deposition

October 31, 2019 – NSC official Tim Morrison, tells Schiff nothing illegal took place In Trump call to Ukrainian president

Tim Morrison,(r), National Security Council’s Russia and Europe Director, is escorted to a closed-door deposition in Washington, on Oct. 31, 2019. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“Tim Morrison, a top official with the National Security Council, told lawmakers Thursday that he did not believe “anything illegal was discussed during the conversation” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the opening statement reviewed by SaraACarter.com.

Morrison, who is the outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council and a deputy assistant to the president, told lawmakers that the transcript of the call was accurate but he contended that some of the details provided by other witnesses did not coincide with his regarding certain aspects of the Ukrainian issue. House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, D-CA, who has been criticized for his continued anti-Trump partisan rhetoric by Republicans, has been pushing for Trump’s impeachment.

Morrison told the closed-door panel of lawmakers Thursday that he reviewed the Memorandum of Conversation regarding the July 25 phone call that was released by the White House. He said he listened to the call, along with others. He noted it occurred from the Situation Room.

“To the best of my recollection, the MemCon accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” he said, regarding the transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky.

He also said  he had “no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the review until August  28, 2019.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 10/31/2019)  (Deposition Transcript)

October 29, 2019 – The “coup” against Trump is formalized…a resistance member shows up to testify at Trump’ impeachment inquiry, wearing a military uniform

“The word “coup” shifted to a new level of formalized meaning last week when members of the political resistance showed up to remove President Trump wearing military uniforms.

Not only did U.S. military leadership remain silent to the optics and purpose, but in the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman he admits to giving instructions to ignore the instructions from a sitting United States President.

In the absence of push-back from the Joint Chiefs, from this moment forth, the impression is tacit U.S. military support for the Vindman objective.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified before congressional committees conducting an impeachment inquiry on October 29, wearing a full military uniform.

To date, there has been no visible comment from U.S. military sanctioning Lt. Col. Vindman for his decision; or correcting the impression represented by Vindman’s military appearance.  The willful blindness is concerning, but it gets much worse.

Beyond the debate about the optics of the “coup“, within the testimony of Lt. Col Vindman, the witness readily admits to understanding the officially established policy of the President of The United States (an agreement between President Trump and President Zelenskyy), and stunningly admits that two weeks later he was giving countermanding instructions to his Ukrainian counterpart to ignore President Trump’s policies.

The coup against President Donald Trump went from soft, to hard.  Consider…

The testimony from Lt. Col. Vindman is available here.

Borrowing from Roscoe B Davis, here are some highlights:

Representative John Ratcliffe begins deconstructing Lt. Col Vindman, while his arrogant attorneys begin trying to interfere with the questioning.

(Vindman’s testimony with Congressman Ratcliffe continues on Conservative Treehouse linked here:)

This next section is very interesting and very important.

Congressman John Ratcliffe begins questioning Vindman from the perspective of an Article 92 violation, coupled with an Article 88 violation.  President Trump is Lt. Col Vindman’s superior.  President Trump sets foreign policy. 

Two weeks after President Trump has established an agreement with Ukraine President Zelenskyy, and established the policy direction therein, Lt. Col. Vindman is now giving contrary instructions to the Ukranian government.  Vindman’s lawyer recognizes where the questioning is going and goes absolutely bananas:

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 11/09/2019)

October 22, 2019 – A transcript of William Taylor’s testimony against President Trump shows all of his evidence is hearsay

“A key Democratic witness against Trump admitted in congressional testimony last month that he was not part of the July 25 phone call between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents, that he didn’t see a transcript or readout of it until late September when it was declassified and released, and that he has never even spoken to President Donald Trump.

William Taylor, the charge d’affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, told lawmakers in secret testimony two weeks ago that his opinions about an alleged quid pro quo demanded by Trump were formed largely from conversations with anti-Trump staffers within the diplomatic bureaucracy.

William Taylor (Credit: Ovsyannikova Yulia/Getty Images)

“[Y]ou’ve never spoken to Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani?” Taylor was asked.

“No, no,” he replied.

“Has anyone ever asked you to speak to Mr. Giuliani?”

“No,” Taylor said.

“And if I may, have you spoken to the president of the United States?” Taylor was asked.

“I have not,” he said.

“You had no communications with the president of the United States?”

“Correct,” Taylor said.

He also admitted he had never spoken to Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s chief of staff.

