• Page and Zelensky Speak Out
• Trump Readies for Another Trade War
• Steve Bullock Exits Democratic Presidential Race
• Garland Tucker Exits North Carolina Senate Race
• Duncan Hunter to Plead Guilty
• Assessment of Open House Seats
• I Am Not a Crook: A Look at History's Most Scandalous Scandals, Part V
Anybody who doubts that the Republican Party has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump family has not been paying attention for the last, oh, 2-3 years. There was yet another major reminder of that fact Monday, as Congressional Republicans released a 123-page report exonerating Donald Trump of all wrongdoing as regards Ukraine.
Trump, as you might have noticed, has not even gone on trial yet. That means that, from a legal perspective, they are putting the cart before the horse. Of course, impeachment is a political process too, and the GOP is trying to get out ahead of the narrative. Looked at from that angle, horse and cart are in exactly the right order. The 123-page report is pretty much a greatest hits of what we've already heard: there was no quid pro quo, it was apropos to withhold the aid because Ukraine is very corrupt and meddled in the 2016 election, everything that presidential lawyer/fixer Rudy Giuliani did was above board, Joe and Hunter Biden are shady, the whistleblower doesn't know what he or she is talking about, this is all the "deep state's" fault, yada, yada, yada.
Obviously, Trump's defenders in the Party don't mind engaging in a little (or a lot) of conspiratorial thinking, nor saying things that do not align with mountains of existing evidence. They also don't mind making assertions that are internally inconsistent, like saying that Trump did not withhold aid in order to get an investigation out of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and then turning around and saying it was perfectly justifiable to withhold aid in order to get an investigation out of Volodymyr Zelensky. In fact, some people think that the pro-Trump faction overplayed their hand and oversold their case, something along the lines of "he doth protest too much, methinks." Put another way, if a person is on trial for murder, their defense attorney isn't going to argue, "My client definitely did not kill the victim, and even if he did, it was in self-defense." And so, while the base will take all 123 pages as gospel, fence-sitters may be pushed in the other direction. That's not likely to matter much in the (likely) impeachment trial, but it could matter in next year's elections.
Meanwhile, making all of this a little extra icky is the news that came out on Monday that Congressional Republicans know full well that Ukraine had nothing to do with the 2016 elections. They know that because they themselves investigated the matter, with the Senate Intelligence Committee conducting an exhaustive assessment before concluding that there was no smoke there, much less any fire. It's probably about time for another update to the old legal adage: "If the law is on your side, pound the law. If the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If neither is on your side, then just make something up out of whole cloth."
While the Republican Noise Generator™ is currently operating at full blast on behalf of Donald Trump, however, let's not pretend that he's the one who built it. The lies about Ukraine come from the exact same place as the stories about pizza parlor pedophile rings, falsified presidential birth certificates, uranium allegedly being sold to Russia, and Seth Rich murder conspiracies. Those who expect a once-dignified party to return to normalcy once the Donald exits stage right should prepare to be disappointed. (Z)
Volodymyr Zelensky and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page don't have much in common, other than Donald Trump has had a lot to say about them, and they haven't had much to say in return. That changed on Monday, however, as both decided to break their self-imposed vows of semi-silence.
Page worked on the Bureau's investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mail, and was also part of Robert Mueller's investigation. However, when text messages between her and former FBI agent Peter Strzok—some of them lewd, others critical of Trump—came to light, she was removed from Team Mueller. The President has seized upon this as "evidence" of a deep-state conspiracy against him and, as he tends to lack the fortitude to challenge men when a female target is available, has regularly attacked Page on Twitter. For example:
The just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine. Hopefully, justice will finally be served. Much more to come!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2019
There are another 60 or so over the course of the last three years, some of them mentioning Strzok by name (we're guessing those were written by Dan Scavino), some referring to him as "Peter S" (we're guessing those were written by Trump), and many singling out Page.
Anyhow, with the results of the Justice Department's investigation into the FBI investigation set to be announced next week, Page decided she's been quiet long enough. And so, she took to Twitter and also sat for an interview, and made clear that she would not be turning the other cheek anymore:
I stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse. It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back. It's like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He's demeaning me and my career. It's sickening.
