There may be a direct link now from Donald Trump to the Ukrainian hold on U.S. aid. A website focusing on reporting and analysis of national security law and policy called Just Security reviewed an email dated August 30, 2019 – and it has legs.
According to CNN Thursday, the email was sent from Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at OMB to Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller. The email stated that the freeze on aid to Ukraine would continue at the explicit direction of the President despite growing legal concerns within the Pentagon and mounting external questions prompted by news of the hold becoming public just days prior.
“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Duffey wrote in that email. And with that, a flood of new information threatens the presidency of the United States. The email was unavailable in redacted form until now and was not previously delivered to House investigators conducting the impeachment inquiry into the President, according to Just Security.
The August 30 email was sent on the same day Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Trump to discuss the hold, which had already been in place for roughly two months.
According to Just Security, “Thanks to the testimony of several Trump administration officials, we now know what Trump was waiting on: a commitment from Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden…Last month, a court ordered the government to release almost 300 pages of emails to the Center for Public Integrity in response to a FOIA lawsuit. It released a first batch on Dec. 12, and then a second installment on Dec. 20, including Duffey’s email, but that document, along with several others, were partially or completely blacked out.”
Read more about the unredacted emails here.
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Raphael Warnock Beats Trump-Backed Herschel Walker – Democrats Increase Senate Majority
Millions of Americans in Georgia voted to re-elect Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and send him back to Washington D.C., NBC News projects. It is a clear mandate for the policies enacted by the Biden administration and a strong rebuke for the flailing former president, Donald Trump.
Senator Warnock faced a challenge from a Texas Republican who claimed to live in the Peach State, Trump-backed former NFL star Herschel Walker.
The New York Times, confirming Warnock is the projected winner, reports a huge number of Georgians, more than 3.3 million, voted in the runoff election.
An admitted Texas resident, Walker’s long list of hypocritical claims and actions, falsehoods, lies, and troubling business and tax dealings were only outweighed by the women who accused him of violent behavior, pressuring them and paying for them to get abortions, and revelations he had not one child but four, including a son he almost never sees.
Warnock, who is also the Senior Pastor at the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, out-raised and out-campaigned Walker, especially in the last week.
Herschel Walker appeared at only two events this weekend, Politico reported, “a tailgate in Atlanta before a University of Georgia football game on Saturday, where he did not speak, and a Sunday rally in Loganville, where his stump speech touched on everything from complaints about pronouns and critical race theory to funding law enforcement.”
With 51 votes in the Senate, Democrats will not be forced into a power-sharing agreement with Republicans as they were two years ago. President Biden will be able to nominate and have confirmed even more judges, an area he has excelled. And Democrats will have full committee majorities, giving them power to issue subpoenas in investigations.
The Washington Post on Tuesday noted that Democrats having 51 votes is “an insurance policy against the unthinkable — the possibility that vacancies or party switches could flip the majority. That has happened before, most recently in 2001. The reason that it hasn’t happened more often is mostly because the Senate isn’t usually this closely divided. But vacancies and seat flips do happen — a lot. In fact, since World War II, about 70 percent of Congresses have featured some kind of shift in partisan balance of the Senate between elections.”
The unthinkable includes the possibility that a Democratic Senator in a state headed by a Republican governor could resign or die, allowing a Republican to be installed in their place. As The Post notes, there are 11 cases currently where that could happen.
Warnock unseated a GOP Senator in a 2020 special election, making this his first full elected six-year term.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain notes President Biden “becomes the first President since FDR 1934 to see every Senator in his party re-elected (who was seeking re-election.)”
Watch: McConnell Refuses to Say He Will Not Support Trump for President Even After ‘Terminate the Constitution’ Demand
Even after Donald Trump called for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution this weekend and demanded he be put back into office or be given a do-over national presidential election, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not support the ex-president’s current run for the White House.
McConnell kicked off his weekly press conference Tuesday by mildly criticizing Trump, although not mentioning him by name.
“First, let me just say that anyone seeking the presidency who thinks that the Constitution could somehow be suspended or not followed, it seems to me would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of United States,” McConnell told reporters.
