November 18, 2019

Ready for another Schiffy week? I know, it’s a thoroughly distasteful mess, something most appropriate for viewing on the bottom of a bird cage. But after a week of witnesses who didn’t have a clue about Trump’s rationale in Ukraine, disagreed with his policies, thought they knew better, wanted to run things and could offer only hearsay “evidence,” we’re now supposedly going to hear from some witnesses with “firsthand knowledge.” And, you know what? I think it actually might get pretty good, especially if you like watching train wrecks in slow motion.

To set this up, recall that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, in his written statement last week, told the story about the member of his staff who, on July 26 –- the day after the “problematic” Trump/Zelensky phone call –- sat on a patio having lunch with Ambassador Sondland and two other people and overheard his conversation with President Trump. The staffer said he could hear Trump’s side of the conversation quite clearly, as the President was speaking so loudly that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear. Trump asked Sondland if the Ukrainians were ready to move forward with “the investigations,” and Sondland said they were.

In his statement, Taylor said the staff member told him (Taylor) that Sondham had told him (the staffer --- see how convoluted this game of “gossip” is?) that President Trump cared more about the investigation of the Bidens than he did about Ukraine, and that Giuliani had been pressing for that. (Are we up to triple hearsay now?) Taylor explained that he was submitting this statement later, as a supplement, “for completeness,” to his original deposition given on October 22, saying that at that time, he didn’t know about this phone call.

When Taylor gave this statement last Wednesday, the media went crazy over their new “bombshell.” Taylor didn’t identify the staffer who “overheard” the call, but “a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that it is David Holmes, the State Department official just added to the calendar to testify in closed session Friday.”

That was Wednesday. At this writing, his closed-door session has been held, and Holmes’ opening statement has been leaked. Here are a couple of paragraphs that zero in on the call itself:

Holmes: “During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said that he was going to call President Trump to give him an update. Ambassador Sondland placed a call on his mobile phone, and I heard him announce himself several times, along the lines of ‘Gordon Sondland holding for the President.’ It appeared that he was being transferred through several layers of switchboards and assistants. I then noticed Ambassador Sondland’s demeanor change, and understood that he had been connected to President Trump. While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.

“I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain that he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelenskyy ‘loves your ass.’ I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.” Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the President.”

Holmes says that after the call, he asked Sondland if it was true that the President did not “give a sh*t about Ukraine,” and Sondland replied that the President did not “give a sh*t about Ukraine.” Sondland told Holmes, “He only cares about the big stuff” that personally benefits him, such as investigating the Bidens.

As for “the investigations,” it’s easy to understand why Trump (and his attorney) wanted not only to uncover corruption but, specifically, to know what happened with Ukraine during the 2016 campaign. If you’ve been reading Lee Smith’s outstanding new book, THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, you know that super-slimy Fusion GPS was working with Ukrainian sources to find anything they could on Trump and/or his associates, such as campaign director Paul Manafort (we’ve seen how that case played out with Andrew Weissmann leading the special counsel). Also, when Trump was a candidate, the Ukrainian ambassador in Washington, DC, publicly trashed his campaign, and that is stunning for a diplomat to do. This is the tip of the iceberg; Trump had every reason to suspect interference and outright sabotage.

Anyway, Holmes’ statement goes on; a link to the entire statement is below. But there are huge problems with this statement, including in his timeline, which has at least one significant mistake. He used Trump’s attendance at a G20 meeting that also included Putin to support his belief that Trump lacked support for Ukraine –- quite a bit of editorializing going on there –- but gave the date as July 28 when it was a full month earlier, before the quid pro quo was even an issue. Just the opposite; on April 16, Trump had had his first congratulatory call to Zelensky, promising him that “we’re with you all the way” and personally inviting him to the White House.

Not just that --- there’s more in this story that defies common sense. For one thing, if these jokers are sitting on a public patio in Ukraine able to OVERHEAR the President on a phone call, that call is non-secure in an extremely dicey foreign country. Can you say “jail”? Who do they think they are, Hillary Clinton?