When asked who exactly he had spoken to about the brouhaha, Taylor confirmed that his only contacts about the matter were with John Bolton, the former national security adviser who was fired by Trump, Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Tim Morrison. Both Hill and Vindman are rumored to have been sources for the so-called whistleblower who filed a complaint against Trump in August.

Taylor also testified that his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky wasn’t first-hand knowledge.

(Read more: The Federalist, 11/06/2019)  (Transcript)

Updates may be added:

October 11, 2019 – Judicial Watch: Former Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testimony reveals she ordered State Dept. subordinates to monitor journalists, Trump allies

“Judicial Watch is investigating if prominent conservative figures, journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump were unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee. Yovanovitch testified “in secret” to the House impeachment inquiry against Trump on Friday, October 11, 2019. Her “secret” testimony was leaked to the New York Times during the hearing.

Judicial Watch has obtained information indicating Yovanovitch may have violated laws and government regulations by ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons using State Department resources. Yovanovitch reportedly ordered monitoring keyed to the following search terms: Biden, Giuliani, Soros, and Yovanovitch.  Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department and will continue gathering facts from government sources.

Prior to being recalled as ambassador to Ukraine in the spring Yovanovitch reportedly created a list of individuals who were to be monitored via social media and other means.  Ukraine embassy staff made the request to the Washington D.C. headquarters office of the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. After several days, Yovanovitch’s staff was informed that the request was illegal and the monitoring either ceased or was concealed via the State Department Global Engagement Center, which has looser restrictions on collecting information.

“This is not an obscure rule, everyone in public diplomacy or public affairs knows they can’t make lists and monitor U.S. citizens unless there is a major national security reason,” according to a senior State Department official. If the illicit operation occurred, it seems to indicate a clear political bias against the president and his supporters. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who has also led American embassies in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine by Obama in 2016. She was recalled by the State Department in May and remains a State Department employee in Washington D.C.

(…) The prominent conservative figures — journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump — allegedly unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch include:

Jack Posobiec

Donald Trump Jr.

Laura Ingraham

Sean Hannity

Michael McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia)

Dan Bongino

Ryan Saavedra

Rudy Giuliani

Sebastian Gorka

John Solomon

Lou Dobbs

Pamella Geller

Sara Carter

Judicial Watch continues its investigation of these matters and will update its reporting as the situation unfolds.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/18/2019)

UPDATE: The Yovanovitch transcript was released and she was questioned about Crowdtangle during her deposition against President Trump on October 11, 2019. She claims to be unaware of the software while pointing to the State Department as being responsible for monitoring social media accounts.

The discussion begins on page 92 of  the Yovanovich transcript:

(Yovanovich Transcript, 10/11/2019)

October 11, 2019 – Marie Yovanovitch testifies about her long relationship with Ukrainian neo-nazi official, Arsen Avakov and his fear of Rudy Giuliani snooping around

“The first hints that Giuliani was up to something in Ukraine came to Yovanovitch in November and December of 2018, when she heard that Giuliani was meeting with Yuriy Lutsenko, then the top prosecutor in the country.

Yovanovitch later testified that she learned from embassy staff that “basically there had been a number of meetings between Mr. Lutsenko and Mayor Giuliani, and that they were looking, I should say that Mr. Lutsenko was looking, to hurt me in the U.S.”

By around February, Yovanovitch said, a senior Ukraine official named Arsen Avakov told her he “was very concerned, and told me I really needed to watch my back.”

The official flagged for Yovanovitch that Giuliani, along with his now-indicted middleman Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were meeting with Lutsenko and “were interested in having a different ambassador at post,” according to her testimony.

She thought it was “exceedingly strange,” and testified that, while she understood that the men had business interests in Ukraine, nobody at the embassy had met Parnas and Fruman. Avakov told Yovanivith [sic] that Giuliani reached out to him in early 2019, according to her testimony.

Avakov thought Giuliani’s outreach was “dangerous,” Yovanovitch said, because Ukraine has had bipartisan support in America and to “start kind of getting into U.S. politics, into U.S. domestic politics, was a dangerous place for Ukraine to be.” (Read more: TalkingPointsMemo, 11/04/2019)  (Archive)  (Yovanovitch Transcript)

Max Blumenthal visits The American Foreign Policy Society while they were hosting neo-nazi Andriy Parubiy inside the Senate on July 2, 2018, as Nazi violence rages in Ukraine. (Credit: Max Blumenthal/Mint Press News)

The Nation writes in December 2016:

“In Ukraine today, power is split between Kiev and heavily armed ultranationalist battalions, which have a long record of not only clashing with Kiev but also defying the will of the EU and Washington.

