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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14181 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 05:47

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-03, 20:26, said:

As stated elsewhere..."The Democrats argue that Mr. Trump deserves to be ousted from the Oval Office

At present Democrats are arguing that DJT deserves to be investigated. The White House position is essentially that any investigation into the POTUS is unlawful and are attempting to block it as much as possible. Given that oversight is part of the constitutional responsibilities of Congress, some of these blocking methods could already be regarded as obstruction of justice, which is from case history regarded as impeachable.


View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-03, 20:26, said:

for an ambiguous phone call to a foreign leader,

The call is only ambiguous in that there are two accounts of the transcript, one put out be the WH and the other recounted by an eye (ear?) witness. Both versions of the transcript involve an interaction that fits the definition of a quid pro quo, with the quo being something of personal gain to the POTUS rather than of national interest to the USA. That is practically the dictionary definition of the historical term "high crimes and misdemeanours", quite aside from the bribery aspect.


View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-03, 20:26, said:

citing the nexus between a corruption investigation that never occurred and U.S. aid that was never withheld.

Are you suggesting that aid was not withheld between (at least) mid-July and mid-September? As far as I know this aspect of the case is not in doubt even from conservatives and the Senate even issued a bipartisan letter in early September asking for the aid to be freed.

Let's go through the timeline: The Ukraine government was in a pretty tough spot in August 2019, desperately needing the aid that Congress had approved and not wanting to offend any major political factions in the USA. Moreover, the Prosecutor-General (Lutsenko) was on the record that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens, meaning that, realistically, the PG would need to be changed before any investigation could be opened. Coincidentally Ukraine did change its PG on August 30th (to Ryaboshapka). At this point events in the US took over as the Ukraine scandal erupted in mid-September. Under pressure, the aid was released on 11th September. Then on 4th October Ryaboshapka coincidentally announced a new enquiry into Burisma.

Now I am sure you will say, quite rightly, that there is no evidence tying any of the coincidences together. Nonetheless, your two underlined assertions are demonstrably false - aid was withheld and an investigation was opened.
(-: Zel :-)

half-wit -- Chas_P the racist
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#14182 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 08:25

I think it was Michael Bennet who promised that if we elect him we will be able to go for two weeks at a time without thinking about him. I and I am sure many others find this a very attractive idea. I am no doubt less than fully informed, I have interests that have nothing to do with Trump, But I'll comment.

It's best if the presidency is decided by the voters. At the time the Constitution was written, the thought was that we should choose electors who would then choose the president, but we are well past that idea, although stuck with the formalities of it. So I was a reluctant convert to impeachment. Ukraine was the turning point.. If I were on the receiving end of that phone all I would understand that if I want the money I have to investigate the Bidens. There are times when I don't catch some subtlety in a conversation, but this wasn't subtle.

We can't have that, we just can't.

It would be naive to think everyone would come to the same conclusion. As a child I read a comic book with a story in it that made Billy the Kid into a hero. There was a song about Jesse James going "That dirty little coward, that shot Mr. Howard, and laid poor Jesse in his grave". I believe John Dillinger was something of a popular hero. People have heroes, and they do not change their minds easily.

There are serious dangers in reaching too quickly for impeachment as a solution. The obvious danger is that it could become a habit. Another danger is that the voters will decide that their wishes have been thwarted and they will respond by voting in someone Trumpier, if that is possible.

For me, there are many many reasons for not voting for Trump. The top item on my list is that he is scum, Since that is his word for his opponents it seems fair to be this frank. I would have much preferred that we bring these reasons to the voters next November. But we can't have foreign aid depend on the sort of thing that was to happen here. That's just the way it is.


This is not good. No one can really be happy about how this is all going. We will see how it ends. There is reason to worry.

Ken
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#14183 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 09:00

From David Leonhardt at NYT:

Quote

The budget math isn’t the main problem with Medicare for All. The radical disruption to the health care system — including the forced elimination of private insurance — is the main problem.

