EDITORS' BLOG
Read This

I read through this a number of times before deciding to publish it. But I strongly, strongly recommend it to you. The author of the email is a former federal prosecutor. When I first read it I confess I found it all a bit loopy or improbable. But as I thought about it and read it again I eventually found it quite compelling. Whether this is actually the House strategy I don’t know. But I think the author is correct about the dynamics involved.

I should add that I don’t think this relies on any great civic virtue on Justice Roberts’ part. As I read it, if he wants to shut the whole thing down he’s entirely capable of doing that through the conventional appellate process ending up at the Supreme Court. This just means ruling on these decisions quickly and in the spotlight.

A majority of the Senate can also overrule his rulings. But that means owning overruling a Chief Justice strongly identified as a conservative and a Republican.

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It’s A Good Question
Prime Membership Required

TPM Reader SS has a good question …

This is a question I really haven’t seen addressed which given how obvious it is I’m really surprised that no one has addressed it. We know from Cohen that Trump makes a point of never getting himself directly involved in situations that could be illegal or unethical enough to cause himself problems. Instead, he prefers to use intermediaries, and even then he often uses opaque enough language to give himself lots of wiggle room to avoid taking direct responsibility for what happened.

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Trump Accuses Yovanovitch of Not Hanging His Picture At Embassy

“She wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy. She is in charge of the embassy. She wouldn’t hang it. It look a year-and-a-half, two years to get the picture up. She said bad things about me … This was not an angel this woman, okay?”

Video after the jump …

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Today’s Agenda: What A Week
Prime Membership Required

Happy Friday, November 22. Whew. After a packed week of impeachment inquiry hearings — not to mention a Democratic debate — there’s a lot to mull over. Here’s what we’re watching.

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The Inquiry’s Ominous Verdict
Prime Membership Required

I wanted to share with you a few thoughts about the impeachment hearings which have just concluded.

1. I have grave misgivings about concluding this inquiry without receiving testimony from Mick Mulvaney, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Lev Parnas and a number of others. This isn’t to say that I don’t understand the argument for not doing so. It is a strong logic. Doing so could lead to months of slow-rolling before a judiciary at best disinclined to get between the President and Congress and at worst reflexively friendly to President Trump. It’s also true that the evidence of the core wrongdoing is already overwhelming. By any reasonable standard we know more than enough to merit removal from office. But the layers of wrongdoing beneath that surface layer are, I suspect, profound. It’s not an easy question. But ending the factual inquiry here worries me greatly.

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Critical Testimony

GOP staff counsel Steve Castor walked Fiona Hill into this critical portion of testimony. It’s understated in a way but for those who have ears to hear it, this is devastating testimony.

Brick By Brick
Prime Membership Required

Former Trump NSC aide is about to detonate all of Devin Nunes’ bogus conspiracy theories … to his face, no less. Watch here and follow here.

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Perfect

From Daily Beast:

Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, Parnas’  lawyer Ed MacMahon told The Daily Beast.

The travel came as Nunes, in his role on the House Intelligence Committee, was working to investigate the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.

There’s No Honor Under the Bus
Prime Membership Required

There’s been a lot of talk today about Gordon Sondland underbusing the President or the Vice President or the Secretary of State. Only that’s not entirely right. Close but not quite. You’ll notice this in his insistence that he had no recollection of telling Kyiv Embassy official David Holmes that all Trump cared about was “Biden.” Perhaps Holmes misremembered it. But I doubt it. When it came to key conversations with the President his memory seemed to fray, though he generally wouldn’t dispute the recollections of others.

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Quid Pro Quo, The Critical Backstory

Clarifying many points in the Ukraine scandal drama requires simply stating the obvious. And nowhere more so than in this now notorious Trump/Sondland phone call in which the President barked “no quid pro quo” to Sondland multiple times and said he wanted “nothing” from President Zelensky of Ukraine. The President and his supporters have rather implausibly put this forward as total exoneration. After all, in a private call, when asked what he wanted he said “no quid pro quo.”

But of course the timing and even the contextual logic is key.

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TPM'S IMPEACHMENT TRACKER
Ep. 93: Inside The Impeachment Hearing Room
Ep. 93: Inside The Impeachment Hearing Room
TPM investigative reporter Tierney Sneed joins Josh, Kate and David to talk about the first public impeachment hearing this week. Tierney was inside the (free...
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