Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend

The acquittal of Donald Trump was an outrage – one of many over the past three years. But this one was different.

It’s not just that Republican Senators voted against hearing key witnesses like John Bolton who had important new testimony. It’s not that, with the exception of Mitt Romney, they voted to give the President no consequences, despite many of them privately saying that he was guilty, and despite some even admitting that what he did was impeachable. It’s not even the frightening new legal precedent that their vote ushered in, that a President can wrap his own reelection campaign into official U.S. policy – even if it diverges from publicly known official U.S. policy, even if it involves coercing another country to interfere in a U.S. election – if he believes that his own reelection is in the “public interest.”

Of course, it’s all of those things.

But it’s also the sheer brazenness of it all. Those Senators looked their country in the eye, looked at the Constitution, and said “all of this matters less to us than continuing to enable Donald Trump.”

In a moving and heartfelt speech before the Senate, Adam Schiff said, “If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how brilliant the Framers were. Doesn’t matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. Doesn’t matter how well written the oath of impartiality is. If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.”

Those Senators made their statement loud and clear: to them, right doesn’t matter, truth doesn’t matter. Trump matters.

In an odd way, it was liberating. Many of us on the left have said over the past three years that there just has to come a time when Donald Trump will go too far, when Republican lawmakers will be shocked into a reawakening of what they once said their values were, when they will stop and say “my God, look what we have become – this is not us,” when they will finally serve as a moral bulwark and a check on this President’s power.

Their vote on Thursday made it crystal clear: for the vast majority of Republicans, that moment will never come. Nothing will be too much, too far, too grotesque to abandon Donald Trump and look elsewhere for leadership. They will not change. Trump will not change. He will not face consequences. He will only continuously avoid consequences, laugh at our outrage, and become further emboldened by it all. The moment of introspection and moral conscience that we have expected and hoped for from Republicans will not happen. It is a fantasy and a waste of mental energy. This is what we have.

It is sad, like the death of a loved one after years of hoping and praying that they would pull through from a long-lingering illness. But it is also freeing. There is no longer any need to waste time puzzling over what’s behind their actions – cult of personality, support for policy, blackmail, bribery, fear, political calculation, power grab. It doesn’t matter. They are what they are. They’re doing what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter why they’re burning down the house. What matters is that they’re doing it, water is desperately needed, and sitting around trying to figure out the cause of the fire or trying to reason with it wastes time while the house gets further engulfed in flames.

From here on, the course forward is clear, and the obstacles are clear. Donald Trump and the Republicans will do what they’re going to do, and it will be awful. Beyond policy, there will be voter suppression, cheating, foreign interference on a level that we have never experienced, deepfake videos and audio, and some of the ugliest campaign tactics that this country has seen.

But our energies must be focused on overcoming all of that to defeat Trump in November and to get as many Democrats elected as possible – it’s time for pissed off pragmatism. Some tools:

  • GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. You’re preaching to the converted.
  • Vote in the Primaries/Caucuses to have a say in who the Democrats’ Presidential nominee is.
  • Accept that our first choice may not be the Democrats’ final nominee, and we need to work our butts off for them anyway.
  • Volunteer for and donate to campaigns for House and Senate.
  • Spend our weekends registering nonvoters, who outnumber those who voted for either Clinton or Trump in 2016. Organizations that do this include the League of Women Voters.
  • Get involved in organizations like the Payback Project who are working specifically to defeat Republican Senators.
  • Take Election Day off work to drive voters to and from the polls all day.
  • Vote.

If all our efforts still don’t make a difference, we have a much bigger problem, but we have to do all that we can to ensure we do not face four more years of Donald Trump: America cannot survive it.

– rob rünt



What About Crowdstrike?

What About Crowdstrike?

Crowdstrike is the cybersecurity company that investigated the 2016 hacking of the DNC and Clinton Campaign servers and found the hack to have come from two Russian groups that they nicknamed “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear.” U.S. Intelligence agreed with this assessment. Robert Mueller’s report (p. 36-50) also agreed, identifying the groups as Russian Military Units 26165 and 74455 of the GRU, an intelligence agency of the Russian military. Mueller issued indictments for 12 members of those groups.

During the House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearings, Republicans like U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) echoed a Russia-originated conspiracy theory that Ukraine had actually hacked the DNC and Clinton servers to frame Russia, and were assisted by Crowdstrike, because its owner is “Ukrainian.” Crowdstrike’s co-owner, Dmitri Alpertovitch, is a Russian-born American citizen.

Developing evidence that Crowdstrike was part of a Ukrainian effort to meddle in the 2016 election would help Putin by shifting blame from Russia and muddying the waters of the findings of Robert Mueller and the U.S. intelligence community. It would also give Trump an opportunity to claim that his 2016 victory was made without Russian interference, or at least in spite of Ukrainian interference.

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike.”

Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
(From transcript of 7/25/19 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky)

“I don’t think that raising 2016 elections or Vice President Biden or these things I consider to be conspiracy theories […are…] things that we should be pursuing as part of our national security strategy with Ukraine.”

Kurt Volker
Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

Fiona Hill
Former White House Adviser, Former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs

For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

Who Else Appears to Have Been Helping Trump?

Who Else Appears to Have Been Helping Trump?

According to testimonies during the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings people who appear to have been involved in helping the President commit potentially impeachable acts were:

  • Rudolph Giuliani, personal attorney for Donald Trump
  • Mick Mulvaney, White House Chief of Staff and head of Office of Management and Budget
  • Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State
  • Rick Perry, U.S. Secretary of Energy
  • Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
  • Kurt Volker, former US Special Envoy to Ukraine
  • Ulrich Brechbuehl, Counselor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Lisa Kenna, State Department Executive Secretary
  • Lev Parnas, associate of Rudolph Giuliani
  • Igor Fruman, associate of Rudolph Giuliani
  • Viktor Shoken, former Ukrainian Prosecutor General
  • Yuriy Lutsenko, former Ukrainian Prosecutor General


“I encountered an irregular, informal channel of US policy-making with respect to Ukraine, unaccountable to Congress, a channel that included then-Special Envoy Kurt Volker, US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and, as I subsequently learned, Mr. Giuliani. I was clearly in the regular channel, but I was also in the irregular one to the extent that Ambassadors Volker and Sondland including me in certain conversations. Although this irregular channel was well-connected in Washington, it operated mostly outside of official State Department channels.”

William Taylor
Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

“Over the course of 2018 and 2019 I became increasingly aware of an effort by Rudy Giuliani and others, including his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, to run a campaign to smear Ambassador Yovanovitch and other officials at the US embassy in Kiev. The chief agitators on the Ukrainian side of this effort were some of those same corrupt former prosecutors I had encountered, particularly [inaudible 00:12:50] and Viktor Shoken. They were now peddling false information in order to extract revenge against those who had exposed their misconduct, including US diplomats, Ukrainian anti-corruption officials, and reform-minded civil society groups in Ukraine. During the late spring and summer of 2019 I became alarmed as those efforts bore fruit. They led to the ouster of Ambassador Yovanovitch and hampered US efforts to establish rapport with the new Zelensky administration in Ukraine.”

George Kent
Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Eastern Europe and the Caucuses

“I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believe the allegations he spread about me. Clearly, no one at the State Department did. What I can say is that Mr. Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

Marie/Masha Yovanovitch
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine

“From July 7, 2017, until September 27th, 2019, I was the lead US diplomat dealing with Russia’s war on Ukraine. My role was not some irregular channel, but the official channel.”

Kurt Volker
Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine

“The problem was that despite the unanimous positive assessment and recommendations of those of us who were part of the US presidential delegation that attended the inauguration of President Zelensky, President Trump was receiving a different negative narrative about Ukraine and President Zelensky. That narrative was fueled by accusations from Ukraine’s then Prosecutor General [Yuriy Lutsenko] and conveyed to the President by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.”

Kurt Volker
Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine

“After weeks of reassuring the Ukrainians that it was just a scheduling issue, I decided to tell President Zelensky that we had a problem with the information reaching President Trump from Mayor Giuliani. I did so in a bilateral meeting at a conference on Ukrainian economic reform in Toronto on July 2nd, 2019 where I led the US delegation.”

Kurt Volker
Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine

 “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false. Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”

Gordon Sondland
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union

“We followed the president’s orders.”

Gordon Sondland
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.”

Gordon Sondland
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union

“That included communications with Secretary of State Pompeo, his Counselor Ulrich Brechbuehl, and Executive Secretary Lisa Kenna within the State Department. They knew what we were doing and why.”

Gordon Sondland
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union

 “We saw [Giuliani] often on television making these statements, and I had already brought to Ambassador Bolton’s attention the attacks, the smear campaign against Ambassador Yovanovitch, and expressed great regret about how this was unfolding. And, in fact, the shameful way in which Ambassador Yovanovitch was being smeared and attacked, and I’d asked if there was anything that we could do about it. And Ambassador Bolton had looked pained, basically indicated with body language that there was nothing much that we could do about it, and he then, in the course of that discussion, said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.”

