By Robert A. Vella
Methinks thou dost protest too much.
President Trump and his obedient henchmen, most notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is a central figure in the CIA whistleblower complaint, are spewing out a barrage of accusations and indignations in an attempt to portray themselves as victims and to shift attention away from their efforts to coerce the Ukrainian government for partisan political gain. But, it is just not working. The impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives and parallel investigations in the Senate are moving forward with an expanding list of administration officials to be questioned on the scandal. Public opinion is moving too as the details of Trump’s wrongdoings become evident.
Americans hold their noses as the stench of corruption wafts over the nation.
Here are the latest developments:
By the end of the day, however, at least one of the five — Kurt Volker, a former administration envoy to Ukraine — planned to appear anyway before the committees Thursday. A second official, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, would appear Oct. 11, according to a committee official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss lawmakers’ deliberations.
Meanwhile, the committees were notified that the State Department’s inspector general had requested to speak with them Wednesday “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine,” according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.
State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, whose office is responsible for investigating abuse and mismanagement in the department and operates largely independently from its control, “obtained the documents from the acting legal advisor of the Department of State,” the letter said.
The inspector general does not have to seek Pompeo’s approval to approach lawmakers with information, especially if the material is not classified.
Yovanovitch will appear with her personal legal counsel, the official said. She was recalled by Pompeo as ambassador to Ukraine in May, before the end of her tour. In his call with Zelensky, according to the White House transcript, Trump said Yovanovitch was “bad news,” apparently because she had resisted the investigation of Biden he was seeking.
Democrats investigating a whistleblower’s allegations against President Donald Trump pressed Rick Perry on Tuesday for information about his May travels to Ukraine, opening a rare window into the energy secretary’s role as an emissary for some of the administration’s most sensitive international missions.
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey posed the questions in a letter to Perry as House Democrats push forward with their impeachment inquiry into whether Trump used a July 25 phone to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden. It comes as a widening array of administration officials face questions about their potential role in the affair, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr.
“President Trump’s phone call and the allegations in the whistleblower complaint raise serious questions about the messages that were communicated on behalf of President Trump to the government of Ukraine,” Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to Perry. He sent a similar letter to Pence.
WASHINGTON — At the heart of the impeachment case against President Donald Trump lies a potential dagger for his re-election campaign: He’s accused of putting himself first — and American interests second.
So the president’s problem isn’t just that the Ukraine affair has potentially provided the House with the substance of an impeachable offense. It’s the fact that the very same alleged activity — abusing his office to help himself — cuts against his core political message of always placing “America first.”
“The more we read about this story, it highlights what we’ve come to know over the last couple of years, which is he might be in the Hall of Fame of self-interest,” said Purple Strategies Managing Director Rory Cooper, a former House GOP leadership aide who argued Tuesday that Republicans must publicly describe the president’s conduct as wrong.
Today’s other news:
Two weeks before a sweeping new immigration policy is set to take effect, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a 25-page set of corrections to the final version of the “public charge” rule, including fixes to substantive errors that ProPublica wrote about in August.
Immigrant advocates said the extent of the corrections to the rule, which will make it harder for low-income migrants to enter the U.S., underscores their contention that the Trump administration aggressively pushed major policy changes without taking sufficient time to ensure clarity and precision.
A federally sponsored anti-terrorism fusion center in Oregon assisted a taskforce monitoring protest groups organizing against a fossil fuel infrastructure project in the state, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.
The Oregon Titan Fusion Center – part of a network set up to monitor terrorist activities – disseminated information gathered by that taskforce, and shared information provided by private security attached to the gas project with some of the task force members.
Observers, including the American Civil Liberties Union, argue these efforts break Oregon law.
Johnson & Johnson reaches $20.4 million settlement in huge opioid case [with two counties in Ohio]