Thursday, November 21
WH/NSC: Fiona Hill, Fiona Hill, Former Senior Director for Europe and Russia
State/FSO David Holmes, Political Counselor, US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
This week's public hearings are a historic moment; only three presidents have ever been subject to an impeachment inquiry before.
Here’s how the hearings will work and the key players you need to know https://t.co/OeBRSqazMt
— POLITICO (@politico) November 12, 2019
PBS has said they will carry #ImpeachmentHearings live but only rebroadcast in prime time on the WORLD digital channel. Please ask them to reconsider so all Americans can watch the hearings on their local stations. Who wins? Democracy–and viewers like you. https://t.co/pIq9gkHi1I
— BillMoyers.com (@BillMoyers) November 9, 2019
The national press faces its most difficult and important test of the Trump era starting Wednesday. Here's how they can ace it. (Beware of stunts; focus on substance not speculation; lose the mealy-mouthed language of false equivalence.) My column: https://t.co/qlI7DDHCrV
— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) November 10, 2019
On October 30, 2019, Deputy Secretary John Sullivan appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. His 2-page Opening Statement is available to read here. Given his prior confirmation, and what appears to be bipartisan support in the Senate (plus GOP got the votes), it is likely that he will sail through this confirmation process and may be in Moscow by Thanksgiving Day.
Russian Amb. nominee John Sullivan on whether he was aware of the effort to smear then-Amb. to Ukraine Yovanovitch:
Sen. Menendez: Was Rudy Giuliani involved?
Sullivan: "I believed he was, yes." pic.twitter.com/2i9B1N7RmD
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 30, 2019
.@SenatorMenendez: "What did you know about a shadow Ukraine policy being carried out by Rudy Giuliani?"
Watch response from John Sullivan, nominee to be Ambassador to Russia in clip below.
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 30, 2019
John Sullivan tried to have it every which way in his hearing today. He first said it’s wrong to ask a foreign govt to investigate a political rival. Then later said his understanding is Trump was worried about corruption in Ukraine. And throughout he pleaded ignorance a lot.
— NaHalloween Toosi (@nahaltoosi) October 30, 2019
Scooplet: A phalanx of diplomatic and national security leaders have signed a letter endorsing John Sullivan, Trump’s nominee to be US ambassador to Russia, including:
—Heather Nauerthttps://t.co/l6u9szxXuO https://t.co/ZPAeANkYOd
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 29, 2019
Happening now: Senate hearing for Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to become next US ambassador to Russia.
Notable: Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin is introducing him, in a (rare) showing of bipartisan support pic.twitter.com/yodwzlMiDY
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) October 30, 2019
Sen Rubio met w/ Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia. During their meeting they discussed the state of U.S.-Russian relations and the importance of keeping a close watch on Russia's influence in the Western Hemisphere and Middle East. pic.twitter.com/Elo4Gsy5pd
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) October 29, 2019
Via WH, August 21, 2018:
Marshall Billingslea of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the Department of State.
Mr. Billingslea currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing of the Treasury Department. Previously, he worked for Deloitte as a Managing Director; the Department of Defense as Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Negotiations Policy; the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, as Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment; and the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as a senior staff member in national security affairs. Mr. Billingslea is the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, and the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana of Estonia. Mr. Billingslea earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College and M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
— Human Rights First (@humanrights1st) September 17, 2019
This should get more attention: Trump has nominated Marshall Billingslea, Bush-era torture proponent who advocated specific abuses of @MohamedouOuld to be…Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy & Human Rights.
Senate hearing on 9/19 https://t.co/76HPTxzq4q
— Hina Shamsi (@HinaShamsi) September 17, 2019
Had a great, wide-ranging discussion w/Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism & Financial Intelligence Marshall Billingslea. Recently nominated to be Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy & Human Rights, he has a long record of dedicated public service. pic.twitter.com/P2HpC5zrxb
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) September 26, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The email went out from senior EPA officials to Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada. But the email the EPA got back a few hours later wasn’t from the ambassador. It was from her husband, a coal magnate and wealthy GOP donor. https://t.co/pSVuXUIPq2
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) June 25, 2019
"He should not be accessing her official emails under any circumstances," an ethics group said. The #Kentucky magnate has been proactive in seeking favorable action for the #coal industry. https://t.co/tWrytw6poW
— Lexington Herald-Leader (@heraldleader) June 25, 2019
"Kelly Craft, we hardly knew yee," We touched on Craft's reputation as an absentee ambassador to Canada here https://t.co/7lZNJxnhSn but @politico nailed it, FOIAing FAA records detailing 128 flights to US during 15 month tenure https://t.co/8bF7yjbkLP
— columlynch (@columlynch) June 18, 2019
After Sen. Bob Menendez revealed that Kelly Craft had been out of Ottawa for more than 300 days — Craft testified that many of the absences were for negotiating and promoting the USMCA.
