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Public Impeachment Hearings Begin

Public Impeachment Hearings Begin
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The House of Representatives on Wednesday began holding public hearings on Donald Trump’s impeachment investigation.

The key to the decision, explains Adam Schiff (D-CA), is whether Trump used his position as POTUS to pressure the Ukrainian government to open investigations for personal political gain. 

“The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” said Schiff, who is leading the impeachment proceedings. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander in chief.”

The event was the fourth such hearing in US history and the only one to be broadcast on social media. 

President Trump phoned his Ukrainian counterpart on July 25th and asked him for a favor: to investigate the Bidens and to look into a conspiracy theory that Ukraine (not Russia) interfered with the 2016 elections. Trump has been accused of linking the request to $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, a sum that was frozen shortly before the phone call.

The situation is reminiscent of Joe Biden’s 2016 threat to withhold $1 billion in aid from Ukraine unless the country fired a prosecutor who was investigating the energy company for which Hunter Biden worked.

The key difference here is that Biden was successful in pressuring Ukraine to do what he wanted and Trump was not. The transcript of Trump’s phone call includes no mention of conditionality between the two leaders; but even if it had, the call cannot be defined as “quid pro quo” because the deal never happened. Ukraine received military aid from the US and did not announce an investigation.

Nonetheless, Democrats are attempting to portray the phone call as bribery (an impeachable offense).

“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday. 

Complicating matters is the testimony from US diplomat Bill Taylor, whose staff claimed to have overheard Trump ask UN Ambassador Gordon Sondland about “the investigations” he wanted Ukraine to pursue. Sondland allegedly told Trump that Ukraine was ready to move forward with “the investigations.”

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) described Taylor’s testimony as “hearsay” and Trump said he didn’t remember making the call.

“Neither of Rep. Adam Schiff’s witnesses testifying today listened to the original Ukraine call,” tweeted Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). “Both admitted ZERO firsthand knowledge of a ‘quid pro quo.’ They have as much inside knowledge about Ukraine call as you and me, since we can all read the transcript.”

Also of note from Wednesday’s hearing was the absence of Acting WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who has been identified by witnesses as a key player in the decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine. Mulvaney has ignored a subpoena to appear in closed testimony.

Also absent from the hearing was the whistleblower who filed the initial complaint about Trump’s phone call. Adam Schiff has vowed to keep the whistleblower’s identity a secret and claims he does not know the person even though his staff met with him/her. 

The next public hearing will be held Friday, November 15th.

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24 Comments

  1. Kinue Kleinschmidt

    Those not responding to subpoena’s should be charged with obstruction of justice

    Reply
    • Steven Silveus

      Anyone that works for the government should not be able to plea the 5th. Until people are held accountable for their jobs and what they are suppose to be doing, the criminal actions and their million dollar bank accounts will continue.

      Reply
  2. Kinue Kleinschmidt

    Republicans are just distracting and hiding rather than dealing with facts

    Reply
    • Tom

      What are the facts? Have the democrats found a crime yet?

      Reply
  3. Kurt Walker

    This is a circus led by clowns.

    Reply
  4. Derek Blurb

    Arrest them all and shoot them for expeditiousness, cost cutting and getting our govt back to the assembly line. We pay them for this drivel?

    Reply
  5. Jeanette Kelley

    It’s really disgusting to read a certain comment from “Kinue Kleinschmidt” above!

    “Republicans aren’t dealing with the Facts???”Those not responding to subpoena’s should be charged with obstruction of justice”

    People like this individual would’t know the TRUTH OR
    FACTS if it slapped them in the FACE! All these people
    leading this “SHAME IMPEACHMENT” are the ones who
    should be arrested and tried for TREASON against the
    American People and our Country!

    They are trying subvert Justice, Equal Justice under the LAW
    all because our President Trump Fairly Beat that LYING
    WITCH HILLARY CLINTON in 2016!

    WAKE UP AMERICA BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

    Reply
    • Joe S Bruder

      The fact is, the Russians heavily influenced the 2016 elections, and without that, Trump would have lost (and in fact, did actually lose by 3M votes).

