Will YOU vote?

You can be certain that in 2020
Republicans, Neo-Nazis, Fascists, and Tea Partiers
will be back at the polls,
exercising their right to vote.

So should YOU.


I know I will.

*

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Unclassified Whistleblower Memo Regarding Concerns About the Trump Administration (12 August 2019): Released to the Public on 26 September 2019




[Editor’s Note: the transcript of the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and newly-elected Ukrainian President Zelensky and the whistleblower memo posted below have offered some mind-blowing information about the President’s behavior regarding his interactions with a foreign power to meddle in the 2020 Presidential elections.
Important passages have been highlighted:
Blue = stunning/unbelievable
Green = compelling
Yellow = important
Any exaggerations in color-coding and omissions are mine alone.
I suggest that you also read the Footnotes and Classified Index (both at the end of the whistleblower memo) because some bombshells can be found there as well.]
_______________________________________
The Honorable Richard Burr
Chairman
Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate

The Honorable Adam Schiff
Chairman
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives

Dear Chairman Burr and Chairman Schiff:
I am reporting an “urgent concern” in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. 3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.
In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The Presidents personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.
·         Over the past four months, more than half a dozen U.S. officials have informed me of various facts related to this effort. The information provided herein was relayed to me in the course of official interagency business. It is routine for U.S. officials with responsibility for a particular regional or functional portfolio to share such information with one another in order to inform policymaking and analysis.
·         I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.
I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or “Executive Order” that “does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.” consistent with the definition of an “urgent concern” in 50 U.S.C. I am therefore fulfilling my duty to report this information, through proper legal channels, to the relevant authorities.
·         I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.
To the best of my knowledge, the entirety of this statement is unclassified when separated from the classified enclosure. I have endeavored to apply the classification standards outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13526 and to separate out information that I know or have reason to believe is classified for national security purposes. (1)
·         If a classification marking is applied retroactively, I believe it is incumbent upon the classifying authority to explain why such a marking was applied, and to which specific information it pertains.
I. The 25 July Presidential phone call
Early in the morning of 25 July, the President spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. I do not know which side initiated the call. This was the first publicly acknowledged call between the two leaders since a brief congratulatory call after Mr. Zelenskyy won the presidency on 21 April.
Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:
·         initiate or continue an investigation (2) into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;
·         assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstrike (3) which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the networks in 2016; and
·         meet or Speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem.
The President also praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr. Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position. (Note: Starting in March 2019, Mr. Lutsenko made a series of public allegations — many of which he later walked back — about the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials’ purported involvement in the 2016 US. election, and the activities of the US. Embassy in Kyiv. (See Part IV for additional context.)
The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call. They told me that there was already a discussion ongoing with White House lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.
The Ukrainian side was the first to publicly acknowledge the phone call. On the evening of 25 July, a readout was posted on the website of the Ukrainian President that contained the following line (translation from original Russian-language readout):
·         “Donald Trump expressed his conviction that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve Ukraine’s image and complete the investigation of corruption cases that have held back cooperation between Ukraine and the United States.”
Aside from the above-mentioned “cases” purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 US election, I was told by White House officials that no other “cases” were discussed.
Based on my understanding, there were approximately a dozen White House officials who listened to the call — a mixture of policy officials and duty officers in the White House Situation Room, as is customary. The officials I spoke with told me that participation in the call had not been restricted in advance because everyone expected it would be a “routine” call with a foreign leader. I do not know whether anyone was physically present with the President during the call.
·         In addition to White House personnel, I was told that a State Department official, Mr. T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, also listened in on the call.
·         I was not the only non-White House official to receive a readout of the call. Based on my understanding, multiple State Department and Intelligence Community officials were also briefed on the contents of the call as outlined above.
II. Efforts to restrict access to records related to the call
In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple US. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced “as is customary” by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.
·         White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.
·         Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.
I do not know whether similar measures were taken to restrict access to other records of the call, such as contemporaneous handwritten notes taken by those who listened in.
III. Ongoing concerns
On 26 July, a day after the call, US. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker visited Kyiv and met with President and a variety of Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings by US. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various US. officials, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to “navigate” the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.
I also learned from multiple US. officials that, on or about 2 August, Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Madrid to meet with one of President advisers, Andriy Yermak. The US. officials characterized this meeting, which was not reported publicly at the time, as a “direct follow-up” to the President’s call with Mr. Zelenskyy about the “cases” they had discussed.
