Devastating Whistleblower Complaint Accelerates Impeachment

UPDATE #3: Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora), who co-authored an Op-Ed supporting impeachment in the Washington Post earlier this week, was interviewed this afternoon by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

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UPDATE #2: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver on MSNBC a short time ago:

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UPDATE: The Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner leans in, quoting longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy warning of immediate danger to vulnerable U.S. Senators like Cory Gardner:

A longtime adviser to Republicans has claimed that if the tally were held in secret, 30 Republican senators would vote to remove President Trump from office.

Mike Murphy, who has worked as a senior adviser to now-Sen. Mitt Romney and the late Sen. John McCain, appeared Wednesday on MSNBC and said that if the Democratic-led House votes to impeach the president and the Senate acquits him, it could spell political damage the Republican Party in 2020.

“These Senate Republicans, should the Democrats vote impeachment — which I think is far more likely than not — are going to be pinned down to a yes-no answer,” Murphy said, “and if they provide cover for Donald Trump on this, a clear violation of his role as president, we’re going to lose Colorado with Cory Gardner. [Pols emphasis] We’re going to lose Maine with Susan Collins. We’re going to lose Arizona with [Martha] McSally. And the Democrats will put the Senate very much in play.”

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Politico reports as Trump loyalists try desperately to spin the damage back:

According to an unclassified version of the complaint released by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning, the unidentified whistleblower said White House officials who listened to the call were “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s requests that Zelensky investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden and revisit claims related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election…

The complaint describes concerns among White House officials that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden — and that the call was the culmination of a series of events meant to pressure the new Ukrainian president to bend to Trump’s will, including dispatching Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to lean on Ukrainian officials to probe Biden. [Pols emphasis]

…The whistleblower said about a dozen White House officials were on the president’s July 25 call and that White House officials later intervened to “lock down” records of the call. According to the whistleblower complaint, White House officials were directed by White House lawyers to move electronic transcripts to a more secure electronic system typically meant for classified information.

Rep. Joe Neguse of Boulder, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, appropriately captures the magnitude of this disclosure–underscoring why the White House tried so hard to prevent it:

As we’ve observed from the beginning of this rapidly-developing crisis a week ago, the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is just one piece, albeit a crucial and particularly damning piece, of the whole impeachable puzzle. The freezing of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine that occurred prior to this call without adequate explanation, then the lifting of that hold in its aftermath, completes the loop of what has every appearance of a shocking abuse of presidential power in order to “motivate” Ukraine to revisit unsubstantiated allegations against Joe Biden’s son ahead of the 2020 elections.

To be sure, this latest scandal does not make any previous allegation against Trump less relevant. But “UkraineGate” could well be enough, even without factoring other events in Trump’s historically chaotic and scandal-plagued presidency, to justify Trump’s removal from office all by itself. We expect the public polling on impeachment to move precipitously in the coming days following this week’s disclosures, and that will be a key determining factor for Republicans in their hard decision whether to cut the President loose.

Because that’s what this is coming down to at long last: how much more damage can Republicans endure before President Mike Pence becomes the only way to stave off total calamity at the polls in 2020? Senate Republicans can save the President. But at what cost to themselves?

It’s math that, among many others, Sen. Cory Gardner is doing in his head right now.

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30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    Now's the moment for Mike Pence to screw in his glass eyeballs and shine.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

       

      Curiously, Trump is encouraging people to look at the wonderful conversations that Pence had with the Ukrainians.  Given the level of bureaucratic competence shown by this episode, I'm not exactly sure what sort of "shine" Pence is going to get from his involvement. 

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Squirrel !

        ”Curiously” ??

        Not at all.

        Wanna’ guess who else besides Rudy our addled maniac is getting ready to toss under the wheels of his gassed up and reving orange short-bus? . . .

        . . . I mean, who else besides anybody and everybody?

        That shine? It’s gonna’ be a bigly case of road rash . . .

        Ttump’s the real victim here, remember?

      • kwtreekwtree says:

        Ya think Donnie is throwing Pencie under the bus? If only….

  2. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    Oh good. I was concerned that Pence had managed to keep his hands clean. 

  3. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Here is the NPR/PBS/Marist poll trend on impeachment.
    April: 39% support, 53% oppose
    Today: 49% support, 46% oppose

    — Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) September 26, 2019

    • And that includes respondents from before today's testimony and release of the complaint, which were damning.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      If the Dems play this right, they may be able to flip the Senate next year.

      I don't care what Mike Murphy says, there are not 30 votes to convict on the Republican side. That is contingent on there being a secret vote. They will think of the party's base and shit their pants if they have to publicly declare that Trump is guilty.

      BUT…..

      For Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, and Susan Collins, this is going to be extremely uncomfortable. And if Iowa or North Carolina become competitive, or Alabama Republicans renominate Judge Moore, who knows…..

      smiley There could be 51 Democratic senators in January 2021.

      PS:  "By play this right" I mean that the House Dems need to present this in a way that a fourth grader could understand it, keep it clear cut (I remember in 1974 when some Dems wanted to add policy disagreements to the Nixon impeachment resolutions; Judiciary refused to do it and kept it simply criminal acts), and focus on the outrageous stuff.

  4. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    The parallels with Watergate continue:  Nixon had his AG John Mitchell running interference for him; Trump has AG William Barr

    Barr's DOJ twisted the laws into a pretzel in their failed attempt to suppress the Whistleblower complaint.  At least the Trump appointed Inspector General understood the law and acted according to his duty.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      And how much time did Mitchell end up serving in prison? Maybe Barr will exceed that.

      • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

        My recollection — Mitchell was convicted and sentenced to 8 years. There were appeals, and eventually the sentence diminished == maybe to 4 years?  He actually served about a year and a half.

        Colson, the one I know from academic research on him, pleaded guilty to an obstruction charge, served seven months. John Dean pled guilty to obstruction of justice, got a sentence of 1-4 years, and eventually “served” 4 months in a convenient location, allowing him to do a “day job” of cooperation with the Special Prosecutor and Senate and House committees, .  Both Colson and Dean were disbarred.

        Haldeman and Erlichman each got (or served) 18 months, if I remember right.

        Here's hoping there may be some in the Sad!-ministration who will join that list of people who went White House to Big House. 

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Quoting Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan Adviser:

      "Take Nixon in the deepest days of his Watergate paranoia, subtract 50 IQ points, add Twitter, and you have Trump today"

  5. itlduso says:

    1) Per FoxNews.com:  “Jeff Flake says at least 35 GOP senators would vote to impeach”

    2) Pence’s trip to the Ukraine inauguration was canceled.  He must know that it was part of the shakedown of the Ukraine president.  Did he report this to the Justice Dept?  I don’t think so.  And that’s just what we know now.  Pence can’t be president.

    3) Hello Madam President Pelosi.  This might not be so bad for the Repugs all things considered.  She won’t be able to pass legislation.  Repugs will find a more reasonable candidate, and we go to the 2020 election.

     

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