I was mostly impressed with the detailed plan for financing Medicare for All that Elizabeth Warren released Friday, as I describe in my latest column. I gave it a B- for fiscal conservatism, but an A- on a curve, relative to various proposals from Republicans and other Democrats. And yet I still think Warren has significant work to do to keep Medicare for All from being a political liability.

Polls show a consistent pattern in Americans’ views on health care: It is one of people’s top concerns. They want health care to cost less, and they favor a set of progressive policies — like allowing anyone to buy into Medicare and having the federal government force down pharmaceutical prices. But people do not support eliminating all private insurance and requiring everyone to join Medicare.

I understand that Medicare for All advocates, like Warren and Bernie Sanders, believe that Americans will like it much better than the status quo once they’ve tried it, because costs will be lower and lack of insurance coverage will be a thing of the past. Yet those advocates can’t simply wish away public opinion. If they try, they’re likely either to lose elections or watch their plans fail in Congress as a result.

Warren’s new Medicare plan is a step forward. Her biggest task on this subject — designing a transition plan that voters can accept — is still unfinished.

More …

“Like Sen. Bernie Sanders, she intends to pass health reform by running over the health care industrial complex and every corporation and billionaire in America,” Vox’s Ezra Klein writes. “Sanders and Warren believe the path to reform is a program big enough to inspire the American people to dismiss the cries of opposition.”

To hold down costs, Warren would reduce drug prices, reduce payments to hospitals and some doctors and assume that Medicare’s administrative costs could be held down, The Times’s Margot Sanger-Katz and Sarah Kliff write: “The key question in this debate is, how quickly can the United States tamp down its sky-high health care prices?”

“The only way to make that math add up is to pay doctors and hospitals and drug companies a lot less, as Warren has proposed,” Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation told The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein. “The fundamental question here is: Can you lower health care prices enough to offset the increased costs from universal coverage and very comprehensive benefits?”

Paul Krugman: “Warren’s task was … to counter criticism that she was being evasive on a big issue. I think she has met that challenge.”

Ross Douthat: “Single-payer health care … has enough political vulnerabilities, in terms of costs and disruption both, that no sane Democrat should want it as the centerpiece of their national campaign.”

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#14184 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 09:45

View Postkenberg, on 2019-November-04, 08:25, said:

I think it was Michael Bennet who promised that if we elect him we will be able to go for two weeks at a time without thinking about him. I and I am sure many others find this a very attractive idea. I am no doubt less than fully informed, I have interests that have nothing to do with Trump, But I'll comment.

It's best if the presidency is decided by the voters. At the time the Constitution was written, the thought was that we should choose electors who would then choose the president, but we are well past that idea, although stuck with the formalities of it. So I was a reluctant convert to impeachment. Ukraine was the turning point.. If I were on the receiving end of that phone all I would understand that if I want the money I have to investigate the Bidens. There are times when I don't catch some subtlety in a conversation, but this wasn't subtle.

We can't have that, we just can't.

It would be naive to think everyone would come to the same conclusion. As a child I read a comic book with a story in it that made Billy the Kid into a hero. There was a song about Jesse James going "That dirty little coward, that shot Mr. Howard, and laid poor Jesse in his grave". I believe John Dillinger was something of a popular hero. People have heroes, and they do not change their minds easily.

There are serious dangers in reaching too quickly for impeachment as a solution. The obvious danger is that it could become a habit. Another danger is that the voters will decide that their wishes have been thwarted and they will respond by voting in someone Trumpier, if that is possible.

For me, there are many many reasons for not voting for Trump. The top item on my list is that he is scum, Since that is his word for his opponents it seems fair to be this frank. I would have much preferred that we bring these reasons to the voters next November. But we can't have foreign aid depend on the sort of thing that was to happen here. That's just the way it is.


This is not good. No one can really be happy about how this is all going. We will see how it ends. There is reason to worry.




