Yesterday Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi began the day with a press conference in which Schiff said President Donald Trump’s tweets about a whistleblower amount to a “blatant effort to intimidate witnesses” and an “incitement to violence. Trump says he’s trying to unmask the whistleblower whose complaint about his efforts to pressure Ukraine sparked the impeachment inquiry. The president has falsely raised the prospect that officials involved are guilty of treason.”
The New York Times made waves with a piece that reported the whistleblower first contacted a House Intelligence Committee aide prior to filing his complaint, and was directed by the aide per standing policy to take his information to the Intelligence Community Inspector General. Adam Schiff’s spokesperson claimed there was nothing improper or unusual in this; however in part because Schiff had previously said “we have had no contact” with the whistleblower, the times report ignited a firestorm highlighted by President Trump, in a press conference alongside the Finnish President, calling Schiff a “fraud” and accusing him not only of having met the whistleblower, but also of having helped the whistleblower draft his complaint–a charge Schiff denies. (For a full report on the times piece and fallout from it go here.)
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuiliani began the day with a pair of tweets that built on a tweet from President Trump the night before, claiming the impeachment is in reality a “coup.” Giuliani’s tweets claimed: “We are carefully considering our legal options to seek redress against Congress and individualmembers, for engaging in an organied effort to exceed their limited powers, under the Constitution, and . . . to trample on the constitutional rights of citizens in an illicit plan carried out by illegal means, to remove the President of the US, on deliberately falsified charges.
The State Department Inspector General Steve Linick went to Capital Hill and, in a briefing for staffers for four committees, turned over a mysterious packet of information that allegedly originated from the White House, but which was later confirmed (by Giuliani himself) to have originated with Giuliani. The packet contained over forty pages of items meant to smear ex-US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Jovanovich. The implication was that this material had been provided by Giuliani to Pompeo, and had been circulated among State Department leadership prior to Jovanovich being recalled on May 6, 2019. Dems decried the document package as a further example of a concerted effort by the Trump administration to seek foreign assistance to harm the President’s opponents.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko weighed in for the first time, speaking to news media and rebutting claims made by President Donald Trump and his allies that Biden, as U.S. vice president, sought the ouster of the country’s prosecutor general in 2016 to stop an investigation of a natural gas company where Hunter Biden sat on the board.
Late in the day the Washington Post reported that odd marking and unusual ellipses in the rough transcript released by the White House have raised questions among experts as to the degree of editing the transcript may have received.
Bloomberg reported that Trump’s impeachment saga stems from a right-wing hit job gone bad — an anti-Biden project funded with Mercer family money that Trump and Giuliani hijacked, only to have it blow up on them. The lengthy piece cites an effort that originated with Steve Bannon to paint Biden as corrupt, which stalled out with little effect until Trump impatiently attempted to amplify it in his twitter feed and put Giuliani on it –with ultimately disastrous results for Trump.
Late in the day the Washington Post reported that Trump had involved Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine, with Pence acknowledging that he had pushed Zelanksy on corruption but denying that he had any knowledge about Trump’s ask for a Biden iinvestigation. Pence claimed he only knew, and only pressed, for Ukraine to take steps against “corruption” in general terms.
Finally, at a speech in Reno, Joe Biden addressed Trump directly and said “you’re not going to destroy me and not going to destroy my family.” In his strongest remarks on the Ukraine controversy to date, he added: “I’m not going anywhere,”
That was yesterday. We’ll see what today brings.