Trick, or Treat?

Thursday, October 31, 2019
Elle Johnson invites you to join her for her 13 sexy days of Halloween


The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Sean Young up as usual at The Other McCain.




















Returning to Russiagate: The Impeachment Follies

Well, they went and done it. WaPoo, A divided House backs impeachment probe of Trump
A divided House approved a resolution Thursday formally authorizing and articulating guidelines for the next phase of its impeachment inquiry, a move that signaled Democrats are on course to bring charges against President Trump later this year.

The 232-to-196 vote, which hewed closely to party lines, was expected to fuel the partisan fighting that has accompanied every stage of the impeachment probe and much of the Trump presidency. Nearly all Democrats backed the resolution, and House Republicans, who spent weeks clamoring for such a vote, opposed it.
AmThink, Cracks in the impeachment wall,  Alhouse, 2 Democrats voted "no" on the Democrats impeachment-legitimatizing effort, and no Republicans voted "yes."
Thanks to those 2, but who were they and why did they do it? I'll read "2 Democratic defectors join GOP in voting against Trump impeachment resolution/Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the unusual step of presiding over the House during the vote, which passed largely along party lines." (NBC) Largely along party lines... ha ha. It was completely along party lines... except for those 2 guys — both Democrats.

There's Jeff Van Drew, who represents New Jersey's 2nd congressional district, which is southern New Jersey. His district went for Trump in 2016 and for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Van Drew won that seat after a 12-term Republican retired. There was a 10-term Democrat before that Republican.
. . .
Then there's Collin Peterson, who represents a district in Minnesota that Trump won by 30 points, making him the Democratic congressman whose district is the most Trump-favoring in the whole country. Unlike Van Drew, who's a congressional newcomer, Peterson is an old timer. He has held his seat since 1990.
Stacy McCain, Party-Line Impeachment Vote "Our latter-day sans-culottes don’t care much for evidence. They are running this impeachment to satisfy the media wing of their party."

NR, House Formalizes Impeachment Inquiry in Party-Line Vote, Ace, Democrats Vote "Rules" for Fake Impeachment "Probe;" Two Democrats Vote "No," and Former Republican/Fake Libertarian Justin Amash Votes "Yes"
One of the most absurdly unfair parts of these "rules" is that only Democrats can call witnesses. Republicans can call them -- with Democrats' permission.

And Republicans can only ask questions that Democrats allow.
Ahead of the vote, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana ripped into the resolution. "It gives veto authority by the chair to literally reject any witness that is brought forward by the minority,"
Scalise said, standing next to a sign held by a staffer that said "37 days of Soviet-Style impeachment proceedings." "This is Soviet-Style rules. Maybe in the Soviet Union you do things like this where only you make the rules, where you reject the ability for the person you’re accusing to even be in the room, to question what's going on."
The "rules" make Adam Schiff -- nonpartisan, fair-minded, not-at-all crank conspiracy theorist Adam Schiff -- a bizarre level of control over the kangaroo court.

Sundance reposted his post on the rules (and what they mean) REPOST: Details of House “Impeachment Inquiry” Resolution…. At Ace's the Morning Rant's gorilla has thoughts on the rules too:
"But getting back to my main point what this vote actually does, Pelosi says it merely "formalizes" the inquiry. Oh, OK. Not sure why you need to do it. The Democrats control all of the committees, seems to me they can just conduct any proceedings they damn well feel like.

"But I think Nancy is deliberately slow-walking this thing. The last thing she wants is an impeachment vote. Because not only will it fail (and I think she knows this), but Republicans will then be able to take advantage of the due process rules and start submitting evidence and calling witnesses and when that process starts, a bunch of Democratic malfeasance is going to bubble up to the surface (cough)Hunter Biden(cough) and that's the last thing they want.

"So they're just going to put up some resolution to consider to discuss the possibility of talking about a plan to move forward with an investigation as to whether to proceed with the impeachment inquiry and nothing will happen, but it won't go away, and Pelosi is probably hoping to string this out past the election to see if they can pick up more seats in the House, or flip the Senate. If that fails, the 'investigation' will be continued in whichever way they think it will damage Trump the most."
Althouse,"The vote is on a resolution that would set rules for the public phase of an impeachment inquiry that has so far been conducted exclusively behind closed doors."
This is not the vote the Republicans have been demanding — that is not "a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry," which is what happened in the cases of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. So the Democrats are doing some theater of voting out in the open today, but it's not the vote that accords with historical practice. It's not the vote the Republicans have been talking about. It's a vote about what the rules will be.
Breitbart, White House: Nancy Pelosi Impeachment Resolution ‘An Illegitimate Sham’ Obviously. Tom Lifson at AmGreat, Dan Crenshaw challenges entire premise of Ukraine impeachment efforts. Sundance, Lee Smith Discusses Impeachment and Connection to Ongoing Swamp Defense Efforts…, AmGreat, The Long Game on Impeachment
Look closely at the charges being leveled at the president. You see the conceit of the current impeachment outrage is that elected officials are merely window dressing for the permanent government.

How dare the president remove a diplomat!

How dare he use personal envoys and second-guess the Foreign Service!

It’s outrageous he overrides the decision made by the deputy assistant undersecretary of chair warming, in the Pentagon no less!
Michael Goodwin at NYPo, Goodwin: History will not be kind to Nancy Pelosi. But historians will, at least initially.