Fiona Hill
Former White House Adviser, Former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs

“Over the following months, it became apparent that Mr. Giuliani was having a direct influence on the foreign policy agenda that the Three Amigos were executing on the ground in Ukraine. In fact, at one point during a preliminary meeting of the inauguration delegation, someone wondered aloud about why Mr. Giuliani was so active in the media with respect to Ukraine. My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland stated, “Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f–s everything up.”

David Holmes
Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine

“Mr. Lutsenko also claimed that he had never received $4.4 million in US funds intended for his office, and that there was a tape of a Ukrainian official saying that he was trying to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election.”

David Holmes
Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine

“Around the same time, I became aware that Mr. Giuliani, a private lawyer, was taking a direct role in Ukrainian diplomacy.”

David Holmes
Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine

For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

Is There Another Explanation for What Happened With Ukraine?

Is There Another Explanation for What Happened With Ukraine?

One strategy used by criminal defense attorneys, especially when they know that the evidence points clearly to their client’s guilt, is to present as many alternative theories as possible to muddy the waters and sow doubt in the minds of the jury. During the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings, many Republicans on the committee have taken on this role. This section addresses those theories.

  1. This was all part of official U.S. foreign policy 
  2. Trump wanted to root out corruption in Ukraine 
  3. Trump wanted the EU to pay its fair share of Ukraine aid 
  4. Trump was being fiscally responsible with U.S. tax dollars 
  5. The Ukrainians didn’t even know that aid was being withheld 
  6. There was no pressure on Ukraine – President Zelensky said so 
  7. Zelensky didn’t do what Trump wanted, so no crime 
  8. Trump said emphatically “no quid pro quo” 
  9. These were rogue operators – Trump was not involved 
  10. It was legitimate to ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens 
  11. It was legitimate to ask Ukraine to investigate Crowdstrike 
  12. This is how politics works: we pressure other countries 
  13. The Democrats keep changing the charges 
  14. The hearings were unfair or illegitimate 
  15. All testimony was meaningless because the Whistleblower didn’t testify 
  16. All testimony was meaningless because few of the witnesses actually talked with President Trump 
  17. It looks bad, but who knows what was really in the President’s heart

For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

Definitive Timeline of Trump-Ukraine Events

Definitive Timeline of Trump-Ukraine Events

This timeline will be continuously updated as events unfold.

March 1990- December 1991: Fall of the Soviet Union. Putin claims to have resigned from the KGB, but many believe that he is still an agent, and is merely operating undercover in the office of the Mayor of Leningrad. Putin sees the fall of the Soviet empire as a humiliating disgrace, for which he blames the West, and particularly the United States. He will come to want to similarly humiliate the countries that he sees as responsible for his country’s disgrace. He will also seek to reunite the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a part.

December 31, 1999: Yeltsin unexpectedly resigns and appoints Putin acting President of Russia.

March 26, 2000: Putin is elected President of Russia.

Late 2004: Pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych of the Party of Regions wins election as President of Ukraine, but allegations of fraud cause the European Union to reject the results. Ukrainians stage street protests in what comes to be known as the Orange Revolution. A new vote is taken, and Yanukovych loses.

June 2005: Paul Manafort develops a strategic plan to promote the interests of Russia and Vladimir Putin. In the plan, Manafort says that “this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success.”

2006:  Based on this strategic plan, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska signs Manafort to a $10 million-a-year agreement, and Manafort does the work through a corporation called LOAV Ltd.

March 2006: Ukraine’s Party of Regions hires Manafort’s company Davis Manfort to improve the party’s image. The party gains several seats in Ukraine’s Parliament, and Yanukovych becomes Prime Minister in August.

2007:  The Party of Regions’ secret ledger reveals that Manafort received nearly two dozen under-the-table payments totaling nearly $13 million. Manafort denies the allegation.

December 2007: Yanukovych is ousted as Prime Minister and is replaced by Yulia Tymoshenko.

February 2010: Yanukovych is elected President of Ukraine, with help from Manafort.

February 22, 2014:  Yanukovych is removed by popular uprising and flees to Russia. Ukrainian government officials begin investigating corruption in the country including the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

March 1, 2014: Russia invades and annexes Crimea, a part of the former Soviet country of Ukraine.

March 7, 2014: Lev Parnas has first contact with Donald Trump at a Florida golf tournament.

May 13, 2014: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, joins the board of Burisma.

May 25, 2014: Petro Poroshenko is elected President of Ukraine.

September 2014:  Manafort goes to Ukraine to help Yanukovych’s Party of Regions regain power, rebranded by Manafort as the Oppo Bloc.

February 10, 2015: Viktor Shokin becomes Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

Early 2015: Top State Department aide George Kent contacts Vice President Biden’s office with concerns about Hunter Biden working for Burisma, given that Biden is America’s point person on Ukraine. Biden’s office dismisses the concern, stating that Biden’s other son Beau has cancer, and Biden is too consumed with that to look into what Hunter may be doing.

June 16, 2015: Donald Trump announces run for Presidency.

September 24, 2015: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt publicly accuses Viktor Shokin of failing “to successfully fight internal corruption.”

October 8, 2015: In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland states that Viktor Shokin’s office “has to be reinvented as an institution that serves the citizens of Ukraine, rather than ripping them off.”

December 8, 2015: Consistent with official U.S. foreign policy and the consensus of EU leaders, Vice President Joe Biden tells Ukrainian leaders to fire Shokin or risk losing over $1 billion in loan guarantees.

February 10, 2016: The International Monetary Fund threatens to stop a bailout for Ukraine unless the country addresses corruption.

February 11, 2016: Biden urges Poroshenko to root out corruption in Ukraine.

March 28, 2016: Paul Manafort becomes Chairman of the Trump Campaign – free of charge.

March 29, 2016: Viktor Shokin is removed as Ukraine’s Prosecutor General.  Yuri Lutsenko becomes new Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

June 3, 2016: The U.S. government guarantees the $1 billion in loans to Ukraine.

June 14, 2016: News breaks that Russians have hacked into the DNC computer system.

June 20, 2016: Paul Manafort becomes Trump Campaign Chair.

July 18-21, 2016: Republican National Convention. Manafort’s team presents the only addition to the Republican Party Platform: weakening the policy of providing military aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.

July 21, 2016: Donald Trump is nominated as the Republican Party candidate for President.

July 25-28, 2016: Democratic National Convention.

August 19, 2016: Paul Manafort resigns as Trump Campaign Chair after reports of payments that he received for his pro-Russian political work in Ukraine.

November 8, 2016: Election Day. Donald Trump is elected President of United States.

January 11, 2017: Politico reports that Ukrainian officials (but not the leadership within the Ukrainian government) had “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers” during the campaign.

January 12, 2017: Ukraine completes and closes investigations of Burisma.

January 20, 2017: Donald Trump is sworn in as 45th President of the United States.

April 21, 2017: In an interview with AP’s Julia Pace, Trump first floats a conspiracy theory that Ukraine may have helped falsely implicate Russia for interference in the 2016 election. “How about this — they [the DNC and Clinton Campaign] get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server… Why wouldn’t [John] Podesta and Hillary Clinton allow the FBI to see the server? They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based… That’s what I heard. I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian, that’s what I heard.”

April 28, 2017: Trump brings up the Ukraine conspiracy theory again in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

June 8, 2017: Giuliani meets with Poroshenko and Lutsenko.

July 25, 2017: Trump tweets about “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign.”

October 30, 2017: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is indicted by federal grand jury for conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts.

January 23, 2018: At a Council on Foreign Relations event, former Vice President Joe Biden boasts about his 2015-2016 pressure campaign on Ukraine. “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 b____. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

April 19, 2018: The Washington Post reports that President Trump has hired Rudolph Giuliani as his personal lawyer to help defend him in the Mueller investigation

April 2018: Soviet-born Florida real estate businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman – associates of Rudolph Giuliani – attend a pro-Trump super PAC event at Trump International in Washington DC. They talk with Trump and disparage U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

May 1, 2018: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman meet with President Trump at the White House.

May 2, 2018: Ukrainian officials stop helping Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference because they don’t want to damage their relationship with the Trump Administration.

May 4, 2018: U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) write to Lutsenko, and urge him to continue working with Mueller.

May 9, 2018: Lev Parnas posts a photo of himself meeting with U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) in Sessions’s Washington DC office, where Parnas and a business partner pledge to raise $20,000 for Sessions. Sessions then writes to the State Department requesting the dismissal of Ambassador Yovanovitch.

May 17, 2018: Through a newly formed business called Global Energy Producers, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman donate $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump Super-PAC. (In later indictments of Parnas and Fruman, prosecutors allege that this money actually came from a $1.26 million private lending transaction two days earlier).

May 21, 2018: Parnas posts a picture on Facebook of himself and Igor Fruman having breakfast with Donald Trump Jr. in Beverly Hills.

