First, this from Martha S:

Great questions as usual, Mike. But you forgot to ask Schiffty about his connections to the identical twin Vindman boys, Lt. Colonel Alexander and Lt. Colonel Yevgeny. Interesting to know that they have offices across the hall from each other at the NSC and they both have connections to the impeachment proceedings, albeit behind the curtain.

From the Gov:

Great idea, Martha, though I certainly haven’t forgotten that. There’s plenty more that Schiffty could be asked. The developing story about the identical twin Vindmans is fascinating, and I’ll be writing about it as more details are clear. In the meantime, let’s bring everybody up to speed…

NSC aide handling book approvals is twin brother of Lt. Col. Vindman: Report

--------------------

Alas, my list of suggested “fun” questions for Adam Schiff did not get asked on the Senate floor, but I would have loved to watch his face during one particular Q&A that did take place. It could go down as the Question Of The Day, as it opened the door to questioning by senators concerning the unnamed “whistleblower” (ERIC CIARAMELLA) and the activities surrounding the suspicious origin of the impeachment “inquiry” within Schiff’s House Intel Committee.

It was posed to Trump’s legal counsel by Republican Sens. Lee, Cruz and Hawley: “Is it true that Sean Misko, Abigail Grace and the alleged ‘whistleblower’ were employed by or detailed to the National Security Council during the same time period between January 20, 2017, and the present? Do you have reason to believe that they knew each other? Do you have any reason to believe that the alleged ‘whistleblower’ and Misko coordinated to fulfill their reported commitments to ‘do everything we can to take out the President’?”

Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin calmly and matter-of-factly tackled this one, saying the only knowledge his team has comes from public reports. “I don’t want to get into speculating about that,” he said. It seemed for a moment that this was all he might say, but then he went on: “It is something that, to an unknown extent, may have been addressed in the testimony of the inspector general of the intelligence community before Chairman Schiff’s committees, but that testimony --- contacts with the ‘whistleblower,’ contacts between members of Manager Schiff’s staff and the whistleblower --- are shrouded in secrecy to this day.

“We don’t know what the testimony of the ICIG was; that remains secret, has not been forwarded. We don’t know what Manager Schiff’s staff’s contacts with the ‘whistleblower’ have been and what connections there are there. It’s something that would seem to be relevant, since the ‘whistleblower’ started this entire inquiry, but I can’t make any representations that we have particular knowledge of the facts suggested in the question. We know that there was a public report suggesting connections and prior working relationships between certain people –- not something that I can comment on other than to say that there’s a report there. We don’t know what the ICIG discussed. We don’t know what the ICIG was told by the ‘whistleblower.’ Other public reports about inaccuracies in the ‘whistleblower’s’ report to the ICIG, we don’t know the testimony on that. We don’t know the situation of the contacts, coordination, advice provided by Manager Schiff’s staff to the ‘whistleblower’ --- that all remains unknown, but something that, obviously, to get to the bottom of motivations, bias, how this, uh, how this inquiry was all created, could potentially be relevant. Thank you.”

Thank YOU, senators and Trump attorneys, for finally getting a discussion of this into the public record. The message was subtle but crystal clear to House managers: WE WILL GO THERE. DO NOT DOUBT US. Mr. Philbin was referring to the mysterious 18th transcript --- the one transcript from the House “inquiry” that Schiff will not release. (The House even refers to “the 17 witnesses,” when there were really 18.) Intel Committee IG Michael Atkinson gave his testimony inside the SCIF (“skiff”), and since that time, not even anyone on Schiff’s committee has been allowed to look at it outside that elaborately secure room in the basement of the Capitol building. We know, of course, that if it were helpful to their case at all, they would have not only revealed it, but trumpeted it.

