Lev Parnas, the businessman recently arrested on numerous charges including campaign finance violations, is trying to invoke executive privilege. Executive privilege has been widely abused by the Trump administration. Parnas cannot legally claim it unless he was working for Trump in his capacity as president. Even then, the president must be the one to invoke it. This was a downright bizarre maneuver that only seems to reinforce Trump’s connection to criminal elements who were helping his campaign.
Parnas was arrested as he tried to flee the country. He was planning on going to Europe to set up an interview between Sean Hannity and Viktor Shokin. Shokin is the Ukrainian prosecutor at the heart of the current scandal. He was fired for corruption, with a large number of countries calling for his ouster. Trump and his allies claim Shokin was fired as a favor to the Bidens to end the investigation into the company Hunter Biden worked for. In reality, the Ukrainian government determined that Shokin was not investigating the company aggressively enough.
Trump sent a page of printed Tweets praising him to Tomi Lahren. In Bob Woodward’s book, he mentioned that each day the president is presented with a folder of news articles and social media posts which praise him. This confirms Woodward’s account.
Laura Cooper testified today about the military aid Trump withheld from Ukraine in order to get a Biden investigation. Cooper was explicitly told by the Department of Defense to not testify. Like several before her, she ignored those instructions (as she is legally required to). Cooper detailed that there are only 2 ways congressional funding can be withheld in a situation like Ukraine. Neither of them were followed when we withheld the funds.
20-30 Republican representatives stormed the SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) where Laura Cooper was set to give her deposition. This was a blatant attempt to interfere with the impeachment inquiry. They claimed the process isn’t transparent and Republicans should be allowed to sit in on the current interviews. In reality, the three committees holding the hearings include one fourth of the Republicans in congress, including 13 of the members who entered the SCIF. Any from the latter group could have simply shown up and taken their seats. In addition to the attempt to obstruct the impeachment inquiry, this was an egregious security violation. Several of the Republicans brought cell phones into the room, which are universally banned. One congressman made a call from in the room. The group was asking to be arrested as they wanted that visual on TV. Yesterday, members of this group met with Trump who told them to “take the gloves off.” He knew the SCIF breach would happen and did nothing.
The president said today that we are building a border wall in Colorado. (This received a standing ovation.) Later tonight he said he was just kidding and mentioned Colorado because the crowd had a large number of people from Colorado and Kansas, which is odd, as he was speaking in Pittsburgh.