On Friday, Attorney General William P. Barr delivered the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention.
The most significant part of the speech, to me, was when Barr slammed the political left for their endless attacks on Trump, and their bogus narrative that Trump is subverting the Constitution.
One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of “shredding” constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law. When I ask my friends on the other side, what exactly are you referring to? I get vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the Travel Ban or some such thing. While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him. What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts. The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.
Indeed, measures undertaken by this Administration seem a bit tame when compared to some of the unprecedented steps taken by the Obama Administration’s aggressive exercises of executive power – such as, under its DACA program, refusing to enforce broad swathes of immigration law.
Barr also specifically called out the resistance.
The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law. This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.
Oh, but he wasn’t done there:
In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.
I strongly encourage you to watch (or read) the whole thing. After eight years of having partisan radicals running the show and turning the Department of Justice into a political weapon for Barack Obama, it’s refreshing to see we have an advocate for the Constitution and the rule of law again.
Elise Stefanik’s Stardom is Born
“President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful Ambassador nominee before her confirmation. And yet our Democratic colleagues and the Chairman of this Committee cry foul when we dare ask that same question that the Obama State Department was so concerned about.”
Elise Stefanik is from New York’s 21st District.
We’re not talking Manhattan here, it’s the north country, covering the Adirondack Mountains from the Vermont border to the east and the Canadian border to the north and west……….
Stefanik won the seat in 2014, at age 30. At the time, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress…………
First, she took on Schiff. But because she’s Republican, Schiff received media cheers not scorn for trying to shut her up.
She scored a substantive home run by pointing out that the Obama administration was concerned about Hunter Biden’s actions in Ukraine, so much so that she was prepped on the subject in advance of her Senate confirmation hearings. So why, she asked, is it wrong when Republicans to have the same concerns about Hunter Biden that the Obama administration had?
The Diplomad: “W. Lewis Amselem, long time US Foreign Service Officer; now retired; served all over the world and under all sorts of conditions. Convinced the State Department needs to be drastically slashed and reformed so that it will no longer pose a threat to the national interests of the United States.”
Despite having just bought a new Sig P226 Legion and a Sig P365 (both excellent), I spent much of the day listening to the so-called impeachment hearings . . . sigh . . . gotta get a life.
I don’t know what was more depressing, the hearings themselves or the comments afterwards by the so-called punditry class. These pundits, left and right, were chattering on and on about “take-aways” from the testimony. Yes, Bill, there was this and there was that, and, of course, that there . . . PLEASE STOP!
Let me give you the one take-away y’all need, and remember this comes from a former denizen of the Foggy Bottom Swamp, one who used to swim and crawl with all them swamp creatures.
What you saw were a couple of career dips–neither of whom I know personally–whining a familiar whine that one can hear echoing in the halls of Foggy Bottom and just about anywhere else where “PROFESSIONAL” civil servants congregate. What is it? Simple: THEY are not paying attention to us!
You saw Ambassador Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent all in a knot because the President had an “irregular” channel he used to conduct foreign policy in Ukraine. Wow! I didn’t realize that we had elected Taylor and Kent!
Let me put it in nice simple terms so that the Swamp Beings will understand: The President sets and conducts foreign policy, not State, not the NSC, not the DOD, not any other alphabet agency. He does not have to go through State or NSC to conduct said policy; he does not have to consult with Kent or Taylor or anybody else on Ukraine or any other aspect of foreign policy.
All Presidents have used “irregular” channels going back at least to Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House. All have used messengers and negotiators outside the established bureaucracy for different diplomatic missions. There is nothing unusual or illegal or impeachable for doing this. The bureaucracy doesn’t like it, so what?
More of this “impeachment” nonsense to come.
Not sure if AOC is finally being honest or if she’s too dense to realize she just gave the whole thing away?
Embrace the mighty power of ‘And’.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Wednesday said that impeaching President Donald Trump is necessary to prevent a “disastrous outcome” in 2020.
“This is not just about something that has occurred, this is about preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year,” she said.
Another idea is that Trump’s impeachable offense is apparently that he thought he was in charge of the executive branch and foreign policy.
It appears from this article that this article in NEJM provoked it. While there is no direct statement: “guns should be banned,” this quote conveys some of the language that is pretty clearly intended for that purpose: “Despite the widely held belief that guns are effective for protection, our results suggest that they actually pose a substantial threat to members of the household. People who keep guns in their homes appear to be at greater risk of homicide in the home than people who do not. Most of this risk is due to a substantially greater risk of homicide at the hands of a family member or intimate acquaintance. We did not find evidence of a protective effect of keeping a gun in the home, even in the small subgroup of cases that involved forced entry.”
That they excluded lawful uses is pretty indicative of cherry-picking the data: “Although our case definition excluded the rare instances in which a nonresident intruder was killed by a homeowner, our methodology was capable of demonstrating significant protective effects of gun ownership as readily as any evidence of increased risk.” They assume that “a nonresident intruder was killed by a homeowner” is rare, and exclude defensive uses that do not lead to death of an intruder.
Here are 1155 gun defensive uses involving home invasions.
And 492 residential burglary cases.
And 326 residence robbery incidents.
Many did not leave a bad guy dead. Excluding such cases is misleading.
I guess a city in Washington state can do this even when the state legislature has preemption on gun law. If it was me with a gun business in Tacoma, I’d move right outside the city limits and advertise like crazy.
The Tacoma, Washington, City Council voted Tuesday to increase prices on firearm and ammunition sales within city limits.
Fox News reports that the council did this by passing new taxes that will amount to an additional $25 on the price of every gun, two cents on the price of every round of .22 ammunition, and five cents on the price of every round of ammunition that is of higher caliber than .22.
The council approved the tax hike by a vote of 8-0.