December 5, 2018: Rudolph Giuliani meets with former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko (January-September 2005, December 2007-March 2010) to discuss “security issues, including the escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the US assistance.”

Late 2018: Giuliani speaks with former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Shokin.

January 2019: Giuliani meets with Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuri Lutsenko in New York.

Mid-February 2019: Giuliani meets again with Lutsenko in Warsaw, Poland.

February 1, 2019: Interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov expresses concern to Ambassador Yovanovitch that Ukraine does not want to be caught up in U.S. domestic political campaigns.

March 6, 2019: U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch gives a speech in Ukraine in which she states, “To ensure the integrity of anticorruption institutions, the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor [Lutsenko] must be replaced. Nobody who has been recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges can be trusted to prosecute those very same cases.”

March 20, 2019: Lev Parnas facilitates an interview in which Yuri Lutsenko tells John Solomon, conservative Vice President of Digital Video for political journal The Hill, that Yovanovitch had given him “a list of people whom we should not prosecute.” While the U.S. State Department declares the claim an “outright fabrication,” President Trump retweets the story.

March 24, 2019: Trump Jr. tweets “We need more [Germany Ambassador] @RichardGrenell‘s and less of these jokers as ambassadors,” referring to Yovanovitch.

March 26, 2019: Giuliani speaks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

March 29, 2019: Giuliani speaks with Pompeo again.

April 1, 2019: The Hill’sJohn Solomon speaks with Yuri Lutsenko and reports that Ukraine has opened a probe into Joe Biden’s efforts to fire Shokin, and a possible connection to Burisma. Lutsenko expresses a desire to present his evidence to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Mid-April 2019: Hunter Biden ends his term as a Burisma board member.

April 18, 2019: Lutsenko publicly retracts his claim that Yovanovitch had given him a “do not prosecute” list.

April 18, 2019: Robert Mueller releases his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

April 21, 2019: Volodymyr Zelensky is elected President of Ukraine on an anti-corruption agenda. President Trump calls Zelensky to congratulate him. A White House readout is drafted stating that Trump pledged to help Zelensky “root out corruption,” but corruption was not mentioned on the call, according to a transcript released later by the White House.

April 23, 2019: Giuliani tweets “Now Ukraine is investigating Hillary campaign and DNC conspiracy with foreign operatives including Ukrainian and others to affect 2016 election. And there’s no Comey to fix the result.”

April 24, 2019: Foreign Service Director General Carol Perez tells Ambassador Yovanovitch to come back to Washington immediately. In Washington, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan tells her that she has done nothing wrong, but that her ambassadorship will be ending after nearly a year pressure from President Trump.

April 25, 2019: In an interview with Fox News, Trump brings up the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016, election, saying, “I would imagine [William Barr] would want to see this. People have been saying this whole – the concept of Ukraine, they have been talking about it actually for a long time.”

April 25, 2019: Joe Biden announces that he is running for President.

May 1, 2019: The New York Times reports that Joe Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to remove Shokin may have been connected to Shokin’s investigation of Burisma.

May 7, 2019: Bloomberg News reports that the Burisma investigation had long been dormant when Biden pressured Ukraine to remove Shokin.

Separately, Zelensky holds a 3-hour meeting with top advisers. While the agenda is supposed to be about energy policy, most of the time is consumed with how to navigate Giuliani’s machinations and avoid being dragged into U.S. domestic politics.

May 9, 2019: Giuliani tells the New York Times that he is going to Ukraine to push for investigations related to the Bidens and the 2016 election “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

May 11, 2019: After public pressure, Giuliani cancels his trip to Ukraine.

Separately, Yuriy Lutsenko tells Zelensky that he wishes to be Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

May 13, 2019: William Barr opens a probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, appointing U.S. attorney John Durham to lead it.

Mid-May 2019: Trump tells Pence not to attend Zelensky’s Presidential inauguration, and instead sends Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

May 16, 2019: Yuriy Lutsenko announces that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.

May 19, 2019: In an interview with Fox News, Trump claims that “Biden, he calls them [Ukraine] and says, ‘Don’t you dare persecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor’ – The prosecutor was after his son. Then he said, ‘If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be okay. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, ‘We’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?”

May 20, 2019: Volodymyr Zelensky is inaugurated President of Ukraine. Shortly afterward, Giuliani meets with allies of Lutsenko.

May 23, 2019: The Trump Administration notifies Congress that it plans to release hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid that Congress had authorized for Ukraine.

Separately, Trump meets with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, putting them in charge of back-channel diplomacy with Ukraine, and urging them to “talk with Rudy.”

May 28, 2019: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appoints William Taylor to replace Marie Yovanovitch.

May 29, 2019: Trump sends Zelensky a letter congratulating him and inviting him to a meeting at the White House.

June 13, 2019: In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, President Trump publicly announces, regarding electoral assistance from a foreign government, “I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway – ‘We have information on your opponent’ – oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” This would be illegal, as the Chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission tweets shortly afterward.

June 18, 2019: The U.S. Department of Defense publicly announces that it will be giving $250 million in military aid to Ukraine.

June 21, 2019: Giuliani tweets that Zelensky is “still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery of Pres Poroshenko.”

June 27, 2019: Gordon Sondland tells Ambassador Taylor that Zelensky needs to make clear to President Trump that he is not holding back “investigations.”

June 28, 2019: Before Sondland, Volker, Taylor and Perry have a planned call with Zelensky, Sondland says that he does not want regular interagency officials on the call and does not want anyone monitoring or transcribing the call, according to Taylor.

July 3, 2019: Ukraine aid is put on hold.

July 10, 2019: Top Ukrainian defense official Oleksandr Danyliuk meets with Sondland, Volker, Perry and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton in Washington DC. Bolton cuts the meeting short when Sondland begins requesting specific investigations in exchange for a meeting between Trump and Zelensky.

Separately, Zelensky’s Chief of Staff, Andriy Bohdan and Foreign Policy Adviser Vadym Prystaiko tell Ambassador Taylor that Rudolph Giuliani had told them that a phone call between Trump and Zelensky was unlikely.

July 18, 2019: The decision to withhold the Ukraine aid is relayed to the State Department and Defense Department. Congress is told that the hold is part of an “interagency delay.”

July 19, 2019: Volker texts Sondland about the upcoming Zelensky call with Trump: “Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation.”

July 20, 2019: Danyliuk tells Taylor that Zelensky does not wish to be a pawn in a U.S. political campaign.

July 21, 2019: Taylor texts Sondland: “President Zelensky is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.”

July 23, 2019: The Office of Management and Budget reiterates that the Ukraine aid is frozen.

July 24, 2019: Robert Mueller testifies before Congress about the findings in his report.

July 25, 2019: Before a scheduled call between Trump and Zelensky, Volker texts Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak: “Heard from White House-assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.”

Later Trump and Zelensky have their phone call. According to a rough White House transcript, Trump comments on how “good” the United States has been to Ukraine and then asks Zelensky to open an investigation into CrowdStrike and an investigation into the Bidens.

After the call, Yermak texts Volker: “Phone call went well. President Trump proposed to choose any convenient dates. President Zelenskiy chose 20,21,22 September for the White House Visit.”

Also 91 minutes after the call. Michael Duffey at the White House Office of Management and Budget emails other OMB and Pentagon officials “please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these [Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative[ funds.”

Separately, State Department staff emails indicate that the Ukrainian embassy is asking about the hold on U.S. military assistance.

July 26, 2019: Ambassadors Volker and Sondland meet with Zelensky in Ukraine, and Zelensky asks about a White House meeting (Whistleblower complaint).

David Holmes, Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine, has lunch with Sondland and two staffers at a restaurant in Kyiv, Ukraine, and overhears a cell phone call between Sondland and Trump in which they discuss Zelensky’s willingness to “do the investigations.”

Within days of July 25: Senior White House officials “lock down” all records of the Trump-Zelensky phone call – especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call – on a secure server reserved for highly sensitive national security matters, rather than in the normal documentation archive where call transcripts are normally stored.

July 28, 2019: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates resigns.

July 31, 2019: First reported by Russia, Trump has a phone call with Vladimir Putin.

August 2, 2019: Giuliani and Parnas meet with Zelensky aide Yermak in Madrid, Spain, where Giuliani tells Yermak that Zelensky’s government needs to investigate Hunter Biden. Yermak expresses openness to the idea (Whistleblower complaint).

August 3, 2019: Zelensky announces plans to meet with Trump in Washington in September.

August 8, 2019: Trump appoints Joseph Maguire as new Director of National Intelligence.

August 9, 2019: Trump tells reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, “I think he’s [Zelensky’s] going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine. And I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”

Separately, Volker and Sondland text each other and consult with Giuliani about a statement that Ukraine could make about the investigations. Sondland notes that Trump “really wants the deliverable.”

