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Rudy Giuliani

The subpoenas come for Rick Perry

The first law of Donald Trump is that everything he touches turns to mud. Sooner or later, that mud gets on you.

Corndogs make bad news go down easier

Democrats on the three U.S. House committees overseeing the presidential impeachment inquiry have subpoenaed documents from U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Texas’ former governor.

Last week, Perry was identified as a potential player in allegations against the president that accuse Trump of threatening to withhold military funding to Ukraine if foreign officials didn’t investigate the business activities of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a likely Trump opponent in next year’s general election. Trump reportedly told Republicans during a conference call that the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is the premise of the impeachment inquiry, was instigated by Perry.

Perry and energy officials said he encouraged Trump to reach out to the Ukrainian leader — but to discuss energy and economic issues, not about investigating the Bidens.

The subpoena requests documents “that are necessary for the committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons for the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression,” U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wrote in a letter attached to the subpoena.

[…]

The committees are requesting information about whether Perry sought to pressure the Ukrainian government to make changes to the advisory board of its state-owned oil and gas company, Naftogaz, as well as records from Perry’s attendance to the May inauguration of Zelensky in Kiev. According to the letter, Perry allegedly gave Zelensky a list of potential board members, which included previous campaign donors and Robert Bensh, a Houston energy executive.

The subpoena also requests documents related to “all meetings and discussions” related to Ukraine between Perry and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who is also implicated in the Ukraine controversy. Perry’s relationship with Giuliani dates back to at least 2008, when Perry was still governor, and he endorsed the former New York City mayor for his presidential run.

I have to admit, I’d kind of forgotten that Rick Perry was even still in the Trump Cabinet. Honestly, that’s the best thing you can say about any Trump Cabinet member, that they’ve been sufficiently out of the news to slip your mind. It’s not clear that Perry has done anything wrong here, unlike “Congressman 1” Pete Sessions and pretty much everyone else, but the potential for making a fool of oneself, let alone committing perjury, is non-trivial, and a price I’ll bet Perry had no idea he might have to pay when he agreed to be Secretary of Energy. Hire a better attorney than Rudy Giuliani, that’s my advice. The Chron has more.

“Congressman 1”

Way to go, Pete!

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions is an unnamed member of Congress mentioned in an indictment against two business associates of President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, according to NBC News.

The two Soviet-born men, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, were arrested late Wednesday night at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C, per ABC News. The Wall Street Journal reported that the two men are accused of “violating campaign finance rules, including funneling Russian money into President Trump’s campaign.”

Regarding Sessions, the indictment against the two men states that they “committed to raise $20,000 or more for a then-sitting U.S. Congressman” who is referred to in the court document as “Congressman-1.” The indictment goes on to state that the congressman “had been the beneficiary of approximately $3 million” in donations from a campaign committee. NBC News and other outlets identified that person as Sessions and reported that the committee was a Trump-aligned super PAC.

Federal authorities alleged that around the same time, Parnas “sought Congressman-1’s assistance in causing the U.S. government to remove or recall” the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch was a well-regarded diplomat who came into disfavor within the Trump administration and was removed from her post earlier this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Sessions, in his capacity as House Rules Committee chairman, advocated for the ouster of Yovanovitch.

I’ll provide a few links for supplemental reading in a minute, but just ponder that this story came out a week after Sessions announced his intention to move to another city so he could run in a now-open Congressional district, much to the displeasure of the outgoing incumbent, a fellow Republican. Timing is everything in this life, ain’t it? Slate, the Signal, Daily Kos, and TPM, which was way ahead of the curve, has more.

Three candidates so far for HISD Trustee in District I

We know that Natasha Kamrani, the incumbent Trustee in HISD District I is not running for re-election. One candidate to replace her is Alma Lara, who was in the race before Kamrani announced that she was stepping down. According to School Zone, there are now three candidates for Trustee in District I, for which the filing deadline is also Wednesday, September 2 at 5 PM. One of the others is Linda Toyota, who is the Chief Development Officer for the YWCA of Greater Houston. The other is Anna Eastman, who sent out the following email about her candidacy over the weekend:

Dear Friends,

I have decided to run for HISD Board of Education Trustee for District 1. Incumbent Natasha Kamrani has announced that she will not be running again this fall. Each of you know my commitment to public schools in Houston and my fundamental belief that every child deserves the opportunity to receive an excellent public education. I have been proud to send my own children to HISD schools and have had the privilege of knowing many amazing teachers and faculty who are willing to work tirelessly for their students’ success.

I know that there is no magic bullet or quick and easy solution to the challenges inherent to a large urban district such as HISD, and I will commit to educate myself, listen to you and build alliances to make excellent, well-rounded public education a reality for all of our children. Those of you who have worked or interacted with me over the years know me to be transparent, sincere and passionate about the importance of public schools. While I always seek to build consensus in my various leadership roles in our neighborhood schools, I’ve never been afraid to take an unpopular stand when it was best for all children. I feel strongly that is essential to close the achievement gap, insist that every child functions at or above grade level and graduates college-ready.

Is there a sweeter sound than the laughter of recognition from your child who suddenly “gets it” while reading? All children deserve our best efforts to ensure that they get it, because they are receiving the best public education possible. Every parent should experience the full heart of knowing their children are getting our very best.

I am humbled and honored that so many have encouraged me to run and will look to you for guidance and input throughout this process. I would be deeply grateful if you can join me in this effort by making a donation to my campaign, hosting a coffee or gathering so that I can meet your neighbors and discuss my vision with you all and, most importantly, voting for me on Tuesday, November 3.

I met Eastman last week at an event for parents of new students at Travis Elementary after she contacted me to tell me she was running for the HISD board; she has kids at Travis and has been active in its PTA. she doesn’t have a website up yet but tells me she will have one up this week. In the meantime, you can see her Facebook page here. I will be publishing interviews with Lara and Eastman next week.

As for Toyota, I’d heard there was another candidate some time ago, but hadn’t heard anything more than that before now. I’ll try to track her down for an interview as well. For what it’s worth, one of the things I found while Googling around was that she made a $2300 contribution to Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential campaign last year. Eastman was an Obama donor and campaign volunteer. I didn’t find any contributions made by Lara, but she has received several endorsements from Democratic officials and groups.

The sanctity of marriage personified

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have so much respect for The Onion for its ability to stay ahead of the satire curve.

Rudy Giuliani is declaring war on gay marriage — vowing to use his strong opposition of it against the Democrats if he runs for governor next year. The former mayor, in an extended interview with The Post, also predicted that Gov. Paterson’s high-profile effort to legalize gay marriage would anger many New Yorkers and spark a revolt that could help sweep Republicans into office in 2010.

[…]

“Marriage, I believe, both traditionally and legally, has always been between a man and a woman and should remain between a man and woman,” said Giuliani, who has been married three times.

I think he meant “between a man, a woman, and the man’s mistress”. I mean, that’s been his experience with matrimony. Perhaps he could compare notes with Newt Gingrich to be sure. Thanks to Matt Yglesias for the link.