The council expects the city of Tacoma to “raise about $300,000 annually” off the imposition, and they say they will use the money to fight violence.
On August 12, 2015, Breitbart News reported Seattle’s adoption of a similar tax and less than two years later Money reported, “It didn’t work.”
Money reported Seattle’s City Council predicted the tax would “raise $300,000 to $500,000” annually. In reality, it brought in less than $200,000. However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that the tax did achieve one end–it drove licensed, law-abiding gun dealers outside of city limits where they could avoid paying the tax.
Also, violence in Seattle surged as licensed gun dealers moved outside the city to avoid the new taxes.
As best I can tell by Bill Taylor's testimony thus far, Trump's real crime is refusing to delegate the entirety of U.S. foreign policy decision-making to a coterie of unelected career bureaucrats who think the Constitution gives them all power and authority to run the country.
— RMG (@G_Eternal) November 13, 2019
Alex Vindman Is Living, Breathing Proof That The Deep State Exists, And It Is Corrupt.
Democrats and the Deep State have elevated more policy disagreements to what amounts to an attempted coup. Just listen to Alex Vindman.
Remember the original ‘Seven Days In May’ movie with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster? A military officer let his supposed patriotism override his oath to defend the Constitution ( which makes the President the head of State and maker of Policy) because he didn’t hold with the political and policy decisions of the President and decided to do something about it. This is as close a deal as you can get in real life to what this officer did: Decide he didn’t like the President’s policy as it conflicted with what he figured policy should be.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is living, breathing, testifying proof the Deep State exists. He has shown his true colors and the agenda of the self-appointed elites who think they run this country.
Let me state categorically that I am not implying dual loyalty or questioning Vindman’s patriotism or even his devotion to duty as he sees it. I’m questioning his judgment about where that duty lies and the execution of those duties as a military officer and civil servant.
Vindman’s Testimony Gives the Game Away
But Vindman gave the game away with his prepared testimony. He believes the permanent bureaucracy should reign supreme, and if some elected politician gets crosswise with the solons of the state, then they must act. So he did, as he detailed in his prepared statement and testimony to Congress. From the statement: “In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy.”
There is a lot of wrong in those two sentences, which profoundly illustrate the fundamental flaw Vindman and his fellow Deep Staters operate under. The interagency he mentions is a collection of staff from the major agencies like the State Department, Department of Defense, and intelligence agencies, who meet to coordinate and plan implementation of policy. They most certainly are not supposed to decide what policy the United States will follow. That is 100 percent the purview of the president.
Donald Trump’s election has triggered a level of treachery that threatens the basis of our constitutional republic. The words “constitutional crisis” are bandied about too often, but this incident fits the bill all too well. Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley is promoting her book that debuts tomorrow and gave an interview yesterday to CBS in which she revealed the shocking news that two senior appointees to the Trump White House were conspiring against him and attempted to enlist her in their cabal to seize his constitutional powers for themselves.
Fox News summarizes:
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley blasted former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, recalling a private conversation where they defended resisting President Trump, telling her they did so out of necessity.
Haley told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell that she did not appreciate having the former officials confide in her, as she described in her new book, “With All Due Respect.”
“[I]nstead of saying that to me, they should’ve been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan,” Haley said.
Haley said that the two men “confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country” and how “Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die….”
“Saving the country” is the excuse offered by virtually all coup-plotters when they override the established powers and install their own people in power. It is the logic of a banana republic. Haley responded entirely appropriately:
“It should’ve been, ‘Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don’t like what he’s doing,'” Haley told O’Donnell. “But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive.”
Here’s the entire interview.
House Democrats conducted their impeachment interviews in secret, but Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman still emerged as star of the show. Appearing at his Oct. 29 deposition in full dress uniform, the decorated Army officer, now a White House National Security Council Ukraine expert, was the first witness who had actually listened to the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the heart of the Democratic impeachment campaign.
Even though lawmakers were forbidden to discuss his testimony in public, Vindman’s leaked opening statement that “I did not think it was proper [for Trump] to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen” exploded on news reports.
Vindman has not yet been scheduled to appear before the Democrats’ public impeachment hearings. When that happens, he will undoubtedly again play a prominent role. But there will be a difference. The public now has a transcript of Vindman’s deposition. And those who have taken the trouble to read the 340-page document will have a different picture of Vindman’s testimony than the one presented in early media reports.
Yes, Vindman testified repeatedly that he “thought it was wrong” for Trump, speaking with Zelensky, to bring up the 2016 election and allegations of Ukraine-related corruption on the part of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
But the Vindman transcript also showed a witness whose testimony was filled with opinion, with impressions, who had little new to offer, who withheld important information from the committee, who was steeped in a bureaucracy that has often been hostile to the president, and whose lawyer, presumably with Vindman’s approval, expressed unmistakable disdain, verging on contempt, for members of Congress who asked inconvenient questions.
In short, Vindman’s testimony was not the slam-dunk hit Democrats portrayed it to be. And that raises questions about how it will play when Vindman goes before the world in a public impeachment hearing.
Here are four problems with the Vindman testimony:
1) Beyond his opinions, he had few new facts to offer. Vindman seemed to be an important fact witness, the first who had actually been on the July 25 call when Trump talked to Zelensky. But the White House weeks ago released the rough transcript of that call, which meant everyone in the secure room in which Vindman testified, and everyone on the planet, for that matter, already knew what had been said.
Indeed, Vindman attested to the overall accuracy of the rough transcript, contrary to some impeachment supporters who have suggested the White House is hiding an exact transcript that would reveal everything Trump said to the Ukrainian president.
As one of a half-dozen White House note-takers listening to the call, Vindman testified that he tried unsuccessfully to make a few edits to the rough transcript as it was being prepared.
