The DC: 📞 Trump's Ukraine call, and... Should Congress end Trump's border emergency order?
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by Countable | 9.26.19
Welcome to Thursday, September 26th, sticks and automatics....
The White House on Wednesday released a memorandum of a July 25th phone call where President Donald Trump asked Ukraine's leader to "do us a favor" and "look into" former Vice President Joe Biden.
Anticipating this revelation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Tuesday that Democrats will launch a formal impeachment probe of Trump over this "betrayal of the integrity of our elections."
Trump's call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came a few days after the White House moved to end military aid to Ukraine, raising the specter of some kind of quid pro quo agreement. In the memo of the call, Trump tells Zelensky that the U.S. gives more aid to Ukraine than the European Union and that the EU should give more, but makes no overt reference to providing Ukraine an additional aid package.
While there is no overt this-for-that demonstrated in the call, the memorandum does clearly reveal Trump pressuring Zelensky to work with Attorney General William Barr and Trump's personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani:
"The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
On the Radar
What They're Saying
Talk of impeachment has gotten people talking. We round up what politicians across the spectrum are saying here. Here's a preview:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): "I respect the responsibility of the President to engage with foreign leaders as part of his job. It is not part of his job to use taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign. #ExposeTheTruth"
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA): "It is shocking at another level that the White House would release these notes and felt that somehow this would help the president's case or cause. Because what those notes reflect is a classic Mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader."
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused House Democrats of a "rush to judgement" in opening an impeachment inquiry.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "Wow. Impeachment over this? What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger. Democrats have lost their minds when it comes to President @realDonaldTrump."
DOJ Explains Why it Withheld the Whistleblower Complaint
The Dept. of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) on Wednesday released its legal opinion explaining its decision to withhold an intelligence community whistleblower complaint of “urgent concern” from Congress. The complaint alleged that Trump made comments that could be viewed as soliciting a foreign campaign contribution in violation of campaign finance laws.
The decision to withhold forwarding the complaint was an apparent violation of federal whistleblower laws governing the intelligence community (IC), which requires that credible whistleblower complaints classified as an “urgent concern” and received by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) be forwarded to congressional intelligence committees within seven days after review.
After DNI received the complaint, it requested that the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) review the complaint because of the alleged campaign finance violation before forwarding it to congressional committees. DOJ sent the overall whistleblower complaint to the OLC, and referred the potential campaign finance violation to the criminal division for review.
The DOJ found that there wasn’t a criminal campaign finance violation to prosecuted because no “thing of value” was explicitly promised or exchanged as a result of the call.
Read some highlights of legal opinion here, then tell your reps:
Under the Radar
How Impeachment Works, Illustrated
Here's a quick civics lesson how the impeachment process unfolds:
Your Gov at a Glance 👀
The White House: President Trump in NY & D.C.
- At 9:15am EDT, the president will participate in a meet-and-greet with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
- At 10:40am EDT, the president will deliver remarks at a joint fundraising committee breakfast.
- At 1:30pm EDT, the president will arrive at the White House.
The House of Representatives: In
- Voting on a bill to terminate the border security emergency declared by President Trump.
- Voting on a bill to establish a Homeland Security joint task force to stop opioid smuggling.
- Voting on a bill to make TSA signs accessible to passengers who don't speak English or have impaired vision or hearing.
- Voting on a bill to require Homeland Security & the Justice Dept. to prepare annual reports on domestic & international terrorism.
The Senate: In
- Voting on a bill to fund the government through November 21st.
- Voting on the confirmation of John Hyten as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Voting on the confirmation of Eugene Scalia as Labor Secretary.
What You're Saying
Here's how you're answering Should Congress Terminate the Border Security Emergency Declared by President Trump?
(Follow Robert's comment here.)
(Follow Kathryn's comment here.)
Also Worth a Click
- Should Homeland Security Ban the Separation of Children From Families in Migrant Detention Facilities?
- Should the Feds Allow Legal Marijuana Businesses to Access Banks?
And, in the End…
On this date in 1960, the first televised debate between presidential candidates took place in Chicago:
You can't tell from the above clip, but Richard Nixon wound up looking worse than John F. Kennedy during the broadcast. Some say it cost Nixon the election.
Drink some hard cider in honor of Johnny Appleseed Day,
Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.
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