Russia Monitor: A Week Of The Best & The Worst Of The Worst

“You Can’t Argue With Stupid; You Can’t Argue With The Party of Stupid’

— Daniel Peak


“Nope, not at all, doesn’t give a shit about Ukraine.” (Only cared about the)big stuff that matters to [Trump], like this Biden investigation that Giuliani is pushing.”

— Trump EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (11/25/19)

The Democrats performed a master class of Impeachment Hearings against Trump and his pack of bumbling Trumpsters this past week. It was a proud moment at a time of great national dishonor. In the process the Party of Trump was revealed to be venal, shallow, complicit – criminal. Will it matter? 

Trump-Ukraine: Big, Broad, Long and Stupid. And, no, I am not describing Trump, but if the shoe fits…

The Big Takeaway – Trump-Ukraine was bigger, broader and unfolding for far longer than initially understood. If not for the Whistleblower, Trump was within hours of ‘pulling it off’. CNN host Fareed Zakaria reported how Ukraine president Zelensky was within hours of making the extorted and debunked announcement that the Bidens were under investigation for corruption in Ukraine.

The Takeaways. Again, if not for the Whistleblower… one is struck by the breadth – the complicity of the party of Trump to pull off Trump-Ukraine. Like Trump-Russia, there are similar characteristics such as, ‘if you say it in public there can’t be anything wrong with it’. This is part of Giuliani’s role – walk his audience up to the crime while not quite crossing the line – normalizing and then dismissing. The ‘Of course he did it, so what?’ Republican refrain.

Sec. of State Mike Pompeo sold out his entire professional staff and then himself to remove the honest persons, the ones who could, would and did call out the crime. Sec. of Energy Rick Perry willingly trotted along as a minor player but took the opportunity to add his own layer of corruption by landing lucrative Ukraine oil and gas contracts for his Texas cronies. So many, but for goats I have to call out two main participants.

The Useful Idiot’s Mea Culpa – ‘He did it’, Trump Demanded ‘Quid Pro Quo’ (bribery and extortion) 

The useful idiot is of course Trump’s $1-million appointee Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland. Credit Dems that the testimony of prior witnesses forced Sondland to come clean or it would have been obvious he lied to Congress. To underscore this, Sondland lied to Congress but amended his testimony and laid all his cards on the table – ‘Trump did it’.

An important point, Sondland denies understanding that ‘Burisma’ = ‘Bidens’. For a guy that testified with his damning “2 +2 = 4” conclusion of Trump’s guilt, he is either lying or demonstrating his utter lack of qualification for his role by refusing to ‘see’ the obvious. But hey, he only spent a million to Trump’s dodgy Inauguration fund to get his appointment.

‘Was there a “quid pro quo”? … The answer is yes.’ This was Sondland’s bombshell testimony to blow away the Trump line of defense of ‘no quid pro quo’.

The above link has audio of his testimony and a transcript.

Let’s turn to House Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA).

Lev Parnas Helped Rep. Devin Nunes’ Investigations

The Daily Beast has run a series of reports with this the latest. The reporting ties Trump clown-lawyer Rudy Giuliani and indicted Giuliani/Trump associate Lev Parnas to Nunes. Nunes traveled with three aides to Europe to participate in meetings to benefit the fleshing out of Trump’s favorite conspiracy of not only disproven Biden corruption but equally disproven Ukraine complicity to benefit Clinton and undermine Trump in the 2016 election.

To be clear – the Committee Ranking Member is participating in hearings to investigate Trump and Trumpster crimes to bribe and extort a foreign government for personal election benefit to Trump. Participating while not disclosing his conflict of interest – such venal and disgusting conduct while smugly insulting his Dem peers, witnesses, the committee process and anything else within reach while mounting no defense of Trump beyond insulting all else.

Nunes and staff flew to Europe in 2018 extending the timeline of Trump-Ukraine – the plotting, recruitment of ‘plumbers’ and execution was already unfolding months prior to the Ukraine election that brought Zelensky to office. Meanwhile Trump wants us to focus on a rough transcript of a single call, while even that is damning of Trump with his, “I would like you to do us a favor, though…”

Nunes spent $63,000 of taxpayer money to pursue personal benefit to Trump while sacrificing US foreign policy and anyone that would prioritize US interests over Trump personal interests.

The Nunes is unfolding and I’ll continue to follow the trail.


Wisconsin’s goat

One last goat before turning to heroes – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). Johnson isn’t the ‘big’ story but he is — sigh — our Senator and his behavior as a Trumpster sellout is damning if not distinguishing for originality or execution – he’s an all-around inept sellout. Part of the ‘breadth’ of Trump and Trumpster complicity.

