Tag Archives: Ukraine

It was the manner of the firing that rankles us, Mr. POTUS

Hey, I absolutely understand that a president of the United States needs to trust those who are closest to him and that the POTUS has the authority to hire and fire staffers at will.

Thus, when Donald John Trump, the nation’s current president, fied Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council staff after Vindman offered negative impeachment testimony to congressional questioners, I get it.

However, the manner of the dismissal and the spectacle that Trump and his senior White House staff made of it is what gets under my skin.

Lt. Col. Vindman is a war hero. He is a decorated Army officer who has shed blood on the battlefield in defense of his adopted country. He is a Ukraine native who came to this country as a toddler when his parents fled the Soviet Union.

How did the president let him go? By ordering him escorted out of the White House in broad daylight. He was shown the door and told, in effect, to “hit the road.” What’s more, so was Vindman’s twin brother, who had not a single thing to do with the Ukraine matter that got Vindman on the wrong side of the president. Yevgeny Vindman’s only “sin” is to be related to twin bro Alex.

Why couldn’t Trump have shown just a touch of discretion, of class, of empathy for a war hero? He could have issued a private directive, told Vindman to vacate his White House office. Then he could have issued a simple statement declaring that he had relieved Vindman of his duties based on, oh, “differences in policy.” Sure, those who had paid any attention to what Vindman said during the House impeachment hearings would know what he means … but that would be for us to determine.

That isn’t how Donald Trump rolls. He wants to make spectacles of others around him, not to mention of himself.

Trump’s scorched-Earth policy taking hold

Gordon Sondland is a goner. So is Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

What did these two men do to lose their high-powered jobs within the Donald John Trump administration? They told the truth to congressional committees seeking answers to a phone call that the current president made this past July to the president of Ukraine.

Sondland, a hotel magnate, was the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Vindman, a native of Ukraine (which was part of the Soviet Union when he was born) served on the National Security Council staff as an expert on Ukraine; oh, and Vindman also is a decorated Army hero who was wounded in battle.

The men told the truth as they understood it. They told congressional questioners about Trump’s phone call in which he asked Ukraine for political help. Vindman said the request troubled him when he heard the president ask for it. Sondland said it was “understood” that Trump was asking for a favor.

Trump won his acquittal this week from the Senate. He went to the National Prayer Breakfast and trashed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney, the first senator in U.S. history to vote to convict a president of his own party. It was Donald Trump at his vengeful worst.

Now he has canned two men. One of whom, Vindman, is a proven patriot; the other, Sondland, is a dedicated Trump supporter who gave lots of money to elect the president in 2016. I should mention as well that Trump canned Vindman’s brother, who also served on the NSC. Vindman’s brother, Yevgeny, another Army officer, did not testify. Trump fired him, I guess, because his brother Alexander might have said something to him about the Ukraine matter. So, if one Vindman gets fired, let’s make it a clean sweep and get of them both.

Trump is mad as hell at them. There likely will be more firings to come.

Hmm. Rather than invoking the call for harmony and unity in the wake of his acquittal of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Donald Trump appears to be setting a course that seeks to exact maximum vengeance.

Yes, he is entitled to act this way. It still packs a serious stench.

About to throw in the towel on impeachment

As an interested American observer of this impeachment trial, I am afraid my impeachment fatigue has reached critical mass.

I am officially ready for it to end. It’s not that I want it to end. It’s just that the finish line is appearing out there and we all know the outcome that the end of this grueling event will produce.

Donald John Trump is going to survive this trial. The U.S. House of Representatives sought to make the case that Trump abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. The House trial managers’ message has fallen on deaf ears. The Senate Republican majority is hearing none of it.

I do have some hope that former national security adviser John Bolton will be able to testify, telling senators what he heard — that Trump sought a foreign government to interfere in our upcoming presidential election. It won’t matter. Bolton’s testimony won’t sway enough Republican senators to convict Trump; he might not sway any of ’em! They’re wedded to the president, ignoring what I believe is an obvious violation of his oath of office.

I am worn out. I am whipped, man! I am ready now to get on with the next phase in what I hope is a concerted effort to get rid of the man I deem to be unfit for the office of president.