·         Separately, multiple US. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov (4).
·         I do not know whether those officials met or spoke with Mr. Giuliani, but I was told separately-by multiple US. officials that Mr. Yermak and Mr. Bakanov intended to travel to Washington in mid-August.
On 9 August, the President told reporters: “I think [President Zelenskyy] is going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine, and I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”
IV. Circumstances leading up to the 25 July Presidential phone call
Beginning in late March 2019, a series of articles appeared in an online publication called The Hill. In these articles, several Ukrainian officials — most notably, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko — made a series of allegations against other Ukrainian officials and current and former US. officials. Mr. Lutsenko and his colleagues alleged, inter alia:
·         that they possessed evidence that Ukrainian officials — namely, Head of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine Artem and Member of Parliament Serhiy Leshchenko — had “interfered” in the 2016 US. presidential election, allegedly in collaboration with the DNC and the US. Embassy in Kyiv (5).
·         That the US. Embassy in Kyiv — specifically, US. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s organization for its poor record on fighting corruption — had allegedly obstructed Ukrainian law enforcement agencies’ pursuit of corruption cases, including by providing a “do not prosecute” list, and had blocked Ukrainian prosecutors from traveling to the United States expressly to prevent them from delivering their “evidence” about the 2016 US. election (6) and
·         that former Vice President Biden had pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to fire then Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in order to quash a purported criminal probe into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the former Vice President's son, Hunter, sat. (7).
In several public comments (8), Mr. Lutsenko also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters (9).
The allegations by Mr. Lutsenko came on the eve of the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on 31 March. By that time, Mr. Lutsenko’s political patron, President Poroshenko, was trailing Mr. Zelenskyy in the polls and appeared likely to be defeated. Mr. Zelenskyy had made known his desire to replace Mr. Lutsenko as Prosecutor General. On 21 April, Mr. Poroshenko lost the runoff to Mr. Zelenskyy by a landslide. See Enclosure for additional information.
·         It was also publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had met on at least two occasions with Mr. Lutsenko: once in New York in late January and again in Warsaw in mid-February. In addition, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani (10).
·         On 25 April in an interview with Fox News, the President called Mr. Lutsenko’s claims “big” and “incredible” and stated that the Attorney General “would want to see this.”
On or about 29 April, I learned from US. officials with direct knowledge of the situation that Ambassador Yovanovitch had been suddenly recalled to Washington by senior State Department officials for “consultations” and would most likely be removed from her position.
·         Around the same time, I also learned from a US official that “associates” of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team (11).
·         On 6 May, the State Department announced that Ambassador Yovanovitch would be ending her assignment in Kyiv “as planned.”
·         However, several US officials told me that, in fact, her tour was curtailed because of pressure stemming from Mr. Lutsenko’s allegations. Mr. Giuliani subsequently stated in an interview with a Ukrainian journalist published on 14 May that Ambassador Yovanovitch was “removed. . .because she was part of the efforts against the President.”
On 9 May, The New York Times reported that Mr. Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to press the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations that would help the President in his 2020 reelection bid.
·         In his multitude of public statements leading up to and in the wake of the publication of this article, Mr. Giuliani confirmed that he was focused on encouraging Ukrainian authorities to pursue investigations into alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US. election and alleged wrongdoing by the Biden family (12).
·         On the afternoon of 10 May, the President stated in an interview with Politico that he planned to speak with Mr. Giuliani about the trip.
·         A few hours later, Mr. Giuliani publicly canceled his trip, claiming that Mr. Zelesnkyy was “surrounded by enemies of the of the United States.”
On 11 May, Mr. Lutsenko met for two hours with President-elect according to a public account given several days later by Mr. Lutsenko. Mr. Lutsenko publicly stated that he had told Mr. Zelenskyy that he wished to remain as Prosecutor General.
Starting in mid-May, I heard from multiple US officials that they were deeply concerned by what they viewed as Mr. Giuliani’s circumvention of national security decision-making processes to engage with Ukrainian officials and relay messages back and forth between Kyiv and the President. These officials also told me:
·         that State Department officials, including Ambassadors Volker and Sondland, had spoken with Mr. Giuliani in an attempt to “contain the damage” to US. national security; and
·         that Ambassadors Volker and Sondland during this time period met with members of the new Ukrainian administration and, in addition to discussing policy matters, sought to help Ukrainian leaders understand and respond to the differing messages they were receiving from official US channels on the one hand, and from Mr. Giuliani on the other.
During this same timeframe, multiple US. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani. (Note: This was the general understanding of the state of affairs as conveyed to me by US. officials from late May into early July. I do not know who delivered this message to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.) See Enclosure for additional information.
Shortly after President Zelenskyy’s inauguration, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani met with two other Ukrainian officials: Ukraine’s Special Anticorruption Prosecutor, Mr. Nazar and a former Ukrainian diplomat named Andriy Telizhenko. Both Mr. and Mr. Telizhenko are allies of Mr. Lutsenko and made similar allegations in the above-mentioned series of articles in The Hill.
On 13 June, the President told George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign government.
On 21 June, Mr. Giuliani tweeted: “New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 and alleged Biden bribery of Poroshenko. Time for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused by Hillary and Clinton people.”
In mid-July, I learned of a sudden change of policy with respect to US. assistance for Ukraine. See Enclosure for additional information.
FOOTNOTES:
