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  # 2337398 15-Oct-2019 13:20
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The Washington Post - Trump hands Putin another win with Syria pullout

 

October 14 at 10:49 AM

 


Vladimir Putin has won so much these past three years that he may get tired of winning. ...

 

Coming on the heels of Trump holding up assistance for Ukraine as his administration urged its new president to investigate a Democratic challenger, Trump’s order on Saturday to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria has given the Russians a new reason to reach for the bubbly.

 

The American retreat forced our Kurdish allies, outmanned and outgunned by the invading Turks, to turn toward the Kremlin and seek help from Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus that they had spent years fighting to break away from. 

 

Syrian government forces, propped up by the Russian military, have long been held in abeyance by the U.S. presence. Now they’re filling the vacuum. 

 

Kurdish leaders announced late Sunday that they have invited these troops into towns that have been under their control for years. ...

 

In little more than a month, virtually every foreign policy initiative the Trump administration has pursued has imploded - thanks mostly to the president’s increasingly unhinged behavior. ...

 



 





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  # 2337443 15-Oct-2019 14:39
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Trump’s ex-Russia adviser told impeachment investigators of Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine

Washington Post, By Karoun Demirjian, Shane Harris and Rachael Bade

Fiona Hill, the White House’s former top Russia adviser, told impeachment investigators on Tuesday that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit President Trump, according to a person familiar with her testimony.

Hill, who served as the senior official for Russia and Europe on the National Security Council, was the latest witness in a fast-moving impeachment inquiry focused on whether the president abused his office by using the promise of military aid and diplomatic support to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals.

In a closed-door session that lasted roughly 10 hours, Hill told lawmakers that she confronted Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about Giuliani’s activities which, she explained, were not coordinated with the officials responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy, this person said on the condition of anonymity to disclose details of her deposition.

Sondland played a leading role in the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to open investigations of the president’s political rivals, text messages obtained and later released by House Democrats show. Three congressional committees are now probing how Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, as well as a debunked theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election in an attempt to damage Trump’s candidacy.

Sondland is scheduled to appear before lawmakers later this week.

And in a sign the impeachment inquiry is widening, investigators were discussing whether to question John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. Bolton was Hill’s direct superior at the NSC.

...Represtnative Jamie Raskin (Democrate-Maryland) told reporters after emerging from Hill’s testimony “Rudy Giuliani has clearly been a leading force for the administration in defining a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine... There was Rudy Giuliani ... promoting corruption in Ukraine.”

...Giuliani and some of his allies in Ukraine saw Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, as a threat to their financial and political interests, she told lawmakers last week.

...This week is shaping up to be one of the most active in the now four-week old impeachment inquiry.

...Administration officials are facing a series of deadlines to turn over documents that investigators say are relevant to their inquiry.
...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trumps-former-top-russia-adviser-to-testify-in-house-impeachment-probe/2019/10/14/e6015c1c-ee34-11e9-8693-f487e46784aa_story.html

 
 
 
 


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  # 2337454 15-Oct-2019 14:55
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‘Disruptive diplomat’ Gordon Sondland, a key figure in Trump impeachment furor, long coveted ambassadorship

Washington Post, By Aaron C. Davis, Josh Dawsey, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Michael Birnbaum

Gordon Sondland ... hoped would one day recognize his work corralling wealthy West Coast donors and reward him with a high-profile appointment — preferably, he told friends, an ambassadorship.

...To realize his goal, Sondland made a political about-face and backed Donald Trump, a candidate he once said was out of touch with his “personal beliefs and values on so many levels.” After the election, Sondland contributed $1 million to Trump’s inaugural. And he began calling in political favors — including from Republican National Committee chairman-turned-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — to convince Trump that he could be a team player.

Now, the lengths to which Sondland would go to impress Trump — and to advance the president’s agenda in Ukraine as U.S. ambassador to the European Union — have made him a central figure in the congressional impeachment inquiry. Sondland is scheduled to testify under subpoena this week before House investigators.

Of particular interest is Sondland’s work over the summer with U.S. diplomats in Kiev and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Together, they pressed Ukrainian leaders to issue a public statement committing to investigating corruption at a Ukrainian energy company. The move would have tarnished the character of Trump’s potential 2020 rival, former vice president Joe Biden, whose son served on the company’s board. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Sondland plans to testify that he understood that, in exchange for the statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would receive a coveted invitation to visit the White House.