August 10, 2019: Zelensky aide Yermak texts Volker that Ukraine wants a firm date for Zelensky’s White House visit before publicly making the statement about investigations: “I think it’s possible to make this declaration and mention all these things. Which we discussed yesterday. But it will be logic to do after we receive a confirmation of date. We inform about date of visit and about our expectations and our guarantees for future visit.”

August 11, 2019: Sondland emails Ulrich Brechbuhl and Lisa Kenna at the U,S, State Department: “Kurt & I negotiated a statement from Ze to be delivered for our review in a day or two. The contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. Ze plans to have a big presser on the openness subject (including specifics) next week.” Kenna replies: “I’ll pass to S. Thank you.”

August 12, 2019: The Whistleblower submits a complaint with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, describing numerous officials being concerned about the July 25 phone call and subsequent White House efforts to conceal the call transcript.

August 13, 2019: Volker and Sondland text about what language should be in the statement from Ukraine.

August 15, 2019: Dan Coats officially leaves his position as Director of National Intelligence.

August 16, 2019: Volker texts Taylor saying that Yermak has asked the U.S. government to file an official request for the Burisma investigation (Taylor’s testimony). Taylor gives Volker the name of a Deputy Assistant Attorney General to ask if such a request is proper.

August 17, 2019: Sondland texts Volker: “Do we still want Ze to give us an unequivocal draft with 2016 and Boresma?” Volker replies: “That’s the clear message so far …”

August 21, 2019: Taylor asks Ulrich Brechbuhl, Counselor to Secretary of State Pompeo, if there is an official change to U.S. policy toward Ukraine, and Brechbuhl responds that there is not (Taylor’s testimony).

August 22, 2019: NSC aide Tim Morrison advises Ambassador Taylor that it “remains to be seen” if U.S. policy toward Ukraine has changed, adding that the “president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all” (Taylor’s testimony)

August 22, 2019: Sondland emails Secretary of State Pompeo and Executive Secretary Lisa Kenna: “Should we block time in Warsaw for a short pull-aside for Potus to meet Zelensky? I would ask Zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once Ukraine’s new justice folks are in place (mid-Sept), that Ze should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to Potus and to the US. Hopefully, that will break the logjam.” Pompeo responds: “Yes.”

August 26, 2019: Atkinson informs acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of the Whistleblower complaint, describing it as “credible” and of “urgent concern,” which by law is supposed to trigger Maguire to forward the complaint to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

August 28, 2019: Politico makes public for the first time that the Trump Administration is withholding $250 million in military aid from Ukraine.

August 29, 2019: Yermak texts Volker a link to the Politico story, saying: “Need to talk with you.” Volker responds: “Hi Andrey — absolutely. When is good for you?”

Yermak also contacts Taylor, who is “embarrassed” that he has no explanation (Taylor’s testimony).

At Bolton’s suggestion, Taylor send a cable to Pompeo stating that it is “folly” withhold the aid at a time when Russia is engaging in military aggression in Ukraine.

August 30, 2019: Sondland tells Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) that Trump is withholding the Ukraine aid to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 – if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending,” (Johnson interview with Wall Street Journal).

August 31, 2019: Johnson tries to convince Trump to release the military aid. Trump says that the delay is in part because he believes that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

September 1, 2019: At a meeting in Warsaw, Sondland tells Yermak  that the aid will not be released until Zelensky promises to investigate Burisma (Taylor, Kent, Morrison and Sondland testimonies). Sondland clarifies later in testimony that “in the absence of any [other] credible explanation.” he “presumed” that the two issues were linked, and that Trump had not directly told him that they were linked.

Separately, Taylor tells Kent that Sondland has told Yermak, “POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to [a] microphone and say ‘investigations,’ ‘Biden,’ and ‘Clinton.’” (Kent’s testimony)

Separately, before a meeting between Vice President Pence and President Zelensky in Warsaw, Taylor tells Ukraine defense adviser Danyliuk that the military aid must be released by the end of September – the end of the fiscal year – or the funds will expire. (Taylor’s testimony). Pence meets with Zelensky (Trump was originally scheduled to attend) and tells Zelensky that Trump wants Ukraine to do more to root out corruption and wants the EU to do more to help Ukraine, but that he will talk to Trump about the military aid (readout from Morrison)

Separately, Taylor texts Sondland: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland replies, “Call me.” By phone, Sondland explains that Trump wants Zelensky to publicly announce that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and Ukraine’s alleged role in the 2016 election. (Taylor’s testimony)

September 2, 2019: At a press conference in Poland, a reporter asks Pence “Can you assure Ukraine that the hold-up of that money [military aid] has absolutely nothing to do with efforts, including by Rudy Giuliani, to try to dig up dirt on the Biden family?” Pence says that he and Zelensky only discussed corruption in general.

Separately, Danyliuk expresses concern to Morrison about the lack of answers from the U.S. about the military aid. (Taylor’s testimony)

Separately, Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk expresses concern to Taylor about the same thing. (Taylor’s testimony)

September 3, 2019: Five bipartisan senators write to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to expressing “deep concerns” about the freeze on the $400 million dollars in Congressionally approved aid for Ukraine.

September 5, 2019: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) meet with Zelensky and Taylor in Ukraine. Zelensky asks about the military aid and expresses concern about Giuliani.

Separately, the Washington Post reports that it has been “reliably told” that President Trump was “attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.”

September 7, 2019: By phone, Sondland asks Trump directly what he wants from Ukraine. Trump answers, “I want nothing! No quid pro quo,” but says that Zelensky needs to announce the two investigations. Morrison informs NSC lawyers about the call. (Taylor’s and Morrison’s testimonies)

September 8, 2019: Sondland tells Taylor that Trump wants Zelensky to “clear things up and do it in public,” that Sondland told Zelensky and Yermak that it wasn’t a quid pro quo, but that if they didn’t “clear things up” publicly, there would be a “stalemate.” Sondland tells Taylor that Trump is a businessman, and that before a businessman signs a check, he expects someone who owes him something to pay up. (Taylor’s testimony) Taylor texts Volker and Sondland: “The nightmare is they give the interview and don’t get the security assistance. The Russians love it. (And I quit.)”

September 9, 2019: Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson notifies the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that the Whistleblower filed a complaint with him on August 12, but does not say what the complaint was about.

Separately, Taylor texts Sondland: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Sondland talks with Trump by phone and Trump reiterates, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.” (Sondland’s testimony)

Sondland texts Taylor: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.”

Separately, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Intelligence Committee, and Oversight Committee announce an investigation into Rudolph Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine and the Trump Administration’s freeze on the aid to Ukraine.

September 10, 2019: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) demands that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire turn over the Whistleblower complaint to Congress, as is standard procedure and required by statute.

Separately, Trump tweets that he has asked John Bolton to resign. Bolton states that he offered first.

September 11, 2019: The Trump Administration finally releases the aid to Ukraine, and Taylor informs Zelensky of the development.

September 12, 2019: Concerned by information from Sondland that Zelensky will announce the investigations on CNN, Taylor contacts Danyliuk, who assures Taylor that there will be no CNN interview. Yermak, however, appears “uncomfortable” with the question. (Taylor’s testimony)

September 13, 2019: Schiff makes public the existence of the Whistleblower complaint, and subpoenas Maguire for it. According to Schiff, the DNI is refusing to provide the Whistleblower complaint because of confidential and potentially privileged communications by people outside the intelligence community. That description would fit the President.

September 17, 2019: Maguire refuses to testify or give Congress the Whistleblower complaint. According to Schiff, Maguire has said that he cannot do so “because he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.”

September 18, 2019: The Washington Post reports that the Whistleblower complaint was “made by an intelligence official and centers on Ukraine” and that it “involved communications with a foreign leader and a ‘promise’ that Trump made.”

Separately, Pence talks with Zelensky on the phone in what is described as a perfunctory call. However, Pence’s office says that the call is classified. (Vindman’s testimony)

September 18 or 19, 2019: Zelensky cancels an interview that had been planned with CNN.

September 19, 2019: In a closed-door session, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson informs Congress that the Whisteblower complaint involves multiple events.

Separately, on CNN, Giuliani claims that the President did nothing wrong, but states that “It is perfectly appropriate for [Trump] to ask a foreign government to investigate this massive crime that was made by a former vice president.”

September 20, 2019: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Whistleblower alleged that Trump “repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son.”

September 23, 2019: President Trump describes his reason for withholding the aid from Ukraine: “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”

September 24, 2019: Trump describes his reason for withholding the aid from Ukraine as being about other European countries not paying enough for Ukraine’s military aid. He also announces that he will release a transcript of the July 25 phone call with Zelensky.

Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) publicly announces that “the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

September 25, 2019: The White House releases a rough transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Trump meets with Zelensky, who states publicly that he did not feel “pressure” to pursue investigations and that he has not halted any investigations in Ukraine. “We have an independent country and independent [Prosecutor General]. I can’t push anyone. That is the answer. I didn’t call somebody or the new [Prosecutor General]. I didn’t ask him. I didn’t push him.”  Zelensky also points out that, although he has been invited to the White House, Trump has never actually identified a date for such a visit.