At AmGreat, How the Senate Should Handle Impeachment Tell 'em to stick it where the sun don't shine?
The Constitution is very clear. “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” Any such trial shall be under “Oath and Affirmation.” If it involves the President, “the Chief Justice shall preside” and conviction requires 2/3 of the members present. That’s about it. The Constitution and existing law have precious little to say about the actual Senate trial, if and how it should take place.
From Da Caller, Lindsey Graham: ‘Not One Vote’ Among Senate Republicans To Remove Trump ‘Because He Did Nothing Wrong’



Adam Mill at AmGreat, Shock Poll Shows Weak Support for Impeachment "The USA Today/Suffolk University survey finds nearly 2-in-5 independent voters would prefer the House drop the inquiry entirely." Jazz Shaw, Hot Air, Poll: Country Not As Hopped Up For Impeachment As Democrats Seem To Believe

Clearly signaling that he intends to use impeachment as an excuse, Schumer: I Pray That Trump Doesn’t Shut Down The Government As A Diversion From Impeachment (AllahPundit at Hot Air). while From Roll Call, Impeachment on collision course with possible shutdown.

And on to the ridiculous, Rep. Ilhan Omar Tells Trump to ‘Stop Tweeting, Start Preparing Your Defense!’ and George Papadopoulos running for seat left vacant after Katie Hill resignation (WaEx). Good luck with that.

Russiagate: Whistle Blown on Whistleblowers

The most significant news from the whistleblower saga is that Paul Sperry RCI has concluded that Eric Ciaramella, a "CIA analyst who at one point was detailed to the White House and is now back working at the CIA" is the "whistsleblower #1"  The Beltway's 'Whistleblower' Furor Obsesses Over One Name
But the name of a government official fitting that description — Eric Ciaramella — has been raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry. Fearing their anonymous  witness could be exposed, Democrats this week blocked Republicans from asking more questions about him and intend to redact his name from all deposition transcripts.

RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of an effort to remove a sitting president from office. Further, the official's status as a “whistleblower” is complicated by his being a hearsay reporter of accusations against the president, one who has “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate" -- as the Intelligence Community Inspector General phrased it circumspectly in originally fielding his complaint.

Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Apparently, it was his name that was floated in a the hearing, which prompted Adam Schiff to direct Vindman to not answer questions from the Republicans.

Ciaramella's name has been floated before (I can't find the reference), but there were plenty of people talking about him now. Ace, Paul Sperry/Real Clear Investigations: You Know That Guy You Thought Was the First Fake Whistleblower? Yeah, He's the First Fake Whistleblower. "Surprising few, Sperry reports the first fake whistleblower is Eric Ciarmella, who was evicted from the White House in 2017 for leaking to the press." Stephan Kruiser, PJ Media, Whaddya Know: Ukraine Whistleblower Is a Biden, Schiff, and DNC Errand Boy. Sundance at CTH, Mystery Revealed – CIA Gossiper Eric Ciaramella: Democrat, Former NSC Staff, Worked with Joe Biden and John Brennan…, Da Fed, Anti-Trump ‘Whistleblower’ Worked With DNC Operative Who Sought Dirt On Trump From Ukrainian Officials, Elizabeth Vaughn at Red State,   Rush Limbaugh: Everyone In Washington Knows The Whistleblower’s Name, EBL, Schifty Adam Schiff's Whistleblower Revealed? 😙♪♪♪

Stacy McCain focused on a personal connection, BREAKING: Suspected ‘Whistleblower’ Met With DNC’s Alexandra Chalupa, citing the Da Fed article:
. . . And Ciaramella worked with a Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, inviting her into the White House for meetings, former White House colleagues said. The operative, Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who supported Hillary Clinton, led an effort to link the Republican campaign to the Russian government. “He knows her. He had her in the White House,” said one former co-worker, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
Documents confirm the DNC opposition researcher attended at least one White House meeting with Ciaramella in November 2015. She visited the White House with a number of Ukrainian officials lobbying the Obama administration for aid for Ukraine.
With Ciaramella’s name long under wraps, interest in the intelligence analyst has become so high that a handful of former colleagues have compiled a roughly 40-page research dossier on him. A classified version of the document is circulating on Capitol Hill, and briefings have been conducted based on it.
Alexandra Chalupa is a known associate of convicted-bomber-turned-“progressive”-activist Brett Kimberlin. That the CIA would employ someone with such lax judgment is frightening. Anyone who thinks protecting Ciaramella’s identity is about national security needs to wake the hell up. The fact that someone like this, who was already suspected of illegal leaks to the media, should have been entrusted with classified information — that, my friends, is a threat to national security.
And back to whistleblower #2, Lt. Col Michael Vindman, via Dr. John at Flopping Aces, The newest impeachment savior whistleblower
Today, the WaPoo reports that White House lawyer moved transcript of Trump call to classified server after Ukraine adviser raised alarms. Vindman started making noises and threatening to go public with the Ukraine call, and they up the security, taking it out of his reach. Seems legit to me, when you actually have an inside guy threatening to leak? But they should have started by firing his ass.

