Former Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN) gives his take on Michael Bloomberg and the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
BRET BAIER: We are getting ready for these public hearings on impeachment. How much do you think this factors in on the campaign trail and what 2020 candidates are talking about ahead of this debate in Atlanta?
FMR. REP. HAROLD FORD JR. (D-TN): By Wednesday evening, I think we’re going to have a very strong sense. I think what Senator Kennedy said, he wants to measure the credibility of these witnesses. He wants to measure the tone of these witnesses. He wants to get a sense of hearing their words and hearing them talk, see them cross-examined.
I think by Wednesday evening and perhaps Friday afternoon after the ambassador comes forward, we’re going to have a much better sense of Nancy Pelosi who I think has been the most mature of all the politicians in D.C. around this issue because I don’t that she really wanted to do this.
But if she does not feel that the Democrats can have a sound vote, a bipartisan vote, and maybe even the chance to remove the president, I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t pull this in the next several days. If this first week does not go well.
As for the media, can we attribute its devotion to respecting the privacy of the Ukraine whistleblower to anything other than politics? The evidence suggests not.
Radio talk show host and FOX News host Mark Levin delivered a monologue Thursday night on ‘Hannity’ where he said the whistleblower statute doesn’t apply to the “political hack” that reported President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.
“This is another hoax being perpetrated by the Democrats, a phony impeachment effort, like the phony Russia effort, Mr. President, stay strong, this will collapse eventually but we do need the whistleblower to testify, Schiff to testify because the whole House of cards will collapse and the American people will see what – this was an outrageous attack by them on the President,” Levin said.
MARK LEVIN: All right, look. First of all who’s ever heard of a whistleblower who is someone who is backed by the establishment? Normally you have a whistleblower who challenging the establishment, challenging in the system, you have the entire establishment, the media, the Democratic Party, part of the Republican Party back in the Senate backing the whistleblower. I’ve really never seen anything like this, it’s really bizarre.
The reason you have whistleblower protections is because the whistleblower is going against the system. In this case we have the President going against the system and the whistleblower going against the President of the United States. I want to explain to the American people in a way that even Joe Scarborough can understand with the law is because you are hearing a lot of lies from Schiff and the Democrats in these phony legal analysts.
Andy McCarthy did a good job in the national review I’ve talked about this radio too. The whistleblower statute does not apply to the President of the United States, does not apply to conversations the President of the United States has with leaders of other country, and it does not apply to foreign policy.
So the whistleblower statute does not apply to the President or this phone call. Number one, I hope Richard Burr is listening, the Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee which really is not a very intelligent committee.
Number two, the so-called whistleblower does not have statutory protection. He doesn’t meet the statutory elements. He was not an official who reports on intelligence activities within the purview of the Director of National Intelligence. He was serving temporarily on the National Security Council reporting to the President.
Number three, the law does not – hello! Does not guarantee anonymity to the whistleblower, only the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community is to keep it confidential with certain exceptions. The President can release the name, Congress can come of the media is not bound and interestingly enough, the intelligence committee did release his name – Adam Schiff did release his name by accident last night in that transcript.
So I guess we should arrest Adam Schiff for that in a thousand other reasons. Congress has never provided overarching legal protection to any whistleblower, certainly not in the context of launching an impeachment investigation, so why are they hiding this guy from me, we the people? We know his name, we know all about him and yet the same newspapers that put out the Pentagon papers and everything else, they are keeping it secret.
How can you impeach a president a process to be triggered by this guy who was a political hack, a political hack without the House, the Senate, the President and the public scrutinizing his motives, his credibility and his veracity? It’s not that his substance of the complaint his is determinative, it’s the fact of his complaints.
This is the second impeachment document they have put together. His lawyers, that’s right “Coupster” a new word, the coup. I’m sure that Adam Schiff’s staff was involved we want to know who was involved? The Democrats, the media, feckless Republicans, they would have us impeach a President without knowing who this guy is?
He’s a political hack yet we reportedly know who he is, right? Now this cover-up, that’s what it is, it’s intended to protect the Democrat Party, the Obama Administration, this guy worked in the Obama Administration, Adam Schiff who knows all about this guy. Adam Schiff hired a couple old NSC staffers, took them out of the Trump Administration they are on his staff now.
I have no doubt they are involved in this process, who else they want to protect? Joe Biden! Nobody has asked to Joe about this guy, this guy knows Joe Biden, and Joe Biden knows this guy. So we have to protect him and we have to Brennan. So infected pretend – in fact all these people and his hacked lawyers who have been running around saying we are independent, we have no axe to grind, we even represented Republicans.
His coup leading slip and fall lawyers, now we know all about them. The problem is Adam Schiff like a good mobster has decided you can’t call this guy as a witness. You can’t call me as a witness Republicans because you need my approval and I’m not going to give you the approval.
