WHEW, what a weekend, right? First, former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch testified publicly while THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES tweeted out threats to her; she tore down bad faith conspiracy theories the Republicans were flinging about Ukraine being the real villain; and was such a MOTHERFUCKING BOSS that she received a standing ovation from the audience when the hearing was over.
Yovanovitch testified powerfully about how alarmed she was to learn President Thugster said that she would be “going through some things” on The Phone Call and explained that the State Department — MIKE COWARDLY LION POMPEO — didn’t back her up because they’re so terrified of that buffoon in the White House and his Twitter account. She was also shouted over by Ohio Representative Mike Turner. It was not a good look for him.
WATCH: Rep. Turner attempts to move on, despite Yovanovitch’s attempt to finish her full answer to Turner’s question.
“Not on my time. You’re done. Right?”
Chairman Schiff stepped in an allowed Yovanovitch to finish her answer. pic.twitter.com/ztko3Tb3TV
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 15, 2019
Oh, and this is a kinda boring procedural thing, but it’s important to the story. SO, the rules for these hearings are that at the beginning, the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and the Ranking Republican Member, Devin Nunes, are both allowed to give opening statements. Then, each side has a lawyer who is allowed to question the witnesses uninterrupted for 45 minutes. But the thing is: the lawyers and the Schiff and Nunes, they are the only ones who get to ask questions in those opening 45-minute segments. And everyone knows this!
So the Republicans on the committee cooked up a scheme to try to make it look like Adam Schiff was not permitting them to ask questions — specifically not allowing a female Republican to ask questions, because you know how misogynistic the Democrats are. Nunes tried to hand over his opening statement (and maybe their lawyer’s time?) over to New York Representative Elise Stefanik. But Schiff was like, “NOPE. ABSOLUTELY NOT,” and then all of the GOP had a hissy fit that he was being SO UNFAIR.
Well, the stunt didn’t go well for Stefanik, as the woman running against her in 2020, Tedra Cobb, raised $1 million in three short days. Oh, Elise.
I am happy to announce we raised $1 million dollars!
It is impossible to express the feeling of gratitude I have tonight. Thank you #TeamTedra
Together we started something big but it’s not over yet.
If you haven’t had a chance you can donate here⬇️https://t.co/w0DWfCeoj0
— Tedra Cobb for Congress (@TedraCobb) November 18, 2019
While Yovanovitch was testifying publicly, the private hearings were also continuing. On Friday, David Holmes, an aide to Ambassador Bill Taylor, testified in what the Republicans would like you to believe is a Star Chamber. There, he revealed that he is one of the people who overheard the phone call between Ambassador Gordon “Call Me” Sondland and President Boomer that Taylor revealed during his testimony last week. And why did Holmes hear the phone call? Because President Shouty is so fucking loud, Sondland had to hold the phone away from his head to take it.
Sondland claims he had no idea that President Rig the Election wanted an investigation into the Bidens, which, according to Holmes testimony, is bullshit because that’s what he was shouting about on the phone call: “I noted that there was ‘big stuff’ going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia,” Holmes says of his conversation with Sondland on July 26, “and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant ‘big stuff’ that benefits the president, like the ‘Biden investigation’ that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.”
And the GOP have only themselves to blame for Holmes coming forward to testify: as the Republicans kept harping on the fact that the witnesses didn’t have first-hand knowledge that President Squid Pro Quo wanted an investigation in exchange for the military aid, Holmes was like, “Hold up, but I do.”
On Saturday, Mark Sandy, the deputy associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget — the agency that Mick Mulvaney runs, and the agency that doles out the money that Congress approves, you know, like military aid to Ukraine — testified, becoming the first person of that agency to do so. And he testified that the freeze on the aid was SUPER WEIRD. Sandy signed the letter for the freeze on the funds ON THE SAME DAY AS THE PHONE CALL. He apparently asked his boss, some guy and President Cheater appointee named Michael Duffey, about it because of the whole super weird thing, but Duffey was like DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.
But wait! There’s more!
There’s a bunch of public testimony this week:
Tuesday: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, European affairs director at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia will testify in the morning; Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council, and Kurt Volker, a former Trump administration envoy to Ukraine, are scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday: Gordon “Call Me” Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union; Laura Cooper, Pentagon official for Ukraine and Russia; David Hale, State Department official
Thursday: Fiona Hill, former Russia advisor — and she’s going to bring the FIYAH.
