Well, we know how most of this story plays out in the media. Liberals laugh at anything conservatives say. Conservatives laugh at anything liberals say. And none of that gets us closer to the truth. So, I thought I would try and round up simple facts. The who, what, when and where. As to the “why,” well - we don’t know exactly why some of these things happened. I’ll let you speculate.
More than a week before the infamous Trump / Ukraine phone call in question, the U.S. President froze almost $400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine. The reason? The White House claims they were reviewing where the military aid goes, as there have been concerns about corruption within the Ukraine government; and questioning the level of support from other countries. As in, “If no one else is giving Ukraine military aid, why should we?”
Okay. Fair enough. The problem is that, despite pressure from the Ukraine asking the reasonable, “Why are you delaying military aid? We seriously need it,” the WH did not respond to Ukraine.
Which leads to the phone call. At this point, Trump has cut off military aid to Ukraine and has not given the Ukrainian government an explanation for doing so. This is the first time the two Presidents have spoken and the first time the President, or any from the State Department, has discussed military aid with Ukraine - since the freeze.
In an unclassified rough transcript of the call, the two Presidents, on speaker phone with approx. 30 other people in the oval office listening in, exchange pleasantries for a while. Then President Trump says:
“... I will say that we do ·a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it's something that you should ·really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks (about?) Ukraine, but she doesn't do anything. A lot of the European countries are the. same way, so I think it's something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”
Then Zelensky says:
“I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to cooperate for the next steps … ready to buy more Javelin (missiles) from the United States for defense purposes.”
And Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor, though …”
At that point President Trump asks Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of his chief political rival, Joe Biden. You see, Biden’s son, Hunter, was on the board of directors for Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company while the company was under investigation for some undisclosed reason.
Trump says about that:
"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the persecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. ... It sounds horrible to me."
So, to be clear and from my understanding of “the investigation,” it seems as if there was an investigation into Burisma for - something. And the prosecutor in charge of the investigation was removed and replaced with another prosecutor. Which is what President Trump is referring to when he says, “Biden (Joe) stopped the persecution…” Implying the first prosecutor was on to something ... and Joe Biden used his power and influence and had him removed in order to protect his son, Hunter.
The phone call ends with the President of Ukraine basically saying that yes, we’ll help you in any way we can.
Then, according to multiple White House aids, and per the Whistleblowers allegations, WH lawyers “directed” aids to remove the transcript from the computer system and place it into a separate system designed for “sensitive intelligence.” This would seal the transcript and prevent it from getting out to the public.
Enter the Whistleblower. After hearing about the phone call from multiple sources the Whistleblower wrote to the chairman of Senate Committees on August 12th, expressing “concern over Mr. Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President,” calling it an abuse of power and broke down a detailed analysis of the subsequent cover up / lock down of phone call / transcripts because - everyone in the room knew what the President of the U.S. had just said and done was illegal.
The story broke in the Wall Street Journal on September 21st.
President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani at first denied the story, but then confessed on camera that both did indeed pressure the Ukrainian President to investigate the son of Trump’s chief political rival. So, it’s clearly a true story.
Then, the transcript of the phone call in question was released confirming the vast majority of the Whistleblower's initial testimony.
Then, Nancy Pelosi said, “We’re moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
Then, no one has been able to find any wrong doing with Hunter Biden during his tenure with the gas company in question and even the Ukrainian prosecutor himself, the one who was investigating Hunter Biden’s gas company came out and said, “We investigated Hunter Biden and he didn’t violate any laws.”
And now we’re finding out that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on the July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian President which is not exactly what WH officials have told the media. Pompeo is now being subpoenaed for not turning over information and documents pertaining to the call. As are many, many others including AG William Barr and Rudy Guilianni.
Okay. So what does this all mean?
Well, first of all, if you’re the President of the U.S. and you withhold aid to a foreign power and use those frozen assets as leverage to pressure said foreign power to investigate a political rival of yours then … you’ve probably just broken multiple federal law. Which would make it an impeachable offence.
Now, you can say, “But what the President did wasn’t THAT big of a deal - so I don’t care if it’s illegal.”
Fair enough. You are entitled to that opinion.
But … despite that opinion, it very well might be illegal and it might be a gross misuse of power. Either way, an investigation into the matter is - a totally reasonable way to handle this!
Remember, “impeachment” does not mean “remove from office.” Impeachment means, “put the President on trial.” Perhaps the President will be removed from office, perhaps not. Bill Clinton was impeached, as in - he was put on trial. As you know, he was not removed from office despite Ken Starr running the most costly federal trial in history costing American taxpayers $70 million.
So, the impeachment inquiry is moving forward.
A new poll from CNN shows Republican support for Impeachment Inquiry is climbing. Even Hilary Clinton weighed in. (Which, please, Hilary - for the love of God - please shut up and go away before you lose the Democrats another election that you won’t even be in!).