Page is likely guessing (probably correctly) that the report commissioned by AG William Barr is not going to paint her in a flattering light, and so is bracing for the next wave of presidential tweets.
Meanwhile, also sitting for some interviews on Monday was Zelensky. Asked about the subject du jour, the Ukrainian President said:
Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That's not my thing. I don't want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We're at war. If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us. I think that's just about fairness. It's not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.
Trump jumped on this, and tweeted thusly:
Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls. If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
That, of course, is not what Zelensky said. In fact, the careful reader will notice that he didn't even say there was no such proposal, merely that he doesn't operate from that position (of weakness). It's very much like saying "I don't respond to threats." That is not at all the same thing as saying "there was no threat." Anyhow, given that Zelensky still needs to remain in Trump's good graces, this is probably as far as he's going to go right now. On the other hand, with this year's aid already in hand, and perhaps armed with a sense of which way the winds are blowing, maybe this is the opening salvo in some much more assertive pushback. (Z)
Donald Trump is currently in Europe for meetings related to NATO. And it just wouldn't be a proper get-together with America's closest allies if the President did not step on some toes. So, in response to the nation of France announcing plans to levy additional taxes on Amazon and Google (something they did a few months ago), Trump decided to hit the French again on Monday, announcing his plans to impose 100% tariffs on Champagne and on French cheese imported into the United States (annual total: about $2.4 billion). If he ultimately extends that to croissants, berets, and Gérard Depardieu movies, we could end up with another Quasi-War on our hands.
Trump's hope, of course, is that this will put pressure on French president Emmanuel Macron, and that Macron will be eager to make a deal while the two men are both in the same room. It probably won't work like that; among realistic scenarios, the best case is that the U.S. and France eventually hammer something out after long and complicated negotiations. That said, the French agreed to a 90-day moratorium on the new taxes when they announced them back in August in order to allow time for negotiations, and nothing got done, so don't hold your breath.
It might appear surprising that Trump is going to bat for Amazon and Google, since he ostensibly loathes the former and feels none-too-warmly about the latter. However, he and his administration also know that the economy must remain strong in order for him to have a shot at getting reelected, and that the two tech giants are among the primary engines of that economy. In other words, for all of his sound and fury, Trump is well aware that what is good for Amazon and Google is also what's good for him, and so he proceeds accordingly. (Z)
Another day, another Democratic presidential candidate down. On Monday it was Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), who—as a curious blend of economic conservative, social liberal, and folksy populist—never had much of a lane, and never gained much traction. He made a grand total of one debate cut (the second one), was averaging 0.5% in national polls, and raised less than $5 million (a.k.a., about as much as Michael Bloomberg has in the cushions of his couch). With winter upon us, he apparently didn't much relish the thought of freezing his Bullocks while trying to scrape together votes in Iowa. So, he's out.
Bullock's departure from the race might have been very happy news for the Democrats, as he is now available to run for the U.S. Senate against Steve Daines (R-MT), against whom the Governor would probably be even money. The problem, however, is that Bullock—despite being plenty young enough at age 53 to wait out the 15-20 years it takes to get seniority in the Senate—is just not interested. That means that Daines will almost certainly get to keep his job, and the Democrats will have to look elsewhere for the three or four seats they need in order to recapture the upper chamber. Since Bullock will be ineligible for the Montana governor's mansion for eight years once his current term is completed in 2021, his political career is presumably nearing its end. He has a J.D. from Columbia University Law School (with honors), so it seems unlikely that he would want to become a simple country lawyer, but maybe he has something else in mind. (Z)
Steve Daines was not the only GOP senator who got good news on Monday. So too did Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Tillis was facing a serious primary challenge from the right in the form of Garland Tucker, who has hugged Donald Trump so close he got spray tanner on his shirt collar. However, while Tucker is wealthy enough to self-fund for a while, he is not so wealthy that he can foot the bills for an entire primary campaign in the ultra-expensive state of North Carolina (many large media markets) without some help. The donations weren't there, support from the national party definitely wasn't there, and Trump wasn't willing to throw Tucker any sort of lifeline, financial or otherwise. And so, the would-be giant slayer has ended his Senate bid.