So lets try some synthesis here. Vindman, by inference, was among the NSC staffers assigned to listen to the Trump/ZZ Top call and summarize it. Vindman is strongly pro-Ukraine, probably in part due to his birth there. That's not illegal, it may have even been considered part of his qualifications. Bu, my guess is that if/when DOJ digs into the role of the Ukrainians to boost Hillary and get Trump in 2016, they'll find multiple connections to Vindman. His policy goals are strongly at odds with Trumps, who while supporting Ukraine against Russia more than Obama ever did, views Ukraine, or at least the pre-Zelenski government, as a corrupt actor against him. Vindman definitely does not want Ukraine (or DOJ for that matter) looking into the Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election; that might ensnare too many of his buddies, and possibly himself. He lost the internal battle on how to characterize the call in the worst possible light for Trump, and he went looking for help. Denied by his chain of command, he told numerous friends, but most importantly anti-Trump CIA officer Eric Ciaramella, who did some skullduggery at the CIA, and failed to get it acted on because hearsay evidence was not permitted. He then went the his friends at Adam Schiff's camp, where they arranged for the DNI Joseph Maguire to change the whistleblower regulations to permit hearsay evidence in a whistleblower complaint and help draft the complaint. Which brings us to where we are today.

I'll save the rest of Russiagate for later. The coffee pot is empty, and it's time to get going.

Tanlines for Thursday

The news is not being helpful; there are only so many racy photos of Katie Hill. Stacy McCain: The Katie Hill Blame Game. Hey, don't blame me, I want her to stay!


The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Sean Young up as usual at The Other McCain.





Exelon to Pay a Fifth of a Billion in Blackmail For Conowingo Dam

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Conowingo Dam
The Big News in the Chesapeake Bay newsfeed today, WaPoo, Exelon to pay $200 million for Chesapeake Bay cleanup
Energy giant Exelon Generation has agreed to pay $200 million to help restore the Chesapeake Bay and protect parts of it from the impacts of climate change.

The deal ends a months-long lawsuit over the company’s operation of Conowingo Dam, the nearly century-old hydroelectric facility that is Maryland’s largest source of renewable energy.

Exelon and Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration had been fighting over how much the company should contribute to reversing the region’s declining water quality and mitigating pollution from upstream sources.

The deal, announced Tuesday by Hogan (R), would pour tens of millions apiece into an array of environmental and ecosystem projects, including a pilot program to dredge some sediment built up behind the dam, funding research, creating a mussel hatchery and making it easier for eels to swim through the dam, which sits on the Susquehanna River not far from the Maryland-Pennsylvania border.

The reservoir behind the dam filled with sediment years faster than scientists had predicted, making it an ineffective barrier for stopping pollutants from streaming into the Chesapeake, where they can smother underwater grasses and deprive fish and other wildlife of necessary oxygen.
Now, I agree that something needs to be done with the sediment behind Conowingo Dam; I just don't see why it should be Exelon's (or whoever owns the dam at a particular time) responsibility to do more than is required for the safe and efficient operation of the dam in its designated function, producing electricity for the people of the region. The dam has protected the bay for almost 100 years from excessive sediment running down the Susquehanna, primarily from Pennsylvania, and to a lesser extent, New York and Maryland, an unintended, and ultimately undesirable outcome of the dam. Shouldn't the jurisdictions that allowed the lousy land use practices be required to pony up for their short sighted negligence?

Exelon isn't going to really pay the fifth of a billion. It's going to raise its rates accordingly, and charge bill to the consumer. I think the dredged spoils should be used to accelerate the reclamation of Bay islands which are slowly succumbing to erosion.

Other versions of the story:

In settlement with Maryland, Conowingo Dam owner Exelon to invest $200 million to clean up Susquehanna River - The Baltimore (Md.) Sun

Exelon commits $200 million to clean up Chesapeake Bay; critics say it’s a drop in the bucket - Penn Live

Hogan Announces $200M Agreement With Exelon For Environmental Projects - CBS (Washington, D.C.) WJZ-TV

Governor Hogan Announces Landmark Agreement with Exelon on Conowingo Dam - Office of Governor Larry Hogan

Continuing Russiagate

Ah, finished the beach walk, and got 27 teeth, including 2 decent Makos, but I guess I have to get back to it.

Ace takes notice of Judge Sullivan taking a break to consider Sidney Powell's filing that essentially accuses the FBI and DOJ of malfeasance in the Gen. Flynn persecution, Judge Sullivan Cancels Upcoming Flynn Hearing to Review New Evidence Offered by Lawyer Sidney Powell, but now news breaks from sundance at CTH that Judge Sullivan has given DOJ time to prepare a response,  Flynn Update – Judge Grants Complaining DOJ Lawyers an Opportunity to File a Reply…
Against a strong possibility the evidence Sidney Powell provided might result in Judge Sullivan dismissing the case, the DOJ filed a notice today requesting an opportunity to reply before Judge Sullivan deliberates on the Brady motion. The DOJ notice (see here) is essentially the DOJ complaining about the new and overwhelming submission of evidence.

To avoid the appearance of judicial impropriety, Judge Sullivan has instructed the DOJ to file a surreply by November 1st outlining their complaints; and then gives the Flynn defense the opportunity to refute with a sur-surreply by November 4th. (video below)



Ace, John Brennan Essentially Admits the Deep State Exists and It Exists to Get Trump. "Paper-pushers and unelected bureaucrat-tyrants have decided they run the show." Scott Johnson at Power Line, The Plot Against the President.



Da Wire, The Daily Wire, Chuck Grassley Rips Comey: You Missed Key Evidence In Clinton Investigation. I’m Going To Find It.. How dare he! Doesn't he know Democrats deserve to be free from investigation? It's in the constitution.