The reasons American democracy worked (note past tense) was due to many unwritten norms that most mostly adhered. Two of those are mutual toleration of opposing viewpoints and forebearance, i.e., restraint in the use of powers held.

These are being replaced by intolerance and ruthlessness, turning democracy into a zero sum game.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14185 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 09:46

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-November-02, 12:15, said:

Under ACA they are required to provide it so it is not optional. They would have to reduce staffing.

They have to provide health insurance, but they don't have to provide the most expensive plan. I think that's what Adam was getting at -- the companies that have generous plans will be penalized with a higher tax than the companies with bare-minimum plans.

#14186 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 09:52

View Postawm, on 2019-November-02, 12:33, said:

It wasn't a very complex calculation. If a very rich person has wealth W, then they pay (6%)W in wealth tax, plus (40%)(10%)W in capital gains on 10% appreciation, which means they pay 0.1W in tax on 0.1W in gains. The max capital gains rate is actually a little more than 40%, so net negative. Admittedly the wealth tax is not 6% on the full amount of wealth (I think the 6% bracket starts at a billion) and income tax is not 40+% on the full amount of income, but for someone sufficiently wealthy these numbers are about right. I agree that the 10% capital gains is generous; if you reduce this you have a lot more people winding up net negative (by a much larger amount).

Again, these are the wealthiest people in the world and I'm okay seeing them pay more in tax, but these rates seem a bit extreme.

Where are you getting the 6% tax from? I thought it was 2% on wealth above $50M, and an additional 1% on wealth above $1B. So it's basically 3% for billionaires.

#14187 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 10:34

View Postbarmar, on 2019-November-04, 09:46, said:

They have to provide health insurance, but they don't have to provide the most expensive plan. I think that's what Adam was getting at -- the companies that have generous plans will be penalized with a higher tax than the companies with bare-minimum plans.


And how many U.S. corporations would, when not required, provide luxury plans to all employees?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14188 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 14:08

View Postbarmar, on 2019-November-04, 09:52, said:

Where are you getting the 6% tax from? I thought it was 2% on wealth above $50M, and an additional 1% on wealth above $1B. So it's basically 3% for billionaires.


This article summarizes how she pays for Medicare for All. Part of the funding involves increasing the wealth tax from 3% to 6% (on the highest incomes).
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#14189 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 15:00

Squash recessions as soon as they appear, and everyone is better off? Noah Smith examines recent evidence in support of Milton Friedman's plucking model which

Quote

holds that the economy is like a string on a musical instrument — recessions are negative events that pull the string down, and after that it bounces back. Just as a string snaps back faster if you pull it harder, this theory holds that the deeper the recession, the faster the recovery that follows. But you can only pluck the economy in one direction; bigger expansions don’t lead to bigger recessions.

The plucking model, therefore, says that recessions aren’t just the mirror image of expansions. They’re special events that disturb an otherwise placid process of economic growth. This has big implications for policy. Standard theories hold that while the economy can be stabilized by monetary or fiscal measures, the best that can be done is to iron out the fluctuations. But if the plucking model is right, then fighting recessions can actually raise the rate of growth overall. Just stimulate the economy whenever it gets plucked, and it’ll go happily on its way.

But is the plucking model true? Friedman proposed the idea in 1964, and argued that if he was right, future recessions would show a correlation between the depth of the bust and the speed of the recovery that followed. He then waited 20 years to see if his predictions were borne out. In 1993 he looked at the business cycles that had happened in the intervening years, and concluded he had been right.

Since then, others have found more evidence to support the plucking idea. A 2005 paper by economist Tara Sinclair used advanced statistical techniques to confirm that in the U.S., bigger recessions are followed by faster recoveries — but not the other way around. After the Great Recession of 2007-2009, researchers Gregory Cleys and Thomas Walsh looked at European countries, and concluded that those that had it worse in the downturn ended up bouncing back faster. But there was no correlation between how well a country did before 2007 and how much it suffered afterward. All this evidence implies that recessions cause recoveries, but that booms don't cause busts.