Although he is not going to get a serious primary challenge—the only other Republican in the race, Sandy Smith, has just $66,000 on hand, and the filing deadline is two weeks away—Tillis remains one of the more endangered senators. His approval rating (35%) is awful, and North Carolina tends to change senators frequently (10 of the last 12 people sent to the Senate by the Tar Heel State were elected to just one term). Still, the Senator is not going to have to pivot rightward and then back to the center, nor is he going to have to waste time and money securing his flank. So, his odds of keeping his job definitely improved on Monday. (Z)
As it turns out, Washington does have a fellow named Hunter who is guilty of numerous crimes. It's not the son of Joe Biden, however; it's Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA). The Representative was (and is) under indictment for misuse of campaign funds and other crimes. It was pretty obvious he was guilty, but he tried desperately to save himself, up to and including pointing the finger at his wife. On Monday, however, Hunter was finally persuaded the game was up, and agreed to plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. That generally carries a sentence of between 8 and 14 months.
This presumably marks the end of Hunter's tenure in Congress, though given how swampy things are these days, you never know. Assuming he resigns or is expelled, then it will trigger a special election (unless the Representative holds on until April of next year). His district, CA-50, is pretty red (R+11), so the odds are the Republicans keep it. On the other hand, Duncan only won reelection the last time by a margin of 3.4%, and if his challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar decides to take another shot, he would have name recognition on his side. This will be the second 2020 special election for the Golden State; Democrat Katie Hill's seat has been open since she resigned it a couple of weeks ago. (Z)
So far this cycle, 8 Democrats and 21 Republicans have said that the 116th Congress will be their last rodeo. A link to a page with all of the House retirements is located in the menu to the left of the map above. Most of the seats are not competitive, but a small number are. Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has taken a close look at all the House races and decided that eight of the open seats are potentially competitive, as follows:
|GA-07||Rob Woodall (R)||R+9||Toss-up||44.8%||41.1%||0.2%|
|IA-02||Dave Loebsack (D)||D+1||Toss-up||45.0%||49.1%||12.2%|
|IN-05||Susan Brooks (R)||R+9||Leans R||41.3%||43.1%||13.5%|
|MT-AL||Greg Gianforte (R)||R+11||Likely R||35.9%||56.5%||4.6%|
|NY-02||Peter King (R)||R+3||Leans R||43.9%||53.0%||6.2%|
|TX-22||Pete Olson (R)||R+10||Leans R||44.2%||52.1%||4.9%|
|TX-23||Will Hurd (R)||R+1||Leans D||49.8%||46.4%||0.4%|
|TX-24||Kenny Marchant (R)||R+9||Toss-up||44.5%||50.7%||3.1%|
A few things stand out. First, seven of the eight are Republican seats. That suggests that if Democratic incumbents can hold their own, the Democrats are likely to retain control of the people's house. In other words, there are not a lot of open Democratic seats that the Republicans can easily snatch up.
Second, it is a bit surprising that districts as red as R+9 and even R+11 are considered competitive, but Sabato, who is well versed in the material, apparently sees some of them as potentially flippable. The PVI rating is based on the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections, but more recent elections and demographic changes in recent years can make a district more competitive than its PVI suggests.
Finally, three of the districts are in Texas, a state Democrats are targeting heavily. They think it could be the next California (a reference to their sweeping all the House seats in California's Orange County in 2018). The three Texas seats that are competitive are TX-22 in suburban Houston, TX-23, which runs along the Mexican border for 800 miles, and TX-24, which is between Dallas and Fort Worth. Here is the map:
It is still relatively early in the election cycle and more representatives could yet announce retirements, depending on how public opinion responds to the almost-certain impeachment of the president this month. (V)
And the beat goes on. Yes, the beat goes on. If you wish to read any of the previous entries in this series:
- Scandals, Part I: The XYZ Affair, the Caning of Charles Sumner, Crédit Mobilier
- Scandals, Part II: The Petticoat Affair
- Scandals, Part III: The Whiskey Ring, the Dreyfus Affair
- Scandals, Part IV: Teapot Dome, Payola
We're now squarely into "scandals that are still in living memory" territory.
- Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961 ("Ukraine of Pigs"): Have you ever heard of
Operation Midnight Climax?
That was a CIA operation wherein prostitutes would lure johns to CIA-run safehouses and
give them LSD-spiked food and drinks, so that the Agency could observe the effects of the drug.
Or what about
which utilized non-consenting U.S. citizens in an effort to discover drugs and/or interrogation techniques that
would afford Manchurian Candidate-style mind control? Or
wherein microphones were surgically implanted in cats' ears, so that they could be used to eavesdrop on the Kremlin and
on Soviet embassies? The Agency blew $20 million on that one.
All of this is to say that in the 1950s and 1960s, when all of these schemes took place, the CIA either had way too much "creativity," or way too little supervision, or both. And as obsessive as they were about the Russkies, they were possibly even more so about Fidel Castro, who was not only communist, but also led a country just 90 miles from the United States. The Agency thus launched all sorts of cockamamie anti-Cuba and anti-Castro initiatives, among them Operation Northwoods, Operation Mongoose, Operation 40, and, of course, the Bay of Pigs invasion.
The basic plan for the invasion was personally approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He thus demonstrated that while he may have been pretty good at deploying enormous armies to fight in conventional wars, he had little idea how to use smaller forces in unconventional wars against an entrenched (and somewhat fanatical) enemy. The body of men that was to do the actual fighting was Brigade 2506, which was made up of Cuban exiles and a handful of American military personnel. Contrary to its name, it actually included just 1,500 men in total. And the idea was that, after a diversionary strike from the U.S. Air Force, they would launch a surprise amphibious assault on the beaches of Cuba, gain control of a population that outnumbered them roughly 4,700-to-1, and overthrow Castro. What could go wrong?
By the time everything was ready to go, Eisenhower was out of the Oval Office and John F. Kennedy was in. JFK and his team were at least somewhat skeptical of the plan, and during the 1960 campaign, had been openly critical of the Eisenhower administration's failure to aid the anti-Castro resistance within Cuba. However, the freshly inaugurated young president was also a little reluctant to start throwing his weight around so early into his term, and he and his confidant/brother/AG Bobby were somewhat entranced by the thought of overthrowing Castro and fulfilling a major campaign promise. So, JFK gave the green light.
The overall plan commenced on April 14, 1961, with ships full of invaders setting sail, and American planes taking flight. The planes commenced their bombardment the next day and kept it up, off and on, for about 48 hours. The actual invasion began a little after midnight on April 17, At that point, the question of "what could go wrong?" was pretty quickly answered. Among the problems:
- The Cubans knew the invasion was coming, thanks to invaders who had unwisely bragged about their plans while
recreating in Miami. Loose lips sink ships, as they say.
- Speaking of sinking ships, the spot targeted for invasion happened to be surrounded by much coral, which was impossible
to see in the middle of the night, and tore open the underside of many ships, sinking them.
- Meanwhile, once the men reached landfall, they learned that the particular spot the CIA had chosen was quite swampy. Swamps,
of course, are also hard to see in the middle of the night.
- The paratroopers who were supposed to support the invasion didn't know how to navigate at night and landed in the wrong place.
- The weather was cold and rainy that day, further exacerbating the visibility problems, not to mention the swampiness of the swamps.
In the end, over 100 members of the invading force died, while the balance were taken prisoner. Castro, in anger, had some of them executed. The rest were eventually ransomed to the United States for $53 million.
