Impeachment hearings: Sondland says there was a ‘quid pro quo’ for Ukraine///CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
Gordon Sondland, the former US ambassador to the EU, opened up testimonies on Wednesday, which marked the fourth day of the ongoing public impeachment hearings on President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
On the third day of impeachment hearings, the Republican “hearsay” defense fell apart, as the Intelligence Committee heard from two first hand witnesses who listened to Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine. And despite GOP claims that the call was “normal,” two other witnesses testified that they had never heard a call like that before.
Here are some highlights of Sondland’s testimony so far: – Says there was a Ukraine “quid pro quo” – Says he “followed the directions” from POTUS – On top officials in the Ukraine pressure campaign, he said that “everyone was in the loop,” including Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney.
As the case against Donald Trump grows, Fox News has been going to increasingly deranged lengths to avoid talking about evidence of the president’s alleged misconduct with Ukraine.
And on Wednesday, Laura Ingraham and Raymond Arroyo broke new ground by laughing at State Department official George Kent for supposedly being unreasonably thirsty.
With a chyron which said “Dems’ Embarrassing Display of Partisan Theatrics”, Fox News showed clip after clip of Kent drinking water as Arroyo compared his bottle to a “water silo”…
“Fish are not this hydrated!” Arroyo scoffed.
If there’s one thing we love more than government accountability, it’s a well-hydrated man.
Of course, it is true that Kent does have a very big water bottle – he’s a smart enough man to know the importance of good hydration – but there were surely more important points for Fox News to talk about.
Although other people picked up on Kent’s monster bottle as well (it’s a 48oz Wide Mouth Silo by Nalgene, by the way), they tended to look at it as an endearing quirk.
And obviously, laughing at a man for drinking water is not the strong attack line Fox News seems to think it is.
New polling shows growing support for the House’s impeachment inquiry, with 55 percent of respondents in favor.
A majority of Americans say they endorse the decision by House Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, and nearly half of all adults also say the House should take the additional step of recommending that the president be removed from office, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll released Tuesday.
The findings indicate that public opinion has shifted quickly against Trump and in favor of impeachment proceedings in recent weeks as information has been released about his efforts to pressure Ukrainian government officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a potential 2020 campaign rival, and Biden’s son Hunter.
Previous Post-Schar School or Post-ABC News polls taken at different points throughout this year found majorities of Americans opposing the start of an impeachment proceeding, with 37 percent to 41 percent saying they favored such a step. The recent revelations appear to have prompted many Americans to rethink their positions.
The poll finds that, by a margin of 58 percent to 38 percent, Americans say the House was correct to open the inquiry. Among all adults, 49 percent say the House should take the more significant step of impeaching the president and calling for his removal from office. An additional 6 percent say they support the inquiry but do not favor removing Trump from office, with the remainder undecided about the president’s fate. The results among registered voters are almost identical.
It’s looking more likely by the day that President Trump will be impeached by the House for his dealings with Ukraine. But if he is acquitted by the Senate — and then goes on to win a second term — Democrats will face a predicament neither party has confronted in U.S. history.Why it matters: If Trump survives politically and is re-elected to serve another four years, Congress likely would have nowhere left to go in the event of another scandal, legal and political experts say — not because the House couldn’t impeach him again, but because it might be politically impossible to do so.
That’s why we’re headed into such uncharted territory. Democrats know they probably only get one shot at using impeachment to remove him from office.
Never before have we had a president who might be in a position to be re-elected after impeachment. Andrew Johnson wasn’t nominated for another term, Bill Clinton was already in his second term, and Richard Nixon resigned in his second term in the face of certain impeachment.
Could the House just impeach him again if there’s a second-term scandal? Technically, it can do whatever it wants, legal experts tell us. There’s nothing stopping it from bringing up new articles of impeachment if there’s another scandal — or even on the same issue all over again.
“The constitutional answer is that there’s no prohibition against impeaching the president multiple times,” said Frank Bowman, a law professor at the University of Missouri and author of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump.”
“There is almost certainly NOT a barrier to a second impeachment, even for the exact same conduct,” much less “a second impeachment for a different offense,” Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior counsel to Kenneth Starr in the Whitewater investigation of Clinton, wrote in an email.
Politically, though, no one believes House Democrats would want to go through it again.
A second impeachment would risk “a political blowback in the midterm elections if Democrats are seen as nothing but a political party that wants to railroad, witch hunt, whatever you want to call it, this president,” said Jim Robenalt, an Ohio-based lawyer who created a continuing legal education program with former White House counsel John Dean about Watergate.
Robenalt also said Trump’s dealings with Ukraine are at the heart of the kind of behavior the nation’s founders wanted to remedy when they created impeachment: “It’s as core as core gets in terms of impeachable conduct.”
“The cold, hard political reality is that it would be very hard for the House ever to try to take another bite at the apple,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
There is one unlikely scenario that could change Democrats’ calculations: If Trump won re-election but Republicans lost their majority in the Senate, making the threshold for conviction on impeachment theoretically easier.
What they’re saying: A House leadership aide said it’s a “ridiculous” premise and no one is gaming out a second impeachment — or even a first, other than the inquiry stage they’re now in.
The aide said Dems are focused on finding out what happened with Trump and Ukraine and there are no strategic discussions happening about articles of impeachment, much less gaming out what might happen down the road if the president were re-elected.
That would be like “planning your wedding before you’ve found the guy,” the aide said.
White House officials declined to comment.
That’s not to say the re-election of an impeached president is the most likely outcome. No one knows for sure, and Trump’s polling against the Democratic front-runners isn’t exactly strong.
But it’s not impossible if the impeachment fight energizes Trump voters — and if battleground state voters get turned off by the 2020 Democrats’ left turn.
And although Trump doesn’t want impeachment to define his place in history, as Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene have reported, that doesn’t mean he’s worried about losing in 2020 because of it.
The bottom line: By using the ultimate congressional power against Trump now, Democrats could be out of options if they have to face Trump for another four years.
Almost half of those polled, 49%, said the House should impeach Trump and recommend that he be removed from office. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Speaking with CNN “New Day” hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, former White House Communications Director Joe Lockhart said a new poll showing a massive swing towards public support for the impeachment of Donald Trump has the White House in disarray as the president continues to sow chaos while trying to defend himself.
With a new Washington Post poll showing Americans support the House impeachment inquiry by a 58-38 percent margin, and nearly 50 percent saying the House should impeach Trump and call for his removal, Lockhart said those numbers are likely to get worse for the president.
“I was the press secretary for the re-election campaign for Bill Clinton, and we funneled everything through the White House and through the prism of policy and doing things for the people because we thought if the campaign, you know, trumpeted things it seems political,” he explained. “But I think they don’t have many choices. The White House staff, I think, is in disarray. The Hill doesn’t know what to do, they’re running back and forth, so the campaign is where this is going to be centered.”
Asked about the new polling on Trump’s impeachment, Lockhart said the president should be very worried.
“They are terrible numbers, and it’s bad news across the board,” Lockhart conceded. “These numbers with Republicans are creeping up, you know. I can understand 30 percent on the inquiry, but the 20 percent for removal is terrible. But even worse news is independents. Donald Trump won because he convinced enough independents that Hillary Clinton didn’t have the character to be president.”
“That number will only go up,” Lockhart continued. “[It] is very hard to see his path to electoral victory, he may survive impeachment. It’s very hard to see at this point how he survives Election Day.”