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Schiff highlights history of Ukraine giving up its nukes — and the U.S. promise in return

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff delivering the opening argument during the second day of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Rep. Adam Schiff had a big day yesterday. Yes, I know. No duh.

Schiff’s two-hour-long opening statement is getting rave reviews from the reality-based community, as well it should. But since everyone is going to be writing about Schiff’s impressive overview of the case for impeaching Donald Trump, which ran roughly two-and-a-half hours yesterday afternoon, I’ll focus on something else.

I agree, Schiff was very strong. On a sad contrary note, it’s hard to believe, given the state of play, that any senators changed their minds about which way to vote, not only on the ultimate question of whether to convict and remove Donald Trump from his current ill-deserved sinecure. Still, Schiff’s opener was a tour de force of facts, logic and lawyerly eloquence.

But, since everyone will be writing about it, I’d like to spend my daily quotient of pixels on Schiff’s second and final major oration of the day, at the very end. One particular point struck me as both powerful and tragic and steeped in history — a point that packed, for me, the impact of a nuclear weapon because it was about nuclear weapons. It’s specifically about how Ukraine came not to have any nuclear weapons and the earth-shaking implications of that. Maybe it’s a weird detail, but Schiff’s point got my blood pumping and, unlike many of the rest his facts, the thought was new to me.

It also cast additional ironic shade on the current tragedy of Ukraine, especially the significant portion of it that is under Russian occupation. OK, here goes, all based on a portion of Schiff’s remarks that most people probably didn’t spend much time thinking about, because it’s a bit historical and a bit indirect in relation to the impeachment question. Here goes:

In the latter decades before the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Soviets had so many of their nuclear weapons in Ukraine that, when the breakup occurred and Ukraine became an independent state, Ukraine had the third largest number of nuclear weapons of any nation on earth.

As Schiff told the tale (and it rings a bell), the first leaders of the newly independent nation of Ukraine didn’t volunteer to give those weapons up as a check against potential Russian aggression. But the United States was worried about nuclear proliferation, as Schiff told the story, and Washington told Ukraine’s new leaders that if they would agree to give up their (formerly Soviet) nukes, we would ensure the territorial integrity of the new independent state against Russian aggression. And Ukraine did agree to allow the removal from its territory of those nukes.

“”I hope we care about that,” Schiff said. “I hope we care about that.”

Sure enough, just as the leaders of the newly independent nation feared, their mighty neighbor and former overlord, the Russian Republic invaded, and now occupies very substantial chunks of Ukraine, known as Crimea and the Donbass.

Those are active war zones. And the United States has helped Ukraine in that war, and is still helping it.

(I don’t know the details of this, but it’s a favorite talking point of Trump defenders that Trump is helping Ukraine more than President Barack Obama did. I’m sure the Trumpist line that Obama “gave Ukraine blankets” is an exaggeration, but it is true that the Trump administration is giving Ukraine some categories of weapons that Ukraine didn’t get from Obama. Schiff didn’t deal with that part of the argument.)

But Schiff did say, and I found it poignant and a bit shameful, that the United States gave Ukraine its word that if it would agree to give up its nukes, we would defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Now Ukraine would like the United States to keep its word, if only by having Ukraine’s new reformist President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to the White House for a meeting and a photo op and to send a signal to Russia that Ukraine is our ally, and have Ukraine’s back.

But no, Trump, according to the theory of the impeachment case, saw Ukraine’s need for solidarity as a weakness to be exploited to pressure Zelenskiy into helping Trump win re-election in November by digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

As Schiff said, sometime shortly before the end of a very long day of impeachment hearings, America made a commitment to Ukraine that if it gave up its nukes for the good of the world, we would have their backs.

“That’s the word of America we gave,” Schiff said. “And we’re breaking that word. Why? For help with a political campaign?”

“Ambassador Taylor was right,” Schiff said, referring to Bill Taylor, former U.S. acting ambassador to Ukraine and a star witness in one of the hearings leading up to the impeachment. Taylor said  that using military aid to Ukraine as leverage get dirt on Joe Biden was crazy. “That is crazy.”

“It’s worse than ‘crazy,’” Schiff escalated, “It’s repulsive. It’s repugnant.”

Comments (55)

  1. Submitted by Steve Timmer on 01/23/2020 - 10:23 am.

    This list of countries disappointed by US entreaties regarding nuclear weapons is long: Libya (we actually attacked Libya), Ukraine, and of course, Iran (invasion pending).

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/23/2020 - 10:28 am.

