Top State Dept. Official Complained of Trump’s Politicization of Ukraine Policy

George P. Kent testified that he saw President Trump’s demands for Ukraine to “initiate politically motivated prosecutions” as corrupt.

Comments: 165

  1. I just can’t imagine how any conservative who hangs their hat on small government and being weary of big brother, can look at this situation and be okay with it. The President used aid money to coerce another country to announce investigations into US citizens. I can’t help but think what conservatives would be saying if a Democrat President had done this. Not only that, the money was to prevent Russia from taking over another country. I thought Republicans were against Russia? I get that Democrats have been fighting Trump since day one, and that Republicans fought Obama since day one, but I just don’t know how to wrap my mind around this whole thing. Have we become so polarized that we can’t even believe people are telling the truth under oath? I read once that 40% of Americans believe the earth is 10,000 years old. I thought that can’t be right, but perhaps for thinking that I am the one who is clueless.

  2. @Bill I agree. I can't find a plausible reason why half the country would be okay with such blatant corruption. The best I can come up with is that DT has an effective and committed propaganda team at his back

  3. @Bill Bill, I gather you moved to Texas fairly recently. Texas has a very large population of Southern Baptists, who believe the Bible is the literal, inerrant word of God. According to scientists, the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago, long before humans evolved on earth.

  4. 60 percent of adults cannot name all three branches of government. 25 percent can only name one.

  5. does anybody know who Rudy Giuliani is employed by? who pays him?

  6. He is Trump's attorney.

  7. @BeDeluged Giuliani said he wasn’t charging Trump. But he did collect $500,000 from Lev Parnas, one of two people indicted on campaign finance charges who were arrested on their way out of the country after lunch with Giuliani. See “Exclusive: Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate's firm” Karen Freifeld and Aram Roston Reuters

  8. @Marnie but according the the Ghoul, he works for Trump for free. I’d like to know who pays him too, and I expect that New York State will be finding that out really soon. Ghoul’s already under investigation in NY.

  9. Keep the flashlight on.

  10. Drip. Drip. Drip. With each deposition, the half empty cup being touted by Trump and his toadies appears closer and closer to overflowing.

  11. Mr. Trump now claims he wanted to root out corruption in Ukraine. Mr. Kent testified that, “POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton.” I could sort of follow Mr. Trump's story about Biden, considering the role of Mr. Biden's son in Ukraine. But what does Clinton have to do with Ukraine? And how is "corruption" in Ukraine somehow limited only to two American politicians -- who incidentally either did run or are likely to run for president against Mr. Trump. What a coincidence! Now there is one American who was investigated for corruption related to Ukraine, and is now a convicted felon sitting in prison. His name is Paul Manafort, and he was Mr. Trump's campaign chair.

  12. @MidtownATL Fantastic insight, well made. Thank you.

  13. Must be yet another Democrat, Never Trumper or spy, right Republicans? Please, educate us.

  14. When is Congress going to employ the Sergeant at arms and hold these people in contempt and jail them as is their prerogative? The Democrats look like wimps. Imagine if I ignored a congressional subpoena?

  15. One of our top diplomats with european/eurasian responsibilities -- George Kent -- was diplomatic in language, but it delivers a knockout punch: “POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton,” Mr. Kent said, using an acronym for “president of the United States.” Translation: President Trump is a criminal who vandalized tenets of our foreign policy, bribed the President of Ukraine, and damaged our national security.

  16. So, the push seems to be to elicit negative statements by various underlings to bolster a case for impeachment. If all presidents are going to be treated in this manner, how are we going to maintain our system of government?

  17. It always matters whether the statements are true or false. You do still believe in truth, right?

  18. @SinNombre the question is if all presidents were like trump how could the usa retain a democracy. or maybe trump is enough to kill american democracy and how you could have that view is, to say the least, bizarre after almost three years of trump's lying, bullying, racism and disgusting actions in general.

  19. @SinNombre Can you imagine what would’ve happened if President Barack Obama had been the one to what Trump has done re: Ukraine? The GOP is, thankfully, killing their own party. People are finally catching on.

  20. Out of all the things which have been said and written about tRump, Mr. Kent's testimony equivocating his Ukraine scheme to "the kind of tactic the United States typically condemns in the world’s most corrupt countries" is right up there with the most profound commentary I've ever seen.

  21. Thank you for your honesty and bravery Mr. Kent! You are a true honorable patriot. Your name will go down on the right side of history.

  22. Impeachment. The cup that keeps on giving.

  23. Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, said, “It was President Trump who decided to release the entire, unredacted phone call showing everyone he’s done nothing wrong, and while shady sources attempt to push a false narrative of division, the president has a great relationship with the attorney general and respects his decades of service to this country.” Hogan is a liar.

  24. The Trump administration is currently completely off the rails. Congress has a duty to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. And job to do. Trump is not merely acting out and behaving badly. He is seriously undermining the very safety and security of the nation. Ukraine was not just another foreign country. It is a country in a war with Russia. Trump withholding badly needed military aid to Ukraine, not only hurt an ally in desperate need. It also gave Russia unknown advantages. This is beyond bad, it’s truly disturbing.

  25. The never-ending parade of diplomats, patriots and civil servants has told us that the President is extorting and exporting corruption for his own narcissistic needs, The President has committed impeachable offenses. Keep the witnesses and patriots coming. "People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook." - Richard Nixon The world and America both deserve much better than a cheap crook in the White House.

  26. @Socrates the sad thing about this whole devastating affair is that god and Jesus can come and testify that we have a criminal in the White House, and his blind followers would not believe them. We can hope that after impeachment Trump would be removed and shipped to Russia, but nothing will happen. He will be bolder and more corrupt, and you and I will continue to suffer for five more years.

  27. @Socrates some would argue that america got what it deserved when more than 60 million of the 'folks' cast their ballots for trump. his behaviour in the past in just about everything he touched should've been proof enough. who knew somebody could insult and lie their way to become potus? electoral college or not.