      For the past few weeks, the hearings have been underway to determine if President Trump should be impeached. The White House has done everything it can to block witnesses from testifying. Republicans have grandstanded about the fairness of the “process”, which is not much different from the closed sessions when Republicans were persecuting Hillary Clinton (all charges dropped, by the way). Republicans are using name calling, witness imtimidation, and stunts like breaking into a secure room to distract from the actual testimony. And contrary to Republican beliefs, there are also Republicans in the hearings.

      Only in a criminal trial do you get to “face your accusers” and follow “due process”. This is not a criminal trial – it’s a hearing to see if the President should be impeached, and put on trial to be removed from office. It is following the procedures as outlines (however sparsely) in the US Constitution. To say that Trump’s conduct is unbecoming his office is a MASSIVE understatement. He has committed obstruction of justice multiple times (10 documented by the Mueller report), and many more publicly. He has used name calling and intimidation. He has openly sided with the Russians, Saudis, North Koreans, and every other rogue nation over the opinions and advice of US military and security organizations. He pulled out troops from Syria on a moments notice and handed over that territory to the Russians (on Putin’s birthday!), who have, by the way, now opened a base on the Turkish border. He brought Erdogan here, who frankly, was as disrespectul to Trump and Republicans as he was to the rest of the US citizens.

      Now, after screaming for a month about closed hearings, the transcripts have been released and Republicans refuse to read them. I’ve read one or two, and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. The President, along with Guiliani, a rich appointee to the EU ambassadorship, and his chief of staff, assisted by some Ukrainian mafia goons that he’s known for a long time but claims he doesn’t, ran a shadow foriegn policy in Ukraine. One of those mafia goons will be testifying next week. President Trump even released a sanitized transcript of the call that STILL showed that he extorted the Ukrainian President for an investigation into the Bidens (who have long been cleared of any wrongdoing). This operation lasted for a couple of months, until the whistleblower reported it and the operation was abruptly ended.

      Unlike Trump’s Russian election collusion, where his handpicked Attorney General Barr was able to clamp down on the investigation and hide the evidence, this one is out in the public arena. You can either listen to Republicans complaining about process and calling witnesses (like an Army Colonel veterans with a Purple Heart, and Foriegn Service professionals who have served for 40 years) disgusting names and grandstanding whenever they get the floor, or you can listen to the evidence being presented by the witnesses and calmly (if incredulously) questions by Democrats.

      As far as I can see, the Democrats are doing exactly what they should, Trump is acting guilty, and Republicans are trying to stop the process and save their Party from further embarrassment (hint, it’s not working). Trump is a traitor, he was extorting the Ukrainians for a bribe in the form of an investigation into his political rivals. He’s imtimidating witnesses, he’s obstructing justice, trying to make excuses and downplay the illegality of what he’s done, and he’s made the US demonstrably weaker in his time in office.

      Scream (figuratively, in all caps, or literally, to your mirror at home) all you like, but the facts are pretty clear. You just don’t want to listen.

      Reply
      • Lonnie coy

        I am impressed by your passion (caps or not) but quite dismayed by your ignorance of actual facts. And that has me frightened before our nation’s future. Our choice in the next presidential election matters not whether or not the candidates are nice people or if they are without blemish. Certainly we all are blemished. It is, however, between socialism and capitalism. Anyone who stupidly thinks otherwise really needs to quickly find the truth which will indeed set you free.

        Reply
        • Joe S Bruder

          All I can say is, listen to the testimony. These people, for the most part, are career diplomats and or decorated military veterans that have served both Democrats and Republicans in a non-partisan manner, some of them since the Reagan era. They’re all saying some variant of, “the President and his henchmen (for lack of a better word) have been extorting Ukraine for personal gain and against the interests of the United States”. Every one. They are all corroborating each other, even though the testimony was in closed hearings and they didn’t have access to transcripts. You can read the testimony from the closed hearings or watch/listen to the open hearings. Don’t call ME ignorant if YOU haven’t done that. If you think it’s a sham process, then watch it for yourself, don’t let FOX or Republican Congressmen tell you. They have a vested interest in protecting the Republican Party and their own jobs, not doing what’s best for the country.