Current and former U.S. officials and foreign diplomats say Sondland seemed to believe that if he delivered for Trump in Ukraine he could ascend in the ranks of government. A person close to Sondland disputed that notion, but other officials said Sondland had been talked about in the administration as a possible successor to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

“He spent a year trying to prove that he wasn’t anti-Trump,” said a former White House official who watched Sondland’s role evolve. “He got into the position [of ambassador], and he had an opportunity to prove it. Trump knew that he wanted to prove his loyalty.”

This story is based on more than three dozen interviews with diplomats in the United States and abroad, current and former government officials, and associates and confidants of Sondland. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation or were discussing sensitive diplomatic topics.

...Sondland donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee through four entities, including limited liability companies, state and federal records show. The contributions made him one of the top 50 donors to a record-setting inaugural haul of $107 million.

...To some in Trump’s inner circle, Sondland’s ambition seemed transparent.

“He was clamoring to be an ambassador. He gave a ton of money. He worked year after year,” one official said. “He likes to go to events, to be seen, to feel like he’s in the room.”

Eventually, Trump decided Sondland was on his team. He announced the nomination on May 10, 2018.

...Sondland intends to say, Trump told him, special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry that any face-to-face meeting he would entertain with the new Ukrainian president would have to be cleared by Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.

Sondland plans to say that over the following weeks, he and Volker, along with the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor, learned that as a condition of such a meeting, Giuliani was demanding Zelensky’s administration publicly announce it would tackle corruption, including singling out as a target Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company linked to Biden’s son.

Text messages that Volker has turned over to Congress show the three struggling to negotiate the details of that statement with Ukrainian officials.

Volker writes most often. Taylor frequently expresses concern. Sondland on at least one occasion appeared to speak for Trump’s interests, writing on Aug. 9 that “potus really wants the deliverable.”
...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/disruptive-diplomat-gordon-sondland-a-key-figure-in-trump-impeachment-furor-long-coveted-ambassadorship/2019/10/14/c5afb950-ec3f-11e9-9c6d-436a0df4f31d_story.html

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  # 2337522 15-Oct-2019 17:03
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The New York Times - Assad Forces Surge Forward in Syria as U.S. Pulls Back

 

Oct. 14, 2019

 


DOHUK, Iraq - Syrian government forces streamed into the country’s northeast on Monday, seizing towns where they had not stepped foot in years and filling a vacuum opened up by President Trump’s decision to abandon the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies.

 

Less than a week after Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria with Mr. Trump’s assent, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, considered a war criminal by the United States, has benefited handsomely, striking a deal with the United States’ former allies to take the northern border and rapidly gaining territory without a fight.

 

In addition to Mr. al-Assad, Mr. Trump’s decision to pull American forces out of the way has also quickly rebounded to the gain of Russia and Iran, as well as the Islamic State, as the retreat reconfigures battle lines and alliances in the eight-year war. ...

 

Mr. Trump’s decision has turned a relatively stable corner of Syria into its most dynamic battleground. ...

 

Despite international condemnation, Turkey had managed to quash the dream of Kurdish-led self-rule that had been growing for years in less than a week. ...

 



 

Another brilliant decision by The Stable Genius. 🤒

 





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  # 2337665 15-Oct-2019 19:13
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How is impeachment selling? 

 

A search on Etsy, the online gift marketplace, turns up more than 4,000 impeachment-themed goods, including candles, pins, hats and mugs.

 

Highly recommended.  🙃

 

Click to see full size

 

(click to view)





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  # 2337940 16-Oct-2019 09:05
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The Washington Post - Attention turns to Bolton after former aide told impeachment probe he fought Giuliani’s shadow operation in Ukraine

 

Oct. 16, 2019 at 6:54 a.m. GMT+13

 


The House’s impeachment inquiry is turning attention toward former national security adviser John Bolton, after a former top aide delivered explosive testimony Monday describing how he was infuriated by a shadow operation being conducted by the president’s allies and his lawyer in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the president’s political rivals.

 

Fiona Hill, who was the National Security Council’s top Russia and Europe adviser under Bolton, told investigators that Bolton likened President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a driving force behind the efforts, to a “hand grenade,” according to two people familiar with her testimony. ...