  28. @Socrates The problem is that due to a strategic effort carried out over almost 40 years half the people in this country have been persuaded that there is something much worse than being a swine, a molester of women, a fool, a liar, corrupt...even a traitor; i.e., a Democrat. By all means pile it on, but don't expect it to have any impact on existing opinions; it's a whole 'nother world relative to Nixon's era.

  29. This sentence encapsulates to me what this man is about: “I don’t think that as a matter of policy the U.S. should do that, period, because I have spent much of my career trying to improve the rule of law.” I can sleep better knowing that there are still honorable men and women doing the right thing. I am newly optimistic and hopeful our long national nightmare will end soon

  30. @FerCry'nTears Did you say the same about the Kavanaugh hearings? The obvious sabotage played out then is being repeated now with Russia 2.0 (aka "Ukraine").

  31. @FerCry'nTears For me it wasn't "the U.S." doing that, it was Donald Trump doing it for Donald Trump for his campaign.

  32. @August Braun I'm not sure I understand your question. I did not feel hopeful during the Kavanaugh hearings and I felt that the process was shut down by the Republicans who only made a cursory show at conducting a fair hearing. The best thing to happen to this country was the rise of the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi during the 2018 mid-terms. It makes me shudder to wonder what would be happening without her. Thank you Electorate! Newly loving the suburbs. Now is the time to really hit the gas- Vote Blue in 2020!!

  33. With all the mounting evidence that is coming to light I do not understand how the president's staunch supporters are able to blindly support him, and still believe that they are maintaining their oaths to uphold and support the Constitution.

  34. Everyone is out of step but Trump. Isn't it obvious?

  35. @William Hamer "are able to blindly support him" We are getting a real look at what it is to be part of a cult. Cults were always fringe groups of other people where it was hard to see the inner workings. We now can see how cult works on a very large scale where the workings are there for all to see.

  36. @William Hamer Some honestly don't care if Trump is dirty or a crook, some are reading Breitbart and watching Fox, they are pretty clueless about what is going on. The guys in the warehouse where I work listen to Rush in the morning and Hannity in the afternoon on the radio. They very purposefully avoid any information that doesn't say what they want to hear. Try having a conversation with some of these people, it's kind of bizarre.

  37. As for the GOP standing by Trump: It often takes a burning platform for people to understand the seriousness and consequences of their actions. The platform may only be smoldering right now, but it may be burning a few years' into Trump's second term. Wonder if it'll be too late to save the US by then?

  38. I am appalled at the almost total support that Republicans continue to give Trump. Not one Republican in the House voted yes on the Impeachment Inquiry. Not one! I cannot imagine the Republicans maintaining their majority in the Senate. I believe they will lose substantially more seats in the House. And I believe whoever becomes the Democratic nominee will win the Presidency. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my part. We'll all know a year from now. Not that Trump will ever voluntarily leave office; he will have to be forcefully removed.

  39. I have a quick question I've not seen addressed or even thought of any where. Lets say Trump survives a Senate vote not to impeach and then wins the electoral college vote to become president for four more years. He undoubtedly will do things again that will be considered by many as impeachable offenses. Can the House vote to impeach Trump a second time in his second term? I think that may be where we are headed.

  40. Sure. They should have impeached him on employment the first month.

  41. @Wyman Elrod Agreed. The only thing that might save us is his outright criminality. The law is closing in on him. Trump and his collaborators, including his children, are running out of delay tactics to avoid the justice (lock them up) they so richly deserve.

  42. Trump’s abuse of all of the financial and geopolitical clout of the USA on the international stage for the express purpose of torpedoing his leading political opponent ahead of the next election is the definition proper of despotism. The GOP would not stand for it if the roles were reversed. Such behavior is the antithesis of the Western democratic ideal. Accordingly, the imperative to impeach now is apolitical and foundational, not “partisan”.

  43. Well now republicans are down to their is absolutely nothing wrong with a president using the powers of government to investigate or extort an investigation of a political rival. Trump has one major accomplishment that will live in the annuals of American history, he has turned the Republican Party into a party of third world autocrats.

  44. I'll always be a hundred miles away with as many boxes of medicine in the trunk of my car as the situation requires.

  45. So. It seems the "nothing burger" that Mr. Trump and his Administration keep insisting is under examination here actually turns out to be a triple-decker with cheese, lettuce, pickles, coleslaw, two sides of fries, one side of onion rings, a jumbo strawberry shake, and apple pie a la mode for dessert. All washed down with good, Russian vodka, no doubt. Don't Republicans worry that such a diet might wind up compromising Mr. Trump's health? To say nothing of our foreign policy waistline?

  46. @Jimbo You forgot the ketchup. Lots of ketchup.

  47. So Donald, Jr. says his father has "two." I find this distasteful, but repeat it because this is typically their/his behavior and justification, though his father was the one who was sent from God by way of a group of American voters to drain the swamp. Something must have happened though, and now this "saviour" of America (which to me did not need saving or to be made great again) and the world is shown as a brash, tasteless business creature who just does his own bidding (which he is very used to doing) after all. What a let down! If only it was not so obvious. But then we might have a real "man" in Michael Bloomberg who really did do something for New York that was not totally self-serving, and if he runs Republican I might vote for him as well. But hope it is Democrat this time and that more elections as in Kentucky make this a swing to sanity in America -- I would term that wish a dream for America as it was!

  48. These are all Shifts talking points no cross examination, no questions. Amazing duplicity here. If were the other way around, there would be outrage. In the meantime, it’s the economy stupid.

  49. @MiguelM Don't know how yawl do things down there in FlorDa, but up he'a in Massachusetts cross-examination is done during a trial, not during an investigation. So yawl seem to have yer phases mixed up. I mean, you don't bake the cake until the batter is mixed, right? Or do you toss the box in the oven and expect a cake to come out?