This fits with recent experience. Despite unusually low productivity growth, the U.S. economy grew strongly from 2010 through 2014: [chart not shown].

According to Friedman’s theory, this was simply due to the size of the hole that the economy had fallen into.

That leaves the question of why the economy would act like a string that can only be plucked in the downward direction. Macroeconomists Stéphane Dupraz, Emi Nakamura and Jón Steinsson think they have an answer. In a new paper, they lay out a model suggesting it depends on the way companies set wages.

Basically, it’s easy to give people raises, but hard to make them swallow pay cuts. In good times, growth simply feeds into higher wages (as well as higher profits). But when a recession or other negative shock comes along and hurts corporate earnings, employers that might like to cut wages can’t. Instead, they lay off workers. The more workers who get laid off, the bigger a pool of unused labor there is, so the faster the economy can grow once the recovery takes hold.

If Dupraz et al.’s model is right, the benefits to stabilizing the economy are big, because it’s possible to fight recessions with interest rate cuts and stimulus spending without making any sacrifices in good times. Instead of simply acting as a stabilizing force, the government can actually make unemployment permanently lower. (This is assuming, of course, that low rates don’t somehow lead to wasteful investment.)

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#14190 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 15:25

Strike two!

Quote

A federal appeals court has ruled that President Donald Trump’s accounting firm Mazars must turn over his tax returns to New York prosecutors.

Trump’s lawyers had argued that, as president, he was immune from criminal investigation ― a claim the three-judge appeals panel rejected.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14191 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 16:06

From Are We in a Recession? Experts Agree: Ask Claudia Sahm by Kate Davidson at WSJ:

Quote

Two of the biggest challenges of fighting a recession are knowing when you’re in one and deciding what to do next. When economic data weaken, it’s impossible to know in real time whether it’s a blip or something more prolonged. The official declaration usually comes a year or more after a recession starts.

Now, a Federal Reserve economist has come up with a simple rule based on movements in unemployment to rapidly determine when a recession is under way. In conjunction with that rule, Claudia Sahm has also proposed policies to immediately soften the downturn without the political hurdles that usually slow stimulus efforts.

For now, the so-called Sahm rule is sending a reassuring signal: The economy may be slowing but no recession has begun. Nonetheless, it is generating excitement among economists and at least one presidential contender looking for new ideas on how to combat future recessions at a time when the Fed lacks its normal ammunition since interest rates are already so low.

Policy makers need to know when a recession has begun before they can act to prop up the economy, said Jay Shambaugh, director of the Hamilton Project, a liberal think tank that included Ms. Sahm’s proposal in a book this year on preparing for the next downturn. “Knowing that in as close to real time as possible is a huge advantage over waiting, say, for Congress to act over a six- to eight-month period,” he said.

In January 2008, Fed officials projected the flagging U.S. economy would avoid a recession. Fed staff believed the probability of recession within the next six months was 45%, according to a policy meeting transcript.

In fact, a recession had begun the previous month, a determination the official arbiter, the National Bureau of Economic Research—a nonpartisan, nonprofit academic network—would take almost a year to make. It took six to 21 months to call previous recessions.

“That’s too long for stabilization policy to wait,” Ms. Sahm said on Twitter earlier this year. “Stimulus early could help reduce the severity of a downturn.”

The unemployment rate has risen sharply in every recession, and thus economists have long looked for recession signals in its behavior. Ms. Sahm spent weekends playing with a massive spreadsheet, testing different rates of increase over varying periods of time, to arrive at the following formula: If the average of unemployment rate over three months rises a half-percentage point or more above its low over the previous year, the economy is in a recession.

Her formula would have accurately called every recession since 1970 within two to four months of when it started, with no false positives, which could trigger unnecessary and costly fiscal stimulus.

Ms. Sahm says her rule is based on historical relationships in the U.S. and thus can’t be applied to other countries or individual states, whose labor markets may behave differently.

