Patterico's Pontifications

9/24/2019

Trump Withheld Aid to Ukraine Before Call in Which He Pressured Ukraine President Over Biden

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 am



An article in the Washington Post:

President Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden, according to three senior administration officials.

Officials at the Office of Management and Budget relayed Trump’s order to the State Department and the Pentagon during an interagency meeting in mid-July, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. They explained that the president had “concerns” and wanted to analyze whether the money needed to be spent.

The New York Times sheds further light:

It soon became clear that the Ukraine aid freeze was different from the hold placed on other programs. Even after other foreign aid was restored, the money for Ukraine remained blocked.

So that’s the quid, and we already know the quo. Partisans say: my, we don’t know what was said on the call. We know well enough. This is the Ukraine government’s own readout:

Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve image of Ukraine, complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.

Trump has admitted bringing up Biden in the call:

“We had a great conversation. The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son (adding to the corruption),” Trump told reporters.

And just this morning Trump apparently admitted putting pressure on Ukraine regarding Joe Biden, although I offer the caveat that I have not yet seen video:

And Giuliani admitted, on national television, having brought it up himself, just seconds after denying the same thing:

“Of course I did!”

The Trump administration says the money was being withheld because of concerns over corruption in Ukraine.

Well, Mr. Zelensky, you know we’re concerned about all the corruption over there, and we can’t very well send money to corrupt places. But you know, I hear you guys have the chance to show you’re serious about corruption. Don’t you have some cases you were working on that you could finish? There’s a lot of corruption, that I can tell you. Hey, one awful bit of corruption I heard about was about Joe Biden’s son. Did you hear about that one? Terrible! Anyway, nice talking to you, and I hope our relations can be better soon!

The Trump Whisperers at Fox News have a way out for Trump, disguised as criticism:

It seems like they are slamming Trump but actually they are giving him cover. Like the allegation that Trump actively conspired with Vladimir Putin, which no sane person ever believed, the allegation that Trump openly came out and said “investigate Joe Biden or you don’t get the cash” is an absurd over-accusation. When it turns out not to be exactly true, as with Trump’s Russian shenanigans, Trumpists will use that fact to excuse the actual corruption that occurred but did not rise to the level of the most feverish, over-the-top scenarios ever proffered by his most wild-eyed critics (and focused on by his defenders).

The truth is, even the Mafia knows how to put their extortion threats in a facially friendly way. As the Mafia lawyer explained to the jury in the extortion trial, he really did think they have a nice business there! Is it now illegal in the United States of America for one businessman to praise another businessman’s business?! What has the world come to?

“I don’t think it really matters . . . whether the president explicitly told the Ukrainians that they wouldn’t get their security aid if they didn’t interfere in the 2020 elections,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “There is an implicit threat in every demand that a United States president makes of a foreign power. . . . That foreign country knows that if they don’t do it, there are likely to be consequences.”

Trump on Monday repeated his denial of doing anything improper and insisted that his July 25 conversation with Zelensky was “a perfect phone call.” He also hinted that he may release a transcript of it.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley rejected claims that Trump was engaged in a quid pro quo. “But because the media wants this story to be true so badly, they’ll once again manufacture a frenzy and drive ignorant, fake stories to attack this president,” Gidley said.

It appears the Ukrainian leader came away from the discussion with a different impression. Murphy, who spoke with Zelensky during an early September visit to Ukraine, said Monday that the Ukrainian president “directly” expressed concerns at their meeting that “the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence” of his unwillingness to launch an investigation into the Bidens.

Where could he have gotten that idea? I wonder.

FAKE UPDATE: Hold everything! In a Patterico exclusive, we have video of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president. Trump’s remarks begin at 1:35:

Things break.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

59 Responses to “Trump Withheld Aid to Ukraine Before Call in Which He Pressured Ukraine President Over Biden”

  1. Wow.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. Commence bootlicking in 5…4…3…2…1…

    Gryph (08c844)

  3. Intel guys just doing what they were elected to do.

    “The president can say what he wants. It’s not the responsibility of the intel guys to go police the president and go snitch on him to the Congress. Ridiculous.”