1. Apart from the information in the Enclosure, it is my belief that none of the information contained herein meets the definition of classified information outlined in E0 13526, Part 1, Section 1.1. There is ample open source information about the efforts I describe below, including statements by the President and Mr. Giuliani. In addition, based on my personal observations, there is discretion with respect to the classification of private comments by or instructions from the President, including his communications with foreign leaders; information that is not related to US. foreign policy or national security such as the information contained in this document, when separated from the Enclosure Is generally treated as unclassified. I also believe that applying a classification marking to this information would violate EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.7, which states: “In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (I) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; [or] (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”
2. It is unclear whether such a Ukrainian investigation exists. See Footnote #7 for additional information.
3.I do not know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine. (See, for example, his comments to Fox News on 20 July: “And Ukraine. Take a look at Ukraine. How come the FBI didn’t take this server? Podesta told them to get out. He said, get out. So, how come the FBI didn't take the server from the DNC”)
4. In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelenskyy adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.
5. Mr. Sytnyk and Mr. Leshchenko are two of Mr. Lutsenk’s main domestic rivals. Mr. Lutsenko has no legal training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian officials. He has publicly feuded with Mr. Sytnyk who heads Ukraine’s only competent anticorruption body, and with Mr. Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s record. In December 2018, a Ukrainian court upheld a complaint by a Member of Parliament, Mr. Boryslav Rozenblat, who alleged that Mr. and Mr. Leshchenko had “interfered” in the 2016 US. election by publicizing a document detailing corrupt payments made by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych before his ouster in 2014. Mr. Rozenblat had originally led the motion in late 2017 after attempting to flee Ukraine amid an investigation into his taking of a large bribe. On 16 July 2019, Mr. Leshchenko publicly stated that a Ukrainian court had overturned the lower court’s decision.
6. Mr. Lutsenko later told Ukrainian news outlet The Babel on 17 April that Ambassador Yovanovitch had never provided such a list, and that he was, in fact, the one who requested such a list.
7. Mr. Lutsenko later told Bloomberg on 16 May that former Vice President Biden and his son were not subject to any current Ukrainian investigations, and that he had no evidence against them. Other senior Ukrainian officials also contested his original allegations; one former senior Ukrainian prosecutor told Bloomberg on 7 May that Mr. Shokin in fact was not investigating Burisma at the time of his removal in 2016.
8. See, for example, Mr. Lutsenko’s comments to The Hill on 1 and 7 April and his interview with The Babel on 17 April, in which he stated that he had spoken with Mr. Giuliani about arranging contact with Attorney General Barr.
9. In May, Attorney General Barr announced that he was initiating a probe into the “origins” of the Russia investigation. According to the above-referenced OCCRP report (22 July), two associates of Mr. Giuliani claimed to be working with Ukrainian officials to uncover information that would become part of this inquiry. In an interview with Fox News on 8 August, Mr. Giuliani claimed that Mr. John Durham, whom Attorney General Barr designated to lead this probe, was “spending a lot of time in Europe” because he was “investigating Ukraine.” I do not know the extent to which, if at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with Attorney General Barr or Mr. Durham.
10. See, for example, the above-referenced articles in Bloomberg (16 May) and OCCRP (22 July).
11. I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.
12. See, for example, Mr. Giuliani’s appearance on Fox News on 6 April and his tweets on 23 April and 10 May. In his interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani stated that the President “basically knows what I’m doing, sure, as his lawyer.” Mr. Giuliani also stated: “We are not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do … There's nothing illegal about it … Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, [President Trump] and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
[Redacted footnote(s)]
CLASSIFIED APPENDIX [With redactions]:
Additional information related to Section II:
(TS Redacted) According to multiple White House officials I spoke with, the transcript of the President’s call with President Zelenskyy was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Intelligence Programs. This is a standalone computer system reserved for codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action. According to information I received from White House officials, some officials voiced concerns internally that this would be an abuse of the system and was not consistent with the responsibilities of the Directorate for Intelligence Programs. According to White House officials I spoke with, this was “not the first time” under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the propose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information
Additional Information related to Section IV
[Redacted paragraph]
(S/ Redacted) I would like to expand upon two issues mentioned under Section IV that might have a connection with the overall effort to pressure the Ukrainian leadership. As I do not know definitively whether the below-mentioned decisions are connected to the broader efforts I describe, I have chosen to include them in the classified annex. If they indeed represent genuine policy deliberations and decisions formulated to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security, one might be able to make a reasonable case that the facts are classified.
·         (S/ Redacted) I learned from US officials that, on or around 14 May, the President instructed Vice President Mike Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend President Zelenskyy’s inauguration on May 20; Secretary of Energy Rick Perry led the delegation instead. According to these officials, it was also “made clear” to them that the President did not want to meet Mr. Zelenskyy until he saw how Zelenskyy “chose to act” in office. I do not know how this guidance was communicated, or by whom. I also do not know whether this action was connected with the broader understanding, described in the unclassified letter, that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.
·         (S/ Redacted) On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the president “earlier that month” had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they were still unaware of policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukranian officials might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned from it.
Important Documents Related to the Case:
Read more about the Trump-Ukraine call and the whistleblower complaint:




