According to CNN, the federal probe into Rudy Giuliani includes a counter-intelligence investigation. This news, if borne out, is a very big deal. It is also the least surprising thing in the world. As we noted earlier this week, Rudy has gone into business, literally and figuratively, with associates of the Russian election interference team from 2016. In some cases, they’re not associates but the same actual people. He wants their help to “prove” Russia and Trump were framed.
Josh Kovensky focuses on one central point about the Trump/Giuliani adventure in Ukraine. They were looking for people who would make things up. So, unsurprisingly, they focused on really corrupt people to manufacture stories about the Bidens and 2016 election interference. The more corrupt and transactional, the more ready to do business.
Happy Wednesday, October 16. The White House is conducting its own internal review of how the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was handled, a move that tosses a wrench into Trump’s “perfect” phone call defense. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following
Some closing thoughts.
First, I probably don’t have to tell you this, but a three hour debate with twelve people on the stage is a bad debate. More than exhausting it is not edifying or clarifying. There was a point early in the last half hour of the debate when the debate zeroed in on just Sanders, Biden, Warren and Buttigieg. Maybe not that exact four. A few others should be there. But that’s the debate we need.
10:30 PM: Don’t miss our staff debate live blog here.
10:17 PM: I’m confused. Does Harris think she’s making a strong point here vis a vis Warren?
10:03 PM: I think Biden is doing better for himself in this debate than most people probably realize. But again, Warren just has a dynamism and command that isn’t matched by anyone else on the stage.
9:31 PM: A twelve person debate is an incoherent debate.
9:03 PM: I don’t know exactly how it will play politically or whether it will continue her rise in the polls. But Warren is simply operating at two or three times the speed and power of almost everyone else up on the stage. Sanders has receded far to the background of the debate. To a great degree, Biden has too. Biden’s answers have been clearer and crisper than in earlier debates. But he seems peripheral to the debate itself. Warren is setting the pace and everyone is reacting to her.
8:59 PM: Warren’s answer on being punitive or not was very good.
8:48 PM: I’m far from a supporter. But I think this debate could help Steyer. Clear, coherent, just very straightforward.
8:32 PM: Basic point people ignore. When your employer coverage gets replaced by a tax-funded M4A type plan, most employers are going to pocket the savings on premiums. So the idea that it will be a straight swap – premiums for taxes – just ain’t so.
8:29 PM: “Here’s the deal” is canonical dad talk.
8:25 PM: I agree with Buttigieg on M4A, at least on the politics of it. But, man, he really has a hectoring way of explaining his position.
8:12 PM: Check out our staff live blog of the debate here.
8:08 PM: Warren and Sanders decent; Biden a bit low energy; not sure what Booker was talking about.
8:03 PM: All the points Warren and Sanders are making are spot on. But people need to be clear that the key reason why it’s not enough to leave it to the next election is that President Trump is plotting against the election itself. He’s trying to prevent a free and fair election.
We’ll be watching along with you tonight as twelve Democratic presidential contenders take the stage, and TPM’s New York team will be liveblogging our reactions. (Pretty sure the DC office is busy with the Nationals game.)
Here’s a very interesting article in The New Yorker. It’s based on a sit-down interview with Lev Parnas conducted by Adam Entous a couple weeks before Parnas’ arrest. It fills in a good deal of the personal story and I recommend it. But it must be incomplete: Parnas had been in the Trump mix for years. He got involved with the campaign early. After the election he got close with Rudy Giuliani. When Rudy wanted to get dirt to counter the Mueller probe, as Entous puts it, “Parnas volunteered to help.”
Hovering around the Trump/Ukraine scandal from the beginning has been the fact that a lot of key national security, intelligence and diplomatic officials resign or get fired as the key events are taking place. They include the ambassador to Ukraine, the senior Russia and Ukraine policy maker at the National Security Council, the director of national intelligence and the deputy director and the national security advisor. I thought it would be help to work these into a timeline with the context of other major events that were happening at the time.
Updated Oct. 16, 2019.
The past few weeks have been a firestorm of new details concerning the intelligence community whistleblower and the subject of his complaint: An attempt by President Donald Trump to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, son of Trump’s leading Democratic rival Joe Biden.
To truly understand the story, we need to go back a few years. Here’s how we got to where we are today.