Before we get to the news this morning I want to thank everyone who made our TPM event in New York last night possible. First I want to thank our special guests Aditi Juneja, Waleed Shahid, Leah Greenberg and Lara Putnam. My only regret is that we didn’t videotape Aditi’s presentation and our panel on the Next Democratic Party so we could share it with members around the country who couldn’t attend in person. I felt more like an attendee than a moderator and host since I was so interested in what each had to say.
TPM’s Josh Kovensky was on the story of the money that lead to today’s indictments a month ago. A month ago. See his write up here. This is the kind of dogged, looking-around-the-corner reporting your memberships make possible. Our membership drive is critical. If you’ve been thinking about joining, please make today the day. You membership makes all the difference. Just click here.
Late Update: Our team won’t cut it out with the great pieces. Be sure to see Tierney’s report from the court house, a first look at former Rep. Pete Sessions’s (R-TX) role in the scandal, how today’s news shifts the picture of the larger Ukraine extortion story, while we’re at it who are Rudy’s business partners, and what was the pot racket they had going on the side.
We’re expecting Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to make their first appearance in court early this afternoon.
Tierney Sneed is at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia — the same courthouse in which Paul Manafort’s trial took place. She’s not allowed a phone inside but will have updates as soon as possible.
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Minor footnote in the Gordon Sondland saga. His lawyer is none other than Robert Luskin! “Gold Bars” Luskin, as longtime TPM Readers will remember him. We first met him as Karl Rove’s lawyer back in the 2005 era. But really endeared himself to us because of the time he accepted payment in gold bars from his clients who were convicted of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars from Colombian drug kingpins, as one does. In his favor, Luskin has a sense of humor. When Legal Times asked him in 1999 why he was shuttering his boutique law firm he replied: “To paraphrase Hobbes: The life of a boutique is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Good one!
An hour ahead of testimony, the State Department orders Ambassador Sondland not to show up to testify and he complies. Subpoenas, fines, more articles of impeachment and jail are the only answers here.
We can’t necessarily say support is growing over the last two weeks since it’s the first survey from this poll since the Ukraine story broke. But this poll from the Post shows a substantial majority of the public supporting House Democrats’ decision to open an impeachment inquiry against the President. 58% support the decision, 38% oppose.
Jerry Falwell Jr has settled the lawsuit tied to the “pool boy”/Miami dive hostel story. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the terms of the settlement are not being disclosed. To remind everyone, the suit was brought by yet another guy, Gordon Bello, a high friend of Giancarlo Granda, the pool boy. He claimed that he’d been promised 25% of the hostel business.
One additional complexity: Bello originally sued under the name Jesus Fernandez, Jr., which was his name. Be and his father changed their names to Gordon and Jett Bello during the litigation allegedly because of threats against them tied to the lawsuit.
At the risk of appearing foolhardy several months hence, I want to say that in the last week, it has become very likely that Elizabeth Warren will win the Democratic nomination. A two-tier race, with Warren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders in the top tier, has become a race largely of Warren against herself.
We’ve got a great op-ed from Allan Lichtman today — a history professor perhaps best known for predicting Trump’s election.
Lichtman takes a look at Mike Pence’s track record as vice president and argues that if President Trump is impeached, Pence should be ousted along with him.
It’s worth a read — check it out here.
This afternoon we learned that Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the EU and GOP megadonor, will appear for a closed door deposition before House committees on Tuesday, October 8th. According to CBS News it will be the “same format” as Ukraine Envoy Kurt Volker’s testimony yesterday. (I take this to mean that he will appear without a government lawyer.) This seems to me to be a development of great importance.
There was of course a lot of craziness, lies and invective in President Trump’s appearance on the White House lawn a few moments ago. But remember what I’ve been saying. The centerpiece of what Trump, Giuliani and Barr are after is trying to push the conspiracy theory that he and Russia were set up. That the real collusion was with Ukraine and other allied countries plotting to frame him during the 2016 election. And here he is, during this press availability, going on a rant about the United Kingdom, Australia and Italy plotting against him during the 2016 election.