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  1. #91

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Updates from WaPo continued

    12:55 p.m.
    Yovanovitch asked if she could have done more to fight smear campaign

    GOP lawyer Steve Castor asked Yovanovitch if she developed a “game plan” to fight an incipient smear campaign that she believed was being directed by Giuliani.

    Yovanovitch said that she raised it with David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, when he asked her to consider extending her stay as ambassador in March.

    “I wanted him to be aware of that, and he said, you know, he understood, he still was hoping that I could extend for another year,” she said. “Fast forward to late March ... once it became a public political story here in the United States, the tenor of everything changed, because I think that the State Department felt that it wasn’t manageable anymore and that the more prudent thing would be for me to come back in July.”

    Castor asked if there was “anything you could have done differently” to fight the unsupported allegations.

    “I think that, sure, maybe I could have done that, but I think they were aware,” she replied, indicating she later learned from Deputy Secretary John Sullivan that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “had been well aware of this since the summer of 2018.”

    By Mike DeBonis

    1:05 p.m.
    Yovanovitch rebuts suggestion publication of ‘black ledger’ amounted to U.S. election interference

    During her testimony, Yovanovitch said why she did not consider the publication of the “Black Ledger” — containing evidence of payments made to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort by the political party of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich — to amount to improper election meddling.

    The ledger was released by Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian journalist, and, at the time, a member of parliament.

    “I realize we are looking at this from an American perspective,” she said. “From a Ukrainian perspective, I think that what Mr. Leshchenko and others who were looking into the Black Ledger were most concerned about was actually not Mr. Manafort, but former president Yanukovich and his political party and the amount of money that they allegedly stole and where it went and so forth.”

    She added, “I think there’s just a difference in perspective depending on which country you’re in.”

    By Mike DeBonis

    1:15 p.m.
    Lutsenko keeps up his war with Yovanovitch during her hearing

    As Yovanovitch testified in Washington on Friday, Yuriy Lutsenko, the former prosecutor general who fed Giuliani adverse information about her, was criticizing her on social media.

    “She lies. And I have proof,” Lutsenko wrote on Facebook, in response to a post by Adrian Karatnycky, the former president of Freedom House, who is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    Karatnycky had posted that it was “ironic” that Yovanovitch, who had been a victim of a smear campaign, “is engaging in a smear campaign of Maidan hero and former political prisoner Yuri Lutsenko,” also spelling out Lutsenko’s name in Ukrainian Cyrillic.

    “If she has proof of his corruption she should bring it forth,” he wrote.

    Yovanovitch and other diplomats, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, have described Lutsenko as a “corrupt” prosecutor who had a personal vendetta against Yovanovitch and the anti-corruption work she was doing in Ukraine.

    Among their contentions are that Lutsenko effectively covered up for a ring of government officials who were selling fake passports by outing the undercover agents who exposed the operation. Kent testified that that was “a breaking point” for the United States, who decided to end “capacity building assistance” to his office as a result.

    The GOP asked Yovanovitch why she never brought up her complaints about Lutsenko to him directly.

    She said she “didn’t feel like there was any purpose to it” as he clearly had an animus against the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. “He was working with Americans, so I reached out to the American side in this case the State Department,” she said.

    By Karoun Demirjian

    1:20 p.m.
    Schiff brings up new White House rough transcript

    After 45 minutes of questioning from Republican counsel, Schiff used a moment with the microphone to put the focus back on Trump.

    He noted the memo the White House released Friday detailing a first call between Trump and Zelensky in April – and that the memo doesn’t match a description the White House put out previously.

    A White House readout in April said the call underscored “the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The readout also said Trump spoke with Zelensky about “reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.”

    None of those topics are mentioned in the rough transcript released Friday.

    “The White House readout said that the president discussed helping Ukraine root out corruption,” Schiff said. “That, in fact, does not appear anywhere in the call. I want to ask you, ambassador, why would . . . the White House put out an inaccurate reading . . . that the president said something about corruption when he said nothing about corruption?”

    “I cannot answer that question,” Yovanovitch said.

