Welcome to the final day of (this week’s) impeachment hearings. Today is serving up a pair of witnesses who are certain to get under President Pumpkinhead’s thin skin:
Dr. Fiona Hill: Dr. Hill is the former White House expert on Russia. Specifically, she was the senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, Lt. Col. Vindman’s former boss, and she directly reported to John Bolton. She was there for the meeting with Ukranian officials where Ambassador Sondland brought up investigations and John Bolton was like, NOPE, OUT OF HERE.
Dr. Hill then followed Sondland to another meeting where he was even clearer about what President Cheater wanted: investigations into the Bidens. She’s also the one who told the story about John Bolton calling whatever Sondland and Giuliani were up to a “drug deal” that he wanted nothing to do with, and how he said that Bolton was going to blow them all up.
Dr. Fiona Hill also has NO FUCKING TIME for bullshit conspiracy theories about how Hillary Clinton was working with the Ukrainians during the 2016 election. And I don’t know if I’ve really spent enough time on this but it is worth really sitting with it for a minute and taking in what Devin Nunes and his fellow halfwits are proposing here. When they are nattering on about Ukrainians interfering in the 2016 election, the conspiracy theory that they and their pudding-brained audiences believe is that Hillary Clinton and the DNC had the Ukrainians hack into the DNC servers to steal their own emails to try to pin it on the Russians to make them look bad. BECAUSE ALL OF THAT JUST MAKES VERY GOOD SENSE.
No, Dr. Hill is here to tell Devin Nunes and Rudy Giuliani and President Contrails that, for the last fucking time, it was the Russians who interfered in our election, it’s the Russians who are filling your empty heads with nonsense conspiracy theories about Ukraine and it is Russia who benefits when you ding-dongs believe and repeat this horseshit.
Here are some choice words she had in her opening statement to this point in particular:
Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.
The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.
The Russian government’s goal is to weaken our country—to diminish America’s global role and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian interests. President Putin and the Russian security services aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine, where Moscow wishes to reassert political and economic dominance.
I say this not as an alarmist, but as a realist. I do not think long-term conflict with Russia is either desirable or inevitable. I continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with Moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us. Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.
As Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades, Ukraine is a valued partner of the United States, and it plays an important role in our national security. And as I told this Committee last month, I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.
These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes. President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a Super PAC. They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.
I respect the work that this Congress does in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, including in this inquiry, and I am here to help you to the best of my ability. If the President, or anyone else, impedes or subverts the national security of the United States in order to further domestic political or personal interests, that is more than worthy of your attention. But we must not let domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish us harm.
As I am writing this, she is tearing Devin Nunes a new asshole, which I can write about more tomorrow. But it is amazing. FIONA HILL, 2020.
Our other witness is David Holmes. Holmes is a foreign service officer and a top staffer at the U.S. Embassy to Ukraine. Holmes works closely with Ambassador Bill Taylor and the former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and has been witness to a number of the shenanigans that took place this summer. He is also the guy who overheard President Screamy on Gordon Sondland’s phone in that restaurant in Ukraine demanding to know if the investigations were going to happen. Holmes: “I’ve never seen anything like this, someone calling the president from a mobile phone at a restaurant, and then having a conversation of this level of candor, colorful language. There’s just so much about the call that was so remarkable that I remember it vividly.”
While Holmes has a lot to add about the craziness going on with the Three Amigos and how Yovanovitch was fired and Rudy Colludy, he’s really here about that phone call between Gordon Sondland and President Much Too Loud, and his opening statement delivers, with some extra delicious details about the rapper A$AP Rocky and how these two dirtbags are cynical racists:
I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain that he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelenskyy “loves your ass.” I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.” Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the President.
The conversation then shifted to Ambassador Sondland’s efforts, on behalf of the President, to assist a rapper who was jailed in Sweden, and I could only hear Ambassador Sondland’s side of that part of the conversation. Ambassador Sondland told the President that the rapper was “kind of f—-d there,” and “should have pled guilty.” He recommended that the President “wait until after the sentencing or it will make it worse,” adding that the President should “let him get sentenced, play the racism card, give him a ticker-tape when he comes home.” Ambassador Sondland further told the President that Sweden “should have released him on your word,” but that “you can tell the Kardashians you tried.”
