President Trump

CD202: Impeachment?

Donald Trump. Ukraine. Joe Biden. A phone call. Election Interference. Impeachment!

What the hell is going on?

In this episode, an irritated Jen gives you the backstory that you need to know about the impeachment drama, including what the steps to impeachment are. Prepare yourself: Everyone devoted to the Republican or Democratic parties will be pissed off by this episode.


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Articles/Documents


Additional Resources


Sound Clip Sources


Interview with Mitch McConnell:, CNBC, September 30, 2019

Speakers:
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Transcript:

Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY): Yeah, it’s a, it’s a Senate rule related to impeachment that would take 67 votes to change. So I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you’re on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up.


President Trump Meeting with Ukrainian President, C-SPAN, 74th U.N. General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 25, 2019

Speakers:
  • Donald J. Trump
  • President Zelensky
Transcript:

1:45 Volodymyr Zelensky: It’s a great pleasure to me to be here, and it’s better to be on TV than by phone.

3:30 Volodymyr Zelensky: My priority to stop the war on Donbass and to get back our territories, –- thank you for your support in this case, thank you very much.

6:40 Volodymyr Zelensky: And to know when, I want world to know that now we have the new team, the new parliament, the new government. So now we – about 74 laws, new laws, which help for our new reforms, land reform, — law about concessions, that we – general – and we launched the – secretary, and anti-corruption court. As we came, we launched the anti-corruption court, it began to work on the 5th of September. It was, you know, it was, after five days we had the new – So we are ready, we want to show that we just come, and if somebody, if you, you want to help us, so just let’s do business cases. We have many investment cases, we’re ready.

12:00 Reporter: Do you believe that the emaiIs from Hillary Clinton, do you believe that they are in Ukraine? Do you think this whole — President Trump: I think they could be. You mean the 30,000 that she deleted? Reporter: Yes. President Trump: Yeah, I think they could very well, boy that was a nice question. I like, that’s why, because frankly, I think that one of the great crimes committed is Hillary Clinton deleted 33,000 emails after Congress sends her a subpoena. Think of that. You can’t even do that in a civil case. You can’t get rid of evidence like that. She deleted 33,000 emails after, not before, after receiving the subpoena from the U.S. Congress.

16:00 Translator for Volodymyr Zelensky: During the investigation, actually, I want to underscore that Ukraine is an independent country. We have a new –- in Ukraine, a hired, professional man with a western education and history, to investigate any case he considers and deems —


Speaker Pelosi Announcement of Impeachment Inquiry, C-SPAN, September 24, 2019

Speakers:
  • Nancy Pelosi

0:40 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA): Shortly thereafter, press reports began to break of a phone call by the President of the United States calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election.

4:30 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA): And this week, the President has admitted to asking the President of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically. The action of the Trump, the actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the President’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections. Therefore, today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.


House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) talks with CNN’s Erin Burnett, CNN, August 8, 2019

Speakers:
  • Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Transcript:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY): This is formal impeachment proceedings. We are investigating all the evidence, we are gathering the evidence, and we will at the conclusion of this, hopefully by the end of the year, vote to, vote articles of impeachment to the House floor, or we won’t. That’s a decision that we’ll have to make, but that, but that’s exactly the process we’re in right now.


Council of Foreign Relations: Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Former Vice President Joe Biden, Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Speakers:
  • Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
  • Michael R. Carpenter
  • Presider, Richard N. Haass
Transcript:

6:00* Joe Biden: I think there’s a basic decision that they cannot compete against a unified West. And I think that is Putin’s judgment. And so everything he can do to dismantle the post world war two liberal world order, including NATO and the EU, I think is viewed as they’re in their immediate self-interest.

52:00 Joe Biden: I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team and our leaders, that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor, and they didn’t. So they said they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.

54:00 Joe Biden: But always worked in Kiev because, as I said, look, it’s simple proposition. If in fact you do not continue to show progress in terms of corruption, we are not going to be able to hold the rest of Europe on these sanctions and Russia is not going to roll across the inner line here and take over the rest of the country with their tanks. What they’re going to do is they’re going to take your economy down. You’re going to be absolutely buried and you’re going to be done, and that’s when it all goes to hell.

56:00 Joe Biden: It’s a very difficult spot to be in now, when foreign leaders call me, and they do, because I never, ever, ever would say anything negative to a foreign leader, and I mean this sincerely, about a sitting president, no matter how fundamentally I disagree with them. And it is not my role, not my role to make foreign policy. But the questions across the board range from, what the hell is going on, Joe, to what advice do you have for me? And my advice always is to, I give them names of individuals in the administration who I think to be knowledgeable and, and, and, and, and committed, and I say, you should talk to so and so. You should, and what I do, and every one of those times, I first call the vice president and tell him I received the call, tell him, and ask him whether he has any objection to my returning the call. And then what is the administration’s position, if any, they want me to communicate to that country.


