Text messages from Trump's top diplomats show Trump's obsession with getting Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
Every day now brings fresh revelations about how much this administration pushed the government of Ukraine to do Trump's bidding by investigating one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Thursday, we learned that two of Trump's top diplomats went so far as to draft a statement for Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelensky in the weeks after Trump's phone call with him in late July. The statement would have committed the Ukrainian government to investigate not only the Bidens but also to look into the long-debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
The proposed draft asked the Ukrainians to issue a statement saying, "We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma [an energy company Hunter Biden served on the board of] and the 2016 U.S. elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future."
And of course, Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had a major role. That's according to one of those diplomats, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who told the House on Thursday that Giuliani provided the "critical element" of the language. Giuliani was pushing to get the Ukrainian government to issue a public statement with specific details about Burisma and the 2016 election, rather than a general agreement to fight corruption.
In other words, it was never about corruption generally or reform efforts in Ukraine — it was always about going after Trump's rivals. And Trump's diplomats knew it. Indeed, one of them, William Taylor, Jr., told Volker and Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, that it was "crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." It's clear that Taylor understood that Trump was refusing to provide necessary military aid to Ukraine until they agreed to help him discredit Biden.
Late Thursday, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs released 22 pages of texts between Taylor, Volker, Sondland, and others. At one point, Taylor sought clarification about whether Trump would meet with Zelensky, asking, "Are we now saying that security assistance and WH [White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?" Sondland replied, "call me," and later suggested "we stop the back and forth by text." By then, obviously, it was much too late to hide what was going on.
Apparently, Trump's diplomats are about as good at cover-ups as Trump is.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.