Dear Republicans (by Bruce Lindner)



·         You didn’t object when you heard Donald Trump say he likes to grab women “by the pussy.”
·         You didn’t object when he kicked the American media out of the Oval Office and handed two Russian spies classified data entrusted to him by one of our allies.
·         You didn’t object when he likened our intelligence community to “Nazis.”
·         You didn’t object when he stood before the Memorial Wall of Stars at Langley and told lie after lie about himself and the election.
·         You didn’t object while at the Helsinki Summit, he met behind closed doors with the Russian President.
·         You didn’t object to him banning the American Press from covering that meeting.
·         You didn’t object when he emerged from that meeting and sided with the Russian President over the findings of our own intelligence community.
·         You didn’t object when the Trump campaign admitted to accepting Russian offers to help him defeat Secretary of State Clinton.
·         You didn’t object when he stood before the cameras and said; “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find 30k e-mails that are missing.”
·         You didn’t object when the Russians responded that VERY DAY with stolen emails.
·         You didn’t object when it was confirmed that the basis for the Trump Tower meeting was a total fabrication. That it had nothing to do with adopting Russian children, and everything to do with swinging the election.
·         You didn’t object when it was revealed that Trump himself floated the cover story of adoptions from Russia.
·         You didn’t object when it was confirmed that his campaign staff had met with Russian agents over 150 times, after claiming they had never met with them at all.
·         You didn’t object when the Trump campaign declined to inform the FBI about the Russian advances.
·         You didn’t object when Trump’s campaign manager gave internal data on four key battleground states to agents working for Putin.
·         You sure as hell didn’t object when those very same four battleground states miraculously shifted towards Trump on Election Day.
·         You didn’t object when Trump kicked his Attorney General out of the room and asked the FBI Director to let his National Security Advisor off the hook for lying about his contacts with Russian agents.
·         You didn’t object when Trump fired that FBI Director for declining to let Flynn off the hook.
·         You didn’t object when Special Counsel Robert Mueller said he couldn’t establish a conspiracy, largely because so many of Trump’s staffers lied during their interviews, and because Trump himself refused to submit to a live interview.
·         You didn’t object when Special Counsel Mueller cited no fewer than ten instances of the president himself obstructing justice in his report: an impeachable offense.
·         You didn’t object when it was revealed he cheated on his wife with a porn star.
·         You didn’t object when it was revealed that he paid off that porn star to the tune of $130,000.00 to buy her silence just prior to the election, an illegal attempt to hide relevant facts from the electorate.
·         You didn’t object when he withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA, which was the first and ONLY treaty that’s successfully kept Iranian nuclear ambitions in check.
·         You didn’t object when he pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accords.
·         You didn’t object when he scuttled the Obama administration’s clean air and water standards.
·         You didn’t object when he opened up vast tracts of protected wilderness to his friends in the oil and mining industries.
·         You didn’t object to the myriad cases of violations of the emoluments clause.
·         You didn’t object when he mocked a disabled man at one of his rallies.
·         You didn’t object to the recently-discovered military stopovers at Trump properties in Scotland.
·         You didn’t object when after mass shooting after mass shooting, he wouldn’t lift a finger to protect even little school children from gun violence.
·         You didn’t object when he started putting tariffs on everyone from China to Turkey, which have undeniably hurt millions of people around the world and shaken the stock markets.
·         You didn’t object when he gave the corporate farming industry $26B in compensation for their losses due to his tariffs.
·         You didn’t object when he channeled $3.6B in Pentagon appropriations to his wall on the Mexican border.
·         You didn’t object when Trump called out against “Islamic terrorism” on multiple occasions, but never once for terrorism by white nationalists.
·         You didn’t object when he forcibly separated little children from their parents.
·         You didn’t object when he confined those children to chain-link paddocks.
·         You didn’t object when a whistleblower revealed the president had on multiple occasions said things that potentially undermined our nation’s safety and security.
·         You didn’t object when his personal lawyer, his personal consultant, and his army of sycophants at Fox News have repeatedly and consistently lied about ALL of the above for three excruciatingly long years.
So here’s my question for you: What about any of the above do you believe entitles you to the right to call yourselves “patriots?” In anything other than today’s bizarro-world, you wouldn’t even make the rank of American. When this nightmare ends, we’ll remind you of just how patriotic you were during these days.
Your karma is gonna sting.
____________________________
(Editor’s note: “Dear Republicans” first appeared on Facebook, shared many, many times. I asked Mr. Lindner permission to publish his compelling bullet-point essay on this modest site because it perfectly encapsulates the presidency of Trump, succinctly and with great moral clarity. A place here ensures that his important message will not simply disappear in the vast void of social media.)
____________________________
“Dear Republicans,” posted here with permission, is copyright by Bruce Lindner and may not be reposted elsewhere without his expressed permission.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Republican Talking Points Accidentally Released into the Wild! Read it Here! Includes Commentary and a Dash of Snark!



