Dispatch November 25, 2019

State and OMB Documents Show how the Trump Administration Tried to Cover Up Extortion

New documents from the State Department and the White House have revealed the true extent of the White House’s attempts to cover up President Donald Trump’s extortion of Ukraine.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney reportedly tried to force the OMB to come up with an “after-the-fact justification” for freezing the funding.

  • A Washington Post review of White House Counsel’s Office documents revealed “hundreds of documents that reveal extensive efforts” to come up with a retroactive reason for Trump’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine.
  • The review revealed emails showing Mulvaney asking acting OMB Director Russell Vought about “legal rationale for withholding the aid and how much longer it could be delayed.”
    • These emails came “days” after Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • The Washington Post cited two White House officials as saying that “Trump had made the decision the prior month without an assessment of the reasoning or legal justification.”
  • The decision sent Mulvaney scrambling, and the emails show him “seeking to provide an explanation for withholding the funds after the president had already ordered [the] hold.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were heavily involved in the corrupt plot.  

  • State Department emails and newly released documents also revealed that Pompeo talked to Giuliani at least two times in March, although it is unclear what they discussed.
  • These phone conversations occurred as Giuliani was ramping up his efforts to oust U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at least in part because she wouldn’t go along with his corrupt plan to force Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.
    • These efforts were ultimately successful: The State Department recalled Yovanovitch in May 2019.
  • The phone conversations also occurred as Giuliani was increasing his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden.
  • These phone calls directly implicated the White House, as the documents reportedly show that at least one of these calls “was arranged with guidance from Mr. Trump’s personal assistant.”
    • Giuliani’s assistant reached out to Trump’s assistant asking for Pompeo’s number, saying, “I’ve been trying and getting nowhere through regular channels.”

The White House’s cover-up is extensive and ongoing, as officials continue to refuse to testify or turn over critical documents.

  • Pompeo has refused to turn over documents to Congress regarding Ukraine, defying a House subpoena, and has refused to testify before Congress.
  • Mulvaney has also refused to testify, defying a House subpoena.
  • Numerous other White House officials who could shed light on the White House’s cover-up efforts have refused to testify, including National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis.

The documents revealed this weekend have confirmed what we’ve known all along: The White House and Pompeo are complicit in Trump’s corruption and are running his cover-up, all while refusing to answer for their actions before Congress.