    Alas, keeping one’s word is generally thought of as “integrity,” something we like to think the United States is known for (ignoring any historical evidence to the contrary – treaties with Indian tribes, for example). The current administration, and especially its top-level spokespersons, from President to Press Secretary, from Attorney-General to Chief of Staff, have seldom displayed integrity when it was inconvenient to do so. I’d argue that “when it’s inconvenient to do so” is among the very few true tests of integrity.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/23/2020 - 11:08 am.

      During the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy dispatched former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Paris, to explain events to President de Gaulle and to enlist his support. When Acheson offered to show de Gaulle the photos of Soviet missiles, de Gaulle didn’t care to look at them. “The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me.”

      We’re a long way from those days.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/24/2020 - 11:30 am.

      You know Ray, it would be interesting to know some folks explanation/example/answers on what they consider integrity. Because it appears quite clear to folks like me that there is integrity in what I would say the sense that we grew up with, and then there is alternative integrity. And they do not look anything like one another.

  3. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/23/2020 - 10:33 am.

    Other than the fact that Schiff has no facts …Trump actually got the weapons to Ukraine that Obama held up. The Dems haven’t provided a single piece of evidence to show Trump committed a crime. Every claim they made turned out to be nothing and none of them were included in their impeachment. All they’ve done is guarantee Trump gets a 2nd term.

    Trump should have resigned for failing to fix the healthcare issue like he promised (by busting up the medical monopolies). That plank vanished from his campaign site the night he won the election.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/23/2020 - 11:04 am.

      A single piece of evidence:

      “The White House budget office violated the law when it froze U.S. military aid to Ukraine, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a new report.

      President Donald Trump ordered the hold on the critical security assistance in July, a slew of senior White House officials testified to House impeachment investigators late last year. It was a move that coincided with an effort by the president and his allies to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump’s Democratic rivals.”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/23/2020 - 11:09 am.

      “Trump actually got the weapons to Ukraine that Obama held up” after he learned that the notorious whistleblower had already reported that he was withholding the funds.

  4. Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/23/2020 - 10:44 am.

    I’d first of all note that the military aid that was (illegally) withheld by Trump was duly enacted by the Congress in a rare bipartisan fashion. So it became national policy to give Ukraine more than blankets. That was the national policy that the State Dept was attempting to implement, and which Trump and Rudy were surreptitiously undermining.

    The breakup of the Soviet Union was bound to cause an enormous range of difficult issues, chief among them the independence of Ukraine, a region and people overawed and dominated by the Russian state for centuries. Russia has controlled Ukraine for so long its leaders couldn’t possibly imagine that they would ever lose rights of sovereignty over it. Ukraine WAS Russia, that’s why it had all these nukes in the first place!

    The industrial wealth of Ukraine had naturally been developed (with Russian finances) for over the course of a hundred years. Sevastopol had been the seat of the Russian navy for centuries. To lose control of such assets was simply inconceivable. Yet Russia, in its post communist weakness, did so, albeit with an agreement permitting the use of Sevastopol.

    Ukraine then entered its democratic existence, with its politics quickly being used as a football by Russia and, to some degree, the West. The majority of its people appeared to look to the West as their “future”. The principal US misstep occurred in 2014, when the US foolishly decided to encourage (to some degree) a revolution against the pro-Russian president, instead of encouraging Ukrainians to use their constitutional democracy and simply vote him out of power in the next election. We should have strongly encouraged an orderly democratic transfer of power, not another “revolution”.

    The unconstitutional “revolution” permitted Putin enough PR wiggle room to occupy Crimea (again, because the Russian Navy simply cannot lose Sebastopol) and begin his war for the Donbas. These actions would have been much more politically difficult had Ukraine simply relied upon elections to remove unpopular (pro-Russian) leaders. And the Russian reaction has resulted in the current sanctions against Russia, the protracted low intensity war in eastern Ukraine and (perhaps) Putin’s determination to interfere in US elections.

    In any event, all this history was lost on the juvenile ignoramus Donald Trump and his mentally unbalanced “lawyer” Giuliani, who saw the appropriated military aid as a wonderful device by which to blackmail Ukraine into helping Trump “win” another presidential election.

    Of course it is shameful that the (pro-Ukraine) Repub senate majority appears uninterested in Trump bullying Ukraine by threatening its very existence as an independent country, for his personal political benefit. But they are a party without shame, one that long ago adopted the motto “Party over Country”. And that means ALL countries, not just the US of A….

  5. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/23/2020 - 10:46 am.