So the head mobster of this operation says I’m in charge of who the witnesses can be and I’m not going to let you call these people so it’s a grand cover-up. Adam Schiff is also the guy in charge of the cover-up.
Here’s the thing I want the American people to understand, the laws on the President’s side, the facts from the President’s side and what they are attacking is the transition of power. They have never supported the transition of power from the Obama Administration to a Trump Administration and I want to remind Adam Schiff and all the slow learners on MSNBC and CNN, the President sets foreign policy, it doesn’t make a difference if you don’t agree with it.
I don’t care whether they are a Former Obama Ambassador from the Ukraine. Oh, they forced me out, too damn bad. We elected this President, he appoints whoever he wants and if he wants to treat Ukraine in a certain way, he is free to do it. Meanwhile Ukraine got the military aid Obama wouldn’t give, meanwhile the President of the Ukraine said what quid pro quo?
There is a quid pro quo we should not be involved in it. Our President says no quid pro quo, so what do they do? They go to bureaucrats who never heard of in the State Department who say “Well, I don’t think the President should have done that” did you talk? No. Did you witness anything? No. Did you have any firsthand? No. Did you listen in the phone call? Yes, but I don’t think the transcript is right.
What the hell is going on here? This is another hoax being perpetrated by the Democrats, a phony impeachment effort, like the phony Russia effort, Mr. President, stay strong, this will collapse eventually but we do need the whistleblower to testify, Schiff to testify because the whole House of cards will collapse and the American people will see what – this was an outrageous attack by them on the President. Yes, sir.
FNC: Trump Organization executive vice president Donald Trump Jr. on his clash with the hosts of ‘The View,’ the Biden-Ukraine scandal on ‘Hannity.’
“You know every once in a while you’ve got to try,” the president’s son said about going on ‘The View.’ “You’ve got to try to speak to everyone. Hopefully, they listen. In that case, they didn’t because you would think if you were invited on a show and they build it up and they give you three segments, you’d think if you were there to promote a book they’d ask you one question about the actual book, Sean, but they didn’t do that. I guess it’s a little bit about why I wrote ‘Triggered.’ I think the title speaks for itself because they were obviously triggered. I don’t think they like me much anymore.”
Gold Star Father Khizr Khan speaks out against President Trump for attacking Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, formerly the White House’s Ukraine expert. According to CNN, Vindman told congressional investigators he was convinced President Donald Trump was personally blocking $400 million.
Khan is famous for responding to then-candidate Donald Trump for knocking his deceased son.
“He served first when he joined the United States armed forces and then he serves one more time again, at his peril,” Khan said of Vindman. “It is unhinged, this president. He is beyond shameful. His attack, as you mentioned earlier on our hero, hero of this nation, John McCainm, then General Mattis, distinguished military leaders and heroes of this nation he continues to attack.”
Comrade Trump’s Fratsputin, Jared Kushner the Slumlord Prince of New Jersey, took some time off from his BFF Crown Prince Bone Saw’s Burned Meats BBQ Party, er, Davos in the Desert, to talk to Axios:
President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner told me during an exclusive interview with Israel’s Channel 13 News that many of his efforts since he started working at the White House were focused on “cleaning up the messes that Vice President Biden left behind.”
Now, it is true that The Untalented Mr. Ripley is in nepotism exhibit A (along with the First Shady, Ivanka) and as Joe Biden put it, is “improper” for The Russian Usurper to have appointed Jar-Jar Vonka to anything. It is also true that Criminal Justice Reform enacted earlier this year — as bipartisan legislation, I might add — largely fixed some of the terrible triangulating Clintonian ’90s legislation that has Joe’s fingerprints all over it.
PBS NEWSHOUR: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest political news, including trends around the federal judges President Trump is appointing, the Department of Justice’s criminal probe of the Russia investigation, how the impeachment inquiry is evolving and campaign anxiety regarding 2020 Democratic candidates.
JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS NEWSHOUR HOST: In this week alone, the top U.S. diplomat for Ukraine told Congress that the president withheld military aid for personal political gain; Republican Congress members stormed a secure room at the Capitol, where many already had access, to dispute the impeachment process, but not the substance; and we have learned that the Department of Justice is investigating its own FBI for looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Amidst all this, the White House announced that the president has ordered the cancellation of all federal government subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
That makes it a perfect moment to hear the analysis of Shields and Brooks.
That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
So, David, no subscriptions to the White House from your newspaper.
DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: This explains why I have been getting no invites…
WOODRUFF: But you will soldier on.
But let’s pick up first with Lisa’s reporting on these federal judges that Trump has been able to nominate and get successfully confirmed, more judges than any of his predecessors.