 



 





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  # 2337989 16-Oct-2019 10:08
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The New York Times - Opinion - Trump Just Created a Moral and Strategic Disaster

 

As desperate Kurds ally with Assad in Syria, the specter of the Islamic State threatens again, and American power dims.

 

By The Editorial Board

 

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

 

Oct. 14, 2019

 


The roughly 1,000 American troops stationed in Syria find themselves in an impossible situation, by order of their commander in chief. 

 

They are now caught between the Syrian forces of President Bashar al-Assad, an unrepentant war criminal who has used poison gas against his own people, and the Turkish military - a NATO ally - which has already rained down artillery shells near positions held by American soldiers. ...

 



 





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Lock him up!
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  # 2338058 16-Oct-2019 12:16
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A question for the candidates: If any Democrat succeeds in replacing Trump, his devoted base, which makes up a significant portion of total voters, will be left feeling bitter and angry and possibly cheated. These are people who have repeatedly demonstrated their determination to accept any lies and ignore any truths in defense of their perception of Trump. What measures would the new president undertake to convince these disappointed Trump devotees that they also have a place in the new American political landscape and that their concerns will be listened to respectfully and taken seriously?
     





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 2338081 16-Oct-2019 12:30
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Rikkitic:

 

A question for the candidates: If any Democrat succeeds in replacing Trump, his devoted base, which makes up a significant portion of total voters, will be left feeling bitter and angry and possibly cheated. These are people who have repeatedly demonstrated their determination to accept any lies and ignore any truths in defense of their perception of Trump. What measures would the new president undertake to convince these disappointed Trump devotees that they also have a place in the new American political landscape and that their concerns will be listened to respectfully and taken seriously?
     

 

 

 

 

My guess is that nothing CAN be done for them. Trumpists are the equivalent of anti-vaxxers, nothing you say will change their minds and even the attempt will force them to double down.

 

Its sad, but I fully expect there to be violence if/when Trump looses, and I am sure Trump will threaten that violence as a means to keep himself in office.


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  # 2338092 16-Oct-2019 12:55
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I think a lot will quietly deny they were ever supporters of him. I remember the early 2000s Bush supporters were very vocal and seemed to be everywhere. After 2006 or so they basically disappeared off the internet.


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  # 2338226 16-Oct-2019 16:10
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My first ever post of a Fox News video. No one can accuse me of living in a bubble.

We should applaud, and encourage, any Democrat willing to be on Fox News. (love her accent)

Veteran reporter says Trump supporters would 'follow him to hell'

Fox News

Former ABC news anchor Sam Donaldson joined CNN Monday night, bashing Trump's base for their unwavering support. Corey Lewandowski and Donna Brazile react on 'The Story with Martha MacCallum.'


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  # 2338249 16-Oct-2019 17:02
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Trump's Impeachment Train is Picking Up Steam

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Trump made a 90-minute speech in Louisiana where we had no choice but to slow him down for #DrunkDonaldTrump, Senator John Kennedy stopped by to show his support, the impeachment train is picking up steam, Trump's former Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified that Trump pressured the State Department to get rid of her, Trump’s ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland reportedly plans to testify that Trump dictated the text message he wrote about quid pro quo to him personally, Trump is threatening to sue Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, and he found time to have lunch with Rudy Giuliani, feud with Fox News, and tweet his support for “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Sean Spicer - all while threatening to launch his own cable news channel.


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  # 2338319 16-Oct-2019 17:33
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And another Fox "news" piece. While it'd be nice to think is primarily they're not happy to leave the Kurds to die, it's more about fear of Islamic State.

Also not happy about Trump using US troops as "soldier's-for-hire" in Saudi Arabia

Trump administration imposing sanctions on Turkey: Vladimir Putin is smiling

Fox News

One of Russia's strategic goals is to drive a wedge between the U.S. and our NATO allies, says Fox News contributor Daniel Hoffman, former CIA station chief.


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  # 2338323 16-Oct-2019 17:38
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kingdragonfly: One of Russia's strategic goals is to drive a wedge between the U.S. and our NATO allies, says Fox News contributor Daniel Hoffman, former CIA station chief.

 

All they had to do was get Trump elected! (And it is working)


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  # 2338579 17-Oct-2019 08:10
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freitasm: Trump is a monster.

 

Yes he is.

 

Disgusting.


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