  50. Public hearings will prove devastating to Trump. Democrats have meticulously built a case for impeachment that will not only bring down a presidency, but also Congressional Republicans. The shameless and contemptible actions of the Republican Party to smear the testimony and integrity of witnesses will be its undoing once the televised hearings commence. And for what, to publicly declare allegiance to a ruthless, win-at-all-costs, delusional and paranoid president. The case against Trump has only been fortified by his own continued and unchecked thirst for power.

  51. Do we have a prison large enough to hold every Congressional Republican as well as the entire Trump administration? Quid pro quo is Trump's key ploy as he has bought their allegence. "I will donate to your reelection campaign if... But if you don't do as I demand, I have dirt on you."

  52. The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee should publicly announce that they will refer the names of all the Trump administration officials who defied their subpoena to the Justice Department for prosecution on the Federal Law. And this will be done at a future date, after the Democrats retake the White House. Maybe this potential legal threat will cause some to think twice before they defy their legal obligations.

  53. President Pelosi. We are ready for you. Trump and Pence are toast. Long live the Constitution and Nancy Pelosi!

  54. Another unsung hero about to sing. Tie your bow tie with confidence, sir, for you are a true patriot. (Crisp salute)

  55. Every single Trump official who has ignored a Congressional subpoena has committed a crime and must be locked up, if not now, in the future. Every. Single. One. Committing a crime cannot be tolerated or there is no rule of law.

  56. At least the courts would move faster in that case to decide Trump’s claims of “absolute immunity”.

  57. Trump has transformed his Republican Party into likewise Traitors, with the exception for those few of his in key flippers preferring to have The Constitution remaining as the rule of law, in being Patriots for the good of this country. Trump's brand of pathological narcissism mixed with his brand of politics are a lethal mix for this country's democracy and its national security; resulting in him being the most unfit and most dangerous ever president in U.S. history. That is proven by Trump's latest Abuse Of Power deployed, in wanting Ukraine's president to simultaneously commit his own Abuse Of Power to satisfy Trump's political needs; all through means of extortion in a quid pro quo, at the cost of U.S. taxpayers funds, while putting their security at risk. Luckily for both his Ukrainians and all Americans national security sake, that president Zelensky of Ukraine around half only of Trump's age, acted lawfully in benefiting instead of Trump, the citizens of his country and the U.S. That in contrast to Trump's deploying through his typical unlawful actions, ways to satisfy his, "for me only," benefits for always his own good only.

  58. The point Mr Kent makes about how leaders in some countries go after political opponents using the justice system is well made. Russia, Myanmar etc don’t surprise me, but I never thought I’d see this play out in the US.

  59. @Michael NIxon did it, too. He used the BATF and IRS to "screw our enemies". That was article 2 in the impeachment charges against him.

  60. @Michael Michael, I heaved a heavy sigh when reading your short post. You are 100% correct, but WHERE on earth did this 35% of our country come from?

  61. @John You mean the legal, Constitutional duty of the Congress to oversee the executive branch and investigate potential wrong doing? Or the legal, Constitutional duty of President Obama to protect the country from what turned out to be very real interference in our democratic process by a foreign adversary? Legal and Constitutional.

  62. We are fortunate to have loyal and patriotic civil servants in the calibre of Mr. George Kent and others who have come forward to testify. They are all part of a vanishing breed. What is appalling is to see the way some of the GOP members behaving. It is unclear what they are fighting against?

  63. @citizen For those elected, they are fighting against their electoral loss, because they might not win without moderates, but they cannot win without Trump's base. For Trump's base, they are fighting against the 'deep State', which for them is the 'swamp'. Patriotic civil servants are, to them, the very traitors they are scapegoating for every ill in the US. This is why they so easily vilify a colonel. For republican moderates, if that ever existed, they are fighting against democrats, because Trump might look bad but look, health care, with lower costs, better sacrifice the rule of law than risk having that.

  64. @citizen Clearly they are fighting against Truth. The question is, Why?

  65. @citizen They are fighting against the law. But: After Watergate, a number of White House senior advisors went to prison. Haldeman (White House Chief of Staff), Ehrlichmann( Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs), John Dean, just to name a few. Nixon's Attorney-General, John N. Mitchell, who ran the Department of Justice, was convicted and sent to prison. Many other White House staff, government personnel, and people involved Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign were convicted and imprisoned.

  66. HOw does Mulvaney get away with “ is not expected to comply”? He does not have a choice. If he does not comply, arrest him. That’s what would happen with anyone else.

  67. The witnesses to conversations and events relevant to the attempted bribery/extortion of Ukraine officials for the personal gain of Donald Trump fall into three categories. First, there are the witnesses who were not complicit in the illegal conduct. They are cooperating fully with the House impeachment investigation. Second, there are the witnesses who aided and abetted President Trump in his high crimes and misdemeanors, including the coverup of the Ukraine conversations. Those witnesses are refusing to cooperate at all, and they are actively obstructing Congress and obstructing justice. Third, there are the witnesses who may have initially been complicit in the bribery or the coverup, but have had second thoughts. Gordon D. Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, is such a person. There also are people like National Security Adviser, John C. Bolton, who was open and honest with subordinates. Sondland is now cooperating with the Committee, but Bolton has been cowed by threats emanating from the White House. There is already enough evidence to win a vote to impeach on several grounds, but the Democrats have the right to make more information to the public, if it can be done without too much delay. A majority of Americans favor impeachment and yet are interested to learn more. It is now a political equation, and we should support Adam Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leading Democrats in whatever decision they make.

  68. Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” has not been announced but it’s almost certain to be “The Whistleblower.” “Whistleblowers” won as a group in 2002. But this year the kudos will go to the single individual who demonstrated the kind of political courage that has not been seen in Washington since the chief counsel for the Army eviscerated Senator Joseph McCathy.

  69. @Tell the Truth: I would love to see the so-called whistle blower testify in public. Now that would be a profile in real courage.