Nor should it be used predict recessions, as are some indicators such as an inverted yield curve, when long-term interest rates fall below short-term rates. The Sahm rule only determines when one has started. Yet that is potentially quite valuable.

Ms. Sahm received her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan then joined the Fed in 2007 where she studied the effects of fiscal policy on households. She and others have found that sending lump-sum payments to individuals, as the government did in 2001 and 2008, had a bigger effect on spending than spreading the money out across paychecks by lowering tax withholding, as Congress did in 2009.

By automating such payments, and designing the size, structure and funding ahead of time, policy makers could avoid those difficult decisions in a crisis, Ms. Sahm wrote in “Recession Ready,” the book published by the Hamilton Project and Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a left-leaning think tank where Ms. Sahm will soon move to become director of macroeconomic policy. The book discussed how to improve automatic stabilizers, the safety-net programs that kick in when the economy weakens, such as unemployment insurance and food stamps.

Ms. Sahm proposed that the Treasury begin sending payments to households equal to 0.7% of gross domestic product, or 1% of consumer spending, when the Sahm rule trigger is met, and extend those payments in subsequent years if the unemployment rate increases at least 2 percentage points above the level at the time of the first payment, then gradually scaling them back as the jobless rate declines.

Under her proposal, payments in the last recession would have started in April 2008 and continued into 2013, after the last of the big household stimulus programs expired. The boost to spending in 2008 and 2009 together would have been about 50% larger than under the stimulus actually enacted, she estimated.

Expanding automatic stabilizers this way could have drawbacks, warns Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a right-of-center think tank, and former Congressional Budget Office director. They would boost mandatory spending, which already weighs on the federal budget, and lawmakers would still face political pressure to respond with additional discretionary stimulus, he said.

Since its release in May, Ms. Sahm’s rule has been flagged in Wall Street research notes and news reports, and added to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s free economic database, known as FRED. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have asked for briefings on the proposal, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D., Colo.), who is running for president, highlighted it along with others in his campaign’s economic platform.

“The reason it’s been getting attention is it is simple, it is understandable, it is something people can observe themselves,” Mr. Shaumbaugh said.

It also helps that Ms. Sahm, unusual for a Fed staffer, is active on Twitter, where she has discussed the Sahm rule—and noted the name wasn’t her idea. “[In my opinion] ‘unemployment change rule’ is a better label,” she tweeted.

Doing stuff to help manage the world's largest economy in near real-time? Good idea.
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#14192 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 16:39

From Pompeo Faces Political Peril and Diplomats’ Revolt in Impeachment Inquiry by Edward Wong and David E. Sanger at NYT:

Quote

WASHINGTON — As President Trump’s first C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo was briefed by agency officials on the extensive evidence — including American intercepts of conversations between participants — showing that Russian hackers working for the government of Vladimir V. Putin had interfered in the 2016 American presidential campaign. In May 2017, Mr. Pompeo testified in a Senate hearing that he stood by that conclusion.

Two and a half years later, Mr. Pompeo seems to have changed his mind. As Mr. Trump’s second secretary of state, he now supports an investigation into a discredited, partisan theory that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the Democratic National Committee, which Mr. Trump wants to use to make the case that he was elected without Moscow’s help. “Inquiries with respect to that are completely important,” Mr. Pompeo said last month. “I think everyone recognizes that governments have an obligation — indeed, a duty — to ensure that elections happen with integrity, without interference from any government, whether that’s the Ukrainian government or any other.”

Mr. Pompeo’s spreading of a false narrative at the heart of the Ukraine scandal is the most striking example of how he has fallen off the tightrope he has traversed for the past 18 months: demonstrating loyalty to the president while insisting to others he was pursuing a traditional, conservative foreign policy. Mr. Pompeo, 55, now finds himself at the most perilous moment of his political life as veteran diplomats testify to Congress that Mr. Trump and his allies hijacked Ukraine policy for political gain — and as congressional investigators look into what Mr. Pompeo knew of the machinations of Mr. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.