Like it or hate it, the impeachment inquiry is rapidly moving forward for legitimate reasons. But, that doesn’t really mean that anything will come of it. Or, even if it does go to an impeachment trial, that doesn’t mean much will come of that, either.
It’s only just the beginning.
Let me put it plainly:
Joe Biden is a liar, his son is a bumbling crook and any member of our so-called national security team who somehow has access to a Presidential phone call with the leader of another nation and files a whistleblower complaint should be in prison for the rest of his or her life.
That clear enough for you?
Joe Biden told a reporter that he has not discussed his son’s off shore investments. When was that? On Air Force Two when Sonny Boy hitched a ride? Bullcrap.
I don’t care what Andrew Napolitano said on Fox. The Judge is losing his fastball just like Biden. What’s happening here is that the Mueller investigation turned out to be a nothingburger as opposed to the smoking gun Democrat like Adam Schiffhead were assuming it would be.
And later, the news is that in this case the so-called whistleblower may not even have sat in on the call but heard about it second hand.
Did any of that end it?
This President had the discourtesy to beat Saint Hillary in 2016 and the swampmonsters are not going to stop trying to eject him from Washington like a heart transplant which won’t take.
The problem they are having is that the American public has wised up to these clowns and no longer accepts the CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC version of things.
Democrats want to impeach the President? Please. Stop hinting. Do it. American voters will make the final decision on the first Tuesday after the first Sunday in November of 2020 because—pure and simple—anything the House does do is merely mental masturbation. They, quite simply, don’t have enough votes or support to do anything else.
Never Trumper Bill Weld (Mitt Romney lite) wants Trump executed for treason? Honest. Saw his rant on TV.
When pink pigs fly from his butt.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen the tape of Joe Biden bragging in 2018 about getting a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Sonny Boy’s company fired or he was going to withhold a BILLION DOLLARS in United States foreign aid,
Talk about your quid pro quo.
And, by the way, this is what some woman at the Wall Street Journal named Rebecca Ballhaus called “widely discredited” in her story about this set of facts. The Wall Street Journal! For comparison purposes, I happen to be the CEO of the USA Radio Networks in real life and if any of my news anchors used that phrase, they would be fired before their next newscast. This bundle of genius is a 28 year old millennial who has already won a Pulitzer prize. Not exactly Brit Hume.
The fact is that these people are unhinged. This is Trump Derangement Syndrome on steroids.
Forget the opioid crisis. This is a crisis of stupidity involving people who are so busy throwing a tantrum they have no idea how entirely moronic they look.
Worse, it’s as big an indication that there IS a deep state which needs to be excised.
And the only way to solve the issue may well be arrests—a lot of them—and jail terms.
They could load up a whole wing of a Federal Prison with these people—starting with the first batch, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and the FBI lovers, Peter Strozk and Lisa Page.
Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission.
You’re no doubt familiar with the name Robert Mueller and his investigation into the Trump campaign’s affiliations and alleged involvement in the Russian campaign to interfere with the 2016 Presidential Election. You’ve probably heard that Facebook was used by Russians to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election, and you’re no doubt aware that the Facebook data of more than 87 million users was obtained by Cambridge Analytica to influence the 2016 Presidential election. But you’re probably still wondering how this all happened, and we’re all wondering who’s guilty.
The question no one’s asking, however, is why a campaign calling to “Make America Great Again” by growing jobs and the American economy spent almost $6 million to employ an analytics firm in the United Kingdom with employees from the U.K. and Canada?
Facebook chairman and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is testifying before Congress this week, but his prepared testimony is already available, and he won’t likely stray far from it regardless of the questions asked by the Senate Judiciary Commerce Committees at 1:15 p.m. CST on Tuesday and House Energy and Commerce Committee at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Here’s what happened in Zuckerberg’s own written words.
“In 2007...we enabled people to log into apps and share who their friends were and some information about them...In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who agreed to share some of their Facebook information as well as some information from their friends whose privacy settings allowed it...Kogan was able to access some information about tens of millions of their friends.”
“In 2014...we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the Facebook information apps could access. Most importantly, apps like Kogan’s could no longer ask for information about a person’s friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from Facebook before they could request any data beyond a user’s public profile, friend list, and email address.”
“In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica...we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and other entities he gave the data to, including Cambridge Analytica, formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data -- which they ultimately did.”
“Last month, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to investigate this.”
So the first thing we learn from Zuckerberg’s prepared testimony is that Facebook failed to protect the data of our friends from third-party app developers if our friends’ privacy settings allowed the sharing of some of their personal information. It took Facebook seven years to right that wrong. Even after doing so, Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to simply “certify” that they had deleted the data instead of proving they had deleted the data. “Clearly it was a mistake to believe them,” Zuckerberg said during the hearing, Tuesday.