But Democratic aides said the timing of some of the trips raised further questions pic.twitter.com/hI0m3G0kgR
— POLITICO (@politico) June 20, 2019
— POLITICO Pro (@POLITICOPro) March 22, 2019
Ambassador Kelly Knight Craft is a distinguished stateswoman and leader and a proud Kentuckian. Her experience in international affairs has won respect both at home and abroad. President Trump has made an outstanding selection for our next Ambassador to the United Nations. pic.twitter.com/RO810PyL5A
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) June 19, 2019
Tune in at 10:15am ET today as I'll be testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on The Future of Arms Control Post-Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. @SenateForeign https://t.co/MPBGwoSpQX
— U/S of State Andrea Thompson (@UnderSecT) May 15, 2019
Fire from Bob Menendez when he asks Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thompson about Russian nuclear plans without New START.
Thompson: "It's a good question for Russia, senator."
Menendez: "I’m not asking Russia about our national defense. I'm asking you." pic.twitter.com/v3i0VXMhIr
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 15, 2019
.@timkaine asks AGAIN for dates/companies for Part 810 authorizations for nuclear transfers to Saudi Arabia (State must approve DOE agreements) but Andrea Thompson cannot/doesn't provide the info. Risch promises to raise the issue in his next phone call w/ #Pompeo
— Harry Cramer (@HarrisonCramer) May 15, 2019
It's worth noting that although Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Andrea Thompson spent 28 years in the Army—retiring as a colonel—she began her current job in June 2018 with absolutely no expertise in arms control, nuclear or otherwise.
— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) May 15, 2019
Posted: 2:45 am EST
After thirty or so years, Elliot Abrams is back at the State Department. This time as the Trump Administration’s Special Envoy for Venezuela (see @SecPompeo Appoints Elliott Abrams, Iran-Contra Figure to “Help” Restore Democracy in Venezuela).
On February 13, together with Sandra Oudkirk, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department and USAID’s Steve Olive, the Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Abrams appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) to talk about Venezuela at a Crossroads.
Note that the State Department’s WHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of Venezuela did not testify at this hearing.
Protesters interrupted Mr. Abrams testimony, and the grilling he received from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) received much commentary. For those too young to remember the old times, see Brown University’s Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs, a project developed from its applied ethics and public policy course on Good Government.
It is likely that this is not an isolated incident; that every time Mr. Abrams appear before a committee in Congress, or before the media that his past will never be too far away; he may have been pardoned but he has not been forgotten. Even when he is there to talk about Venezuela, people will ask him questions about Iran-Contra, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, human rights, El Mozote, etc. etc. etc.
Which makes one wonder why he was appointed to this job in the first place. Whatever message there is will pale in the presence of the messenger.
On February 14, Cuba accused the U.S. of moving special forces in preparation for a Venezuelan intervention under the pretext of a humanitarian crisis. Reuters reported that that Special Envoy Elliott Abrams was asked about the Cuban statement at an event in Washington, and he said “it is a new lie.”
Besides Mr. Weinberger, the President pardoned Robert C. McFarlane, the former national security adviser, and Elliott Abrams, the former assistant Secretary of State for Central America. Both officials had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress about support for the contras.
But not since President Gerald R. Ford granted clemency to former President Richard M. Nixon for possible crimes in Watergate has a Presidential pardon so pointedly raised the issue of whether the President was trying to shield officials for political purposes. Mr. Walsh invoked Watergate tonight in an interview on the ABC News program “Nightline,” likening today’s pardons to President Richard M. Nixon’s dismissal of the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in 1973. Mr. Walsh said Mr. Bush had “succeeded in a sort of Saturday Night Massacre.”