The election is coming on.

Let’s get busy. Shall we?

Mr. POTUS, doesn’t Bibi’s indictment matter?

Hey, wait a second!

Donald John Trump allegedly is so worried about corruption in Ukraine that he decided to ask the Ukrainians to investigate whether a potential political foe here at home, Joe Biden, was stained by ill deeds.

It has gotten the nation’s current president into a heap of trouble. The House of Representatives impeached him for it and the Senate is conducting a trial this very moment.

However, why isn’t our president concerned about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment for — um, let’s see — oh yeah, corruption? The indictment alleges fraud, bribery and breach of trust. That’s a big deal, right?

He and Bibi stood in the White House to announce a draft Middle East peace plan. Netanyahu calls Trump the best friend Israel can possibly have.

The Israeli courts have indicted him, though, on corruption charges that one would think should rankle the world’s No. 1 corruption fighter, Donald Trump.

Wouldn’t they?

Feeling oddly dirty backing Bolton these days

I am going to admit something of which I am not proud.

It is that I am feeling a bit dirty in backing the word of former national security adviser John Bolton, who suddenly has become the potentially star witness in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, the nation’s current president.

Bolton was in the room when Trump made that infamous July 25 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zellenskiy, the one when he asked Zellenskiy for a personal political favor. He has plenty to tell the Senate in its trial to determine whether Trump should remain president.

Why the dirty feeling? I have long opposed Bolton’s uber-hawkish world view. He once served as United Nations ambassador and said one could knock the top 10 floors off the U.N. building and not miss a lick.

However, he is a man of principle. He said he heard something in that Trump-Zellenskiy phone call that disturbed him. He reportedly told Trump at the time of his concern. Bolton now has written a book in which he details his alarm that Trump sought a political favor in exchange for sending military aid to Ukraine, which is in the midst of an all-out war with Russia-back rebels.

You’ve heard the phrase that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I don’t consider Donald Trump to be my “enemy.” Yes, I believe he is unfit for the office he occupies. I believe the phone call he made to Zellenskiy is just one of many examples he has provided to demonstrate his unfitness.

Bolton, who’s been scorned by many of us over the years, now has become a friend, an ally, someone of historic value.

Weird, huh?

Is this the ‘smoking gun’? Uhh, probably … not

Former national security adviser John Bolton has just tossed a proverbial live grenade into Donald John Trump’s defense team’s lap.

You see, he has this book coming out that alleges that the current president of the United States conditioned specifically the withholding of military aid to Ukraine on the launching of an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Bingo! Ba-da-boom! There’s your so-called “smoking gun.”

Democrats now are insisting in even more vigorous terms that Bolton be summoned to testify before the Senate trial that is underway to determine whether Trump should be kicked out of office. The House has impeached him on grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

If Bolton gets to talk openly and under oath to senators, then some folks believe this might be the testimony that could pry Republicans loose from their loyal support of Donald Trump. I wish I could join them in believing as much. I am afraid that Trump’s death grip on the GOP is as tight as ever.

It is an amazing transformation of a once-great political party.

If Bolton’s testimony is somehow kept out of the Senate record, then he will be able to publish his book, share to the world what he reportedly has written. Donald Trump will continue to deny that he said what Bolton has alleged … although I am unwilling to believe a single word that comes out of POTUS’s mouth.

I do agree, though, that Bolton has detonated a bomb.

It remains to be seen, though, whether it inflicts any serious damage to the man who is defending himself against those who have accused him of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Freshman senator challenges war hero’s patriotism

Now it’s Marsha Blackburn’s turn to etch her name onto my sh** list.

What has the freshman U.S. senator from Tennessee done to incur my wrath? She is questioning the patriotism, his loyalty to our country and the honesty of a decorated Army officer who has been wounded on the battlefield in Iraq.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s only sin, if you want to call it that, is to challenge some decisions made by the current president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

Sen. Blackburn has been on a monthlong tirade against Vindman. She calls him “vindictive” for suggesting that he believes it was wrong for Trump to ask a foreign government for a political favor.

She suggests that Vindman, whose parents fled the Soviet Union when he was a toddler, may be more loyal to Ukraine than he is to the United States. Wow! Amazing, if you ask me.