It was bad enough that the President’s legal counsel were denied any presence during the House “inquiry” hearings. (Incidentally, I always use quotes around “inquiry” in this context because it wasn’t an inquiry at all, as the outcome had obviously been pre-ordained.) If Trump hadn’t been denied due process, his deputy counsel would have been present during the questioning of Atkinson and would have been able to ask questions himself; as it was, they didn’t even provide him with a transcript when it was done. Now, after all the other transcripts have been released, Schiff is STILL keeping Atkinson’s testimony from them.

It’s Atkinson who received the initial “whistleblower” complaint, AFTER Ciaramella had gone to Adam Schiff’s office and consulted with his staff on what to do with it. We’ve gone all over this: it was in Schiff’s office that Ciaramella was put in touch with his anti-Trump “whistleblower” attorneys. Ciaramella’s close friend who had worked with him at the National Security Council, Sean Miklos, was on Schiff’s staff. Ciaramella and Miklos were the two White House national security staffers overheard just two weeks after Trump’s inauguration loudly commenting that they would take Trump out.

Schiff probably thought he could keep the lid on the contrived origin of his phony “inquiry,” but his lies have caught up with him. He no doubt has a legal argument prepared to try to keep himself out of the witness chair if witnesses are called, but that is highly unlikely to work, and if it does, the truth will still come out through Ciaramella, Miklos, Atkinson and perhaps others on the House staff. I have a feeling it’s already been decided on BOTH sides of the aisle that witnesses won’t be called, as Schiff actually doesn’t want witnesses to be called now. Given the Pandora’s box that would be opened if Ciaramella and/or Schiff were called, I think House managers may just be pretending to demand witnesses so that when it doesn’t happen, they can complain forever about the “lack of fairness.” Yes, they are that disingenuous.

The idea that John Bolton would be a helpful witness for the House has been destroyed by a video clip of him being interviewed for Radio Free Europe in August, a month before he left the White House. In the clip, there is no hint of frustration with Trump concerning Ukraine; he even describes the two phone calls between Trump and Zelensky as “very warm and cordial.” Bolton says, “...the success of Ukraine maintaining its freedom, its system of representative government, a free-market economy FREE OF CORRUPTION (emphasis mine)...are high priorities here, obviously, but high priorities for the United States as well.”

Say, if witnesses are called after all and the Democrats decide not to call Bolton, can we have him?

…………………...

By the way, here’s a great question suggested by reader B. Drinkwine:

Many are wondering and would like an answer to this question: How can four Democrat Senators who are running for President in 2020 vote to impeach their opponent, Donald Trump? Is this not a conflict of interest or illegal?

From the Gov:

To my knowledge, no one has challenged this legally, but obviously they do have a huge conflict of interest and cannot possibly be unbiased. On the other hand, who among them is unbiased?

It does seem they had ample cause to recuse themselves, and you know they wish they didn’t have to be there. They've probably been driving around with bumper stickers reading “I’d Rather Be In Iowa.” Fortunately for all, the way things are looking as of this writing (early Thursday), they will get their wish in a matter of hours.

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Comments 1-25 of 44

  • Rick

    01/31/2020 03:51 PM

    Why can't the democrat presidential candidates who voted for Trump's impeachment be charged with using their power for personal gain, and interfering with an election?

  • SUZANNE GIBBS

    01/31/2020 11:27 AM

    Sorry, but you are not my first love anymore.........I LOVE, LOVE Patrick Philbin; my new hero. He is absolutely terrific.
    Don't worry, though, once this all dies down, you'll be back up to number one.......
    Suzanne

  • Vernon Thompson

    01/31/2020 10:50 AM

    I received a response from my worthless Representative, Steven Horsford (D-NV) to my impeachment comments. Not surprisingly it was full of approved Democrat talking points applauding impeachment. I am waiting for this round of Circus Acts to end before I reply. If you don't mind, I plan to use your questions for Schiff as an attachment. Like millions of others I am fed up!

  • Darrell McKinnon

    01/31/2020 09:13 AM

    Is is possible for us citizens of the US to sue the Democrats personally for all the taxpayer money that they wasted while dividing our nation over this sham? The Democrats should have to repay the taxpayer money back to the government out of their own pockets for every dime that they wasted. And they should be held accountable for not doing their jobs and for their perjuries before Congress. Isn’t that against the law?

