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The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 14th, 2019, 6:09 am
by toucana
The most devastating piece of testimony on the first day of public impeachment hearings on the floor of Congress this Wednesday came from Bill Taylor, the State Department official who is the acting US ambassador to Ukraine.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/taylor-says-staffer-overheard-trump-ask-sondland-about-investigations-n1081456

To the surprise of many, Bill Taylor revealed on Wednesday that after a transcript of his original 22nd October closed-door hearing in Congress had been published, another member of his staff who is believed to be a political counsellor called David Holmes read it, and belatedly realised that another phone call he had overheard (not the one between Trump and Zelensky) was of key importance, and belatedly briefed Bill Taylor about it last Friday.

According to Bill Taylor’s account, this staffer was in the company of Gordon Sondland who is Trump’s ambassador to the EU on 26 July (the day after the controversial call with Zelensky). Holmes says that he overheard ambassador Sondland take another telephone call from president Trump in a restaurant in Kiev after attending a meeting between Sondland and Andriy Yermak, a top aide of president Zelensky. Seconds after that call was concluded, David Holmes says that Sondland turned to him and said that Trump “cares more about the investigations of Biden and Burisma than he does about Ukraine”.

If correct, this speaks directly to the issue of criminal intent on the part of president Trump. It provides the most direct evidence yet that Trump was extorting Ukraine for the sole purpose of trying to promote the fake Biden scandal in the name of altering the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, president Trump says that he “has no memory of that call”, while Congress has summoned the staffer David Holmes for an urgent closed door hearing on Friday on the same day that State Department Russian expert Fiona Hill will be testifying in public.

Gordon Sondland who has already had to come back to Congress once to amend his previous closed door testimony, may yet have to do so again, in the hope that his rapidly evolving memory of key events will keep him out of jail on perjury charges. Sondland is due to give his public testimony next week.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 14th, 2019, 10:46 am
by TheVat
On top of being another data point that connects Trump directly to the extortion attempt, it turns out the call to him from Sondland was also a stunning breach of security protocol:

"The security ramifications are insane — using an open cellphone to communicate with the president of the United States,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a former senior director of the White House Situation Room and a former chief of staff to the CIA director. “In a country that is so wired with Russian intelligence, you can almost take it to the bank that the Russians were listening in on the call.”


https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/ambassadors-cellphone-call-to-trump-from-kyiv-restaurant-was-a-stunning-breach-of-security-former-officials-say/2019/11/13/37d75752-0641-11ea-b17d-8b867891d39d_story.html

You may recall, from 2016, how deeply important security protocols are to Republicans. The fear and loathing over Clinton's email server was intense and protracted.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 14th, 2019, 1:24 pm
by Serpent
The last time I heard of a criminal this incompetent was the bank robber who wrote the hold-up note on the back of his own phone bill....
... except, the bank robber didn't enlist six other incompetents; nor did he telegraph and email the bank in advance of the robbery.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 14th, 2019, 8:27 pm
by toucana
AP News have reported, and Washington Post have confirmed, that a second US embassy staffer overheard the call between ambassador Gordon Sondland, and president Donald Trump about the progress of attempts to persuade president Zelensky of Ukraine to open a corruption enquiry into former US vice-president Joe Biden.

https://apnews.com/6d318542e50b45dc9e1d4d829ad36c96

The second witness is named as Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based at the US embassy in Kiev. According to the AP report he was also sitting in the restaurant in Kiev with ambassador Sondland after a meeting with Ukrainian officials, and he also overheard president Trump talking loudly over the phone to Sondland about the progress of his plans.

The following segment broadcast by MSNBC earlier today contains an interesting panel discussion with anchor Nicolle Wallace and several guests, including Michael McFaul the former US ambassador to Moscow, and Ben Rhodes, a former deputy director of National Security.

https://www.msnbc.com/deadline-white-house/watch/reports-another-person-overheard-sondland-s-call-with-the-president-73473605730

These two guests express stark incredulity and horror at the fact that ambassador Sondland was apparently phoning up president Trump from a restaurant in Kiev, on a standard cell phone.

McFaul made the point that when he was ambassador to Russia he *never* made a person-to person call to president Obama, and would never have considered doing so, except in a time of national crisis. McFaul also stressed that the US embassy does have secure communication facilities if any legitimate need for a personal call to the White House arose.

Ben Rhodes cited one documented case where a US official did use a standard cell phone to place a call in Ukraine, and Russian intelligence promptly published the intercept on a Russian YouTube channel. The prospect of Russian intelligence having a full recording of a compromising call by president Trump is now a major security issue in its own right.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 15th, 2019, 10:37 pm
by toucana
David Holmes was one of two foreign service officers who overheard ambassador Gordon Sondland’s telephone call with president Trump from the public terrace of a restaurant in Kiev on 26th July.

Holmes was deposed in closed door committee session in Congress today, and a precis of his deposition fairly quickly found its way to journalists Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb of CNN.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/15/politics/holmes-testimony-sondland-call/index.html

It contained this passage among others:-
Holmes also confirmed Taylor's testimony about the President's thoughts on Ukraine, saying he had asked Sondland "if it was true that the President did not 'give a s--- about Ukraine."

Holmes said Sondland had responded that Trump cares only about "big stuff." When Holmes said that the Ukraine war was big, Sondland responded, " 'Big stuff' that benefits the President, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing," Holmes said.

Sondland's attorney, Kwame Manley, told CNN, "Ambassador Sondland looks forward to testifying next Wednesday."

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 15th, 2019, 10:53 pm
by Serpent
Well, there goes yet another day of my fast-diminishing life!
Like a burning 20-car pileup, innit? You hate to watch, but can't look away.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 20th, 2019, 4:44 am
by toucana
You may have seen the comment made by Charlie Proctor, the Royal Central website editor, about Prince Andrew's recent Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis about his friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein:

“I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad”

https://inews.co.uk/news/prince-andrew-interview-watching-plane-crash-1170521

We live in hyperbolic times it seems.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 20th, 2019, 10:29 am
by Serpent
I've only heard some bits incidentally. Um..
“I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad

Rich boy goes to disreputable parties.
Meh.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 20th, 2019, 2:12 pm
by toucana
The best and latest joke is that he's apparently meditating the option of doing a second televised interview to fix the problems caused by the first one.

One of his principal press advisers apparently resigned and walked out a fortnight ago, "and I imagine his lawyer wasn't far behind" added another critic.

Breaking news here now says that he is "stepping back from public duties for the foreseeable future".

https://news.sky.com/story/prince-andrew-steps-back-from-public-duties-11865854

IOW, he's been handbagged by Queenie.

Re: The Conman Always Rings Twice

PostPosted: November 20th, 2019, 5:48 pm
by Serpent
Any boss have done the same.