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Tag Archives: Ukraine

White House Admits Ukraine Quid Pro Quo, But Not Over Biden

According to the Washington Examiner:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney admitted Thursday that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in part because the president wanted the country to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory about the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers. 

“As vocal as the Europeans are about supporting Ukraine, they are really, really stingy when it comes to lethal aid. And they weren’t helping Ukraine and that’s still to this day are not. And the president did not like that … So those are the driving factors,” Mulvaney said. “Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.” 

Trump directly referred to a “favor” he wanted from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the July 25 conversation that is the subject of a whistleblower complaint, but it apparently related to the 2016 election, not Joe Biden or his son, Hunter. According to the transcript, Trump asked Zelensky to look into cybersecurity company CrowdStrike’s conclusion that Russia hacked the DNC in 2016. 

Jonathan Karl of ABC News followed up with Mulvaney today, asking, “So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?” 

Mulvaney defended Trump’s decision to withhold the funding. “The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the things that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate,” he said. 

The Ukraine Phone Call is Not Proof of a Quid Pro Quo

Some of you may notice that I took down a post I put up earlier saying exactly the opposite: that it was clear from the transcript of the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky that Trump had dangled foreign aid in order to get Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.

But I read a comment by one of my many smart readers, Mr. Pibb, who pointed us to a twitter analysis of the call by one of my favorite columnists, Kimberly Strassel. And so I knew I had to read what she said.

Strassel argues, and I have come to agree, that the only thing Trump seems to have asked for in exchange for the money is help for an existing probe into the hacking of the DNC server, a look backward to the 2016 election. This, as far as I can tell, is a legitimate request for assistance in an investigation.

What Strassel also notes is that it is Zelensky who brings up Rudy Giuliani, who was trying to get the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens. It is only after Zelensky brings it up that Trump asks Ukraine to look into the matter.

Did Trump plan to ask for this anyway? We don’t know. Maybe he did, but it’s far from provable. The distance in the conversation between Trump’s ask and the request for new aid, and the intervening statement by Zelensky bringing up Giuliani, casts reasonable doubt on whether Trump was going to discuss it and whether he would have done so in a way that suggested this was linked to the provision of aid to Ukraine.

It was Zelensky who also brought up the matter of future assistance for Ukraine, not Trump. The president had only mentioned assistance that had previously been given.

Now, I still don’t like that the president effectively asked a foreign leader to intervene in our election by going after one of his opponents. I don’t know that it’s an impeachable offense, though, especially since there are major questions about the legality, and at least the propriety, of what the Bidens did. Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month by a Ukrainian company. Good work if you can get it, and in Hunter’s case, he only got it because he was the vice president’s son.

If Democrats try to impeach Trump for simply asking for this investigation of the Bidens, without proof that he used foreign aid as a lever, they will fail. Americans will never support it. And the Democrats will manage to create a circus that will destroy Biden’s candidacy, help Trump win the presidency, and possibly even give Republicans the House. Not to mention further tearing the country apart.

They’d better hope this “whistleblower” has incredible information, or it is the Democrats, not Trump, who have a big problem.

And my apologies for the error.

Trump Will Release Full Call with Ukraine President

Wondering if he set up the media and the Democrats by letting them speculate for days, and he then releases a transcript that shows the conversation was harmless.

Reminds me of Barack Obama letting the birther thing go on and then finally releasing his long-form birth certificate. Similar strategy.

Anyway, we’ll see what it says.

White House May Release Transcript of Trump Ukraine Call

According to ABC News:

Some of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers are discussing whether to release the transcript of a call the president had with the president of Ukraine in July that is the subject of a whistleblower complaint, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

“You’re going to see,” Trump told reporters Monday morning as he entered the UN General Assembly and was asked about the details of that July conversation.

“It’s true what the president said, when foreign leaders come together to speak, they need to be able to speak candidly. I do think that perhaps releasing this kind of a transcript could set a bad precedent,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said during a Monday morning interview with Fox News. “He is willing to do it, I think. There is a lot of other people, lawyers and such that may have a problem with it. We will see what happens.”