The truth is, these diplomats and staffers stationed in Ukraine disagreed with Trump over how to deal with that country. You and I knew when we elected him that Trump wasn’t eager to send billions of dollars to other countries unless he had determined that it made sense to do so, that there was some benefit to America. The President was simply being consistent. Besides that, he’s required by law –- you know, LAW, passed by CONGRESS –- to look into corruption, and the efforts being undertaken to clean it up, before sending the big bucks to another nation. The diplomatic corps apparently felt that Trump should support Ukraine in every way, no matter what, and probably saw any hesitation to do anything less as a betrayal.

It’s easy to imagine these four members of the diplomatic corps sitting around a table on a restaurant patio on a pleasant summer day in Ukraine, listening to the President of the United States on the other end of the phone like big shots and then taking the opportunity to badmouth The Boss. Saying that Trump doesn’t “give a sh*t about Ukraine” sounds just like something these frustrated employees (Democrats, I understand) might say after a glass or two of wine. I really wouldn’t count such hyperbole as sworn testimony, though I’m sure Jake Tapper would.

Also, for a great overview of where we are now in all this –- refreshingly calm and rational –- watch the entire Sunday edition of LIFE, LIBERY & LEVIN, featuring Intel Committee ranking member Devin Nunes.

Life Liberty & Levin

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Comments 1-25 of 47

  • Susan Cutaia

    11/20/2019 04:44 AM

    When does this Witch hunt end? Haw many more Taxpayer Dollars are spent to attack one of the best President's in U.S history??? Democrats have attempted yet another Coup! Where is JUSTICE for the American people and our President?

  • Virginia Sherk

    11/19/2019 11:25 AM

    What ever happened to "OBJECTION, hear say?"
    This whole fiasco is entirely one sided.

  • Diann P

    11/19/2019 10:36 AM

    OK so why are the Republicans not doing more, all of this so-called impeachment hearings sound like they are illegal yet the dems can continue as though they are above the law. I can't believe the Republicans are sitting on their hands like this (except for a few) or are they just dems in republican clothing? Come on get on the ball and make them play fair.

  • Ed Thompson

    11/19/2019 10:08 AM

    “I don’t like his hair-impeach him—he said something about someone—impeach him-he won and my choice didn’t-impeach him—he’s rich—impeach him—he’s white—impeach him—he’s not a lifetime politician—impeach him—he’s doing things FOR Americans—impeach him—he’s making other countries show respect for America—impeach him—“!! What if we had more people like him in our government and less backstabbing from the other side? God Bless America and PLEASE Lord, save America from those who want to have control, at any cost ,to the citizens of this great nation. If we lose this one, the next several generations will have a horrible life in America. Maybe forever. Peace everyone please.

  • Jerry

    11/19/2019 08:52 AM

    The worse news about Impeachment is the world watches and enemies of this country gets to watch how ignorant the Left is and that motivates them to try and do harm to our country in one way or another. Look at our borders the Left wants them open that sends a message to the Cartels to increase trafficking of Humans, Drugs it also incites more murder now to the point where they murder Americans citizens with out fear of being caught. What does the Media cover? The Fake Impeachment hearings that nobody watches shameful; coverage of the insanity on the border should be made the focus, the trade agreement sitting on Pelosi desk should be the focus. Pelosi Schiff and the media are what they look like ,Horrible, they are not America. Third world countries, strong enemies watch with delight as this corrupt Impeachment continues.

  • Joanne Schmidt

    11/18/2019 09:08 PM

    I would like to comment to "Anne", who says her Christian friends cannot support Trump because he's "immoral." Are his policies "immoral?" Is he more "immoral" than Hillary Clinton or the Dem candidates? I think not. Furthermore, I can't help feeling that Trump is not the same man who may have done some things he's no longer proud of. Christians should remember that many of the saints once lived immoral lives and repented. King David committed adultery and murder, yet God called him "a man after my own heart" when he repented. Likewise, Saul, later known as St. Paul, who killed Christians before Christ appeared to him and changed his heart. St. Augustine had illegitimate affairs and a son by his mistress before converting to Christianity. And Mary Magdalene, from whom Christ cast out seven devils, yet later was at the foot of His cross and was the first person He appeared to after His Resurrection. Anyway, just remember that Trump is the most pro life president in history, opposes socialism, and loves this country. Anne: pray for him, but don't make a mistake and support those who will make us a socialist country which kills innocent unborn, etc., etc.

