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Hullabaloo


Sunday, November 17, 2019

 
Senator Johnson for the defense

by digby





The Republicans are forced to send out the dumbest US Senator to make the case for Donald Trump, I guess because he's so clueless he doesn't know when he's making a fool of himself --- a requirement in the current situation. I wonder if they plan on making him one of the president's defenders in the Senate trial.

Here is Senator Ron Johnson on Meet the Press this morning. It's almost painful to watch:

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now, two senators who traveled together to Ukraine in September, spoke to President Zelenskiy about the withheld security assistance. It's Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Senator Johnson, I'm going to begin with you. You're join us from -- I know you’re in your home there in Oshkosh. So, Senator, welcome back to Meet the Press. Let me just start with your reaction to what the president tweeted about Ambassador Yovanovitch on Friday.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

Good morning, Chuck. Well, you know, I thought it was kind of interesting when President Trump was leaving the White House, going to Atlanta, and people were talking about his behavior. He said, "You know, my behavior is caused by, by you. You know, the constant torment, I mean, the investigations." So, you know, listen, I would prefer he not, you know, provide that type of tweet, but you know, my concern -- and let me start out with something else here, Chuck, because I don't want to argue every point. Something we agree on. As Americans, we all share the same goal. We want a safe, prosperous, secure America. We're compassionate. We compare about each other. And generally, generally, we solve our political differences at the ballot box, not in the streets or through impeachment. I think that is really -- as we talked the other day, that's the divide that is tearing this country apart and that's what I'm primarily concerned about.

Lugubrious nonsense coming from a Trump supporter. Blaming the other side for "tormenting" the monstrous freak in the White House --- a man who just this week pardoned war criminals and sat in the oval office with the dictator to whom he just gave permission to invade another country and ethnically cleanse America's allies.

Can't we all get along?

CHUCK TODD:

I want to get into a little bit of the specifics, so I'm going to get you to react to something that the ambassador said about -- particularly about what Rudy Giuliani was doing. Take a listen to her testimony.

(BEGIN TAPE)

AMBASSADOR YOVANOVITCH:

I obviously don't dispute that the president has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time, for any reason, but what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

That's a fair question for her to ask.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

Sure it is. And again, I have no problem with the ambassador. She hosted me when I was over -- made one of my trips over there. But you know, one thing I want to point out is the damage that is being done to our country through this entire impeachment process. You know, it's going to be very difficult for future presidents to have a candid conversation with a world leader because now we've set the precedent of leaking transcripts. It’s going -- you know, the weakening of executive privilege is not good. And by the way, those individuals that leaked this, you know, if their interest was a stronger relationship with Ukraine, they didn't accomplish it. Having this all come out into public has weakened that relationship, has exposed things that didn't need to be exposed. You know, when I was in Ukraine with Senator Murphy, one of the points I was trying to make is, as we left that meeting, let's try and minimize this. Let's talk about this is a timing difference in terms of funding. Senator Murphy's on the Appropriations Committee. We will restore the funding. I came back and I talked to Senator Durbin. He offered an amendment. That same day, the funding was released. So, this would have been far better off if we would have just taken care of this behind the scenes. We have two branches of government.
Right. We must cover up the president's crimes for the good of the country. Unless, of course, it involves fellatio.
SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

Most people wanted to support Ukraine. We were trying to convince President Trump. And so, the whole -- I mean, again, I listened to the Washington Post article lionizing this whistleblower. Listen, if the whistleblower's goal is to improve our relationship with Ukraine, he utterly --

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you --

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

-- or she utterly failed. And again, if they consider that's part of --
Ukraine would have been so much better off if only they'd been allowed to be Trump's puppet in sabotaging the 2020 election and letting Russia off the hook for what they did in 2016. Maybe they could have framed some innocent people for the crime and held a big public hanging. That would have made Trump and Putin very happy. And that's really all that matters, isn't it?
CHUCK TODD:

Let me pick up on what you said there about all this going public because you actually raise an interesting question about this. Why was the president so insistent that President Zelenskiy had to be public about announcing an investigation? And I ask that because, you know, one of the foundations of due process in this country is actually not to publicly announce who you're investigating, because you may be investigating somebody who's innocent. And yet the president wanted Ukraine to violate one of our great protections in the rule of law and publicly announce an investigation regardless of whether there's guilt or not. Why did he want to go public?

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

I'm not sure that's the case. I certainly understand that President Trump wanted to find out what was happening in 2016 and what -- you know, how did this false narrative about Russian collusion with his campaign occur. That, I know, because that's from my first-hand testimony. What I also know is when I, when I sprung that on President Trump in my August 31st phone call, he completely denied there was any kind of, any kind of arrangement that Ukraine had to do something before he'd release that funding. And this is what has not been reported from that phone call. At the tail end -- It was a pretty long phone call. We talked about a bunch of other things, but at the very end he wrapped it up by saying, "You know, Ron, I've got a hurricane I have to deal with, but I hear what you're saying. We're reviewing this. I think you're going to like my decision." So, he was already leaning toward providing that funding on August 31st. My guess is that this never would have been exposed, that funding would have been restored, and our relationship with Ukraine would be far better off than it is today.

"How did this false narrative about Russian collusion occur." That's Bill Barr bullshit and there is no guarantee that Barr and his accomplices in the DOJ aren't working right now on their end of the conspiracy to put some people on trial for this. It is one of the most dangerous possibilities we face here. So far there is little evidence that Barr's DOJ is going to resist this authoritarian turn.