After the call ended, Ambassador Sondland remarked that the President was in a bad mood, as Ambassador Sondland stated was often the case early in the morning. I then took the opportunity to ask Ambassador Sondland for his candid impression of the President’s views on Ukraine. In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the President did not “give a s–t about Ukraine.” Ambassador Sondland agreed that the President did not “give a s–t about Ukraine.” I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about “big stuff.” I noted that there was “big stuff” going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia, and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant “big stuff” that benefits the President, like the “Biden investigation” that Mr. Giuliani was pushing. The conversation then moved on to other topics.
Your broken-brained President had some incoherent thoughts on Mr. Holmes’ testimony that he felt compelled to share:
I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life. My hearing is, and has been, great. Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail. Try it live!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
OK, Gramps. I’m not going to post the other unhinged tweets where he calls Democrats human scum but just know someone is having a bad day.
As for yesterday’s hearings, Ambassador Sondland’s testimony is best summarized thusly:
— Alex Blagg (@alexblagg) November 20, 2019
This Chatty Cathy right here knows that he does not need a government job and clearly decided he was not going to go to jail for President Individual 1 or Rudy Giuliani or anyone else and marched into yesterday’s hearing, as my lawyer husband so colorfully describes, “open kimono.” I know, it’s quite the image.
That said, while Sondland’s testimony was devastating to the Liar-in-Chief and his Republican bootlickers’ defenses, he’s also a creep who is only providing the receipts because he’s trying to cover his own ass, not because he’s some great patriot. In fact, this is a stand-out moment from yesterday’s hearing noting that Sondland hasn’t exactly been walking around with his kimono open until now:
Fiery exchange as @RepSeanMaloney tries to pin down Sondland on investigation.
SONDLAND: I’ve been very forthright, and I resent what you’re trying to do.
MALONEY: All due respect sir, we appreciate your candor, but let’s be really clear what it took to get it out of you. pic.twitter.com/TTjZekEac3
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) November 20, 2019
That out of the way, what Ambassador Sondland testified to was that he tried to get President Conspiracy Theory to be nice to Ukraine, but that President Brain Rot had his mind made up that the Ukrainians were mean jerks who were out to get him. To this end he told Sondland to “talk to Rudy” meaning, if Sondland and others wanted to help Ukraine, they would have to do Rudy Giuliani’s insane bidding: i.e., pressure the Ukrainians to announce an investigation into the Bidens and the absurd conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and the Ukrainians hacked the DNC’s servers. And let’s be clear: President All the Best Words, he didn’t care about actual investigations, he just wanted to be able to scream at his campaign rallies that investigations into his political rivals were happening.
Sondland also brought emails ….
… that proved that errrrrrybody else knew that this was happening, and by errrrrrrybody, I mean Pompeo and Perry and Bolton and Mulvaney. “Everyone was in the loop,” should be tattooed on every one of these jackasses’ foreheads.
Furthermore, Sondland noted that Pompeo and Mulvaney specifically are blocking the release of documents that could prove the dirt for dollars scheme and more than likely implicate themselves. Fire up the Impeachment Articles Machine again, Adam Schiff, we got ourselves more obstruction!
As for Mike Pence, Sondland testified that before Vice President Chastity Belt met with the President of Ukraine, Sondland told him that he believed military aid was being held up until Ukraine announced investigations into the Bidens and this conspiracy bullshit. So don’t let that pasty little bitch try to claim he had no idea what was up. HE KNEW WHAT WAS UP.
Now! At one point, Sondland was asked about that tweet he sent to Ambassador Bill Taylor saying that President Orange-Glo says, “No quid pro quo,” before adding, “call me.” Sondland explained that Ambassador Taylor was asking him more and more urgent questions regarding the military aid, and irritated, Sondland was like, “fine, I’ll call President Dummy and find out what it will take to release the aid.” When he did, President Grumpypants barked, “I want nothing! I want nothing! I want no quid pro quo! Tell President Zelensky to do the right thing!”
OK, but. What is important to know about this exchange is that it took place on September 9, AFTER the Whistleblower had filed their report, and the White House knew about it and knew that it was about to be made public. Meaning! President Toddler had clearly been told that folks were concerned that he was pushing for a quid pro quo. Sondland then calls, President Meltdown screams, here we are.