The ultranationalists’ influence via a policy of veto-through-violence is best exemplified by their continued derailment of the Minsk Accords, the agreement for settling the conflict in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Minsk is also the key to lifting the anti-Russian sanctions that are hurting European economies and fomenting resentment in countries like France and Italy. It’s no surprise that Paris, Berlin, and the UN have repeatedly stressed that Minsk remains the only solution to the Ukraine conflict. For Ukraine’s far right, however, the accords—which require Kiev to grant Donbass special status, including the right to use the Russian language—are anathema. Accordingly, whenever the West nudges Ukraine to fulfill its Minsk obligations, the far right steps in, often with violence.

In addition to stymieing the Ukraine peace process and resolution of EU-Russia sanctions, the far right has flouted the rule of law, fostered instability, and undermined basic democratic institutions within Ukraine. Gangs tied to the Azov, Aidar, Right Sector, and Tornado battalions have had gun battles with police, intimidated court proceedings, overturned local elections, torched media buildings, attacked undesirable Soviet monuments, violently threatened journalists, and overtly spoken of overthrowing the government.

It is difficult to imagine any stable administration tolerating three years of such brazen challenges to its monopoly over the use of force, yet nearly all of the far right’s actions have gone unpunished.

(…) One reason behind Kiev’s inability and unwillingness to rein in the battalions is because they remain the fiercest, most battle-hardened units in the armed forces; it’s hard to send in the National Guard to restore order when the National Guard itself consists of ultranationalist formations. An equally disturbing reason is that Ukraine’s far right enjoys the support of two extraordinarily powerful politicians: Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

Both men played a critical role in harnessing neo-Nazi street muscle during the winter 2013–14 Maidan uprising that resulted in the ouster of corrupt, albeit democratically elected, president Viktor Yanukovych. Parubiy’s ties with the far right go back decades: He co-founded and led the Social-National Party of Ukraine, which used neo-Nazi symbols and whose name, according to Der Spiegel, is an intentional reference to the Nazi Party.

Avakov, in turn, developed Maidan’s “self-defense” formations into heavily equipped paramilitary units that fought in Donbass as well as brutally suppressed any hint of secession in Russian-speaking cities that had not yet fallen to the rebels. In the process, these units amassed a horrific record of rape, torture, kidnapping, murder, and possible war crimes, as attested by numerousAmnesty International and United Nations reports.

After becoming interior minister, Avakov has promoted figures such— as a veteran of the neo-Nazi group Patriot of Ukraine and the Azov Battalion who recently became acting chief over Ukraine’s National Police. The National Police—which was funded, equipped, and trained by Washington—was once held up as a shining example of Washington’s guiding Ukraine toward democracy. The fact that it’s now run by a man with neo-Nazi ties is a particularly ironic example of unintended consequences.” (Read more: The Nation, 12/05/2016)  (Archive)

Considering Avakov’s violent history, why was the US Ambassador to Ukraine placating his fear of Giuliani, as well as meeting with him to discuss providing security for Ukraine’s upcoming election?

Avakov tweets on March 21, 2019: “Meeting with US Ambassador Marie Yovanovich discussed urgent issues of ensuring fair and transparent elections, security and preventing provocations at polling stations during voting.” (Credit: Yulia Babich/Twitter)

In a series of tweets by @UkraineLiberty, Yovanovitch’s relationship with Arsen Avakov is further highlighted via her testimony against Trump:

(Credit: @UkraineLiberty)

September 27, 2019 – Italian officials provide an audio recording of Joseph Mifsud’s deposition to AG Barr

(Credit: Communities Digital News)

“Attorney General William Barr reportedly listened to an audio recording of the mysterious professor at the center of the special counsel’s probe during a surprise trip last week to Italy.

Barr met with Italian intelligence officials during the trip, The Daily Beast reported citing Italian officials, and John Durham accompanied him. Durham is a federal prosecutor who is leading an inquiry into FBI and CIA intelligence-gathering activities related to the Trump campaign.

A source in Italy’s Ministry of Justice said that Italian officials played a tape for Barr and Durham, according to The Daily Beast. Another source said the Italians showed the U.S. officials other evidence related to Joseph Mifsud, who was once a Maltese diplomat and has held university positions in the U.K. and Italy.

The tape was a deposition that Mifsud gave after applying for police protection explaining why he might be in harm’s way, according to The Beast. The report said Italian Ministry of Justice records show that Mifsud applied for police protection.