In particular, Vindman believed that Zelensky specifically said the word “Burisma,” the corrupt Ukrainian energy company that hired Hunter Biden, when the rough transcript referred only to “the company.”
But beyond that, Vindman had no problems with the transcript, and he specifically said he did not believe any changes were made with ill intent.
“You don’t think there was any malicious intent to specifically not add those edits?” asked Republican counsel Steve Castor.
“I don’t think so.”
“So otherwise, this record is complete and I think you used the term ‘very accurate’?”
“Yes,” said Vindman.
Once Vindman had vouched for the rough transcript, his testimony mostly concerned his own interpretation of Trump’s words. And that interpretation, as Vindman discovered during questioning, was itself open to interpretation.
Vindman said he was “concerned” about Trump’s statements to Zelensky, so concerned that he reported it to top National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg. (Vindman had also reported concerns to Eisenberg two weeks before the Trump-Zelensky call, after a Ukraine-related meeting that included Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.)
Vindman said several times that he was not a lawyer and did not know if Trump’s words amounted to a crime but that he felt they were “wrong.” That was when Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, tried to get to the root of Vindman’s concerns.
What was really bothering him?
“I’m trying to find out if you were reporting it because you thought there was something wrong with respect to policy or there was something wrong with respect to the law,” Ratcliffe said to Vindman. “And what I understand you to say is that you weren’t certain that there was anything improper with respect to the law, but you had concerns about U.S. policy. Is that a fair characterization?”
“So I would recharacterize it as I thought it was wrong and I was sharing those views,” Vindman answered. “And I was deeply concerned about the implications for bilateral relations, U.S. national security interests, in that if this was exposed, it would be seen as a partisan play by Ukraine. It loses the bipartisan support. And then for — ”
“I understand that,” Ratcliffe said, “but that sounds like a policy reason, not a legal reason.”
Indeed it did. Elsewhere in Vindman’s testimony, he repeated that his greatest worry was that if the Trump-Zelensky conversation were made public, then Ukraine might lose the bipartisan support it currently has in Congress. That, to Ratcliffe and other Republicans, did not seem a sufficient reason to report the call to the NSC’s top lawyer, nor did it seem the basis to begin a process leading to impeachment and a charge of presidential high crimes or misdemeanors.
At another point, Castor asked Vindman whether he was interpreting Trump’s words in an overly alarmist way, especially when Vindman contended that Trump issued a “demand” to Zelensky.
“The president in the transcript uses some, you know, words of hedging from time to time,” Castor said.
“You know, on page 3, he says ‘whatever you can do.’ He ends the first paragraph on page 3, ‘if that’s possible.’ At the top of page 4, ‘if you could speak to him, that would be great.’ ‘So whatever you can do.’ Again, at the top of page 4, ‘if you can look into it.’ Is it reasonable to conclude that those words hedging for some might, you know, lead people to conclude that the president wasn’t trying to be demanding here?”
“I think people want to hear, you know, what they have as already preconceived notions,” Vindman answered, in what may have been one of the more revealing moments of the deposition.
“I’d also point your attention to ‘whatever you can do, it’s very important to do it if that’s possible.'”
“‘If that’s possible,'” Castor stressed.
“Yeah,” said Vindman. “So I guess you can interpret it in different ways.”
2) Vindman withheld important information from investigators. Vindman ended his opening statement in the standard way, by saying, “Now, I would be happy to answer your questions.” As it turned out, that cooperation did not extend to both parties.
The only news in Vindman’s testimony was the fact that he had twice taken his concerns to Eisenberg.
He also told his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, who is also an Army lieutenant colonel and serves as a National Security Council lawyer. He also told another NSC official, John Erath, and he gave what he characterized as a partial readout of the call to George Kent, a career State Department official who dealt with Ukraine.
That led to an obvious question: Did Vindman take his concerns to anyone else? Did he discuss the Trump-Zelensky call with anyone else? It was a reasonable question, and an important one.
Republicans asked it time and time again. Vindman refused to answer, with his lawyer, Michael Volkov, sometimes belligerently joining in. Through it all, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff stood firm in favor of keeping his committee in the dark.
Vindman openly conceded that he told other people about the call. The obvious suspicion from Republicans was that Vindman told the person who became the whistleblower, who reported the call to the Intelligence Community inspector general, and who, in a carefully crafted legal document, framed the issue in a way that Democrats have adopted in their drive to remove the president from office.
Vindman addressed the suspicion before anyone raised it. In his opening statement, he said, “I am not the whistleblower … I do not know who the whistleblower is and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.”
Fine, said Republicans. We won’t ask you who the whistleblower is. But if your story is that you were so concerned by the Trump-Zelensky issue that you reported it to Eisenberg, and also to others, well, who all did you tell?
That is when the GOP hit a brick wall from Vindman, his lawyer Volkov, and, most importantly, Schiff.
As chairman of the Intelligence Committee, charged with overseeing the intelligence community, Schiff might normally want to know about any intelligence community involvement in the matter under investigation.
But in the Vindman deposition, Schiff strictly forbade any questions about it. “Can I just caution again,” he said at one point, “not to go into names of people affiliated with the IC in any way.”
The purpose of it all was to protect the identity of the whistleblower, who Schiff incorrectly claimed has “a statutory right to anonymity.”
That left Republicans struggling to figure out what happened. “I’m just trying to better understand who the universe of people the concerns were expressed to,” said Castor.
“Look, the reason we’re objecting is not — we don’t want — my client does not want to be in the position of being used to identifying the whistleblower, okay?” said Volkov. “And based on the chair’s ruling, as I understand it, [Vindman] is not required to answer any question that would tend to identify an intelligence officer.”