September 26, 2016: The White House declassifies the Whistleblower complaint and Schiff releases it. It describes secondhand knowledge of Trump’s call with Zelensky and an effort to cover it up.

Separately, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies to the House Intelligence Committee that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel downgraded the Inspector General’s assessment that the Whistleblower complaint described an “urgent concern,” and that Maguire was therefore not required to share it with Congress. Because the complaint includes alleged involvement of Attorney General William Barr – head of the Justice Department – Democrats suspect a conflict of interest in the revised assessment.

September 27, 2019: Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker resigns.

Separately, over 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials sign a statement supporting the impeachment investigation.

September 28, 2019: Michael McKinley, a top aide of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, rallies support for a statement from the State Department strongly supporting Ambassador Yovanovitch, but State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus says that Pompeo will not release such a statement, out of concern that the department “not draw undue attention to her.”  (McKinley’s closed door testimony)

October 1, 2019: Pompeo sends a letter to House Democrats stating that five State Department employees who had been summoned for depositions would not appear. One of them is Marie Yovanovitch. Pompeo calls the inquiry “an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”

Separately, the New York Times reports that before filing the report, the Whistleblower had approached a staffer for Schiff’s committee to find out how to move forward. Some have said that this contradicts Schiff’s claims that he had not spoken to the Whistleblower personally.

October 2, 2019: Steve Linick, State Department Inspector General, gives Congress documents sent to the State Department that contain conspiracy theories about the Bidens. Giuliani admits that he was the original source of some of the materials, which had been provided to the State Department by the White House.

October 3, 2019: Responding to a deposition from Congress, Kurt Volker provides records of his text messages with Taylor, Sondland, Giuliani and Yermak. Volker also testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

Separately, a reporter asks the President, “Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?” Trump answers, “Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens,” adding “And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

Separately, the State Department informs Congress that it has approved the sale of 150 Javelin missiles to Ukraine for $39.2 million.

October 6, 2019: The Whistleblower’s attorneys say that they now represent a second Whistleblower who has firsthand knowledge of key events, and who has spoken with Atkinson (a legal requirement for obtaining whistleblower status).

October 8, 2019: White House counsel Pat Cipollone notifies Congress that the White House will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

October 10, 2019: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudolph Giuliani are arrested as they attempt to leave the country and are indicted by the Southern District of New York on campaign finance charges, accused of funneling foreign money into U.S. politics to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.

Separately, Pompeo aide Michael McKinley resigns over Pompeo’s lack of support State Department officials in Ukraine.

October 11, 2019: Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 14, 2019: Former White House Adviser, Former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs Fiona Hill testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 15, 2019: Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Eastern Europe and the Caucuses George Kent testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 16, 2019: Top Aide to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Michael McKinley testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 17, 2019: U.S. Ambasador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 17, 2019: President Trump announces that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will resign by the end of the year.

October 17, 2019: In a news conference, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvney states, “[Did Trump] also mention to me, in the past, that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money… The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.” After being confronted with the fact that this would be a “quid pro quo,” Mulvaney later says that there was no connection between the aid and investigations.

October 22, 2019: Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 23, 2019: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Laura Cooper testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session. Her testimony is delayed for five hours when House Republicans storm the secure room where she is testifying, claiming that they have been shut out of the process. The move violates security policy and is contradicted by the fact that many Republicans on the Intelligence Committee simply chose not to participate.

October 29, 2019: Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, National Security Counsel Ukraine Expert and Director for European Affairs testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

October 30, 2019: State Department official Catherine Croft testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

Separately, State Department official  Christopher Anderson testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

Separately, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, in his confirmation hearing to become ambassador to Russia says he knew of a smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch that he believed Giuliani was involved in.

October 31, 2019: White House Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

Separately, the House votes on a formalized impeachment process, including public hearings, in response to Republican criticism that the process is secretive. Two Democrats vote against the measure, as do all House Republicans.

November 4, 2019: The House Intelligence Committee releases transcripts of the closed-door testimonies of Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley.

Separately, Sondland clarifies his testimony to acknowledge he communicated a quid pro quo to Ukraine on July 10, but that he did so based on a presumption of what Trump wanted, rather than a direct order from Trump.

November 5, 2019: The House Intelligence Committee releases transcripts of the closed-door testimonies of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker.

November 6, 2019: The House Intelligence Committee releases the transcript of the closed-door testimony of William Taylor.

November 7, 2019: The House Intelligence Committee releases the transcript of the closed-door testimony of George Kent.

November 8, 2019: The House Intelligence Committee releases transcripts of the closed-door testimonies of Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill.

Separately, John Bolton’s lawyer informs Congress that his client was “part of many relevant meetings and conversations,” but that Bolton will only testify if he is ordered by a judge.

November 13, 2019: Taylor and Kent testify before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing.

November 15, 2019: Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing. During her testimony, Trump tweets disparagingly about her, which she perceives as intimidating.

Later, Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine David Holmes testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.

November 19, 2019: Vindman and Williams testify in the morning before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing.

Volker and Morrison testify in the afternoon before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing.

November 20, 2019: Sondland testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing.

Later, Hale and Cooper testify before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing.

November 21, 2019:  Hill and Holmes testify before the House Intelligence Committee in a televised public hearing.

December 2, 2019:  Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee release a report of their findings based on the hearings.

December 3, 2019:  The House Intelligence Committee releases its official Report on the Impeachment Hearings.

December 13, 2019: The House Judiciary approves Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.

December 16, 2019: The House Judiciary Committee releases its Full Report on the Impeachment of Donald Trump.

For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

Who Testified in the House Impeachment Hearings?

Who Testified in the House Impeachment Hearings?

Who Testified?

DAY 1: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

William Taylor
Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Witnessed an official and unofficial channel of US diplomacy in Ukraine
  • Was on June 28, 2019 interagency phone call with Zelensky, Sondland, Volker, and Perry
  • Was on July 18, 2019 NSC conference call where OMB staffer said that Ukraine aid was being withheld by Trump.
  • Attended July 26, 2019 meeting with Zelensky and Volker
  • Attended September 5, 2019 meeting with Zelensky an US Senators Johnson and Murphy
  • Communicated with Volker and Sondland numerous times

George Kent

Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Eastern Europe and the Caucuses
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Had knowledge of activities by Rudy Giuliani

DAY 2: Friday, November 15, 2019

Marie/Masha Yovanovitch

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Had direct knowledge of the change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine
  • Was fired by Trump Administration on advice from Giuliani and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

DAY 3: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Jennifer Williams

Official at the State Department detailed to Vice President Mike Pence
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)


  • Was on April 23, 2019 congratulatory phone call from Pence to Zelensky
  • Was on July 25, 2019 phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky.
  • Attended a September 1, 2019 meeting between Pence and Zelensky in Poland

U.S. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

National Security Counsel Ukraine Expert, Director for European Affairs
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Produced Trump’s preparation materials for April 21, 2019 congratulatory call with President Zelensky was on that call.
  • Attended the inauguration of President Zelensky as part of the presidential delegation led by Secretary Perry.
  • Attended July 10, 2019 meeting with Oleksandr Danylyuk, then Ukraine’s National Security Advisor in Washington DC with National Security Advisor Bolton, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland, and Secretary Rick Perry.
  • Was on July 25, 2019 phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky.

Kurt Volker

Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Republicans on House Intelligence Committee)


  • Had knowledge of activities by Rudy Giuliani
  • Led July 2, 2019 meeting in Toronto with Zelensky
  • Attended July 10, 2019 meeting with Oleksandr Danylyuk, then Ukraine’s National Security Advisor in Washington DC with National Security Advisor Bolton, Ambassador Sondland and Secretary Rick Perry.

Tim Morrison

White House Senior Director for European Affairs
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Republicans on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Replaced Fiona Hill at NSC

DAY 4: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Gordon Sondland

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Donated $1 million to President Trump’s inauguration fund
  • Was actively involved in efforts to convince Ukraine to investigate Biden’s and Crowdstrike (despite his official role not covering Ukraine)
  • Spoke directly with President Trump about investigations

Laura Cooper
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia
Full Transcript of Testimony

David Hale

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Full Transcript of Testimony

DAY 5: Thursday, November 21, 2019

David Holmes

Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Had firsthand knowledge of efforts by Giuliani and Lutsenko to oust Ambassador Yovanovitch
  • Had other knowledge of activities by Rudy Giuliani
  • Overheard July 26, 2019 phone call between President Trump and Gordon Sondland during lunch with two other staffers
    • Photo: Jose Luis Magana, AP

Fiona Hill

Former White House Adviser, Former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs
Full Transcript of Testimony
(Called to testify by Democrats on House Intelligence Committee)

  • Interacted regularly with U.S. National Security Adviser John. Bolton and Gordon Sondland
  • Attended July 10, 2019 meeting with Oleksandr Danylyuk, then Ukraine’s National Security Advisor in Washington D.C with National Security Advisor Bolton, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland, and Secretary Rick Perry.