  70. I don’t see the rationale behind not issuing a subpoena to Bolton. I understand that the committee doesn’t expect him to show up and that they don’t want to delay the investigation with a protracted court battle. But isn’t Bolton defying a subpoena even stronger “evidence of Mr. Trump’s attempts to obstruct Congress“ than him defying a mere request to appear?

  71. What is normal is a refusal to appear before a grand jury investigation,, is jail until the grand jury has completed its duty. House? I am unsure that would be a wise course. However,, when it comes to a Senate trial, which will be the next step,, refusal of a subpoena, should indeed be greeted with incarceration until the sitting Senate completes its task, under the Constitution,, or until the completion of the 116th Congress January 3rd, 2021.

  72. Further proof that President Trump still thinks that being President of The United States of America is the same as being President of the Trump Organization. As President of The United States he must follow the Rule of Law and The Constitution of The United States of America. As President of The Trump Organization he can make up the rules as his own whim.

  73. “initiate politically motivated prosecutions,” would be corrupt if the prosecution was unwarranted, a political act of harassment misusing prosecutorial power. However, if the crime was committed, if prosecution ought to result in conviction, then the personal motives that also support the action are not relevant. For example, those seeking to take down Trump have strong personal motives, seeking power for themselves. Yet if Trump did it, prosecuting him is not corrupt. It is the same going the other way. If Biden did it, then pressure to prosecute is not corrupt, even if it is convenient to the one pressing for it.

  74. Just how is it that these people can treat subpoenas less seriously than parking tickets? Are they really untouchable if DJT says so? And if so, what happened to your civic duty and sworn obligation to uphold the laws and The Constitution? I'm confused and angry about that.

  75. Ok, basic lesson in politics and the Constitution boys and girls: The president sets and determines his or her foreign policy agenda. It’s supposed to be implemented by his or her State Department. If the State Department doesn’t implement the president’s agenda, they get fired by the president. If they defy the president in secret and leak their “feelings”, they are now “whistleblower” , they are disgruntled leakers. The Whistleblower Statute does not apply to the president. Class dismissed.

  76. @Cjmesq0 thanks for your "basic lesson in the Constitution". Where your lesson fails is in not understanding that the president is given that leeway in trust that the president will operate the policy in the best interests of the United States. trump tried to operate a criminal foreign policy, using bribery and extortion for his personal best interests, not the nation's best interests. That is treasonous, and trump needs to be punished with a prison sentence.

  77. The root cause question is: Where did Trump's hatred of Ukraine come from? My suspicion is that he is being spoon fed by Putin and amplified by others enamored of strong men who are dictators (a club Trump wants to join). Perhaps it is time to look for the connection. Knowing Trump, who does not contemplate, he just emotes, who did he speak with just before he launched the actions against America's interests in Ukraine. Was it Putin on the phone, Giuliani in the office, there is a connection somewhere that causes Trump to want to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the USA.

  78. @George N. Wells - trump's hatred of Ukraine was a poisonous seed planted by Paul Manafort. Manafort conceived (or was given by Russians) the idea of blaming russian election hacking on Ukraine. Manafort was a senior adviser to the last Russian-backed president of Ukraine, and a senior adviser to the first Russian-backed president of America. (Not my bon mot, others have pointed this out).

  79. Trump. So much have despised him since the '80s. That will not change.

  80. While it is tempting to throw the whole book at Trump, I hope the Dems hold back on a few blatantly illegal actions. Why? When the Senate (likely) acquits Trump, there will still be something to use against Trump after he leaves office.

  81. The duly elected POTUS defines our foreign policy. S/He can’t undermine it. Only unelected Deep State can do that.

  82. @Morgan01944 proposes "The duly elected POTUS defines our foreign policy. S/He can’t undermine it." You are overlooking that it is OUR foreign policy, to be conducted for the benefit of the United States as a whole. trump was clearly extorting the president of Ukraine to smear a domestic rival (Biden), and we now learn, to smear a domestic enemy (Clinton). trump and his GOP enablers need to be prosecuted for this treasonous act of subverting national policy for personal ends.

  83. There are 2 types of rats. The first are running from the ship on the first sign of turbulence and the second who wait until it begins to tilt from side to side. But what if the ship won't sink after all?

  84. @waldo Then it is up to us voters to sink it.

  85. "“POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton,” Mr. Kent said, using an acronym for “president of the United States.”" What's fascinating to me is how each interviewee adds new nuances to the overall corruption inherent in the call. Here we have George Kent, who outlines Trump's insistence that specific political enemies--Biden and Clinton--be named. In other words, for Trump, political vengeance is far more important than encouraging Ukrainian investigations of their own corruption problems. Republicans keep saying there was nothing wrong in what the president did to pressure Zelensky by making foreign aid contingent on doing the president's dirty work. How can they forget that bribery and extortion are unlawful? It's breathtaking what the GOP will do and say to protect this malicious man.

  86. @ChristineMcM: "It's breathtaking what the GOP will do and say to protect this malicious man." It's equally breathtaking what the Democratic Party will do and say to get rid of Trump.

  87. "Once to every man and nation Comes the moment to decide." Lines that came out around the time of the Civil War. And my goodness, New York Times--do we not see this at work right now? All these honorable men and women--working for the U.S. government--hoping (I suppose) to carve out an honorable career for themselves--put in their thirty or forty years devoted service--enjoy the excellent health benefits provided by our government--and finally retire on a decent pension-- --like a number of people in my own family-- --all these honorable men and women suddenly confronted with a stark choice: "Thus and such is WRONG. Altogether WRONG. "So what do I propose to DO about it?" So many of Mr. Trump's "top dogs" made the wrong choice. Have we not seen this? From Mr. Cohen on down. And now--we have a select few obviously making the RIGHT choice. Make no mistake, New York Times. When the U.S.A. no longer has such people working for it-- --the once mighty U.S.A.'s gonna crumble and fall apart. We cannot get along without a modicum of integrity in our public servants. Mr. Donald J. Trump--and so many of his obsequious minions-- --they don't even have that bare minimum. Sakes, what a parcel of crooks! Please God we'll be rid of them, come January of 2021. We can but hope. We can but pray.

