As I’m sure you’re aware, more public impeachment hearings are taking place RIGHT NOW! so go turn on your TV if you are able. But let’s talk about who is testifying today and why they are important:
(And just a quick reminder, once again: “The Phone Call” is the infamous phone call between President Jackass and President Zelensky of Ukraine, in which President Shitgibbon told Ukraine he would release much needed — and Congressionally-approved — military aid, but that he needed them to “do us a favor though,” by which he meant an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden. As we get bogged down with all these names, it’s important to remind everyone that this is a simple case of bribery and extortion at heart.)
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman: Vindman is a top expert on Ukraine for the National Security Council who sat in on The Phone Call. Twice, Vindman reported concerns about Ukraine policy to his superiors, specifically that the administration appeared to be demanding that Ukraine investigate the 2016 election and the Bidens. The first time he reported his concern was after a meeting with Ukranian officials in July where Gordon “Call Me” Sondland demanded investigations; the second time being after The Phone Call.
Vindman also testified that he was concerned by Rudy Giuliani going around making demands of the Ukrainians and that he warned Ukrainian officials to steer clear of American politics, which is National Security Council policy. Because, see, what you don’t want is one political party forcing a vulnerable country to do their political bidding because then the other political party might be inclined to hurt that country later down the road.
Say, for instance, one political party went to a country that was being invaded by a powerful neighbor and they were like, “Sure does suck about your neighbor invading you. You know, if you had some interesting information about our political opponents that will help us out in the next election, we might be able to give you hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to protect yourself.” That might make that country even more vulnerable to the stupid whims of American politics which would ultimately make our country more vulnerable to other bad actors.
JUST SPEAKING ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICALLY OF COURSE.
Anyway. After The Phone Call, Vindman tried to help clarify the transcript of The Phone Call, because he noticed that the word “Burisma” — the company that Hunter Biden was a board member of — had been left off, even though the President of Ukraine said he would “look into the situation, specifically into Burisma.” Vindman was like, “Oh, well the transcribers must not have understood the word Burisma, and just stuck in ‘the company’ instead. I’ll be helpful and clarify that they were saying Burisma.” BUT LO AND BEHOLD, after he suggested this correct edit, it was not included in the transcript.
Before we move on from Vindman, I should note that Vindman and his family are Ukrainian immigrants who fled the Soviet Union some 40 years ago to make better lives for themselves. He and his two brothers all joined the military to serve our country and Lt. Col. Vindman won a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED attack in Iraq in 2004. He is a hero and a patriot.
So obviously, the Republicans are attempting to smear him as disloyal to the country. The Republican counsel noted that the Ukrainians apparently offered Vindman a job as defense minister, suggesting that Vindman might have dual loyalty. Vindman slapped this down, noting that he declined the offer, and reported it to the appropriate counterintelligence agencies because he is A FUCKING PATRIOT.
Let's all remember this vile attack the next time Trump spews his nonsense about supporting and respecting our soldiers. https://t.co/5biGdf7Pj1
— Chris Odell (@__Chris_Odell__) November 19, 2019
Also, fuck Devin Nunes. Fuck that guy.
Rep. Devin Nunes: "Mr. Vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistleblower."
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 19, 2019
You can read Lt. Col. Vindman’s opening statement here and you should because it’s powerful.
Jennifer Williams: Williams is the special adviser on Europe and Russia for Vice President Mike Pence. She is a career foreign service officer who has worked for President George W. Bush, President Obama and now President Shit Fer Brains, and she too sat in on The Phone Call. In her closed-door testimony and in this morning’s testimony, she said she was alarmed by President Babboon’s insistence that President Zelensky investigate Joe Biden and his family. She also noted that the word “Burisma” was missing from the transcript though she recalls Zelensky specifically used it.
Oh, and President Can’t Stop Impeaching Himself tweeted this at her this weekend:
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
The Republicans are currently attacking her character and also suggesting that she is a “Never Trumper” despite WORKING FOR MIKE PENCE, but we can talk about that more tomorrow when we have the entire hearing behind us.