Adam Mill at AmGreat, Why Is This Mueller Alumnus in Charge of the Justice Department’s FARA Unit? I believe FARA is a violation of the 1st Amendment at a minimum. At Red State, Harold Finch Reads James Clapper’s Body Language (And It’s Glorious!) It is. Read it. I don't know about it's accuracy, though. Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 10.29.19 Julie Kelly at AmGreat, Obama Successfully Hunted Trump Campaign Aides Instead of Terrorists. He knew where the real threat to Democrat rule came from.

Sundance at Red State, DC Court of Appeals Issues Emergency Stay Blocking Release of Grand Jury Material to HJC…
It’s a good thing the DOJ did not wait for a ruling from Judge Howell.  Instead, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an emergency administrative stay; blocking the release of the Mueller grand jury materials to the House Judiciary Committee pending the court review of the appeal from the DOJ.
Insty has a FLASHBACK: Sen. Mark Warner Traded Secret Texts with Russian Oligarch’s Lobbyist Linked to Hillary. Lock him up!

Switching back to the Ukraine matter, Ace Fake "Impeachment" Witness Bill Taylor Led Delegation for Group Advised by...
wait for it... wait... for... iiiiit...!

Hunter Biden

Oh, he also worked for an "organization funded by George Soros. Bonus!
The Peacock whines, Internal White House debate stifles release of Pence-Zelenskiy call
It’s been almost three weeks since Vice President Mike Pence said he had “no objection” to releasing a reconstructed transcript of his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. But as House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry continues moving swiftly into its second month, the White House still has not made a decision on whether to make those details of Pence’s call public.

The internal debate has divided White House officials over whether releasing the call would help or hurt their flailing efforts to counter accusations that President Donald Trump held up military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

One concern raised by some of Trump’s allies is that releasing his call with Zelenskiy was a mistake because it fueled the impeachment inquiry rather than tamp it down, these people said. Another is that a comparison of Pence and Trump’s calls with Zelenskiy could potentially make the president’s self-described “perfect” conversation appear significantly less so.
One can understand the reluctance to turn anything over to such a lying bunch of hacks. David Goldman at PJ Media, It's Time for Every American Patriot to Rally Around Trump: The American Republic Is at Stake.

And on the impeachment follies? Remember yesterday, the House was supposed to vote on Thursday? Not so fast, Democratic leaders walk back Thursday impeachment vote, WaEx. But there is still plenty of discussion. Pelosi’s deceptive ‘impeachment vote’by Thomas Lifson, AmThink.
Speaker Pelosi is playing word games, trying to pull a fast one on the Republicans, the American people, and the Constitution by appearing to “authorize” a formal impeachment inquiry, while not actually passing an impeachment resolution that would trigger rights for Republican House members to call witnesses and issue subpoenas.

That is why, when ambushed by NBC News, she was careful to make a distinction and say “It is not an impeachment resolution.” It was a walk-by comment:
Even AllahPundit, Draft Resolution Authorizing Impeachment Inquiry Will Let Republicans Call Witnesses — Subject To Adam Schiff’s Approval. All the evidence you want, as long as it favors impeachment. Sundance, Scalise and Jordan React to House Resolution Rules for Impeachment – Schiff Instructs Witnesses Not to Answer Questions…



and Details of House “Impeachment Inquiry” Resolution – Rules for Open HPSCI Hearing(s), Lawfare Staff Questioning, and Transfer to Nadler…
Key points from rules:
  • The Executive Branch will not be permitted to participate in the open HPSCI hearing.
  • President Trump lawyers will not be permitted to question witnesses in the open HPSCI hearing.
  • Ranking member of HPSCI (Nunes) may have subpoena power subject to pre-approval by Chairman Adam Schiff. Requests must be made in writing. Chair is not mandated to approve.
  • Ranking member of HPSCI (Nunes) may have ability to request witnesses subject to pre-approval by Chairman Adam Schiff. Requests must be made in writing. Chair is not mandated to approve.
  • Schiff (Chairman) and Nunes (Ranking member) will each have 90 minutes (aggregate) to question any witness brought before the committee. All other committee members will have 5 minutes each, per witness. [Remember this is a member assembly of 3 committees]
  • The Chairman can allow contracted legal staff (Lawfare) to question witnesses, as part of his 90-minutes of available questioning.
  • The Chair is authorized, though not required, to make depositions public.
  • Upon completion of the hearing(s), the HPSCI chairman shall write a **report to the Judiciary (Nadler) with instructions of findings. The chair may include dissent from the minority opinion therein.
[**Note: IMHO this report has already been written. That was the purpose for the basement hearings. All of this public testimony is for public consumption to support the premise of a constitutional impeachment proceedings. It’s a farce.]
  • The resolution then provides a process for the HPSCI report to transfer all of the assembled tri-committee material to the House Judiciary Committee where Jerry Nadler will take over.
and Troublesome – Key Republicans Unaware of Intent Behind Pelosi’s Thursday Impeachment Vote…. Me either.

Tristan Justice Da Fed, Schiff Directing Witnesses Not To Answer GOP Questions leading to Matt Margolis at PJ Media accusing Adam Schiff of Witness Tampering in 'Soviet-Style' Impeachment Inquiry. Lock him up!

