September 27, 2019

Good evening, everyone. It's Friday night of Impeachment Week and the news is rolling out like boulders on a newly-paved highway. Rather than inundate you all with a lot of little posts, we're going to keep updating this thread to add new stories as they break. Here the ones that we've seen in the last hour:

House Republican Breaks With GOP, Supports Impeachment Inquiry

Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada represents a district that went for Trump by 12 points. Tonight he came out in support of the House Impeachment inquiry.

Nevada Independent reports:

“Let’s put it through the process and see what happens,” Amodei, the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, said on a call Friday with reporters, adding that he believes Congress is justified to look into the matter.

“I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes,” he added. (An audio recording of the call has been posted below.)

“Using government agencies to, if it’s proven, to put your finger on the scale of an election, I don’t think that’s right,” he continued. “If it turns out that it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.”

Nevada is turning bluer with every cycle, so this is definitely a wise choice.

Kurt Volker resigns

Kurt Volker helped organize meetings with Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian officials. Friday he resigned as Executive Director of the McCain Institute, which might mean Senator John McCain isn't turning in his grave tonight.

In addition to arranging the Rudy meetings, Volker is alleged to have gone to Kiev to help guide Ukraine officials on how to handle Trumps’s demands.

As special envoy, he was attached to the State Department. He resigned from that too. Probably for the best.

Giuliani to attend Kremlin-backed conference...or maybe not.

Rudy Giuliani was all set to head to a conference in Armenia next week, backed by the Kremlin where Vladimir Putin was to be in attendance.

And then he canceled.

The two-day conference is sponsored by Russia and the Moscow-based Eurasian Economic Union, a trade alliance launched by Putin in 2014 as a counterweight to the European Union.

According to an agenda for the event posted online, Giuliani was set to participate in a panel led by Sergey Glazyev, a longtime Putin adviser who has been under U.S. sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine five years ago.

The judgment of this gang is phenomenally poor.

White House walled off calls with Putin and MBS

CNN just breaking the news at 4:21 PDT that the White House withheld notes and transcripts of calls with Putin and MBS:

White House efforts to limit access to President Donald Trump's conversations with foreign leaders extended to phone calls with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Those calls -- both with leaders who maintain controversial relationships with Trump -- were among the presidential conversations that aides took remarkable steps to keep from becoming public.

In the case of Trump's call with Prince Mohammed, officials who ordinarily would have been given access to a rough transcript of the conversation never saw one, according to one of the sources. Instead, a transcript was never circulated at all, which the source said was highly unusual, particularly after a high-profile conversation.

Trump plots next moves with NRA's LaPierre

On the very same day that Senator Ron Wyden issued a 77-page report concluding that the NRA was a Russian asset in 2016, Donald Trump ran to Wayne La Pierre for love and support in his time of tribulation.

President Trump met in the Oval Office on Friday with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, and discussed prospective gun legislation and whether the N.R.A. could provide support for the president as he faces impeachment and a more difficult re-election campaign, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

It was not clear whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. LaPierre for his support, or if the idea was pitched by the N.R.A. During the meeting, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House “stop the games” over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said.

Trump told Russian officials in 2017 he wasn’t concerned about Moscow’s interference in U.S. election

It was suspected at the time, but it appears that rats abandoning the sinking ship have some fairly loose (if anonymous) lips:

President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter.

The comments, which have not been previously reported, were part of a now-infamous meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Trump revealed highly classified information that exposed a source of intelligence on the Islamic State. He also said during the meeting that firing FBI Director James B. Comey the previous day had relieved “great pressure” on him.

A memorandum summarizing the meeting was limited to all but a few officials with the highest security clearances in an attempt to keep the president’s comments from being disclosed publicly, according to the former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters..

That's all I've got right now, but we'll be updating this thread as more stories break.

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