Mifsud was scrutinized in the special counsel’s investigation because of his relationship in 2016 with George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide. Papadopoulos said Mifsud told him during an April 26, 2016 meeting in London that he had learned from Russian government officials that Russia had “dirt” on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

(…) The special counsel portrayed Mifsud as a possible Russian agent; however, the Malta-born mystery man also has close ties to Western diplomats. He has visited the U.S. State Department and held a position at Rome’s Link Campus University, which has close ties to Western intelligence agencies.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 10/02/2019)  (Archive)

August 22, 2019 – A federal judge criticizes State and Justice departments on Clinton email cover-up; gives Clinton and Mills 30 days to oppose being deposed

(Credit: Judicial Watch)

“Judicial Watch released the transcript today from their hearing on Thursday, August 22, 2019, where U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth granted significant new discovery to Judicial Watch on the Clinton email issue (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).

During the hearing, Judge Lamberth specifically raised concerns about a Clinton email cache recently discussed in a letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and wants Judicial Watch to “shake this tree” on this issue.

[J]ust last week, the Senate’s – Senate Finance and Homeland Security Committees released documents revealing that Clinton IT aide Paul Combetta copied all but four of the missing emails to a Gmail account that does not appear to have ever been reconstructed and searched. The court thinks Judicial Watch ought to shake this tree. 

Judge Lamberth also criticized the State Department’s handling and production of Clinton’s emails in this case stating, “There is no FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] exemption for political expedience, nor is there one for bureaucratic incompetence.” 

At the beginning of their oral arguments, lawyers for the State Department wrongfully stated that Judicial Watch could no longer continue their discovery. The court stopped their arguments saying that Judicial Watch can continue to find more evidence in this case:

Judge Royce C. Lamberth (Credit: Charles Dharapak/The Associated Press)

STATE DEPARTMENT: … it is, of course, Judicial Watch’s burden to explain to Your Honor why there has been good cause to reopen discovery now that discovery has closed in this case.

THE COURT: Well, I didn’t close discovery. So your premise is wrong.

STATE DEPARTMENT: Fair enough, Your Honor. Whether you want to call it closed or not, it is still —

THE COURT: I didn’t close it. I said I would have a status after they took this initial discovery, and that’s what I’m doing today. I didn’t close discovery.

STATE DEPARTMENT: That’s right, Your Honor, but it is still Judicial Watch’s —

THE COURT: So they don’t need any good cause —

STATE DEPARTMENT: Whether

THE COURT: — Today the good cause continues from whether or not State was acting in good faith, and I’ll tell you everything they’ve discovered in this period raises serious questions about what the hell the State Department’s doing here.

The court rejected DOJ and State efforts to derail further Judicial Watch discovery. Judge Lamberth called their arguments “preposterous” and cited a prior Judicial Watch FOIA case in which he ordered U.S. Marshals to seize records from a Clinton administration official.

I’ll tell you another thing I didn’t like in your brief. I’ll tell you right now upfront. You put in your brief the most preposterous thing, I thought, in your brief was the very idea that — let me read you the line. Competitive Enterprise Institute was a case of first impression and that some District Judge bought that and the Court of Appeals reversed it. Now, that wasn’t a case of first impression at all. The first impression with me was a case I had involving Ron Brown and the travel records of whether or not, in the Commerce Department — and it was a Judicial Watch case — whether or not the Commerce Department was selling seats on trade missions, and I had a Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce who took a box of records home and then they gave a no-records response and, in the course of that, I found out he had taken the records home and they said they had no records.  I sent marshals over and they got the box at his house, and I ordered them – the marshals — to seize the records. That was the first case.

The Judge also stated that the government has mishandled this case and the discovery of information including former Secretary Clinton’s emails so poorly that Judicial Watch may have the ability to prove they acted in “bad faith,” which would entitle them to attorney’s fees.

Judge Lamberth detailed how the State Department “spent three months from November 2014 trying to make this case disappear,” and that after discovering the State Department’s actions and omissions, “Now we know more, but we have even more questions than answers. So I won’t hold it against Judicial Watch for expanding their initial discovery request now.”

Judge Lamberth stated his goal was to restore the public’s faith in their government, which may have been damaged because of the Clinton email investigation:

When I authorized discovery back in December, I described my goal: to rule out egregious government misconduct and vindicate the public’s faith in the State and Justice Departments. That’s still my goal today. This isn’t a case I relish, but it’s the case before me now, and it’s a case of the government’s making.”