Lanny Davis and Tony Soprano Scaramucci at WaPoo, We must impeach Trump. But how we remove him is another matter but at WaEx, Tom Brokaw: Democrats don't have 'the goods' on Trump as they did with Nixon. And what does that have to do with it? Allah Pundit asks, Should The Senate Even Hold An Impeachment Trial If Republicans Have Resolved In Advance To Acquit?
But here are Davis and Mooch shrugging and saying, “Why bother?” I could understand that if the testimony given to House Democrats so far looked thin, in which case the “skip the trial” ploy here might just be a sly way of sparing Dems the humiliation of presenting a weak case at trial. If impeachment is destined to backfire politically on them, go figure that Scaramucci and Davis might be looking for a way to end the process early.
One reason to have the trial? Impeaching Trump not popular in swing states (Paul Mirengoff, Power Line)
. . . according to Harry Enten, impeachment is not popular in key swing states like Wisconsin. He cites a new Marquette University poll from Wisconsin that finds 44 percent of voters wanting Trump to be impeached and removed from office, and 51 percent not wanting him impeached and removed.

In Florida, opinion apparently is split more evenly, but still disfavors impeachment and removal:
A poll of Florida voters conducted by the University of North Florida out this week shows the divide at 46% in support of impeaching and removing Trump and 48% opposed to it.
There is also a collective poll by the New York Times/Siena College of the following swing states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona. Its results are quite similar to the Marquette poll of Wisconsin alone.
Just 43% of voters in these six states want to impeach and remove from office at this point. The majority, 53%, do not.
This contrasts with Trump’s voting margin in the six states. The same pollsters found Trump up by only 1.5 percentage points in the six.

Russiagate: Vindman Special

The story du jour is the  of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who according to WaPoo and the rest of the liberal media  whose "secret" testimony Firsthand account of Trump’s Ukraine call puts GOP in bind, emboldens Democrats. How would we know if we haven't seen the full testimony? We don't we only know what Adam Schiff chooses to release. Apparently Vindman, on the NSC, was listening in on the call with President ZZ Top, and took issue with some aspects of the call:
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman told lawmakers. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

Vindman also testified that the rough transcript of the July 25 call released by the White House is slightly different than what he remembers transpiring. For example, Vindman recalled Zelensky specifically referencing the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma when Trump pushed him to investigate a company related to Biden’s son Hunter, who had served on its board. Vindman also remembers Trump going on about how Joe Biden was on tape boasting about Ukraine funds — most likely referring to comments Biden made in January 2018 that the United States held up $1 billion in loan guarantees until the nation fired a corrupt former prosecutor, Victor Shokin.
So his recollection is better than the team of people taking notes that assembled the transcript?  Some Republicans apparently took issue with Vindman, noting his Ukrainian birth might make him a not quite so objective source of testimony, which prompted Democrats and anti-Trumpers like Patterico to swaddle Vindman in the flag, and accuse Republicans of attacking his patriotism. Also,  Lt. Col. Vindman: The Ukraine Transcript Is Missing Some Important Lines. Althouse, "The idea that Vindman would have grown up with any sense of fealty to the Ukrainian volk is patently absurd, not only because he and his twin brother are clearly ardent American patriots..."
"... who have committed their lives to this country’s service but because I have yet to meet a single Jew who came to America from the Soviet Union who feels any kind of personal or historical tie beyond any relatives who might have been left behind."
From "Vindman is a Jew, Not a Ukrainian, Mr. Duffy/A loaded charge" by John Podhoretz (at Commentary).

Okay, then it's only about how complete and reliable the transcript is. It's reconstructed and not verbatim. But there's no new material from Vindman that matters. Vindman is only useful for the proposition that not everything is in the transcript, and then, I presume, the idea is to add in things that do matter from others who unlike Vindman, did not listen into the conversation but only heard about it second hand (or third or fourth hand). That feels quite tenuous.

If there was something important that was left out, why isn't Vindman the one to tell us about it? You have to say that he was troubled by what happened to trouble him and though that turns out not to be important, there were other things that were important but that just didn't happen to trouble Vindman, and here's a second/third/fourth-hand witnesses who can tell us about that.

I'm skeptical because I assume that things would tend to become more troubling as they are retold, remembered, and retold again.
Mickey Kaus, a liberal never-never-Trumper has some interesting tweets on Vindman
New Impeach Hero Vindman: “‘I realized [Burisma probe] would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.'" So he was motivated by desire to aid Ukraine?
Note that VIndman's objection was that Dems would PERCEIVE a Burisma investigtion as "partisan" and desert Ukraine. That's slightly different than saying he was outraged that Trump's push WAS outrageously partisan. Pols perceive a lot of things as partisan.
The argument isn't that he's unpatriotic. The argument is that in his mind US national interests became fused with maintaining support for Ukraine, so anyone with a different policy--ie a President elected by voters who knew his views--was committing a high crime.
In other words, Dems could see a Biden investigation as partisan even if there were ample grounds for it and Trump's 'request' was totally legitimate. Vindman's objection would still apply--Ukraine might lose support! https://twitter.com/kausmickey/status/1189260167336071168 …
I'm going off what was in his own testimony. He didn't want Ukraine to be "losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained." Not right party or 'wrong party'-he wants both parties to support Ukraine. If that's trivialization he trivialized himself https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/10/29/democrats-think-theyve-found-an-impeachment-hero-487537 …
"The number that believes the [Zelensky] call is an impeachable offense, 38%, is well below what could be called a groundswell." https://twitter.com/ByronYork/status/1189257283525632002 …
Not shockingly, sundance at CTH takes a pretty dim view of Vanadman: Seditious Conspiracy / Sketchy Witness – Schiff Blocks Questioning of NSC Staffer Alexander Vindman to Protect Him from Legal Exposure…
Holy smokes, this Alexander Vindman witness is very sketchy. Generally suspected of being “whistle-blower #2”, records show Vindman had numerous contacts with registered foreign agents, while a member of the National Security Council. [FARA link – pg 4]

Additionally, it is highly likely Vindman leaked the content of presidential phone calls illegally while he was a member of the National Security Council; which explains why Adam Schiff would not permit Vindman to answer questions about who he talked to.

