White House cowers, blocks ambassador's testimony; Schiff pissed off

The Trump administration continues to act like a kid caught with its head in the cookie jar.

CBS News:

Sondland's lawyer, Robert Luskin said in the statement that Sondland "is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify today" and went on to say that the ambassador had traveled from Brussels for the testimony and made arrangements with the Joint Committee staff to appear. Sondland "believes strongly that he acted at all times in the best interests of the United States" and remains ready to testify "on short notice," Luskin said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters on Tuesday that Sondland was in possession of documents on his "personal device" related to Ukraine which the State Department is withholding from the committee.

"The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents, we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress," Schiff said.

Read the rest

Having accomplished little, Jared Kushner to lead Trump's impeachment defense

In a shocking slight to Eric and Don Jr, the Orange Menace has handed the reigns of his impeachment defense to Jared Kushner.

Why not give Barron a chance?

NY Daily News:

Jared Kushner is taking the reins of President Trump’s impeachment defense — and even the #MAGA army has to be asking why.

The presidential son-in-law has so far failed in high-profile assignments to bring peace to the Middle East, come up with a grand compromise on immigration and get America to kick its opioid habit.

He also famously advised Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey, leading to the Russia collusion investigation that crippled most of the president’s first three years in office.

So now he’s going to lead the White House “don’t call it a war room” impeachment fightback as Democrats move closer than ever to removing Trump from office.

Read the rest

Lyndon Johnson's dire warning is more important than ever

Two days before the 1966 midterms, President Lyndon B. Johnson warned Americans about the danger of catering to "white backlash." His comments at a news conference are as important today as they were 53 years ago:

"I can think of nothing more dangerous, more divisive, or more self-destructive than the effort to prey on what is called 'white backlash.' I thought it was a mistake to pump this issue up in the 1964 campaign, and I do not think it served the purpose of those who did. I think it is dangerous because it threatens to vest power in the hands of second-rate men whose only qualification is their ability to pander to other men's fears. I think it divides this nation at a very critical time -- and therefore it weakens us as a united country.

"I think that the so-called 'white backlash' is destructive, not only of the interests of Negro Americans, but of all those who stand to gain from humane and farsighted government. And those that stand to gain from humane and farsighted government is everybody. Nevertheless, there are those who try to stimulate suspicion into hatred, and to make fear and frustration their springboard into public office. Many of them do it openly. Some let their henchmen do it for them. Their responsibility is the same.

"Racism -- whether it comes packaged in the Nazi's brown shirt or a three-button suit -- destroys the moral fiber of a nation. It poisons public life. So I would urge every American to ask himself before he goes to the polls on Tuesday: Do I want to cast my vote on the basis of fear?

Read the rest

Politico interviews Trump's biographers to understand his motivations

Long of the short of it, Trump knows he's a fraud.

Politico interviewed several biographers who have followed Trump for most of his garish, boorish life.

D’Antonio: Those early influences are essential, and I also think it’s correct that he has been conducting his entire life as a vanity show, and he’s been rewarded, most recently since his reality TV show, by ever-greater public interest in him. This is a guy who is a president-elect who describes himself as a ratings machine, which is an absolutely absurd thing for a president to be reflecting on, but that matters to him.

But one thing I think that we have overlooked as we see Trump trying to delegitimize others is what I suspect is a feeling he has inside that nothing he’s ever achieved himself has ever been legitimate. This is a person who has never known whether anybody wants to be around him because he’s a person they want to be around or they want to be around his money. And since he’s promoted himself as this glamorous, incredibly wealthy person, that’s the draw he’s always given. So he doesn’t know if he has any legitimate relationships outside of his family, and that’s why he emphasizes family. … He’s always kind of gaming the system—not, in my view, winning on the merits. And even his election was with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent. So he has this deep fear that he is himself not a legitimate president, and I think that’s why he goes to such great lengths to delegitimize even the intelligence community, which is the president’s key resource in security, and he’s going to do this demeaning and delegitimizing behavior rather than accept what they have to tell him.

Read the rest