  88. I assume if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate will not convict him because an insufficient number of Republican senators have a moral compass, and indeed will do everything they can to protect a man who has corrupted the presidency and our federal agencies beyond recognition. Think what this means the day after the Senate fails to convict. Trump will be crowing “Witch Hunt!” from the rooftops, and will be 100% emboldened to try to use his office to smear any and all of his political opponents by any means available to him. And if, god forbid, this criminal gets re-elected, we’re going to see an updated version of Orwell’s “1984” in a hot minute. The only question is whether the impeachment proceedings will discourage foreign governments from aiding and abetting Trump in his craven and criminal endeavors going forward, lest their leaders be exposed in post-impeachment investigations in the House. We must do everything we can to get out the vote in November 2020. Keeping Trump from serving a second term is crucial to the survival of our country as we know (or should I say “knew”) it.

  89. Let's do a thought experiment here. It is widely known that Obama chose to support Hillary over his own VP in the last election. Obama is also not very supportive of Biden now in this election. Obama is known to be an extremely honest man, with high moral standards. How would Obama have acted toward his own VP if he discovered that VP was engaged in questionable conduct using his son to gain money from Ukraine out of US aid programs? I doubt Obama would have blown up the situation into something that would damage everything else Obama was doing in his own Administration. However, he would not then back Biden for more. So, if we follow this experiment, we next need to examine what Obama knew about Biden, and when he learned it. Has anyone asked? No. Asking that is absolutely forbidden by the powers-that-be.

  90. @Mark Thomason: You're buying into Trump's conspiracy theories. How can you presume to devine President Obama's intent on anything, using inuendo to assume that Biden was involved in wrong-doing? From my recollection, your animus towards Clinton is well known here, and now you're trading it for Biden. President Obama gave Joe Biden the Presidential Special Medal for Extraodinary Service. The friendship between the two families is well known. If you dislike Democrats, fine, criticize their policies. But you're getting personal about things you can't possibily know from NYT articles published here.

  91. @ChristineMcM -- You are giving Biden a pass and objecting to any investigation. That is a very Republican thing to do.

  92. And that, put quite simply is what Donald Trump has always been. Corrupt. He has a twisted view of the law, of history, of culture, of women, of The Constitution, of the ethics of business, his role within the separation of powers, and indeed pretty well everything that crosses his path. In short, one suspects that Mr. Trump - for I am loathe to use the title of the office that he offends on a daily basis - would be a great candidate for someone with a personality disorder. What amazes me is that the Republican Party, a once noble institution within America's body politic, continues to this very day to prop him up. This in itself has a deeply damaging effect on politics and the behaviour of its individual senators and Congressmen who have been denied leadership. Sadly the GOP has lost its way and it needs to have a root and branch examination of where it is going. For America right now is at a crossroads. If Trump is allowed to get away with this, then politics in America is utterly discredited. This is not the exclusive preserve of the Republican Party. Democrats also need to take a long hard look at themselves. But the USA is at crisis point in terms of its key role in The Free World. When the man who occupies the White House can go into meetings on a one-to-one basis with Russia's President Putin, with no official US notetaker present, huge questions need to be asked. Why is he so cosy with men whose values are diametrically opposed to that of America?

  93. “... as “injurious to the rule of law,” and to decades of American foreign policy. - What was it Obama said again? Oh, that’s right “elections have consequences.” The president sets foreign policy, not career bureaucrats. New president? New policy. “That (Trump wanting Zelensky to say Clinton and Biden) would suggest that Mr. Trump had politics in mind. “ - Or it meant that after more than three years of being investigated for collusion he wanted to be openly vindicated. An admission by Zelensky that the Clinton campaign was involved would go a long way. The fact that Biden was putting the “crony” in “crony capitalism” isn’t political. It is especially not political if “the rule of law” is so important to our career bureaucrats. The fact that Biden is now a political rival doesn’t exonerate him from past wrongdoing.

  94. Hunter Biden helped Rudy Giuliani get a job helping a convicted Romanian billionaire. Hunter Biden did not take the job representing the Romanian but Rudy did. Somehow they are spinning this into a case where Hunter is the bad guy for not taking a client that Rudy took in a heart beat and then ran to Trump get him to interfere in Romanian law. I guess the defense here will be that Hunter made him do it. There has never been an example of Hunter Biden doing anything illegal while on the board of Burisma or helping the management of Burisma in illegal activities. The worst thing he did was make money letting a company use his name. Rudy makes money using Trump's name but somehow that is just smart business or as Trump would say Squid pro Crow.

  95. The sad part is nobody really seem to care what Trump did. These folks are willing to put their lives on the line and no Republican seems to care. Sure Trump will get charge in the House but The Senate is going to let him walk. The fix is already in the Jurors,the Senators, have already been bought off.

  96. Put their lives on the line? Are you kidding? These people go to cushy overseas jobs, have their housing paid for, pay no taxes, and their children get baccalaureate international level education at taxpayer expense. 

  97. They are State Department employees who work hard everyday, as most of us do, and they are rarely called out, or never called out to testify in public. There are Trump loyalists who have threatened people and unfortunately we are living in very divisive times.

  98. I'm going to agree with Trump. When he stood on The White House Lawn and said, "This is not about politics, this is about corruption...all I care about is the corruption", I believe him. He truly believes that corruption is the best way to advance his wealth and well being.

  99. @Jtati Why not? He has been doing it his whole life, and his father before him.

  100. @Jtati Thanks for this! I keep telling everybody I know, just look at the literal meaning of his words, for many a true word is accidentally spoken by the biggest liar. And when he says “I AM corruption”, it glows with truth.

  101. I sure hope that those three police officers in the picture stay with Mr. Kent full time. Mr. Kent you are a true patriot. Be careful and thank you.

