On MSNBC Thursday night, Rachel Maddow walked through an underreported aspect of the Ukraine scandal. When President Donald Trump dangled foreign aid in front of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he was not just demanding he dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — he was also demanding he help dig up information that would disprove the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation.
“This scheme that the president and Giuliani were enacting using the three amigos, Gordon Sondland, Rick Perry, and [Kurt] Volker, who has already resigned, the scheme was to hold up a White House meeting for this foreign leader unless he coughed up stuff that Trump could use for his re-election effort against Joe Biden,” said Maddow. “And in addition to that, interestingly, he needed help unblaming Russia for the 2016 election attack.”
“Why would they want to unblame Russia for the 2016 election attack?” said Maddow. “I mean, Russia’s having kind of an amazing run of it right now when it comes to stuff they’re getting from the Trump Administration. I mean, this weird plot that’s emerging over the impeachment proceedings, we’ve got Trump and Rudy Giuliani with an amazing cast of supporting characters. They’re pressuring Ukraine to, yes, help President Trump against the Democrats for 2020, but they’re also pressuring Ukraine to help the U.S. Government come up with some sort of alternate revisionist historical that suggests Russia didn’t actually interfere in the 2016 election.”
“That appears to be part of what they were trying to do in Ukraine, and appears to be the goal of Attorney General William Barr, who’s been traveling around the world with his hand-picked supposedly independent prosecutor to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation and the assessment that Russia actually attacked that election,” said Maddow. “Barr and Durham appear to be traveling the world trying to both question and muddy up the intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia did attack the election in 2016 to benefit President Trump. I mean, Russia did attack the 2016 election to benefit President Trump — if you don’t believe me, believe the bipartisan Senate intelligence report, which was just released a little more than a week ago in the middle of these impeachment proceedings. That’s a Republican-led committee. That’s a bipartisan report. Yeah, Russia did it. The intelligence community was right in that assessment.”
“Even after that, why is the U.S. government, from the president to his kooky personal lawyer to the attorney general, all bending over backwards to say Russia didn’t commit that attack after all?” said Maddow. “Russia is benefiting from that kind of incredible manpower at the top levels of the U.S. government on their behalf at the same time Russia just got what it has been hoping for, wishing for, working for in the nation of Syria for years. Just handed to them by the Trump Administration.”
Former UK consulate worker says Chinese secret police tortured him
A former employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong said Wednesday that Chinese secret police tortured and interrogated him about London's role in protests in the semi-autonomous city.
Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen, claimed he was shackled to a steel "tiger chair", hung spread-eagled on a "steep X-Cross" and beaten while he was detained for 15 days in August.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Cheng's allegations are credible and that the treatment "amounts to torture".
Raab told BBC radio that he summoned the Chinese ambassador to denounce the "disgraceful" and "outrageous behaviour from the authorities in China" which violate international law.
Sondland briefed Pompeo on Trump’s Ukraine scheme — and secretary of state signed off on it: report
President Donald Trump's ambassador to the European Union kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the loop on efforts to pressure Ukraine's president to announce an investigation of Joe Biden.
Gordon Sondland notified Pompeo in mid-August of a draft statement he'd produced with another U.S. diplomat and Ukrainian officials that they hoped would persuade Trump to invite Volodymyr Zelensky to the Oval Office, reported the New York Times.
He and Pompeo discussed later that month the possibility of pushing Zelensky to pledge during a planned meeting with Trump in Warsaw that he would pursue the investigation sought by the U.S. president in hopes of smoothing relations between the two countries, according to two sources who were briefed on the matter.
MSNBC’s Mika shocked by Morning Joe’s withering criticism of House GOP: ‘I’ve never heard you accuse someone of that’
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski was astonished by her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough's denunciation of congressional Republicans.
The "Morning Joe" hosts agreed GOP attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who earned a Purple Heart fighting in the Iraq War, and other impeachment inquiry witnesses were shameful, but Scarborough went even further in his criticism.
"People talk about the time, 'It's a time we're in,' -- no, it's not," Scarborough said. "It's lack of character among people on these committees, just a lack of character and a lack of love of country that they put their political party above their country."