The New York Times is reporting that sketchy Vindman attempted to manipulate the CIA transcripts of President Trump’s call with Ukraine President Zelenskyy to meet Vindman’s ideological interpretations. [Vindman had a hidden agenda “spying” while inside the NSC]

In an effort to bolster his very sketchy credibility; and likely in an effort to avoid the appearance of sedition; Schiff’s Lawfare staff recommended Vindman wear his military uniform to the hearing today, though Vindman never wore the uniform for his NSC job.



As noted above Rep. Jordan: Schiff Directed Vindman Not to Answer Certain Questions from Republicans  (Breitbart).
[House Intelligence Committee] Chairman Schiff has prevented the witness from answering certain questions we had during the deposition. … When we asked [Vindman] who he spoke to after important events in July. Adam Schiff said, “No, no, no” we’re not going to let him answer that question. Even though at the start of every one of these depositions … he says, “This is not classified.”
Nice Deb at AmGreat, Dems’ ‘Star Witness’ Never Had Direct Contact with Trump, Had ‘Concerns’ About Ukraine Phone Call
Vindman made a point of saying that the American people already have the most important piece of evidence, the transcript of the phone call. “As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said,” he noted.

Vindman also admitted that he’d never had any contact or communication with President Trump, about Ukraine or anything else. “I have never had direct contact or communications with the President,” he said.

In his testimony, Vindman noted that the president made the call at the behest of the NSC after Zelenskyy’s party won the Parliamentary elections in a landslide victory, undermining allegations that the call was part of a “quid pro quo” conspiracy.
My hunch is that Vindman was one of those assigned to help summarize the call, and he was less than satisfied that his perceptions were being represented adequately in the document.

Mediaite: Joe Scarborough Ridicules Laura Ingraham and John Yoo’s ‘Breathtaking’ Espionage Claim: ‘Oh My God, the Idiocy’
Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough ridiculed Fox News primetime host Laura Ingraham and her guest John Yoo for pointed commentary made on Monday night’s show that suggested treason on behalf of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Trump official set to appear before impeachment inquiry hearings Tuesday morning.

Amid a conversation with Atlantic contributor James Fallows, Morning Joe producers aired a stunning clip of Fox News host Ingraham referencing a paragraph in a New York Times report about the opening statement of Lt. Col. Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council ( and Ukrainian immigrant), which Yoo reacted by saying “I find that astounding, and some people might call that espionage.”
Capt. Ed at Hot Air,  WaPoo: Ukraine Expert Statement To Schiff Committee Accuses Sondland Of Pushing A Quid Pro Quo
Of course, the problem here for Schiff et al is that Vindman never worked directly with Trump. He prepared a couple of memoranda for Trump’s signature on Ukraine and aid, which Trump never signed, but Vindman has no direct testimony on anything Trump did except the Zelensky call. We already have the transcript of that conversation, so unless Vindman can contradict the transcript or discuss excluded comments, this won’t directly get Schiff closer to impeachment. It might, however, impeach Sondland as a witness — and might be another reason why Sondland went back to review his testimony.
That looks like enough Vindman to fill a post; maybe I'll get around to the rest of Russiagate (and I have a bunch) later.

Water Bottles or Wet Shirts for Wednesday?

Why choose when you can have both?


The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Sean Young up as usual at The Other McCain.





Covington Kid Suit Against WaPoo Get Fresh Life

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
From the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 10.28.19, Herr Professor at Legal Insurrection brings us news that Judge Reopens Nicholas Sandmann lawsuit against Washington Post
For background on the dismissal and the underlying legal issues, see our post, Nicholas Sandmann lawsuit against Washington Post DISMISSED.

Sandmann filed a motion for relief from the judgment of dismissal so he could gather evidence to support his dismissed claims, and also to file a propose First Amended Complaint.

The same Judge who dismissed the case in its entirety has just reinstated a portion of the case in an Order (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post), which provides both for discovery and allows the filing of the First Amended Complaint (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post).

The Order provides the following reasoning, in pertinent part:

The Court first notes that the statements alleged by plaintiff to be defamatory have not changed in the proposed First Amended Complaint. They are the same 33 statements alleged in the original Complaint and set forth in the chart attached to the Court’s July 26, 2019 Opinion and Order (Doc. 47).


The Court will adhere to its previous rulings as they pertain to these statements except Statements 10, 11, and 33, to the extent that these three statements state that plaintiff “blocked” Nathan Phillips and “would not allow him to retreat.” Suffice to say that the Court has given this matter careful review and concludes that “justice requires” that discovery be had regarding these statements and their context. The Court will then consider them anew on summary judgment.1

