Trump’s own opinions on Ken Starr: ‘I think Ken Starr is a lunatic,’ and ‘He’s a freak’

If you haven’t heard, former head investigator of President Bill Clinton, Ken Starr, will now be a part of Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team. He was the guy that turned a Republican-driven investigation of Clinton’s real estate holdings into a perverse push to get Clinton impeached due to an extramarital affair—which only cost the American taxpayer $70 million. If you are a little younger you might remember Ken Starr as one of the disgraced Baylor University officials who lost his job as president and chancellor of school (but kept his job as a professor there) after it came out that he, along with other school officials, did next to nothing to help or investigate female students’ allegations of rape.

As with all things Trump, the sheer bizarre hypocrisy of using Ken Starr as a defender against impeachment is so consistently gothic in its scope as to almost render space and time void and null. Here’s a clip of Donald Trump speaking with MSNBC in 1999, giving his thoughts on the whole Clinton impeachment saga. 

DONALD TRUMP: I think Ken Starr is a lunatic. I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster. I hated the way the president handled it, it was a long and terrible process. I really think that Ken Starr was terrible.

But Trump’s thoughts on Ken Starr in 1999 were as layered as you might imagine. As he told Maureen Dowd in 1999, ''Starr's a freak. I bet he's got something in his closet.''

The nuance!

x

Republican organization trolls Trump administration, posts videos of Ken Starr’s 1998 testimony

The group Republicans for the Rule of Law, a group you may remember produced a video of former conservative prosecutors explaining how and why Donald Trump needed to be impeached for breaking the law, has released another video. This time, in the wake of the news that former President Clinton investigator Ken Starr is joining Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, Republicans for the Rule of Law seems to want to remind Ken Starr of his own legal positions on obstruction of justice.

They have been releasing excerpts of video from Starr’s 1998 testimony to Congress, where he outlined his belief that then President Bill Clinton had obstructed justice as Starr investigated Clinton’s extramarital affair.

In one of the clips, Starr explains that the “invocation of privileges” by the Clinton White House was indicative of its unwillingness to comply with the legal investigation being conducted. In the clip, with a younger, beer-loving future Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sitting behind him, independent counsel Starr tells members of Congress that he considers unmeritorious, frivolous uses of presidential privilege to be “abuses” of the power of the office. But seemingly the only job of the Trump White House the past couple of years is stopping people from testifying or talking with investigators.

x

The second clip is even more on the nose. In it Starr tells Congress that the Clinton White House has misused its powers of privilege to impede his investigation, and in so doing had “delayed and impeded the investigation.”

x

These are Republican lawyers pointing out Republican hypocrisy.

Lindsey Graham Predicts “Bipartisan Acquittal” of President Trump

Speaking to Sean Hannity, Senator Lindsey Graham predicted a “bipartisan acquittal of President Trump” by the Senate in his impeachment trial.

“Bipartisan Acquittal of President Trump”

Lindsey Graham told Hannity on Wednesday that he hoped the Senate wouldn’t call anyone as a witness in President Trump’s trial, because “every witness being requested by the Democrats were available to the House, but they chose not to call them.” If none were called, Graham said it could be all over in “about a week,” and predicted “a bipartisan acquittal of President Trump” as well.

Hannity queried why some of his colleagues would want to do the job of the House – the Senate is there to try the case, not really to hear witnesses. Graham had a simple answer for that.

“Chuck Schumer is not seeking the truth,” he argued:

If you think Chuck Schumer is trying to find out what happened here, you’re missing a lot. Chuck Schumer is trying to take back the Senate. He’s trying to make the argument that if you don’t call a witness you’re trying to cover up for the President. The truth of the matter is that Chuck Schumer is willing to destroy executive privilege. I can only imagine what he would be saying if this were a Democratic President. Who is he asking for? The National Security Advisor to the President, his Chief of Staff, the Secretary of State and the OMB Director. Four people essential to any presidency, and he couldn’t give a damn if Trump loses executive privilege.

RELATED: Lindsey Graham Hammers ‘Un-American Loser’ Colin Kaepernick For Comments on Killing of Iranian General

“They Just Hate Him So Much”

Graham said that the Democrats “just hate [him] so much,” and have been trying to “destroy his presidency” ever since he was elected. He warned that the impeachment would backfire on the Democrats like it did to the Republicans when they impeached Clinton.