Democratic lawmakers assailed the decision. Senator George J. Mitchell of Maine, the Democratic leader, called the action a mistake. “It is not as the President stated today a matter of criminalizing policy differences,” he said. “If members of the executive branch lie to the Congress, obstruct justice and otherwise break the law, how can policy differences be fairly and legally resolved in a democracy.”
The main supporters of the pardon were Vice President Quayle, the Senate Republican leader, Bob Dole, and Mr. Gray, one senior Administration official said today. The decision, discussed in private, seemed to coalesce in the last three weeks although Mr. Bush was said to believe that Mr. Weinberger had been unfairly charged ever since the former Reagan Cabinet officer was first indicted in June.
Throughout the deliberations, Mr. Bush consulted with Attorney General William P. Barr and Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, who had sat on a Presidential review panel that examined the affair in early 1987.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 13, 2019
Exchange between Rep. @IlhanMN and Elliott Abrams: "I fail to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful." pic.twitter.com/n8aMbH1g3G
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 13, 2019
It's really something to watch Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) go after Elliott Abrams. She was 6 years old, and in Somalia, when he was first in the State Dept, coordinating U.S. involvement in El Salvador & Nicaragua; she was 11 when he was pardoned. And now: https://t.co/OZdNqci8kJ
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) February 13, 2019
Elliott Abrams’s most notable lies came during an exchange about his actions as assistant secretary of state in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. https://t.co/9fiiyYGXF7
— The Intercept (@theintercept) February 14, 2019
Posted: 12:18 am ET
We missed the Nov 1 confirmation hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so this is an OBE post. We are posting them below to easily retrieve the nominees’ prepared testimonies and provide a link to the video. We have also added links to the Certificates of Competency for Chiefs of Mission. Per Section 304 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, Certificates of Competency must be presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for presidential nominees to be Chief of Mission that demonstrate the competence of [a] nominee to perform the duties of the position in which he or she is to serve. Unfortunately, there is no such requirements for top ranking nominees in the State Department.
Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Presiding: Senator Portman
Click here for the video of the confirmation hearing.
Mr. Irwin Steven Goldstein
Of New York, To Be Under Secretary Of State For Public Diplomacy
Ms. Rebecca Eliza Gonzales
Gonzales, Rebecca Eliza – Kingdom of Lesotho – September 2017
Of Texas, A Career Member Of The Senior Foreign Service, Class Of Minister-Counselor, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Kingdom Of Lesotho |
Ms. Lisa A. Johnson
Johnson Lisa A. – Republic of Namibia – October 2017
Of Washington, A Career Member Of The Senior Foreign Service, Class Of Counselor, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Republic Of Namibia
Mr. James Randolph Evans
(certificate not available at state.gov as of 11/2/2017)
Of Georgia, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To Luxembourg
Mr. Sean P. Lawler
of Maryland, To Be Chief Of Protocol, And To Have The Rank Of Ambassador During His Tenure Of Service
Posted: 11:05 am PT
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Time: 02:15 PM
Presiding: Senator Johnson
Prepared statements and live video of hearing will be posted here when available. Hyperlinked below are the Certificates of Competency for Nominees to be Chiefs of Mission per Section 304 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980.
The Honorable Peter Hoekstra
Of Michigan, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Kingdom Of The Netherlands
Hoekstra, Peter – Kingdom of the Netherlands – August 2017
Mr. Richard Duke Buchan III
Of Florida, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Kingdom Of Spain
Buchan III, Richard Duke – Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra – August 2017
Mr. Richard Grenell
Of California, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Federal Republic Of Germany
Grenell Richard Allen – Federal Republic of Germany- September 2017
Mr. Edward T. McMullen, Jr.
Of South Carolina, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Swiss Confederation, And To Serve Concurrently And Without Additional Compensation As Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Principality Of Liechtenstein
McMullen Jr. Edward Thomas – Swiss Confederation and Principality of Liechtenstein – September 2017
Ms. Jamie McCourtOf California, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The French Republic, And To Serve Concurrently And Without Additional Compensation As Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The Principality Of Monaco
McCourt, Jamie – French Republic and Principality of Monaco – August 2017