“Okay,” Castor said to Vindman. “Did you express concerns to anybody, you know, that doesn’t fall under this category of someone who might be the whistleblower, or is Eisenberg the only — ”
“No,” said Vindman. “In my coordination role, as I actually said in the statement, in my opening … in performing my coordination role as director on the National Security Council, I provide readouts of relevant meetings and communications to [redacted] properly cleared counterparts with a relevant need to know.”
What did that mean, exactly? Vindman didn’t tell anybody else, he just provided readouts? On a need-to-know basis? Republicans tried on several occasions to figure it out. “Some of the other people that you raised concerns to, did you ask any of those folks to do anything with the concerns?” asked Castor.
That only prompted more bureaucratese from the witness. “I don’t think that’s an accurate characterization, counsel,” Vindman said. “I think what I did was I fulfilled my coordination role and spoke to other national security professionals about relevant substance in the call so that they could take appropriate action. And frankly, it’s hard to — you know, without getting into, you know, sources and methods, it’s hard to kind of talk about some of these things.”
So, Vindman’s basic answer was: I won’t tell you because that’s a secret. After several such exchanges, Volkov got tough with lawmakers, suggesting further inquiries might hurt Vindman’s feelings.
“Look, he came here,” Volkov said. “He came here. He tells you he’s not the whistleblower, okay? He says he feels uncomfortable about it. Try to respect his feelings at this point.”
An unidentified voice spoke up. “We’re uncomfortable impeaching the president,” it said.
“Excuse me. Excuse me,” Volkov responded. “If you want to debate it, we can debate it, but what I’m telling you right now is you have to protect the identity of the whistleblower. I get that there may be political overtones. You guys go do what you got to do, but do not put this man in the middle of it.”
Castor spoke up. “So how does it out anyone by saying that he had one other conversation other than the one he had with George Kent?”
“Okay,” said Volkov. “What I’m telling you right now is we’re not going to answer that question. If the chair wants to hold him in contempt for protecting the whistleblower, God be with you. … You don’t need this. You don’t need to go down this. And look, you guys can — if you want to ask, you can ask — you can ask questions about his conversation with Mr. Kent. That’s it. We’re not answering any others.”
“The only conversation that we can speak to Col. Vindman about is his conversation with Ambassador Kent?” asked Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin.
“Correct,” said Volkov, “and you’ve already asked him questions about it.”
“And any other conversation that he had with absolutely anyone else is off limits?”
“No,” said Volkov. “He’s told you about his conversations with people in the National Security Council. What you’re asking him to do is talk about conversations outside the National Security Council. And he’s not going to do that. I know where you’re going.”
“No, actually, you don’t,” said Zeldin.
“Oh, yes, sir,” said Volkov.
“No, you really don’t,” said Zeldin.
“You know what?” said Volkov. “I know what you’re going to say. I already know what you’re going to do, okay? And I don’t want to hear the FOX News questions, okay?”
Zeldin, perhaps seeking to cool Volkov down, said, “Listen, this transcript is going to be out at some point, okay?”
“I hope so,” said Volkov.
Finally, Schiff stepped in to stop things. “The gentleman will suspend,” he said. “Let’s suspend. Counsel has made his position clear. I think his client has made his position clear. Let’s move on.”
It should be noted that Volkov was a lawyer, and members of Congress were members of Congress. The lawyer should not be treating the lawmakers as Volkov did. Volkov was able to tell Republicans to buzz off only because he had Schiff’s full support. And Republicans never found out who else Vindman discussed the Trump-Zelensky call with.
3) There were notable gaps in Vindman’s knowledge. Vindman portrayed himself as the man to see on the National Security Council when it came to issues involving Ukraine. “I’m the director for Ukraine,” he testified. “I’m responsible for Ukraine. I’m the most knowledgeable. I’m the authority for Ukraine for the National Security Council and the White House.” Yet at times there were striking gaps in Vindman’s knowledge of the subject matter. He seemed, for instance, distinctly incurious about the corruption issues in Ukraine that touched on Joe and Hunter Biden.
Vindman agreed with everyone that Ukraine has a serious corruption problem. But he knew little specifically about Burisma, the nation’s second-largest privately owned energy company, and even less about Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch who runs the firm.
“What do you know about Zlochevsky, the oligarch that controls Burisma?” asked Castor.
“I frankly don’t know a huge amount,” Vindman said.
“Are you aware that he’s a former Minister of Ecology”? Castor asked, referring to a position Zlochevsky allegedly used to steer valuable government licenses to Burisma.
“I’m not,” said Vindman.
“Are you aware of any of the investigations the company has been involved with over the last several years?”
“I am aware that Burisma does have questionable business dealings,” Vindman said. “That’s part of the track record, yes.”
“Okay. And what questionable business dealings are you aware of?” asked Castor. Vindman said he did not know beyond generalities. “The general answer is I think they have had questionable business dealings,” Vindman said.
Castor then noted that in 2014 Burisma “undertook an initiative to bring in some additional folks for their board, are you aware of some of the folks they added to their board in 2014?”
“The only individual I’m aware of, again, after, you know, as it’s been reported in the press is Mr. Hunter Biden,” Vindman said.
“Okay,” said Castor. “And did you check with any of your authoritative sources in government to learn a little bit more about these issues?”
“I did not,” said Vindman. “I didn’t think it was appropriate. He was a U.S. citizen, and I wasn’t going to ask questions.”
A short time later, Castor asked, “And do you have any knowledge as to why Hunter Biden was asked to join the board?”
“I do not.”
“Did you check with any of your authoritative sources whether he was a corporate governance expert or — ”
“Like I said, I didn’t,” Vindman answered. “He’s an American citizen. Certainly there are domestic political overtones. I did not think that was appropriate for me to start looking into this particular … I drew my conclusions on Burisma and I moved on.”