Now, some interesting things about these witnesses: Vindman and Williams both listened in on The Phone Call and did not have favorable things to say about it. As a result, Vindman was maligned by right-wing assholes who attacked him for being a Ukrainian immigrant, nevermind the fact that he’s a Purple Heart-awarded vet, BUT WHATEVER. And as for Williams — a Pence staffer — your idiot President is trying to label her a Never Trumper in what could potentially be considered another example of witness tampering:
Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019
As for Kurt Volker, if this comparison of his testimony to the testimony of other witnesses is any indication, he’s going to have a rough day. Perjury is a crime, Kurt!
And I don’t expect it to go any better for Gordon Sondland who, thanks to taking a phone call on an unsecured cell phone in a busy Ukranian restaurant in front of a bunch of foreign service agents, has A LOT to explain.
Then there is Fiona Hill, and watch out, because she knows her shit when it comes to Russia, and she’s going to be connecting a bunch of dots.
Meanwhile, President Healthiest Man to Ever Hold the Office had an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed Hospital on Saturday for the “first part” of his annual physical, which is scheduled to take place in February, and definitely not because he had some sort of cardiac event.
And I’m sure the Democratic governor of Louisiana winning reelection on Saturday after President Rally Monster held a rally there last week didn’t help with the results of that “physical.”
“How sweet it is!” Gov. Edwards says as he takes the podium.
“And as for the President, God bless his heart.” pic.twitter.com/BF5hEuOolp
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 17, 2019
But hey, maybe President Perjurer had a come to Jesus moment at Walter Reed because suddenly someone is threatening to produce written testimony:
….that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt. She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2019
Oh, and now 70% of Americans think President Dumbass did something wrong, 51% want him impeached and removed from office. Better schedule that Walter Reed suite for the weekend!
Finally, one of my oldest friends is a guy I went to both high school and college with. He is a career foreign service officer and has been with the State Department for 19 years. He has served all over the world, including twice in Afghanistan, where he was separated from his wife and three sons for 18 months at a time.
And listen, I’m a military brat, and I come from a long line of men who have served this country in a military capacity. My dad was in the Air Force for ten years of my childhood and we moved around and lived the military lifestyle. I know the sacrifice our servicemen and servicewomen make every day, along with their families. But there is this sense in this administration and among some on the right that the only arm of the government that actually serves this country, the only branch that makes worthy sacrifices is the military. This diminishes what our foreign service members give of themselves and their families to protect and defend our country, and it’s shameful.
Anyway, I share Alex’s post mostly because I am proud to know him, but to also show you what the rest of the State Department thinks of Marie Yovanovitch — even if their boss is too much of a chickenshit to say so:
19 years, 4 presidents. Barbados, Greece, Washington D.C., Qatar, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Kathmandu, and Afghanistan again (out here trying to end our longest war). Soon to add Zimbabwe. It remains an absolute privilege.
Or, as someone just put it:
“As I close, let me be clear on who we are and how we serve this country. We are professionals, public servants who by vocation and training pursue the policies of the President, regardless of who holds that office or what party they affiliate with. We handle American Citizen Services, facilitate trade and commerce, work security issues, represent the U.S., and report to and advise Washington, to mention just a few of our functions.
And we make a difference every day.
We are people who repeatedly uproot our lives, who risk— and sometimes give—our lives for this country.
We are the fifty-two Americans who forty years ago this month began 444 days of deprivation, torture, and captivity in Teheran.
We are the dozens of Americans stationed at our embassy in Cuba and consulates in China, who mysteriously and dangerously—and in some cases perhaps permanently—were injured in attacks from unknown sources several years ago.
And we are Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Patrick Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty—people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation’s foreign policy interests in Libya, eight years ago.
We honor these individuals. They represent each one of you here—and every American. These courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized America.
What you need to know, what the American people need to know, is that while, thankfully, most of us answer the call to duty in less dramatic ways, every Foreign Service officer runs these same risks. And, very often, so do our families. They serve too. As individuals, as a community, we answer the call to duty to advance and protect the interests of the United States.
We take our oath of office seriously, the same oath that each one of you take, “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
I count myself lucky to be a Foreign Service officer, fortunate to serve with the best America has to offer, blessed to serve the American people for the last 33 years.” Ambassador Yovanovitch
In Other TV News
Disney+ is going to fix the widescreen issue with The Simpsons after everyone complained so loudly.
James Holzhauer is officially your Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions champion. He, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter will compete in primetime over multiple nights in January to determine the greatest player of all time.
Wait, hold up, stop: now they’re threatening us with a Big Little Lies 3? No thank you, please.
The Golden Globes is finally recognizing anthology series. What took y’all so long?
Meet the woman who videotaped 70,000 hours of television. My DVR can relate.