Anyway, despite all the evidence we've seen from numerous witnesses inside the administration, they persist in saying that the facts are not the facts. Johnson is so stupid I'm not sure he can comprehend them. But its pretty clear that Republican voters wouldn't care even if it were true. 

If only everyone would just shut up about Trump's crimes all that would have happened is Biden and the Democrats would have been unjustly smeared and Russia would be happy. Why oh why can't people see that that is the right way to have handled this?

Did I mention that he was very dumb?
CHUCK TODD:

Again, you seem to say --you seem to blame this on everybody but the president. It was the president's actions --

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

No, I'm not blaming anybody, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you are. You're blaming everybody else for the reason we're in this situation, other than the president. Isn't the president's own behavior, which raised all of these yellow and red flags, isn't that why we're here?

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

Again, I'm sympathetic with President Trump, as he's been tormented from the day after he was -- the election. You know, a quick, little quote from the lawyer of the whistleblower. This is ten days after his inauguration, “who has started the first of many steps, rebellion, impeachment will follow ultimately.” Now, if this whistleblower was, you know, to be lionized by the Washington Post, maybe we ought to take a look at, you know, who he hired. You know, he could have hired an unbiased officer of the court. He -- instead, he hired Mark Zaid, who said, "Coup has started, first of many steps, impeachment will follow ultimately." Now --  
And that's not an unbiased officer of the court. So, there's something going on here, Chuck. That's my point.
Again with the poor, poor Trumpie and his tormenters. He can't help but commit crimes over and over and over again. He's just so upset.

By the way, the whistleblower didn't hire Zaid. The whistleblower's lawyer did. And anyway, they' re defense lawyers fergawdsakes. They are not required to be unbiased! Not that it matters. For some reason, Republicans believe that the only people allowed to be involved in anything to do with Trump must be members of the Trump cult. We know this because anyone who isn't is called a partisan hack or a "Never-Trumper" which is akin to being a traitor to America. Why they think that's convincing to anyone but themselves remains a mystery.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let me ask --

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

Something is going on --

CHUCK TODD:

I feel like --

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

It's dividing this country. Go ahead.
Says the sanctimonious Trump defender with a straight face.

Todd comes up with a zinger here. Good for him:
CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this. No, let me ask you this. You brought up -- you're the one that brought up this idea that impeachment was something that the left wanted to do immediately. I'm going to quote from you, sir. November 1st, 2016, you're asked about Hillary Clinton and you said this before the election, "She purposely circumvented the law. This was willful concealment and destruction. I would say, yes, high crime or misdemeanor." You were talking about impeachment before that election with Hillary Clinton. How should I not -- how should viewers not look at what you're doing here and you're just reacting as a partisan, that if Trump were a Democrat you'd be ready to convict him?

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

First of all, understand, that's before an election. I'm trying to hammer out the political differences before an election. And by the way, I completely agree with that. I mean, I -- we'd been investigating the whole Hillary Clinton email scandal -- the exoneration of her. You know, that was not an investigation to really dig out the truth. It was --

CHUCK TODD:

So, you think it was legit to advocate impeachment before the election -- you're criticizing Democrats for advocating --

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

I never --

CHUCK TODD:

-- impeachment days after the inauguration.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

You'd have to listen to what the question was. I don't think I said impeachment right there at all, Chuck. So, again, no, I was just pointing out what Hillary Clinton had done and I was hoping that people would not elect her, and they didn't. And that's probably, I think, one of the main reasons that she was not elected is what she did with that private server --

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

-- which was completely intentional. I mean, it baffles me that she was not indicted, quite honestly. But now that we know, based on the Strzok-Page texts, which I know I'm not supposed to bring up --

I don't think I have to explain why that is such a sophistry. He used the term "high crimes and misdemeanors" which only applied to impeachment.

This man is a US Senator, speaking for the president of the United States. He's very rich and successful proving, once and for all, that assuming intelligence based upon that criteria is a grave mistake.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this last question--

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

But I mean that’s -- you know, that's a problem.

CHUCK TODD:

-- about partisanship. Why shouldn't, why shouldn’t viewers assume that you're looking at President Trump through a Republican lens here because you were already much tougher, ready to go to, ready to go to impeachment on Hillary Clinton with no evidence that anything that happened with that server somehow got into foreigners' hands, when we actually had evidence regarding what happened at the DNC?

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

So, I guess what I suggest, Chuck, is I got a letter last night from Representatives Jordan and Nunes asking for basically my telling of events. I'll be working on that today. So, I will lay out what I know in terms of this and --

CHUCK TODD:

So, are you going to testify?

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

-- to a certain extent, some of my perspective. Now, you know, they're not going to call me because certainly Adam Schiff wouldn't want to be called by the Senate. There’s going to be a separation there. But I think I will reply to that and I'll supply my telling of events, which is difficult to do in eight or ten minutes on a show like this.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

But Chuck, going back to -- we are a divided nation. I am highly concerned about that. I know you are as well.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON:

We need to start understanding the other person's perspective, and that's what's not happening right now.
I think we understand your perspective Senator. You are a very stupid Trump sycophant whose brain is rotted by Fox News.  The division isn't caused by people being mean to poor Donald Trump. It's caused by a Republican party that has gone insane and a corrupt, venal president so far in over his head that he is being manipulated by the worst people in the world. 

.