In a July 25, 2019, conversation with newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump suggested that his country’s receipt of a nearly 400-million-dollar aid package – already approved by Congress – was contingent upon a “favor”: to dig dirt on Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
The transcript of this conversation was released to the public on September 25, 2019.
Also on September 25, The White House “accidentally” released Republican “Talking Points,” published below and elsewhere, a document meant for GOP eyes only and created for spinning and deflecting from the scandal about to boil over: Ukraine-gate.
Here’s the astonishing part: The White House tried to recall this memo.
However, the GOP “talking points” have escaped out of the SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), and are now roaming the wild.
Some Democratic lawmakers and citizens have already tweeted about it:
US Rep Brendan Boyle @RepBrendanBoyle:
I would like to thank @WhiteHouse for sending me their talking points on how best to spin the disastrous Trump/Zelensky call in Trump’s favor. However, I will not be using their spin and will instead stick with the truth.
But thanks though.
*
Kyle Cheney @kyledcheney:
No joke: White House just emailed all Dem offices asking to “recall” the talking points email.
Anyhow…
For your reading hilarity, here are the “recalled” talking points that were not meant for Democratic eyes, with a dash of truth and snark added in, just to keep things interesting (my comments in red).
______________________________
What You Need To Know | President Trump’s Call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
·         Press reports have given currency to flat-out falsehoods about the call. [NOTE: Perhaps because the press has been dead-on in its reporting on Trump.]
·         The transcript clearly shows there was no quid pro quo or anything else inappropriate about the conversation between President Trump and President Zelenskyy. [NOTE: Direct quote, which could be viewed as a smoking gun, from the transcript: “…There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.”].
·         Myth: The President made a mysterious “promise” to Zelenskyy in return for Ukraine reviving an investigation relating to Joe Biden and his son.
·         Fact: There was no such promise. The President wanted allegations of corruption potentially involving an American official to be investigated. [NOTE: What the WH wanted: dirt on Biden. See direct quote above from the transcript.]
·         Myth: The President offered a “quid pro quo” related to military aid for Ukraine.
·         Fact: There was no quid pro quo; in fact there is no mention of the aid package to Ukraine at all. [NOTE: Direct Quote from the transcript: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with UkraineMeanwhile, the President was sitting on an aid package – almost $400 million – already approved by Congress]
·         Myth: The President urged President Zelenskyy to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Biden’s involvement in securing the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor eight times.
·         Fact: The President mentioned Rudy Giuliani only after Zelenskyy mentioned him first and referred to Biden in only one exchange. [NOTE: Giuliani mentioned several times in the transcript.]
·         Fact: The President mentioned Rudy Giuliani only after Zelenskyy mentioned him first and referred to Biden in only one exchange. [NOTE: But it’s a biggie: The Smoking Gun
 What the President actually talked about was entirely proper. [NOTE: Uh, no. It sounds like a Mafia shakedown, filled with innuendo and implied threats.]