[Fn. 1 The Court has reviewed the videos filed by both parties and they confirm this conclusion.]
The Court also notes that the proposed First Amended Complaint makes specific allegations concerning the state of mind of Phillips, the principal source of these statements. It alleges in greater detail than the original complaint that Phillips deliberately lied concerning the events at issue, and that he had an unsavory reputation which, but for the defendant’s negligence or malice, would have alerted defendant to this fact. The proposed First Amended Complaint also alleges that plaintiff could be identified as the subject of defendant’s publications by reason of certain photographs of plaintiff and the videos. This should also be the subject of proof.2
Of course, these allegations will be subject to discovery and summary judgment practice. However, they do pass the requirement of “plausibility.” See generally 2 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore’s Federal Practice § 12.34[1] (Supp. 2019).
The Order provides the following relief, in pertinent part:
IT IS ORDERED that:
1) The motion of the plaintiff for relief from judgment under Rule 60, reconsideration of the Court’s previous Order granting defendant’s motion to dismiss under Rule 59, and for leave to amend the complaint (Doc. 49) be, and is hereby, GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, consistent with the above discussion;
2) The judgment (Doc. 48) previously entered herein be, and is hereby, SET ASIDE AND HELD FOR NAUGHT;
3) The proposed First Amended Complaint (Doc. 49-2) shall be DEEMED FILED CONCURRENTLY HEREWITH; ….
While on the surface a relatively narrow ruling, reopening only a limited number of factual claims, it is in fact a big win for Sandmann. His attorneys now get to take discovery on the WaPo process that went into the story. That inquiry will not be limited to the three factual statements, because the process by which those statements made it into the WaPo reporting is the same process by which all the dismissed statements were reported. The entire process will be subject to depositions and document discovery. Sandmann’s attorneys likely will find facts to bolster a number of their claims, so expect a Second Amended Complaint with the results of the discovery process.
The Washington Post posted their article in the "Lifestyle" section. I guess it could impact their lifestyle, for the worse.

It will be interesting to see how anxious WaPoo is to reveal their own secrets.

Virginia Breaks Bay Menhaden Cap

A panel of fisheries regulators took a first step Monday that could lead to a freeze on catching menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.

The menhaden panel of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission unanimously found Virginia was out of compliance with the sharply lower cap on the Bay catch the commission set two years ago.

The issue was the catch that Reedville-based Omega Protein harvested, several panel members said. Omega spokesman Ben Landry said the company went over the Bay cap when dangerous weather out at sea made fishing outside the Bay dangerous in August and September while large schools of menhaden were just inside the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. But even with this year’s excess, the company’s average over the past decade has been below the 51,000-metric-ton Bay cap the commission set in 2017, he said.
"We broke this year's law, but we abided by the law from 2 years ago" is not the strongest defense I've ever heard.

Russiagate: Impeachment Vote Imminent

The news du jour is, of course, the Nancy Pelosi has either decided to do away with the impeachment inquiry or go forward,  Democrats Move Toward Bringing Impeachment Inquiry Public (MSN quoting NYT).
By the afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi added to that sense of urgency, announcing that after weeks of private fact-finding, the full House would vote on Thursday to initiate a public phase of the inquiry. That vote would establish rules for the public presentation of evidence and outline due process rights for Mr. Trump.
Da Mail, Democrats will hold a full-scale vote on televised impeachment hearings like Watergate this week - and call Donald Trump's bluff on not co-operating with inquiry Breitbart ,Report: House Democrats to Vote on Impeachment Procedures Thursday, CNSNews, Pelosi Caves to Republican Demands for Impeachment Vote, Transparency, Due Process, Rules

She may not know everything, but no one doubts Nancy's ability to count votes. Is she counting on winning or losing? Althouse: Maybe they hope it will be voted down! Suddenly, House Democrats want a formal vote on impeachment.
My first thought was, the Democrats are in trouble, they know the impeachment inquiry is dragging them down, and they want the vote to fail. But here's how Nancy Pelosi put it:
We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives."
In other words, the procedural arguments are damaging and distracting, and they want to knock them out of the picture.
Sundance at CTH,  Pelosi Calls House Vote to Affirm Speaker Impeachment Inquiry The House Never Authorized…
Very nice trick here by the Lawfare advisory and rules committee that is handling the construct of the “Official House Inquiry” on impeachment. It is such a good trick it has everyone crossed-up and confused. Likely, that is by design . . . Note in this video, Pelosi is careful to say “this is not an impeachment resolution”. . .
From the never-ever-Trumpers at Da Bulwark, Impeachment Is a Product, and they are the ad campaign for the product. USA Today, Elizabeth Drew You don't have to break a law to be impeached.  True, but then you need to be able to explain yourself to the people who's votes you overturned. Also, in his part time gig at USA Today, Insty asks Should Trump get a third term if he's impeached and acquitted? Hmmmmm ... The constitution is not yet that malleable. Or is it?
Mattox’s proposal sounds radical, but actually, he’s a piker: He wants to accomplish this shift via a constitutional amendment. How old-fashioned. Doesn’t he know that the Constitution is a living thing, made to grow and change with the times? Over the past century, we have made dramatic changes in the extent of federal power, the redistricting of state legislatures, the constitutionalization of abortion and contraception and gay marriage, and much, much more, all without the tedious necessity of an actual amendment to the Constitution.
NewsMax hopes Trump's Vindication May Lead to Restoration of the Constitution. Would that it were so easy. From Breitbart, Adam Schiff whines  to Republican Lawmakers: Where Is Your ‘Respect for the Rule of Law’, whatever he just wrote today. CR, Schiff: Exec branch staffers who defy impeachment subpoenas build ‘powerful case’ against Trump for obstruction, so we can impeach Obama at last? Doug Ross, DEAR ADAM SCHIFF: CNN Has a News Flash