Vindman had other blind spots, as well. One important example concerned U.S. provision of so-called lethal aid to Ukraine, specifically anti-tank missiles known as Javelins. The Obama administration famously refused to provide Javelins or other lethal aid to Ukraine, while the Trump administration reversed that policy, sending a shipment of missiles in 2018. On the Trump-Zelensky call, the two leaders discussed another shipment in the future.
“Both those parts of the call, the request for investigation of Crowd Strike and those issues, and the request for investigation of the Bidens, both of those discussions followed the Ukraine president saying they were ready to buy more Javelins. Is that right?” asked Schiff.
“Yes,” said Vindman.
“There was a prior shipment of Javelins to Ukraine, wasn’t there?” said Schiff.
“So that was, I believe — I apologize if the timing is incorrect — under the previous administration, there was a — I’m aware of the transfer of a fairly significant number of Javelins, yes,” Vindman said.
Vindman’s timing was incorrect. Part of the entire Trump-Ukraine story is the fact that Trump sent the missiles while Obama did not. The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council did not seem to know that.
4) Vindman was a creature of a bureaucracy that has often opposed President Trump. In his testimony, Vindman’s perspective could be mind-numbingly bureaucratic. One of his favorite words is “interagency,” by which he means the National Security Council’s role in coordinating policy among the State Department, Defense Department, the Intelligence Community, the Treasury Department, and the White House. His bible is something known as NSPM-4, or National Security Presidential Memorandum 4. He says things such as, “So I hold at my level sub-PCCs, Deputy Assistant Secretary level. PCCs are my boss, senior director with Assistant Secretaries. DCs are with the deputy of the National Security Council with his deputy counterparts within the interagency.” He believes the interagency has set a clear U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
“You said in your opening statement, or you indicated at least, that there’s a fairly consensus policy within the interagency towards Ukraine,” Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman said to Vindman. “Could you just explain what that consensus policy is, in your own words?”
“What I can tell you is, over the course of certainly my tenure there, since July 2018, the interagency, as per normal procedures, assembles under the NSPM-4, the National Security Policy [sic] Memorandum 4, process to coordinate U.S. government policy,” Vindman said. “We, over the course of this past year, probably assembled easily a dozen times, certainly at my level, which is called a subpolicy coordinating committee — and that’s myself and my counterparts at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level — to discuss our views on Ukraine.”
That is a classic bureaucrat’s view of government and the world. Needless to say, Trump does not do that sort of thing. The president is remarkably freewheeling, unbureaucratic, and certainly not always consistent when it comes to making policy. But he generally has a big goal in mind, and in any event, he is the president of the U.S. He, not the interagency, sets U.S. foreign policy.
Still, Vindman was deeply upset when Trump, relying on Rudy Giuliani and others, turned his attention to Ukraine. “In the spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency,” Vindman said in his opening statement. The outside influencers, he suggested, were undermining the work of his “interagency colleagues.” In the words of the Washington Post, Vindman was “deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy.”
Vindman’s discussion of the interagency, while dry as dust, might contain the key to his role in the Trump-Ukraine affair. In the last few years, the bureaucracy with which he so clearly identified has often been at odds, sometimes privately and sometimes publicly, with the president. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, writing in a new book, said two top officials, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House chief of staff John Kelly, sought to undermine Trump to “save the country.”
“It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interest of America, they said,” Haley wrote. “The president didn’t know what he was doing.”
That view extended deep into some areas of the government. Now, parts of the foreign policy bureaucracy are in open war with the president, channeling their grievances through the House Democrats’ drive toward impeachment. When he testifies in public, Vindman will be the living embodiment of that bureaucratic war.
Communist hypocritical ‘it girl’ keep paying off.
November 9 marks the 81st anniversary of the first day of Kristallnacht, also known as the “night of broken glass.” For nearly a week, the Nazi Sturmabteilung paramilitary forces carried out a pogrom against Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues and properties across Germany and related territories; 267 synagogues and 7,000 businesses were damaged or destroyed, and 30,000 Jewish men were incarcerated in concentration camps.
There was another sinister motive equal to the anti-Semitism: gun control.
What many don’t know is, weeks before, the Nazis had disarmed the Jews whom they terrorized; they knew who had firearms because of a compulsory, pre-Nazi gun registry created a decade earlier. The Nazis were so precise that businesses adjacent to Jewish-owned businesses were untouched; we suspect that many non-Jews wanted to help, but they knew that assisting would likely mean death or imprisonment.
After Kristallnacht, what did Hitler say was the justification? Confiscation of illegally owned guns, in response to the assassination of Nazi diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old German-born Polish Jew living in Paris.
In his 1971 book Rules for Radicals, Chicago community organizer and Obama and Clinton hero Saul Alinsky coined the phrase “the issue is never the issue.”
This is exactly what Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, Reich minister of propaganda of Nazi Germany, employed in their post-Kristallnacht propaganda. Their “issue” was revenge for vom Rath’s death, but the actual issue was disarmament of a population they intended to murder or enslave.
Democrats Channel the Nazis
Thanks to Robert O’Rourke, the chronically failing candidate and DMIC (Democrat Media Industrial Complex) Chia Pet, firearm registrations and confiscation are now cemented in the national branding and messaging of the Democratic Party and most of its 2020 candidates. Democrats have always believed this, mind you; in the past, however, they at least had the decency to lie about it.
Now that the “Democrats aren’t coming for your guns” toothpaste lie is out of the tube, expect Democrats to eventually — sooner rather than later — present their Final Solution to the firearm question: full-scale criminalization of any civilian firearm ownership, irrespective of the type of firearm. The Democrats’ voter base is rabidly and insatiably anti–Second Amendment.