What’s the real significance of this?
BROOKS: Well, when you talk to conservative voters why they support Trump, that’s the number one answer, the courts.
And so he’s having an effect. He’s nominating conventional Republican Federalist Society judges. They’re not populists. I’m not sure I see the – quite the same transformation on the circuit court level, the level just under the Supreme Court.
Of the 13 appellate courts, only one may flip. So you have got Democratic seats staying – Democratic districts staying Democratic, Republicans getting a little redder. But you haven’t seen a transformation from a more liberal court to a more conservative court.
And his impact on future on nominations may go down because Democratic judges are not retiring. They’re waiting and hoping there’s a Democrat. So they’re – it’s expected there will be relatively fewer openings over the next couple years than there were the previous…
WOODRUFF: Well, we know it flies under the radar, and that’s why we thought it was so important to take a look at it. We are grateful for Lisa’s reporting.
David, there was virtually a development every day about that. We just learned today that a federal judge has said that the impeachment inquiry in the House, in his view, is legal. And that means that the Department of Justice is going to have to turn over grand jury material from the Mueller investigation.
But this follows a week of testimony behind closed doors, some of it, though, made public, by one public servant or diplomatic figure after another, including especially William Taylor, who served as the ambassador to Ukraine.
What is it adding up to at this point?
When we first learned about the phone call, you could say, well, it was just Trump being Trump, a reckless phone call, and he was sort of elbowing the guy.
Now that’s not the case. I think we have learned this was a three-month coordinated campaign, with a whole series of meetings, a lot of people involved, to try to get Ukraine to help Trump’s reelection bid.
And so the Taylor testimony in particular was detailed, methodical. It was the smoking gun. It was clear quid pro quo, an order coming from the president hold up aid, unless Ukraine did this.
And so that seals the deal, I think. And I think Republicans – at least the Republican establishment – has to feel just beaten. And the question is, how do they find a way to stick with him?
But I think the Republican mood was, wow, this is bad. Wow, this is bad.
And so I think the key thing is to look for sort of an emotional crumbling, where they just say, we have to – we have – we can’t sit by along this. I don’t think we’re at that place, but it was certainly a week that affected how Republican senators see this guy…
WOODRUFF: But, as we see, David, the White House continues to say – and the president is raging about this. We heard it again today.
He’s saying, these people have no credibility. And he was saying yesterday they’re part of the so-called deep state. And using a lot worse language than that.
And, so far, that’s holding. Impeachment is popular in the country, but it’s very popular on the coastal parts of the country. Amy Walter pointed out this week that, in the swing states, its favorability rating is 10 points lower than unfavorable. People are against impeachment. In Wisconsin, it’s minus seven.
And so for Democrats to think that they can swing Republican senators, they have to get those swing states, and they have to sell the message. And, so far, they have secret hearings, which I understand you don’t learn anything in a public hearing. They have to learn what happened. And so you have to get away from TV cameras for that.
But, eventually, they’re going to have to turn to public hearings in order to try to persuade the country. And whether they can do that in a month or two, whenever that happens, that, we will see…
BROOKS: It’s – you have to – having thoroughly politicized the State Department, you have to go on the presumption Trump is trying to politicize the Department of Justice, and you have to go in prejudging against that.
The one mitigating factor is the guy they selected to do the investigation, this guy John Durham, who has been appointed by both parties, who has done – who has a sterling reputation. So at least we can rest, I think, in trust with him.
And that’s – that’s really – this goes to what Mark was saying. The whole question for the last two years, would our institutions hold? And I would say, given the testimonies of the last week and whatever Durham does, I think the institutions are sort of holding.
And the result is this impeachment, a guy who – president who doesn’t go by any institutional logic, doesn’t obey institutional rules, and yet the institutions are sort of standing up for those rules.
Millions of Californians can do little more than watch as the lights go off, then on and maybe back off again during the blustery autumn of 2019.
THE WEEK: Rice, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 and was former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser from 2013 to 2017, sat down with two other Obama officials – Ben Rhodes and Tommy Vietor – for their podcast, Pod Save the World. In a clip released Tuesday afternoon, Rhodes says in order to understand President Trump, “you have to understand Benghazi,” referring to the 2012 attack in Libya, which left four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, dead.
Vietor responded, “Right, because Lindsey Graham isn’t just a piece of s–t now,” and was quickly interrupted by Rice. “He’s been a piece of s–t,” she said with a laugh. “I said it. I said it, damn it, finally. He’s a piece of s–t.” Vietor added that Graham was “lying, lying, lying” about the attack, and “raising money off of the death of four Americans.”
We’re experiencing Trump-Russia all over again. But maybe the Democratic base will see the unfounded accusations for what they always were — hysterical.