          Reply
          • Lonnie

            Please don’t call me uninformed. I am a highly educated woman who, indeed, has both watched and read about the reports and hearings. I will not waste my time i arguing except for a few things. Watching these decorated people is unnecessary when all one needs to do is read and comprehend the actual transcripts rather than someone’s opinion of what was said . This doesn’t make it right but the lettered news stations are in the bag for the Democrats. I do, however, agree that most politicians are self-centered as are most Americans. Our country is in trouble but electing socialist-leaning politicians is far from a solution.

        • Joe S Bruder

          And by the way, It’s not just a choice of socialism or capitalism. Pure capitalism ends up with a handful of rich people that control everything and everyone else is poor. Pure socialism ends up with the rich being the politically connected, and everyone else is poor. Russia and China have a mix with more Socialism/Communism, and we have a mix with more Capitalism. We have rules and regulations to limit capitalism, and take some of the profits to educate our children, keep them healthy and fed, and to help the less-fortunate (for whatever reason) to live a decent life. Without Social Security, 7 out of 8 seniors would be living in poverty – yes, you can call that socialism (with a small “s”), but do you want to support your own family AND your parents (and maybe your grandparents)? Isn’t society more stable (also for the wealthy) if people have an education and enough to eat, and can work and earn enough for their families, without every penny they earn going into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy?

          Trump has, from even before his campaign, cozied up with the Russians, a Communist and Socialist state. It’s also an oligarchy, everything controlled by the rich, with Putin (arguably the world’s richest man) at the top. That’s what Trump wants for himself. Trump has, during his Presidency, praised dictators and lambasted our allies with democratic systems of government. He’s installed his children and rich friends at the highest posts in government, and he expects absolute loyalty from them. Almost every one that has left has had a cloud of scandal over their heads.

          THAT is what you should be scared of.

          Reply
        • Joe S Bruder

          Well, “dud”, I’m suprised you could even muster that much of a reply…

          Reply
          • Knock Knock

            Expounding on the endless diatribe that CNN has pushed into your pre-disposed mind doth not make you sound any the wiser. When the light finally shines through you will be embarrassed, Joe.

      • c stewart

        How does one “act guilty”. Especially when they released the actual transcripts?

        Reply
        • Joe S Bruder

          By altering the transcript. By classifying the transcript to prevent its dissemination. If it weren’t for the whistlblower, we woudn’t have even known about it. By having his top aides cover up the content of the call. When his top aides lie to Congress, and then go back and change their testimony after new testimony from multiple sources contradicts it.

          By going to court to prevent evidence from being made public. By preventing witnesses from testifying. By lying about it and changing his story every time he’s caught in a lie. By attackig and intimidating witnesses, even while they’re still testifying. By smearing the reputation of highly respected military and diplomatic personell who testify about what they saw and heard.. By calling the whistleblower a traitor, “and you know what we used to do to them back in the day”. By saying “I don’t recall” when asked about the content of meetings.

          When your Chief of Staff takes a press conference and says “yeah, we did it… get over it!”

          Reply
  6. Jeanette Kelley

    Well Joe S Bruder,

    Steven is right, “your ignorance is astounding”.

    You can’t argue with Stupid!

    Trump beat Hillary Rotten Clinton Fair and Square via
    Electoral College, maybe you heard about it, not the
    Popular Vote! Maybe you heard of that during your great
    educational years! It’s what this country was founded on
    as a Republic!!!

    Russia involvement if any, didn’t change one vote and you
    know it! One other thing, I never knew a POOR PERSON
    ever employing Millions of people, it’s just that dirty filthy
    Rich Person that does! It’s called LIBERTY & FREEDOM
    known as CAPITALISM!

    We have a PRO AMERICA PRESIDENT now, not like your
    President Obama who went all over the world putting this
    Great Nation of ours down, and apologizing for us!

    If you love the Socialist/Communist countries so much, and
    hate this CAPITALIST society of ours, why don’t you and
    your friends move there? I’m sure they would love to have
    you!

    Once again, you can’t argue with STUPID!

