Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Holy hand grenade!

We still don't know much about what Fiona Hill said in her testimony. But we now have this.

Former national security advisor John Bolton is, God help us, the good guy in this story. He saw that Giuliani was up to something. He saw that Giuliani, who had no White House role, was skulking and scheming with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff. He saw that the scheme had something to do with Ukraine. And Bolton did not like the reek of it.
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, told Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to two people at the deposition.
That quote will outlive both Trump and Bolton.
It was not the first time Mr. Bolton expressed grave concerns to Ms. Hill about the campaign being run by Mr. Giuliani. “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation.
That quote, too, will live. One of these days, someone will write a bio of Rudy titled "Hand Grenade."

The lawyer she spoke to was John Eisenberg. Apparently, he was the guy notified by the CIA when Whistleblower Numero Uno emitted his first, tentative peep. Moreover, it is said that Eisenberg played a role in the decision to place the official (full) transcript of that phone call (the Trump/Zelensky chat) onto a super-secret code-word computer.

I remind you: That decision was against the law. Under 28 CFR § 17.22, you're not allowed to classify information "in order to conceal inefficiency, violations of law, or administrative error; to prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency."

Trump keeps telling us that the call was "perfect" and innocent. Then why was it so highly classified? Why won't he release the unexpurgated transcript?

Looks to me as though a certain lawyer could have some legal troubles. Perhaps he might be willing to identify the BARRbarian who helped him reach that decision?

John Oliver refers to this scandal as "Stupider Watergate." My suggestion: "Moran-contra."


Giuliani denies any Firtash link. In a previous post, we noted news reports that Dmitry Firtash -- the notorious Ukrainian oligarch/accused criminal/Putin crony -- was paying Lev and Igor, who were paying Rudy. (I feel as though we're all on a first-name basis by this point.) We also noted that the legal team of diGenova and Toensing -- that lovely couple from teevee -- are now representing Firtash.

I also pointed out that, back when  Firtash had a Democratic lawyer, Giuliani screamed about the Ukrainian's many sins. Specifically, Giuliani (correctly) called Firtash an associate of Semion Mogilevich, who may be the worst gangster in the history of the world. There are many Mogilevich ties to the various Trump scandals, as we've outlined in previous posts. (See the tweet embedded at the bottom of this post.)

Now we learn that Rudy got a cool half-million from Fraud Guarantee, Lev and Igor's company. Have you seen any evidence that the firm did real business? I haven't.
Giuliani said he was confident that the money he received was from “a domestic source,” but he would not say where it came from.

“I know beyond any doubt the source of the money is not any questionable source,” he told Reuters in an interview. “The money did not come from foreigners. I can rule that out 100%,” he said.
Of course, Rudy. Of course.

I mean, if we can't trust the guy whom John Bolton called a drug dealer, who can we trust? I'm sure Bolton used that term poetically.

Rudy also insists that when he, Lev and Igor all decided to take a holiday in Vienna, they had no intention of paying a call on Firtash, who lives there -- in fact, he's kinda stuck there, thanks to his legal problems.
"I wasn't planning to go see him," Giuliani said. "That was the last thing from my mind on why I was going to Vienna. There was a very important reason I was going that I'm not at liberty to disclose right now that will make it quite clear [Parnas and Fruman] were not fleeing.
Of course, Rudy. Of course.

I really think that Rudy should go with the story that they were in that town to hear Christian Thielemann conduct Bruckner's Eighth Symphony (which he did on October 12). "Thielmann conveys the spirituality of the third movement with a profundity reminiscent of the late Sergiu Celibidache." Rudy, if you're listening, just memorize those words and try to say them with a straight face. For a price, I could teach you to be a persuasive bogus Bruckner buff.

Did you know that Gordon Sondland runs a haunted hotel?
He owns the venerable Heathman Hotel in Portland, considered one of the most-ghosted establishments in America. According to lore, someone fell out of room 703 many years ago -- and ever since, all rooms ending with "03" have been active. It'd be nice if someone could provide a newsclip proving that the Great Plunge actually happened, but so far, I've not seen any documentation. Maybe one of our congressfolk can ask Mr. Sondland about that?

You can stay in the Warhol suite for around $450. For that price, Sondland should toss in some free Campbell's soup.

Unrelated but important: I've bitched about Nancy Pelosi a lot, especially after she allowed the Lewandowski hearing to devolve into insanity. Frankly, she should have gone for impeachment after the Mueller report. But let us give credit where it is due.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill to lower prescription drug prices would save Medicare $345 billion over 10 years, according to a preliminary analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Our final word goes to Seth Abramson...
A handgrenade with bad teeth?
As to Pelosi, will she drag the impeachment inquiry out to late summer 2020 then shut it down bc "not fair to republicans"?
Ever since 2007 and "Impeachment is off the table" I don't trust her to do the right thing.
If she drags it out past most of the primaries, the Senate trial has a better chance of going our way. Some senators are terrified of a primary challenge.
Perhaps you meant to call this fiasco the "Moron-Contra?"
gadfly, I was also trying to make a pun based on a well-known photo from the Bush era. The photo shows a pro-Iraq War guy holding up a sign that reads "GET A BRAIN, MORANS."

Is that image forgotten now? That guy used to be famous. Well, he had his fifteen minutes.

I suspect that he now supports Trump -- who claims that he was always against the Iraq war, even though he once favored it, albeit in a lukewarm fashion.
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