For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

A Central Hub for Impeachment Info

A Central Hub for Impeachment Info

This page seeks to compile all Trump-Ukraine impeachment-related information in one place, and will be updated as events unfold.




– rob rünt

Yet Another Reason to Impeach

Yet Another Reason to Impeach

Yet Another Reason to Impeach

The September 5th New York Times Op-Ed by an anonymous senior White House Official confirms what many have long believed about the President and his leadership capabilities. President Trump is described by the senior staffer as amoral, anti-democratic, ill-informed, erratic, reckless, “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.” While these character traits are about as undesirable as one can imagine in a President, it is the response that they inspire from his staff that gives a very clear reason to seriously consider impeachment.

The senior staffer describes efforts by those around the President to “frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations” and “preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” It is hard to find precedent for this, particularly as a long-term daily dynamic within the White House.

That things have come to this point is evidence of how truly broken our government system has become, particularly under Donald Trump. The staffer and his/her allies within the White House apparently (and rightly) have little faith in the Trump-intimidated, Republican-led Congress to respond appropriately to protect the nation from an unstable President. This particular staffer has thus instead chosen to go to the media, and the others have resigned themselves to grimly serving as an internal “resistance” to the Commander in Chief.

This is a risky situation under normal global conditions, which thankfully is all that our nation has thus far been confronted with during the Trump Presidency. But what happens in a crisis – particularly a military crisis? We have seen nations like Russia and China taking note of the global leadership vacuum left by Trump’s erratic and isolating approach. Such a void of steady, trusted leadership – which the United States and its western allies have imperfectly provided since World War II – can cause unscrupulous and power-hungry adversaries to test the boundaries, to try to fill the void.

So what happens if a foreign adversary were to launch a nuclear missile at the United States? In a normal White House, the President would have a scant few minutes to verify that the threat is real and decide how to respond. After that decision, it is imperative that the system operates smoothly, and that smooth operation is dependent on trust in the President’s judgment.

But what happens with this President under such a scenario? Do his staff respond by immediately rallying to his side, or do they reasonably write off his commands as the latest delusion or impulse? They have only minutes to choose the right path through their justifiable uncertainty.

If the pictures painted in the Op-Ed and the upcoming Bob Woodward book are accurate, we have a President who is incapable of leading his staff, and who, in his ineffectiveness, poses a danger to the country. There are two remedies for this.

One is to view the senior staff as the problem. In this case, the solution is to weed out these disobedient bad apples and replace them with senior staff who are more comfortably aligned with amoral, anti-democratic, ill-informed, erratic, reckless leadership. It is hard to see how this would benefit our nation.

The other is to use the impeachment process to remove the President and replace him with a leader whose judgment can be trusted by White House staff and the military. In general (Trump excepted), this would be anyone who has risen to the level of being elected to high-level national public office. In this case, of course, that replacement would be Mike Pence.

I personally disagree with Mike Pence on virtually every issue. I have disagreed with the policies of many Presidents. However, Mike Pence fits the bill as someone who can be trusted (as much as most Presidents in our nation’s history) by his White House staff and the military to show judgment that is within the spectrum of “reasonable,” and to make decisions accordingly – particularly on military issues. In short, he can lead. Trump cannot.

The New York Times Op-Ed on its own may not be sufficient justification to impeach Donald Trump. However, it absolutely warrants confidential, closed-committee House and Senate hearings to determine how widespread the apparent chaos and “resistance” within the White House actually is, and to learn what some of the President’s thwarted impulses have been. If what is revealed matches the White House described in the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed, impeachment is appropriate and necessary for the security of the nation.

– rob rünt

Why Donald Trump Will Be Impeached and May Go To Prison

Why Donald Trump Will Be Impeached and May Go To Prison

Why Donald Trump Will Be Impeached and May Go To Prison

The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel is the first glimmer of hope in many months that our system of government may still be able to function. Vice President Mike Pence and the Republican US House and Senate, faced with months of overwhelming daily evidence that our President is unfit for office, have merely looked at their shoes and whistled nervously, rather than taking the action that the Constitution provides under such circumstances. They have put craven partisanship and their own political agendas ahead of the well-being of the nation in a deeply reckless way.

Robert Mueller is a virtual guarantee that Donald Trump will be impeached. While there are many reasons why the President might or should be impeached – some already public knowledge and some yet to be revealed – there is one reason that impeachment is an absolute certainty: the President lies – regularly, clumsily, impulsively, uncontrollably, “bigly,” and without consideration of the consequences.

During Mueller’s investigation, Donald Trump will almost certainly be questioned by the FBI. After the first question is asked, Trump’s lips will begin to move. And then he will be asked another question, and his lips will move again …

Lying to the FBI is a felony.

Before or after the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation, there will also likely come a point when intensifying public pressure results in the President being called to testify before Congress. If he does so, he will be put under oath. He will be asked a question. And his lips will begin to move. And then he will be asked another question, and his lips will move again …

Lying to Congress is a felony.

The End.


– rob rünt

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington DC (Part 3 of 3)

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington DC (Part 3 of 3)

Photo by Michael Vadon (Own work)
Usage via Wikimedia Commons

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington DC (Part 3 of 3)

There is no question that Season 2 of the Trump Presidency is shaping up to be far more exciting than Season 1. In this past week’s episode alone, the President said “you’re fired” to the very same FBI Director investigating him over Russia ties, met the next day in the Oval Office with two Russian officials (allowing  only one reporter to be present – from Russian state news), there was riveting testimony before Congress from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates (“you’re fired”), and poor Press Secretary Sean Spicer hid in the bushes from reporters.

But really, for the good of the nation, the show needs to be cancelled – ideally before Season 2 is over. It is not healthy for Americans to wake up wondering if, while they were asleep, their President might have tweeted out the start of World War III, launched nuclear weapons, or haplessly brought on a major economic collapse.

Below are seven ways that the show can be brought to an early close and we can get on with our lives.

Ending #1

Trump’s profits as President are found to violate the STOCK Act.


Somewhat Likely


The STOCK Act was written to prevent Congress from profiting from their legislative decisions. Frustrated that this restriction did not also apply to then-President Obama, legislators added the provision that “no executive branch employee may use nonpublic information derived from [or acquired through] their position as an executive branch employee as a means for making a private profit.”

Relevant Facts:

  • When President Trump chooses to spend another weekend at his for-profit Mar-a-Lago resort (he has done this most weekends since his Inauguration), some of his security and staff must also stay there. If he or his family profit from that, it would be a violation of the STOCK Act. As a side note, after Trump was sworn into office, Mar-a-Lago resort doubled its membership fees.
  • The President has chosen to have his wife and son live at Trump Tower instead of the White House. An on-site Secret Service detail is required to provide security for them. If Trump or his family profit from that arrangement (rent, etc.), it would be a violation of the STOCK Act.
  • As a President with for-profit businesses, Trump has numerous conflicts of interest (see a partial list here). Many of these have potential to be seen as violations of the STOCK Act. When you hear the phrase “conflict of interest” on the news in regard to Trump, think “STOCK Act.”
  • Because the STOCK Act applies to “executive branch employees,” it may also apply to many of Jared Kushner’s and Ivanka Trump’s business activities, because  those businesses may now represent conflicts of interest.

Areas of Uncertainty:


Potential Action:

  • Congress can commission an investigation into Trump’s business activities, and whether Trump is profiting from them.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees should each be provided at least ten paid full-time staff with strong backgrounds in the law and finance to work solely on investigating the many questionable issues surrounding President Trump.
  • Congress can ensure that the FBI has adequate resources to investigate.
  • If Trump is profiting from any of his businesses in a way that is positively impacted by nonpublic knowledge that he has as President (including the decisions that he makes as President), he is in violation of the STOCK Act.

Implications of Inaction:

  • Donald Trump can use decisions that he makes as President to enrich himself and his family – sometimes with government (i.e. our tax) money.
  • Decisions made in President Trump’s best personal/financial interest may not always be in the best interest of the United States. That is why it is called a conflict of interest.
  • The legitimacy of Congress as a trusted check on the Executive Branch will be put into question.
  • Americans’ belief in the integrity of our democracy will be further eroded.

Ending #2

Trump’s Presidential profits from foreign entities are found to violate the “Emoluments Clause” of the Constitution.




Written in the 1700s to prevent US ambassadors abroad from being influenced by wealthy Europeans, the Emoluments Clause in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution forbids a President from taking gifts or payments from foreign leaders. Exact text: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” An emolument is defined as a salary, fee or profit.