Never mind that Lt. Col Vindman is a highly decorated U.S. Army officer, that he thrust himself into harm’s way on behalf of this country. Or that he has professed his love of country and his dedication to public service by serving for as long as he has as a military officer.

I happen to be proud of the service that Lt. Col. Vindman has given to this country and I daresay that it vastly overshadows the service that most — if not all — of his critics have delivered.

Does that shield him from any criticism? Of course not! The criticism just needs to be deserved. So far, as far as I can tell, Marsha Blackburn has besmirched her own character.

Russia, Ukraine … which one attacked us in 2016?

Donald John Trump’s defense team today introduced, albeit gently, the notion that Ukraine might have joined its mortal enemy Russia in attacking our 2016 presidential election.

Trump is on trial for his job in the U.S. Senate. The House of Reps’ managers gave it their best shot in their opening argument. Now it’s Trump’s turn.

So what did the legal eagles representing the current president offer? They suggested that Ukraine might have attacked the U.S. election in 2016. But wait!

Russia and Ukraine are at war. Russia re-annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine. Russia-backed rebels are fighting Ukraine government forces. Thousands of people have been killed.

An alleged Ukrainian attack on our election, of course, is a Russian propaganda talking point, which Republicans in the Senate and House have been parroting. Moreover, U.S. intelligence experts have concluded unanimously that Russia acted alone in attacking our system in 2016, even though Donald Trump keeps denying their findings and disparaging their expertise.

I have to ask: Does it make any semblance of sense for Ukraine and Russia to — and pardon the expression — “collude” to interfere together to influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election?

My head is spinning.

Should Democratic candidates recuse themselves?

My quest for fairness compels me to wonder aloud: Given that this blog — published by me — has insisted that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unfit to sit as a “juror” in the trial of Donald John Trump, might there be a case to be made against the four Democratic senators who are running for president?

McConnell has said he won’t be an “impartial” juror, even though he took an oath to deliver impartial justice in the Senate impeachment trial of the current president of the United States.

What about the individuals who are running for their party’s nomination to oppose Trump in the November election? Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennett have made up their minds on how they intend to vote when they get the order to cast their vote. They will vote to convict Trump. Period.

I can think of a few other Republicans as well who’ve said they have made up their minds, that they don’t need no witness testimony or evidentiary documents. Lindsey Graham? Ted Cruz? John Kennedy? Give me a break.

However, this pre-judging disease spreads across the aisle.

The four Democrats have staked out their views already. Sure, they insist on witnesses and documents. It remains to be seen whether they’ll get ’em. It’s beginning to look to me as though the fix is in. Republicans who comprise most of the 100 Senate seats aren’t likely to admit witnesses, even though they have plenty to offer.

The four contenders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, though, need to think long and hard whether they are any more qualified to serve with impartiality than the Senate majority leader who’s admitted he will do nothing of the sort.

Hey, fair is fair … right?

Dershowitz needs to explain his change of mind on abuse of power

Alan Dershowitz has been recruited by Donald John Trump to join his defense team that will fight to stave off the current president’s potential conviction and removal from office.

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump on two articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. To my mind, the House impeachment managers have made the case. He abused his power by asking Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election and obstructed justice by blocking all White House officials from answering congressional subpoenas.

The president’s team will seek to rebut them.

Dershowitz, though, is going to argue — as I understand it — that the impeachment articles somehow violate constitutional precepts, that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.

I hate to disagree with an esteemed law professor emeritus at Harvard University … but I think I will.

Moreover, Dershowitz said precisely the opposite in 1998 when the House was impeaching President Bill Clinton. Twenty-two years ago, Dershowitz said an abuse of power was impeachable, but now he says it isn’t? What’s changed between then and now?

We all know the answer. Nothing has changed!

It’s too bad senators are required to sit there silently in the Senate chamber. None of them is allowed to object to what they might hear.

Indeed, I would find it highly objectionable for esteemed professor Dershowitz to say out loud that a president cannot be impeached for abusing the power of his office when, truth be told, he most certainly can.

I am so-o-o-o-o looking forward to hearing how Donald Trump’s team seeks to defend him.