House managers continue to build devastating impeachment case against Trump: Live coverage #6

Donald Trump has been impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—and in case there was any doubt he’s guilty, he’s bragging about obstruction. But that’s not enough for Senate Republicans determined to protect him at all cost.

On day one of opening arguments, the House impeachment managers, led by Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, gave a master class in conveying complicated information clearly and persuasively, while Republicans conveyed their contempt for the proceedings by leaving the room and Chief Justice John Roberts failed to do his job by rebuking their absences. Even before Democrats began to make their case, a majority of Americans believed Trump should be removed from office.

The House impeachment managers—Schiff, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, and Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Sylvia Garcia—continue to make their case in the second day of opening arguments. Daily Kos will be following live.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 1:42:44 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

And we’re back with Val Demings.

Unless you made the mistake of listening to C-SPAN callers over the break. In which case, check in when you arrive at your new home in [Some other country, Any other country].

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 1:45:27 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

While Jeffries and Garcia concentrated on the White House meeting, and on the general level of pressure that the United States can level against Ukraine just by the nature of the relationship, Demings is speaking directly to the military assistance.

Expect Demings to make some effort to cut off Team Trump’s distortion of the level of assistance under Obama. The “Obama only gave them blankets” lie has been floated dozens of times across the House hearings and are a constant on Fox land.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 1:49:20 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

While it’s still ridiculous that the Republicans refuse to subpoena Bolton, Mulvaney or others, I’m appreciating the way that the House impeachment team is able to use the hours of canned testimony from the hearings to deliver brief quotes directly to the point.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 1:56:18 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Demings ends her presentation surprisingly quickly after punching hard at the importance of the military assistance package and the release of the package in past years.

Zoe Lofgren steps up to continue the story from there, looking at how Trump stepped in after the DOD had approved the assistance and cleared Ukraine on its efforts to fight corruption.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 2:00:58 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Lofgren starts by detailing the flurry of activity that began immediately after the Pentagon announced that it was releasing funds to Ukraine. Within a day, OMB officials clamped down, without giving a reason. 

Lofgren also explains that Trump gave an interview with Fox the same day, in which he brought up the “Crowdstrike” conspiracy theory involving Ukraine.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 2:06:18 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Like every manager today, Lofgren makes a pitch for obtaining some of the missing documents and points out the places in her story where a piece if missing because of Trump’s obstruction.

It’s a good tactic both in raising every scrap of possible pressure for issuing a subpoena, and for making clear how much the trial is affected by Trump’s obstruction — a charge that will be discussed tomorrow.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 2:12:22 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Lofgren points out the lack of any reason for the hold. No witness provided any reason.

All the various reasons provided during the House hearings were invented by Jordan, Nunes, and others during those hearings, and dropped when they clearly didn’t make sense. They floated ideas that Trump wanted more military aid from Europe — which made zero sense, especially for a hold made in secret. And they floated the idea that Trump was conducting an inter-agency review. which was simply not true. And they floated the idea that Trump held the aid because he was waiting for legislation to pass in Ukraine. But there was not one mention of any of the factors during the time the aid was actually being held.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 2:22:57 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

If Trump was actually concerned about corruption … why didn’t he tell Congress?

If Trump was actually seeking more funds from Europe … why didn’t he tell Congress?

If Trump was seeking more information from Zelensky … why didn’t he tell Congress?

He didn’t tell Congress, because none of that was true. None of it was even mentioned until House Republicans began to scramble to make up an excuse that could explain Trump’s actions without admitting to his extortion scheme.

Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 2:29:23 AM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Lofgren finishes up after doing a very solid job. Once again, I have think how much better these presentations are the the things we get in the House when talk-time is cut into five minute chunks.

Jason Crow up to talk about how we know Trump’s motives.