    Reply
    • Mike Kaelin

      You’re last line is correct, I can’t argue with a person who doesn’t say anything but vapid talking points from FOX news. Name calling is not an argument. Spouting buzzwords like “liberty” and “freedom” (all caps) is not an argument. Did you actually read anything I wrote? Have you read any of the transcripts from impeachment hearings? Have you read any of the Mueller report? Mueller spcifically says that Russians interfered with our election. If you don’t know anything about the topic, it’s better to sit quietly and keep your fingers off the keyboard.

      Reply
      • c stewart

        They did interfere. It just didn’t work, and Trump got elected. You don’t need to watch fox news. I have in fact read the transcripts, and I also watched Bob Mueller testify. Did you? How do you explain away the Steel dossier? Bob seeming like he was not even in charge of the investigation? I wont call anyone names, what’s the point? Bu I do have to wonder how the same information has us come to 2 totally different conclusions. Is one of us blinded by hate I wonder?t

        Reply
  7. OS ROY

    Mike,

    I find it odd as you stated above “Did you actually read anything I wrote?”, funny as I do not see a single comment above where you wrote anything. I do see you responded to Jeanette Kelley’s response to Joe S Bruder. Odd isn’t it.

    It is also bizarre that liberals believe hearsay and not actual facts:

    Fact: Did Hillary stored classified information on a private server, answer is YES.

    Fact: Did Joe Biden on air state a Quid Pro Quo to fire a prosecutor in order to receive 1 Billion dollars, answer is YES.

    How stupid does a liberal have to be in order to find someone guilty of hearsay and find the other party innocent with actual documented proof, answer is pretty stupid.

    I rest my case.

    Reply
    • Joe S Bruder

      Sorry, auto-fill put in the wrong name and I didn’t notice…

      Fact, Clinton had a private server for non-classifeid communicatons. Yes, some classified info got on there by accident, and some was reclassified later. This was the practice of the time, and now they know better… except that Trump still talks on his unclassified cell phone all the time, and one of the calls that directly implicates Trump occured in public in a restaurant in Ukraine, where at least two staffers not only overheard the conversation, but Trump was speaking so lout that they could hear his end too… and it was over a standard cell phone.

      And your “fact” about Biden is out of context – it was the official US (and UN and EU) position that the prosecutor was corrupt and needed to go. The prosecutor was removed for NOT prosecuting corrupt officials. It had nothing to do with Burisma or Biden Jr. Biden was carrying out the official US policy for Ukraine.

      Reply
  8. Jeanette Kelley

    OS Roy,

    Thank you for setting the record straight! I admit, I’m sick and
    tired of these people that hate our Country, who don’t care to
    really look at the truth! I’m not stupid and don’t get my talking
    points from FOX NEWS! I actually seek and find the truth
    myself and make my conclusions from that.

    If anyone cares to really know what is the going on in this
    country watch “Enemies Within” Documentary. This is
    affecting us all, even the looney left. You will see, why
    they Hate our President so much and what is driving all
    this crap/lying against him! He upset the establishment
    more than anyone of us could have known.

    God Help Our Country!

    Reply
  9. OS Roy

    Joe,

    I have to admit, your blinders are on pretty good. First off as a veteran I can assure you that 80 percent of the communications a Secretary of State has is classified at some level. To even think that her communications with foreign officials would be mostly unclassified is just pure insanity. Let me guess, you believe they only talk about shopping, the weather, sports or what exactly?

    Furthermore it was State Policy in “2005” NOT to use a private email account doing business as these were unsecure platforms. That was during Rice and Kerry’s tenure as Secretary of State. (Hint: This was BEFORE Clinton took the position)

    Lastly, I must say again regardless of what you call policy at the time, answer this question it only needs a YES or NO.

    Is holding funds to another government unless they do something “Quid Pro Quo”, YES or NO. (I have added a link to an incredible site which should answer it)

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quid%20pro%20quo

    Joe, You can’t have your cake and eat it to.

    Blind ignorance is still ignorance.

    Lastly to add on to your belief of hearsay:
    The Ukrainian’s didn’t know the money was being held up, let alone for a favor, until the Liberal media posted it in September. I guess Trump is really bad at Quid Pro Quo when the beneficiary is unaware of the request. DUH.
    (By the way this insight was from Ambassador Taylor.)

    Reply

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