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)
I know why @paulsperry_ 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
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) November 30, 2019
October 31, 2019 – NSC official Tim Morrison, tells Schiff nothing illegal took place In Trump call to Ukrainian president
“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.
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 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:
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:
ZELDIN: “So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?”
TAYLOR: “I have not talked to the president. I have no other information from what the president was thinking." https://t.co/NS7q2jTaST
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 6, 2019
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)
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:
Donald Trump Jr.
Michael McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia)
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:
- Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
- Dan Bongino
- Department of State
- Donald Trump
- Donald Trump Jr.
- George Soros
- Global Engagement Center
- illegal spying
- Jack Posobiec
- Joe Biden
- John Solomon
- Judicial Watch
- Laura Ingraham
- Marie Yovanovitch
- media leak
- Michael McFaul
- October 2019
- Pamella Geller
- political bias
- Rudy Giuliani
- Ryan Saavedra
- Sara Carter
- Sean Hannity
- Sebastian Gorka
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)
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?
In a series of tweets by @UkraineLiberty, Yovanovitch’s relationship with Arsen Avakov is further highlighted via her testimony against Trump:
September 27, 2019 – The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances
“The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances, raising questions about the credibility of the whistleblower and his or her purported White House sources.
First, WB claims that his sources told him that after “an initial exchange of pleasantries” Trump “used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests.” The transcript shows that the leaders discussed meetings in Poland and DC before ending the call.
Second, WB claims that aside from the cases “purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 US election … no other ‘cases’ were discussed.” But the transcript shows that Trump and Zelensky talked of a potential probe of Marie Yovanovitch. (misspelled as Ivanovich)
Zelensky: “if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country” in regards to Yovanovitch.
In the transcript, Yovanovitch’s name is misspelled “Ivanovich” and Zelensky appears to have misstated her title as “Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine.”
WB claims the loading of the call transcript onto a secure system amounted to an abuse of that system since the “the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” The transcript was labeled (properly) “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.”
The “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.” label was appropriate since the call contained Trump’s views on foreign nations, including Germany, a key U.S. ally. Unauthorized disclosure of such information has the potential to harm national security.
Pelosi kicked off impeachment before the White House released the transcript of the call and before the complaint was made public. As a result, she may not have been aware that the complaint is based on hearsay, some of which has now been contradicted by the call transcript.” (Ivan Pentchoukov @IvanPentchoukov/Twitter, 9/27/2019)
June 24, 2019 – DOJ confirms Flynn defense team never received a transcript of Flynn/Kislyak phone call
“When General Michael Flynn entered into the seemingly coerced plea agreement with the special counsel team and prosecutor Brandon Van Grack (November 30, 2017), he gave up the right to defense discovery in his case. In hindsight this will likely be viewed a mistake.
(h/t Techno Fog) During a court appearance today by new attorney Ms. Sidney Powell, the topic of needing a classified security clearance -to review documents- was raised. The DOJ responded to the assertion by saying no classified information was provided to the prior Flynn defense team, therefore Ms. Powell doesn’t need not carry that concern.
However, by admitting the DOJ provided no classified information to the defense, the prosecution is simultaneously admitting they never provided Flynn with a copy of the phone call transcript (December 29, 2016) between President-elect Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The content of that phone call lies at the heart of the FBI interview that took place on January 24th, 2017.
Judge Emmet Sullivan originally asked for the Flynn/Kislyak transcript; however, the prosecution said it was irrelevant to their case. The judge accepted the non-production.
It is suspected Flynn may have been under a FISA surveillance warrant which seems confirmed by the Weissmann/Mueller report. The FBI intercepted, recorded, and later transcribed the December 29, 2016, conversation.
This is why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn January 24, 2017, interview becomes such an important facet.
On June 6, 2019, the DOJ released the FBI agent report (FD-302) written after their interview of Michael Flynn on Jan 24th, 2017. (Full pdf below) From prior testimony we know that FBI Agent Peter Strzok did the questioning and FBI Agent Joe Pientka took notes.
For some reason, within the DOJ release of the report they are continuing to redact the name Joe Pientka. [Could be due to ongoing employment]
It’s worth noting according to Mark Meadows the Office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz has interviewed Joe Pientka extensively; prior attempts by congress to gain testimony from Pientka were blocked by the FBI and Rod Rosenstein.
FBI Agent Joseph Pientka was never interviewed by the joint House judiciary and oversight committees (Goodlatte and Gowdy). The reason, as explained by Meadows, was simple; Pientka was on Weissmann and Mueller’s special counsel team. Congress was not allowed to interfere in the Mueller probe. In hindsight this looks like Weissmann, Mueller & Rosenstein strategically using the investigation as a shield from sunlight.
The interview took place on January 24, 2017. The report was written Jan 24th, 2017. The wording was then deliberated by the small group, approved by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and entered into the record on February 15th, 2017. (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 6/24/2019)
- 302 reports
- Andrew McCabe
- Andrew Weissmann
- Brandon Van Grack
- FD 302 manipulations
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA warrant
- House Judiciary Committee
- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- Joe Pientka
- June 2019
- Lt. General Michael Flynn
- Mueller Report
- Rod Rosenstein
- security clearance
- Sergey Kislyak
- Sidney Powell