November 30, 2019 – John Ratcliffe suggests IC IG Atkinson’s transcript is being withheld because of his testimony to possible connections between Schiff’s staff and the hearsay whistleblower
“Republican Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe hinted Saturday at the reason he believes House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff won’t release Michael Atkinson’s transcript.
Ratcliffe suggested in a tweet that Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, might have revealed information about a possible connection between the whistleblower and members of Schiff’s staff.
“It’s because I asked IG Atkinson about his ‘investigation’ into the contacts between Schiff’s staff and the person who later became the whistleblower. The transcript is classified ‘secret’ so Schiff can prevent you from seeing the answers to my questions,” he tweeted.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/01/2019)
November 30, 2019 – Jimmy Dore picks apart the first round of Democratic “impeachment bombshells”
November 15, 2019 – Schiff shields questions to Marie Yovanovitch over Biden and Burisma
Today’s largely boring testimony included a few fireworks – notably when House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) prevented Republicans from recognizing Rep. Elise Stefanik to ask Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch questions about Hunter Biden and Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
And when Stefanik was allowed to question Yovanovitch, she pointed out that the Obama State Department prepared her to answer questions about perceived conflicts of interest regarding the unusual Biden arrangement.
(…) As Bloomberg reminds us, Yovanovitch testified in private on Oct. 11 that she felt she was recalled following a “concerted campaign” by President Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Because she left Ukraine in May, she clearly doesn’t have any direct knowledge of Trump’s efforts to elicit a quid pro quo – or as the Dems are now calling it, a bribe.
Yovanovitch testified that she felt “threatened” by the way Trump spoke about her on the July 25 call, which is at the center of the impeachment issue. Trump called her “bad news” and said “she’s going to go through some things.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 11/15/2019)
October 29, 2019 – Swalwell and Schiff confirm in Alexander Vindman’s transcript that he is the hearsay whistleblower’s source/leaker
“Transcripts are being released from various impeachment inquiry witnesses and it’s becoming clear exactly why Adam Schiff wanted to keep all this stuff secret.
(…) There are other questions involving the original whistle-blower (reported to be Eric Ciaramella). We know he was not legally privy to anything on the telephone call between Trump and Zelensky, which has formed the genesis of this matter. That means that whoever gave him the contents was illegally leaking classified information. Perhaps the whistle-blower himself is protected by statute for simply passing that information along, but whoever gave it to him certainly isn’t it for their original crime.
That leads us to Alexander Vindman. He’s become a central figure in these discussions after he marched up to Capitol Hill, proclaiming himself a patriot, and shared all his deep concerns about Donald Trump. He accused the President of “subverting” U.S. foreign policy, which gives you a window into the perverted minds of some of these bureaucrats that assume it is they who actually run things.
It’s been suspected that Vindman was the one who leaked to the whistle-blower and now that his testimony has been released, it seems fairly certain.
In these transcripts, we see Jim Jordan pressing Vindman on who outside of the chain of command he talked to about the call. Then we see Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell jump in and stop him from answering. But it’s what they say when they stop Vindman that gives the entire thing away.
The problem is that Jordan never asked about the whistle-blower. This means that both Schiff and Swalwell accidentally confirmed here that Vindman is indeed the source for the ICIG complaint. In short, if Vindman answering the question about who he talked to would give up the whistle-blower’s identity, that means Vindman was the source.
(…) Last I checked, it’s a crime to share classified information with people not legally able to receive that information. We’ve been told from the beginning of this ordeal that the whistle-blower himself did not have the proper clearance to access the phone call.
The rough transcript of the call, according to the complaint, was first classified as secret and later top-secret, ensuring that only those with the highest clearances would be able to read it.
Not only did Vindman share concerns about a call classified at the highest level, he gave exacting details and quotes to the whistle-blower.
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.
“[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.
Updates may be added:
October 15, 2019 – Notes on George Kent’s closed-door testimony
“The second witness in the first public “impeachment inquiry” hearing to be called to testify Wednesday by House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) will be George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the State Department.
Kent already testified once, on October 15 — behind closed doors and long before an “impeachment inquiry” was authorized. The transcript was only recently released.
Democrats are making Kent one of their two leadoff witnesses because for two reasons. First, he comes across as a likable curmudgeon: while he has sharp criticism for President Donald Trump, he also has a quick wit. Second, he has many negative things to say about the role of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, acting as President Trump’s personal lawyer and also as a player in U.S.-Ukrainian relations. Democrats will use Kent’s testimony to lay the foundation for an attack on Giuliani that they hope will paint the president in the worst possible light as well.
(Giuliani also published an op-ed on Tuesday evening in the Wall Street Journal, which will appear in print on Wednesday: “My client’s call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty.”)
Key Democratic Talking Points
1. Kent will testify that he believes that Giuliani, through dubious sources in Ukraine, was part of a “campaign of slander” that led to President firing Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. One of the key articles in the campaign was published by John Solomon in The Hill, in which former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko claimed that Yovanovitch had given him a “do not prosecute” list. She was alleged to be anti-Trump. She denies all of the claims.
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Yovanovitch may be the innocent victim of a campaign of slander. However, new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trump in their phone call that he also thought she was “bad.” He said: “I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.” All ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president; there was nothing illegal in her dismissal.
