The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘President Trump

Ukraine Official Refutes Key Impeachment Testimony

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BOMBSHELLWe see the word “BOMBSHELL” used in news media a lot these days and most of the time it’s nothing more than click bait.

This story, however, may actually fit the term.

This is from TIME magazine at TIME.com so my Left of center friends shouldn’t use the source as a fallback position to ignore it.

A top Ukraine official who is mentioned dozens of times in the impeachment report released last week and has been called a critical figure “at the center” of the impeachment inquiry, is now disputing testimony by the Democrat witnesses upon which the entire impeachment process rests.

In a recent interview with TIME, Andriy Yermak is questioning the recollections of crucial witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.

“Listen, I want to tell you straight,” Yermak told TIME in the interview on Dec. 4, “Of course, now, when I watch these [hearings] on television, my name often comes up, and I see people there whom I recognize, whom I met and know,” he says, referring to the witness testimony. “That is their personal opinion, especially the positions they expressed while under oath. I have my own truth. I know what I know.”

Where this really gets dicey is with regard to Gordon Sondland’s testimony. As you may recall, Mr. Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the EU, had previously testified that there was no quid pro quo but then later revised that statement and testified the opposite in a written statement and again during the hearings. That is important to remember and consider when listening to Yermak’s recollection of his “meeting” with Sondland.

The key testimony that allowed the Democrats to move forward with impeachment came from Sondland, the ONLY witness to say he believed there was a quid pro quo in place. NO OTHER WITNESS made this direct allegation.

That testimony hinges on a meeting between Vice President Pence and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Warsaw on September 1.

Sondland testified that he pulled Yermak aside after the Warsaw meeting and told him U.S. aid to Ukraine would probably not resume until Zelensky’s government announced two investigations that could implicate President Trump’s political rivals.

From the TIME.com article –

“Based on the testimony from Sondland and other witnesses, the final report from the House Intelligence Committee concluded last week that Sondland made this offer of a quid pro quo clear to Yermak that day in Warsaw.”

Yermak disputes this. “Gordon and I were never alone together,” he said when TIME asked about the Warsaw meeting. “We bumped into each other in the hallway next to the escalator, as I was walking out.” He recalls that several members of the American and Ukrainian delegations were also nearby, as well as bodyguards and hotel staff, though he was not sure whether any of them heard his brief conversation with Sondland. “And I remember – everything is fine with my memory – we talked about how well the meeting went. That’s all we talked about,” Yermak says.

KABOOM! Is that bombshell enough?

In his initial testimony to the impeachment inquiry in October, Sondland said he never knew the U.S. aid to Ukraine was conditional on the investigations Trump wanted.

But then the following month, Sondland amended his testimony with a new sworn statement, in which he described the conversation with Yermak in Warsaw and identifying it as a quid pro quo on behalf of the president.

“I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Sondland wrote in the amended testimony.

Yermak, a central figure in this entire process, says that never happened.

Mr. Schiff? Mr. Nadler? Houston?
We have a problem…

Written by DCL

December 12, 2019 at 7:21 am

When the Press No Longer Pretends to be Honest

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I’m honestly getting tired of defending Donald Trump from the news media.

He’s not my favorite person. As a human being he’s…not very nice, to put it nicely. But he was elected under the laws of this country to be its president. I don’t support all of his policies and ideas, though I believe he’s done some good things to help spur the U.S. economy.

But doggone it, right is right and wrong is wrong! I am sick and tired of people working in the profession I loved and honored when I was part of it, abusing their privilege and tarnishing the 4th Estate with such shoddy and negligent reporting.

President Donald Trump’s remark referring to some illegal immigrants as “animals” Wednesday drew backlash. People went nuts. “See! He’s a racist!” they shrieked.

If all you heard was the president’s reply, which was a response to a direct question by a Sheriff in attendance, you may have felt the same anger and disgust. But there’s a problem here and it speaks to the dishonesty of many working in this country’s major news media.

If you didn’t hear the question asked by the reporter, you didn’t have any context by which to judge the answer, but judge is exactly what everyone did. Wrongly.

Here is the soundbite including the question which provides the context.

 

The question was specific. It was a direct question from a law enforcement officer about MS-13 gang members, many who have come into the country illegally. According to the Associated Press the gang has indulged in rape, beatings, beheadings, dismemberment, and extreme cruelty to human beings that get in their way or cross their paths. When you consider what these people do to other people, animals probably isn’t an adequate comparison.

But our Free Press, led by the New York Times, took the president’s answer and reported it completely devoid of the context within the question he was asked. They made it look like Trump was calling all immigrants animals… Even now 24 hours later, these press outlets have refused to inform their readers and viewers of the omission, providing no added context to their earlier, misleading, reports.

After a White House press briefing, some of the news outlets updated their stories adding the reference to MS-13 and the question that was originally asked.

Accidental? A mistake? An oversight?

You tell me.