The unholy matrimony between the Democratic Party and the Nazis has long been documented. What’s utterly shocking is how little Americans know about this history. The Democratic Party is America’s original hate group, and Democrats were Nazis before the real Nazis existed. Just like today’s Democrats, the Nazis were also anti-white; in Germany’s case, the expendables were those deemed to be the weaklings in the pursuit to resurrect a mythological pure Aryan race. The Third Reich’s basis for the Holocaust was the belief that certain racial and biological traits made one inferior or superior as a human being. Sound familiar? “I voted for Obama because he’s black”; “I voted for Clinton because she’s a woman.”
As South Florida residents, it’s rare to meet Jewish Democrats who know the complete history of Kristallnacht. In Palm Beach County, 20 percent of the 1.5 million residents are Jews, making it one of the largest Jewish-inhabited counties in the U.S. Miami Dade and Broward counties have a combined additional 200,000 Jews.
Republicans Side with Democrats
In the wake of every mass shooting, we wait to see what Republican lawmaker will run to CNN or The Washington Post to lecture us about “doing something bipartisan,” which is the peddling of peaceful slavery disguised as utopianism.
The most egregiously unconstitutional proposal, which is supported by many Republican politicians, and is law in Florida, is “red flag” legislation. These laws allow police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of guns from an individual who may present a danger to himself or others.
In some cases, ex parte hearings are held, which allow judges to make rulings without all plaintiff and defendant parties present. In some cases, the defendant isn’t even aware that someone has filed a petition against him until he receives a notice in the mail, or hand-delivered by a law enforcement officer.
Red flag laws don’t solely violate our Fifth Amendment rights; they also potentially infringe upon our First, Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment liberties. (We’ve written extensively about national and Florida red flag laws here; they’re too good to be true.) The Second Amendment is where Democrat political and judicial activist tyranny most manifest themselves. Yes, it also shows in their disdain for freedom of speech and religion, due process, and states’ rights, but the Second Amendment is the right that has long provoked the most anti-liberty bloodthirstiness among Democrats.
Rather than respond with more laws that infringe upon our guaranteed, God-given, non-negotiable rights, why is it that Republicans never respond to shootings with impassioned pleas to Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by arming themselves? Because they’re petrified that The New York Times will accuse them of “having blood on their hands.” Instead of challenging the debunked myths and conspiracy theories of Democrats and the DMIC, too many Republicans fall over themselves to let MSNBC’s audience know that they really do care about the well-being of children.
Thankfully, President Trump — once a supporter of red flag laws — appears to be changing his mind. Good thing, too; had he continued to side with the Democrats and Tessio Republicans (inspired by Sal Tessio, from The Godfather, who betrays the Corleone family, a Tessio Republican is one who betrays his or her core voters), he would have undoubtedly lost millions of votes, and we can’t afford to lose any votes heading into 2020.
The fake, far-left fact check site Snopes accidentally confirmed that Democrats have sought to impeach every elected Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Naturally, while confirming this, the garbage fire of fake news that is Snopes rated what is “mostly true” as “mostly false.”
The claim is: “Have Democrats Tried to Impeach Every GOP President Since Ike?”
Snopes decided to fact check this claim based on a popular meme that shows a black and white photo of Gen. Eisenhower above a caption that reads “INTERESTING FACT!!! Did you know Democrats have tried to impeach every Republican President since Eisenhower???”
Looking to debunk this mostly true claim, Snopes accidentally confirms that Democrats have indeed tried to impeach every elected Republican president since Eisenhower [emphasis mine]:
The U.S. has had six republican presidents since Eisenhower left office in 1961: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. The claim is wrong on its face because Democrats made no effort to impeach Ford. While a handful of Democratic lawmakers have introduced articles of impeachment against five of the last six Republican presidents, in most cases these efforts weren’t taken seriously by the party at large. Nixon and Trump have been the only Republican presidents since Ike who have faced a serious threat of impeachment.
So, Snopes has indeed confirmed that Democrats have “introduced articles of impeachment against five of the last six Republican presidents,” the sole exception being Gerald Ford, who was not elected.
Ford was not even elected to the vice presidency; he was appointed by Nixon after his original vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned in disgrace over a matter that had nothing to do with Watergate.
What’s more, Ford was president for only a little more than two years.
But there you have it — confirmation from a left-wing fact check site that Democrats sought to impeach five of the last six Republican presidents and sought to impeach every Republican elected to the presidency since Eisenhower.
Granted, the meme that claims Democrats tried to impeach every president since Ike is not 100 percent accurate. But after Snopes confirmed the meme was 5/6th correct, why is a mostly accurate claim hit with a verdict of “mostly false”?
I think we all know the answer to that one…
Because it is a damning fact that proves just how anti-democratic the Democrats are, what a bunch of sore losers they are, and Snopes is not a real fact-checking site, it is a Palace Guard for the political left.
So Snopes splits hairs between what it describes as “serious” impeachment efforts and efforts that never went beyond a lawmaker introducing articles of impeachment.
So what we have here is Snopes making a subjective opinion about what “tried to impeach every elected Republican president since Eisenhower” means — and wouldn’t you know it? — Snopes’s subjective opinion falls right into the category of aiding and abetting the left.
But by any objective, pro-science standard, the meme in question is MOSTLY TRUE.
Regardless, we should at least thank Snopes for doing the hard work that proves for a fact the following…
Democrats Have Tried to Impeach Every Elected GOP President Since Eisenhower…
Much like Hillary Clinton before an African American audience, when she breaks into her fake accent in order to try to give the impression that she can relate to people that she’d ordinarily cross the street to avoid, Joe Biden lapses into faux-gun-owner-ese whenever he’s in front of a group that might include a few gun owners. Such was the case in this sparsely attended Biden speech in New Hampshire.