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/ready-to-blow-a-gasket-cnn-analyst-loses-it-over-whistleblower-who-filed-complaint-against-trump

    Munroe (53beca)

  4. The only thing like pushback I’ve seen (because I’ve written some of it) is that this is an investigation of 2016 interference encouraged by Team Obama to embarass Trump with the Manafort secret file and protect the Administration (Hunter).

    On my current scorecard I have that 2016 collusion theory as “Definitely Probably Not”. The fellow who leaked the Manafort payment files in Aug 2016 had plenty of Ukranian-centric reasons to want to torpedo Manafort. [LINK]

    But it also doesn’t matter. It’s a bit late to impeach Obama and we already rejected Hillary, in part because of her ‘above the law’ attitude. And, obviously, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    So, while the shadowboxing continues and we await a transcript, is this impeachable? It may actually be legal, given the President’s latitude with respect to foreign policy. But it’s nutso. From another direction, if the President had threatened to fire the head of the FBI if he didn’t go hard after Biden, Hunter and the MBNA questions, or the China questions, I think he would be impeached. So why is this all that different? Other than being worse, since FBI heads come and go but The Ukraine is an embattled ally.

    Well. I’ll let you go first in calling for impeachment on this if you like. I’ll add that you (or the Trump Whisperers] are right about one thing – the House will vote out impeachment articles that include this, which is real, and twenty of their fan fiction favorites, and the debate will be torpedoed. As much as The Resistance says they want Trump out, what they will really turn out to want (IMHO) is vindication on everything they have been saying for two and a half years. Fighters gotta fight,and those fundraising letters don’t write themselves. For either party.

    Jiminy. I’m feeling some solidarity with Michelle here – for the first time in my adult life I’m not so proud to be an American. [Ahh, still pretty proud though!]

    Tomm Maguire (10aeeb)

  5. #3: It’s the responsibility of the ICIG to report to the DNI any whistleblower complaint he deems serious, and it’s a legal requirement for the DNI to convey the complaint to Congress. The DNI is not authorized to overrule the IG on the matter.

    The IG, Michael Atkinson, is known to be cautious and nonpartisan. He was appointed by Donald Trump, and one of his original charges was to strengthen whistleblower protections after they had been weakened under Obama.

    I recall conservatives bemoaning shabby treatment of whistleblowers during the last administration. Now, the Trumpservatives have basically adopted Trump’s line that the current whistleblower is a nefarious “spy” who’s not on “our country’s side.”

    Radegunda (1ad3e8)

  6. Trump tells us he was really really concerned about all the corruption in Ukraine. Can any of his defenders point to any other country whose corruption has much concerned him?

    Radegunda (1ad3e8)

  7. “I recall conservatives bemoaning shabby treatment of whistleblowers during the last administration.“
    Radegunda (1ad3e8) — 9/24/2019 @ 8:33 am

    Whistleblowers should be protected. This guy isn’t a whistleblower under the statute.

    Munroe (53beca)

  8. President Trump, during the 2016 campaign, asked for the Russians to “find” the emails of one person. I recall only one person. That was his then political opponent Hillary Clinton. Now, three years later, he calls the leader of the Ukraine and asks, up to eight times, to investigate….. wait for it….. wait for it…… wait……. his political opponent!

    Wow. Wow. Wow.. What a coincidence! That’s like a chance in 350 million. Two times in a row!

    noel (f22371)

  9. Strangely enough, being a political candidate does not protect you from legitimate investigation and legitimate charging with criminal activity. Especially when you admit it on film.

    It should protect you from illegitimate investigations created by faked up information, though, even though it also doesn’t there either.

    Ingot9455 (46f6e9)

  10. Whistleblowers should be protected. This guy isn’t a whistleblower under the statute

    The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act seems to disagree with you.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  11. So far, there are 151 House Democrats (64% of their caucus) who support, at minimum, an impeachment inquiry, and Trump just gave them a valid reason to move forward.
    Biden is going to weather this, and it’s backfiring on Trump. I’m sure that Democrat voters can’t help but take notice. This is not going end well for this Grand Old Party, because Biden is already beating Trump by almost a dozen points in the head-to-heads.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  12. This guy isn’t a whistleblower under the statute.