“I think 2020 is going to be a blow out,” he said. “By the time impeachment is over and we have an election in November, there is going to be a backlash… Most Americans jealously guard the right to pick their own leaders, and I think they’re going to hold it against politicians who take that right away.”

Not only would Republicans keep the Senate, but they would also win the House back, and President Trump would be re-elected, Graham argued.

RELATED: Lindsey Graham Rips Senators Paul and Lee Over War Powers Act

“End This Crap as Quickly as Possible”

Hannity suggested that the Senate should call Hunter Biden as a witness, and answer for why he was being paid “millions and millions” by Burisma, despite having no experience.

“Can you think of a good reason [why they would do that]?” Hannity asked, adding “I can only think of one.”

Graham responded by agreeing that the case “stinks to high heaven,” but that it should be looked at “after the trial.”

“The best thing for the American people is to end this crap as quickly as possible, have a trial in the Senate, bipartisan acquittal of the president,” he said. “On February the 4th, when the President comes into the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union, he will have been acquitted by the Senate, he will be the strongest he’s ever been politically. When it comes to Donald Trump, the best is yet to come.”

I agree 100 percent with the Senator. The American people want this over and done with, not dragged on and on and on forever, with more “expert” witnesses and more fake bombshells. He is absolutely right that this plan will come back to bite the Democrats in the rear at the next election. President Trump will get another 4 years, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it!

The post Lindsey Graham Predicts “Bipartisan Acquittal” of President Trump appeared first on The Political Insider.

Senate GOP caucus meltdown! Five-alarm fire engulfs the White House

Republican senators caught amid a battery of fires engulfing the White House are frantically searching for a way out. Between the Government Accountability Office report determining the Trump administration broke the law by withholding security assistance from Ukraine to the blockbuster Rachel Maddow interview of indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, vulnerable members of the GOP caucus are trying to claw their way to safety on the fly. No one solution has permeated the caucus, just a scattershot bid for survival. It's an impossible task when Republican lawmakers long ago decided their path to enduring power was to back Donald Trump and all his corruption come hell or high water. 

Turns out hell was their fate as the sun arose on the morning they would take their oaths to "do impartial justice" in the impeachment trial of the 45th president of the United States. The night before, Parnas, who desperately wants to testify before Congress, gave his firsthand account of the criminal enterprise Trump has been running from the Oval Office. "President Trump knew exactly what was going on," Parnas told Maddow. "He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president."

Yes, Parnas has been criminally indicted and his account must be vetted. But that's the whole point—his account must be vetted. Parnas has too many receipts in the way of texts and handwritten notes not to be taken seriously, which is exactly why GOP senators are fumbling about looking for refuge from the facts—many facts. In fact, they want refuge from all the facts, including Parnas, the conclusions of the nonpartisan GAO, the potential testimony of John Bolton, the recently reported emails directly implicating Trump and his top deputies in the scandal, not to mention all the other evidence unearthed by the House inquiry.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is trying to run a misdirection on the Parnas revelations, questioning why the House Intelligence Committee didn't address the very evidence it subpoenaed last October but didn't receive until two days ago. "Doesn't that suggest that the House did an incomplete job, then?" Collins offered. No, it does not. The materials had been seized by the FBI and unavailable during the House inquiry, so Democrats pressed forward with what was available to them.

Wanna join the effort to restore sane leadership to the Senate? Give $3 right now to flip the Senate and kick Mitch McConnell to the curb.

For his part, Texas Sen. John Cornyn is trying to keep the illegality of withholding aid to Ukraine from reaching Trump by compartmentalizing it. “It’s a civil matter, it’s not a criminal matter... It’s not directed at the president, it’s the Office of Management and Budget,“ Cornyn told reporters of the GAO report. “The GAO report identifies the OMB, not the president,” he adds. Oh, okay, so how about all those emails showing that Trump ordered the freeze?

And Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, already facing an uphill climb in her reelection bid, has clearly concluded there's simply no way to deal in facts and acquit Trump. Therefore, it's time to start demonizing the press, just like Trump does. When asked by CNN's Manu Raju if the Senate should consider new evidence in Trump's impeachment trial, McSally disparaged Raju. 

