Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Neal Katyal and Sam Koppelman: The transcript Trump released is still the only evidence needed to impeach him

Don’t get distracted by procedural details or new revelations.

President Trump is a master of distraction — and with impeachment, his strategy of deflection, obfuscation and diversion is in full force. Wednesday’s hearings in the House Judiciary Committee were no exception. Trump’s allies focused on an offhand comment about the president’s son, which had nothing to do with the case. And Trump’s opponents have become so caught up in questions surrounding the process of impeachment (Will former White House counsel Donald McGahn testify? Will White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney? What robe will the chief justice wear to the Senate trial?) that many have lost sight of the big picture: The president of the United States tried to cheat in the 2020 election, and used his awesome powers as commander in chief to ask a foreign government to help him do so.

This is the very crime of which our founders were most afraid; it’s the paradigmatic impeachable offense, the one impeachment was included in our Constitution to protect against; and we already have all of the evidence we need to prove it. In fact, we’ve had the goods since Sept. 24, when Trump released an edited transcript which he has claimed is “perfect” and “beautiful,” even though it’s perfectly and beautifully impeachable.

Instead of becoming bogged down in the House Intelligence Committee’s 300-page report, which basically no Americans will read in its entirety, Democrats should focus in on that five-page transcript. Because if every American knew what was said in that conversation, and understood its implications, there’s no doubt Trump would be impeached.

Lawrence H. Tribe: Democrats are debating a dangerous false choice on impeachment

As the House of Representatives moves toward formulating articles of impeachment, it is vital that the options on the table not be misframed. It’s a dangerously false choice to think that the House Judiciary Committee must either adopt a broad, kitchen-sink approach or take a narrow, laser-focused perspective.

Yes, narrow is better than broad for the purposes of focus and public understanding. But narrow mustn’t mean myopic. What makes President Trump uniquely dangerous is not that he has committed a single terrible act that meets the Constitution’s definition of an impeachable offense. Neither Russia-gate nor Ukraine-gate was a one-night stand, and the obstruction of justice that enabled Trump to get away with asking for and benefiting from Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election is of a piece with his defiance of congressional investigations that might enable him to get away with demanding Ukraine’s intervention in 2020.

The impeachment and removal of this president is necessary because Trump has been revealed as a serial abuser of power, whose pattern of behavior — and “pattern” is the key word, as Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) emphasized during Wednesday’s hearing — makes clear he will repeat the same sequence again and again.

Eugene Robinson: Trump is impeaching himself

President Trump apparently thought he could bluff and bluster his way out of being impeached, but he was wrong. His place of dishonor in history is now all but assured.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that the House will move forward with articles of impeachment was inevitable, and Trump has no one to blame but himself. No one forced him to try to strong-arm a foreign government into helping his bid for reelection. No one forced him to abuse the power of the presidency for personal gain. No one forced him to obstruct efforts by Congress to investigate his misdeeds.

Someone will force him to be held accountable, however. “Don’t mess with me,” a steely-eyed Pelosi warned a provocative reporter Thursday. Trump should have learned that lesson by now. [..]

“Our democracy is what is at stake,” Pelosi said Thursday. “The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”

Impeachment is something “which I wish the president had not made necessary,” Pelosi said. And she’s right. Trump is impeaching himself.

Paul Krugman: Why Is Trump a Tariff Man?

It’s all about the power — and the cronyism.

Almost exactly one year has passed since Donald Trump declared, “I am a Tariff Man.” Uncharacteristically, he was telling the truth.

At this point I’ve lost count of how many times markets have rallied in the belief that Trump was winding down his trade war, only to face announcements that a much-anticipated deal wasn’t happening or that tariffs were being slapped on a new set of products or countries. Over the past week it happened again: Markets bet on an outbreak of trade peace between the U.S. and China, only to get body slammed by Trump’s declaration that there might be no deal before the election and by his new tariffs on Brazil and Argentina.

