I’m not one of the “we have 12 years to save the planet” doomsayers. But it does feel like we are approaching an inflection point. We will survive; but our options for how we will survive are narrowing rapidly.
Symposium: I think a Buttigieg presidency would be incredibly boring. And frankly, I could use a bit of boring right now. Vote for Mayor Pete. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we can occasionally forget that he’s President.
It was just by a hair, but the debut of the impeachment hearings against Donald Trump yesterday beat Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress earlier this year …barely.
With a grand total of 13,098,000 Americans tuning in to watch the televised opening of the House Select Committee on Intelligence questioning on Wednesday, Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Secretary of State George Kent topped the 12.9 million who saw the former FBI Director’s circumspect stint in the hot seat on July 25.
Having said that with Nielsen numbers from Fox News Channel. MSNBC, ABC, CNN, CBS and NBC now in, the 10 AM – 3:30 PM ET hearing stumbled against another big ticket testimony. The Wednesday event, that the former Celebrity Apprentice host insists he didn’t watch, was down a hard 32% from the audience that eyed pink slipped FBI Director James Comey’s appearance before our elected representatives in June 2017.
Of note, Fox News lead all networks with 2.9 Million viewers, followed by MSNBC (2.7 million), ABC (2 million), CBS (1.9 million), CNN (1.85 million), and NBC (1.7 million). The number was close the the viewship of the Mueller testimony, and nearly 32% less than the 2017 testimony of James Comey, the highest-rated congressional testimony of the Trump Administration.
[caption id="attachment_322423" align="aligncenter" width="709"] Creator: Trikosko, Marion S., photographer; Related Name: O'Halloran, Thomas J. , photographer [Public domain][/caption]
The first public hearings in House Democrats' Impeachment inquiry are set to kick off today in the House Intelligence Committee.
The House impeachment inquiry is set to burst into public view on Wednesday, as two key witnesses who raised concerns about efforts to pressure Ukraine will testify in the first open hearings of the probe.
Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, will appear before the House Intelligence Committee to face questions from lawmakers and committee staff.
Both have already testified behind closed doors, and told members about they became increasingly alarmed that a delay in military aid to Ukraine was tied to the country launching investigations that would benefit the president politically.
Who is Bill Taylor?
William Taylor is the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, the chargé d'affaires. A West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer, he earned a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, and has been a public servant for more than 50 years.
He has served in a variety of diplomatic roles under presidents of both parties, including a stint as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.
In his closed-door testimony in October, he said U.S. aid to Ukraine had been explicitly tied to Ukraine's willingness to investigate Mr. Trump's political rivals. He also spoke of an "irregular channel" of policymaking including Giuliani, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, special envoy to Ukraine.
According to Taylor, there was a concerted effort by what he referred to as this "irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making" to pressure Ukraine to commit to opening investigations into unproven allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, as well as into the gas company Burisma.
Who is George Kent?
George Kent is the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, overseeing State Department policy toward a number of countries, including Ukraine.
A longtime diplomat, Kent served as deputy chief of mission in the U.S. embassy in Kiev from 2015 to 2018, according to his State Department biography. He previously worked on anti-corruption State Department initiatives in Europe.
Kent provided closed-door testimony echoing Taylor's statements to Congress. He said three officials had declared themselves in charge of Ukraine policy in May: Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker and Rick Perry.
Kent also said Giuliani had engaged in a "campaign of slander" with no basis in fact against U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Former New York mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg is positioning himself to enter the Democratic presidential primary, a longtime Bloomberg adviser confirmed to NBC News Thursday.
"Yes and yes," Kevin Sheekey wrote in an email response to the questions of whether Bloomberg was preparing to run and collecting signatures in Alabama, moves first reported by the New York Times on Thursday afternoon.
Bloomberg's rationale for getting in the race now would be that the field of Democrats isn't strong enough to beat President Donald Trump, according to spokesman Howard Wolfson, who noted that Bloomberg has helped fund Democratic congressional and state legislative campaigns.
"We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to do that," Wolfson said in a statement to NBC News. "If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America's biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America's toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist."
Bloomberg's wealth would allow him to compete without having to worry about the fundraising challenges faced by other candidates — but if he were to formally launch a presidential bid, it would almost certainly be a target for progressive rivals such as Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who have been running populist campaigns that argue the rich should be paying more to underwrite programs for the rest.