  • Patricia Cooper

    11/18/2019 08:44 PM

    I think it is time to put Pelosi and the first one to go on trial for treason. I think all the so called Democrats have proved their intentions to derail the government and spend as much of the people’s tax money onfrivolous and pettiness. These people are the worse kind of politicians

  • joseph orsini PhD

    11/18/2019 07:58 PM

    Pelosi's strategy:
    1. Drag Trump through the mud all during the Fall months.
    2. She will then NOT bring the impeachment "so as not to divide the country".
    3. Senate is unable to hold comparable hearings to clear Trump's name.
    4. Result is a scarred Trump reputation.

  • Shirley Freeland

    11/18/2019 07:02 PM

    Another scam and lies by liberals attempt to take down President Trump. Then one thing fails they make up something else and this has been going on for almost 3 years now!! Someone needs to summarize all these lies by Democrats trying to take out President Trump. Whole bunch of liars.

  • Christine Campbell

    11/18/2019 06:32 PM

    Mike, as always, you are right on the money!
    So much going on now that’s very hard to believe!

  • Gary Murphy

    11/18/2019 05:46 PM

    It is my strong belief that none of what we see happening right now or since President Trump started running for office, from the Russia collusion hoax, to the Kavanaugh hearings, the Muller investigation sham, to this current Ukraine fishing expedition, would be happening at all if it wasn't for a fully complicit Media establishment. If there were any actual journalism at all going on at any of the major networks then these sham investigations would have been called out for what they are long ago and the perpetrators of these hoaxs would have been identified and called out for the traitors they clearly are. The media in our country is the freest media in the world hands down but they seem hell bent on helping to usher in a progressive/socialist agenda that,ironically, is sure to clamp down on media access and heavily censor content once it is fully implemented. I can't for the life of me figure out why any thinking person would do that.

  • Paulette Taylor

    11/18/2019 05:42 PM

    If you are set out to prove your side in a court case, why wouldn't you call your prime witnesses first to establish your point? If Congressman Schiff is calling his "A Team" witnesses in the second week, I FEEL he has a weak case at best. I can't wait until the Republicans on the committee have their turn at questioning these prime witnesses. Thank you for relaying this information to us without bias.

  • Helen Tritt

    11/18/2019 05:15 PM

    I agree with you Governor, that the democrat/socialist criminals are truly a "slow moving Train Wreck", especially when these criminals have zero CLUES about REALITY. Just how STUPID AND GULLIBLE do they think Americans are to fall for their BALONEY AND FABRICATED LIES?? Every printed article concerning the democrat/socialists are nothing more than BIRD CAGE FODDER!
    God bless you for continuing to bring the TRUTH OUT IN FRONT FOR EVERYONE TO READ FIRST HAND.
    P.S. Rep. Stephanik is certainly on the path to becoming a star in Congress, I was delighted to hear how she pressed forward and was not intimidated by shifty.

  • Thomas Gavel

    11/18/2019 04:24 PM

    Dear Gov. Huckabee,
    Now I know why the Democrats mascot is a donkey. After 3 years of investigating the Russia Hoax,
    and everything else they can think of and coming up empty their going back to the Muller Report to see if they can find something that President Trump may have lied on his written questions. This is all because Hillary Lost the election. She lost because she had no platform except to beat Donald Trump. Donald Trump ran on Making America Great, He had a plan for America and a mission for America and ALL the people not like the Democratic Party, their mission was only to beat TRUMP.
    I'm 75 years old, I was a Democrat for years, a vice president of an Ohio CWA local for 15 years and when the democrats' started to turn left I turned right and didn't look back. I just cant imagine where America would be if Hillary had won. Thank GOD for President Trump and people like you, Fox News and OANN.

