Gordon Sondland, the local businessman turned diplomat, faces more pressure at home as questions mount over his involvement with President Trump’s appeals to Ukraine for help in investigating his political rival.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer called for a boycott of hotels owned or operated by Sondland’s Portland-based company, Provenance Hotels. And by Thursday, Oregon Public Broadcasting had reported that the popular local ice cream company Salt & Straw had severed its professional ties with Provenance, a chain of upscale hotels across the country, including six in Portland.
“After much consideration, we have made a decision to end our wholesale business with Provenance Hotels. We are very thoughtful with our relationships and, after seven years, have determined it is best to go in a different direction,” according to a statement released to The Oregonian/Oregon Live.
Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, didn’t show up for a closed-door meeting on Tuesday morning as part of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. His attorney said he was ordered not to attend by State Department officials.
Kudos are in order bigly for Salt & Straw for severing its relationship with Provenance Hotels. It is good to know some businesses operate with principles true to American values ad have the integrity to act accordingly.
This is the best argument so far for impeaching Trump. Made by members of the Watergate special prosecutor force it lays out a compelling justification for the current Congress to impeach.
We, former members of the Watergate special prosecutor force, believe there exists compelling prima facie evidence that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses. This evidence can be accepted as sufficient for impeachment, unless disproved by any contrary evidence that the president may choose to offer.
The ultimate judgment on whether to impeach the president is for members of the House of Representatives to make. The Constitution establishes impeachment as the proper mechanism for addressing these abuses; therefore, the House should proceed with the impeachment process, fairly, openly and promptly. The president’s refusal to cooperate in confirming (or disputing) the facts already on the public record should not delay or frustrate the House’s performance of its constitutional duty.
In the 1970s, we investigated serious abuses of presidential power by President Richard M. Nixon, including obstruction of justice, concealment of government records and misuse of government agencies to punish his political enemies. We prosecuted many of Nixon’s aides for their complicity in Nixon’s offenses. Rather than indicting the president, the grand jury named him an unindicted co-conspirator, delivered to the House a “road map” of the evidence implicating him in wrongdoing and deferred to the House’s constitutional responsibility to address such presidential wrongdoing through the impeachment process.
The House, through its Judiciary Committee, fulfilled that responsibility by reviewing the evidence, interviewing witnesses and concluding that the facts warranted adopting three articles of impeachment: one for obstruction, one for abuse of power and one for contempt of Congress. Shortly thereafter, the president resigned rather than face a Senate trial.
Nixon at least had the decency to resign. We won’t be so fortunate today. Trump has neither common decency or integrity.
In our considered view, the same three articles of impeachment could be specified against Trump, as he has demonstrated serious and persistent abuses of power that in our view satisfy the constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” For example:
● Trump conditioned protection of the military security of the United States and of an ally (Ukraine) on actions for his personal political benefit.
● Trump subordinated the integrity of our national electoral process to his own personal political interest by soliciting and encouraging foreign government interference in our electoral process, including by Russia and China. He also appears to have demanded that Ukraine investigate a potential 2020 political opponent and pursue the conspiracy theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, despite the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that it was Russia that had interfered.
● According to the evidence laid out in the Mueller report, Trump engaged in multiple acts of obstruction of justice in violation of federal criminal statutes and of his oath of office to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Because Mueller viewed Justice Department policy as precluding him from filing criminal charges against the president, the special counsel appropriately stated that these abuses are for Congress to address.
● Trump obstructed lawful congressional investigations by systematically withholding evidence and by directing government agencies and employees to refuse to cooperate with legitimate oversight by Congress. Most significantly, the president’s blanket refusal to honor requests for relevant information sought by House members conducting an impeachment inquiry constitutes impeachable contempt and obstruction. The public is entitled to know the facts, and Congress is the body our democracy has entrusted with uncovering them.
The Constitution provides for the elected representatives of the people to resort to impeachment in extraordinary circumstances showing that this drastic remedy is necessary to restrain, and possibly remove, a president who has engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors…
Those of us who lived through Nixon’s Watergate Scandal and knew how bad it was also know that Trump’s crimes outweigh those of Nixon’s. The truth is we may have survived Nixon continuing in office as he was competent and he dis put American interests first. Trump is not competent and fit to be president nor does he actually put American interests first. Trump puts HIS personal interests AHEAD of EVERYTHING else. At a great cost to our nation’s credibility and integrity. He MUST be removed. Either through the impeachment and removal process or by a landslide defeat in November 2020.
Given what we are seeing under the corrupt leadership of DJT it is becoming questionable whether we can survive in tact as the democratic republic founded by our Founding Fathers.
But to blame our national disgrace and corruption just on Trump would be grossly unfair. The GOP, under the stewardship of Moscow Mitch McConnell is as corrupt and unethical as Trump has ever been. Perhaps they are worse. They have knowingly enabled and encouraged the Dotard because of their own lust for power.
It’s worth stepping back and stating in plain language just how profoundly President Trump is corrupting our political system right now. Several new media analyses take a stab at this — see this CNN piece or this New York Times take — by correctly suggesting that Trump’s total defiance of oversight poses a massive challenge to our constitutional order.
But they aren’t quite grappling with the magnitude of what we’re seeing. That’s only half the story.
So let’s try it this way. Trump is not merely staking out an absolute refusal to cooperate with any and all lawful subpoenas, on the deeply absurd grounds that the House’s impeachment inquiry is illegitimate, as the White House counsel has argued.
Rather, Trump is adopting that stance while simultaneously claiming the absolute right to bend large swaths of the government toward his goal of rigging the next election on his own behalf. Thus, Trump is declaring absolute authority to use extraordinarily corrupt means to avoid facing a fair election next year, while also declaring total immunity to any and all congressional efforts to prevent him from rigging that election, or even to hold him accountable for it.
he upshot of this, then, must be that Trump’s explicitly declared position is that he is constrained by no existing legitimate mechanism of accountability.
The texts released by Democrats show that Taylor twice objected to a direct quid pro quo in which Trump held up hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into helping him corrupt the 2020 election on his behalf.
Taylor could speak directly to his reasons for believing, or even knowing, that the administration was using that hundreds of millions to leverage Zelensky. Yet as the Times reports, Taylor might not end up testifying unless he quits the State Department to elude efforts to block him.
Right here is a good point to interrupt the article.
If it wasn’t perfectly clear before September 2019 (even though it should have been) it sure as hell ought to be crystal clear now that Trump is by any definition a criminal that cannot be trusted to be honest and forthright on any issue. Trump is very much a narcissist and is interested ONLY in Trump. Truth is of no importance to Trump. If something, anything, serves Trump’s purposes and make him look good it IS, by virtue of being pro Trump, the “TRUTH”. Even when it is NOT. Which as you know is the majority of the time.
WASHINGTON—Two Soviet-born donors to a pro- Trump fundraising committee who helped Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Democrat Joe Biden were arrested late Wednesday on criminal charges of violating campaign finance rules, including funneling Russian money into President Trump’s campaign.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Florida businessmen, have been under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, and are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia later on Thursday, the people said. Both men were born in former Soviet republics.
Mr. Giuliani, President Trump’s private lawyer, identified the two men in May as his clients. Both men have donated to Republican campaigns including Mr. Trump’s, and in May 2018 gave $325,000 to the primary pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, through an LLC called Global Energy Producers, according to Federal Election Commission records.
The men were charged with four counts, including conspiracy, falsification of records and lying to the FEC about their political donations, according to the indictment that outlines a conspiracy to funnel a Russian donor’s money into U.S. elections.
The group concealed their work by laundering foreign money into U.S. elections by disguising the true origin of the money, the indictment says.