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Impeachment Hearings Day 4- Gordon Sondlund

Watch the hearings here on C-Span.

Has anyone else found cable news morning shows unpalatable? I can’t stand Joe and Mika. They seem fungible. And CNN lets too many Republicans get away with disinformation without challenging them. Plus, there’s too much yelling and screaming, which puts me on edge too early in the day. I can’t listen to NPR since the Juan Williams days. That ruined it for me and they became Nice Polite Republicans. It’s funny how your ear can pick up planted memes once you’ve been exposed for awhile. It’s like developing antibodies to them.


I’m trying C-Span but I get the feeling they don’t screen callers very well. Too many of them sound like they haven’t taken their meds yet and their brains are racing from one concept to another without any transitions.

I guess that until Preet Bharara does a daily podcast, the search will continue.


Gordon Sondlund. Is he the fulcrum or are we still traveling into the heart of darkness?

The NYT is writing that he intends to say that everything he did was approved by Mike Pompeo.

Let’s ponder that for a moment. What do we know about Pompeo? What I’ve read is that he’s a religious zealot. A true believer.

I think it’s scarier than that.

Pompeo reminds me of someone I used to know whose religious extremism knew no boundaries. People like Pompeo are looking for divine intervention. They want to bring about the second coming. And Donald Trump is their instrument.

The theory is that Jesus will bring about Armageddon when certain signs and criteria are met. You’d have to go rooting around in the canonical gospels for the signs. Never mind that Jesus might have meant something else, Pompeo and Pence are focused on a post-apocalyptic future. Trump will get them there because he is so bad. He will cause suffering on a massive scale and has already done so.

He is the means that ushers in the end.

I don’t expect that Pompeo is redeemable. It’s unlikely that you will be able to change his thinking or make him see the error or his ways or show him how many people are hurt. I suspect that people like Pompeo are hard wired to be like this. They will go to their graves expecting a last minute rapture.

They should never be allowed to have this much power. They are dangerous religious ideologues and their reign works only by reducing the public to the level of sheep.

20 Responses

  1. I think we can assume that all of the political appointees were either onboard or were willing to look the other way. The NSC and State department staff that was detailed to the White House were a lot more savvy and less partisan.

    • Partisan as in “pro-Trump”. Being a regular Republican wouldn’t have been good enough.

  2. I got up later today, maybe because of a little rain, finally, and then having gotten up so early yesterday. So I missed the best stuff, but I will find it later. Yes, you put it exactly right, before the hearing. Sondland is the fulcrum of these hearings, and probably was for the bad guys, too.

    I feel bad that you have to try to find someone decent on morning radio or CNN or much of MSNBC. All owned and run by rich conservatives, except NPR, I guess. And your insights as to the religious zealots seems exactly right, and terrifying. And the very rich Republicans who do not believe in this, and just want the money, have found themselves supplanted by the zealots, who have taken over. That is what Jewish and fairly intellectual people like David Frum, Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, have all realized.

  3. The Republicans next and last “defense” is going to be, “Okay, he wanted an investigation, that is not bad. Investigations like this are worthwhile. And besides, the stock market is going up.”

    The terrible irony is that Trump, who is not religious, who is simply gluttonous and corrupt, has put all these people in positions of power, because either he thinks they will be loyal and useful, or because some powers in his party recommended them. There are religious fanatics all over the place, and certainly many have been appointed to high judicial positions. Democrats are always afraid of criticizing religiosity, but when it is fanaticism, they must do so in some way. These are not good people,nor are the fanatics who vote for them. They are rigid, authoritarian, often full of hate. It is sad to say, but i think it is true. There must be a separation of church and state. If you saw the story about how the Ohio legislature passed a bill which states that if a student answers a science question, or indeed any question, with a religious themed answer, the teacher must accept it as correct. The Founders would have been absolutely horrified. What would the stacked Supreme Court say? Fifty years ago, it have ruled it unconstitutional by 9-0. Now they may have five votes to uphold, what a tragedy.