Interview, ABC News, March 30, 2015

Speakers:
  • Mike Pence
  • George Stephanopoulos

8:00 George Stephanopoulos: One fix that people have talked about is simply adding sexual orientation as a protected class under the state civil rights laws. Will you push for that? Mike Pence: I will not push for that. That’s not on my agenda. And that’s not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana.


Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call, BBC News, February 7, 2014

Speakers:
  • Victoria Nuland
  • Geoffrey Pyatt

Watch on YouTube

Victoria Nuland: Good. So, I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Geoffrey Pyatt: Yeah, I mean, I guess. In terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate Democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys, and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all of this. I kind of— Victoria Nuland: I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. What he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know? I just think Klitsch going in—he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk; it’s just not going to work.

Victoria Nuland: So, on that piece, Geoff, when I wrote the note, Sullivan’s come back to me VFR, saying, you need Biden, and I said, probably tomorrow for an “atta-boy” and to get the deets to stick. Geoffrey Pyatt: Okay. Victoria Nuland: So, Biden’s willing. Geoffrey Pyatt: Okay, great. Thanks.


Senator John McCain on Ukraine, C-SPAN, Atlantic Council of the U.S., December 13, 2013

Speakers:
  • John S. McCain III

Watch on YouTube

Transcript:

16:45 Sen. John McCain: Finally, we must encourage the European Union and the IMF to keep their doors open to Ukraine. Ultimately, the support of both institutions is indispensible for Ukraine’s future. And eventually, a Ukrainian President, either this one or a future one, will be prepared to accept the fundamental choice facing the country, which is this: While there are real short-term costs to the political and economic reforms required for IMF assistance and EU integration, and while President Putin will likely add to these costs by retaliating against Ukraine’s economy, the long-term benefits for Ukraine in taking these tough steps are far greater and almost limitless. This decision cannot be borne by one person alone in Ukraine. Nor should it be. It must be shared—both the risks and the rewards—by all Ukrainians, especially the opposition and business elite. It must also be shared by the EU, the IMF and the United States. All of us in the West should be prepared to help Ukraine, financially and otherwise, to overcome the short-term pain that reforms will require and Russia may inflict.


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Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

 

Check out this episode!

CD200: How to End Legal Bribes

The currently legal ability of obscenely rich people to bribe lawmakers and law enforcers is the source of many – if not all – of our political problems. In this episode, get an update on the few democracy-enhancing bills that have moved in this Congress and Jen speaks to Sam Fieldman – the National Counsel at Wolf-PAC – who explains how we can constitutionally end the role of money in politics by going around Congress. Joe Briney joins Jen for the thank you’s.