But when asked if he “categorically” would refuse to support Trump – personally or in his role as Senate Republican Minority Leader – McConnell refused to go that far.
“This is the second week in a row you’ve come out to begin your press conference criticizing Donald Trump,” a reporter off-camera said. “Can you say categorically that you do not support him if he were the Republican nominee?”
McConnell could not.
“What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in, to the presidency, if you’re not willing to uphold the Constitution. That’s what I said, and I just said it again,” McConnell stated.
“How about your personal support?” the reporter shot back.
McConnell ignored the question.
During the 2016 campaign Trump also made clear he did not feel beholden to upholding the Constitution, so it’s unclear why McConnell would suggest he could not be sworn in again should he be elected in 2024.
In fact, Trump’s concerning remarks surrounding the Constitution in 2016 led Brown University political science professor Corey Brettschneider to pen a piece for Politico: “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide.”
“It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution. But it’s unclear if he understands it,” it begins.
McConnell is not only the second longest serving leader of a party’s caucus in the Senate, nor his he just the Senate Republican Minority Leader.
He wields massive power and influence via his ties to a Super PAC.
According to CNN, the Senate Leadership Fund is “a super PAC affiliated with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
This year alone, the Senate Leadership Fund has spent nearly $300 million to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate. In 2020 it spent over $475 million.
Many have seen their ads, which are almost entirely, according to Open Secrets, against Democrats, not for Republicans.
Watch McConnell below or at this link.
Question: Can you say categorically that you will not support Trump if he were the Republican nominee?
McConnell: What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in to the presidency if you’re not willing to uphold the constitution pic.twitter.com/KOcHOUtpnc
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 6, 2022
Watch: McConnell and McCarthy Shunned as Congressional Gold Medal Recipients Refuse to Shake Their Hands
The Congressional Gold Medal was first awarded to General George Washington in March of 1776, before he became President. Since then it has been awarded during nearly 200 events, but Tuesday was possibly the first time recipients have publicly refused to shake the hands of a congressional leader – or two.
Law enforcement officers, some of whom gave their lives to help defend the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, are being awarded for their bravery with the Congressional Gold Medal, but in Tuesday’s ceremony several refused to shake the hands of Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Video shows multiple recipients or their family members shaking the hand of Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, then, as Leader McConnell extends his hand, they walk past him and Leader McCarthy, who did not even bother to extend his.
READ MORE: Criminal Referrals Coming From J6 Committee
At the end of the clip, many can be seen applauding except McConnell and McCarthy.
Video captures the recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal refusing to shake Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand at the ceremony on Tuesday pic.twitter.com/MwgfIhvJ5b
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 6, 2022
Republicans have falsely tried to pin the blame for the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, widely described as an attempted coup, on Capitol Police and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite then-President Trump having incited the rioters. Documentary video released by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack showed Speaker Pelosi clearly in charge that day, working to get the National Guard and other assistance from the Dept. of Defense and others, contrary to false claims made by McCarthy and other Republicans.
Family members of slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who served on the U.S. Capitol Police Force from 2008 until his death on January 7, 2021, explained why they refused to shake the hands of Sen. McConnell or Rep. McCarthy.
As they condemned the January 6 attack, Ken Sicknick, Brian’s brother, told CBS News’ Scott Macfarlane, “whatever hold that Trump has on them, they backstopped and danced – they won’t admit to wrongdoing” by Trump and the rioters.
Sicknick went on to blast U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), “who presented an American flag, flown over the Capitol, to a January 6 rioter, and told them they were a ‘patriot,’ it’s disgusting. Takes away everything my brother’s done.”
“Unlike Liz Cheney, they have no idea what integrity is,” Sicknick said of Republicans.
FLASH: Family of officer Brian Sicknick refuses to shake hands with Sen McConnell and Rep McCarthy at Congressional gold medal ceremony. Brian’s brother Ken Sicknick tells me why ====> pic.twitter.com/Y34CI8MCTi
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) December 6, 2022
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