  4. Sondland now backtracking, saying Trump never told him he wanted anything from Zelensky, but just “to clear things up”? I will have to go back and read the earlier testimony. He is not a bright person, has a certain affability, which probably made him useful to the higher-ups.

    The thing which must be emphasized is what Volcker confirmed yesterday, that there was no evidence whatsoever to think that Biden had done anything corrupt. The “investigation” was thus just to be made up, a show, to get Trump elected again. You’ve got some foreign country suddenly announcing a “no stone unturned’ investigation” of an American political candidate, and no one knows that this was exhorted for by the President here, and it looks very serious indeed. Just like the made up email “scandal,” which occupied the media for the entire campaign. We’ve got the “First Estate” totally corrupt and fascistic, the ‘Second Estate” full of crooks and enablers,and the “Fourth Estate” filled with either stupid or spiteful people who delight in going after their favorite “Its,” while blissfully ignoring the real stories and their implications. And this is taken advantage of again and again by the Republicans. Just set it up for them, and they will do the rest. Scarborough, Mika, Mitchell, Todd, Blitzer, and then a whole bunch of people on the “Left,” whose self-styled search for purity makes them eager to attack everyone who is not one of their chosen saviors. It’s what has been happening in this country for many decades.

  5. Thoughts from today’s testimony up to 1300 EST. I did miss a bit.

    1) If Devin Nunes is the best the GOP has to offer they are in deep shit. I never really heard him speak much before these hearings, and he has nothing to say other than pointing out GOP talking points on how the Democrats have been unfair during these hearings. He is a dolt of the highest order.

    2) I have new respect for Ambassador Sondland, my thoughts going in was that he simply bought his ambassadorship, and would be a tRump toady. I now think that his testimony should be enough to bury not only tRump, but also Pompeo and Mulvaney. He consistently made it clear, to anyone who is not on the Kool-Aid, that tRump delegated the whole Ukraine situation to Rudy Giuliani. Therefore, when Rudy speaks he is speaking for tRump. This should be the end of the story.

    3) I think the GOP will paint Schiff’s initial questioning of Soundland as adversarial since he asked the same question several times to get the answer in plain language. When this happens, the Democrats should point to Castor’s questioning which basically did the same thing.

    4) Trumps quick presser where he proclaims he wanted Nothing… wow, the guy is now totally unhinged. He likes to see himself as the godfather, but he is now saying that just because he said he wants nothing that excuses the fact that he initially said that ‘Zelensky should do the right thing’. Anyone who has followed all of this story knows what the right thing is. Gordon Sondland told us over and over again, the right thing is to open investigations into Bursima and the missing server.

  6. One of the things that Sondland made clear was that the State Dept. and the White House did not give him access to call read outs, etc. that would have aided him in testifying. Based on what I heard today from him, I would tend to believe that IF he had access to the information he would not have had to amend his original testimony multiple times.

    Not sure where I saw it, but some article opined that this makes a good case for NOT having political appointees as ambassadors, especially to countries that are vital to our interest. Making a political donor ambassador to Naruru would be fine with me. However, contrast what we heard from Mr. Kent, Ambassador Taylor, and Ms. Williams who are all long time state department employees regarding their note taking. All of them indicated that they took copious notes during meetings, whereas, Ambassador Sondland admitted freely that he took no notes at all. I would hope that this would convince the Senate that before approving an ambassador to a strategic country in the future that they should point out this episode to potential appointees. Stressing to potential ambassadors that they could be called before congress, and having notes of their meetings could prove very helpful.

    • That is a very good point! Unfortunately, the Republicans do not seem to care about anything more than letting Trump do whatever he wants to do. They confirm virtually all of his judicial appointments and all of his executive ones. They apparently think that this is their job, not vetting anybody.

  7. I sort of hate to say this, but I’d rather see people like Schiff and Maloney on the debate stage than the ones we are going to see. Maloney just eviscerated Sondland at a necessary time, and Schiff has been superb. Other Democrats have been very good as well I’ll probably skip the debate, just because there is really only one announced candidate left whom I like, and that is Amy Klobuchar, and I would have to wade through the ones like Sanders, Gabbard, and Yang, to get to her.