  • Jannette F. Dillingham

    01/31/2020 12:10 AM

    I have watched most of the impeachment. I couldn't watch very much of the House managers' part the first 2 days because they lied so much it distressed my spirit. The President's team did an awesome job, laying out each step and each lawless act by the House. I was amazed listening to Philbin; he knows the Constitution, laws, precedent, and England's law. I was more impressed by him than Dershowitz, but don't tell Dershowitz, I don't want to hurt his feelings. The House managers sounded like children who were angry about being caught stealing something. When I was younger and working, I didn't get to see all of the Clinton impeachment. That impeachment was referenced several times. I do remember that the whole House voted on it and then started the impeachment hearings, as opposed to President Trump's impeachment where no vote was done and the hearings and everything was in secret. I think the most fascinating part for me was hearing the working parts of our Constitution and the history of 200 years and how the founders planned and argued different parts of our new country. It was so impressive by Dershowitz and Philbin that I think people around the world, including China and Russia, were amazed. During Clinton's impeachment, our technology and the internet wasn't around. So, now on live TV, the whole working of our Republic was so eloquently displayed. I bet the leaders in many countries will have more respect for our country than ever before. In comparison, countries that have never had justice, brotherly love, "do unto others as you would have them do to you," or anything from the Bible is an alien concept. I am sure there may have been people listening to the orderly process and respect of the impeachment and thinking to themselves how wonderful our justice system is. Even though President Trump has had a horrible 3 1/2 years of constant pressure and insults, something good and amazing may come of all this.

  • Ruth C Bowman

    01/30/2020 11:44 PM

    Thanks again for this explanation of what is happening. I consider myself an intelligent person, but you watch enough of the double-talk and you wonder if you are in an altered universe. Thank you for everything you report on...We love you Mike and the Administration and God Bless America!

  • David McGillvray

    01/30/2020 10:13 PM

    I will be glad when the circus is over. I must say that it is a joy to listen to the Trump team of lawyers. Tonight I was listening to the Question and answers and listening to Schiff and thought that the Trump team could repeat the same phrase word for word as against the House Managers and actually be true.
    The house managers should sign up the Hillsdale college online Constitution course.

  • Bonnie R. Parvino

    01/30/2020 06:57 PM

    The WORD says if we bless Abraham then God will bless us. If we curse Abraham, then God will curse us. What does this do the impeachment???? Our President has stood with Israel and in so doing, I believe God will stand by him& us. >>>> Pray for Israel, and may God bless those that can give and those that cannot give. PRAY and ask God what we need to do to bring PEACE to this Nation. >>>>> I LOVE AMERICA, BONNIE PARVINO

  • Paul Yoder

    01/30/2020 06:09 PM

    I have just swung from the "No witnesses needed" side to the
    "Let's crack this nut WIDE OPEN" side. Biden, Schiff, Lt. Col. Yevgeny, Lt. Col. Alexander, Atkinson, Misko, Abigail Grace, Biden, Ciaramella, Vindman 1 & 2 and John Bolton ALL need to be put on the record, under oath, under penalty of perjury, and let's see if they can all keep their stories and their faces straight long enough to spout something believable. To this point in time, they have NOT.

  • Roderick Bates

    01/30/2020 05:46 PM

    Thanks, Mike, for keeping us in the know of what's true....sure can't trust the biased liberal media! We trust you to keep us informed and agree with you completely on your news comments and reports! God bless you for standing up for what is right for our country, and for supporting our great President Trump!

  • jim hanlon

    01/30/2020 05:29 PM

    besides the four dems running for president,sen. booker and harris should also requse as well as others who have expressed much bias against the president

  • Robert Quinton

    01/30/2020 05:26 PM

    I'd also like a question posed that asks, "Why is the President being accused of a quid pro quo with no evidence, when we have three or four Democrat Senators sending a letter to Ukraine specifically stating that if an investigation into the 2016 election and the Bidens is launched, there will be no approval of future aid for Ukraine with no ethics charges or any other charges against these Senators?"