Relevant Facts:

  • Foreign officials are believed to be paying to stay in Trump properties in order to curry favor with the President of the United States.
  • A New York hotel owner has joined a lawsuit alleging that the President owning nearby hotels is creating unfair competition for other hotels.
  • Trump rents his properties to foreign businesses and individuals as well, such as the Chinese government-controlled Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Areas of Uncertainty:

  • Even among Constitutional scholars, there is disagreement about whether the wording of this clause definitely applies to Trump’s situation. Do the profits nonetheless smell of bribery at worst and disregard for ethics at best? Absolutely.

Potential Action:

  • Congress can commission an investigation into money paid by foreign governments to Trump’s businesses, and whether Trump or his family are profiting from those payments.
  • Congress can ensure that the FBI has adequate resources to investigate.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees should each be provided at least ten paid full-time staff with strong backgrounds in the law and finance to work solely on investigating the many questionable issues surrounding President Trump.
  • If Trump and/or his family are making a profit from those payments, it is possible that a case could be made that the Emoluments Clause has been violated. That case would depend upon a specific interpretation of the law and would almost certainly end up in the Supreme Court, to be decided at their discretion.

Implications of Inaction:

  • Foreign governments and leaders may be able to influence the President in ways that are not in the best interests of America.
  • The legitimacy of Congress as a trusted check on the Executive Branch will be put into question.
  • Americans’ belief in the integrity of our democracy will be further eroded.

Ending #3

Trump is found to have colluded with Russia in their interference with the 2016 Presidential Election, or he is found to be currently under Russia’s influence.


Somewhat Likely


Title 18 of the US Code, Section 1, Chapter 115,  § 2381 states “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

Relevant Facts:

  • Russia President Vladimir Putin is no friend of the United States. As a former officer in the KGB (the then-Soviet Union’s equivalent of the CIA), Putin considered it an affront to national pride when the Soviet Union collapsed – a situation for which he blamed the US. He has harbored a grudge ever since, and has dreamed of one day reuniting the Soviet Union and restoring what he considered its former glory – by force if necessary. That is why it was so worrisome when Putin annexed Crimea in the Ukraine on March 18, 2014: the act was likely one of many steps that Putin has in the works to reconstitute the old Soviet Union. In order to achieve his goals, Putin understands that he needs to weaken western countries (and their alliance, NATO) so that they cannot be a potent counterforce. So Russia has recently been trying to politically destabilize western countries like Germany, France, the UK, and the United States, in part through interfering in their elections.
  • Eric Trump allegedly boasted about his family getting enormous amounts of money in loans from Russia – a claim that he now denies.
  • Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, while doing “opposition research” for one of Trump’s Republican political opponents and later for a Democratic client, claims to have discovered evidence that Russia could be blackmailing Trump. Disturbed that what he had found was of grave concern to both the wellbeing of the US and UK, Steele bypassed his client and presented this findings to the US intelligence community in a dossier before the 2016 election.
  • All of the evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia is currently circumstantial, but there is a lot of it (too much to list here). Here are a few links to sources that have compiled or are compiling the information:

Areas of Uncertainty:

  • Given the 2016 Trump Campaign’s many Russian connections, it seems quite possible that someone in the campaign may have coordinated in some way with Russia to help or encourage Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 US election. However, for Trump to be implicated in any way in the Russia scandal, there would need to be evidence – testimony, documents, e-mails, recordings, financial records – showing that Trump himself either actively participated in or at least knew about cooperation between his campaign and Russia. That may be a high bar to reach.
  • FBI Director James Comey, who appeared to be doggedly investigating these connections and was beginning to ramp up his efforts significantly, has been fired. It is currently uncertain whether the person appointed by Trump to investigate Trump will be as bright, diligent, nonpartisan or trustworthy.

Potential Action:

  • A special prosecutor and an independent committee, both agreed upon by a majority of both parties in Congress, should be appointed by Congress to investigate the possibility of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia, as well as the possibility of any current influence that Russia may have on the President or his Administration.
  • The special prosecutor and independent committee should be given all the funding and resources that they need to conduct a thorough investigation.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees should each be provided at least ten paid full-time staff with strong backgrounds in the law and finance to work solely on investigating the many questionable issues surrounding President Trump.
  • Congress can ensure that the FBI also has adequate resources to investigate.
  • If sufficient evidence is found that Trump collaborated with Russia in any way in their interference, was aware of collaboration in his campaign, or is currently being influenced by Russia, appropriate legal action (including removal from office) should happen immediately.

Implications of Inaction:

  • Putin may be able to overtly or covertly influence Trump to make decisions that are not in the best interest of the United States or its allies. Some of these decisions could have profound negative implications for the wellbeing and future of the United States. It would give Putin no greater satisfaction that to see the US fail, to become the object of international ridicule or hatred, and to become as relevant on the world stage as a third world banana republic.
  • Putin will likely become more aggressive toward countries of the former Soviet Union, testing western powers to see what we are willing to do to stop him.
  • If Trump is believed by our allies to be in collusion with Russia, our allies – relationships that the United States has cultivated over decades and even centuries – will begin to shift their alliances to more trustworthy partners than the United States, putting the US in danger of having less support in military conflicts, among other situations.
  • The legitimacy of Congress as a trusted check on the Executive Branch will be put into question.
  • Americans’ belief in the integrity of our democracy will be further eroded.

Ending #4

Trump is found to have been involved in criminal activity before his 2016 Presidential run.


Somewhat Likely


  • Money laundering is the act of processing tainted money in a way that makes the money appear “legitimate” It is an illegal activity that is often associated with organized crime.

Relevant Facts:

  • According to Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston’s recent book “The Making of Donald Trump,” businessman Donald Trump occasionally worked with individuals involved in organized crime.
  • In 2006, former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort paid an enormous amount in cash to buy a condo at Trump Tower in a transaction that had the appearance of money laundering.
  • In 2008, Trump sold a Palm Beach mansion to a Russian oligarch named Dmitry Rybolovlev – at a 150% profit from his purchase price two years prior – in a transaction that had the appearance of money laundering.
  • While money laundering would obviously not be reported as such in one’s taxes, Trump’s tax returns and those of his businesses could show other questionable transactions worthy of investigation. Trump has thus far refused to release his tax returns.

Areas of Uncertainty:

  • A pattern of activity as well as criminal intent would likely need to be established in order for this activity to be considered something worthy of impeachment.

Potential Action:

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has recently requested documentation on Donald Trump from the US Treasury’s financial intel unit as part of its Trump-Russia probe. This is an excellent start toward getting at the truth of Trump’s financial dealings.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees should subpoena Trump’s tax returns and those of all his businesses.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees should each be provided at least ten paid full-time staff with strong backgrounds in the law and finance to work solely on investigating the many questionable issues surrounding President Trump.
  • Congress can ensure that the FBI has adequate resources to investigate as well.
  • If Trump is found to have knowingly been involved in criminal activity, appropriate legal action should be taken.

Implications of Inaction:

  • If Trump has been knowingly involved in criminal activity, he could potentially be blackmailed by anyone who has proof, and could therefore be influenced to make decisions that are not in the interest of the American people.
  • If Trump has been knowingly involved in criminal activity, and is allowed to remain in the highest political office in the land, our children will learn a horrible message about crime and its consequences.
  • The legitimacy of Congress as a trusted check on the Executive Branch will be put into question.
  • Americans’ belief in the integrity of our democracy will be further eroded.

Ending #5

Trump is found to have interfered with a federal investigation.


Very Likely


Relevant Facts:

  • In 1974, US President Richard Nixon was forced to resign not so much because of the crimes that he had committed, but because of his attempts to cover them up afterward, which was also a crime.
  • On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was in charge of investigating him.
  • Days earlier, Comey had asked for more resources to intensify the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia – an indication that evidence was increasing and was worth pursuing more vigorously.
  • Explanations coming from White House spokespeople for Comey’s firing lacked credibility, because they contradicted Trump’s past statements about Comey. Two days after the firing, however, in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump himself connected the firing with the Russia investigation, saying “But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”
  • After the interview, upon hearing that Comey had described a January dinner conversation between Trump and Comey in a way that conflicted with Trump’s story of the event, Trump tweeted something that sounded like a threat:
  • If President Trump is guilty of any kind of illegal behavior, what we have witnessed of his personality thus far indicates that he will attempt to cover it up, and his attempt will likely be quite clumsy, easily proven, and illegal in itself.

Areas of Uncertainty:

  • Specifically regarding Trump’s statement to Holt, while it sounds somewhat incriminating, it is still not a direct, unequivocal statement that “I fired Comey because I was concerned that his investigation of me would result in my impeachment and/or imprisonment.” With the evidence currently available to the public, Comey’s firing alone is unlikely to rise to the level of an impeachable act. It is very suspicious and raises a lot of questions, but it is also within the President’s legal authority.
  • The assessment that Trump’s impeachment for interfering with a federal investigation is “Very Likely” is based on an expectation of future actions by the President.