    • I’m also for Amy Klobucher. I’m voting for a woman and will vote for her.

      With Impeachment hearings, I have become more concerned about all the democratic candidates; their capabilities and focus to win the hearts and minds of independents and moderate republicans fed up with the GOP’s amoral and corrupted greed.

      We need huge numbers at the ballot to overcome the Russia-Trump interference and clean up the mess we are in.
      We also need control at the Senate.

      The revolution and structural change promoted by Sanders/Warren can easily backfire with the perception of financial instability. Neither Biden nor Buttigieg would be an option for me.

  8. William – I am feeling the say way.

  9. I’ve enjoyed watching Jackie Speie questioning these witnesses as well. I particularly liked her response to Conway of Texas today when she responded to his interruption stating that the whistleblower law she was reading had 3 pinnocchios about its content and she had a snappy come back that “trump has 5 pinocchios a day, so let’s not go there”…which was received with laughter and applause.

    As for the debate, I always watch them because democracy does better when the citizens participate, the issues being discussed are important and deserve our ongoing attention because this election will determine whether we keep our republic or lose it.

    I also am very interested in seeing whether Buttigieg will receive the same treatment Biden and Warren have had since he has risen to the top in the Iowa polls. IMO, he has not been scrutinized nearly enough, particularly his record, or lack thereof, as Mayor of Fort Bend. In fact, Amy Klobuchar was RIGHT when she pointed out to one of the pundits during an interview that were Buttigieg a woman with the exact same credentials, SHE would not be on that debate stage. Amy correctly pointed out the double standard in how he has been treated by the public and the press. Of course, she was immediately slamed by the press for being so forthcoming with the truth in describing one of the men in the race.

    That double standard has impacted the way the media covers Warren and Harris too, so they’ve not learned anything from how they treated Hillary about being fair and balanced in their coverage of the women candidates. It is precisely because of this continued blind spot by the media that I hope the women of this country will not allow to happen to these women that happened to Hillary.

  10. I mistakenly put this in the thread below: that seeing such intelligent, dedicated and honorable public servants as Yovanovich, Cooper, and Hale, almost restores one’s pride in America. I hope that people abroad who got to see this testimony would feel better about this country as well.

  11. William,

    I hope you are watching the debate. Amy has gotten more time than she usually does and she has made some great points to which the audience has responded enthusiastically. Her best line and she’s had several, IMO, was when asked whether she stood by her past comments questioning whether a woman with Pete Buttigieg’s background would be on the debate stage. Amy said she thought Buttigieg was qualified to compete as a presidential candidate and that she was proud to stand next to him. However, she then said she believed her initial comments were true and went on to make the case for a woman as the best candidate to face off against Trump.
    Klobuchar concluded: “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.” I think it’s great she’s showing her humerous side and making great points.

    Harris had a great moment when she slammed Tulsi for constantly being on Fox News for 4 years criticizing Obama and democrats and buddying up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with trump. Well, this is probably why the russians have been keeping a close eye on Tulsi and supporting her candidacy!

    • Thanks for the review, Kathleen. I deliberately did not watch. I know that Neera Tanden tweeted that these debates are becoming painful, and I blame most of it on Tom Perez, who set up debate criteria which allow Russian plants like Gabbard to stay in and keep attacking Democrats.

      I am happy that there were were some good moments, I am glad to see that Klobuchar did well, but Harris is also getting praise. There can only be one candidate,and only so may available votes to grab. I suppose we can have a brokered convention, which would be entertaining, but divisive. I will not watch another debate until Gabbard is off the stage, but it is certain that Republicans will keep pouring in money to her. Even worse, since there are all these open primaries, Republicans can vote in large numbers for her, or anyone else who can screw up the Democratic race. For Klobuchar to win, she needs a brokered convention, or else Biden to do very badly, but that would probably help Harris more, as she has more inroads into the Black vote than Amy. I am afraid that the debate diminished the power of the impeachment hearings today, but of course we have to chose a candidate at some point. The sad thing is that if somehow Hillary were the clear Democratic favorite going into this year, she would trounce Trump. There is no Hillary in this field, in my view; and in addition, this primary process is going to be very contentious.