  • Deborah J Robbins

    11/18/2019 04:24 PM


  • Charles Colburn

    11/18/2019 03:31 PM

    How can this crap get stopped. Enough is enough. Does anyone have a positive plan to shut Shifty and Pugnosie down. They are in the process of destroying our great country.

  • Raymond

    11/18/2019 02:59 PM

    Thank you

  • William Taylor

    11/18/2019 02:37 PM

    Isn’t there a significant difference between a “look into corruption” by America and its Intelligence and Diplomatic services and asking a foreign , potentially corrupt, government to investigate an American citizen and look at its own corruption? I assume the first is what the LAW and Congress require. I think the second is what we think President Trump did. Am I wrong?

  • rodney burke

    11/18/2019 01:54 PM

    yeah, I have to say, the phone call with Sondland is suspicious. is it not true that it should have been classified? and I am having a hard time believing that DT spoke so loud that every one at the "table" could not only HEAR him but understand all his words...over a cell phone? Really? I think this whole thing is imagined. Since WHEN did jake Tapper start having the slightest credibility? I discount anything he says or believes as garbage.

  • Vernon Thompson

    11/18/2019 01:52 PM

    D.C. must be a fascinating place to work. Accusations are treated as a conviction and you are guilty until you prove your innocence! Hearsay evidence is treated as fact!
    The Speaker has lost her mind to put the biggest Liar, Leaker and Attention Seeker in charge of the Trump Impeachment Express. With and engineer like Adam (Captain Kangaroo) Schiff you already know the outcome. He is on a path to be the second coming of Andrew Weisman by manipulating evidence, manipulating the narrative, and hiding exculpatory evidence. Here is a man with no conscience and no moral compass.
    The only fitting outcome is that Nancy and Adam along with the few survivors wake up in January 2021 in a Veto Proof Republican Congress!!!!

  • ron ciccone

    11/18/2019 01:43 PM

    Mike, Where is the long awaited IG report? It seems talk of this and related reports has faded into oblivion as commercial news focuses sharply upon impeachement.

  • Philip LoPresti

    11/18/2019 01:34 PM

    I find these hearings a waste of my time to watch. The democrats are allowed to do and get away with anything they want, while the republicans are guilty of anything short of perfection.
    It's like watching a baseball game where one team wants to have all the all star players playing and the other team is only allowed to have rookies.

  • David Colonna

    11/18/2019 01:04 PM

    It truly is a shame how our President of the US cannot trust anyone who worked for past Presidents. This is truly why we as true Americans must stand against the deep, deep state and take them down by prosecuting them for lying! What a shame we have to live in a country which has such major liars work on my for us.

  • Jerry Korba

    11/18/2019 12:55 PM

    Politics for a long time has not been moral it has been immoral and corrupt for a century. Lets agree, people are not perfect and our creator did not allow one to be perfect. With politics we need to find a system that will make peoples life easier to live, For 2 centuries we have done that. That doesn't mean we stop making life easier. It is the Trump way to make life easier for all people. Until you live your life in places like Cuba, South America, north of South Korea, Russia why do you think people want to come to America. If you think you are bigger than the Creator to judge people you better load a wall up with mirrors and look at them you do not get to judge the morals of another Human being . If you are the Creator then by- pass all the misery we have on earthier us. Can't meet my challenge. If you can't you better stick with our current President. KAG

  • Ruby Howell

    11/18/2019 12:48 PM

    The Democrats have gone crazy! They are obsessed with removing our duely elected President. Just like in the Mueller investigation this impeachment is great material for a great soap opera. None of this is factual! Schiff has set himself up as the commander of this Nazi style court. The Democrats are grasping at anything that they can find to try to unseat a duely elected President. I, like most Americans, have become sick & tired of this "soap opera" taking place in Congressional Intelligence committee & with the Democrats period!