Impeachment Inquiry into Trump: to be, or not to be?

A prominent U.S. lawyer, Joseph Malu, does not rule out the progress of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.

His criteria were made public in the interview granted to the outstanding TeleSUR journalist Jorge Gestoso.

The climax of such interview occurred when Malu mentioned the telephone call made by Trump to Ukraine’s president, Vladimir Zelenski, when he “asked him for a favor:” to provide intelligence on Joe Biden, the potential Democrat candidate for the 2020 presidential elections.

According to the lawyer, it looks like obstruction of justice.

Malu highlighted that the fact of Trump accepting he made that call is, at least, explosive; as he allowed the entry of a foreign head of state into the U.S. domestic affairs.

According to observers, this ongoing situation reminds them of the Watergate scandal, which took place few decades ago.

Such scandal resulted in the resignation of the then Republican President Richard Nixon.

Back then, his men were accused of political spying against political adversaries.

It seems there are similarities between the two cases.

“Any similarity is a mere coincidence.”

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

US: New bitter questions on Trump

The most recent events involving Donald Trump are addressed by this EFE newswire.

It starts: the drumbeats of the impeachment process resounded on Monday, but the White House did not want to know.

Likewise, it points out that Trump’s answers to Democrats —characterized by no strategy at all, chaos, improvisation, and mistakes— may wind up hurting himself.

It adds that before the actual crisis, the government’s response has been inaccurate and “Trump growingly looks like himself.”

Michael Cornfield —Political Science professor at the George Washington University— stated to the press that “the President is drunk on power and he is now looking for a new fight.”

EFE warns it is necessary to know Trump’s basic behavior to understand this White House reaction.

Chris Edelson, Politics professor at the American University, highlights he has no strategy to face the upcoming impeachment.

And adds, “he is a gangster. He thinks he is the Big Boss in the mafia world. He is an abuser and authoritarian. And he believes Republicans will always support him no matter what.”

He takes last Tuesday’s phone conversation as an example. This chat was leaked to the press between the President and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, before announcing a potential impeachment inquiry.

“Hey, can we do something about this whistleblower complaint? Can we work something out?’ The head of the White House asked.

Pelosi´s answer was sharp: “Yes, you could tell your people to abide the law.”

Afterwards, Trump showed once again this behavior in a private meeting with diplomats in New York where he suggested they should “get rid of” the whistleblower.

As previously reported, the whistleblower is a CIA agent who worked at the White House.

In the meeting Trump said:

“Who’s the person who provided such information to the whistleblower? Because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right?” Everything he said was leaked to the press.

The aforementioned professor Edelson said that Trump’s statements reminded him of the George Orwell’s novel “1984.”

And he added, “Trump said he did not do it, but he later asserted that there were no wrongdoings if he did.” The analysts said that is the “doublethinking” language.

In recent days, the New York Times released that Trump pressed in a phone conversation his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelenski, so he could open an inquiry on former Vice President and current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, to undermine his presidential run for 2020.

EFE argues that such presidential formula and his attacks against the media have brought back hefty return for him. This week only, he has raised 13 million USD for his campaign.

Contrary to the common sense, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has attended every debate in major television networks on daily basis.

The goal was to defend his role, but he ended up incriminating himself even more, paired with other scandals.

Giuliani, via Fox News, read the messages exchanged with diplomats to prove that Trump’s contacts with Ukraine were already known by the U.S. State Department.

According to Karen Hult, expert in the dynamics of the West Wing, Giuliani has emerged as Trump's main speaker in this crisis because the White House communications office has failed to structure a strategy and currently has an "inconsistent" relationship with the leader.

The apotheosis of this entire riot occurred on Wednesday. That day the White House mistakenly sent an email to Democratic lawmakers outlining their strategy on how Republicans should answer questions about the controversial call between Trump and Zelenski.

In the brief, entitled "What you need to know," the White House advised lawmakers to use the word "myth" to describe the conversation between the two leaders and asked the Democrats to "blame a media frenzy of false accusations."

As if that were not enough, then the White House sent another message to the Democrats asking them to please return their strategy.

Here you have the small world of that powerful nation, which proclaims itself the utmost example of democratic values of the world.

And it is now sunk in a profound crisis that rushes from chaos to an unstoppable rupture that goes deeper as days pass by.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Trump confirms he discussed Biden in call with Ukrainian president

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.

Trump's statement to reporters about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came as the Democratic leader of a key congressional panel said the pursuit of Trump's impeachment may be the "only remedy" to the situation.

Trump's call with Zelensky has been at the centre of an escalating battle in Washington since Friday, when news outlets reported Trump repeatedly asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate whether Biden, the Democratic front-runner to take on Trump in next year's election, misused his position when he was vice-president.