    You don’t and can’t know that.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  13. #4 —

    If some Republicans could signal support for impeachment on a Ukraine only basis — and the Dems really want Trump’s removal by the Senate — I think you could have the House resolution without the laundry list (which would just extend the impeachment trial). If this becomes a Democrat only presentation, there is no reason not to make everyone happy with larding up the resolution with all variety of charges.

    Impeachment has always depended on the GOP noticing that there is something gravely wrong with their leader and that their duty as stewards of the Republic is more important than whether Trump fans can be fans of any other GOP leader. That hasn’t happened. It won’t, unless Trump makes it easy for them through some outrageous flame out.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  14. 1.225e+17.

    That is what my calculator spit out when I asked what 350 million x 350 million equals. Those being the odds that Trump just happened to have both of his opponents investigated by foreign powers out of the total US population.

    My point is…. if you still believe Trump…. that number up there…. that is about how many more times gullible you are than me. And, in a strange way, it makes me feel good.

    noel (f22371)

  15. “You don’t and can’t know that.”
    Paul Montagu (f2c051) — 9/24/2019 @ 8:56 am

    On that, I’ll trust McCarthy. You can take it up with him.

    Section 3033 does not apply to a president’s negotiations with or commitments to foreign powers, or to a president’s sharing of classified information with foreign powers. To repeat, the statute applies to intelligence activities by government officials acting under the authority of the DNI.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/09/trump-whistleblower-claim-congress-should-investigate/

    Munroe (53beca)

  16. Isn’t this the exact opposite of obstruction of justice?

    steveg (354706)

  17. Section 3033 does not apply to a president’s negotiations with or commitments to foreign powers, or to a president’s sharing of classified information with foreign powers. To repeat, the statute applies to intelligence activities by government officials acting under the authority of the DNI.

    That’s some nice handwaving of a thing that isn’t applicable. But since it’s actually Sec. 702 of (c) of the IWBPA:

    Any other employee of, or contractor to, an executive agency,
    or element or unit thereof, determined by the President under section
    2302(a)(2)(C)(ii) of title 5, United States Code, to have as its
    principal function the conduct of foreign intelligence or
    counterintelligence activities, who intends to report to Congress a
    complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern may report
    the complaint or information to the appropriate Inspector General (or
    designee) under this Act or section 17 of the Central Intelligence
    Agency Act of 1949.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  18. Isn’t this the exact opposite of obstruction of justice?

    Yes, it’s straight up admitting it publicly.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  19. I don’t recall Trump being concerned about corruption in Ukraine when Manafort, his eventual campaign manager, was working for the pro-Russia faction there. Or when Flynn, his short-lived national security advisor was making money there.

    Oh, wait, they’re both serving time in jail. Let’s investigate the Bidens and accuse them of corruption!

    Anyone who cannot see the con Trump is running is blind.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  20. On that, I’ll trust McCarthy.

    Well, there’s the problem, relying on a hyperpartisan hack who has gotten lots of things wrong. He’s said not one word about the relevant US Code, which is what hyperpartisan hacks do.

    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.

    Trump is the commander-in-chief of the military and our entire intelligence apparatus, and he is not above the law.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  21. “The truth is, even the Mafia knows how to put their extortion threats in a facially friendly way.”

    But Biden didn’t. He bragged on video about threatening to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine unless they fired the prosecutor who said he was looking into the company that put Hunter Biden on the payroll for $50K a month despite Hunter’s lack of relevant experience and recent discharge from the Navy for cocaine use.

    As with Trump/Russia, isn’t the underlying crime, or lack thereof, a key factor in how we should judge the use of government assets to investigate a political rival?