·         President Trump asked President Zelenskyy to investigate any connection between Ukraine and attempts to interfere with the 2016 election, something he has publicly discussed in the past. [NOTE: Sorry, but we didn’t t see this, even as innuendo.]
·         It is entirely appropriate for the President to ask a foreign leader to investigate any connection between his country and attempted interference in the 2016 election. [NOTE: Not when the demand is made to dig up dirt on a political opponent.]
·         The President did not mention Rudy Giuliani or Vice President Biden until after President Zelenskyy had raised Giuliani first. [NOTE: Yes, but Trump brought up the Attorney General first: “I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”]
·         Only after Zelenskyy brought up Giuliani related to addressing corruption issues did the President ask Zelenskyy to speak to Giuliani and raised Vice President Biden’s role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating a Ukrainian company that had Biden’s son on its board. [NOTE: Twisted like a pretzel.]
·         When a high-ranking U.S. government official, like then Vice-President Biden, brags that he used his official position to derail an investigation in another country that could have impacted his son, it is appropriate for the President to suggest that the matter be looked into. [NOTE: A total lie. In fact, Joe Biden was pretty much in the dark about Hunter Biden’s activities in the Ukraine. One could argue that his ignorance was intentional, but that’s another issue.]
·         That is not seeking foreign “interference” in a U.S. election, it is suggesting that allegations of an abuse of office merit looking into. [NOTE: Another twisted pretzel.]