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Bill Outline

H.R. 2722: SAFE Act

Sponsor: Zoe Lofgren of northern California 74 pages Passed the House on June 27, 2019 225-184
  • Only GOP yes: Newbie Rep. Brian Mast – 38 year old wounded Afghanistan war veteran representing the Palm Beach area
Went to the Committee on Rules and Administration in the Senate Title 1: Financial Support for Election Infrastructure Subtitle A: Voting System Security Improvement Grants Sec. 102: Paper ballot requirements
  • “The voting system shall require the use of an individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot of the voters’ vote that shall be marked and made available for inspection and verification by the voter before the voter’s vote is cast and counted, which shall be counted by hand or read by an optical character recognition device or other counting device.”
  • “The voting system shall provide the voter with an opportunity to correct any error on the paper ballot…”
  • Recounts: The paper ballot “shall constitute the official ballot and shall be preserved and used as the official ballot for purposes any recount or audit conducted with respect to any election for Federal office in which the voting system is used.”
Sec. 104: Durability and readability requirements for ballots
  • Ballots must be on “durable” paper, which means it is capable of withstanding multiple recounts by hand without compromising the fundamental integrity of the ballots” and they must maintain readability for 22 months.
Sec. 105: Recycled Paper
  • Ballots must be printed on recycled paper starting on January 1, 2021.
Sec. 107: These rules will apply “for any election for Federal office held in 2020 or any succeeding year.”
  • Grandfathered equipment: Districts using machines that print paper ballots with the votes already tallied can use those machines until 2022, but they must offer every voter the opportunity to vote using a blank paper ballot, which are not allowed to be designated as provisional.
Sec. 111:Grants for equipment changes
  • Federal tax money will be given to states to replace their voting system, if needed.
  • Grant amount: At least $1 per the average number of people who voted in the last two elections
  • To use these grants, the states can only buy voting equipment from a vendor “owned and controlled by a citizen or permanent resident of the United States”
  • The vendor must tell government officials if they get any part of their election infrastructure parts from outside the United States
  • Authorizes (but doesn’t appropriate) $600 million for 2019 and $175 million for each even number election year through 2026
Subtitle B:Risk-Limiting Audits Sec. 121: Risk-limited audits required for all elections for Federal office
  • State election officials will make the rules for how these will be done
Sec. 122: Federal government will pay for audits
  • Authorizes “such sums as are necessary”
Title II: Promoting Cybersecurity Through Improvements in Election Administration Sec. 201: Voting system cybersecurity requirements
  • Vote counting machine rules
    • Machines that count ballots must be built so that “it’s mechanically impossible for the device to add or change the vote selections on a printed or market ballot”
    • The device must be “capable of exporting its data (including vote tally data sets and cast vote records) in a machine-readable, open data standards format”
    • The device’s software’s source code, system build tools, and compilation parameters must be given to certain Federal and State regulators and “may be shared by any entity to whom it has been provided… with independent experts for cybersecurity analysis.”
    • The devise must have technology that allows “election officials, cybersecurity researchers, and voters to verify that the software running on the device was built from a specific, untampered version of the code” that was provided to Federal and State regulators.
    • Loophole for moles: The Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security can waive any of the requirements other than the first one that prohibits machines that can change votes. The waivers can be applied to a device for no more than two years. The waivers must be publicly available on the Internet.
    • Not effective until November 2024 election.
  • Ballot marking machines and vote counters can’t use or “be accessible by any wireless, power-line, or concealed communication device” or “connected to the Internet or any non-local computer system via telephone or other communication network at any time.”
    • Effective for the 2020 general election and all elections after
  • Ballot marking devices can’t be capable of counting votes
    • States may submit applications to Federal regulators for testing and certification the accuracy of ballot marking machines, but they don’t have to.
Sec. 202: Testing of existing voting systems
  • 9 months before each regularly scheduled general election for Federal offices, “accredited laboratories” will test the voting system hardware and software with was certified for use in the most recent election. If the hardware and software fails the test, it “shall” be decertified.
  • Effective for the 2020 General Election.
Sec. 203: Requiring use of software and hardware for which information is disclosed by manufacturer
  • “In the operation of voting systems in an election for Federal office, a State may only use software for which the manufacturer makes the source code… publicly available online under a license that grants a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, sub-licensable license to all intellectual property rights in such source code….”
    • …except that the manufacturer may prohibit people from using the software for commercial advantage or “private monetary compensation” that is unrelated to doing legitimate research.
  • States “may not use a voting system in an election for Federal office unless the manufacture of the system publicly discloses online the identification of the hardware used to operate the system”
    • If the voting system is not widely-used, the manufacture must make the design “publicly available online under a license that grants a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, sub-licensable license to all intellectual property rights…”
  • Effective for the 2020 General election
Sec. 204: Poll books will be counted as part of voting systems for these regulations
  • Effective January 1, 2020
Title III: Use of voting machines manufactured in the United States Sec. 301: Voting machines must be manufactured in the United States
HR 391: White House Ethics Transparency Act of 2019 Pdf of the bill Reported June 12, 2019 out of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform 23-16 On January 28, 2017 – a week after taking office – President Trump issued an executive order that requires all executive agency appointees to sign and be contractually obligated to a pledge that…
  • The appointee won’t lobby his/her former agency for 5 years after leaving
  • Will not lobby the administration he/she previously worked for
  • Will not, after leaving government, “engage in any activity on behalf of any foreign government or foreign political party which, were it undertaken on January 20, 2017, would require me to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938”
  • Will not accept gifts from registered lobbyists
  • Will recuse themselves from any matter involving their former employers for two years from the date of their appointment
  • If the appointee was a lobbyist before entering government, that person will not work on any matter that they had lobbied for for 2 years after the appointment
BUT Section 3 allows waivers: “The President or his designee may grant to any person a waiver of any restrictions contained in the pledge signed by such person.” Sec. 2: Requires any executive branch official who gets a waiver to submit a written copy to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics and make a written copy of the waiver available to the public on the website of the agency where the appointee works.
  • Backdated to January 20, 2017 (President Trump’s inauguration)

H.R. 745: Executive Branch Comprehensive Ethics Enforcement Act of 2019 Reported March 26, 2019 out of the Committee on Oversight and Reform 18-12 Pdf of the bill Sec. 2: Creates a transition ethics program
  • Requires the President-elect to give Congress a list of everyone in consideration for security clearance within 10 days of the applications submission and a list of everyone granted security clearance within 10 days of their approval.
  • Requires the transition team to create and enforce an “ethics plan” that needs to describe the role of registered lobbyists on the transition team, the role of people registered as foreign agents, and which transition team members of sources of income which are not known by the public
  • Transition team members must be prohibited by the ethics plan from working on matters where they have “personal financial conflicts of interest” during the transition and explain how they plan to address those conflicts of interest during the incoming administration.
  • The transition team ethics plan must be publicly avail on the website of the General Services Administration
  • Transition team members need to submit a list of all positions they have held outside the Federal Government for the previous 12 months -including paid and unpaid positions-, all sources of compensation that exceed $5,000 in the previous 12 months, and a list of policy issues worked on in their previous roles, a list of issues the team member will be recused from as part of the administration.
  • Transition team members that do not comply will not be granted any access to the Federal department or agency that isn’t open to the public.