  102. Unfortunately, Trump has made the US a sterling example of a corrupt country.

  103. An answer to a recurring question from this comment thread. Are the GOP blind to the “facts”? The Body Politic in America has become a two headed hydra. To expect one head to “know” or ken the other if a chasm too far to bridge. The “facts” less relevant to one head of the beast. Will Mike Bloomberg build a suspension bridge between them?

  104. There is no "Ukraine Policy" - or "Foreign Policy" - or "Domestic Policy" there is only a policy of self service by don the con -- every single thing that comes out of this guy's mouth (or little tweeting fingers) can be distilled down to: HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT ME

  105. Sad, but absolutely TRUE.

  106. As Christmas is nearing I would like to send Donald J Trump a Christmas Greeting: "Happy Impeachment".

  107. It must be maddening and unacceptable to the elite press that Esq. Tucker Carlson has already found a clear incident of perjury in this farce of a coup. I doubt we will be seeing the good ambassador testify on 11/15 under the circumstances.

  108. @Susan the "clear incident of perjury" is about an insignificant detail (of course) and Carlson has not shown any evidence. The details of trump's treasonous attempt to extort a foreign government to smear Biden AND Clinton (we now learn) has been established and confirmed by MANY witnesses. The president does not have the right to subvert foreign policy for his own propaganda benefit.

  109. What it is unfortunately clear is that we need not so much more, but clearer restrictions on the Presidency. They should NOT be, reactive, based solely on the anticipation of another Trump, but on the major issues which have lead to such a long impasse, as evidence of criminal intent and actions has come to the public over time. A handful of areas: The emoluments business is far too vague for a modern age where so much business is done globally, and instantaneously. Guidelines on use of relatives in key official roles, and prohibition of use of relatives for quasi-official roles where there is no oversight of their activities. Strict controls preventing using private agents , with no oversight by any arm of the government, for government business or to represent the US in any way. Limitations of foreign donations for ANYTHING at all for the candidate,/elected official.

  110. @cheryl And the President should not have the power to pardon. I have always thought this power was wrong, regardless of who held the office.

  111. When Kent was told by his supervisor, a political appointee, to "keep his head down" in regard to Ukraine (his particular assignment, no less), and when his attempts to champion Yovanovitch were rebuffed, why did he not resign? Surely, someone with his expertise could easily have landed a job in the private sector or a university. I find this lack of integrity kind of appalling. It's not rocket science. If one's stomach turns every morning before work it's time to quit.

  112. It’s quite something to see true patriots standing up to their president. Hopefully, there are patriots un Ukraine that will come forward and tell their side of the story. President Macron of France said there were problems with NATO because of Trump. Basically, he can’t be trusted. I’m not young and I can’t remember such harsh criticism between members of our Alliance.

  113. @Skiplusse Well, France is not a member of NATO, and Macron's remarks were intended to further weaken the NATO alliance. Macron's bitter words on NATO were quickly repudiated by Angela Merkel.

  114. France was a founding member of NATO and fully participated in the Alliance from its outset. Paris was home to its first permanent Headquarters in the 1950s and 60s. In 1966, France decided to withdraw from the NATO Integrated Military Command Structures.

  115. RE: “As a general principle, I do not believe the U.S. should ask other countries to engage in politically associated investigations and prosecutions,” In this case it was not the U.S., it was Donald J. Trump, asking Zelensky to do him a political favor against a political opponent for his campaign and he was using Congressional mandated funds to do it. In the U.S. the president is not the state. He was not seeking this for the country, he was seeking this for himself. Against a specific individual.

  116. From day 1 some of us knew what was going to happen with Trump due to his history of deception. I do not understand how more people did not know he was trying to run a shadow government until Ukraine. Not 1 of his policies so far has been a positive for the average American citizen. So happy he's finally being held accountable. And seriously, we ain't seen nothing yet.

  117. I can't help but think that the Republicans are projecting their desire to get rid or at least ham string Obama onto Democrats, thinking they must also be only out to depose trump because that is what they would do.

  118. It seems to me this "The Ship of State" is sinking. Based upon a stream of new revelations about trump's unethical/impeachable behaviors, the decision to abandon ship is rapidly approaching. His republican enablers and supporters would do well to put aside their conspiracy theories (or whatever there motives are) and admit the truth...trump has abused the office of the president one too many times. America wants and needs truthful answers...period!

  119. Kent is going to testify about his opinions that he formed following receiving second/third hand information and the the opinions of others. He disagrees with the foreign policy of the President who has the Constitutional authority to set US foreign policy. Is that all there is? And the Democrats expect the American people to support impeachment based on opinions?

  120. The President does not have the Constitutional authority to conduct foreign policy for personal political gain. If he wants favours like that let him spend his own money, after all it’s not as if he deigns to pay taxes!

  121. Precisely!

  122. Thank you Mr. Hannity for clarifying the “truth.”

  123. Keep the wheels moving fast, Dems. One week of open testimony on camera, in front of the whole world, and then vote on Impeachment Articles right away. Let the Republicans continue their last ditch effort "process arguments". If the Senate GOP votes to keep this lying blatant criminal as their president, they fully deserve the American people's wrath in 2020. The evidence against Trump is simply overwhelming. He has betrayed America. Trump and his mindless band of GOPers will not be re-elected in 2020.

  124. Most people in America are apolitical. They spend little or no time following politics. They also don't vote. A great turn out is 55 percent of the electorate. Even of the people who follow they are mildly interested only reading and watching watching what they find they like. If you listen to Trump and Fox news you only hear everything is a witch hunt or taken out of context. With the Fox news propaganda machine rolling don't expect a huge change in perception of the illegal acts of the president.

  125. @dave I would add that this climate of division and suspicion also enables Russian propaganda and disinformation among different target audiences in our country. Voters who are not well informed about our diplomacy and White House machinations glom onto the news broadcasts that favor their views. Into this environment carefully crafted and placed Russian disinformation performs an insidious function to undermine people's trust in our government and elected leaders.