Kennedy, of course, was humiliated by the fiasco, which was surely the greatest setback of his relatively brief presidency. Publicly, and to his credit, he owned his mistake, famously observing "There's an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan." Privately, he was furious, and threatened to "splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." He did not do so, obviously, and eventually regained enough confidence in them that he allowed further covert ops against Castro, including the aforementioned Operation Mongoose. That said, the main leadership was cashiered, and the Agency was on a rather shorter leash from there on out. The disastrous invasion also further soured U.S.-Cuba relations, driving the Castro administration even further into the arms of the Soviet Union, and laying the groundwork for Kennedy's next great challenge from that direction, namely the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fortunately, he handled that one much better than he did the Bay of Pigs.
- The Cubans knew the invasion was coming, thanks to invaders who had unwisely bragged about their plans while recreating in Miami. Loose lips sink ships, as they say.
- The Chappaquiddick Incident, 1969 ("Ukrainaquiddick"): We're doing these in chronological
order. The fact that today's entries both involve the Kennedy family is just a coincidence.
Anyhow, there are no scandals on our list where the truth is murkier than this one. Let's start with what is known and generally agreed upon. On July 18, 1969, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) hosted a party on Chappaquiddick Island after a day of sailing. To this party, he invited several young women who had worked on his assassinated brother Bobby's presidential campaign the previous year, including 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, a political operative whose reputation was on the rise. As the party was winding down, Kennedy agreed to drive Kopechne back to her hotel. On that trip, his car overturned on a small bridge and ended up in the water. The Senator survived, his passenger didn't.
At this point, we are now left with the narrative of the one and only person who both witnessed what happened that night and lived to tell the tale. Kennedy was never able to explain exactly how the car ended up upside-down on the bottom of a river, but he insisted he was not driving drunk. He said (including under oath) that after freeing himself, he—an experienced swimmer and, at age 37, still very physically fit—made several attempts to rescue Kopechne. Unable to do it on his own, he summoned two friends, his cousin Joseph Gargan and his aide Paul Markham. They couldn't do any better. At that point, of course, Kennedy called the police and put the matter in their hands.
Oh, wait. No he didn't. What he actually did was return to his hotel, change out of his wet clothes, and fall asleep. He didn't actually call the police until the next morning, roughly nine hours after the accident. They moved as quickly as they could, and were able to get to the car, but by then it was far too late to save Kopechne.
Exactly how much (or how little) effort Kennedy put into saving the young lady will forever be unknown. He might have been telling the truth, but as someone worried about saving his political career, as well as a possible prison sentence, he also had much motivation to lie or exaggerate. And even if we accept his version of events, we're left with one rather glaring question: Why did he wait so long to contact the police? The pro-Kennedy explanation is that between his own near-death experience, and whatever adrenaline came with trying to save Kopechne, he was in shock. The anti-Kennedy explanation is that he was indeed driving drunk, and he waited until the liquor had worn off to call the police, so that he could not fail a sobriety test. If he had failed such a test, that would have been enough to bring manslaughter charges.
There are plenty of other questions about the Chappaquiddick Incident that many have pondered, but none can answer. Among them:
- How long did Kopechne survive? Some say just minutes; others say it was more like hours.
- If the police had been called immediately, or at least more quickly, would she have survived?
- Why was there no official inquest into the circumstances of her death?
- For someone headed back to her hotel room, why didn't she have her hotel room key on her?
- Was there a third person in the car?
- If Kennedy (and his friends) were able to dive down to the car, why couldn't they free her?
Of the two people that might have plausibly answered these questions, one died on July 18 or 19, 1969, and the other passed just over 40 years later, on August 25, 2009. They took what they knew to the grave with them.
In the short term, Kennedy suffered shockingly little damage due to the incident. He was not forced to resign from the Senate, and was convicted of only a minor offense (leaving the scene of an accident) and sentenced to two months in jail (which he never actually served). Beyond the possibility that he hid being intoxicated, Kennedy was saved by three things. The first is that his wealthy and powerful family pulled all the strings they could, and also launched a massive and skillful PR campaign on his behalf. The second was that much of the press of that era did not take Kopechne's death quite as seriously as they should have. The next day's news stories generally did not include a picture, and often did not even include the victim's name, referring to her only as "a blonde." That took away some of her personhood, and undoubtedly blunted at least some anger. And finally, Kennedy had the curious good fortune to get enmeshed in an ugly mess literally one day before U.S. astronauts landed on the moon. When Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind on July 20, 1969, Teddy's misdeeds were forgotten or forgiven by many people.