    As Gordon Sondland told us:

    Trump only cares about “BIG STUFF” not things like active wars, nuclear deterrence, congressional acts. No, “BIG STUFF” like what will get him re-elected.

    Which is understandable given the nature of statue of limitations for criminal acts and Trump’s “You don’t even have to think about going to jail as POTUS” card.

    As soon as he is out of office and Barr is gone, the ever dedicated, deep state will gleefully carry out the laws of the US to their full extent. Just read the redactions in the Mueller report:

    “Redacted due to on going investigation”

    Over and over and over…

  6. Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/23/2020 - 11:00 am.

    Is this the same Schiff that for 2 1/2 years claimed he had absolute, irrefutable evidence that Trump colluded with Russia, never did see that evidence. Is this the same Schiff that said he had no contact with the whistleblower, later he had to correct his original lie. Is this the same Schiff that promised the whistleblower would testify before it was learned said whistleblower met with Schiff’s staff….. So this is the guy who is going to take down a President that is protecting our borders, getting countries to pay into NATO, growing the middle class, growing minority jobs at a historic rate, has the stock market at new highs, bringing back jobs with new trade agreements… That is only a fraction of what this administration has achieved.

    • Submitted by Patrick Tice on 01/23/2020 - 11:35 am.

      Trump and his toadies have managed to hide damning evidence, I’ll give you that. It doesn’t make Mr. Schiff’s statements untrue. As for the middle class, GOP policies have been undermining it since the Reagan administration, and the Trump party’s dismantling of healthcare will certainly send many in the middle class to the poorhouse. As an investor, I like my 401K as much as the next guy, but I certainly don’t equate it with the entirety of a “good economy”. And for damned sure I don’t give Trump credit – the market has persisted in spite of his idiotic trade policies and the international chaos he’s created.

      • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 01/23/2020 - 12:28 pm.

        Trump hiding, huh? He’s been far more transparent than anyone and it hasn’t mattered who he’s ticked off, even in his own party. Just read the dang phone call transcript.
        Trump offered to have a court clarify what is covered under executive privelidge, but Schiff and the Dems scoffed at it. The reason? Because executive privelidges are protected and recognized in every court including the SCOTUS. Every president has that protection provided to them, Fast and Furious is a huge example.
        Even so, trials are there to present a case. The Dems got more than their fair share in their one sided impeachment inquiry. Then it goes to the Senate where they present the case. But as everyone knows, they have none. In a trial, the defense has the option of not calling anyone if they don’t have to.
        So what have the Dems done now? Cry they can’t get more. After all, they’ve really tried for over 3 years now an the proof came out last night. That Trump has to go because we have no trust in the next election (blame HRC and the Dems for the Russian hoax in 2016), that the Russians are going to invade the US, and that Trump needs to prove his innocence.
        The last part is the most ridiculous thing and about as anti-American as you can get. I don’t care of one’s politics, statements like that shouldn’t even get you qualified to be an at-large position with a local dog catching association. The hatred for Trump is so telling and is what is guiding all of this.
        Being that this is all politics, just ask yourself would you want someone you supported to be brought down by unsubstantiated charges? Because that’s what these Dems have done. Talk about abuse of power. This is exactly what the Framers had in mind to NOT happen.

        • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 01/23/2020 - 01:35 pm.

          Perhaps you should ask yourself if you would feel the same way if the accused President were a Democrat.

        • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 01/23/2020 - 02:22 pm.

          “The reason? Because executive privelidges are protected and recognized in every court including the SCOTUS.”

          I wish to refer you to U.S. v Nixon (1974).

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/23/2020 - 04:16 pm.

            Point is, they went to court. Pelosi’s subpoenas aren’t even valid because they weren’t issued by a vote in congress but by an edict from Nancy Pelosi.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2020 - 02:32 pm.

              Congressional subpoenas, including subpoenas issued by a committee, are a valid exercise of Congress’s investigative power, and are legally enforceable. The Supreme Court (when we still had an independent judiciary, anyway) has consistently upheld the legality and enforceability of congressional subpoenas. House rules give individual committees the authority to determine how and when it will issue subpoenas.

              This all applies even if it’s being done by Democrats.

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/23/2020 - 02:44 pm.

          I can see you’re willing to grant an enormous amount of deference to the almighty executive, Bob, although I suspect this depends upon whether he is a Repub or not. The bigger question is why exactly you (as an American) are so willing to allow the executive to hide each and every documents regarding why he (illegally) held up aid to an ally under military attack, and why you are so willing to be content with the executive’s (obviously self-serving) story. Why don’t YOU want to (actually) know what happened, that’s the question? Whose government is this, ours or Trump’s?

