Monday October 07, 2019
Ukraine, et al.
In last week‘s New Yorker, Steve Coll (“Ghost Wars,” “The Bin Ladens”) has a good, two-page “Talk of the Town” piece about Ukraine, et al., under the print-edition headline “Reason to Impeach.” I finally read it yesterday. Some highlights:
“Many features of Trumpism—the cynical populism, the brazen readiness to profit from high office, the racist and nativist taunts—have antecedents in American politics. But Donald Trump’s open willingness to ask foreign governments to dig up dirt on political opponents has been an idiosyncratic aspect of his rise to power.”
“When the interview [with George Stephanopoulos last June] was released, Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, felt obliged to point out that ‘it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.’”
“The [whistleblower] complaint's lucidity and detail may help House investigators defend the integrity of their inquiry against the torrent of spin and lies that will surely continue to issue from Trump and his allies.”
Then we get the history, most of which I knew, but all of it is a good reminder—particularly as the torrent of spin and lies and trolls and bots keep coming:
- February 2014: Popular uprising in Kiev removes Viktor Yanukovych, “a corrupt ally of Moscow”
- April 2014: Hunter Biden, son of Joe, gets a lucrative seat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a large private gas company
- 2015: U.S. and its allies recommend ousting Viktor Shokin, a prosecutor general, who is believed to be soft on corruption. After a visit and ultimatum by Vice-President Joe Biden, he is pushed out in March 2016
- “But the record indicates that Shokin was removed because he wasn't doing enough about Ukrainian corruption.”
- August 2016: Ukrainian law enforcement releases records showing Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, recevied $12.7 million from Yanukovych, the Moscow ally
- From Coll: “Trump apparently concluded that Ukraine was conspiring with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to try to defeat him. For reasons that are not easy to fathom, he also came to endorse a conspiracy theory holding that Ukraine harbors a computer server used by the Democratic National Committee in 2016.”
- April 2019 “Trump told Fox News that Lutsenko's allegations were ‘big’ and ‘incredible,’ and that he thought Attorney General William Barr would find them interesting.”
- May 2019: Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani plans a trip to Kiev to talk up the Bidens and alleged Ukraine/Democrat links “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client.” Then the trip is canceled.
- Early July: Trump withholds $400 million in military aid to Ukraine
- July 25: Phone call with new Ukraine president Zelensky: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.”
I'd like to know more about the phone summary, what was redacted, and what those ellipses covered up. I'd like to know more about the post-phone call cover-up, in which the memorandum was moved to a highly restricted computer server not normally reserved for such things. I'd like to know what else is on that server—what Trump says on phone calls with Putin and the leader of Saudi Arabia.
Soon, I hope. He tells it like it is, doesn't he? That's what his supporters say. So I imagine he wouldn't mind us hearing it like it is.