    David Pittelli (7d543e)

  22. “Oh, wait, they’re both serving time in jail. Let’s investigate the Bidens and accuse them of corruption!”
    Gawain’s Ghost (b25cd1) — 9/24/2019 @ 9:35 am

    Nah, the two year investigation-of-nothing template applies to Trump only. One week if you’ve got an Ivy League pedigree and there’s a SCOTUS vacancy. Anyone else — what, you joking?

    Munroe (8715cf)

  23. Munroe & Montagu:

    You are both talking about rather different things. Munroe cherrypicks McCarthy’s article, missing this conclusion:

    The issue is not Section 3033 and whether the DNI should have alerted Schiff. The issue is whether President Trump has abused his foreign-affairs powers.

    On that score, we should withhold judgment until more facts are in. Democrats would have us leap to the conclusion that impeachable offenses have been committed; the president would have us dismiss the matter out of hand as a political contrivance. There are reasons to doubt both of them.

    McCarthy does think there is something to investigate here — he’s not being a Mollie Hemmingway level hack. But McCarthy He does not believe that the failure to provide the whistleblower’s statement is a violation of the relevant statute:

    n our system, the conduct of foreign policy is a nigh plenary authority of the chief executive. The only exceptions are explicitly stated in the Constitution (Congress regulates foreign commerce, the Senate must approve treaties, etc.). Congress may not enact statutes that limit the president’s constitutional power to conduct foreign policy; the Constitution may not be amended by statute.

    Consistent with this principle, the Justice Department has long adhered to the so-called “clear statement” rule: If the express terms of a statute do not apply its provisions to the president, then the statute is deemed not to apply to the president if its application would conflict with the president’s constitutional powers. Section 3033 does not refer to the president. By its terms, it applies to intelligence-community officials. And, in any event, it may not properly be applied to the president if doing so would hinder the president’s capacious authority to conduct foreign policy.

    My own thought is that Trump’s administration was very foolish in not following procedure, as, since 1975, it’s the appearence of cover up that creates the big political woop-de-doos. But Trump does do cover ups because, he often acts in a way that even he senses is criminal.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  24. …the prosecutor who said he was looking into the company that put Hunter Biden on the payroll for $50K a month…

    That urban myth just won’t die. Neither Hunter nor Burisma nor Zlochevsky were under investigation by Shokin at the time Biden pressed for his sacking. The fact is that Shokin shelved those investigations and he improperly closed the investigation on Zlochevsky for money laundering in 2015.
    The real problem is that Trump-Giuliani were head-nodding with Ukraine’s corrupt elite, getting their “intel” from bad actors.

    Viktor Shokin, who was forced out of the job of general prosecutor in 2016 following an intervention by then-Vice President Joe Biden, told Mr. Giuliani that he had been investigating a Ukrainian gas company that had given a position on its board to Mr. Biden’s son Hunter. Mr. Giuliani then fed this story to right-wing media. What was left out of his account was that Mr. Biden’s intervention was part of a broad campaign by Ukrainian reformers, European governments and international financial institutions to oust Mr. Shokin, who was blocking prosecutions of corrupt officials and oligarchs.
    The prosecutor who replaced Mr. Shokin, Yuriy Lutsenko, subsequently stated publicly that the gas company was not under investigation at the time of Mr. Biden’s intervention, and that there has been no wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. But Mr. Lutsenko had his own ax to grind. He, too, was at war with liberal activists, including a nongovernment anti-corruption organization as well as Serhiy Leshchenko, a liberal legislator and journalist. They charged that this prosecutor, too, was blocking corruption probes, and they had the support of the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, a career member of the Foreign Service.
    Mr. Lutsenko fed Mr. Giuliani another false story: that Mr. Leshchenko, who exposed the illegal payments made by Mr. Yanukovych’s political party to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had done so at the instigation of the U.S. Embassy and financier George Soros, among others. He also claimed that the U.S. ambassador, Ms. Yovanovitch, had given him a list of people not to prosecute — a claim dismissed by the State Department as “an outright fabrication.”
    Though Mr. Lutsenko produced no evidence, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump have since flogged the claim that the leak about Mr. Manafort was a Democratic plot to undermine Mr. Trump’s campaign. Mr. Giuliani meanwhile embarked on a campaign against the reform camp. He forced newly elected president Volody­myr Zelensky to break his ties with Mr. Leshchenko, and he engineered the early recall of Ms. Yovanovitch.