The real scandal here is that leaks about a second-hand account of the President’s confidential telephone call with a foreign leader triggered a media frenzy of false accusations against the President and forced the President to release the transcript. [NOTE: It’s called “investigating allegations of wrongdoing.”]
·         The country has already been put through over two years of investigation by the special counsel into a phony Russian collusion story, six months of congressional investigations into the same issue, and now Democrats want to trigger a new round of investigations into fake accusations. [NOTE: Classic Republican deflection.]
·         This case just shows another example of the “Deep State,” the media, and Democrats in Congress damaging our national security by leaking confidential information in an attempt to seek political gain. [NOTE: Typical unfounded conspiracy allegations.] 
Let’s be clear, there was no quid pro quo for Ukraine to get US aid in exchange for looking into Biden or his son. [NOTE: The evidence suggests otherwise.]
·         Assistance to Ukraine was mentioned by President Trump only to stress how much the United States is doing and how other countries, like Germany, need to do their fair share. [NOTE: More classic Republican deflection.]
·         The President has said repeatedly that he wants other countries to be pitching in more to help Ukraine and President Zelenskyy agreed with him. [NOTE: Irrelevant point in terms of the Impeachment Inquiry.]
These are unique circumstances that require the transcript to be released if the American people are to know the truth. [NOTE: Something with which both Democrats and Republicans can agree.]
·         After Secretary Pompeo talked with the government of Ukraine, the President determined to release the transcript of his telephone conversation to end the wild speculation and to set the record straight. [NOTE: Something with which both Democrats and Republicans can agree. However, the release of the transcript is not likely to benefit the president or the Republicans who continue to support him.]
·         The President believes his private conversations with world leaders should be kept confidential and made this exception in the interests of transparency because of the amount of misinformation being spread in the press. [NOTE; Total and complete bullshit. “Democracy dies in darkness.” Motto used by the Washington Post – you know, the same newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal.]
·         The idea that someone can hear a second-hand account of a confidential conversation and use it in a complaint to start a partisan investigation fundamentally undermines the office of President. [NOTE: No, it keeps the office of the President honest.]
·         This is just another example of the “Deep State,” the media, and Democrats damaging our national security for political gain. [NOTE: Yep. Bring up those old tired tropes of conspiracy and the evil press going out of its way to “get” poor little Donnie. Here’s a suggestion: stop treating the presidency like a Mafia fiefdom.] 
This complaint was handled absolutely by the book and it was properly determined that no further action should be taken. [NOTE: Of course. Republicans in power will do anything to protect this president because The Supreme Court! Abortion! Healthcare – Not! Tax Cuts for The Rich! War with Iran! Immigration! Kids in Cages! Ethics? Who cares?]
·         After receiving the complaint from the ICIG, the DNI appropriately consulted with the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Department of Justice. [GOAL: “How best to spin this problem and dig this president out of yet another hole?” Okay, got it!]
·         OLC determined that this complaint did not fall within the scope of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, and, therefore, that the DNI was not required to send the complaint to the intelligence committees. [You mean asking a foreign power to dig up dirt on a political opponent is not a serious abuse of presidential power? If not, what WOULD you define as abuse of power? What would you do if a Democrat were president and asked, say, Canada, to dig up dirt on a Republican presidential candidate? I suspect you’d be howling like banshees. No?]
·         The DNI did not forward the complaint because it implicated significant, constitutionally based Executive Branch confidentiality interests and there was no applicable statutory requirement. [Now the fix is in. You are not interested in seeking the truth.]
·         While the DNI determined that the complaint should not be sent to Congress, that did not end the review of the complaint. To the contrary, the complaint was given to DOJ for appropriate review. [NOTE: Where investigations of the president and his cronies go to die. Laugh emoji inserted here.]
·         DOJ officials reviewed the complaint in light of the legal issues identified by the ICIG in his cover letter to the DNI and determined that no further action was warranted. [NOTE: Of course not. But Hillary’s emails!!!]
·         Myth: The President offered a “quid pro quo” related to military aid for Ukraine. [True.]
·         Myth: The President urged President Zelenskyy to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Biden’s involvement in securing the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor eight times. [True.]
·         Fact: There was no quid pro quo; in fact there is no mention of the aid package to Ukraine at all. [NOTE: So why did the president sit on the nearly $400 million aid package, even as he was speaking with President Zelensky on that hot July day? According to Time (24 September 2019), “President Donald Trump ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before a phone call in which he pressured the Eastern European nation’s leader to investigate the family of political rival Joe Biden, a revelation that comes as more Democrats move toward impeachment proceedings.” Methinks your president is royally screwed.]

Thanks for the talking points!
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