It was Mr. Pompeo who helped Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani oust the respected American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, in April. Both Michael McKinley, a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo and a four-time ambassador, and Philip T. Reeker, the acting assistant secretary for Europe, testified that they asked State Department leadership to defend Ms. Yovanovitch from false accusations, only to be rejected. Mr. McKinley said he personally urged Mr. Pompeo three times to issue a defense.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Pompeo did not speak out on behalf of the veteran State Department diplomat he asked to fill Ms. Yovanovitch’s job, William B. Taylor Jr., after Mr. Trump attacked the diplomat over his blistering testimony on the president’s quid pro quo demands. In fact, Mr. Pompeo has tried to block officials under him from testifying.

At the same time, Mr. Pompeo is facing a revolt in the State Department. Confidence in his leadership has plummeted among career officials, who accuse him of abandoning veteran diplomats criticized by Mr. Trump and letting the president’s personal political agenda infect foreign policy.

Many diplomats now contend that Mr. Pompeo has done more damage to the 75,000-person agency than even his predecessor Rex Tillerson, an aloof oil executive reviled by department employees.

“In my view, and I say this with a great deal of reluctance as Secretary Pompeo tried at the start of his tenure to lift up the career service, he has failed the men and women of the department in his most important responsibility — to support them in the deepest crisis the service has faced in memory,” said Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s top career official under President George W. Bush and now a Harvard professor who advises Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign.

Some State Department officials have resorted to back channels to voice their complaints, congressional aides said. Over the summer, as confidence in Mr. Pompeo eroded, a stream of career officials spoke quietly with congressional offices about their concerns over administration policy — on the hold on Ukraine military aid, a move to cut $4 billion of foreign aid and arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

On Oct. 23, the three congressional impeachment committees said Mr. Pompeo had overseen a “culture of harassment and impunity.” That echoed what Ms. Yovanovitch had told investigators: The State Department was being “attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said.

In interviews on Oct. 30 with Fox News and The New York Post, two of Mr. Trump’s favorite media organizations, Mr. Pompeo pushed a new conspiracy theory involving Mr. Biden’s son and President Barack Obama’s policy of military aid to Ukraine — a theory that career officials under him find outlandish.

“Pompeo has consistently demonstrated that the only safe place on Trump’s foreign policy team is to be more Trumpian than the president himself,” said Andrew Weiss, a former official with the White House National Security Council, the State Department and the Pentagon in Democratic and Republican administrations. “Whether that means trafficking in over-the-top partisan attacks on Trump’s opponents or conspiracy-mongering about the 2016 election and the Ukraine scandal, he’s always willing to go there.”

“It seems that the only thing Pompeo is consistently prioritizing is his own personal political ambitions as opposed to what’s actually good for the country’s long-term national interests or the institutional well-being of the State Department,” added Mr. Weiss, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The recent wave of criticism has made Mr. Pompeo, known for a short fuse, even more testy in public. When a reporter asked Mr. Pompeo whether Mr. Trump’s abandonment of Kurdish partners in Syria had undercut American credibility, he lashed out, saying, “The whole predicate of your question is insane.”

A battered diplomatic corps is finding some solace in the nomination by Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo last Thursday of their North Korea envoy, Stephen E. Biegun, as the deputy secretary of state. Mr. Biegun is a longtime national security professional who worked for Condoleezza Rice in the Bush administration.

Still, Mr. Pompeo’s problems are growing as his frequent trips to Kansas, his adopted home state, come under greater scrutiny.

Last Tuesday, Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked the United States Office of Special Counsel to look into whether Mr. Pompeo was violating the Hatch Act by traveling to Kansas four times this year, three on taxpayer-funded official trips. Many people speculate that Mr. Pompeo, a former Republican Tea Party congressman backed by the Koch family, plans to run for the Senate next year, and that the trips amount to a shadow campaign.

On Oct. 25, as Mr. Pompeo was on his most recent visit, made with Ivanka Trump, The Kansas City Star ran an editorial with the headline “Mike Pompeo, Either Quit and Run for U.S. Senate in Kansas or Focus on Your Day Job.”