          As for Trump’s supposed claim of executive privilege, he actually never made one to the House, he simply refused to hand over a SINGLE requested document in the impeachment inquiry, which (btw) cannot possibly be seen as a legitimate claim/use of executive privilege. And, no, “every president” does not assert blanket noncompliance with Congressional subpoenas–only Trump has done so. So you’ve got some wrong info, and are passing it along.

          You seem to be misunderstanding the Dem argument on our aiding Ukraine’s fight with Russia. The point is that it is in Europe (and America’s) interest for Putin to be bogged down in the eastern Donbas rather than have is infantry and armor on the doorstep of central Europe ala Warsaw Pact days. As one who sees our trillion dollar “defense” budget as an unbelievable waste and fraud upon the nation, I dislike all these sort of militarist “Fight ’em over there!” appeals, but it is amusing to see this straighforward argument being attacked by American conservatives, whose movement traditionally saw Russia as an implacable foe, at least until the Age of Trump.

          Finally, when you say “everyone knows” Dems don’t have a case, you might want to check recent polls, which show strong majorities wanting to see all the documents produced by Trump, and which show majorities already concluding that Trump should be removed from office for the good of the country. So you are most definitely not in the majority with your views, whatever you may want to believe.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/23/2020 - 04:53 pm.

          Bob, it was a summary of the phone call. NOT a verbatim transcript.

          I’d love to read the transcript.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/23/2020 - 05:05 pm.

          I’m still waiting for Trump to release a recording of the phone call, not just his personal transcript. His record for accurate statements is not too impressive.

          • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/24/2020 - 09:31 am.

            Exactly. What kind of a craven populace does NOT want (demand!) to read exactly what their elected [sic] president said in a call to a newly elected leader of an allied nation? Why do they think they have no right to know?

            What the hell has gone wrong with these people? Now they crave the stench of presidential authoritarianism? The Framers would be disgusted beyond measure.

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/23/2020 - 03:30 pm.

      Let’s be clear about the sequence of events that led to the Mueller Report, which by the way, as Mueller told Congress directly last July, did NOT clear Trump of collusion or obstruction of justice. As we learned “collusion” itself is not a crime.

      The Mueller investigation was initiated and authorized to investigate suspicions that the Trump campaign had violated any laws in the 2016 election. It turned out that it had violated plenty of laws and we’ve seen a parade of Trump henchmen and enablers be tried and convicted for those violations. Trump was not expressly indicted or tried but he and his campaign were at the heart of all of them. Mueller made it pretty clear, even in denying that the investigation was not guided by it, that he and his team were not going to buck the Opinion of the White House Counsel that a sitting President cannot be indicted for a crime while in office. He also made it pretty clear, if it was not clear enough in the Mueller Report itself, that there was plenty of wrongdoing by Trump that if it did not qualify as an actual crime, it would qualify as a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

      But Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats felt the better course in light of the national mood at the time (before July 25, 2019) was to move on and let Trump serve out his term and let whatever remained of these issues to be thrashed out in the 2020 election. Then came the July 25, 2019 call with the President of Ukraine and the whistleblower complaint.

      When Mueller corrected Trump’s bragging of “no collusion”, Trump shifted to boasting that “collusion” was not a crime. Adam Schiff has never relented in his belief that the evidence, if produced to Congress, would reveal not only collusion but probably conspiracy to which Trump was a party. So, now the Republican defense is that you can’t impeach a President is that an actual “crime” specifically defined by the U.S. Code. (Really the Articles do allege a crime of bribery, soliciting a crime, but I suppose the argument against that is that a “favor” by a nation investigating a political opponent for alleged corruption is not really “something of value” that you can put a dollar price tag on. in other words, a bribe which is priceless is no bribe at all. trump so there was no crime.) So, in the Republican alternative universe, the government can’t indict a sitting President for a crime while in office and Congress can’t remove him from office unless it is an actual crime. In that alternative universe, I suppose Trump’s phone call was “perfect” in creating a loophole for overthrowing the rule of law and democratic rule.

      A “hoax” is defined as a “humorous or malicious deception.” By definition, a hoax cannot be a good faith and reasoned belief or suspicion that the Trump campaign and maybe Trump himself colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 election. That’s where it will remain unless and until Trump himself comes clean and is forthcoming with the evidence. Congress has not investigated all the facts that were presented in the Mueller Report and Trump has dug in under claims of not just “executive privilege” but “absolute executive privilege” and national security to obstruct such investigation and prevent the complete true facts from being known, just as he has done in the present impeachment investigation.