So Trump really is a Tariff Man. But why? After all, the results of his trade war have been consistently bad, both economically and politically.

I’ll offer an answer shortly. First, however, let’s talk about what the Trump trade war has actually accomplished.

William Saletan: It’s Not About Corruption. It’s About Revenge.

The GOP’s new explanation of why Trump extorted Ukraine.

Why did President Donald Trump—against the wishes of his State Department, his Defense Department, and his congressional allies—withhold military aid and a White House meeting from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine? For weeks, Republicans said the reason was corruption. Trump cared deeply about fighting corruption, they explained, and he blocked the aid until he was sure that Zelensky would clean up Ukraine.

Unfortunately, that explanation doesn’t fit any of the facts. So Republicans have developed an alternative theory: Trump blocked the meeting and the aid because he thought Ukraine was out to get him. He did it for revenge.

The revenge theory starts with a May 23 meeting at the White House. A delegation of Trump appointees and a Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, had just returned from Ukraine. They told Trump that Zelensky, who had just been inaugurated, was launching an unprecedented campaign against corruption. If Trump had cared about corruption, the delegation’s report would have moved him. It didn’t. He fixated instead on the idea that Ukraine was out to get him.

No Statute of Limitations: Torture

There is no statute of limitations on torture, not only for those who commit the crime but for those who condone, cover it up of refuse to prosecute it. It is illegal under International and US Law. The US is required under law to prosecute torture. President George W. Bush condoned it and covered it up, as did his predecessor. Donald J. Trump thinks it should be legal

Torture has once again reared its ugly head with the release of drawings from a prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay US detention camp in Cuba. The pictures are stark and graphic and, as the New York Times Editorial says, they should be viewed only by adults but we should not look away.

 

The sketches should be seen only by adults, but they must be seen. Drawn by a victim of torture, they show, in raw and agonizing detail, the methods that Americans — soldiers, psychologists, spies, women and men — have devised to break down prisoners through pain, panic, brainwashing and other barbaric and illegal tools.

There is nothing in the crude drawings by Abu Zubaydah, a prisoner captured in 2002 and still held by the United States in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, that hasn’t been described before in the various official and unofficial investigations into the moral travesty that was the C.I.A.’s program of “enhanced interrogation,” one of the more devious euphemisms ever devised. We’ve read of the waterboarding and sleep deprivation and humiliation and all the other horrors, and of the lasting effect they had, often on innocent men.

But as with the infamous photographs of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the images strip away the euphemisms, justifications, lies and legalisms. They are published in a study titled “How America Tortures” by one of his lawyers and the lawyer’s students. Mr. Zubaydah was the first of the captives after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to be subjected to prolonged torture, and he holds the dubious distinction of having been waterboarded 83 times. Many of the C.I.A. tortures were devised for him and first tested on him by psychologists whose previous job had been to train American soldiers who might one day be tortured. He provided interrogators with considerable information — but that was to F.B.I. agents who questioned him before he was turned over to the C.I.A. for torture.

The drawings speak for themselves. They are in a Times article and the report by Mark P. Denbeaux, a professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law and a lawyer for several Guantánamo detainees, including Mr. Zubaydah. What is important not to forget is the deeply shameful and disturbing fact that the United States, admittedly at a moment of national confusion and panic following the 9/11 attacks, but unnecessarily, secretly and extensively, adopted barbaric practices banned by domestic and international law.

 

The current director of the C.I.A., Gina Haspel, was a leading participant in the program and helped the agency destroy more than 90 videotapes of a brutal interrogation. But she, at least, has vowed not to restart the torture program, even if ordered to by the president. Whether that amounts to a realigned moral compass is an open question, but it is important to know that the agency that developed and applied “enhanced interrogation” has renounced it.

No such enlightenment for President Trump. On the contrary, the commander in chief has ordered Guantánamo to be kept open and to “load it up with some bad dudes.” He has insisted that “torture works” and that he’d bring back waterboarding “and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” These are outrageous sentiments calling for blatantly unlawful action by the intelligence and security services of the United States.

