Government

House Impeachment Inquiry Day Two: Marie Yovanovitch

Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

QUICK NOTE: Hello from the future! It has taken me a while to actually get around to writing these posts (for reasons we’ll talk about in a mental health post soon). When I finally sat down to start writing about these hearings, trying to write about them in the past tense just felt weird. So, I’m going to write what I would have written had I been able to write up each hearing on the day it happened and then backdate them here on the blog. I realize that I probably could have just done that anyway without telling you but that felt like a shady thing to do. Just thought you should know! Onward!

Today the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (House Intel Committee) listened to testimony from Former Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Why is Fmr Ambassador Yovanovitch important? 

The short version? Trump fired her because he wanted to do some illegal sh*t and she pushed back. Then Trump and his henchman Rudy Giuliani did everything they could to trash the Ambassador’s reputation and ruin the rest of her life. (Spoiler Alert: it didn’t work)

Marie Yovanovitch spent 33 years as a member of the US Foreign Service. That’s more than half her life. She has served all over the world and for two years was the Deputy Director of the Russian Desk at the State Department. She was given her first Ambassadorship by George W Bush when he appointed her the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan in 2005. In 2008 she was appointed the US Ambassador to Armenia. In 2016 President Obama appointed her the US Ambassador to Ukraine. She has a degree in Russian Studies from Princeton, studied at Moscow’s Pushkin Institute and has a Master of Science from the National Defense University’s National War College. 

That means? She knows what the frak she’s talking about. And, like Taylor and Kent before her, she’s neither a Trump sycophant nor a Never-Trumper (all affirmed this under oath). 

Why does Fmr Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony matter? Because Trump is massively afraid of her.

As she stated multiple times during her testimony, Trump was allowed to fire her at any time and for any reason he wanted. And while she certainly didn’t deserve to be fired (she was doing an amazing job), his recalling her was totally legal. 

What’s not cool is the way that Trump, Giuliani, and their marauding band of buffoons went to town on her reputation and livelihood. These jerks did everything they could to trash her reputation, to vilify her and, essentially to ruin her life. They sicced their frothing base on her and, this is not hyperbole, she is lucky to be alive.  

Why? Why not just fire her and move on? Why do everything possible to make sure her life was borked? Because she is a strong woman who had the audacity to stand up to a man in power. And we all know how much Trump hates it when the ladies try to think for themselves. And because he’s intimidated by smart, funny, accomplished women who are, by leaps and bounds, better people than he could ever dream of being.

One of the things that struck me during this hearing was how often the GOP members of the committee tried to brush off Trump’s threats and disparagements—even as he tweeted them during the damn hearing—because after all, she landed a fellowship at a prestigious University, right? She’s not going to be hurting financially or anything. It’s not like she’s homeless now, after all. 

This? Is like saying: Sure, I burned down your house but look at the check the insurance company gave you! That’ll pay for a sweet-ass minivan, for sure! We’re good, right? 

No, bros. You most definitely are not good.

Here’s the tweet thread:

House Impeachment Inquiry Hearing Day One: Taylor and Kent

Photo Credit: NBC News

QUICK NOTE: Hello from the future! It has taken me a while to actually get around to writing these posts (for reasons we’ll talk about in a mental health post soon). When I finally sat down to start writing about these hearings, trying to write about them in the past tense just felt weird. So, I’m going to write what I would have written had I been able to write up each hearing on the day it happened and then backdate them here on the blog. I realize that I probably could have just done that anyway without telling you but that felt like a shady thing to do. Just thought you should know! Onward!


After weeks of closed-door depositions, the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence (House Intel Committee) held it’s first public Impeachment Inquiry hearing today. First up at the table were Bill Taylor and George Kent.

Bill Taylor was obviously the main “get” for today. He’s currently serving as the Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine. He was brought in to replace Marie Yovanovitch (whose hearing is tomorrow). Yovanovitch, you probably already know, was ousted because she wouldn’t roll over when Trump wanted to, well, be Trump. 