Criminals are going to be very excited about this new legal principle that if you verbally deny the crime you are committing while you are committing it, you are innocent.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) November 20, 2019
That, however, did not stop President ADD from hearing this part of the testimony, write it down with one of his big dumb Sharpies, march out onto the White House lawn and scream his own quote at the assembled press. As you might imagine, Twitter found this hilarious. (Because it was.)
Emo Trump recites poem on White House lawn pic.twitter.com/rAD3xRjX4L
— Nick Lutsko (@NickLutsko) November 20, 2019
somebody on twitter today: trump's weird hand-scrawled denial today sounds like a ramones song.
— Alex Kliment (@SaoSasha) November 21, 2019
In my excitement over Sondland’s BURN IT ALL DOWN testimony, I forgot to mention yesterday that there were two other witnesses in the afternoon: Laura Cooper, a Russia and Ukraine expert at the Defense Department and David Hale, the State Department’s No. 3 official.
Cooper testified that while she did not know why the military aid was held up, the Ukrainians reached out to her office on July 25 — the SAME DAY as The Phone Call — to ask what the fuck was going on. So this crap that the Ukrainians didn’t know the aid was being withheld and therefore no quid pro quo could have taken place is just that: crap.
As for David Hale, the most useful part of his testimony was that he agreed that it would be inappropriate for the President to hold military aid to force an ally to investigate political rivals and that the way Marie Yovanovitch was treated by the President and others was just awful. But, I mean, we all already knew that.
Finally, this. Just, this:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA it’s all CURB/VEEP moments today. https://t.co/cBjS47XITF
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 20, 2019
In Other TV News
THEY REALLY DID FILM AN ALTERNATE ENDING TO GAME OF THRONES WHAAAAAAAAAAT. In an interview with Metro.co.uk, Kristofer Hivju (Tormund) revealed: “Well, we shot an alternative ending. That was mostly for fun but I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you about that.”
Look. Listen. Look. I’m sure this is some small thing and it won’t actually be satisfying because the problem with the ending was not the characters’ actual fates, just the lack of storytelling that got us there. Meaning, the only ending that will be satisfying for yours truly is one that involves an additional two or three seasons of story. THAT ALL SAID, I NEED TO SEE THIS OTHER ENDING IMMEDIATELY.
Good news, soap opera fans: Days of Our Lives has been renewed for a 56th season, after all. I don’t actually watch Days, but I am relieved another soap lives another day.
Fox News is trying to trademark “OK Boomer.” This is both the most obvious thing in the world and yet, somehow also the most irritating.
Here’s what you’re missing on The Simpsons on Disney+, at least until they fix that ratio issue.
This is an interesting piece about Julia Sweeney and her androgynous Saturday Night Live character, Pat, and how she’s wrestling with the character’s legacy in more enlightened — or at least sensitive — times: “The problem of Pat represents an increasingly persistent debate in comedy: What happens when a joke, character or routine is re-examined outside of the era in which it was made and is deemed insensitive by contemporary standards? Should its creator still be held accountable for that material, and what if anything is owed to audiences who may have been offended or hurt by it?”
Felicity Huffman wants to spend her community service time helping incarcerated women
and rehabilitating her image.
Jussie Smollett is now suing the city of Chicago because this story will never ever ever go away.
OK, so this is a story about how a National Wrestling Alliance announcer, a guy named Jim Cornette, resigned after making a REALLY distasteful racist joke straight out of the 1980s LIVE ON AIR, but is it weird that the thing I was most astonished by in this story is the fact that Billy Corgan — that Billy Corgan — owns the National Wrestling Alliance? What the actual fuck?
Sex Monster News
Just as Prince Andrew was contemplating doing another interview after his first one went so well for him, he was fired by his mom.
Another accuser has come forward to sue Jeffrey Epstein’s estate.
Apple has pulled a movie, The Banker, after Bernard Garrett Jr., the producer and the son of the movie’s subject, was accused by his half-sisters of sexually assaulting them as children.
President Gropey can be deposed in the Summer Zervos case. GOOD. LET’S DO THIS THING.
Hey, remember that gross worm Josh Duggar of the Duggar clan, the one who molested his sisters, all 30 of them or whatever? Apparently, he’s being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. Weird.