For Mr. Trump and those who think like him, torture is not only a technique for extracting information, which it doesn’t do very well, but also a form of revenge. “If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway,” he has said, “for what they’re doing to us.”

This same thinking was evident in his recent pardons granted to military commanders convicted of war crimes. True warriors have a code of behavior that proclaims acts of savagery against unarmed civilians or prisoners to be dishonorable and immoral. Their code distinguishes between killing on the battlefield and murder, which the president and his cheerleaders seem not to understand. “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!” he tweeted in October, displaying total and insulting ignorance of the honorable calling of a soldier.

 

The United States has by far the greatest security establishment on earth, with the greatest reach. When the United States commits or abets war crimes, it erodes the honor, effectiveness and value of that force. The pictures of how America tortures illustrate what happens next.

Mark Denbeaux, attorney for Abu Zubaydah, talks with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow about the failures of the U.S. torture program designed specifically for Zubaydah and the lack of accountability for how so many false conclusions were drawn.
 


 
This is us, the Unites States of America.

Cartnoon

Bah, Humbug. Happy ek’smas

The Breakfast Club (Revolutionary Class)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Jefferson Davis dies in New Orleans; Four people die at a free Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in Livermore, California; America’s first attempt to put a satellite into orbit fails; Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

To make an omelette, you need not only those broken eggs but someone ‘oppressed’ to beat them: every revolutionist is presumed to understand that, and also every woman, which either does or does not make 51 percent of the population of the United States a potentially revolutionary class.

Joan Didion

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Ships and Rats

Republicans have a notable lack of empathy, an inability to imagine an existence different from their personal experience. Metaphor is lost on them, they just don’t get it.

The reason a Rat leaves a Sinking Ship is not some mystical supernatural sense of impending Doom. It’s because the normal areas they inhabit are too flooded for them to breathe anymore.

This from The Hill, hardly a bastion of “liberal” propoganda-

Fox’s Napolitano predicts Trump will testify on own behalf at Senate trial
By Joe Concha, The Hill
12/05/19

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano on Thursday predicted that President Trump will testify on behalf of himself at an impeachment trial in the Senate, saying it would be “the most dramatic legal political event” in modern history.

“If you go to a Senate trial, who testifies on behalf of the president?” Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer asked Napolitano on the network’s “America’s Newsroom.”

“Himself,” Napolitano quickly responded.

“You believe that could happen?” Hemmer pressed.

“I do,” replied Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge. “I think it will be the most dramatic legal political event in the history of our era.”

“With the president of the United States testifying under oath in front of the chief justice, and the full Senate and 200 million people watching on television.”

Napolitano has said on several occasions in recent weeks that he believes the president should be impeached based on evidence laid out as part of the House inquiry, which is examining Trump’s efforts this year to get Ukraine to launch politically charged investigations.

In a recent interview with Reason.com, Napolitano said he believes there could be “three or four articles of impeachment” against Trump, including bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors and obstruction of justice.

“The Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have unearthed enough evidence, in my opinion, to justify about three or four articles of impeachment against the president,” he told Reason’s Nick Gillespie.

“One is bribery. The allegation is the technical definition of bribery is the failure to perform an official duty until a thing of value comes your way,” continued Napolitano. “And they will argue that the president’s failure to disperse funds that the Congress ordered, they dispersed until the recipient of the funds agreed to investigate a potential political opponent is an act of bribery. That is enough, in my opinion, to make it over the threshold of impeachable offenses. I don’t think it’s enough to convict of bribery, but it’s enough to allege it for the purpose of impeachment.”

“The second charge will be high crimes and misdemeanors, election law violation,” he added. “The third crime will be obstruction of justice. The fourth will be interference with a witness, and the fifth may be lying under oath.”

Do I think this will actually happen? Probably not, but it would be great television.

In Defense of Jonathan Turley

Let us not forget he correctly named W, Cheney, and Obama as War Criminals. That counts for a lot.