It’s important to understand that, though Taylor is technically currently serving as a political appointee, he has served his country for literally his entire adult life. He started in the military in 1969, served in Vietnam, has held a variety of important federal positions and served as the as an Ambassador in NATO and was originally appointed to be US Ambassador to Ukraine by George W Bush in 2006 and served in that role until May of 2009. In other words? Dude is not a Trump toady by, like, a loooooong shot. 

Taylor is the star of today’s hearing because he was the one who not only realized that Trump was up to no good but communicated about the shenaniganry via text and email. He made sure that there was a paper trail to back up every claim he made to his superiors and, eventually, to the Committee. 

George Kent is also important (though he was clearly the sidekick in today’s hearing). He started serving in the State Department in 1992 and is currently the official Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs. TL;DR? Also not a Trump toady.

What makes Kent an important witness is his long history of dealing with and rooting out corruption in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine. He’s the person who raised the alarm about Rudy Giuliani running “shadow” foreign policy for Trump. 

As for the hearing itself? It wasn’t super eventful. Since the cameras were on, the GOP members of the committee did their best to compete for first place in the Best Stooge Olympics. Today’s heat was won by Rep John Ratcliffe, which left Jim Jordan feeling very pouty, I’m sure. 

Anyway, here’s the tweet thread!

A Big Realization and a Great Big DUH

I’ve talked about indie journalism FOMO before. I’ve also written about my deep and abiding love for MSNBC and the work that is done there. Now I get to tell you why having MSNBC on in the background all day has turned out to be a really bad idea.

It’s not what you think. I mean, sure, the drudgery of hearing about all of the lies and the shouting about why Hillary Clinton is the devil incarnate and how pundits are trying to explain away all of the Trump BS that has happened over the last week with “But Hillary deleted emails and her pantsuits are terrible!” as if they were remotely comparable can really wear on a person’s soul.

Oh my god, what a run-on. Oh well, leaving it there in the interest of getting something posted for a change. You’re welcome!

And, yes, speaking as a person with a broken brain, having that constant negativity droning on all day has certainly exacerbated my broken brain in weird and unexpected ways. So you’ve got me there.

But the real reason having the news on all day has turned out to be a really bad idea?

It keeps me from writing. I know. DUH.

I thought it was word burnout after churning out content for my day job. But that’s not it.

Then I thought the reason I wasn’t writing was because it was one of the side effects of my aforementioned exacerbated broken brain.

Then the other night as I was playing Threes into the wee hours, it hit me: I’m not writing because I can’t keep up.

It can seem like 24/7 news doesn’t really say anything new all that often. They talk about the same topics ad nauseum just with different pundits. And this is, technically, true.

But! Those pundits are constantly saying different things! And the things they say give me ideas! I cannot keep up with those ideas. Obviously no reasonable person would expect a one woman operation like mine to keep up with a fully staffed national news network, but I am not the most reasonable person when it comes to me.

So, basically the news says very little that is newsworthy but also is constantly saying things that I think are newsworthy. It’s Schrodinger’s News. And having it on all day made me feel like I have to keep up. And having to keep up kept me stuck in my head thinking up new ideas instead of, y’know, writing anything down. Or typing it into scrolling-challenged iWriter (seriously, wtf is wrong with this thing?).

But you know what? I don’t have to keep up with or try to compete with that fully staffed national news network. The whole point of this is to do things MY way because I don’t like the way they’re doing them.

And that is why, today, I taped this up on my wall:

fitjustdothedamnwork

The important part of this, for me, is to remember that I don’t have to have to try to be the indie version of MSNBC. They’re great at what they do. Hopefully, if I let myself do this my way, I’ll be great at what I do, too.

And if not? That’s okay. I’m still awesome at Twitter.

Want to help me balance day job and indie journalism? Here’s where you can contribute to the “Keep Snarke Sane fund!”