      There’s a very good reason Democrats have scoffed an Trump’s offers of evidence subject to absolute executive privilege. It’s because “absolute executive privilege” doesn’t exist. United States v. Nixon pecifically rejected the concept of “absolute executive privilege” and held that while there is a privilege, it must be determined in light of the information and surrounding facts and circumstances. (One lower court has already rejected Trump’s claim of such privilege. That’s being appealed). It’s just such claims of “absolute executive privilege” which Trump is asserting now to prevent Bolton and others from testifying in Congress and to block Congress from obtaining the actual “best evidence” of Trump’s words and actions. Also BTW re: the “dang transcript” which Mr. Peterson urges everyone to read. It’s that “dang transcript” which Trump has refused to share with Congress, having concealed the verbatim transcript of the July 25, 2019 call in a specially designated classified server. He’s provided only a sanitized and redacted document which he calls a “transcript” but which is not a true transcript of the actual words used by Trump. A very cagey solution to the Watergate tape problem.

      Despite his best efforts to wreck it, Trump has benefited from a surging stock market and low unemployment. The economy is not doing so well otherwise and there’s that nagging problem of the growing deficit. Trump has now promised to correct that later this year by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. There’s also the looming problem of climate change which Trump and his henchmen claim is also “hoax.” Unfortunately, those of us in the reality based community aren’t laughing at these so-called “hoaxes.” It’s a tragedy that the Republican members of the Senate are too cowed and frightened by their own supporters to speak truth to the loose-cannon-of-power that has become Donald Trump. If there was some true leadership among Trump’s own party, maybe some those supporters would begin to see clearly.

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/23/2020 - 05:57 pm.

        “The Mueller investigation was initiated and authorized to investigate suspicions that the Trump campaign had violated any laws in the 2016 election. It turned out that it had violated plenty of laws and we’ve seen a parade of Trump henchmen and enablers be tried and convicted for those violations.”

        This would qualify as fake news to any real “reality” community. That parade of Trump buddies gone to jail were pretty much sent to jail for financial, not political malfeasance. That is a distinction that matters, if anyone here is serious about getting at the truth of things.

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/24/2020 - 10:36 am.

          Many of the charges and convictions were for lying to the investigators, or not being forthcoming after plea deals promising assistance. In other words, Trump’s people routinely lied to ensure that investigators couldn’t get to the bottom of things, and Mueller said as much in his report. (Trump, of course, couldn’t testify to investigations because his own lawyers knew he couldn’t do anything BUT lie.)

          I know you are desperate (for some reason) to cling to a narrative that absolutely nothing relevant came of the Mueller investigation (precisely the tack taken by the most die-hard Trumpite), but that almost certainly comes from not spending any time reading either the report or any (objective) analyses of it. Historians WILL read the report, and (rest assured) Trump and his corrupt team of traitors and imbeciles will be pilloried for their actions in seeking and welcoming Russian aid in the 2016 election. Just as Trump has now been proven to (again) have sought foreign interference in the upcoming election. It’s a pattern, not an incident.

          And for someone who claims to “care about democracy”, it’s quite remarkable how blithely you reject all this and demonize Schiff, of all actors in the drama!

        • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/24/2020 - 01:02 pm.

          Under the circumstances, I’d consider differentiating “financial malfeasance” from “political malfeasance” to be a distinction without a difference. I don’t know what “financial malfeasance” is but none of the Trump associates charged and convicted in the Mueller investigated were sent to prison for embezzlement, theft or stock manipulation. They were guilty of lying, or some other obstruction of justice that interfered with getting to the bottom of the facts of the alleged or suspected interference with the 2016 election.

          An unbiased observer would conclude that a person who lies or conceals the truth about their own involvement with what they know is an important investigation of a political figure or his campaign are trying to prevent the truth from being known. When you have a number of people cooperating in preventing the truth from being known, most people would begin to see a pattern of coordination to prevent the truth from being known. Only those who refuse to accept the compelling and inevitable inferences from the undisputed facts will describe such inferences as “fake news.” Malfeasance, lying or obstruction of an investigation by a political official or those who are directed or act in obedience to such official is “political malfeasance” or a “high crimes and misdemeanors” no matter how you want to spin it.

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/24/2020 - 03:01 pm.

            “none of the Trump associates charged and convicted in the Mueller investigated were sent to prison for embezzlement, theft or stock manipulation.”