S. 195 : Creates a transition ethics program: Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act Pdf of the bill Reported 4/10/19 out of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. On Senate Calendar Sec. 2: Definitions
  • “Congressionally mandated report” means a report that is required to be submitted to Congress by a bill, resolution, or conference report that becomes law.
    • Does NOT include reports required from 92 nonprofit corporations labeled as “Patriotic and National Organizations” (“Title 36 corporations”)
Sec. 3: Website for reports
  • 1 year after enactment, there needs to be a website “that allows the public to obtain electronic copies of all congressionally mandated reports in one place”
  • If a Federal agency fails to submit a report, the website will tell us the information that is required by law and the date when the report was supposed to be submitted
  • The government can’t charge a fee for access to the reports
  • The reports can be redacted by the Federal agencies

Resources


Sound Clip Sources

Watch on C-Span: House floor debate on HR 2722 June 27,2019

sound clip transcripts pdf


Watch on C-Span: William Barr Testifies on Mueller Report Before Senate Judiciary Committee May 1, 2019

  • 1:57:55 Sen. Amy Klocuchar (MN): For the last two years, Senator Lankford and I, on a bipartisan bill with support from the ranking and the head of the intelligence committee; have been trying to get the Secure Elections Act passed. This would require backup paper ballots. If anyone gets federal funding for an election, it would require audits, um, and it would require better cooperation. Yet the White House, just as we were on the verge of getting a markup in the rules committee (getting it to the floor where I think we would get the vast majority of senators), the White House made calls to stop this. Were you aware of that?
  • Attorney General William Barr: No.
  • Sen. Amy Klocuchar (MN): Okay, well that happened. So what I would like to know from you as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer if you will work with Senator Lankford and I to get this bill done? Because otherwise we are not going to have any clout to get backup paper ballots if something goes wrong in this election.
  • Attorney General William Barr: Well, I will… I will work with you, uh, to, uh, enhance the security of our election and I’ll take a look at what you’re proposing. I’m not familiar with it.
  • Sen. Amy Klocuchar (MN): Okay. Well, it is the bipartisan bill. It has Senator Burr and Senator Warner. It’s support from Senator Graham was on the bill. Senator Harris is on the bill and the leads are Senator Lankford and myself, and it had significant support in the house as well.

Hearing: Committee on Oversight and Reform:Strengthening Ethics Rules for the Executive Branch, February 6, 2019

Watch on Youtube

  • *28:00 Rep Jordan (OH): 2013 we learned that the IRS targeted conservative for their political beliefs during the 2012 election cycle systematically for a sustained period of time. They went after people for their conservative beliefs, plan in place, targeted people. They did it. The gross abuse of power would have continued, if not for the efforts of this committee. 2014 the Obama Administration doubled down and attempted to use the IRS rule making process to gut the ability of social welfare organizations to participate in public debate. Congress has so far prevented this regulation from going into effect, but HR 1 would change that.

Hearing: Judiciary Committee For The People Act Of 2019, January 29, 2019

Witness:

  • Sherrilyn Ifill – President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Watch on YouTube

  • 32:00 Sherrilyn Ifill: Well before the midterm election, in fact, Georgia officials began placing additional burdens on voters, particularly black and Latino voters, by closing precincts and purging. Over half a million people from the voter rolls the voter purge, which removed 107,000 people, simply because they did not vote in previous elections and respond to a mailing was overseen by the Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp, who was also the secretary of state. LDF and a chorus of others called on him to recuse himself from participating in the election. But he refused.
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Cover Art

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Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
Check out this episode!

CD192: Democracy Upgrade Stalled

Things often don’t go according to plan. In this episode, featuring a feverish and frustrated Jen Briney, learn about the shamefully rushed process employed by the Democrats to pass their top priority bill, H.R. 1, through the House of Representatives.

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CD189: “First Step” Prison Reform

In the final days of the 115th Congress, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the First Step Act, which made changes to the operation of the federal prison system. In this episode, learn every detail of this new law, including the big money interests who advocated for its passage and their possible motivations for doing so. Read More