    By Aaron C. Davis

    1:25 p.m.
    Stefanik thanks Yovanovitch for her service after Trump’s Twitter attack, setting different tone for the GOP

    Rep. Elise Stefanik, the first GOP lawmaker to question Yovanovitch in five-minute rounds, thanked the ambassador for her service, just hours after Trump’s Twitter attack on the witness, setting a drastically different tone than the president.

    Unlike Trump, the New York Republican did not call into question Yovanovitch’s effectiveness, even as she sought to get Yovanovitch to confirm statements helping the GOP defense of Trump.

    Stefanik, for example, asked Yovanovitch to confirm that she believes she “serves at the pleasure of the president” and that she is still an employee of the State Department on leave as a fellow at Georgetown. Yovanovitch did.

    Yovanovitch also confirmed for Stefanik that the Obama administration’s State Department prepped her for her ambassadorial confirmation process in part by grilling her about Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company who paid the former vice president’s son $50,000 a month.

    “Obama’s own State Department was so concerned” about Burisma, Stefanik said, “that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful ambassador nominee for her conformation.”

    Democrats, however, Stefanik continued “cry foul when we dare ask questions” about Biden and Burisma.

    “But we will continue asking,” she said.

    By Rachael Bade

    1:30 p.m.
    Republicans remain fixated on whistleblower

    Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) read about a half-dozen news article headlines from late September about the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry reaching an agreement to testify before House investigators.

    Democrats have since said that hearing from the whistleblower is now unnecessary since they’ve had many witnesses who corroborated what the whistleblower alleged in his complaint.

    By Colby Itkowitz
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #92

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Updates continued

    1:35 p.m.
    DNC consultant responds to accusations she worked with Ukraine to interfere in 2016 election

    Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee consultant, pushed back at GOP accusations that she was working with Ukraine to get dirt on Trump during the 2016 election and said she had instead raised concerns about Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s relations with Russia.

    “For the record: I have never worked for a foreign government,” Chalupa tweeted. “I have never been to Ukraine. I was not an opposition researcher. In 2008, I knew Manafort worked for Putin’s interests in Ukraine. I reported my concerns about him to the [National Security Council] in 2014 & sounded the alarm bells in 2016.”

    Chalupa has said the Ukrainian embassy was helpful when she sought information about Manafort but that the country was not trying to interfere in the U.S. election.

    Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) advanced the conspiracy theory in his opening statement, accusing Democrats of ignoring “Ukrainian election meddling even though Chalupa publicly admitted to the Democrats’ scheme.”

    Republicans included Chalupa on the list of witnesses they wanted called in the impeachment inquiry.

    By Colby Itkowitz

    1:45 p.m.
    White House defends Trump’s tweet about Yovanovitch, says it wasn’t witness intimidation

    White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump’s tweet attacking Yovanovitch in the middle of her testimony “was not witness intimidation, it was simply the president’s opinion, which he is entitled to.”

    Other Republicans had mixed reactions to Trump’s tweet.

    “I’d rather not be attacking the poor career Foreign Service officers who are just trying to do a good job,” said Rep. Francis Rooney (Fla.)

    Rep. K. Michael Conaway (Tex.) said, “It’s not something I would do,” but declined to say whether it was witness intimidation.

    But Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) said the Trump has the right to defend himself.

    Other Republicans on Capitol Hill declined to comment, while still others said they hadn’t seen Trump’s tweets.

    By Colby Itkowitz

    1:55 p.m.
    Yovanovitch wonders why Trump found it ‘necessary to smear my reputation

    Under questioning from a Republican lawmaker, Yovanovitch questioned why the president had to “smear my reputation” — even as she confirmed his right to fire her.

    Rep. Brad Wenstrup (Ohio) sought to have Yovanovitch confirm, as other Republicans had before him, that ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president.

    “I obviously don’t dispute that the president has the right to withdraw an ambassador, at any time, for any reason,” she said, “but what I do wonder is, why it was necessary to smear my reputation?”

    Wenstrup responded curtly before yielding his time back.

    “Well, I wasn’t asking you about that, but thank you very much, ma’am.”