“I believe in 2A but nobody says you can have a rounds — a magazine with a hundred clips in it…”
“We protect geese more than we protect, no joke you can only have 3 shotgun shells when you go shooting for geese”
Seriously, WTF is he talking about?🤦🏼♀️
— Femme Fatale (@RealBasedMAGA) November 8, 2019
Aside from his lack of facility with some very basic firearms terms screaming that he’s a poseur, the argument is patently stupid. Shotguns are limited to three rounds but only for migratory game birds. For instance, my aging Ithaca pump-action 12-gauge that I’ve had since high school has a five-round magazine and a plug that reduces magazine capacity to two. They are limited in capacity because the phrase “sitting duck” isn’t just something someone thought up and the laws are in place to ensure a regular supply of game birds to facilitate the sale of hunting licenses. Deer hunting has no such limit on magazine capacity because deer are just a little bit harder to kill than geese and you might find that you have to shoot more…hmmm…frequently to hit your quarry.
Unlike human predators, only rarely do game birds invade your home and seek to kill you. When you do need a weapon for home defense, the last thing you want is some goof like QuidProJoe and his fellow travelers leveling the playing field by reducing your magazine capacity and giving the criminal a fighting chance. Humans are notoriously hard to kill, one of my platoon sergeants counseled me that “you have to shoot a man’s weight in bullets at him to kill him,” and if you are surprised by an intruder, you probably aren’t going to have time to grab your back up ammo supply to make up for the magazine that only carries two “clips.”
This is just another dumb idea from one of the least intelligent politicians in the Democrat field, and that, my friends, covers one helluva lot of real estate.
Anti-gun gubbernor calls a special session for gun control laws, which is in his power, but nothing though in that power concerning how long the legislature has to stay in session. Hee hee.
The Assembly and Senate special sessions on gun control legislation that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers ordered to take place Thursday both lasted less than a minute.
Evers called on lawmakers to convene Thursday at 2 p.m. to take up two bills that polls have shown have widespread support among voters. Earlier in the day dozens of gun control advocates rallied at the Capitol and packed into the Assembly and Senate galleries to witness the debate.
But it wasn’t until 8 p.m., after most of the activists had gone home, that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, called the session to order with no other lawmakers in the room. He adjourned the session a few seconds later, avoiding debate or a vote on the gun control measures Democratic lawmakers had been advocating for throughout the day.
“I think if there are bills that would make sense to Republican legislators, that we would call ourselves into regular session or extraordinary session to take those up,” Fitzgerald said. “I think the governor knows the bills that he’s offered are not going to pass the Legislature … As they’ve been presented by the governor, there’s no momentum for them.”
The Assembly also began and quickly closed its special session immediately after finishing its regular session at about 9:30 p.m. Throughout the more than 8-hour regular session, Republicans declined multiple Democratic requests to break into special session, while also debating the merits of the legislation.
Evers called for the special session to vote on bills that would require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in Wisconsin and implement so-called red-flag laws, under which people deemed to be threats by a court must surrender their firearms.
Since January 2017, President Trump has appointed, and the Senate has confirmed,158 life-tenured federal judges, including 20 who today serve in Texas. Taken together, the president’s nominees over the last three years have filled one-quarter of the seats on our nation’s circuit courts of appeals, and two of the nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Few legacies will be longer lasting than this judicial one. These new judges are principled constitutionalists who have demonstrated excellence and professionalism throughout their legal careers.
These are judges we can rightly expect will remain faithful to the law. This is good news for all of us who care about the Constitution, individual liberty, and democracy. I’ll be joining the president Wednesday at the White House to recognize this historic achievement.
What a world we live in. A confidential asset of a hyper-political CIA director, likely handpicked by the director to spy on the Trump White House, is now called a “whistleblower.” The son of a former vice-president and a current Democrat nominee was apparently eyeball-deep in corruption in Ukraine, and the Left screams that the president—for daring to broach the issue with Ukraine—should be impeached. Political pygmies, otherwise known as the Democrat 2020 field, prance about the country offering up program ideas tallying up to over $200 trillion in the first ten years of operation (against the roughly $44 trillion the government would bring in over the same time). Such programs would cost us millions of jobs, among other bad consequences. Yet we are expected to believe these are serious people.
All the while the mainstream propagandists gaslight us by shrieking that Trump is the corrupt one, that Trump’s ideas are destructive as the economy soars and unemployment remains at 50 year lows. When the Washington Post intones that “Democracy dies in darkness” they evince no apparent awareness of irony. They’re knifing democracy to death every single day.
In the meantime, as our constitutional republic faces the wrecking balls of the Left and is asked to endure as they smash away at every norm that has made this country great, many Republicans find themselves conveniently absent from the action. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), for example, sure does love himself a TV hit—and I have to tell you, his super-duper “enthusiasms” while on TV almost make me want to believe him when he says he is serious about being effective. But then another day goes by and it’s clear he lacks the stones actually to hold hearings and subpoena the corrupt cabal that has massively abused our surveillance state and law enforcement regime.
Richard Burr (R-N.C.)? Well, he’s been off in “la-la land” for quite some time. At some point, for decency’s sake, he should just give the title of chairman of Senate Intel to Mark Warner (D-Va.) so as actually to reflect reality. One would think confronting injustice and illegal behavior should be pretty standard, common sense sort of stuff. But then again, Swamp Creatures are hardly paragons of truth and justice. So let’s assume until things change that Graham and Burr have zero problem with what has happened over the last few years; heck, they might be implicated in what could be uncovered.
