Ambassador Bill Taylor’s 15-page opening statement is being called “devastating” by political analysts and experts who recognize Taylor outed President Donald Trump for an impeachable offense, as outlined in the Constitution.
Namely, Taylor outlined that Rudy Giuliani was taking direction directly from the president of the United States, said national security and legal analyst, Susan Hennessey.
Taylor also testified that he sent a memo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the concerns he was seeing. It’s the first indication that a memo exists as a warning and it was acknowledged by Trump’s officials.
Giuliani “is personally under investigation and we’ve seen he tried to assert attorney/client privilege with the president,” said Hennessey. “That said, Bill Taylor is laying out a story that shows that Rudy Giuliani was taking direction directly from the president of the United States himself and unlike past scandals in which we’ve seen presidents harmed by things staffers were doing. It is very clear this is being driven personally by the president of the United States.”
Among the findings in the 15-page testimony, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer noted that Trump wanted Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to do an interview, specifically mentioning CNN.
“That is what the president really wanted,” Blitzer explained. “A public statement that he was going to investigate this firm Burisma and the Bidens, the 2016 election, and Ukrainian involvement, allegations that Ukrainian, as opposed to Russia, was interfering in the American election and they wanted a public statement from President Zelinsky.”
CNN’s Abbey Phillips too noted that she was confused why they would need a public statement, specifically on camera and with a network like CNN. She noted that such a video could be replayed over and over and end up in campaign ads.
“And Taylor also — alluded to the fact that [Trump] wanted President Zelinsky to personally do it himself,” Phillips said. “And it leads to questions. The most obvious explanation could be this is exactly the kind of thing that can become part of a political campaign. It can be used against Vice President Joe Biden. And based on Rudy Giuliani’s own public statements in the months leading up to all of this, Giuliani made it very clear that he believed that this issue of Burisma and Joe Biden should be a part of the 2020 campaign. It should be counted against the former vice president. So we have to measure up what we’re learning from the hearings, from Bill Taylor and also what Giuliani actually said out loud publicly to everyone who would potentially hear it about what he was trying to do politically for the president.”
She also added that former national security adviser John Bolton had a lot to say about the incident. It’s unknown if Bolton will be willing to testify before the House committees against the president. The CNN panel noted that he left on bad terms.
Zelensky, who was elected promising a crack-down on corruption, has been dragged into Trump’s web of lies and demands that could end in an investigation of the president’s involvement with Trump’s attempt to manufacture another Democratic scandal, but for the 2020 campaign.
Watch the panel discussion below:
Congress still has one big tool left to rein in Trump’s corruption: Oversight Committee Democrat
Senate Republicans may have managed to quash the impeachment trial without calling forth any new witnesses or seriously considering the evidence against President Donald Trump. And the president may feel vindicated and largely invulnerable as a result.
But, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday, that doesn't mean Democrats don't have one last big play to rein in the president's abuses of power. They can use the first and strongest authority delegated to them: the power of the purse.
"What can Democrats really do when it comes to oversight of the president?" asked Cooper. "I mean, now that impeachment is over, does seem like there are fewer and fewer guardrails, if any."
The depths of Trump’s paranoia: One person who may know him the best explains what’s ahead
President Donald Trump's biographer, Michael d'Antonio, knows a great deal about his life, his behavior, and his long history of paranoia. A piece in The New York Times Monday summed up the president's state of mind during the impeachment with one word: "paranoid."
Speaking to the long history of paranoia, d'Antonio recalled that in Trump's book The Art of the Comeback, he wrote ten tips for an effective comeback. No. 3, he said, was "be paranoid."
"He thinks that paranoia is an effective strategy when it comes to managing people and when it comes to doing business," said the biographer. "And I think all of the attitudes that we see him bring into the presidency are things that evidence themselves early in his life. So, he's never trusted people very readily and is very quick to identify someone as an enemy. And then try to root out those who aren't loyal enough. So paranoia is something that's always been a trait for the president, and he considers it a useful, even constructive thing."
Trump lawyer goes down in flames trying to explain away Bill Barr’s corruption
On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former federal prosecutor Elie Honig took former Trump White House lawyer Jim Schultz to the cleaners when he tried to defend Attorney General William Barr's conduct.
Schultz initially tried to claim that the 2,000 federal prosecutors calling for Barr's resignation had a political axe to grind. "You have a lot of folks that have a partisan agenda pushing this thing out, before the facts have really, have really been discovered, as it relates to what happened," said Schultz. "And Barr is vehement about stating that, you know, that decision was made long before any of the tweets, long before — and before the president made my statements on this matter ... he has to have the trust in the folks that are working below him."