Ambassador McFaul tells the backstory of Rudy’s Ukraine effort and the Unexpected Win of Zelensky

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Stanford / YouTube Stanford cybersecurity expert Michael McFaul 1569845114.jpg...
Stanford / YouTube

If you want the back-story of the current headlines, this short synopsis is definitely worth watching — if you want know what Trump’s traveling salesman Rudy Giuliani was up to, and why they had to resort to extortion, to keep their Biden-dirt plan on track.

 Ukraine Timeline: From Giuliani’s Outreach To Trump’s Phone Call

Sept 29, 2019 | Meet The Press | NBC News

Mike McFaul, Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, walks through the timeline of events that lead to calls for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s behavior.

Here’s my cut-to the chase assessment of that segment:

Bottom-line:  With the unexpected election of Zelensky, the inside-guy Rudy had been cultivating — went away — replaced because of the new Ukrainian Administration.

Team Trump had to find a new way to pressure Zelensky to get on board with the Rudy-Trump 2020 plan, already in partially progress — to manufacture Dirt on Biden.

The withholding of $391 Million in approved Military aid for Ukraine, was their way to get Zelensky to ‘play ball’ with the Trump and his guy Rudy.

Here is the longer actual Transcript of that McFaul segment on MTP:

​(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

​CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. The Ukraine story has moved at warp speed over the last week. And it’s understandable if people are a bit confused about what President Trump is accused of doing, why he called the president of Ukraine when he did, and exactly what role Ukraine plays in all of this. So I’m joined now by Michael McFaul, who was President Obama’s ambassador to Russia. And he’s the author of “From Cold War to Hot Peace: A U.S. Ambassador in Putin’s Russia.” He’s currently a professor at Stanford University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He and I are going to walk you through a brief timeline to at least help you understand how we got to the point we’re at. Michael McFaul, we’ll try to do this the way you spend your day.

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

The Stanford way, yeah, standing up here in front of our slides.

​CHUCK TODD:

In front of our slides, in front of here.

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

Thanks for having me, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

It is– The phone call was actually the middle, it looks like–

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

–of this, of this controversy, not the beginning. In fact, the beginning goes back to early ’19, when, as personal attorney for President Trump, Rudy Giuliani starts looking for Ukrainian contacts to help him, in Rudy Giuliani’s words, find out the origins of the Mueller report,–

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

–look for the real hackers, potentially, looking for some dirt on Joe Biden. He meets with a prosecutor general by the name of Lutsenko a few times. And then he’s, what is he looking for exactly? Again, he’s trying to pursue a, a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the DNC, and that Joe Biden had a former prosecutor fired simply to help his son. Walk me through these.

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

Well, let’s start with Joe Biden and the prosecutor. The man before Lutsenko, Mr. Shokin, was the one that we were putting pressure on, the administration and everybody else. And he wasn’t doing enough to investigate corruption, including Biden’s son. So when Lutsenko comes on the scene, Giuliani thinks he has a new partner, somebody he can go after this story. And he does, aggressively. The second part is a little more cockamamie. They want to build this theory that, somehow, a company called CrowdStrike found the emails, publicized them, some Ukrainian connection, which I don’t understand. And that was a way to help Hillary Clinton win the election. But both of those stories, Mr. Giuliani is trying to find, that’s why he’s engaged with Ukraine.

​CHUCK TODD:

Well, he, he is able to get some of this stuff into the conservative echo chamber–

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

He does. Yes.

​CHUCK TODD:

–mostly through Fox News. You see, constantly, through the months of March and on Twitter.

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, right.

​CHUCK TODD:

Ukraine, you know, and Biden, and what’s this, and all this stuff, so creating this predicate that, somehow, this, this matters. And then something out of the ordinary happens to their plan, April 21st, a surprise victor in the Ukrainian presidential election. What, why did this set them back?

MICHAEL McFAUL:

Because the previous prosecutor, Mr. Lutsenko, was their guy. He was working with Giuliani. And suddenly, Lutsenko’s boss, Poroshenko, loses an election to Mr. Zelensky.

CHUCK TODD:

So all this work Rudy Giuliani had done to curry favor–

MICHAEL McFAUL:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

–with who he thought was the president’s lead investigator, suddenly out the window. And he’s like, “Who’s this Zelensky guy?”

MICHAEL McFAUL:

And what are we going to do now? How are we going to keep pushing the story with a brand new president?

​CHUCK TODD:

Well, clearly, the president maybe needed leverage. So what do they do? They force out the ambassador, who had been getting into back-and-forths with Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani cancels his own trip to meet with some people close to Zelensky, then this, the ultimate snub. Vice President Pence was going to lead our delegation to Zelensky’s inauguration. They yank him. And it was meant to send a message. July 18th, a bigger message, they announce the freezing of the aid, nearly $400 million that was supposed to go to Ukraine. It isn’t clear if the Ukrainian government knew it was definitely being frozen over all of this. But of course, this leads to the phone call, on July 25th, which, by the way, happened the day after Mueller’s testimony to Congress. We think it’s worthy of this. But all of those actions leads us to, “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” This was about what?

MICHAEL McFAUL:

Well, this is about President Trump asking President Zelensky to help him find dirt on his political opponent in 2020. It’s clear as day in the transcript. And there is leverage there. Whether exactly what they knew, I don’t think is important. There is always leverage, when you’re talking to the President of the United States, because all leaders of the world want to have a good relationship with the president. It’s especially important when your country is occupied by Putin, and you need the leader of the free world to be on your side. And when anybody says, “Let me ask for a favor,” there’s no favors in diplomacy. Everything is a quid pro quo.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

MICHAEL McFAUL:

Everything is, “You do this, I’ll help you.”

CHUCK TODD:

Well, this triggers, obviously, a whole bunch of concern. The whistleblower, first, goes to his general counsel at CIA. Then he’s worried it’s going to get squashed, files the whistleblower complaint. The House begins an investigation. The administration does release the aid to Ukraine very quickly. But at this point, it seems to be too late. And then we find out, of course, this is all about Ukraine. What’s the, what what– Is there any part of this that you think we don’t yet know, when it comes to the Ukrainian side that will add to this story?

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

I think it’s pretty clear cut, myself. I don’t think this is a case where we need to know lots more details. The President of the United States used his office not to advance American national interest, but his private electoral gains. The only piece I’m interested in, Chuck, is what’s the Russia angle? Because just a few days after that call, he’s on the phone with Vladimir Putin. It sounds like that call has also been, you know, somehow put on the secret server.

​CHUCK TODD:

Yep.

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

I would love to know what he talked about Putin, with Putin.

​CHUCK TODD:

Will Congress ever see any of the communications between the president and Putin? That is going to be something, I have a feeling, we’re going to talk a lot about. Ambassador McFaul, thanks for doing this.

​MICHAEL McFAUL:

Sure. Thanks for having me.

​CHUCK TODD:

Thanks very much. When we come back, the debate over impeachment. Panel is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUCK TODD:

In other words, this Trump-Rudy Dirt plan has been going on for quite a while now.

Desperate times, desperate measures.

— —

PS.   Trump once threatened to use McFaul in some sort of prisoner “witness” exchange Deal with Russia.  I guess, Trump doesn’t like the clarity with which he speaks.

That or he owed Putin, yet another “favor” …  one which was never completed, once again.

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