The court granted Judicial Watch seven additional depositions, three interrogatories and four document requests related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Hillary Clinton and her former top aide and current lawyer Cheryl Mills were given 30 days to oppose being deposed by Judicial Watch.

Below is the court’s ruling from the bench granting Judicial Watch’s significant new discovery:”

(Read more: Judicial Watch, 9/06/2019)

August 21, 2019 – Judicial Watch will seek the deposition of Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills

“Judicial Watch announced today that a federal court ordered a hearing for Thursday, August 22, 2019, on the Clinton email issue. On December 6, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers and Clinton aides to be deposed or answer written questions under oath.

The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.” The court ordered discovery into three specific areas: whether Secretary Clinton’s email use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request.

Judicial Watch deposed nearly a dozen witnesses and will seek addition[al] witnesses and documents from the court, including the deposition of Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills, her chief of staff at State and personal lawyer who directed the destruction of 33,000 State Department Clinton emails. Lawyers for Clinton and Mills are expected at the hearing Thursday.”

August 1, 2019 – John Solomon reports Durham and Horowitz have interviewed Joseph Mifsud and obtained an audio-taped deposition

(…) “Solomon told Sean Hannity that Western asset Joseph Mifsud has already testified and the Durham investigators have already obtained a taped deposition of his testimony.

Last week former US Attorney Joe diGenova also reported that US Attorney John Durham and IG Horowitz have already interviewed Joseph Mifsud.

John Solomon: I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audio-taped deposition of Joseph Mifsud where he describes his work, why he targeted Papadopoulos, who directed him to do that, what directions he was given and why he set that entire process of introducing George Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016. Which is really the flashpoint the start point of this whole Russia collusion narrative.

(The Gateway Pundit, 8/01/2019)

July 23, 2019 – Durham’s team reaches out to Mifsud to review a deposition he gave last year that suggests he was instructed to put Papadopoulos in touch with Russians

United States attorney for Connecticut, John H. Durham (Credit: Bob Child/The Associated Press)

“While most of the political world focused its attention elsewhere, special prosecutor John Durham’s team quietly reached out this summer to a lawyer representing European academic Joseph Mifsud, one of the earliest and most mysterious figures in the now closed Russia-collusion case.

An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election.

(…) For those who don’t remember, Mifsud is a Maltese-born academic with a VIP Rolodex who frequented Rome and London for years and engaged at the highest levels of Western diplomatic and intelligence circles.

Mueller’s team alleges that Mifsud is the person who fed a story in spring 2016 to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos about Moscow possessing purloined emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was the earliest known contact in the now-debunked collusion narrative and the seminal event that the FBI says prompted it on July 31, 2016, to open its probe into the Trump campaign.

Joseph Mifsud is introduced as the Director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, by Dr. Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Club Foundation in May, 2016. (Credi: Valdai Club/YouTube)

Mueller concluded that Mifsud was a person with extensive Russia ties who planted the story about the Clinton emails in Moscow and then lied about his dealings with Papadopoulos when interviewed by the FBI in 2017. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud.

(…) Conservative defenders of President Trump, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have raised recent concerns that Mueller’s portrayal of the Mifsud-Papadopoulos contacts doesn’t add up.

Roh told me the information he is preparing to share with Durham’s team from his client will accentuate those concerns.

Mifsud was a “longtime cooperator of western intel” who was asked specifically by his contacts at Link University in Rome and the London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP) — two academic groups with ties to Western diplomacy and intelligence — to meet with Papadopoulos at a dinner in Rome in mid-March 2016, Roh told me.

May 2019 letter from Nunes to U.S. intelligence officials corroborates some of Roh’s account, revealing photos showing that the FBI conducted training at Link in fall 2016 and that Mifsud and other Link officials met regularly with world leaders, including Boris Johnson, elected today as Britain’s new prime minister.

A few days after the March dinner, Roh added, Mifsud received instructions from Link superiors to “put Papadopoulos in contact with Russians,” including a think tank figure named Ivan Timofeev and a woman he was instructed to identify to Papadopoulos as Vladimir Putin’s niece.

Mifsud knew the woman was not the Russian president’s niece but, rather, a student who was involved with both the Link and LCILP campuses, and the professor believed there was an effort underway to determine whether Papadopoulos was an “agent provocateur” seeking foreign contacts, Roh said.

The evidence, he told me, “clearly indicates that this was not only a surveillance op but a more sophisticated intel operation” in which Mifsud became involved.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/23/2019)