    Ms. Yovanovitch was the US Ambassador who actually did her job and called out the corruption in Ukrainian PGO, and she got sacked for her efforts by none other than Giuliani. Trump-Giuliani statements should be presumed false until proven true.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  25. Paul, don’t you dare bring facts into this. The linear temporal flow is not part of Trumpworld’s reality.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  26. …Trump-Giuliani statements should be presumed false until proven true.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051) — 9/24/2019 @ 10:26 am

    True.

    I also throw the media in that same bucket too.

    Until we get some verified transcripts and the full context, I don’t believe anyone.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  27. Difference is, “the media” sometimes offer corrections when they make mistakes . Here’s a collection of Trump admitting his mistakes.

    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x26yzgd

    JRH (52aed3)

  28. Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    6m
    I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine….

    ….You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!
    _

    harkin (dc1411)

  29. harkin (dc1411) — 9/24/2019 @ 11:20 am

    What needs to be released is the ICIG report, which this president continues to stonewall.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  30. #30

    This is helpful, too. It’s not sufficient. But a limited hang out can tell you something.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  31. 30, 31 – I was passing on a text from Trump, not making an editorial comment.

    But it’s good to know he’s being helpful, although I have no idea what a limited hang out is.

    harkin (dc1411)

  32. #31 #30

    This is helpful, too. It’s not sufficient. But a limited hang out can tell you something.

    Appalled (d07ae6) — 9/24/2019 @ 11:29 am

    May I ask why that would be helpful?

    If… and I mean if this part is true… that the source did not actually hear the complaint or read the transcript, why would the complete and unredacted transcript would not suffice?

    Wouldn’t that strongly suggest that the whistleblower complaint is partisan?

    whembly (51f28e)

  33. why would the complete and unredacted transcript would not suffice?

    Because–allegedly–the whistelblower complaint covers more than the call, but also includes other things. And at this point we really don’t know what those other things actually are.

    Also remember that the idea that the whistleblower had no first hand knowledge is, for the moment, based on a claim made by an anonymous WH official who was “briefed on the matter”…which means the anonymous official himself has only second or third hand information. And being “briefed on the matter” can mean several things. At one end, it may mean being fully informed on every detail in the matter, and at the other end it may mean being instructed by a higher up to go out and make that claim to the press without any actual knowledge of the facts.
    Or anything in between those two extremes.

    IOW, it’s the exact type of thing that’s routinely labelled “FAKE NEWS” when it’s something that is negative about Trump.

    kishnevi (496414)

  34. The ICIG, a Trump appointee, found the complaint “credible” and “urgent.” He passed it to the DNI Macguire who is blocking its release to Congress. Yes, someone is partisan to be sure. Looks to me to be the one blocking the release of the ICIG report.

    JRH (52aed3)

  35. harkin (dc1411) — 9/24/2019 @ 11:39 am

    although I have no idea what a limited hang out is.

    The phrase “modified, limited hangout” was used by John Ehrlichman in the Nixon White House tapes.

    He meant tell part of the story, but it was assumed he meant tell part of the truth – i.e. tell something closer to the truth, but not the truth, and that’s the sense most people see it as having.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  36. 27.…Trump-Giuliani statements should be presumed false until proven true.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051) — 9/24/2019 @ 10:26 am

    That goes for everybody involved, Democrats and Republicans and unknown.

    Although I would mostly apply that to statements made not about themselves. Giuliani appears to have bad intel, some of which he should have rejected, but it’s genuine bad intel, and quite possibly Russian disinformation.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  37. None of this matters, of course; courtesy of day-late-and-dollar-short-Pelosi.

    Our Captain and crew will steam through the typhoon and win their badges of honor; no rolling of little steel balls on any witness stand for this fella; no relief of command; a mess full of strawberries served nightly.

