I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is ‘yes.’
In this surreal moment, at the same moment when they were talking about Trump on twitter, Trump tweeted and may have earned himself another article of impeachment for threatening a witness. Did he walk into a trap? Surreal.
David Holmes had a front row seat to a follow up phone call between Ambassador Sondland and the President. Here is a selection from his testimony,
The four of us went to a nearby restaurant and sat on an outdoor terrace. I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland and the two staffers sat off to our sides. At first, the lunch was largely social. Ambassador Sondland selected a bottle of wine that he shared among the four of us, and we discussed topics such as marketing strategies for his hotel business.
During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said that he was going to call President Trump to give him an update. Ambassador Sondland placed a call on his mobile phone, and I heard him announce himself several times, along the lines of “Gordon Sondland holding for the President.” It appeared that he was being transferred through several layers of switchboards and assistants. I then noticed Ambassador Sondland’s demeanor change, and understood that he had been connected to President Trump. While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.
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.
In the Bay Area, a man was handcuffed and cited for eating a sandwich on a train platform. Outrage at the heavy-handed police action sparked sandwich-eating protests and “eat-ins.” BART later apologized.
Aeroflot has stripped Mikhail Galin of his frequent flier miles for sneaking his cat into the cabin of an airplane. Viktor, his 17 lbs. cat, was clearly over the weight limit of in-cabin pets and his switcheroo scheme fell apart when he posted photos on Facebook.
Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy announced he’s going back into treatment for pancreatic cancer and one of the contestants showed his support and touched a chord.
All wildlife, including a herd of wild horses, were feared lost months ago when a storm surge swept their island home clean. All except for three cows who managed a 4-mile swim to the island where they were found this week adding new meaning to the phrase, “when the cows come home.”
Ambassador Taylor had to reach for his water before dropping this one.
Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about “the investigations.” Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.
Ambassador William B. Taylor, Opening Statement – 11-13-19
Imagine how loud the President must have been talking into his phone for someone sitting nearby to be able to overhear and recognize not only his voice but the words.
Jeff Sessions visited Northwestern University to give a talk. There were protests. In one, students forced their way into the room and broke some things. Northwestern Daily, the school paper, reported on the event and interviewed some of the protestors and the reporters shared some of their photos.
Some people got mad. Said their privacy was violated. Said they could be kicked out of school now that they’ve been identified.
The editor apologized for publishing names and photographs of the protesting students. “Going forward, we are working on setting guidelines for source outreach, social media and covering marginalized groups.” Said they would try harder to adhere to the SPJ Code of Ethics (a very concise and well-written guide btw.)
Other people got mad. Said that there was no need to apologize for doing what any journalist should do, journalism.
Into this fracas Charles Whitaker, the Dean of the School of Journalism, published a statement which starts out formally but wraps up with this wonderfully folksy appeal that strikes just the right balance, inviting participation amongst the students and telling the adults to respectfully let the kids work things out for themselves.
So to our student activists, I say let’s have a dialogue about what journalism is and what you might expect when you hold a protest in a public setting. Feel free to critique the coverage. That’s what The Daily’s opinion pages are for. Better yet, join the staff. The Daily is not and should not be the lone provenance of Medill students. I assure you, your input would be welcomed. But waging war on our students on social media—threatening them both physically and emotionally—is beyond the pale. Our community deserves a more civil level of discourse.
And to the swarm of alums and journalists who are outraged about The Daily editorial and have been equally rancorous in their condemnation of our students on social media, I say, give the young people a break. I know you feel that you were made of sterner stuff and would have the fortitude and courage of your conviction to fend off the campus critics. But you are not living with them through this firestorm, facing the brutal onslaught of venom and hostility that has been directed their way on weaponized social media. Don’t make judgments about them or their mettle until you’ve walked in their shoes. What they need at this moment is our support and the encouragement to stay the course.
It’s been awhile since I’ve used the advertising tag to highlight ads that cross over that line to something more than just marketing. This two-minute commercial from Renault qualifies.
“Many things have changed in those thirty years,” added Dave Monk, Executive Creative Director at Publicis-Poke, who produced the ad. “While technology, design, attitudes and culture will always shift and change, one thing will always stay the same as long as humans have hearts. The love story. This is a simple and universal tale of two souls on their own enduring journey of life, love and passion.”
Stopped by the Oakland Museum of California on the way home from work yesterday to check out the Burning Man block party. All the Burner Royalty were there with folks dressed to the nines. Lots of families but also many older folks that dusted off their old playa gear (furry coats, top hats, scarves, lights, and goggles) to show up for a celebration of their culture.