  126. I read the New York Times every day, cover to cover, and I am not convinced that Mr. Trump — whose shortcomings are too numerous to count — has necessarily done anything illegal. What it appears he intended to happen never happened. Now what? Impeachment for something that never took place? What sense does that make?

  127. @dave: "If you listen to Trump and Fox news you only hear everything is a witch hunt or taken out of context." If you listen to the Democratic Party and every other media outlet, how can you be sure you are getting all the facts with no political spin or some agenda that they want to advance? Are they somehow above lying?

  128. I'm old enough to have seen my dad shake hands with Truman on his whisle stop tour through Ohio, and I am a vet and business owner. If Trump is re-elected, we are headed back to the 1930's. Never has the country depended so much upon the patriotism and intelligence of men like George Kent and the other civil servants who are literally putting their own security at risk by speaking out.

  129. @Oxy Mora I agree but would add that our foreign policy is beginning to resemble that of Harding and Coolidge as isolationism swept our country. People could not run fast enough from U.S. engagement with other countries. And here's a thought: after we had sent a million men to France to help defeat Germany and end WW-I, we got little credit at the Versailles peace conference despite President Wilson's presence. He returned to a hostile Congress and the U.S. failed to enter the League of Nations that Wilson had supported. The long-term result was a diplomatic and global disaster. Here's another factor that is seldom mentioned in this context: the global flu pandemic of 1918 killed more people than all those lost in the war and so crippled European and American economies through lost manpower that this contributed to the growth of Fascist and nationalist movements in Europe and Asia. It also contributed to a sense of dread among Americans and intensified the desire for isolationism.

  130. @Oxy Mora, I was a child when Truman was president. How I miss men of his stature. In fact, I miss all past presidents, even those with moral failings, because their moral failings pale in comparison to Trump.

  131. @Oxy Mora These people don't want to go back to the 1930's. They are against Reason (truth, facts, math, and science). They are against political equality for all people. They are against the Enlightenment. They fly the flag of the Confederacy. They want to go back to before the Constitution.

  132. I am wondering why the investigators chose to subpoena Mulvaney but not Bolton. Let Bolton defy a subpoena also--it just strengthens the obstruction argument. Also, doesn't defying a lawful subpoena open the recipient up to criminal or civil action later?

  133. “Behind closed doors, Democrats also continued depositions, interviewing Jennifer Williams...” I presume that the Republican committee members were also present and participated in the hearing? Please don’t accidentally reinforce the false accusations that only one party is involved in an undemocratic process when the reality is that this is all being conducted in accordance with the constitution.

  134. What about Mr. Kent's superior, Mr. Reeker? He appears to 'reek' of taint in this matter. Has he been called to testify? Is he just a Trump political hack hiding behind Trump's obstruction shield?

  135. "But Mr. Kent acknowledged during his testimony that his account of the conversation was not firsthand, and other witnesses have not mentioned it." All you need to know about the whole thing, just second hand news...

  136. @Knute So what's your point, Knute? Are you saying that Trump was not extorting Ukraine for his own personal & political interests, which run contrary to our country's foreign policy interests?

  137. Biden, Clinton, Investigation: three words trump wanted to hear coming from the mouth of President Zelensky on TV. He used blackmail to get them. Kent testified to the depths of depravity the presidency has been dragged by trump in his obsession with Hillary Clinton. I await Pompeos's purge of these brave professionals like Kent, to be replaced with trump loyalists from the Federalist Society, NRA, Club for Growth, Liberty U., et al.

  138. That is what happens when the Republicans don't do anything in Congress to rein in this alleged serial criminal Trump. They did nothing re the Mueller Report, a sanctioned professional team empowered to investigate Trump alleged crimes. They found 10 instances of obstruction of justice and numerous money laundering crimes, plus wanna be traitor charges that did not stick because Trump's lawyers stopped it. Since they did nothing, the mafia group in the WH led by Rudy G and Trump continued their criminal work in Ukraine, breaking the law, trading dirt for stopping legal gov't aid, unchecked by the republicans in Congress. I was amazed that NYState let Trump off with a relative slap on the wrist instead of jail time for charity fraud that the Trump Org. admitted to.

  139. I’ve seen enough. The president must be convicted for this.

  140. Where does the list begin? When Donny duped the city of New York and built trump tower?

  141. This article should have begun with what followed much lower down and that is "Mr Kent acknowledged that his account of the conversation was not firsthand and not spoken about by previous witnesses". In other words, just another opinion.

  142. I thought the 'top State Department official' was the Secretary of State. This is just another civil servant with a political point of view different from the President's.

  143. You must know these career people work for all Presidents, despite their personal political views. That is their job.

  144. Many worry that Trump will get another 4 years and perhaps try to extend his terms beyond that. We need to think very carefully about how we can insure that a Trump like character is never allowed into our WH again. This is far more serious than some might think. But the framers of our constitution would have never believed such a person as Trump could have gotten elected in the first place. Kent and Taylor have had to live with and tolerate the diplomatic infractions of this administration for far too long. We should never put such great people and many others who work for our government in this kind of bind.

  145. One wonders if George Kent also considered the following "injurious to the rule of law": military invasions of countries that don't threaten us, networks of black-op torture sites around the world, kidnap and rendition, execution via drone without democratic oversight, a gulag down in Cuba where foreign nationals are tortured and held indefinitely without hope of trial, CIA meddling in the democratic process of Central and South American sovereign nations, military support for nations engaged in wars that create humanitarian crises (Yemen), etc. etc. Or did he just get worked up about what Trump did? Let's not pretend here that the USA hasn't been a rogue nation on the world stage since 9/11, and well before. There's a reason we don't recognize the ICC while almost everyone else does.

  146. Since 9/11? You are too kind, and most of south America would object. Yet there is a substancial difference between being a self serving nation (which all are, to various degrees though) and having a self serving president, to the cost of said nation's interests. Let us just agree that this is definitely not an improvement..