    Re-election is on the horizon; a safe harbor awaits, guarded by the Republican Party majority in the United States Senate. Our Captain is gonna beat any and all raps.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  38. Using financial leverage to tackle financial corruption sounds right out of a lawyers playbook.
    Of course, this whole Presidency vs the Democrats has been about whose ox was gored rather than an actual search for truth

    steveg (354706)

  39. 19. Gawain’s Ghost (b25cd1) — 9/24/2019 @ 9:35 am

    I don’t recall Trump being concerned about corruption in Ukraine when Manafort, his eventual campaign manager, was working for the pro-Russia faction there.

    He wasn’t an anti-corruptionn actividst while a private citizen.

    Manafort lost his job after the the February 2014 Euromaidan Revolution (or Revolution of Dignity; Ukrainian: Революція гідності, Revoliutsiia hidnosti)

    Now later Trump was not at all sensitive to the history of Paul Manafort.

    Or when Flynn, his short-lived national security advisor was making money there.

    No, Flynn was making money from Russia. And later Turkey.

    President Barack Obama was suspicious that Mike Flynn had been, while head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, recruited by the GRU (old name still used) as an asset, and so decided to cut short his tenure. He didn’t do anything more.

    Then when it looked like Mike Flynn might become National Security Adviser, he and some others in his administration tried to prevent that, but they couldn’t give Donald Trump a good enough reason.

    What were they going to say: “We think he’s a Russian spy, but we let it go?”

    They later succeeded in undoing his appointment using underhanded means (illegal leaks and an FBI sting operation.)

    He’s still not been charged with being a Russian intelligence azset or anything.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  40. Noel
    During a Presidential campaign, the candidate usually refers to his/her opposition. Unsophisticated Trump says it out loud. Hillary outsources it to Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS.
    Your math exercise should be boiled down by 349,999,998

    steveg (354706)

  41. DCSCA —

    Draw a picture for me on how this fades away? Well, maybe he releases the transcript, which is bad but not quite bad enough, so the fans can understand the cover up and still tell themselves it was just Trump being Trump and…FAKE NEWS.

    That doesn’t get him reelected. Trump is personally disliked by 70% of the voters now. He is the man a good campaigner can address, while he blathers on and on and on about some racist trope or crowd size or MS-13, with that legendary phrase of yore…”There you go again.”

    2020 will feel like 1980. People will need permission to leap into the great Democrat unknown. But not much permission — and an experienced campaigner will be just reassuring enough.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  42. What if the transcript is a nothingburger?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  43. @42. Transcripts? Did you say transcripts?

    Welcome to [expletive deleted] 1974.

    Not 1980.

    History rhymes.

    _______

    As long as a GOP majority rules the Senate, he’s ‘in like Flynn’ to beat the rap[s] for re-election.

    Who’s gonna beat him; ‘The Old Scold?’ ‘The Old Plagiarist?’ ‘Spartacus?’

    There’s nobody as entertaining as our Captain.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. There’s nobody as entertaining as our Captain.

    They used to say that about Bob Hope, Eddie Murphy, Woody Allen. Tastes change.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  45. @45. JR Ewing, too; “the bad boy everybody loved to hate”… He lasted 12 seasons.

    Trump will do 8.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. 43. whembly (fd57f6) — 9/24/2019 @ 12:56 pm

    43.What if the transcript is a nothingburger?

    You ask for the whistleblower complaint, and hope it isn’t supplied, ad say the issue is was miitary aid withheld in order to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate whether Joe Biden obstructed justice to protect his son, for which accusation Guiliani only had evidence that doesn’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny.

    And you try to avoid examining all angles here.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  47. What’s the difference? Watergate and this? The President thinks he is so clever because he is getting foreigners to pull off his dirty tricks.

    But it’s the same thing. Might just end the same way too.

    noel (f22371)

  48. And yes, there is a big difference between investigating your opponent (opposition research) and calling on foreign governments to maim your opponent. Especially using the powers of the Presidency to do it. What a disgrace.

    noel (f22371)

  49. noel (f22371) — 9/24/2019 @ 4:16 pm

    Who did Mifsud and Azra Turk work for? I’ll wait….