"Manu, you’re a liberal hack—I’m not talking to you," she said as she brushed past him and into a hearing room. McSally was so proud of herself, she tweeted out the video from her own account with the words, "You are," as in a liberal hack, in case anyone missed it the first time. Classy.

In short, Republicans are all searching for the exits as Trump's five-alarm fire of corruption rages on, but no one knows exactly where they are and who will survive. 

x

Trump’s impeachment defense team is announced, and Giuliani didn’t make the cut

Donald Trump is just dying to have his impeachment trial be a D.C. mash up of COPS and Jersey Shore, but apparently some sanity crept into the script he's been preparing and his gaffe-a-minute personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani didn't make the cut

Instead, Trump's defense team will mainly include White House counsel Pat Cipollone as his chief advocate, another Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow, and Cipollone's deputy Pat Philbin, an alum of George W. Bush's White House.

Politico reports that Cipollone is "a well-respected litigator within conservative circles"—never mind that he's put his name on a series of legally unsound, garbage opinions that have flowed from the White House counsel's office under his direction. But none of that really matters to Trump. The biggest problem is that Cipollone might be a ratings dud. 

Politico reports that the decision to make Cipollone Trump's front man is "the biggest gamble."

"I don’t know how much TV Pat has done,” a former administration official said. Yikes ... red alert, red alert!

“The president is very attuned to how people perform on TV,” a senior administration official said. “He knows he will be acquitted, but is itching to get his side of the story told under oath and in front of the world. He’s itching to have a robust defense be the best offense.”

Whether Cipollone turns in a good performance surely won't be a mystery, as Trump will be following along and likely tweeting in real time. If Cipollone is bombing, Trump will be the first to let the world know that he's never even met that man.

House panel releases trove of damning new evidence from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas

The House Intelligence Committee released a trove of new impeachment-related information Tuesday supplied by indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. The new documents, which had been subpoenaed by the House panel last fall, appear to include a wealth of information. They range from Parnas’ handwritten notes about getting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, to a letter Rudy Giuliani penned to Zelensky in May requesting a meeting with Donald Trump’s “knowledge and consent,” to some creepy surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine who was abruptly removed from her post following a Giuliani-led smear campaign.

Here’s where you can find all the stuff:

Transmittal letter with description of materials Materials 1 Materials 2

Let’s all remember that this came out just before the impeachment trial is set to begin in the Senate, where vulnerable GOP senators will have to grapple with producing the appearance of a fair proceeding. It’s another strategic win for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Here’s a sampling of some of the evidence circulating on Twitter.

x

x

x

x

Russian spies hacked Ukrainian gas company central to Trump’s impeachment

Russian military spies have hacked the Ukrainian gas company that became central to Donald Trump's impeachment after the revelation that Trump demanded Ukraine open an investigation into the company. The board members of the gas company, Burisma, included the son of Trump's chief 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump hoped to raise questions about that board post and any potential corruption on the part of the Bidens, though there has been zero evidence of foul play. 

The hacking effort began in early November when the GRU, Russia's intelligence agency, began a cyber "phishing" expedition that sent bogus emails to employees of Burisma Holdings, according to the California-based company Area 1 Security. The goal was to get Burisma employees to click on the emails so GRU spies could gain access to internal information and data about the company. The phishing campaign's timing paralleled the congressional impeachment inquiry into Trump. Area 1 Security's chief executive, Oren Falkowitz, says the GRU successfully breached Burisma and several of its subsidiaries and partners, according to the Washington Post

Falkowitz couldn't be certain exactly what kind of information the GRU accessed or what the Russians planned to do with it, but the discovery sets off alarm bells as the United States barrels toward the 2020 election. 

“The timing of the GRU’s campaign in relation to the 2020 U.S. elections raises the specter that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections,” Falkowitz told the Post.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in hopes of electing Trump over Hillary Clinton. In the years since the election, it's become clear that Russia conducted a concerted and pervasive effort at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nonetheless, Trump has latched on to a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 election in an attempt to boost Clinton's candidacy. It's a completely idiotic and unsupported notion that Trump just can't let go of.

House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff said Tuesday that it appeared Russia was preparing to help Trump win reelection in 2020. "It certainly looks like they are at it again with an eye towards helping this president," Schiff told a cadre of reporters on Capitol Hill. "We all have to denounce any further meddling in our elections. Americans should decide American elections." 