“He should by all means focus on U.S. diplomacy — remember diplomacy? — and stop hanging out here every chance he gets,” it said.

But it is Mr. Pompeo’s murky role in the shadow Ukraine policy that is keeping him in the cross hairs. Congressional investigators have subpoenaed his old friend and former business partner, Ulrich T. Brechbuhl, the State Department’s counselor.

The State Department did not answer detailed questions submitted for this article. In a combative interview with ABC News on Oct. 20, Mr. Pompeo declined to discuss Ukraine. He addressed the issue of low morale in his department by saying, “I see motivated officers.”

The revelations on Ukraine have shown Mr. Pompeo had direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s shadow policy, and seems to have enabled it.

In October, after the publication of news reports, Mr. Pompeo admitted he took part in the pivotal July telephone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. That was the same call that prompted a C.I.A. employee to file the whistle-blower complaint that ignited the impeachment inquiry.

And in August, Mr. Pompeo received an urgent cable from Mr. Taylor, the chief of mission in Ukraine, saying it was “folly” to withhold American military aid to Ukraine.

Though Mr. Taylor said that he heard Mr. Pompeo brought that Aug. 29 cable to the White House, Mr. Pompeo has refused to say what he advised. Some people familiar with the issue say he urged the president to resume military aid in September, fearful that the pressure on Ukrainian leaders for political favors would come back to bite the administration.

Ms. Yovanovitch removed from her ambassador post, the result of a right-wing media campaign by Mr. Giuliani and his associates that asserted, without evidence, that the ambassador had disparaged Mr. Trump.

John J. Sullivan, Mr. Pompeo’s deputy and Mr. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Russia, conceded at a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that he knew Mr. Giuliani was among those trying to “smear” Ms. Yovanovitch, but said he was told by Mr. Pompeo only that the president “had lost confidence in her.”

For career officials, Ms. Yovanovitch, a three-time ambassador, is a rallying point. Multiple op-eds and open letters with scores of signatures from former officials have called on Mr. Pompeo to defend Ms. Yovanovitch and the other officials who are shedding light on policies.

The latest letter, with more than 400 signatures from mostly former employees of the United States Agency for International Development, said State Department colleagues were “under siege.” “We are angered at the treatment of dedicated, experienced and wise public servants like Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch,” it said.

Mr. McKinley told lawmakers on Oct. 16 that he resigned five days earlier because department leaders had failed to support diplomats caught up in the impeachment inquiry, and because of “the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes,” according to a transcript of the testimony.

He said he believed the State Department was being used to dig up dirt on a political opponent of the president. “In 37 years in the Foreign Service and different parts of the globe and working on many controversial issues, working 10 years back in Washington, I had never seen that,” he said.

Mr. McKinley also spoke of low morale arising from the leadership’s inaction after the department’s inspector general released a report in August that detailed how two political appointees in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs — the assistant secretary Kevin Moley and his senior adviser Marie Stull — had harassed career employees. The inspector general is finalizing a similar investigation into another appointee, Brian H. Hook, the special representative on Iran.

“Morale at the State Department is rock bottom, but spirits have been lifted by the courage of these patriots,” Wendy Sherman, the department’s third-ranking official under President Barack Obama, said of Mr. McKinley and others testifying.

While failing to back his veteran diplomats, Mr. Pompeo has taken to the airwaves to defend Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Pompeo told CBS News on Sept. 22 that Mr. Giuliani’s request of Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden was appropriate. “I think the American people deserve to know,” he said.

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Pompeo had told him that he “was aware of” Mr. Giuliani’s efforts, and Mr. Giuliani passed a dossier of questionable documents on Ukraine to Mr. Pompeo. The State Department special representative for Ukraine, Kurt D. Volker, was involved in Mr. Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian officials.