This all leads us to a serious problem that we as a country are facing: we’ve been losing trust in our institutions for quite some time……
Seriously. Ask yourself: Do you really trust the FBI? I don’t. With the recent reports from Michael Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, apparently senior FBI agents tampered with 302s, falsifying information to get the results they wanted which had nothing to do with the truth. This was the FBI—supposedly the world’s greatest law enforcement agency. I don’t think so. Until those senior officials go to jail for their abuse of power my distrust of the FBI will continue.
Do you really trust the Justice Department? Maybe. I’ll see what Attorney General Barr and John Durham pursue and actually accomplish. I can assure you, however, if there are not prosecutions with jail time, scratch that institution off the list. The CIA? Forget about it. Congress? You mean the inept worthless institution that sits on its hands and has ceded massive control of the lawmaking function of government to the administrative state? I have to tell you: is there really a point to Congress in its current form? Serious question. It gets slapped around every single day by the administrative state and the courts. Then they have the gall to tell the people, “By golly, we’re out here working so hard you gotta send us back to Congress so re-elect us.” Why precisely? So they can rubber-stamp more spending, tack on a few more cool trillions to our exploding debt?Ask yourself: do you really think the halls of Congress are mostly populated with intelligent people? Or just functioning idiots? I’m kinda leaning towards the majority of them being functioning idiots. Prove me wrong.
What about the values Americans are supposed to believe in? Rule of law is a farce. And at this point, the idea of Lady Justice being blind and meeting out justice even-handedly borders on the absurd. Quite frankly, speaking of Lady Justice, I haven’t seen her lately. I assume she got mugged in some seamy back alley of the Swamp or offed herself, Epstein-style. Until I actually see the equal application of the law I’m just going to safely assume the current bifurcated legal system has us on a fast track to Banana Republic USA.
So what are we to do? When faith is gone, both of the spiritual and the political variety, what remains? People seek peace and prosperity, and will happily live with an untold number of illusions so long as they have those two things. Perhaps we’ve been doing that for a while. But what happens when those are gone? History shows us that when the ruling class and elites refuse to do what they should and instead do what they can, creating a government rigged in their favor, destroying the rule of law, and papering over corruption and injustice, the peasants pick up pitchforks and torches and they come for those who have behaved so abominably. Perhaps our elites should read more of that history.
Democrat presidential candidate billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who spends tens of millions of dollars pushing for extreme gun control laws, demonstrates that he knows literally nothing about firearms.pic.twitter.com/SCjpNdQm6h
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 7, 2019
Michael Bloomberg is probably running for president. That’s bad news.
According to the New York Times, the former New York City mayor is making preparations to file for the Alabama Democratic primary. Alabama isn’t an early voting state, but it has an early registration deadline. Key Bloomberg advisers told the Times that this doesn’t mean he’ll surely enter the race, but that he will if he thinks it’s necessary: “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”
While I certainly understand the abstract appeal of the idea of adding a more moderate voice to a Democratic primary field that currently boasts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as front-runners, voters shouldn’t mistake Bloomberg for someone any more hospitable to liberty and freedom. In fact, the former mayor has made an entire career out of cracking down on individual liberty and building up the nanny state.
Don’t forget, he spent his tenure as NYC mayor fighting the problems that truly matter by … attempting to ban large sodas? And since leaving office, he’s spent much of his time crusading against vaping despite it being much healthier than traditional smoking.
Even on more serious issues, Bloomberg shows contempt for freedom and constitutional liberties. For instance, he supports a robust anti-Second Amendment agenda, which includes everything from so-called universal background checks to all-out bans on certain types of guns to bans on entire age groups from exercising their right to self-defense. And he’s spent millions of dollars trying to elect legislators willing to whittle away at the Second Amendment.
He fairs only somewhat better on First Amendment issues.
For instance, Bloomberg openly dismisses the idea of a free press when he says he expects his reporters at Bloomberg News to never cover him critically. Imagine that attitude in the Oval Office in the hands of someone who has already displayed ample willingness to use the powers of the government to squash individual liberties. Bloomberg’s contempt for press freedom led even a Washington Post writer to decry his “disturbing attitude toward the First Amendment — and democracy generally.”
Oh, and Bloomberg thinks marijuana legalization is “the stupidest thing anyone has ever done.” That’s right, he believes we should throw people in cages for smoking a plant in their backyard. Of course, I doubt the mayor wants to play by his own rules — he has admitted to smoking weed in the past.
There are, of course, some things to like about Michael Bloomberg. He supported charter schools as mayor of New York City and is at least somewhat fiscally conservative. And in a field that included aspirants as insufferable as Beto O’Rourke and Bill de Blasio, there’s no way he’ll be the most obnoxious candidate we’re forced to hear out.
But none of this makes the mayor’s policy positions any less disqualifying.
Bloomberg’s affinity for the nanny state and antipathy toward personal liberty led a writer at the libertarian magazine Reason to dub him a “billionaire busybody who can be counted on to oppose individual freedom in almost every area of life.” Let’s hope that billionaire busybody doesn’t become our next president.
A gun-control lobbying group funded largely by billionaire Michael Bloomberg just helped Democrats take over the state government in Virginia – right in the National Rifle Association’s backyard.
In Tuesday’s elections, the Democrats tipped the Virginia House and Senate in their favor, giving them full control of the state government for the first time since 1994. The election had stronger-than-usual turnout in the suburbs, according to media reports.
While the results could be a good omen for Democrats’ chances in 2020, it may also be a tipping point in the money battle over gun rights. Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control advocacy group that the former New York mayor helps fund, spent $2.5 million this year to influence voters in Virginia versus approximately $300,000 by the NRA, which has its headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia………..
The NRA, in a statement, said “Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb,” referring to Bloomberg.
“Candidates who proudly accepted Bloomberg’s cash — and every voter they misled — will soon realize the cost of being beholden to a Manhattan billionaire who despises Virginians’ right to self-defense,” the organization said.