2. In their summary of Kent’s testimony, Democrats claim: “With respect to President Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Biden, Mr. Kent stated: ‘I do not believe the U.S. should ask other countries to engage in politically associated investigations and prosecutions.’” He also said that Trump’s actions were wrong.
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Kent only learned about the request because the president released the transcript. He also had no firsthand knowledge of any connection between aid and investigations. Asked by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), “Do you have any firsthand knowledge of United States aid to Ukraine ever being connected to the opening of a new investigation?”, Kent answered: “I do not have direct knowledge, no.”
3. Kent told the closed-door hearing that he had heard from Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland that “POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton.”
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Kent himself expressed misgivings about Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, a company associated with Ukrainian corruption. He testified that in 2015, “I raised my concerns [with the vice president’s staff] that I had heard that Hunter Biden was on the board of a company owned by somebody that the U.S. Government had spent money trying to get tens of milljons of dollars back and that could create the perception of a conflict of interest.” He was told that then-Vice President Joe Biden could not be reached to deal with the problem because Biden’s other son, Beau, was dying of cancer. Hunter continued on the board, even though, Kent said, there were concerns in the State Department about Burisma.
Another key point: Kent testified the U.S. has made aid to Ukraine conditional on reform in the past. For example, the U.S. made sovereign loan guarantees from 2014-2016 conditional on reform in the Ukrainian prosecution services. Asked whether he thought former Vice President Biden had used a “quid pro quo” in his now-infamous threat to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless Ukraine fired its chief prosecutor, Kent said he preferred the term “conditionality for assistance,” saying that governments use it, as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Read more: Breitbart, 11/13/2019) (Archive)
April 30, 2019 – Schiff spies on Devin Nunes call records with AT&T’s help
“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff spied on the top Republican on his panel by obtaining his phone records and publishing them in an impeachment report, Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Wednesday.
“It raises a lot of serious questions,” the Louisiana Republican said.
“I want to know all the people Adam Schiff is spying on,” Scalise told the Washington Examiner. “Are there other members of Congress that he is spying on, and what justification does he have? He needs to be held accountable and explain what he’s doing, going after journalists, going after members of Congress, instead of doing his job.”
Schiff released a 300-page report Tuesday on the Democrats’ impeachment investigation that included call records obtained from AT&T.
The records showed calls between Nunes and President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and calls between Nunes and Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate now under indictment for funneling foreign money to U.S. political candidates.
Schiff said the calls raise questions about whether Nunes was involved in what Democrats believe was a scheme to undermine Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I find it deeply concerning at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence of members of Congress complicit in that activity,” Schiff said Tuesday.” (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 12/04/2019) (Archive)
December 2018 – Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Nancy Pelosi hire members from the Lawfare Group as staff members and House General Counsel
After the 2018 mid-terms, and in preparation for the “impeachment” strategy, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hired Lawfare group members to become House committee staff.
Chairman Schiff hired former SDNY U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman (link), and Chairman Nadler hired Obama Administration lawyer Norm Eisen and criminal defense attorney Barry Berke (link). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then hired Douglas Letter as House General Counsel – all are within the Lawfare network.
In the last month many people have surmised that Pelosi and Schiff moved to utilize the Ukraine/NSC impeachment angle *after* the Mueller angle for impeachment ran into trouble. However, CTH research (widely criticized in 2018) doesn’t reflect the Whistle-blower impeachment plan as an ‘add-on’. Instead, what we see is the use of the HPSCI; and the use of embeds within National Security Council staff; by design. The Schiff events of today were always part of a prior planned design.
Only two committees hired Lawfare staff in 2018: Judiciary (Eisen & Berke) and HPSCI (Goldman). This evidences a 2018 plan to use the Judiciary and HPSCI for the impeachment process as designed by the Lawfare contractors. This design is also outlined in the year of public advice from the mother-ship, Lawfare.
They impeachment crew always planned to use the House Intelligence Committee; and they always planned to use activated sleeper cells within the National Security Staff. None of this is organic; none of this current action was contingent upon a Trump phone call. The whistle-blower approach was always going to be used; the only issue was: ‘how’?
That sets the context for the slick moves by Pelosi and Schiff’s Lawfare team. The contracted legal staff within House Intelligence Committee produced a House “Impeachment Inquiry” resolution to be voted on tomorrow.
By all appearances, the impeachment crew is following a legal strategy. Leading with Nadler (Mueller) in the HJC was part of that forethought. Berke and Eisen would then go after the Mueller evidence (grand jury, 6e material). Whether Judge Beryl Howell was/is in-on-it; and whether the DOJ staff tanked the oral arguments on purpose; is up for debate… but the plan was always thus.
Once, Barry Berke and Norm Eisen gained Judicial impeachment validation from a federal judge, that’s where Chairman Schiff and Daniel Goldman come in. Goldman is the Lawfare contractor leading the questioning and framing the House impeachment inquiry approach through the use of the HPSCI rules that are useful in their secrecy.
The primary point is: none of this process-flow is accidental. There is a design evident in an activity that is only visible in hindsight.
Why does this matter?
Because if we can see the visible House plan; and if we accept the deliberate process it has taken to carry it out; then why would we assume there isn’t a similar plan for the Senate?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, October 30, 2019)