    By Rachael Bade
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  3. #93

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    There are a series of tweets detailing Rep. Swallwell's handling of GOP assertions re the whistle blower. They're disjointed and from separate people though. Hoping to see the WaPo summary shortly.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #94

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Updates continued

    2:00 p.m.
    Yovanovitch says there’s a process for launching corruption investigations

    In response to a Republican lawmaker’s question, Yovanovitch said that it is appropriate for the United States to investigate foreign corruption but that there’s a regular process to follow for doing so, suggesting the way Trump sought to do it was irregular.

    “I think it is appropriate if it is part of our national strategy. What I would say is that we have a process for doing that. We have one with Ukraine. Generally, it goes from our Department of Justice to the Ministry of Justice in the country of interest,” Yovanovitch said.

    Rep. Chris Stewart (R-N.J.) also asked Yovanovitch if she had any information regarding Trump accepting bribes or being involved in any criminal activity at all.

    Yovanovitch answered “no” to both.

    By Colby Itkowitz

    2:10 p.m.
    Quigley calls Yovanovitch’s dismissal ‘the end of a really bad reality-TV show’

    “It’s like a Hallmark movie — you ended up at Georgetown; this is all okay,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) cheekily started his questioning, seeming to ridicule Republicans who have argued that Trump had every right to dismiss Yovanovitch, who is now serving as a fellow of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

    Quigley asked her a series of questions about her earlier plans to remain in Kyiv through the end of her tour of duty. “There’s nothing wrong with Georgetown. It’s a fine place, right?” Quigley concluded.

    “It’s a wonderful place,” Yovanovitch replied.

    “But it’s your only choice, at the end of a distinguished career,” Quigley said. “After all that, it’s not the end of a Hallmark movie. It’s the end of a really bad reality-TV show, brought to you by someone who knows a lot about that.”

    Many in the room, recognizing the reference to the star of “The Apprentice,” chuckled.

    By Mike DeBonis

    2:20 p.m.
    Yovanovitch calls request for investigation ‘bizarre’

    “In all of your years of service, you ever come across a president ... or known of colleagues who were asked by an American president to have to help that President get an American investigated overseas?” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) asked Yovanovitch.

    “I’m not aware of that,” she replied.

    Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv in May, well before Trump personally asked Zelensky for the “favor” of investigating Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president.

    But Castro posed a hypothetical: “If a president asked you to investigate the former vice president for this purpose, what would you have said?”

    “I mean, with what I know today, I would have said no,” Yovanovitch said, adding, “There are channels for conducting proper investigations, and that would have been the best way to handle something like this. But certainly it would be, it’s bizarre for a president to ask that some American be investigated by another government. It’s very unusual.”

    By Mike DeBonis
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  5. #95

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Kyle Griffin

    DEMINGS: "Did you speak publicly and privately about your disdain for the Trump administration?"
    DEMINGS: "Why do you think the president would want to push such a lie?"
    YOVANOVITCH: "I don't know."
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  6. #96

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    From WaPo updates

    2:50 p.m.
    Trump says he’s allowed to defend himself, doesn’t think his words are intimidating

    Asked to respond to allegations that he committed witness tampering by tweeting disparagingly about Yovanovitch during her testimony, Trump pivoted and said the real tampering was done by the Democrats for not allowing the White House lawyers to ask questions or the Republicans to call their own witnesses.

    “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech, just as other people do,” Trump said, when pressed by reporters at the end of a White House event on lowering prescription drug prices.

    A reporter asked Trump if he was trying to intimidate Yovanovitch with his tweets, but Trump ignored the question, repeating, “I just want to have a total – I want freedom of speech.”

    A reporter asked the question again several times, then asked whether he believed his words could be intimidating.

    “I don’t think so at all,” he said.

    Trump also criticized the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry more broadly, saying it was getting in the way of getting other things done.

    “I think it’s considered a joke all over Washington and all over the world,” he said.