Mark Ellis at PJ Media, Matt Taibbi's Dire Dilemma: Is Trump Worse Than the Deep State? The Deep State is a longer lasting threat than a mere President.
On behalf of uncounted thousands of readers who dumped Rolling Stone when Jann Wenner’s periodical became more interested in promoting Blue State hegemony than covering Blue Oyster Cult, we can only say that Taibbi is half-right, which is 50% more correct than most leftists.
Speaking of the Deep State, Let the PANICKING begin! AG Barr shares early details about Durham’s investigation in exclusive interview and RUH-ROH (Twitchy), John Sexton at Hot Air, AG Barr Defends The Durham Investigation, Says He’ll Let The Chips Fall, Jonathon Swan at Grabien, Jonathan Swan: Durham Has a ‘Very Serious Reputation,’ Decision to Open Criminal Investigation ‘Based on Facts’. At Da Caller, William Barr Says US Attorney Investigating Trump-Russia Probe Origins Is Making ‘Great Progress’



Walther Matheau, at Da Week, The inevitable conclusion of Barr's 2016 investigation
But suppose he did deliver. What would it mean if either or both of these things could be proved and a conviction secured? For Trump, it is easy to imagine an entire year on the campaign trail spent denouncing the numberless iniquities of some rando FBI agent, who will be presented as if he were the Palpatine-like mastermind behind a vast and rather sinister conspiracy to undermine the administration and the republic itself. He will spend 20 minutes rehearsing the details in Ohio and Pennsylvania; the crowds will shout "TREASON! TREASON!" or "LOCK THEM UP!" or "COMPLYING WITH FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS IS A CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY, YOU GODLESS COMMIES!" or some such. A splendid time for all, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, Democrats will be able to follow the template established for them by Republicans in recent months. These, we will be told, are insignificant crimes in themselves, ones that would not have been prosecuted in the first place if their opponents were not grossly abusing their authority by carrying out a pointless investigation of things that happened four years ago now. Who cares what a few meaningless bunglers were or were not getting up to? All of this is a distraction from the real issue, which is the unspeakable corruption of Trump and his cronies, who are using the present inquiry as a smokescreen.
Dan Sobieski at AmThink, Free Flynn, Jail Clapper and Brennan, Yep, and speaking of Flynn, Judge Sullivan is taking Sidney Powell's motion seriously, as he  Postpones Hearing on Flynn Brady Material… to actually consider it.

Springer's Blog, The Deep State...The Pleiadians Can Fix It


Well, that's one plan. More seriously, At AmSpec, E Donald Edmonson is thinking about How James Comey’s Revenge Is Changing Our Constitution
Like it or not, a powerful norm has developed in Washington that some matters must be left to the career staff — the so-called “administrative state” — the self-perpetuating bureaucracy of Platonic Guardians who see themselves as above politics and believe that they are really running the country.

Temporary occupants of political office offend the careerists at their peril. That’s what Chuck Schumer was trying to tell him when he warned an incoming President Trump, a Washington outsider who doesn’t know the unwritten rules, against offending the intelligence community: “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
And from Jed Babbin at AmSpec, Clapper's Nuremberg Defense
On October 7, Clapper made it clear that he was following Obama’s orders in conducting the spy op on Trump and his campaign. Asked if he was concerned that Durham’s investigation would uncover wrongdoing by intelligence officials such as himself, Clapper offered a response that is worth quoting at length:
The message I’m getting from all this is, apparently what we were supposed to have done was to ignore the Russian interference, ignore the Russian meddling and the threat that it poses to us, and oh, by the way, blown off what the then commander in chief, President Obama, told us to do, which was to assemble all the reporting that we could that we had available to us and put it in one report that the president could pass on to the Congress and to the next administration. And while we’re at it, declassify as much as we possibly could to make it public, and that’s what we did.
Clearly, unmistakably, Clapper said that he and the other intelligence officials — meaning at least Comey and Brennan — were following Obama’s orders to spy on the Trump campaign and probably Trump himself.

The only possible basis for those orders was the “Steele dossier,” the opposition research document bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Clapper, Comey, or Brennan — or any combination of the three — used it as the basis to get orders from Obama to conduct the operation.

In all probability, they coordinated with Obama and kept him posted on the spy op through his national security adviser, Susan Rice, who is another probable target for Durham’s investigation. Her conversations with Obama — on which she (and Obama) will claim executive privilege — would prove very enlightening if he can get her testimony about them.
 Brian C. Joondeph at AmThink, The Walls are Closing In — but Not on Trump. Well, maybe. . .

Newsmax, Why Is the Left So Incurious About Ukrainian Election Hacking?, Why do you have to ask, the answer is obvious. Foreign interference in our elections is OK, as long as it furthers their ambitions. WaPoo whines that Sen. Johnson, ally of Trump and Ukraine, surfaces in crucial episodes in the saga. You mean it's bad for a US Senator to be interested in foreign interference? Who knew? And the Peacock, White House told in May of Ukraine President Zelenskiy's concerns about Giuliani, Sondland "The White House was alerted earlier than previously reported that Giuliani's pressure campaign was rattling the new Ukrainian president, two sources say." Well, that's sort of what "pressure campaigns" are all about. Who knew investigating Ukrainian corruption was a bad thing.

NYT via MSN, Army Officer Who Heard Trump’s Ukraine Call Reported Concerns
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.

He will be the first White House official to testify who listened in on the July 25 telephone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, in which Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
I wonder if he was that concerned about the Obama administrations use of foreign assets to target Trump?

Morning Music - "Born For This"

By a group of Mexican students, Ikalli:




The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Sean Young up as usual at The Other McCain.



And a pretty good version of Johnny B Good.























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