Tag:Ukrainian aid

Explosive Story: 84 Days of Infighting Among Highest Officials Over Withheld Aid

As hard as it is to believe, we have underestimated the intensity and breadth of the fight within the White House about Trump’s hold on Ukrainian aid. Surprisingly high and formerly undisclosed officials desperately fought against Trump’s plan. A devastating new report in the New York Times led by Maggie Haberman, practically screams that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and National Security Director John Bolton must testify, as democracy’s fate might ride on whether the Senate suppresses this critical testimony or a majority manages to compel subpoenas. The new information, never previously reported, involves two critical matters. It reports the intensity of a fight that was entirely out in the open among staff. This reckless and explosive plan was not closely guarded by a secret small group of people. Second, new information includes the fact that the people fighting the issue included officials at the highest levels of our government. Pompeo, Esper, Bolton, not mere White House staffers, but Senate approved department heads clashed with Trump and Mulvaney. These cabinet officials knew of the plan. They involved themselves in an attempt to talk Trump out of it, and damn well knew that the entire thing was about helping Russia and attacking Biden, and not Ukrainian corruption for godsake. They knew exactly why Trump was taking a selfish, Russian-based and illegal risk. If these men do not testify, history will recored that the entire trial was a political hit job by Republicans, Trump, and quite possibly, the Russians. The fight started early: In June, Trump first asked about putting aid to Ukraine on hold — and on June 27, aide Robert B. Blair warned, “Expect Congress tobecome unhinged.” Blair feared that Trump’s request would further the narrative that he was pro-Russian government. No wonder the administration attempted to hide and find a legal justification, for keeping the matter from Congress. Should we note that “fighting Ukrainian corruption” is inconsistent with fear that withholding aid will appear pro-Russian. In a “previously undisclosed” Oval Office meeting that took place in late August, according to the NYT, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton “tried but failed to convince” Trump that “releasing the aid was in interests of the United States.” Trump was doing this at least as much to help the Russians as helping his own campaign. Of course, the dual motivation is one in the same. As summarized by Rawstory: A key figure in the turmoil during that 84-day period was Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who the Times describes as a “conduit for transmitting Mr. Trump’s demands for the freeze across the administration.” And the Times reports that “by September, after the freeze had become public and scrutiny was increasing, the blame game inside the administration was in full swing.” They knew shit was coming, that possible arrests were in their near future and they were scared shitless, probably still are. They needed McConnell, and they needed Collins to cover this entire thing up. “The task of dealing with the president’s demands fell primarily to a group of political appointees in the West Wing and the budget office, most with personal and professional ties to Mr. Mulvaney,” And not a single […]

Critical New Email Increases Pressure On McConnell to Call Witnesses

As I have written previously, internal White House emails obtained late Friday night by the Center for Public Integrity show that someone in budgeting in the White House ordered the Pentagon to put the money congress appropriated to Ukraine on hold, and to keep quiet about it, just 90 minutes after the phone call between Trump and President Zelensky. Per Raw Story: “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction,” Michael Duffey, a Trump-appointed senior official with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), wrote in a July 25 email to Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker and other Trump administration officials. “The perfect call” doesn’t quite jive with “given the sensitive nature of the request.” Does it? Keeping the information “closely held” to those people who need to know to execute the direction seems to practically shout that they knew they were engaging in something without legal justification, negating any talk about a “perfect call.” Of course they knew they were engaging in “extra-legal” affairs, as stated in the article: As CPI national security editor R. Jeffrey Smith wrote Friday, U.S. law mandates that “once Congress appropriates funds—like the Ukraine assistance—and the president signs the relevant spending bill, the executive branch must spend those funds.” Yeah, the United States is funny that way. If the president could change his mind mid-stream and divy out funds (or not) based on new conditions he personally places upon recipients, that ends the republic, period, and it’s not coming back. I am not exagerating. if such behavior is tolerated, then why even have Congress go through all those wasted motions? The President can just do what he wants at the end of the day anyway. They damned well knew they were not just operating illegally, but against everything this divided government stands for. “A president cannot simply ignore Congress’ direction, no matter how inconvenient or unappealing that instruction might be,” Smith noted. “If funds are withheld or shifted elsewhere, this cannot be done in secret, and Congress must approve.” The moment he does is the moment that Jeffersonian democracy dies. This is why it all mattered, and it didn’t take Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and Colonel Vindman to convince the people within the Trump administration that it mattered. They knew what they were doing was wrong. You can see it in the emails, you see it in what they were trying to hide. And that, ultimately, is why witnesses from within the White House are needed in this impeachment trial. Now that this email is out, Schumer has something to pound home: “What were they hiding?”….“This email is explosive. A top administration official, one that we’ve requested, is saying ‘stop the aid’ 91 minutes after Trump called Zelensky, and said ‘keep it hush-hush.’ What more do you need to request a witness?” Which, obviously, is a great point that will never be answered because “hiding” is the entire point. “If this is a perfect conversation, if this is [an] OK action, why are they trying to hush it up?” Because the only thing “perfect” in the conversation was the perfect extortion directed at President Zelensky and Ukraine. Trump knows it, Mulvaney knows it, McConnell knows it, the House Republicans might have sensed […]

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