Bribery Pure & Simple

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Jackie Speier says impeachment testimony was a ‘piling up of more evidence.   MSNBC Hardball, Nov. 13, 2019.

Contrast Republicans twisted logic to support and defend Trump’s promotion of conspiracy theories and illegal use of his office for political reasons with the clear thinking and professionalism of the people featured in the Hardball piece.

I recommend listening to the Nov 13 MSNBC Hardball video (link above). But, in my opinion, reading the transcript makes a stronger case of the illegal actions of the president. For me reading the words is more insightful than hearing the words via the video.The transcript is below:

Chris Mathews 00:00 This has been an historic and news making day on Capitol Hill where the house of representatives, held the first public hearings on the impeachment of president Trump. Democrats made the case that Trump pressured the leader of Ukraine to investigate his political opponents using the power of his office to do so. In their debut before the American public, us ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor and deputy assistant secretary of state, George Kent, spoke clearly and authoritatively about the pressure campaign that was waged against Ukraine. They described an effort by Trump and his deputies to leverage that country into delivering the politically motivated investigations that the president wanted. And it was against that backdrop that the star witness ambassador Taylor dropped an important new revelation, a bombshell, really linking the president directly to that scheme. Just one day after Trump ask ukrainian president Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on his political opponents, a member of Taylor’s staff heard a conversation between EU ambassador, Gordon Sondland and president Trump himself. And here’s how Bill Taylor described what he heard

Bill Taylor 01:06 in the presence of my staff at a restaurant. ambassador Sondland called president Trump and told him of his meetings in Kiev. The member of my staff could hear president Trump on the phone asking ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Mr Sondland told president Trump, the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with president Trump, the member of my staff asked ambassador Sondland what president Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that president Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.

Rep. Adam Shiff: 01:40 I take it the import of that as he cares more about that than he does about Ukraine.

Bill Taylor 01:46 Yes, sir.

Chris Mathews: 01:46 Yes Sir. Well, that staffer identified by NBC news as David Holmes is now set to testify to impeachment investigators on that committee behind closed doors this Friday, and today’s hearing lasted five and a half hours. Republican spent their time trying to poke holes in the testimony and advance the president’s counter narrative, but the testimony from Taylor offered some troubling details for the president. Ambassador Taylor affirmed that military aid was withheld in an effort to extort Ukraine, and both witnesses suggested the action taken in Ukraine were unprecedented.

Rep. Chris Goldman: 02:21 Ambassador Taylor in your decades of military service and diplomatic service representing the United States around the world. Have you ever seen another example of foreign aid conditioned on the personal or political interests of the president of the United States?

Bill Taylor: 02:40 No. Mr Goldman I have not.

Rep. Chris Goldman: 02:41 is pressuring Ukraine to conduct what I believe you’ve called political investigations, a part of us foreign policy to promote the rule of law in Ukraine and around the world?

George Kent: 02:53 It is not.

Rep. Chris Goldman: 02:55 Is it in the national interest of the United States?

George Kent: 02:58 In my opinion, it is not.

Chris Mathews: 03:01 Taylor also stood behind his text of uh, last September saying that military aid for political gain is quote crazy

Bill Taylor: 03:11 because that was so important that security was so important for Ukraine as well as our own national interest to withhold that assistance for no good reason other than help with the political campaign made no sense it was, it was counterproductive to all of what we had been trying to do. It was illogical. It could not be explained. It was crazy.

Chris Mathews: 03:39 I’m joined now by US Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, a member of the house intelligence committee, who took part in today’s hearings [and others including Cynthia Acksne a former federal prosecutor CM]. Thank you, Congresswoman for coming on tonight. What did you make of the bombshell today that we’ve got a ear witness account now coming from David Holmes, a member the state department posted over in Kev, who heard the president talking about following up when the investigation he wanted done by Zelinsky, the president of Ukraine on Biden?

Rep. Jackie Speier: 04:12 It’s the piling up of more evidence that the president was using his office and hijacking our foreign policy to benefit his campaign for election in 2020. It’s really as Mr. Taylor and Mr. Kent said, unprecedented that a president would do something like this. And it, in my mind, is grounds for calling for bribery. He is a person in his official status who is asking for something of value from another party and then withholding his office and his ability to do something unless he gets what he’s asking for. It’s quite simple,

Chris Mathews: 04:56 Cynthia and everyone else. I want your reaction to getting the notes now that the star witness today, Bill Taylor, the ambassador to the Ukraine actually has a staffer now ready to testify that he overheard the president following up on the deal he struck the extortion he set up with the president of Ukraine, more actual, real direct evidence kind of thing, right?

Cynthia Acksne, Former Federal Prosecutor: 05:17 It’s, it’s a bombshell. And the reason why it’s a bombshell is because it brings, it brings the story away from what’s going on in Ukraine and brings it to Trump. And that’s what needs to happen [because he was on the phone, CM]. Cause he was on the phone because he’s actually involved, he’s physically involved. And one thing that happened today that I thought what needed to happen more was they need to take it away from back, back, back, back, back, email, email, email, whatever, and make it, make it a story. This is, this is what this case is about. It’s about Trump trading American integrity and arms for his own political gain.