      • William,

        I have more faith in the women running than you do. I honestly believe that fallng back on the conditioned response that only a “white male” candidate can beat trump is simply throwing in the towel and settling for less. We need a champion and someone who is willing to fight. I believe the women in the race understand what it means to fight for the people because we know, more than any white male (and that includes Buttigieg) what it’s like to be marginalized. As Amy rightfully pointed out, Buttigieg, despite his young age and being gay, is still given a leg up that no woman, even those with more experience, would be given. Amy also pointed out that Nancy Pelosi beats trump every day, so please stop with the mantra that a woman can’t beat trump. I can remember not so long ago that many in the House wanted “new blood” and a younger person to be speaker of the house (preferably male). In the end, experience won out and aren’t we glad that it did in retrospect? I don’t think anyone in the house (male or female) vying for that position could have manuevered around trump with the expertise and finesse Pelosi has shown. Let’s learn from that experience and not ignore it as is usually the case when a woman proves she is the best person for the job.

        I honestly believe that the country would back any of these women if they were nominated. I don’t think Joe is as good as the people and the press give him credit for and that reality will play out over the next 12 months, if the press stops lowering the bar for him. It’s just that Joe is what we are accustomed to seeing running for president and that is not a good enough reason to make him the nominee, IMO.

        I would be thrilled to support Amy, Kamala or Elizabeth. Each of them have more experience than the rest of the group, except for Biden and Sanders (and sanders has done very little of substance with his 40 years of experience and Joe’s record is mixed without real distinction). I also believe that a woman getting the nomination would actually energize the electorate and bring people out to the polls in droves because the majority of America wants trump gone and who better to put trump in his place than a woman! Moreover, a woman beating trump would be the best medicine for this country and would pave the way to actually achieving (and not just talking about) the kind of change we so desperately need. After all, it’s been proven time and time again, women get things done.

  12. Here’s what I’d like to hear one of the Democrats say – “had there not been Russian interference and voter suppression in 2016 Hillary Clinton would be our President & we wouldn’t have to deal with impeaching a criminal in the WH”

    JUST. SAY. IT. ALREADY. They all tip toe around it and they weaponize criticisms against Obama. Well guess what? There are millions of Hillary voters that are hurting and were/ are devastated at the 2016 election. Not one of them is stepping up trying to heal those wounds. Do these people even want our votes? Because I’ll stay home if they just want Obama voters and moderate Republicans.

    • Seagrl,

      I totally agree with you! Unfortunately, since the media is not willing to accept that they played a major role in putting trump in the WH, they will continue to play dumb about it. The candidates are afraid to point out what you so astutely wrote because It’s OK to diss and attack Hillary for anything and everything. Funny, it’s ok to call out racism with passion, but still not ok to call out sexism with the same kind of passion for fear the misogynistic press will raise its ugly head and attack you for doing so.

      I don’t believe any of the men running would stand up on behalf of Hillary. Men usually do not defend a woman as they would another man. It’s been that way in society in perpetuity. The women running can’t stand up for her because they would be painted with the same broad brush the media painted Hillary – power hungry and a bitch. Those of us who supported Hillary and still do will have to continue to call this out every chance we get until they finally honor Hillary with the respect and recognition she so richly deserves. I believe history will.

      I will NEVER forgive the media, the republicans, Jim Comey, and the bernie bros for what they did to her.

      • Nor will I. I think the only man I would consider voting for in 2016 is Cory Booker. He was an ardent Hillary supporter. But the rest? There’s no way in hell any of those men are getting my vote up there. Give me a female candidate or you’re not getting my vote, Democrats. I’m not waiting any longer.

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