Charles Barkley has apologized after telling Alexi McCammond, a reporter for Axios, “I don’t hit women but if I did, I would hit you.” When she objected to the comment, he told her she can’t take a joke. But because this is the internet, now McCammond’s old tweets are being dug out, and she’s had to apologize for making racist jokes about Asians.
Ahead of last night’s Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Kamala Harris signed a letter to the DNC asking that they demand Comcast orders an independent investigation into NBC News. I mean, I don’t know what the DNC can realistically do about it, but I appreciate the gesture.
- Black Summer has been renewed for a second season on Netflix.
- The $100,000 Pyramid; Card Sharks; Celebrity Family Feud; Match Game; Press Your Luck; To Tell the Truth; and Holey Moley have all been renewed at ABC.
- Days of Our Lives is setting a digital series called Last Blast Reunion.
- Swimming With Sharks is being turned into a TV series for Quibi.
- Maid is being developed into a series for Netflix.
- Killing Zac Efron is in the works at Quibi.
- Valley Trash, a family comedy from the creator of Shameless and the creator of Fresh Off the Boat, has been given a put pilot at ABC.
- The Man In The Rockefeller Suit is being developed into a limited series.
- Joan Allen is joining Lisey’s Story on Apple TV+.
- Jennifer Lopez will host Saturday Night Live with musical guest DaBaby on December 7; Scarlett Johansson will host with musical guest Niall Horan on December 14; and Eddie Murphy will host with musical guest Lizzo on December 21.
- David Cross is joining Genius: Aretha Franklin on Nat Geo.
- Sterling K. Brown will narrate One Day at Disney on Disney+.
- Cory Hardrict, Joel Steingold, and Salvador Chacon are joining The Chi on Showtime.
- Stephen Fry and Sir Lenny Henry CBE will both guest star on Doctor Who.
Mark Your Calendars
- Will Ferrell is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend:
- A Christmas Carol will debut on FX on December 19.
- Miracle Workers: Dark Ages will premiere on TBS on January 28.
- A Christmas Prince 3: A Royal Baby will premiere on Netflix on December 5.
- Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work will debut on Hulu on December 6.
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will return on HGTV on February 16.
- Slow Burn will premiere on Epix on February 16.
- America’s Top Dog will premiere on A&E on January 8.
- Snapped: Behind Bars – Shiela Davalloo will air on Oxygen on December 1.
- The Adventures of Paddington will premiere on Nickelodeon on January 20.
Walter Halsey Davis, Emmy-winning producer, screenwriter, and playwright
Supernatural: Castiel is back. 7 p.m., The CW
Grey’s Anatomy: Meredith moves forward after facing the medical board. Fall finale. 7 p.m., ABC
A Million Little Things: Deliliah, Eddie and Katherine make difficult decisions that will affect their families — OMG ARE THEY GOING TO TELL THE KIDS?? — in the fall finale. 8 p.m., ABC
How to Get Away With Murder: The FBI informant is revealed. Fall finale. 9 p.m., ABC
Superstore: RUSHED CURB-SIDE PICKUP. Fall finale. 7 p.m., NBC
Perfect Harmony: Obligatory Thanksgiving episode for the fall finale. 7:30 p.m., NBC
The Good Place: Chidi considers his past in the fall finale. 8 p.m., NBC
Will & Grace: Grief Panda. Fall finale. 8:30 p.m., NBC
Law & Order: SVU: Kat disobeys the Captain’s orders in the fall finale. 9 p.m., NBC
No Activity: Season three. CBS Activity
Mortel: High school students develop superpowers after summoning a voodoo spirit in this new series. Netflix
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Will Ferrell, Alan Cumming, Jessica Kirson
- Late Night with Seth Meyers: Dolly Parton, Tobias Menzies, Rep. Ro Khanna, Jon Theodore
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Sen. Kamala Harris
- The Late Late Show with James Corden: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, Stephan James
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Billie Eilish, Taylor Kitsch, Jessie Reyez
- The Daily Show: Lena Waithe
- Conan: Fred Armisen
- Lights Out with David Spade: Lena Waithe
- Watch What Happens Live: Hoda Kotb, Don Johnson
- A Little Late with Lily Singh: Susan Kelechi Watson
|A Million Little Things
|How to Get Away With Murder
|Carol’s Second Act
|FOX||Thursday Night Football (Colts at Texans)
|The Good Place
|Will & Grace
|Law & Order: SVU