    By Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner

    3:00 p.m.
    Yovanovitch shoots down Trump ally’s 2016 election conspiracy theory

    Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) pressed Yovanovitch about criticism in 2016 from several Ukrainian officials of then-candidate Donald Trump – but Yovanovitch said the comments didn’t, in her view, constitute election interference.

    Jordan, a staunch Trump ally, listed a number of negative comments several Ukrainian officials made about Trump and asked Yovanovitch whether she could see why Trump was frustrated and therefore justified in being skeptical of Ukraine.

    “No one did anything,” Jordan said, asking if “you see why maybe, maybe the president was a little concerned about what went on in Ukraine.”

    Yovanovitch responded: “I can’t speak for the president on this. … From my point of view, that doesn’t create a Ukrainian government strategy to interfere in our election. …. It doesn’t necessarily constitute interference.”

    By Rachael Bade
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  7. #97

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Kyle Griffin

    Members of the audience and Congress applaud as Ambassador Yovanovitch leaves the hearing room.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  8. #98

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Kyle Griffin

    KRISHNAMOORTHI: "Isn't it the case that your departure and the one month gap between the time you left and when Ambassador Taylor arrived provided the perfect opportunity for another group of people to basically take over Ukraine policy, isn't that right?"
    YOVANOVITCH: "Yeah."

    KRISHNAMOORTHI: "Are you concerned that other ambassadors may suffer the same fate as you?"
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  9. #99

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Kyle Griffin

    SCHIFF: "The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn't make it any less bribery, doesn't make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it wasn't successful."

    3:20 p.m.
    Schiff gavels public hearing to a close, applause breaks out for Yovanovitch

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) gaveled the open hearing to a close after praising Yovanovitch’s service and courage.

    In closing remarks, Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif), the top Republican on the panel, disparaged the proceedings as a “show trial.”

    Applause and cheers rang out as Yovanovitch got up to leave the hearing room.

    By John Wagner
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  10. #100

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    CAP Action

    "This is a part of a pattern to intimidate witnesses...It was also a part...of a pattern to obstruct justice...
    We need to view [Trump's] actions today as part of a broader and incriminating pattern of conduct." —
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  11. #101

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Video of Ambassador Yovanovitch leaving at the end of her testimony after comments from Rep. Schiff
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  12. #102

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Impeachment witness provides firsthand account of hearing Trump demand ‘investigation’ of Bidens by Ukraine

    Rosalind S. Helderman and
    Rachael Bade
    November 15, 2019 at 6:50 p.m. EST

    Breaking: The official, David Holmes, said he overheard a phone call in Kyiv between President Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the Europen Union, during which Trump pressed for updates on the Ukrainians’ willingness to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son.Details of the conversation were disclosed by Holmes in his opening statement to impeachment investigators, which was obtained by CNN.

    This story will be updated.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  13. #103

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Kaitlan Collins
    A dispute playing out at the White House. After placing blame for the discrepancy between readout & transcript on NSC’s top Ukraine expert Alex Vindman, a WH source says WH “may not have updated press release to reflect the contents of the call before it was publicly released.”

    Trump didn’t raise the issue of corruption during the call with Zelensky, despite the NSC’s recommendation he do so — with specific talking points included in briefing materials addressing that topic, we are told.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  14. #104

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Natasha Bertrand
    NEW: Trump’s national security advisers gave him talking points before the April 21 call with Zelensky specifically suggesting he bring up corruption—but Trump chose not to, undermining his allies’ claims that he cares deeply about corruption in Ukraine.

    A person familiar with the events preceding and following the call said the readout of the call had been drafted based on the talking points provided to the president — and, because the call occurred on a Sunday, likely just wasn’t updated before it went out to reporters.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  15. #105

    Re: The Road to...The Senate

    Shimon Prokupecz

    House of Representatives is now investigating whether Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller in written answers he provided in the Russia investigation, the House's general counsel told the DC circuit Court of Appeals Monday.
    Susan Hennessey

    Trump's attorneys worked hard to avoid an interview with Mueller because, in the words of Trump lawyer John Dowd, the president is "a forking liar." But even the carefully vetting written answers contradict the record and it strongly appears Trump lied.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

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