In the longer term, the scandal did linger over Kennedy, however. He kept and was reelected several times to his Senate seat by the adoring voters of Massachusetts, but Chappaquiddick made it such that the job was terminal. Kennedy's 1972 and 1980 presidential campaigns simply could not survive some voters' belief, maybe fair and maybe not, that he was little more than a murderer who condemned a young woman to a terrible death in order to save his own hide.
Tomorrow will be just one scandal, most likely: The Pentagon Papers. That is because the next one in the queue is the biggie, and is really going to require its own entry. (Z)
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Dec02 Ranking Republican on Judiciary Committee Wants Schiff to Testify
Dec02 Biden Will Crisscross Iowa for 8 Days
Dec02 Booker is Desperate for Donors
Dec02 Candidates on the Cusp
Dec02 Joe Sestak, We Hardly Knew Ye
Dec02 Disinformation Will Run Rampant in 2020
Dec02 Adam Schiff's Star Is Rising
Dec02 The Youngest Potential Voters Are Not Interested in Voting
Dec02 Poll: Republican Voters Think that Trump Is a Better Leader than Abraham Lincoln
Dec02 I Am Not a Crook: A Look at History's Most Scandalous Scandals, Part IV
Dec01 Sunday Mailbag
Nov30 Saturday Q&A
Nov29 Trump Paints Impeachment as an Attack on All Conservatives
Nov29 Nadler Invites Trump to the First Judiciary Committee Hearing on Impeachment
Nov29 The Knives Are Coming Out for Buttigieg
Nov29 Yang Releases His Tax Returns
Nov29 Richard Spencer Is Not Going Gentle into that Good Night
Nov29 Congress May Pass a Bill Somewhat Limiting Robocalls
Nov29 Georgia Governor Brian Kemp May Cross Trump When Filling Isakson's Seat
Nov29 Cummings' Daughters Support Their Father's Aide, Not His Wife
Nov28 Are Trump and Giuliani Turning on Each Other?
Nov28 Giuliani Was Also Doing Business in Ukraine
Nov28 Poll: Support for Impeachment Is Holding Steady
Nov28 Warren Is Slipping in Iowa
Nov28 Some Voters Want Divided Government
Nov28 Everything is Closing in Rural Areas
Nov28 Moderators for December Debate Named
Nov28 North Carolina Senate Race Could Break Spending Records--Again
Nov28 William Ruckelshaus Dies
Nov28 I Am Not a Crook: A Look at History's Most Scandalous Scandals, Part III
Nov27 Impeachment Inquiry Never Stops
Nov27 Trump, GOP Angry at Google
Nov27 Warren Gets a Bad Poll
Nov27 What Is Bloomberg Thinking?
Nov27 Obama Reportedly Doesn't Want Sanders to Get the Nomination
Nov27 I Am Not a Crook: A Look at History's Most Scandalous Scandals, Part II
Nov26 Navy SEAL Situation Devolves from "Big Mess" to "Total Fiasco"
Nov26 Legal Blotter, Part I: The Congressional Subpoenas
Nov26 Legal Blotter, Part II: The Tax Returns
Nov26 Activist Group Says New Citizens Could Flip Swing States
Nov26 Perry Calls Trump "The Chosen One"
Nov26 Trump Certainly Looks Like He's Losing Support
Nov26 I Am Not a Crook: A Look at History's Most Scandalous Scandals, Part I
Nov25 Bloomberg Is Running
Nov25 Report: Nunes Met with Former Ukrainian Official to Get Dirt on Biden
Nov25 What's Next?
Nov25 Will Bolton Testify at the Impeachment Trial?
Nov25 Ruling in McGahn Case Is Expected Today
Nov25 Mulvaney Tried to Justify Holding Up Ukraine Aid Afterwards