‘He’s in Deeper Water Than Most’: G.O.P. Senator at Center of Impeachment Inquiry

Never forget that Johnson spent a 4th of July in Moscow to signal credibility to Trump’s Trump-Russia defense. Defense is a misnomer because it is really an offensive assault on credulity – a house of conspiracy cards. As a good Trump soldier he went to Moscow and similarly he’s carried Trump water to Ukraine to push Zelensky to cave to the bribery and extortion. And now:

“The outsize role Mr. Johnson has played in Mr. Trump’s Ukraine policy was illustrated in an 11-page slash-and-burn letter he released on Monday. In that telling, he appeared over and over as a supporting character in a series of events House investigators are scrutinizing alongside a number of witnesses who will testify this [last] week.”

Follow the link to 11 pages of crazy. Johnson is best summarized here:

“It’s vintage Ron Johnson,” said Brandon Scholz, a Republican strategist and former executive director of the Wisconsin Republican state party. “He’s in deeper water than most others, and I don’t think he’s afraid to be there.”

But it’s not Johnson or Trump or even the Party of Trump – it’s the Party of Putin.

Charges of Ukrainian Meddling? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says

The New York Times sub-head is a summary of the article: Moscow has run a yearslong operation to blame Ukraine for its own 2016 election interference. Republicans have used similar talking points to defend President Trump in impeachment proceedings.

Hold this up against Johnson’s ineptness and the Party of Trump, Party of Putin’s actions.


The Heroes – former National Security Council specialist in Russian and European Affairs is the hands-down Hero of the Week

Party of Trump, Party of Putin – and Fiona Hill slayed that dragon, masterfully.

Fiona Hill rebukes conspiracy theory – and emerges as a heroine for our times

Hill is exactly the sunshine that shrinks ‘stupid’ back to size. She is intelligent, factual, strong and courageous. She reeks ‘right’ against ‘wrong’. The Guardian article is a great Hill ‘story’ including her testimony, you can also go here for an annotated transcript of part of her testimony.

She crushed Trump, Sondland, Pompeo, Giuliani… and Putin. One flaming example:

““These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” said Dr. Hill, the British-born daughter of a coal miner who became a United States citizen and the White House’s top Europe and Russia expert.

“She added that Russia readily exploited partisan divisions to undermine the United States from within.”

Hill was the Closer for the Dem hearings and she was excellent. Lawyer George Conway (Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s spouse) is starting a ‘Fiona Hill Fan Club’.


Putin’s propaganda

The former United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, Michael McFaul has consistently warned us about Putin’s propaganda as a direct attempt to undermine the US. McFaul has paid a personal price with his own safety even to the point that Trump entertained a Russian request to question McFaul in 2018.

McFaul offered this latest warning, Here’s how Russia will attack the 2020 election. We’re still not ready.

McFaul underscores the challenge of Trump Impeachment. The Party of Trump/Party of Putin trades freely in Russian propaganda and conspiracies – none made more clearly this week than the entire notion of Ukraine support for Clinton and attacks against Trump in 2016. With the echo chamber and megaphone of Russia talking points and Fox News – we have two parallel American experiences talking past each other with ‘independents’ waving back and forth or ‘left’ or ‘right’ like they are watching a tennis match – with pollsters hungrily registering every groundstroke.

This week we witnessed the excellence of the US professional foreign service against the scorched earth defense of the Party of Trump.

The end result – it’s been laid bare that Trump is guilty as charged but is highly unlikely to be removed from office. All the rats are still on the Trump ship.

Through it all Putin is the big winner.

Trump was punked by Putin, but he got elected and continues to pay the bill. Trump is also regularly punked by North Korea, punked by Turkey, punked by China…

Trumpsters embrace every Trump talking point – they want the Whistleblower to testify while ignoring Whistleblower protections. They all look past the complete obstruction mounted by Trumpsters with the refusal to allow Pompeo or Perry or chief of staff Mulvaney to testify and have not produced a single document requested by Dems.

Many of my leftie friends lament how the Dems are not as good at messaging as the Trumpsters. Agreed – but to be ‘that good’ requires a willingness to debase ourselves if the ‘best defense’ is ‘so what?’ To be as ‘good’, meaning at crimes, insults, lies and of course, cover-up.

There is a simple path to clarity – Trump can testify publicly and under oath just as Clinton did for many Benghazi hours. He won’t.

Trump and Russian disinformation feeds a lie that only Trump can be trusted built upon sullen acceptance that truth cannot be known.

Final thought: why did he do this? He’s the criminal returning to the scenes of his multiple crimes and he can’t ‘not’ go there. Just like his pattern of sexual assaults.