  • Bertram Brown

    01/30/2020 05:03 PM

    The reason the democrats want witnesses is to keep Sanders and Warren from the campaign trail. They want Biden to win the nomination. Of course they will find a way to prevent the Bidens from being witnesses. The rigged the process in 2016 and they are doing the same thing in 2020. Bernie Sanders is not smart enough to understand they are trying to destroy his campaign.

  • Carol Mulshine

    01/30/2020 03:38 PM

    Just heard that tomorrow, Friday, 1/21/2020, the Senate may Vote about Impeachment.
    It may be left to SC Justice Robert's judgement!?
    It was further said that they feel he is biased and may lean toward the Democrats!!
    I feel this would be anti-Constitutional!
    After all, it is up to the Senate, not SC Justice Roberts, right?

  • Linda Perez

    01/30/2020 03:34 PM

    This fiasco of hate was a sham from the start...2016. End this now and get back to the job we the taxpayers are paying you to do! Arrest the liars & traitors! Term limits now! Trump 2020!
    From a retired school librarian w/ a MEd, National Board Certification & 35 years of experience who never made in a year what Hunter Biden collected in a month!

  • Richard Quitliano

    01/30/2020 03:18 PM

    I'm really impressed by young Mr. Hawley... I think he should move to Arkansas and run for Senate here.

  • Jerry Korba

    01/30/2020 03:05 PM

    When looking for a sane action during the Impeachment the GOP is by far the believable and understandable body that is before SC Roberts I can't be to sure of his judgement dating back when he stuck his nose in the Obama Healthcare fiasco a decision that haunts us today. One other thought the Clown show CNN put on the air a few days ago looked liked the drunks you see about 1230 AM in a dive when only one gender is present disillusioned by what they are they attack other people with sarcasm while thinking they are actually intelligent while they mire in low self esteem and drunk. Don Lemon you and your two pals are the poster boys in that dive.

  • rodney d burke

    01/30/2020 03:04 PM

    you don't find it suspicious that Lesko, Gail and Ciaramella were all ON the NSC at the same time and two of them went to work for Schiff? I do, Bongino does for sure. A Vindman, is vetting Bolton's book? i find THAT far beyond suspicious. And has a brother who did what that one did/ I've got bells ringing and red lights flashing. Also prompting this is the revealation that Schifty is HIDING evidence! Not only that but NOT asking for a witness that he is now asking for. This is getting FAR worse every day. I think there needs to be a NEW set of hearings, Schiff, Vindman, Lesko and Gail and others. There are far too m any suspicious things that happened to a perfectly good phone call. End this mess and open up a new set of hearings. Let chuckie cry and moan all he wants to. Someone should tell him to shut up and sit down!

  • Janet Underwood

    01/30/2020 01:53 PM

    I see that Carter Page just filed lawsuits for defamation against the DNC and law firm that represented HilLIARY's campaign, plus the Justice Department is giving some (very small) measure of relief to Michael Flynn by okay probation instead of jail time. Hopefully, this signals the beginning of the collapse of the house of cards the Democrats have built -- including Schiff. Wouldn't it be grand to see how he would handle a lawsuit against him for his lies and corruption?

  • Kay DeWitt

    01/30/2020 01:53 PM

    Mike, as these "unexpected" facts unfold, I pray that Christians will DEMAND that they be given a chance to tell THEIR take on this whole tragic impeachment saga which is that.... BECAUSE it was GOD....not Russia...Who intervened in our election and got Donald Trump elected, HE is the One who brought these unexpected facts to "light" and was, ultimately, President Trump's vindicator!