Should you have the good fortune to be my friend I will not fail to stand by you in adversity. I pledge 3 Dan Morgan volleys before I withdraw in good order and if I fall between the second and third or during my redeployment my sole regret will be I could not achieve more.

And that I’m unlucky, ask anyone with a scrap of ribbon.

Thus it is with Jonathan, who, in his Libertarian way, was called in to “defend” Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio. I’m sure he thinks he’s playing at being Ben Roebuck, John Thomas, Joe Hayes, and Tom Brandon.

His position is not that Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio isn’t guilty of everything, just that the evidence is pouring in, what’s the rush?

Well, that’s my position too. Drip, drip, drip. I want him to suffer and his Party eradicated.

But Jon? This counts as one.

Why even the GOP’s expert witness undermines Trump’s defenses
by Cody Fenwick, Alternet
December 4, 2019

In the first day of expert witness testimony in the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment proceedings, George Washington University Law School constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley sat as the sole witness called by the Republicans.

While claiming not to be a supporter of Donald Trump, he seemed to be giving the GOP what it wanted — a credentialed and experienced expert on impeachment who cast doubt on the Democrats’ case against the president. It didn’t seem to matter much to Turley or the Republicans that many of his arguments against impeaching Trump now seemed in tension with previous arguments he’s made — including in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

But even taking Turley’s claims at face value, he still starkly undercuts the president’s own defenses of himself and the Republicans’ attacks on the proceedings.

One of his major complaints, for instance, is that the impeachment proceedings are moving too quickly — an odd and perplexing claim on its own. But even assuming it’s a sincere case, it’s not what the president or his defenders have based their defenses on.

“You set an incredibly short period, demand a huge amount of information, and when the president goes to court, you then impeach him!” he said. “Now does that track with the rule of law that we’ve talked about?”

He also told Democrats: “If you rush this impeachment, you’re going to leave half the country behind.”

I’m going to stop right there and say that I’m more than willing to leave the deplorable racists, misogynist, bigots behind. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Republicans, however, haven’t been arguing that Democrats need to slow down and take their time with the impeachment. Instead, they’ve said that the whole thing is a sham from the beginning and that it is entirely unjustified.

Turley, despite siding with the Republicans, doesn’t actually seem to be willing to swallow their line of argument. And he sharply disagreed with the Trump administration’s position on withholding information from the Congress, saying he believes Trump will lose in court in his efforts to fight congressional subpoenas. So he doesn’t believe, as Trump has claimed, that the entire process is illegitimate — he just thinks it should be allowed to play out more slowly.

His remarks even support claims made by some backers of impeachment who argue that, tactically speaking, it would be better for Democrats to take their time, expand the scope of their inquiry, fight to get the relevant witnesses and keep impeachment in the headlines.

Also contrary to the president, Turley doesn’t believe Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — at the heart of the case that he solicited a bribe from Ukraine — was appropriate.

In fact, Turley said the call was “far from ‘perfect,’” the word Trump uses to describe the call. This suggests that, in contrast to the view of many Republicans and the White House, Turley thinks there are grounds for investigating the call and the broader scheme.

He also admitted, regarding Trump’s conduct: “If you prove a quid pro quo, you might have an impeachable offense.”

He said he doesn’t believe a quid pro quo has been proven. I’ve argued, on the contrary, that it has been.

But again, taking this claim, in combination with the public evidence of a quid pro quo — including Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s own words — Turley’s claims clearly lead to the conclusion that the impeachment inquiry itself is entirely warranted, despite Republicans’ claims. There just needs to be more evidence and more investigation.

The argument is that Turley is insufficiently ardent. I think the miracle is that he’s the only Lawyer the Republicans could find that they think advanced their position which is more aptly named warm water than weak tea.

Not that Robert E. Lee’s head didn’t deserve a Pike beneath it.

