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The scope of Trump’s corruption is mind-boggling. New developments show how.

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  • The scope of Trump’s corruption is mind-boggling. New developments show how.

    At this point, the broad contours of the Ukraine scandal are well understood. President Trump appears to have used hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money appropriated as military aid to extort a vulnerable ally into helping him rig the 2020 election on his behalf.

    But there are two other aspects of this scandal that need elaboration. The first is the degree to which this whole scheme is corrupting multiple government agencies and effectively placing them at the disposal of Trump’s reelection effort.

    The second is that two of the scheme’s goals — getting Ukraine to validate a conspiracy theory absolving Russia of 2016 sabotage, and to manufacture smears of one of Trump’s leading 2020 rivals — are really part of the same story. At the core of this narrative is Trump’s continuing reliance on foreign help in corrupting our democracy to his advantage, through two presidential elections, and the covering up of all of it.

    The New York Times has a remarkable piece detailing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s role in this whole scheme. As the Times reports, when Pompeo was CIA director, he accepted the conclusion — reached by U.S. intelligence services and established in deeply granular detail by the special counsel — that Russia carried out sweeping electoral sabotage on Trump’s behalf.

    Now Pompeo has changed his mind. He played a key role in ousting Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to the Ukraine, to clear the way for Trump and lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to create a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine to carry out Trump’s corrupt political bidding, including making Russia’s 2016 interference disappear.

    As the Times points out, newly released transcripts of witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry fill in that part of the story. It involves a disinformation campaign directed at Yovanovitch, which Pompeo didn’t defend her from, despite her being a senior diplomat:

    Both Michael McKinley, a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo and a four-time ambassador, and Philip T. Reeker, the acting assistant secretary for Europe, testified that they asked State Department leadership to defend Ms. Yovanovitch from false accusations, only to be rejected. Mr. McKinley said he personally urged Mr. Pompeo three times to issue a defense; the revelation of that detail in a transcript released on Monday undercut a declaration Mr. Pompeo made in an interview last month that he “never heard” Mr. McKinley “say a single thing” about Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster.

    The Times piece portrays a secretary of state who is essentially perverting the State Department and subverting the national interest to carry out Trump’s sordid political project. As the Times concludes, Pompeo “had direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s shadow policy, and seems to have enabled it.”

    Crucially, Pompeo’s State Department has also sought to cover that project up. The department has tried to block the testimony of multiple officials, including Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., who testified damningly to the corrupt quid pro quo involving military aid.

    Then there’s Attorney General William P. Barr. In an overlooked interview, the national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee claimed that when Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to carry out the “investigations” Trump wanted, he wasn’t trying to help himself.

    Instead, Trump was merely trying to get Zelensky to cooperate with the ongoing Justice Department review of the origins of the FBI investigation into Russian interference, the RNC spokesperson, Liz Harrington, said.

    “He asked for help looking into the Justice Department’s legitimate investigation into the election meddling in 2016," Harrington told MSNBC’s Ari Melber. "That’s what the favor was.”

    This is a reference to the fact that as part of his review into the Russia probe’s origins, Barr may be working to validate the conspiracy theory holding that Ukraine hacked Democrats’ emails and set up Russia to get blamed for sabotaging the election.

    In other words, Trump and top officials at the GOP’s main national political committee are using Barr’s review to confer legitimacy on Trump’s extortion of Zelensky for his own corrupt purposes.

    Trump himself instructed Zelensky on the July 25 call to enlist Barr to help carry out the scheme. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney subsequently suggested it was legitimate for Trump to ask Ukraine to help with an “ongoing investigation” by the Justice Department.

    Barr appears to be playing coy games around all of this. Yes, the Justice Department denied that Trump had discussed with Barr any direct assistance to Zelensky, and distanced itself from any suggestion that military aid was withheld to pressure Ukraine into cooperating with Barr’s review.

    But Barr keeps popping up in the middle of the plot. The Justice Department has announced that Barr’s review is vaguely examining Ukraine’s role in 2016. Barr is enlisting other foreign governments in this effort.

    At the end of all this, Barr actually might end up both helping to validate the conspiracy theory falsifying Russia’s 2016 crimes and lending legitimacy to Trump’s corrupt pressure on Ukraine to do the same.

    And Barr’s Justice Department, like Pompeo’s State Department, has worked to keep the truth about all of this buried. It advised against transmitting the whistleblower complaint sounding the alarm about it to Congress and declined to criminally investigate the whistleblower’s charges.

    All this comes at a time when new documents from the special counsel are underscoring just how eager Trumpworld was to profit from the Russian interference effort.

    We still haven’t gotten our arms around the mind-boggling scale of corruption on display here. Multiple government agencies are actively helping Trump absolve Russia of sabotaging the last presidential election on his behalf — thus burying his own campaign’s eagerness to benefit from it — and helping him cover up his effort to solicit more foreign help in cheating his way to victory in the next one.

  • #2
    Trumpanzees: (crickets)


    • #3
      A strong majority of Americans said in a new poll that they think President Trump’s actions during a phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked for the foreign leader to look into 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son, were wrong.

      NEW POLL: 70 percent say Trump's actions in Ukraine call were wrong


      • #4
        Why Did Cadet Bone Spurs Go to the Hospital?

        Not many people are buying trumps story that he just kind of on a whim, decided to go visit Walter Reed Hospital in a motorcade without even first calling his doctor because he thought it would be a good time to start his February annual check up. The two most prominent theories right now are that 1) As he is having a growing impeachment crisis right now, he had chest pains that were either a mild heart attack or a panic attack, and 2) He figured out that the 25th amendment was actually written to remove a president who is physically incapacitated – it was ratified after John Kennedy was assassinated - and not just mentally incapable, so he is coming up with a physical ailment that might justify his retirement and Mike Pence issuing a blanket pardon for the entire Trump crime family. If it turns out that theory number 2 is accurate, it wouldn’t be the first time that Donald Trump has used a doctor’s report to get him out of something; there’s a reason Senator Tammy Duckworth calls him Cadet Bone Spurs.

        - Thom Hartmann


        • #5
          “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” Those were the words of Army Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman during Tuesday’s House impeachment inquiry hearings, describing his reaction to a July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman, who is the director for European affairs at the National Security Council, testified along with Jennifer Williams, a Russia adviser for Vice President Pence, in the first of two hearings on Tuesday.

          Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison, former senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, also testified. From Washington, D.C., we speak to Andy Kroll, D.C. bureau chief for Rolling Stone. "What stood out across these two marathon hearings to me was how unequivocal these four witnesses were," Kroll says.

          Unusual. Improper. Inappropriate. Wrong: Officials Decry Trump’s Pressure on Ukraine to Probe Bidens


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by L.A. BRONCOS FAN View Post
                  What passes for substantive on the left these days.

                  And they wonder why people don't think any more of them than they do of Trump. This is exactly what he does.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TonyR View Post
                    He is more corrupt. Just not as much more as the left's corruption coddlers like to think.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post

                      He is more corrupt. Just not as much more as the left's corruption coddlers[sic] like to think - and I've got a butt load of already-discredited conspiracy theories to prove it!.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post

                        What passes for substantive on the left these days.

                        And they wonder why people don't think any more of them than they do of Trump. This is exactly what he does.

                        The perception you end up with when you live inside an echo chamber.

                        In any case, there's no shortage of substance to impugn tRump and his enablers these days. Satire is sort of like the cherry on top.