President Donald Trump’s accomplices know they can’t defend his public calls for Ukraine and China to investigate his political opponents. Instead, they’re claiming that he wasn’t serious and that his comments were just a joke or a way of “trolling” his detractors and the media. But Trump’s extortion of Ukraine went far beyond rhetoric. He didn’t just threaten repercussions if Ukraine didn’t do what he wanted; he actually delivered, diverting U.S. foreign policy to advance his personal political goals. The quid pro quo already happened.
Vice President Mike Pence is going all-in defending President Donald Trump on the Ukraine scandal, seconding Trump’s calls for a bogus investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden. That’s probably because Pence knows he is also deeply implicated in the president’s effort to extort Ukraine.
Attorney General Bill Barr has reportedly been flying all over the world, pressuring foreign leaders to help him “investigate” (read: discredit) the origins of the Russia investigation. This is an abuse of power by the attorney general, who is using the power of his office and taxpayer funds to help Trump’s personal political ambitions. It’s also a national security risk, destabilizing our relationships with allies’ intelligence agencies.
Donald Trump has allegedly been running an extortion campaign against Ukraine and a complex cover-up to keep the public in the dark about his shocking abuse of power. The whistleblower complaint and the Acting DNI’s testimony indicate that there was a clear playbook for how to obscure Trump’s actions — and pressure Ukraine to go along with Trump’s version of events.
Over the course of almost a year, Rudy Giuliani, a private citizen serving as a personal lawyer to Donald Trump, allegedly pushed the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into one of Trump’s most prominent potential political opponents and pursued a conspiracy theory about work done by Trump’s convicted former campaign manager Paul Manafort. These efforts are detailed in a partially-redacted whistleblower complaint that was released to the public on September 26, 2019. Giuliani has called the complaint “total nonsense” and denied all wrongdoing.
The partial transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky isn’t just a smoking gun. It’s a confession: Trump did exactly what he’s been accused of doing.