Trump told reporters at the White House that their phone conversation was mostly congratulatory but also touched on corruption and the Bidens.

"The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don't want our people like Vice-President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine," Trump said.

Democrats have said that if Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Biden, it is tantamount to promoting foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Trump has denied doing anything improper. His allies, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have defended the president's phone call, which, according to news reports, was the subject of a complaint made by an as-yet-unnamed whistleblower.

Joe Biden, Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former vice-president, says if the reports are true, 'then there is truly no bottom to President Trump's willingness to abuse his power and abase our country.' (Kathryn Gamble/Reuters)

If an investigation shows that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden, the U.S. Congress may have no choice but to pursue impeachment, Democratic House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff said on Sunday.

Schiff had previously shied away from calling for impeachment, but his comments on CNN's State of the Union showed his stance had shifted.

"If the president is essentially withholding military aid at the same time that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader to do something illicit, to provide dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is co-equal to the evil that conduct represents," Schiff said.

Other lawmakers have called for the Democratic leadership to pursue impeachment immediately, but Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted calls to formally begin the process.

In a letter to colleagues later on Sunday, Pelosi warned the administration against keeping the details of the whistleblower complaint secret. The administration has so far resisted sharing the details of the complaint with lawmakers.

"If the administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the president, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation," Pelosi wrote.

Meanwhile, Trump on Monday shrugged off talks of impeachment while speaking with reporters as he arrived at the UN General Assembly.

Asked how seriously he was taking the threats by Congress, Trump said, "Not at all seriously." 

Romney voices concern

Senator Mitt Romney, who has clashed with Trump in the past, sounded a rare note of concern among Trump's fellow Republicans, many of whom have remained silent, defended Trump or escalated their attacks on Biden in the days after the reports about the Trump-Zelensky call.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, shown speaking at a bilateral meeting in Toronto on July 2, is at the centre of an escalating battle in Washington between Democrats and Trump. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

"If the president asked or pressured Ukraine's president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme," Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said in a Twitter post.

Impeachment proceedings in Congress that begin in the House can lead to a president being removed from office, but Democrats would need the support of Republicans, who control the Senate.

Multiple news organizations reported on Friday that Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to investigate whether Biden misused his position as vice-president under Democratic President Barack Obama to threaten to withhold U.S. aid unless a prosecutor who was looking into a gas company in which Biden's son was involved was fired.

Biden has confirmed he wanted the prosecutor fired but denies it was to help his son. Biden said the wider U.S. government, the European Union and other international institutions also wanted the prosecutor fired for his alleged failure to pursue major corruption cases.

Biden said on Saturday there should be an investigation into Trump's call, saying it "appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power." He said he never spoke to his son about Ukraine.

  • Published in World

Azur Air Ukraine to launch flights to Cuba in autumn

The Ukrainian airline Azur Air Ukraine plans to launch flights to the Cuban resort town of Varadero from October 2019.

"Azur Air Ukraine CEO Karen Antonov announced the launch of flights to the resort town of Varadero in Cuba, together with the tour operator ANEX Tour," reads the statement on avianews.com.

According to the booking system of the tour operator, flights will be performed from Kyiv once in 10 days starting from October 25, 2019 till April 10, 2020.

At present, there are no direct flights between Ukraine and Cuba. Ukrainians can get to the Island of Freedom using a transfer flight.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba’s generosity after Chernobyl

Millions have watched Chernobyl, the TV series about the 1986 nuclear meltdown, and your coverage has been extensive (Report, 13 June). But an important related story has not had a mention at this time of renewed interest. Following the catastrophe, the tiny island of Cuba stepped forward and cared for over 20,000 young cancer victims from 1989 to 2011, – medical care, schooling, clothing, food, accommodation, playgrounds – all free of charge. A specialised medical facility was opened to the east of Havana, and Cuban doctors travelled to the affected region to treat patients in their homeland.

No other country in the world launched such a massive programme. The Cubans responded – as “an ethical and moral”, not a political question, as it was put at the time, and the programme continued despite changing governments in the Ukraine.

Today, the aftermath persists. Just a few weeks ago, Cuba announced that it will resume the programme in a new facility for the sons and daughters of the victims, who are now showing ailments similar to those of their parents. The tightening of the blockade against Cuba  affects not only the Cuban people, but also the thousands of patients being cared for by Cuba’s renowned international medical teams. Surely worth a mention on several counts?

  • Published in Cuba

Change of thrones: Ukraine’s Zelensky laments Poroshenko’s ‘uncomfy’ chair, eyes ‘open space’ office

During the 2019 race, Volodymyr Zelensky relentlessly bashed how Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, had run things. Now, the comedian-turned-president is unhappy about the way he furnished his office, and wants to move.