A writer on Carol’s Second Act went to the show’s producers and CBS Studios to tell them that star and executive producer Patricia Heaton’s husband had touched her inappropriately and made her feel uncomfortable, and she asked them to send him to training. Instead, they barred all the writers from a rehearsal and the taping of an episode. Ugh. So the writer and a fellow writer who also witnessed the touching have quit in protest. NOT COOL, CBS. HAVEN’T YOU IDIOTS LEARNED ANYTHING IN THE PAST YEAR?
Speaking of CBS and sexual harassment, Survivor waded into the conversation about sexual harassment and unwanted touching after one contestant was accused by multiple women of being too handsy with them. But then fans turned on the show when the original woman who stepped forward was eliminated, as two of the other women exaggerated their experiences with the man for gameplay. And those two contestants have had to issue apologies. AH, REALITY TELEVISION. Here’s a longer, better explanation of what happened for those of us who have not watched an episode of Survivor in 10+ years.
Mo’Nique is suing Netflix for gender and racial discrimination over a comedy special that never happened after she demanded to be compensated the same as some male comedians.
This makes me happy: T.I.’s daughter unfollowed her father on Instagram after he publicly humiliated her with his disgusting comments about keeping track of her virginity.
Disney actor Chris Tavarez was arrested for domestic violence after giving his girlfriend a fucking concussion. Jesus.
- Squidward will be getting his own SpongeBob SquarePants spinoff on Netflix.
- Pivoting, a comedy, has been ordered at Fox.
- Fighting Words, a “forensic linguistic procedural crime drama,” is being developed at CBS.
- Sin City is being developed into a TV series.
- Big Deal starring Vanessa Bayer has received a pilot order at Showtime.
- Gumshoe, a murder-mystery comedy, and Vegas High, a coming-of-age drama have been ordered at HBO Max.
- Brand New Cherry Flavor, a horror-thriller, is in the works at Netflix.
- The Pioneer, a sci-fi drama, is in the works at NBC.
- Nick Carter’s daytime talk show has been picked up by Fox stations.
- Bill Murray is joining The Now on Quibi.
- Kingsley Ben-Adir is your new Obama. Brian d’Arcy James, Steve Zissis, and Shawn Doyle are also joining A Higher Loyalty on CBS.
- Cheech Marin is going to appear in a Nash Bridges reboot.
- Will Arnett will host Memory Hole on Quibi.
- Billy Burke, Aaron Poole, and Christopher Webster are joining the Liam Hemsworth thriller on Quibi.
- Natalie Dreyfuss is joining the cast of The Flash.
- Jason Kennedy is going to be the host of In the Room on E!
- Sophia Di Martino has joined Loki on Disney+.
- Kimberly Elise is joining the cast of Mosquito Coast on Apple TV+.
Mark Your Calendar
- Avenue 5 will debut on HBO in January, hooray!
- The Expanse returns on Amazon on December 13.
- Schitt’s Creek will return on Pop on January 7.
- The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City will debut on Bravo in 2020.
- The Confession Killer will debut on Netflix on December 6.
- Diesel Brothers will return on Discovery on December 9.
- Dirty Mudder Truckers will return on Discovery on December 9.
Hometown Horror: This new series explores the origins of local horror stories and legends. YEP. YES. Series premiere. 8 p.m., Travel Channel
Blind Date: Exactly what it sounds like: a reality show that follows couples going on a blind date. As this is the series premiere, I don’t know how good it is going to be, but I will note that there is a very similar show on Netflix called Dating Around and it is surprisingly delightful and worth a looksee if this is your jam. Series premiere. 10:30 p.m., Bravo
Scream marathon: Listen, the original is a classic. The other two … well, you know. 4:30 p.m., El Rey
Watch What Happens Live: Celine Dion is going to be the guest and, y’all, she’s a wacko, so it’ll probably be pretty great. 10 p.m., Bravo
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Seth Meyers, Cobie Smulders, Tones and I
- Late Night with Seth Meyers: Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Jacqueline Woodson, Jon Theodore
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Adam Driver, Adrienne Warren, the 1975
- The Late Late Show with James Corden: Helen Hunt, Dave East
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Martin Scorsese, Jharrel Jerome, the Black Keys
- The Daily Show: Tom Steyer
- Conan: Nicole Byer
- Lights Out with David Spade: Jeff Garlin, Guy Branum, Anna Faris
- Watch What Happens Live: Celine Dion
- A Little Late with Lily Singh: Constance Wu
|ABC||Dancing with the Stars
|The Good Doctor
|Bob Hearts Abishola
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