    Munroe (53beca)

  50. Trump tells us he was really really concerned about all the corruption in Ukraine. Can any of his defenders point to any other country whose corruption has much concerned him?

    The answer, of course, is no — because, quite simply, he does not give a crap about anything in the world except to the extent that it directly affects him personally.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  51. Strangely enough, being a political candidate does not protect you from legitimate investigation and legitimate charging with criminal activity. Especially when you admit it on film.

    It should protect you from illegitimate investigations created by faked up information, though, even though it also doesn’t there either.

    You can repeat the canard that the investigation of Trump was created by faked up information as much as you want. It doesn’t make it true.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  52. What if the transcript is a nothingburger?

    Trump has already admitted that he pressured the Ukraine government about Biden. Thereforet the transcript cannot possibly be a nothingburger except under phony manufactured “if no quid pro quo then no problem” talking points, which is the defense being prepared.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  53. We got the orange man now. The walls are closing in! The transcript shows Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden’s helping to get a Ukrainian Prosecutor fired. That’s clearly a high crime. Presidents should NEVER ask Foreigners to investigate corruption! Presidents should NEVER ask countries to do things in return for military/foreign Aid! All aid should be without strings otherwise its EXTORTION. Of course, Biden bragged about doing just that, but that was different. And only a trumper would say “what about?”.

    Can we bring back Mueller. He’s tanned and rested!

    rcocean (1a839e)

  54. The Ukraine president has denied there was any quid pro quo or that he was “Threatened” by Trump. But that’s what he would say isn’t it? Orange man is has the goods on him -FORCING him to LIe. And besides, who cares what a Foreigner says? We can read between the lines.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  55. I’m pretty sure that the FBI and the Democrats (through Fusion GPS) never asked foreigners, like maybe MI6 or some Russians to help destroy Trump. And I’m sure the FBI and the Democrats and Mueller never, ever, asked anyone in Russia if “Trump had colluded”. Basically, if Trump thinks Biden Junior, did something wrong, he should have gone to Biden senior and asked for permission to talk to Ukraine about it. And if Joe Biden said no, he should have stopped. High crime baby, trump is finished!

    rcocean (1a839e)

  56. Seriously, I wonder how many of these Senators have family members involved in shady foreign deals like the Biden family. Or peddling influence for foreign $$. For example, Turkey neck Mitch sure was worked up about the delay of $400 million in Ukrainian aid, wasn’t he? Its almost like he was somehow getting a cut of that $$, if only indirectly.

    I suppose if anyone in the MSM actually cared about corruption they’d look into it. But of course, the only thing that matters is GET TRUMP.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  57. 56. rcocean (1a839e) — 9/25/2019 @ 12:15 pm

    Basically, if Trump thinks Biden Junior, did something wrong, he should have gone to Biden senior and asked for permission to talk to Ukraine about it.

    That would have required Trump to be both more thoughtful and determined to be fair.

    And if Joe Biden said no, he should have stopped.

    If it’s legitimate there’s no reason to give Biden a veto. But he could have given him a chance to object and explain.

    I know you’re giving wha seems to bethe Dem position.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  58. Patterico: Patterico (115b1f) — 9/24/2019 @ 5:37 pm

    Trump has already admitted that he pressured the Ukraine government about Biden.

    he did not admit to pressure, but he said if he had put some pressure on Ukraine, there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with it. And the transcript shows no pressure, unless you presume he’s speaking in code that the Ukrainian president nderstood.

    Thereforet the transcript cannot possibly be a nothingburger except under phony manufactured “if no quid pro quo then no problem” talking points, which is the defense being prepared. The Democrats set up the goalposts as such so that if Trump asked Ukraine, in thhe mildst way, to hear out and investigate what Giuliani would bring to them, it would be ssking a foreign gevernment to help his re-election campaign. And it is claimed that, in addition to being immoral and improper, that would also be aviolaton of campaign finance law.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

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