An existing chair at Ukraine’s presidential office didn’t prove to be comfy enough for Zelensky, whether that’s due to the ergonomics, or the tough legacy of his predecessor, is unclear.

Filmed entering the office and trying the luxury chair on the day he was sworn in, Zelensky complained “it’s not comfortable,” garnering a round of applause from other people in the room.

“I’m looking [at this] and wonder when we are going to move,” he confessed with a smile.

It’s known that Zelensky is not a big fan of the building which houses the presidential administration. During his election campaign he repeatedly vowed to relocate it to a smaller and more convenient place outside Kiev.

The administration now sits at the historic quarters occupied by Ukraine’s Communist Party until 1991. But Zelensky seeks another place where he could work “at a normal European office,” and such an office could have an open space design, his allies told local media.

 
 Ukrainian president-elect Zelensky to be a host of MAGIC SHOW on Russian TV

However, privacy is a consideration and it remains to be seen how behind-closed-door discussions or working with sensitive information merges with the reality of a vibrant, noisy open space.

Curiously, the relocation plans bear striking resemblance to some of the scenes from a television comedy called Servant of the People, where Zelensky played a history teacher whose honesty and commitment to justice propel him to the presidential office.

In the show that boosted Zelensky’s popularity during the 2019 campaign, his character moves the administration to a remote, shabby location somewhere in Kiev to cut costs and reduce traffic. He also scraps all luxury cars in the presidential fleet, riding a bicycle or using his sole bodyguard’s pickup truck.

But the real-life Zelensky will face real challenges which may jeopardize his cost-saving measures. It emerged recently that moving the president’s office from downtown Kiev could cost tens of millions of dollars, which are nowhere to be found in the budget. Critics of the proposal also argued that it could downgrade the safety & security of the government and the president himself.

 

  • Published in World

Vassily Ivanchuk wins Capablanca Memorial for an eighth time!

After scoring a clutch victory over Adhiban, Vassily Ivanchuk won his eighth Capablanca Memorial title on Monday night. He had arrived in the final round tied in first with David Antón, but the latter could not convert a rook endgame a pawn up against Carlos Albornoz, thus allowing the Ukrainian to claim clear first. Samuel Sevian also won in round ten and caught up with Antón on 6½ points. | Photo: Abel Rojas / Mi Columna Deportiva

The king of Havana

On March 18th, Vassily Ivanchuk turned 50, and what better way to celebrate than to travel down to Havana to claim his eighth title at the Capablanca Memorial! Since 2005, the Ukrainian ace participated ten times at the traditional tournament. Only in 2014, he had a bad time on the Caribbean island, finishing last after scoring 4 out of 10; in 2017, he got second place (on 5½/10) behind Sasikiran.

It was all victories for Chuky otherwise. All his triumphs in Cuba were achieved in double round robin events, except the one he got in 2007, when the organizers put together a ten-player single round robin — back then, Ivanchuk finished two points ahead of Leinier Dominguez and Vugar Gashimov, after scoring six wins and drawing the rest to end up with an impressive 2877 rating performance.

His '+4' this year netted him 14 rating points, which allowed him to climb 21 places in the live ratings list, leaving him another good performance away from returning to the 2700 club. 

Suspense in the end

After five rounds, Samuel Sevian was sharing first place with the eventual champion, but the youngster from the United States faltered in the very next round, when he was defeated by Carlos Albornoz in the only game that favoured either of the local representatives. Ivanchuk was already the sole leader thanks to his draw with Antón, but he went on to widen the gap with a win over Yuri González in round seven. 

Carlos Albornoz, Samuel Sevian

Albornoz upset Sevian | Photo: Abel Rojas / Mi Columna Deportiva

In round eight, Antón took down Vidal, while Ivanchuk got the better of Albornoz, thus securing a 4 out of 4 against the locals. This resulted in the Ukrainian getting a one-point advantage over the Spaniard with only two rounds to go. But the tides turned in the penultimate day of action...

First, Sevian took down the leader with the white pieces. The players dived into a line of the Sicilian that is not often seen among the elite. White ended up gaining space in the centre before going into a rook endgame with six pawns per side.

Meanwhile, Antón made the most of an early opening advantage against Adhiban. The Indian grandmaster found himself stuck with a bad bishop and, after the time control, decided he needed to give up a piece to get some chance of surviving. 

