News is out this morning that there’s a tape recording of President Trump ordering the firing of Marie Yovanovitch. On its face this doesn’t tell us dramatically more than we already know. The April 2018 dinner in question, where Lev Parnas and his business partner Igor Fruman met the President, has been reported on extensively. Even the gist of the conversation has been reported.
Obviously the existence of a tape adds some punch and drama. But that’s not the real significance.
House impeachment managers will spend their third day in the spotlight arguing that President Trump obstructed Congress by stonewalling congressional investigators’ requests for documents and witness testimony while the House was conducting its impeachment inquiry.
At the end of the day, the baton will be tossed to Trump’s legal team, who will begin their opening arguments on Saturday. The ever ratings-obsessed Trump is reportedly not happy that his lawyers’ first stab at his defense is taking place over the weekend, rather than during the week. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:
I’m late to this. But yes, at Davos yesterday President Trumped bragged that he can’t be convicted because his team is withholding all the incriminating evidence.
Good Lord, I'm late to this one. But yeah, the President actually said he can't be convicted because his team is withholding all the incriminating documents. pic.twitter.com/SpGuF2MEzR
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 24, 2020
House impeachment managers dedicated a great deal of time today to explaining the current and historic political climate in Ukraine. Its prompted questions: Is this an effective strategy for Democrats? Or are we getting too far into the weeds?
Much of what we’re hearing in these impeachment arguments against the President really is repetitive. We’ve heard most of it in conversations going back months and in testimony from late last year. But there are key parts, especially in Chairman Schiff’s discussions, which are new or clarifying.
One of the key examples is the issue of the President departing from “US policy” or his prepared talking points in discussions with foreign leaders. This point often did get muddled in the hearings late last year – at least muddled enough to give some opening for tendentious arguments from the President’s defenders.
President Trump set a new personal record last night with the most posts to his Twitter feed in any single day. As we noted in our liveblog coverage, as of 8:30 p.m. ET, he’d tweeted or retweeted 140 posts about a litany of topics, from the impeachment trial, to immigration, to attacks on a favorite nemesis — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). The majority of these tweets were posted during the span of time that he was en route back from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
On the latest episode of “The Josh Marshall Podcast,” we take stock of the beginning of the impeachment trial and dig into a stunning report about the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone. Take a listen here.
I haven’t had a lot to add through hours of these House Manager impeachment arguments. But right now I’m watching Adam Schiff and well … he’s making a really convincing, damning set of arguments about all the accusations the President’s lawyers are denying while they simultaneously refuse to release records which would quickly confirm and refute those accusations. These are cases in which we know there are contemporaneous notes or other records. The answers are there. But they refuse to release them. It is a damning indictment not only of the President but even more his Senate accomplices.
The President is stonewalling and his Senate accomplices are backing him up. They’re supposed to be jurors but they want to help him keep the proof secret. There’s really nothing else to say.
This is how to do it: make clear that it is the Senate Republican caucus which is on trial and act accordingly.
President Trump went down in history this month as the third president to be impeached, in part over an abuse of power allegation involving an attempt to extort Ukraine into attacking Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
But the story of the pressure campaign actually begins long before this year, with an individual who has gone without much mentioned during the impeachment inquiry: Paul Manafort.