Potential Action:

  • As Trump is being investigated, Congress, journalists, law enforcement, federal employees, and the American people should be paying attention to any attempts by the President or his associates to destroy evidence, fire/reassign investigators, or otherwise interfere with the investigation.

Implications of Inaction:

  • America will be thrown into a Constitutional crisis.
  • The power of the Executive Branch will outweigh the other branches of government, with the potential for a shift in America’s form of government toward authoritarianism.
  • Americans’ belief in the integrity of our democracy will end.

Ending #6

Trump willingly resigns.




  • The 25th Amendment of the US Constitution, Section 3, provides for the President of the United States to be able to resign. He must provide his written resignation to the Senate majority leader (in this case, Mitch McConnell) and the Speaker of the House (in this case, Paul Ryan). Exact text: “Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”
  • Nixon resigned to avoid the embarrassment of an almost certain impeachment. As impeachment of the current President becomes increasingly likely,, Trump may choose the same path in order to save face.

Relevant Facts:

  • There are several investigations into Trump that are heating up and appear likely to bear fruit.
  • Trump would not want the embarrassment of impeachment. A way to avoid that is for him to resign.

Areas of Uncertainty:

  • Trump has a history of denying facts even when presented with irrefutable evidence. He may just hang in there no matter how bad things look for him.
  • It is unclear if the communication can be done via tweet. If that were possible, Trump could make history by being the first to do it. His tweet could be something along the lines of:

@SenateMajLdr @SpeakerRyan The #FBI and #fakenewsmedia are making it impossible for me to do my job. I hereby #resign. America’s loss. Sad.

Ending #7

Trump is found “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”


Somewhat Likely


  • The 25th Amendment of the US Constitution, Section 4, states that the President of the United States can be removed if he or she is deemed unable to do his or her job. Exact text: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Relevant Facts:

  • Mental health professionals have broken with tradition and publicly expressed their conclusion by the tens of thousands that the President is mentally ill or mentally unstable, offering diagnoses that include everything from malignant narcissism to cocaine use to alzheimers. However, the idea that there must be a specific clinical diagnosis muddies the waters. The behaviors that lead to those diagnoses are what matters.
  • The President regularly makes statements that are easily proven false, indicating that he is either boldly and willfully lying or he is frighteningly disconnected from reality. Among his false statements are:
  • The President behaves with the impulsiveness of an eitght-year-old child. This is not a trait that we want in the person in command of our military and our nuclear arsenal.
  • The President is not competent to run the country. Evidence would include his chaotic White House, the hundred of key positions that he has not yet chosen to fill, and the slap-dash way that his first Muslim ban was rolled out, among many others.
  • The President is profoundly gullible. His claim about Obama wiretapping him, for example, was the result of a conspiracy theory that he heard expressed by a guest on Fox News. Trump immediately tweeted the conspiracy  theory rather than consulting the people who could actually tell him if it was true or not. What if Fox or Breitbart ran a story that North Korea had just launched missiles at us? What if he hears a rumor on Twitter that China is thinking of invading us?
  • The President is erratic in his policy positions. One minute NATO is outdated and needs to be disbanded, then it’s a vital international organization. One minute Mexico is paying for his wall, then we are. One minute China is a currency manipulator, then it’s not.

Areas of Uncertainty:


Potential Action:

  • Vice President Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet need to submit a written statement to the Senate majority leader (Mitch McConnell) and the House Speaker (Paul Ryan) that President Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” or
  • Congress can appoint a nonpartisan group with relevant backgrounds to assess the President’s ability to serve effectively. If that group determines that Trump is unfit for the office of the Presidency, that group and Vice President Pence need to submit a written statement to McConnell and Ryan that the President “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Implications of Inaction:

  • Allowing President Trump to continue in office while displaying the kind of impulsive, dishonest, disorganized and gullible behavior that he has shown so far puts America at risk. Among the risks to the nation:
    • He will not be believed by foreign leaders. Some degree of credibility and trust from other countries is essential to our international safety. If we are in a situation where we must legitimately go to war and we are asking our allies to commit the lives of their troops – their citizens – to help us, they need to believe in our President’s honesty and judgment 100%. That faith is currently shaky at best and getting worse by the day.
    • Trump’s erratic and impulsive nature and potential inability to distinguish reality from fantasy creates a risk that he might use nuclear weapons, an act which would certainly be reciprocated and which would usher in a worrisome international norm that we haven’t  had to live with for decades. As it is, he has put nuclear weapons back on the table in a way that many thought was a thing of the past.
    • A chaotic and understaffed Executive Branch makes us woefully unprepared to respond adequately in times of crisis.
    • It is questionable whether the President understands or has even read the Constitution that he swore to defend when he took the oath of office. A President who is ignorant of the US Constitution cannot defend it properly.
  • The legitimacy of Congress as a trusted check on the Executive Branch will be put into question.
  • Americans’ belief in the integrity of our democracy will be further eroded.

Necessary Conditions:

With the exception of Trump’s resignation, all of the above scenarios require a US House and Senate willing to seriously explore the possibility of the President being a risk to the country or having committed wrongdoing, and to pursue appropriate consequences based on the facts.

Given the highly partisan nature of the House and Senate, both of which are currently controlled by Republican majorities, action on their part will require massive and consistent public pressure.

Likely Negative Consequences of Removal from Office:

While one would hope that America could simply scrape Trump off the bottom of its shoe and walk away clean, removal of Trump from office will almost certainly have negative consequences.

First, Trump’s replacement would be Mike Pence, who may be even more disagreeable than Trump on some issues. However, Pence carries one powerful calling card that makes him a infinitely more desirable than President Trump: mental stability.

The more significant consequence of removing Trump from office is the response of his supporters, who have generally remained silent in recent months. While some might interpret that silence as shame or embarrassment, it is far more likely that they are simply tired of being called stupid and racist and having to justify their views to self-righteous hypocrites who don’t listen to them anyway. A recent poll by ABC News/Washington Post shows that 96% of Trump’s supporters have no regrets about their vote. Let that sink in.

The more that Trump’s removal from office is seen by them as unfair, unjust, partisan, or the work of the “establishment,” the more outraged his followers are likely to be. Under the wrong circumstances and if not addressed thoughtfully, removing Trump from the Presidency could make the current divisions in the nation look blissfully peaceful in comparison. Decades of silenced and sidelined bitterness that had been given voice via Trump and which was being channeled through the system will suddenly be left with no clear appropriate outlet.

Thus, anyone wishing to pursue the impeachment of Trump should devote equal energy to doing something that may be new to them: listening.

Trump voters are not going away. They are a part of America. They need to be heard respectfully and with humility, rather than being shut down before they have time to express a complete thought. Their statements need to be responded to with questions to gain deeper understanding rather than with judgment. Their viewpoints must be scanned meticulously for areas of common ground, places from which a unifying political agenda can be built, and places from which long-damaged personal relationships can be rebuilt. Their sources of ideas and information should be listened to on an ongoing basis in a mutual exchange of ideas. When facts are presented to counter fiction, it should be done so respectfully.

The awfulness and nonstop crisis presented by Trump’s Presidency has been an understandable but potentially disastrous distraction from the Democratic Party’s ability to engage in any genuine introspection to discover and meaningfully address their own blind spots. If Democrats come through this experience without learning to listen, look at themselves, and stop judging people, they will have failed as much as the Republicans, and, worse yet, will leave the door open for another Trump-like monstrosity to take office in the future.

You Get to Choose How the Show Ends!

Trump’s Presidency will no doubt have an exciting conclusion with lots of drama – we would expect nothing less from our President – but it’s absolutely time for an intervention in Washington DC. Here’s what you can do:

  • Contact your US Senators and US Representative, especially if they are Republican, and tell them why you believe that Trump should be removed from office. You can get their contact info here and find dates and locations of town halls here. Constant pressure on them is important.
  • If you don’t see your legislators taking the action that you want, get involved in political campaigns in 2018 to get Democrats elected to the US House and US Senate.
  • Reconnect with Trump supporters that you stopped talking to or unfriended on Facebook. Tell them that you’d like to start over and to hear them out. Start slow. Listen. Suspend judgment. Don’t bail. When you want to express an opinion, ask an open-ended question instead to better understand their views and the reasons behind them. Keep asking questions. Whenever you want to judge, remind yourself that your best political instincts and your best thinking about how to handle people with different ideas has resulted in the situation we’re in now. Look for opportunities to feel empathy and compassion, to see a human being, and to find common ground. Has the person experiencing real pain, injustice, hardship or loss, and has merely misidentified the cause? Take the time to really listen to that pain until you can feel it as if it were your own. Hold firm to your values but trust that instantly squashing ideas with which you disagree is not the only way to change them.
  • Start paying attention regularly to sources of news and opinion that you would ordinarily reject. Listening does not mean that you support or agree with what is being said. It merely means that you are trying to get a better grasp of what is influencing people that you don’t understand.
  • Share this article on social media or via e-mail.

– rob rünt