The last, and most important thing we learn from Zuckerberg’s prepared testimony is that without the work of journalists, Facebook wouldn’t be aware of its mistakes in order to rectify them, providing just another reason for the importance of a free press. This while the government is compiling a database of journalists, where they reside, what they write and for whom in the interest of homeland security. Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Houlton asserted on Twitter that the list is “standard practice of monitoring current events in the media,” but the list’s existence will scare aspiring journalists from the trade like similar lists scared patients from applying for medical marijuana prescriptions in Montana. I personally heard from multiple Montanans who chose to continue self-medicating their conditions with marijuana illegally for fear of being found out by the federal government as a user of cannabis.
Facebook is only guilty of being careless. Zuckerberg nor his company can be charged with a crime, but they failed to notify the more than 87 million users that their information had been acquired by Cambridge Analytica. They also failed to make sure that data was not available for further exploitation by Cambridge Analytica by accepting Cambridge’s word that the data had been deleted. Judging from the effects of Zuckerberg’s failure to accept blame for Cambridge Analytica’s deceptive data mining and the effects of his recent testimony, that mistake won’t be made again.
On March 27, when Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie dismissed earlier claims from Cambridge Analytica that the firm had not used Facebook data, Facebook’s stock price was $152.22 -- down from 185.09 on March 16. Facebook’s stock price was up 4.55 percent to $165.11 as Zuckerberg testified on Tuesday. Cambridge Analytica won’t be so lucky.
A slew of Cambridge Analytica employees are likely guilty of violating the federal law prohibiting foreign nationals from “directly or indirectly participat[ing] in the decision-making process of any...political committee...such as decisions concerning the making of...expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections for any Federal, State, or local office,” according to a complaint by Common Cause submitted to the Department of Justice.
“[Former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher] Wylie said that many foreign nationals worked on the campaigns, and many were embedded in the campaigns around the U.S.” Wylie told NBC News that there were “three or four full-time [Cambridge Analytica] staffers embedded in [Thom] Tillis’s campaign on the ground in Raleigh,” North Carolina.
A second Cambridge Analytica staffer said the “team handling the data and data modeling back in London was largely Eastern European and did not include any Americans.” On March 25, the Washington Post published that “Cambridge Analytica assigned dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014, according to three former workers of the data firm...Many of those employees and contractors were involved in helping to decide what voters to target with political messages and what messages to deliver to them.”
Cambridge Analytica’s “dirty little secret was that there was no one American involved...working on an American election,” Wylie said. One Cambridge Analytica document obtained by the Washington Post explained, “For the Art Robinson for Congress campaign, Cambridge Analytica SCL assumed a comprehensive set of responsibilities and effectively managed the campaign in its entirety.” The New York Times reported that the John Bolton Super PAC “first hird Cambridge Analytica in August 2014” and “was writing up talking points for Mr. Bolton.” Cambridge Analytica also “helped design concepts for advertisements for candidates by Mr. Bolton’s PAC, including the 2014 campaign of Thom Tillis, the Republican senator from North Carolina, according to Mr. Wylie and another former employee.”
Mother Jones reported the deep involvement of Cambridge Analytica staff in the management and decision-making in Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 Presidential campaign. “Cambridge Analytica was put in charge of the entire data and digital operation, embedding 12 of its employees in Houston.”
So there’s ample evidence that many employees of Cambridge Analytica have violated the Federal Election Campaign Act prohibiting foreign nationals from participating in the decision-making process of any political committee with regard to such person’s Federal or nonfederal election-related activities. But why isn’t the Trump campaign and fellow Republican campaigns subject to punishment for hiring foreign agents to participate in American elections?
Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. paid Cambridge Analytica almost $6 million to effect the 2016 Presidential Election. Cruz for President also paid Cambridge Analytica almost $6 million to effect the 2016 Presidential Election. Make America Number 1 paid Cambridge Analytica almost $1.5 million during the 2016 election cycle.
The John Bolton Super PAC paid Cambridge Analytica more than $1 million during the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. The North Carolina Republican Party paid Cambridge Analytica more than $200,000 over the same period.
These are all Republican campaigns, supporting Republican candidates who, allegedly, want nothing more than to create American jobs and a thriving American economy. But they’re not putting their money where their mouth is. Giving more than $16 million to an analytics firm in the United Kingdom does nothing to improve the economy or create jobs in America, which is why the Trump campaign and other Republican campaigns are more guilty than Facebook and even Cambridge Analytica.
The Federal Election Campaign Act should not only prohibit foreign nationals from participating in and effecting American elections, but prohibit campaigns from spending campaign funds on services provided by foreign entities.
We can’t stop campaigns from purchasing products made outside America’s borders. Not much is produced in America anymore. But when it comes to services like catering, polling, marketing and advertising, campaign spending should be limited to those firms that reside in America in the interest of protecting the integrity of American elections and growing the American economy. It’s hypocritical of the Trump campaign to run on a slogan of “Make America Great Again” and then spend its money to grow un-American economies and jobs. Regardless of what the Mueller investigation uncovers, the Trump campaign is already guilty of selling out America.
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