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas turns over ‘trove’ of information to congressional investigators

Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has turned over photos, texts, and thousands of documents to the House Intelligence Committee, which subpoenaed the information last fall. 

Parnas, who has been indicted for violating campaign finance laws and pleaded not guilty, had originally declined to comply with the congressional subpoena. But after being arrested and changing attorneys, Parnas began a charm offensive with Congress in order to testify on the Ukraine matter and hopefully gain some leniency in his federal case.

"After our trip to DC, we worked through the night providing a trove of Lev Parnas' WhatsApp messages, text messages & images—not under protective order—to #HPSCI, detailing interactions with a number of individuals relevant to the impeachment inquiry," Parnas' attorney, Joseph Bondy, tweeted with the hashtags #LetLevSpeak and #LevRemembers.

Bondy did not offer any specifics in terms of the substance of the information that was relayed, but federal investigators had reportedly confiscated more than a dozen electronic devices, including cell phones, iPads, laptops, and a hard drive in their investigation. As Parnas tries to convince the House panel to hear his testimony, he is facing the prospect of additional federal charges.

White House, reportedly fearing 4-plus GOP defections on Senate trial vote, pushes dismissal

The White House reportedly believes as many as four-plus GOP senators will vote with Democrats to call witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, according to CBS News. If true, that's a whopper of a turnabout. CBS names Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado as the first four potential defections, with Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as two other possibilities. 

This development would explain a lot of things, chief among them why Trump went from pushing for testimony from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday morning to several hours later tweeting his support for a Senate vote to dismiss the trial altogether. It was quite an evolution, even for Trump.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't have the votes for dismissal, according to CNN, and he's stalling on laying out a timeline on a vote to set the parameters for the trial. Naturally, McConnell went to the Senate floor Monday to take a victory lap on Pelosi agreeing to send over the impeachment articles before the Senate's parameters were clear. He said she had accomplished "nothing." 

But at the last minute, at least, it seems more like a “Republicans in disarray” moment. Trump's switching horses on the Senate trial midstream because he's freaked. The White House is pushing McConnell to take a vote on dismissal for which he doesn't have enough GOP support. At the same time, top Republicans are trying to publicly dissuade Trump from insisting on incorporating the House GOP clown car in his defense team.

“My advice to him would be: Let's not infect the Senate trial with the circus-like atmosphere of the House,” Cornyn told reporters. 

Sorry, but it looks like Pelosi has at least given the White House and Republican senators a touch of heartburn, among other things she accomplished.

Trump is of two minds on a Senate trial—two warring, take no prisoners, homicidal minds

When it comes to the Senate impeachment trial, Donald Trump wants to have it both ways—and one way totally wants to destroy the other way. His first mind is desperate for a clown car of witnesses, but only his witnesses. "I’d like to hear ‘shifty’ Schiff, I’d like to hear Hunter Biden and Joe Biden,” Trump told White House reporters Thursday. But not that John Bolton guy, who knows all the juiciest details of Trump's Ukraine extortion. “When we start allowing national security advisers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can’t do that,” Trump also imparted Thursday. Sorry, Democrats, no witnesses for you!

On Sunday, Trump reiterated his call for witnesses, adding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to his wish list. "Why did Nervous Nancy allow corrupt politician Shifty Schiff to lie before Congress? He must be a Witness, and so should she!" he tweeted. "Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?"

But after Trump floated those gems late Sunday morning, someone must have gotten on the hotline to him and informed Trump that he didn't have a chance in hell of getting the witnesses he wanted, but Democrats did. 

Er ... scratch all that witness stuff I said several hours ago. “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have,” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon, endorsing instead a quick Senate dismissal without any trial whatsoever. “I agree!”

Forget witnesses! Dismissal or bust! Trump retweeted his Sunday dismissal tweet again Monday, just to be clear he was still in agreement with the dismissal faction of his brain. 

But regardless of which Trump faction finally wins this battle of the daft, Trump will remain impeached forever, as Pelosi pointed out on Sunday. "This president is impeached for life, regardless of any gamesmanship on the part of Mitch McConnell," Pelosi told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

In case you want to watch Pelosi say it.

x