It was not a good event for Adhiban | Photo: Abel Rojas / Mi Columna Deportiva

So, before the final round, Ivanchuk and Antón were tied on 6 points, while Sevian was lurking a half-point behind. Vassily and David had the white pieces, while Samuel was Black against González. Ivanchuk was a pawn up against Adhiban, but 'The Beast' had a strong passer on the c-file and the pair of bishops; Antón was also a pawn up, but in a rook endgame with 4v3 against Albornoz; while Sevian got a clear advantage during time pressure in an endgame with rook and knight v rook and bishop.

Shortly afterwards, Sevian scored his last full point, while Antón kept trying to convert the rook endgame a pawn up against Albornoz. In the end, the Cuban grandmaster defended precisely and the draw was signed after 79 moves. Ivanchuk was the champion once again!

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Ivanchuk Vassily 7,0 0,0
2 Sevian Samuel 6,5 1,0
3 Anton Guijarro David 6,5 1,0
4 Adhiban B. 3,5 1,5
5 Albornoz Cabrera Carlos Daniel 3,5 0,5
6 Gonzalez Vidal Yuri 3,0 0,0
  • Published in Sports

Trump’s envoy to Ukraine is paid by none other than Poroshenko himself

US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is drawing a salary from John McCain's think tank, which is funded by George Soros and a DC lobbying firm working for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, among others.

Volker was appointed Special Representative for Ukraine negotiations in July 2017, by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and has been “mediating” the Ukrainian crisis on behalf of the US ever since in much the same way his colleague Elliott Abrams has been doing with Venezuela.

The twist is that Volker is doing this on a voluntary basis without compensation” and “not taxing the taxpayers,” drawing a salary from his day job as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Arizona. Named after the late and hawkish US senator John McCain, the think tank is dedicated to "advancing leadership… in the United States and around the world." The two positions are very much aligned, Volker has said, allowing him to get his "hands dirty and actually solve our problems."

Also on rt.com Washington told Ukraine to end probe into George Soros-funded group during 2016 US election – report...

In practice, that means things like taking part in the "Occupied Crimea: 5 years of resistance" conference in Odessa – the same city where US-backed nationalists burned alive their political opponents in May 2014 – and parroting Bellingcat talking points on the Kerch Strait incident, themselves cribbed from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

The ?? does not and will not accept Russia’s claimed annexation of Crimea. ?? has committed numerous human rights abuses in furtherance of its occupation. We will continue to maintain and strengthen sanctions until Crimea is returned. .

Interesting analysis by Bellingcat with this key conclusion: “the shooting of the ‘Berdyansk’ most likely took place in international waters” Investigating The Kerch Strait Incident via

This is not surprising, however, since the list of donors of the McCain Institute includes something called the “BGR Foundation.” It shares the same Washington, DC address – and name – with Barbour Griffith Rogers, a high-profile lobbying firm that lists Volker as “Senior International Advisor” and former international managing director.

According to its filings to the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), BGR is a registered agent for none other than President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, whose ascension to Ukrainian presidency was brought about by the Maidan revolution of 2014, a coup cheered on most fervently by John McCain himself.

The “National Reforms Council of Ukraine,” which officially retained BGR's services, is led by none other than Dmytro Shymkiv, “Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine,” as per the filing BGR sent to the DOJ in January 2017.

It remains to be seen whether this relationship will change in June, when TV personality Volodymyr Zelensky takes office, having triumphed in a landslide runoff election this past weekend. Judging by Zelensky’s official Facebook account of his February meeting with Volker – “a friend of Ukraine” with whom he “reached full understanding on all questions” – that seems unlikely, however.

Whose envoy?

Volker was very close to the late Senator McCain, who was himself intimately involved with the 2014 "revolution" in Kiev, visiting the demonstrators and personally sharing the stage with Socialist-Nationalist Party leader Oleg Tyahnibok, for example. McCain was even offered an advisory job with Poroshenko, back in 2015, but declined because that was not allowed under US law.

Turns out another McCain confidant, David Kramer, also works at Volker’s institute, listed as "senior director for Human Rights and Democracy." Kramer was identified as the individual who during the 2016 campaign spread the "Steele Dossier" (accusing Trump of ties with Russia) to the press and a number of other people in Washington, including the "midwife of Maidan" herself, Victoria Nuland.

Also on rt.com Steele dossier’s main claims ‘likely false,’ admits journalist who helped launch Russiagate...

Among the McCain Institute’s other donors are George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, as well as Saudi Arabia – though Volker had to disavow them last year, calling it a one-time donation and saying he won’t accept any more Saudi cash after the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

All of this adds up to the question no one seems to have asked yet: Whose interests in Ukraine is Kurt Volker actually representing – those of the Trump administration, or those of his donors and the ghost of John McCain?

Nebojsa Malic, RT

  • Published in World
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