Daily Bread for 10.17.19

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of fifty-three.  Sunrise is 7:11 AM and sunset 6:08 PM, for 10h 57m 26s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 87.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand seventy-third day.

 Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets today at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1931, Al Capone is convicted of tax evasion.

Recommended for reading in full:

Michael D. Shear and

The White House’s trenchant declaration to House impeachment investigators last week was unequivocal: No more witnesses or documents for a “totally compromised kangaroo court.”

But just a week later, it has become clear that President Trump’s attempts to stonewall the Democrat-led inquiry that has imperiled his presidency and ensnared much of his inner circle are crumbling.

One by one, a parade of Trump administration career diplomats and senior officials has offered a cascade of revelations. Those accounts have corroborated and expanded upon key aspects of the whistle-blower complaint that spawned the impeachment inquiry into whether the president abused his power to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election.

The latest disclosures came on Wednesday, when a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered an inside account of what he said was a demoralized State Department, where career diplomats were sidelined and others apparently were pressed to use their posts “to advance domestic political objectives.” In six hours of voluntary testimony, the former aide, Michael McKinley, told impeachment investigators that he quit his post as Mr. Pompeo’s senior adviser amid mounting frustrations over the Trump administration’s treatment of diplomats and its failure to support them in the face of the impeachment inquiry, according to a copy of his opening remarks.

Jacques Singer-Emery and Jack Goldsmith consider The Role of OMB in Withholding Ukrainian Aid:

One of the most damning allegations in the whistleblower complaint is that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son by withholding congressionally approved military aid.  The amounts include $250 million from the Defense Department and $141 million from the State Department.

As debates swirl over the existence and significance of a presidential quid pro quo, it is worth examining the underlying mechanics of how the White House might have withheld the money. The answer lies in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is responsible for overseeing all executive agency spending. That is why on Oct. 7 the chairmen of three House Committees—Oversight and Reform, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs—sent letters to subpoena documents from the acting director of OMB, Russell Vought, in addition to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The subpoena to Vought ordered him to produce “all documents and communications in your custody, possession, or control referring or relating to” various matters linked to the withholding or deferral of congressionally appropriated funds to Ukraine. The deadline to respond to the subpoena was Oct. 15, yesterday, and Vought made clear that he would not comply.

At present, it is unclear whether OMB withheld the money in a manner consistent with its legal obligations. Without drawing any definitive conclusions, this post explains the complex legal underpinnings of the issue about which Congress seeks information.

A Bolton of Lightning Strikes Trump:

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