Kurt Volker: After working for the CIA, Volker joined the State Department in 1988. He left and joined the private sector in 2009, but returned to the State Department in 2017 when the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed him US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations. He resigned from that position in the midst of all this lunacy on September 27.
Volker is one of the so-called “Three Amigos” along with Gordon “Call Me” Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who were put in charge of Ukraine policy by the White House so that Rudy Giuliani could get around official channels and harass the Ukrainians for investigations into the Bidens and Ukraine helping Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election because THAT was so successful.
Anyway, Volker is the guy who handed over a bunch of text messages early on in all of this that revealed the White House was looking for these investigations which was good! He then came and testified behind closed doors, but his testimony apparently is not lining up with other people’s testimony in several significant ways, so expect a tense hearing later this afternoon.
Tim Morrison: Morrison was the top U.S. presidential advisor on Russia and Europe on the White House National Security Council after Fiona Hill resigned in September. He resigned on October 31. From Wikipedia: “Before that, he served as senior director for countering weapons of mass destruction on the US National Security Council, a position he assumed on July 9, 2018. Until then, he was policy director for the Republican staff on the House defense panel. Morrison entered politics as a professional staff member to Rep. Mark Kennedy, from 2000 to 2007.”
Morrison also sat in on The Phone Call and was worried about Ukraine being dragged into American politics. After the phone call, Morrison warned White House lawyers that he had concerns that the U.S.-Ukraine relations could be harmed if the transcript of the phone call was leaked. He also testified that Gordon Sondland said he had talked to President I Don’t Know Her some half a dozen times over the summer, making it harder for President Dum-Dum to distance himself from Sondland.
THAT IS A LOT OF BLAH BLAH FOR ONE DAY. But before I wrap this portion up, a couple of other quick points:
More testimony was released late yesterday:
Hale testified that all other agencies — except OMB — pushed for the aid to Ukraine to be released while it was being held up. WATCH OUT, MICK MULVANEY. LOOKS LIKE IT’S YOUR TURN IN THE BARRELL, BUDDY.
Holmes is the guy who says he overheard President All the Crimes screaming over Sondland’s phone in a restaurant in Kyiv, and that Sondland told him that President Scaredy-Cat wanted the investigations into the Bidens.
Finally, President Enlarged Heart (And Not in a Good Way)’s trip to Walter Reed this weekend continues to be SUPER SUSPICIOUS. Remember how when Hillary Clinton stumbled that one time and Candidate Russian Bot and his followers started shrieking that she had Parkinson’s or some sort of other neurological disorder or SuperDeathMonkeyFlu or some bullshit and the media was all, “what if she DOES have SuperDeathMonkeyFlu?” Yeah. Good times.
In Other TV News
Alright, let’s talk FartGate. I watch a LOT of MSNBC, which will probably surprise no one, but I. routinely turn off Hardball with Chris Matthews because I just can not take listening to Matthews screaming at people. And that’s why I missed the best thing that has ever happened on Hardball with Chris Matthews. Last night, Matthews was interviewing Representative Eric Swalwell when, in the middle of a sentence, Swalwell paused and what definitely sounded like a MASSIVE fart erupts.
OMFG SOUND ON pic.twitter.com/StziH3Yh49
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) November 19, 2019
What’s funny is that when I saw this clip this morning, I assumed, for some reason, that Matthews was the farter, believing that he was safely muted at this point. But it turns out everyone else thinks Swalwell is our farter. For the record, Swalwell has denied farting and claims that he didn’t hear it at the time.
Or could it be something else? Hardball itself tweeted that it was a mug being dragged across a table:
— Hardball (@hardball) November 19, 2019
Or. Alternatively. Hardball just wanted to sell some mugs on the back of a trending hashtag.
Others have suggested that it’s a vibrating phone:
— SeanKentComedy (@seankent) November 19, 2019
But I know in my heart of hearts that it was definitely Chris Matthews letting one rip and none of you people are going to take that away from me.
Emilia Clarke opens up about the nudity on Game of Thrones and how she felt pressured to do it. She also credits Jason Momoa for teaching her to stand up for herself when she felt uncomfortable. And just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more than I already did …
American Idol is bringing back Logan Johnson (Season 17), Layla Spring (Season 16) and Shawn Robinson (Season 17) for a chance to be on this season. The three will perform during the American Music Awards and then voters will pick one to compete this season.