Cartnoon

Amber and Jenny

Not Jenny

Just Amber

The Breakfast Club (Monkey Cage)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Prohibition ends in the United States; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies; Walt Disney and Little Richard are born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

H. L. Mencken

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For The Record: Day 6

House Judiciary Committee- Jonathan Turley, Pamela Karlan, Noah Feldman, and Michael Gerhardt

Transcript

R U All Ready For This?

Let’s get ready to Ruuuuuuuuuuumble!

‘Are you ready?’: Pelosi makes clear to Democrats that impeachment is coming
By Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade, Washington Post
12/4/19

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff left little doubt with fellow Democrats Wednesday that they plan to move swiftly to impeach President Trump as soon as this month.

According to multiple Democratic lawmakers who attended a closed-door Capitol meeting, Pelosi announced no firm decision or timeline in moving toward a vote on Trump’s impeachment. But, a day after Schiff delivered a 300-page report detailing charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Trump, she made clear what lies ahead in the House.

“Are you ready?” Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked her colleagues, after describing grave constitutional circumstances posed by Trump’s alleged wrongdoing surrounding his dealings with Ukraine and his subsequent decision to stonewall the House investigation into it.

The caucus, according to multiple members, erupted with shouts of approval.

“We’re moving forward,” said one member, summarizing the thrust of Pelosi’s remarks and speaking on condition of anonymity to candidly describe a private meeting. “We’ve got a job to do whether people want to testify or not.”

Pelosi then turned the room over to Schiff (D-Calif.), who received a standing ovation before saying a word, the members said.

Schiff proceeded to run through the major findings of the report, add context to some of the key events the inquiry has uncovered, and explained to colleagues why, among other things, he did not wait for additional witnesses — such as former national security adviser John R. Bolton, who met with Trump to discuss Ukraine policy — before issuing his report.

Schiff referenced a recent newspaper editorial that encouraged Democrats to slow down and use the courts to force testimony from Bolton and others. He countered that the courts have been too slow in upholding congressional subpoenas.

“The direction we got from Chairman Schiff was, we’re not going to wait endlessly for John Bolton to decide that the country is more important than his book deal,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

After Schiff’s presentation, Pelosi again spoke — focusing, a senior Democratic aide said, on “the gravity and somber nature of this moment,” as well as the need for Democrats to “give room for their colleagues to reach their own conclusions as the inquiry proceeds.”

The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly.

“She’s very on message in reminding us that this is a somber but necessary moment — this is a situation that the founders feared, but that we can’t avoid,” Huffman said.

The meeting, which began an hour before the Judiciary Committee gaveled its first impeachment hearing to order, included an unusually high level of security. Members were not permitted to bring staffers into the room, and they were asked to check their phones at the door.

In a separate closed-door meeting elsewhere in the Capitol basement, Vice President Pence rallied Republicans against impeachment — encouraging the GOP rank-and-file to “turn up the heat” on House Democrats and accuse them of focusing on impeachment instead of solving the nation’s problems.

Pence praised Republicans for sticking together and defending the president, telling them he and Trump were proud of their work standing up for the president.

Hell yeah Nancy. Bring it!

Don’t forget reloads.

Unindicted Co-Conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio

I will never call him anything else ever again for obvious reasons. Well, until he gets indicted.

You see, Individual 1 told Michael Cohen to pay off an Adult Sex Worker so that his custom was not made public during his campaign for the Presidency.

And it wasn’t Hillary who Bill owes one anyway.

In the normal course of events this is highly illegal and Michael Cohen is sitting in a cell this very day for being an accomplice to the crime. It’s a fact, you could look it up.

So that’s “Individual 1”, do you think there’s any connection with the mysterious “-1” (an imaginary number, you can’t have less than nothing, wait until I take it’s Square Root when I get downright irrational)?

A Mysterious ‘-1’ and Other Call Records Show How Giuliani Pressured Ukraine
By Sharon LaFraniere and Julian E. Barnes, Washington Post
Dec. 3, 2019

In the two days before President Trump forced out the American ambassador to Ukraine in April, his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was on the phone with the White House more than a dozen times.

