidence collected, noting only briefly that counterintelligence information was shared with the FBI for use in its (presumably ongoing) classified investigation. As a result, the public remains in the dark on whether Trump may be wittingly or unwittingly compromised in his dealings with Russia, or if the FBI and the intelligence community have information to explain his oddly submissive behavior with world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Very few people seem to know what’s going on with the counterintelligence investigation: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, has said that his panel doesn’t know the status of the probe, or even if it’s still going on, even though the law requires the administration to keep the lawmakers up to date.

But counterintelligence investigations are stymied if they involve the president.
As she correctly notes, if anyone in the intelligence community becomes the subject of such an investigation, that person is simply stripped of his or her security clearance and assigned to a less-sensitive job. You can't do that to a president.

Worse, Trump exercises an almost unlimited power to control the investigators.
And because the procedure for handling whistleblower complaints related to intelligence doesn’t address — or really even contemplate — what might happen if the president is endangering national security, there’s plenty of room for the chief executive to cloak unlawful actions in presidential authority, making them harder to detect. The president, by virtue of his office, can easily “go dark” when it comes to conversations with foreign leaders, even if he makes promises or assurances that run contrary to the interests of the United States or even place the country in danger. Without oversight or accountability, neither Congress nor the public has a way to know, for example, if the president is using his powers as leverage for a country to confer a benefit to him personally or to undermine the integrity of our democratic processes in his favor.
Comments:
Curious. You've been suggesting there's a lurking Biden scandal that will cause him to lose before this latest whistle blower stuff happened. Is this the scandal you were referring to?
 
No. Not by a long shot.
 
A black face then?
 
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