Warner Brothers is auctioning off Friends props and REPRODUCTIONS OF PROPS. So, wait, a reproduction of the armadillo costume is expected to sell for $10,000-$15,000? WHY? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?
Oh, Jesus Christ. The Maury Show is being turned into a board game: “The Maury Show: You Are Not the Father.” From the description:
The game challenges players to prove their non-paternity through a series of outrageous accusations and laugh-out-loud arguments.
At the end, a paternity test is “performed” and the “results” lie in each player’s Test Results envelope. Play your cards right to increase your odds of innocence and to turn the “Maury” audience against your competitors before the big reveal. Only one will be the father — don’t let it be you!
I don’t know, maybe American culture is dead.
Note to self: set aside 25 minutes to watch Netflix’s documentary, Ghosts of Sugar Land. It sounds fascinating.
- The Lord of the Rings series has been renewed for a second season ahead of its premiere on Amazon.
- Back to Life has been renewed for a second season on Showtime.
- The Kelly Clarkson Show has been renewed for a second season.
- A prequel to Chinatown has been ordered at Netflix.
- The Turners, a family comedy about doctors, is being developed at ABC.
- An entrepreneur comedy from Cedric the Entertainer’s production company has been bought at CBS.
- A workplace comedy from the guys who created Cobra Kai has been ordered at Fox.
- Text Me When You Get Home, a comedy, is being developed at ABC.
- Classified, a CIA interns comedy has been bought by HBO Max.
- Don’t Fuck This Up, a Kevin Hart documentary has been ordered at Netflix.
- Basically Stassi has been ordered at Bravo.
- Who Will Write Our History has been bought by Discovery.
- Unmatched, a dating comedy, has been ordered at Quibi.
- America on Selfies, Going to Pot: The Highs and Lows of It, and a documentary about suicide have all been bought by MTV.
- Melina Matsoukas has signed a first-look deal at FX.
- Jenni Konner has signed a deal with Fox 21 Television Studios.
- Riley Keough will star in Daisy Jones and The Six on Amazon.
- Lara Logan will host No Agenda on Fox Nation.
- Idris Elba is joining the cast of The Harder They Fall on Netflix.
- Tyler Posey, Camille Ramsey, Luke Youngblood, Charlet Chung, Jorge Diaz, Manish Dayal, and Similce Diesel will voice Spy Racers on Netflix.
- Kelly Macdonald will join the cast of Line of Duty on BBC.
- Anna Chancellor and James Fleet have joined the cast of The Watch on BBC America.
Mark Your Calendars
- Marvel’s Runaways will return on Hulu on December 13. It will be the third and final season.
- Top Elf will premiere on Nickelodeon on November 29.
Impeachment Hearings: Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, Jennifer Williams, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison. 8 a.m., all of the cable news networks
This Is Us: The Pearsons celebrate Thanksgiving in Philadelphia for the first time in the fall finale. 8 p.m., NBC
Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops: A documentary about a pair of San Antonio cops who handle mental health cases. 8 p.m., HBO
The Jim Jeffries Show: Series finale. Bye, Jim. 9:30 p.m., Comedy Central
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Chadwick Boseman, Evan Rachel Wood, David Byrne, a performance by the Broadway cast of “David Byrne’s American Utopia”
- Late Night with Seth Meyers: Robert Pattinson, Al Gore, Nicole Rucker, Jon Theodore
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Helena Bonham Carter, Lena Waithe, Lady Antebellum
- The Late Late Show with James Corden: Josh Gad, Anna Camp, Adam Lambert
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Michael Douglas, Victoria Beckham, DJ Shadow featuring De La Soul
- The Daily Show: Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Conan: Thomas Middleditch
- Lights Out with David Spade: Ray Romano, Ron Funches, Nikki Glaser
- Watch What Happens Live: Kristin Chenoweth, Emily Simpson
- A Little Late with Lily Singh: Rainn Wilson, Matteo Lane
|Bless This Mess
|NCIS: New Orleans
|This Is Us