Phone records cited in the impeachment report released Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee illustrate the sprawling reach of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign first to remove the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, then to force Ukraine’s new government to announce criminal investigations for Mr. Trump’s political gain.

That effort accelerated through the spring and summer into a full-court press to force Ukraine’s new president to accede to Mr. Trump’s wishes or risk losing $391 million in military assistance desperately needed to hold off Russian-led forces waging a separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

From March 26 to Aug. 8, as he developed an irregular foreign policy channel that eventually sidelined both National Security Council and State Department aides, Mr. Giuliani — who is not a government employee — was in touch with top-ranking officials, the newly revealed call records suggested.

He reached out to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; the national security adviser at the time, John R. Bolton; Representative Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee itself; midlevel White House officials; the Fox News host Sean Hannity; a conservative columnist; an associate who has been charged in a scheme related to Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster; and the owner of a mysterious number, “-1.”

Investigators are trying to determine whether the unidentified phone number belongs to Mr. Trump, said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who leads the House Intelligence Committee. If so, the phone calls with Mr. Giuliani could be further evidence of the president’s direct involvement in the Ukraine affair.

The call records showed “considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House” to falsely portray Ms. Yovanovitch as disloyal to the president and to manipulate administration policy for his personal benefit, Mr. Schiff told reporters.

The report detailed a game of phone tag between the -1 phone number and Mr. Giuliani on Aug. 8. That same week, Mr. Giuliani was vigorously pressing State Department officials to persuade President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the Biden family and whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

Mr. Giuliani missed calls from -1 on Aug. 8 to two of his cellphones. Mr. Giuliani then called the White House switchboard and the White House Situation Room, before connecting with -1.

Circumstantial evidence shows that some of the -1 calls involved Mr. Trump, Mr. Schiff said, adding that his committee was working “to find out definitively.”

House investigators suspect that the number may belong to Mr. Trump in part because of phone records used as evidence in the criminal case against Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime friend and former campaign adviser who was convicted last month of seven felonies, including lying to Congress. Mr. Stone, who talked directly to Mr. Trump, received a call from a number listed only as -1, the records from his trial show.

The records of Mr. Giuliani’s calls also suggest that Mr. Nunes may have played a bigger role than was previously known in Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to manipulate the administration’s policy toward Ukraine. Mr. Nunes was in contact with both Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas, the associate of Mr. Giuliani who helped the former New York mayor come up with negative information to further his strategy on Ukraine.

In a Fox News interview on Tuesday night, Mr. Nunes said that while he did not recall talking with Mr. Parnas, he might well have. “I remember that name now because he has been indicted, he said, adding, “It seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.”

On April 10, the records show, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Nunes traded short calls before Mr. Giuliani reached Mr. Nunes and the two spoke for about three minutes.

While the subject of their conversation is not known, they were most likely speaking about Ukraine, the report suggested. In the days beforehand, Mr. Giuliani said on Fox News that Ukraine had improperly interfered in the 2016 election and posted on Twitter citing criticism of Ms. Yovanovitch and accusing Ukrainian officials of interfering in American politics.

During the impeachment hearings, Mr. Nunes led the defense of Mr. Trump, repeatedly raising questions about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election and urging an investigation into Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who was hired onto the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Schiff raised questions about Mr. Nunes’s role. “It is, I think, deeply concerning that at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity,” Mr. Schiff said.

Mr. Nunes ignored questions about the call records in the Capitol, and his spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. But Republican leaders backed him on Tuesday. “Devin Nunes has a right to talk to anybody,” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the top Republican in the House, told reporters.

Cartnoon

A little local pride. A bit like me bragging about the Paterson.

Yes, as in New Jersey. Patent model is in the Wadsworth Atheneum and there’s this great honking factory a stone’s throw away from I-91 (I mean seriously, until recently there wasn’t an intact pane of glass in the place, now it’s all bullet proof).

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