Gordon D. Sondland, a Trump campaign donor and ambassador to the European Union who was a main player in the quid pro quo demands on Ukraine, told congressional investigators on Oct. 17 that Mr. Pompeo had endorsed his activities.

“I understand that all my actions involving Ukraine had the blessing of Secretary Pompeo as my work was consistent with longstanding U.S. foreign policy objectives,” he said. “Indeed, very recently, Secretary Pompeo sent me a congratulatory note that I was doing great work, and he encouraged me to keep banging away.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14193 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 17:19

View Posty66, on 2019-November-04, 16:39, said:

Mr. Pompeo said last month. “I think everyone recognizes that governments have an obligation — indeed, a duty — to ensure that elections happen with integrity, without interference from any government"

Does that include the UK?
(-: Zel :-)

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#14194 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 17:52

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-November-04, 17:19, said:

Does that include the UK?


Or the state of Georgia...
Alderaan delenda est
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#14195 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 18:35

View Postkenberg, on 2019-November-04, 08:25, said:


This is not good. No one can really be happy about how this is all going. We will see how it ends. There is reason to worry.


Once again a voice of reason comes to the WC. Well said Ken.

#14196 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 19:06

View Postkenberg, on 2019-November-04, 08:25, said:

So I was a reluctant convert to impeachment. Ukraine was the turning point.. If I were on the receiving end of that phone all I would understand that if I want the money I have to investigate the Bidens. There are times when I don't catch some subtlety in a conversation, but this wasn't subtle.

We can't have that, we just can't.

Once again a voice of reason comes to the WC. Well said Ken.
(-: Zel :-)

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#14197 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-04, 21:58

Quid pro quo from a legal perspective.
(-: Zel :-)

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#14198 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-November-05, 02:22

I don't really understand the frenzy over the quid pro quo extortion of Ukraine. Sure, it's icing on the cake, but just asking the Ukraine to investigate Biden is an impeachable offense.
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#14199 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-05, 04:36

Deposition of Marie Yovanovitch
Deposition of Michael McKinley

TL DR - The Highlights
(-: Zel :-)

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#14200 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-05, 07:38

From David Leonhardt at NYT:

Quote

Maybe this is the wake-up call that Democrats need.

My old colleagues at The Upshot published a poll yesterday that rightly terrified a lot of Democrats (as well as Republicans and independents who believe President Trump is damaging the country). The poll showed Trump with a good chance to win re-election, given his standing in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida.

This was the sentence, by Nate Cohn, that stood out to me: “Nearly two-thirds of the Trump voters who said they voted for Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 say that they’ll back the president” in hypothetical matchups against Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Democrats won in 2018 by running a smartly populist campaign, focused on reducing health care costs and helping ordinary families. The candidates avoided supporting progressive policy dreams that are obviously unpopular, like mandatory Medicare and border decriminalization.

The 2020 presidential candidates are making a grave mistake by ignoring the lessons of 2018. I’m not saying they should run to the mythical center and support widespread deregulation or corporate tax cuts (which are also unpopular). They can still support all kinds of ambitious progressive ideas — a wealth tax, universal Medicare buy-in and more — without running afoul of popular opinion. They can even decide that there are a couple of issues on which they are going to fly in the face of public opinion.

But if they’re going to do that, they also need to signal in other ways that they care about winning the votes of people who don’t consider themselves very liberal. Democrats, in short, need to start treating the 2020 campaign with the urgency it deserves, because a second Trump term would be terrible for the country.

What would more urgency look like? Warren and Sanders would find some way to acknowledge and appeal to swing voters. Biden and Kamala Harris would offer more of a vision than either has to date. Pete Buttigieg, arguably the best positioned to take advantage of this moment, would reassure Democrats who are understandably nervous about his lack of experience. And perhaps Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar can finally appeal to more of Biden’s uninspired supporters.

So far, the 2020 candidates have been divided into one of two categories: Some have been running an effective primary campaign, while others have recognized that the national electorate isn’t the same as the primary electorate. The Democrats need a candidate who falls into both categories.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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