            Any Google search will reveal that only two of the 14 Trump “associates” who have gone to jail had anything to do with Russians: Papadopoluous and Flynn. But it is not a crime to talk to Russians, they were not charged for what was said, they were just charged with not being honest or clear about having had the conversation, which frankly, is not evidence of collusion. The rest of them seem to have gone to jail for tax evasion, or garden variety campaign violations that are otherwise quite prevalent on both sides of the political “spectrum”.

            Is Trump corrupt? Yes. Are many of his associates? Yes. I would argue however, there has never been this much scrutiny on a candidate or a president, and that mostly accounts for the number of convictions.

            My point is so many liberals making it all about Russia. Russia Russia Russia. War war war. In that sense it is making a mountain out of the proverbial molehill, getting led along by the eternal war profiteering complex.

            • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/24/2020 - 03:38 pm.

              The problem is: when you have Chief Executive who’s intent on obstructing an investigation of the truth, and refuses to disclose evidence or allow testimony which is relevant to establishing the truth, how will we, the public, ever really know the truth? It’s easy to dismiss all of these convictions as just a bunch of political misdemeanors on the level of parking tickets without looking at what they amount to altogether. In one way or another they are all connected to which is tantamount to an organized criminal enterprise which is being directed to bolster the ongoing power to Trump and protect him against the law at all costs.

              I doubt that the level of scrutiny against Trump is unparalleled in the history of the Presidency. Anyway, Trump has brought this on himself. After getting elected by a less than majority vote, he could have said: time for division is over. Time to attend to the business of the country. He could have avoided this by not firing James Comey or others he perceived as being insufficiently “disloyal” to his supreme personage. He could have cooperated in the ensuing investigation.

              But no. Since day 1, it’s been about tearing down anyone he believed insufficiently disloyal, his former opponent and the people who supported her, treating them-us-like we were his enemies, indeed like we were enemies of the State. This impeachment process is not about the 2016 election. It’s about a President who thinks he is King or dictator of this country.

              • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/24/2020 - 05:02 pm.

                That is the narrative of “the resistance”. There is an alternative narrative that, while still holding Trump accountable as a megalomaniac, goes something like this:

                The Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC started to spread the rumor during the campaign that Trump was Putin’s puppet. They paid for opposition research that the FBI then used to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign and later his administration, and used to justify the Mueller investigation, information that turned out to be largely false. Corporate media repeated “Russian Collusion” 17milliondy times, until such times as it came to be like doctrine for “the resistance” and Democrats generally, despite little to no facts to corroborate such a narrative.

                Ukraine has been proxy to antagonize Russia since 2014 at least, subject to a covert regime change effort by the CIA and State Department. The ultimate goal is regime change in Russia, to open up Russia to American banks and corporations. A CIA plant in the Trump Whitehouse then used a blunder by Trump to initiate an electioneering impeachment.

                Time will tell indeed….

              • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/26/2020 - 01:28 pm.

                Correction: “insufficiently loyal.”

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/25/2020 - 07:19 pm.

        But note that that ‘low unemployment’ is paired with stagnant wages.
        Also, low unemployment does not necessarily imply high employment. It can also be produced by people dropping out of the labor market.

  7. Submitted by Misty Martin on 01/23/2020 - 11:09 am.


    Thank you, as always, for opening up our eyes to the truth. I feel such sympathy for the people of Ukraine. I read a piece in the NYT a few months back about how bad it is for the people there. One woman had lost her son, perhaps her only son (I can’t recall) to the fighting that took place when Russia attacked, they have no decent roads, they have no medical care except in very distant cities where they have no decent roads to travel thereby, they have no clean water, etc., etc. And when I head about what President Trump did in that phone call – how could even a man like him call that conversation “perfect”? And I didn’t know that the United States had agreed to help Ukraine ensure the territorial integrity of the new independent state against Russian aggression if they would surrender their weapons – so yes, we should care about that. I admire Adam Schiff very much – he is in a very difficult position, and he’s handling it very well, and we can only pray that most Americans will appreciate what he is doing, and why he is doing it, and what our Founding Fathers would think of President Donald J. Trump.

  8. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/23/2020 - 04:09 pm.

    “the United States gave Ukraine its word that if it would agree to give up its nukes, we would defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”

    Oh really? Who spoke on behalf of the United States? Name names. Let’s see the treaty. Why did Obama think so little of that “promise” between state department bureaucrats that he gave them blankets and MREs? It was because he didn’t want to offend Putin and Russia.