    If you feel so inclined to DO so (if it is at all appropriate), you might want to state how there ARE many Christians who BELIEVE THAT Donald Trump WAS God's choice for President and, therefore, for Democrats to want to ....from the day he took office....destroy the man who WAS God's choice is to claim, concomitantly, that GOD made a mistake.....THIS ALSO OFFERS A REFUTE TO "CHRISTIANITY TODAY'S" indictment against Christians!

  • Alan Frum

    01/30/2020 01:35 PM

    I find it difficult to believe Democrat Senators can question the "House Managers" with questions that obviously have been rehearsed and continue their barrage of lies. Republican senators likewise need to direct questions to the President 's Defense Team that jumps all over the answers given by the House managers.

  • Frank Varner

    01/30/2020 01:33 PM

    Corrections to previous comments: How can this whistleblower and his specific testimony remain anomymous even to the FBI CIA and even to the President of the United States? My understanding of the Constitution is the following: "The Sixth Amendment guarantees the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to a public trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer, the right to an impartial jury, and the right to know who your accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against you. Federal prosecutions follow the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, cited as Fed. R. Crim. P., which the U.S. Supreme Court promulgated and Congress passed. The Federal Rules outline the procedure for conducting federal criminal trials. The Federal Rules incorporate and expound upon all guarantees included within the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, such as the guarantee to due process and equal protection, the right to legal counsel, the right to confront witnesses, the right to a jury trial, and the right to not testify against oneself. In what I have seen concerning protection of whistleblowers, there is no method which guarantees that a whistleblowers identity will be kept confidential. Why shouldn't the President of the United States be allowed to confront the whistleblower and their testimony, without it being made public? If their testimony is not true they should then be prosecuted.

  • Lj

    01/30/2020 01:31 PM

    Have hardly been able to watch Schiff, eyes bulging with phony indignation try to slander the motivations of the President. Worse are the fence sitter RINOS who are good for nothing but to weaken their President in an effort to look self aggrandizing Or somehow “independent”. Disgusting. All make Benedict Arnold look like a great guy by comparison.

  • Anne Turner

    01/30/2020 01:29 PM

    Looking at the bigger picture two things bother me most of all: a precedent is being set that may well cause impeachment proceedings against all future presidents by the opposite party. Although I would like to think the GOP above this, I think the anger is so great that the next Democrat President will be in living hell. There is the concept of original sin. Everyone has done things, particularly on their youth, that they regret. No one is squeaky clean. If investigators dig deeply enough they will find something; The other is the loss of calmly accepted transitions of power which has been this country’s strength. I recognize the POTUS is a controversial man, but he is the duly elected president. I am dreadfully afraid that should he have second term, riots will erupt in the streets in some of the blue cities.

    Further, I do not understand why Jewish people in the country align with the Dems. The House did virtually nothing to refute blatant antisemitism in their ranks. How can people think Trump is antisemitic? There is not one smidgen of evidence. Which president turned away a boatload of Jews escaping Hitler? One guess, and it wasn’t a Republican. Who sides with Palestinians? One guess, not the GOP.

    Look at the quality of the remaining Dem candidates. Even Mr. nice guy , Biden, has enormous baggage, Elizabeth is unlikeable and Bernie is almost a communist, and proud of it. The others have no chance. How hypocritical can people be? Reputed good Catholics supporting late term abortion. Okay, Trump was pro choice at one time. I suspect he, like many of us, who saw the need for early abortion under some circumstances have now be turned off by the infanticidal results. It could also be just political. Have to honest.

    I want my hard earned tax dollars to go to productive things, not lawyers and aides, and endless investigations. I want this country to find joy and appreciation for the gifts of living here. Have you noticed that without self discipline and with the concept that people, not a higher power, are in control, there is no joy?

  • Lucille Jarzynka

    01/30/2020 01:24 PM

    I want to know why the Senators who are Presidential candidates who have a definite stake in the outcome of this impeachment are permitted to participate/vote. Isn't there a conflict of interest here? Let's put them back on the campaign trail where they, too, can join Joe Biden in telling students that the human race consists of 3 (three) genders. But he couldn't name them.