  147. For the TV lights and American viewers we need to see and hear ALL Trump's aides in the public hearings. If they don't appear put them in the same jail congress put the female reporter who refused to divulge her sources -- Alexandria Jail. Not a nice place, I hear and the food isn't too tasty I bet.

  148. @Sean Cairne : "For the TV lights and American viewers we need to see and hear ALL Trump's aides in the public hearings." We also need to hear from the public.

  149. It's time for GOP Committee members of to put country over party!

  150. People judge others by their own standards. Mr. Kent’s standards are high, but those voters and those members of Congress whose moral standards are not so high will write him off as either a fool (he spent his life trying to get others to appreciate the rule of law?) or a liar (he’s part of the deep state).

  151. Kent is certainly correct in his characterization of Giuliani and his unofficial mission to pressure President Zelensky to make a public statement about investigating the Bidens and Hillary Clinton. Giuliani is not a sworn official of our government; he’s the president’s personal lawyer and mop-up man. He acted on the president’s requests, not as a diplomat trying to carry out U.S. foreign policy (such as it is under this administration). He sabotaged Amb. Marie Yovanovitch and Trump recalled her. He weakened the leverage of the State Department in the region and with the White House. Pompeo remained silent and did not defend his long-serving diplomats. Rudy’s two Ukrainian-American stooges have been arrested and we don’t hear much these days from him. President Zelensky did not make the statement that Trump wanted. Rumors are flying that Trump will dump Rudy, Amb. Sondland, and Chief of Staff Mulvaney in an attempt to place blame for the debacle on them and distance himself from the mess he precipitated out of personal greed and envy.

  152. Other presidents have used special envoys and other methods to communicate with foreign leaders, but those "back channels" were closed coordinating with official channels to do official government business. Gilliani who claims that he was working as Trump's personal lawyer was working at cross purposes to official channels and official policy, as voted on by Congress and signed into law, to do personal political business for the President. High Crimes. Say the words.

  153. Two weeks ago: it was a "perfect" call. Last week: There was no quid pro quo. This week: Quid pro quo is not an impeachable offense. Next week: Bribery and extortion are not illegal.

  154. George Kent provides yet another tile added to the mosaic of criminality, corruption and venality that is the full picture of the Trump administration. May his tile also act as a crucial domino in this shameful saga and help knock em all down.

  155. Headlines like this are becoming as common as the sunrise. Until the GOP recognize their latent consciences and sense of duty, they are just more noise emanating from the Trump maelstrom.

  156. oh dear oh dear. In his second term, donald will have to fire absolutely everyone and start all over again with sworn loyalists. Even then......

  157. Assuming Mr. Kent’s testimony is accurate and true, what picture does that paint of the President, his concerns, and how he thinks? This testimony alone (the magic words of exoneration the President longed to hear from the mouth of a foreign leader at a broadcast mic) should open the door to removal under Article 25. Unfit for the job barely scratches the surface.

  158. Good point that investigations and prosecutions based on politics are the essence of corruption. That's what the Republicans are alleging happened with the FBI investigation into George Papadulos, but it's what the current Minority Leader in the House admitted was behind their investigation of Hillary Clinton's role in the Benghazi tragedy. Of course, McCarthy has an unfortunate habit of letting the truth slip out of his mouth, as when he said he thought Putin paid two people, Trump and Dana Rohrbacher.

  159. I suppose the nation will be exposed next week to Rep Jordan wasting Mr Kent’s and others time with meaningless grandstanding. Sigh.

  160. Our democracy is at risk. The foot soldiers that will protect it include: * Good journalism and investigative reporting; * Whistleblowers; * Conscientious, talented civil servants.

  161. All the criticism of the witnesses and process is coming from those who are not in THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS. Those Republicans on the committees who are actually in the room are very quiet. I wonder why. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." OK, mother.

  162. The biggest long-term damage to the US is the continuous attacks on truth and the rule of law, by Trump and his accomplices. So Orwellian. Four legs good, two legs bad. No, too legs good, four legs bad.

  163. George Kent's testimony further highlights the improper and likely criminal activities engaged in by Rudy Giuliani, his lackeys, and ultimately President Trump, as well as those on the Ukrainian side who aided and abetted them. It also describes the difficult choices professional diplomats have had when faced with two "snake pits," one in Washington and the other in Kyiv, composed of officials who are more interested in advancing their own financial and political interests than those of their country. Like other career officers, George Kent is a hero and a patriot, who has chosen to tell the truth despite the very real threat of reprisals from the Trump White House. He and others brave enough to come forward must be protected. Since Secretary of State Pompeo is apparently afraid to stand by his own officers, Congress and the American people must pick up the slack. (Note: I have known George and his family for three decades. You could not find a finer representative of what is best about the United States. It is a shame that corrupt forces in our own country now see him as an inconvenient reminder of the truth).

  164. George Kent testified,“As a general principle, I do not believe the U.S. should ask other countries to engage in politically associated investigations and prosecutions. I don’t think that as a matter of policy the U.S. should do that, period, because I have spent much of my career trying to improve the rule of law.” 
Bur Kent also testified that, as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, ”I raised my concerns that I had heard that Hunter Biden was on the board of a company owned by somebody that the U.S. Government had spent money trying to get tens of millions of dollars back and that could create the perception of a conflict of interest.” President Trump did not ask President Zelensky to conduct “politically associated investigations.” He asked Zelensky to “look into” allegations made by several Ukrainian officials, include an allegation that Vice President Biden pressured Ukraine to replace its prosecutor general in order to quash a criminal probe into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the former Vice President’s son Hunter. The notion that the Senate might remove the president and from office because George Kent thinks the United States should not ask other countries to engage in politically associated investigations is delusional. If Donald Trump Jr. instead of Hunter Biden sat on Burisma’s board, Democrats would have no objection. They pressured Ukraine to investigate Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort.

  165. There is a lot more to the Ukraine story than just a phone call. I am hopeful that if information comes out that implicates the Democratic Party or the DNC the Times will be as forthright in reporting as they are in reporting against Trump and anyone associated with him.