    It took Trump to actually give them anti-tank weaponry to resist any Russian aggression. No good deed goes unpunished.

    • Submitted by Richard Owens on 01/24/2020 - 10:24 am.

      You must know the circumstances Obama faced were a Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych (recently found guilty of treason)**, corrupted and controlled by Putin, who spent his time amassing wealth and building beautiful palace vacation homes under the watchful eye of Paul Manafort.

      Even Poroshenko, who followed Yanukovych, was plagued by corrupt cabinet and many people “on the take”. It was not until Zelensky’s election in May 2019, that Ukraine was cleared by the Departments of State and the NSC for major weapons systems.

      Donald Trump has mislead folks with his critique that “Obama didn’t help the Ukraine”. That was because Ukraine had a fragile independence and poor military infrastructure to receive such weapons and at the same time resist Ukrainian pols who were loyal to RUSSIA.

      Trump is never telling your the truth, only smearing others, especially Obama, our best President in many years. Had Obama responded militarily to the invasion of Crimea, Ukraine would likely have been soon engulfed in even more war against a superior force.


    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2020 - 01:55 pm.

      First, we know that agreements and treaties mean bupkes to Trump. They are as expendable as his wedding vows.

      Second, the agreement was a Trilateral Statement agreed to in 1994.It was a prelude to a more comprehensive arms reduction treaty that had not yet gone into force.

      Third, executive action in the areas of defense or foreign affairs is generally binding in the absence of Congressional action to the contrary.

  9. Submitted by William Duncan on 01/23/2020 - 04:51 pm.

    Boom boom boom go the war drums.

    So when Ukraine tried to make nice with Russia in 2014 and we facilitated a covert regime change operation that resulted in a civil war, after which Russia “invaded”, is that protecting Ukraine? Or is that just picking a fight with Russia with Ukraine as proxy, because regime change in Russia is the real point?

    All hail the empire! Marching off to war…!!!

    • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/23/2020 - 05:12 pm.

      And about Schiff, I have long thought – what do you get when you cross a federal prosecutor and a politician? Unbearable smugness and a very tenuous relationship to the truth.

      (And for all you Trump haters, what do you get when you cross an oligarch and the presidency? Unbearable arrogance, megalomania and a country gone mad…)

  10. Submitted by Joe Musich on 01/23/2020 - 07:22 pm.

    Well there you go Mr Black. Nice piece of ink slinging. Thanks for bringing up a recent piece of history that has a huge bearing on the bribery at play today. As others have shared our national “word” can be incredibly vacuous and often just a little to “left” of cruel. That being said to have aspirations as a nation to do better is where we should be focusing. The house managers are trying to push the rock up a hill with there efforts. I am not going to allow myself to be cynical while the process is in play. I suggest the we should all do that. With the Nixon “dalliance” into autocracy it suddenly was over and he knew he had to go. I accentuate suddenly. Like reminding all to our commitment to ending possible nuclear proliferation by the Ukraine Mr Shiff is bringing forward a commitment the nation made. What #1 did was essentially turn over the Ukrainians to the Putin overlords until he got caught. It is the antithesis of the agreement. And it was made for personal gain. The hedging Senators have to ask themselves if this is what we’re. If it is I want no part of it.

  11. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/24/2020 - 08:43 am.

    Do “me” a favor – report all the Schiff lies over the last 3 years.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/24/2020 - 10:46 am.

      Well, a “lie” is when Trump say he “does not know” Lev Parnas. What you call a “lie” by Schiff is likely something quite different.

      But hate on him all you want. I predict Schiff will someday be a senator and will ultimately run for president. Since he was the standard-bearer in the Democratic attempt to halt the rise (and entrenchment) of an American fascism.

    • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 01/24/2020 - 11:31 am.

      Presumably you’re okay with this:

      President Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading claims over 1,055 days

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2020 - 01:44 pm.

      What about them? Has “he” told any lies in the past? Likely, as we all have. Does that somehow negate the many lies told by the President? Not even close.

      When “you” and “your” fellow Trump supporters raise points like this, “you” are not addressing the issue of accountability. “We” are all judged on what “we” did, not on what someone else did. “We” must all answer for “our” actions, regardless of what someone else may have done.

  12. Submitted by William Duncan on 01/24/2020 - 03:06 pm.

    I’ve been wondering about it all day. Who is in this “reality-based community”?

    Because I don’t hear a lot of reality in these threads on the Trump presidency, I mostly hear two competing narratives, both of which have a very tenuous connection to reality and truth.

    • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 01/24/2020 - 05:05 pm.

      Ah reality…Mexico will pay for it. Ugh.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/25/2020 - 07:20 am.

      Yes indeed. We all know the saga of the Putin Apologist is the only one solidly tied to reality!

      I am curious, though—in what sense do you consider Trump’s Ukraine Shakedown a “blunder”? And was the well-meaning (but blundering!) Trump unaware that there were CIA analysts on the WH staff? Those demonically clever deep state spies!

  13. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/24/2020 - 07:09 pm.

    Schiff is only credible to other far leftists. And he’s even worse at acting than screen writing. This is all about damaging Trump for 2020 so one of the terrible Democrat candidates has a chance to win. That’s also what the Russia collusion nonsense was about. After Trump is acquitted in the Senate the Democrats will concoct another scandal to distract from the clown show that is their Presidential nomination process. Can’t let the public notice how the party is conspiring once again to deny Bernie the nomination and prop up a fossil.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/25/2020 - 07:41 am.

      I’d chalk this up to life in the conservative bubble, Cory, but I do have to hand it to you—you are at least willing to come here and read the “alternative facts” of the “other side”. Not believe any of them, of course, but at least you “see” them, and can claim you “get” your news from a variety of sources!

      As for your points, Trump is more than capable of damaging his own “re-election” prospects, although he is at least savvy enough to know that he can’t just rely on the (failed) Constitution’s electoral college to “win”, he also needs to solicit foreign interference on his behalf. But thankfully for the American right, they can rest assured that the American left is a greater danger to the country than Vladimir Putin!

      As for the Dem “clown show”, it is actual democracy in action, so it’s no surprise that a conservative watching it would feel disgust and contempt. I would note that various state Repub parties have now refused even to hold primaries for the two hapless Repubs challenging the Dear Leader, so Repub politics are beginning to look very much like “democracy” in, say, Iran or Russia. Your candidates are picked for you–very convenient!

      In any event, as a corrupt, mentally unbalanced conman and mafia-admirer, Trump is a natural scandal machine, and historians will need decades to catalogue them all—not that the adherents of the conservative movement will care, since the ends justify the means. As Schiff said, our wannabe autocrat isn’t going to stop his abuses of office and attempts to cheat. It is fundamentally who Trump is.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/26/2020 - 11:00 am.

      Just a point:
      “Can’t let the public notice how the party is conspiring once again to deny Bernie the nomination and prop up a fossil”

      This could as easily read: Can’t let the public notice how the party conspired to deny John Kasich the nomination and prop up a corrupt businessman.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/27/2020 - 08:28 am.

      “Schiff is only credible to other far leftists.”

      Apparently responding to Schiff’s argument, 80% now favor witnesses.

      Of course we always need to be careful where we get info like this and I, for one, have always been very skeptical about the reliability of FOX news:

  14. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/27/2020 - 08:16 am.

    Trump offered up only one single witness in the impeachment hearing: Jonathan Turley. I guess we now know why:

    “But the Republicans’ legal expert brought a surprise, if one that received too little attention. Jonathan Turley submitted an extensive written statement, in which he disagreed with his fellow witnesses in myriad respects. But as he delivered his opening oral remarks, he cut to the heart of the matter: “The use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.””

    It seems pretty straight forward. The prefect call:

    “Do us a favor, though:

    And the Presidents actions:

    “President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him “he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens,” the New York Times first reported.”

    These poor, confused, R Senators. Running down the Trump rat hole as the walls collapse behind them: And now they get to the bottom and the place of no escape: do they just die or fight to live by eating the one that led them there?

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 08:56 am.

      Nice developments, and (as always) everything only points towards the obvious guilt of the WH mafia chief.

      But I’m personally much more interested in all the illegally withheld documents than uncertain testimony from lifelong conservative operatives and professional liars like Bolton, Mulvaney and Pompeo. They will simply not be able to bring themselves to tell the truth about the wannabe Strongman, whereas documents will tell the story. And Trump (because as a megalomaniac he can’t help himself) just boasted that they have collected all the documents and are just sitting on them, so it’s an easy matter to provide them for use in the trial.

      At some point one would think Dems would try to force Roberts to rule on whether the trial should proceed without access to all these relevant (and easily available) documents, despite whatever the ridiculous “rules” Gravedigger of Democracy McConnell and his Repubs forced through. Get Team Conservative coach Roberts to have to dirty his hands in suppressing obviously relevant and necessary evidence as well. Every Repub should come out of this looking bad and complicit in Trump’s Cover-Up.

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