This Ukraine timeline is damning
Check it out:
April 2019: Giuliani tweets about investigations in Ukraine charging that the "media blackout of the investigations in Ukraine of alleged Democrat corruption" proves there is a "double standard."
May 9, 2019: The New York Times reports that Giuliani planned to travel to Kyiv to pressure the Ukranian government to press ahead with the investigations into Joe Biden, Giuliani subsequently cancels the trip.
June 2019: Giuliani meets in Paris with an official from the Ukranian prosecutor general's office to discuss a possible Biden investigation.
July 24, 2019: Mueller testimony
July 25, 2019: Phone call between Trump and President Zelensky
Late July: Giuliani meets with Zelensky's aide in Madrid
July 28, 2019: DNI Dan Coats resigns
August 9, 2019: Outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats disrupted a meeting his deputy, Sue Gordon, was holding on election security to urge her to resign from her post.
The abrupt interruption on Thursday, reported by CNN, happened shortly before Gordon submitted her letter of resignation later that day.
August 12: whistleblower complaint
August 28: Bolton meets with Zelensky
Late August: Trump suspends the military aid to Ukraine
August 2019: Giuliani meets with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Zelensky, in Madrid, Mr Giuliani described Mr Yermak as "very receptive" to his inquiries.
August 29, 2019 : Trump cancels trip to Poland where he'd been scheduled to meet with Zelensky, Giuliani says it had nothing to do with Zelensky
September 12, 2019: The Trump administration released foreign aid to Ukraine.
September 1: Pence meets with Zelensky
(Read this transcript of a Pence press conference in which he's asked about the Biden thing and he admits to talking about the financial assistance in terms of the government doing something about "corruption" which we know is their crude code word for digging up dirt on Biden's son.)
September 9: House committees investigate Trump and Giuliani dealings with Ukraine
September 12: White House releases aid to Ukraine
Josh Marshall is right about this. They were all in on it:
The call in question, which took place on July 25th, was almost two months ago. There was apparently no effort to stop what was happening or sound an alarm by anyone at the White House or administration. It is basically a given that the top members of the President’s national security team would be read in on a call like this if indeed they weren’t on the call while it was happening. On top of this, at least according to Rudy Giuliani, the State Department assisted him in arranging meetings with Ukrainian government officials. So he not only issued threats and demands on behalf of the President, he had the assistance of the diplomatic corps. Finally, we don’t know who the intelligence community whistleblower is. But however this person found out about the call and other related activities, this means pretty clearly this wasn’t some secret the President was keeping just between him and Rudy Giuliani. Nor is this the first we’re hearing about a broader effort involving Giuliani. Josh Kovensky and other reporters have been reporting for months on Giuliani’s efforts and he was apparently behind the firing of the US Ambassador to Ukraine back in May.
The point is that something this egregious happened. It directly involved in the President in explicit demands to a foreign leader. Some or all of the President’s top advisors and certainly his top foreign policy team (National Security Advisor, Secretary of State, et al.) knew this was happening. And they were apparently okay with it. At a minimum, they allowed it to happen and participated in it and made no attempt to stop it. There is only a story because some unknown whistleblower decided to blow the whistle. Just as importantly, a Trump appointee, Inspector General Michael Atkinson, decided to force the matter by informing Congress of the existence of the whistleblower complaint even though administration officials prevented him from disclosing its substance.
This all has pretty dramatic implications beyond this one bad act. Many have assumed or at least left open the possibility that the President’s advisors keep him from participating himself in the most egregious wrongdoing. Maybe he has underlings like Rudy Giuliani or Corey Lewandowski do things outside government channels. Maybe the Saudis just know he’ll be happy if they pump millions of dollars into one of his hotels. We hear that the President often makes outrageous or nonsensical suggestions in staff meetings. But his advisors know to discreetly ignore these directives.
Apparently none of this is the case.
This new episode suggests that the President can personally commit the most egregious wrongdoing, clearly impeachable offenses, in full view of his most senior advisors, and we hear nothing about it. We only know about this because of this whistleblower, who is him or herself now being attacked publicly as a Deep State partisan. Could Trump have made financial demands of Gulf monarchies to help his private businesses? Could he have asked Vladimir Putin for election assistance in 2020? Given that the demand on Ukraine was considered acceptable and is now being affirmatively defended, there’s no reason to think that these actions wouldn’t have been deemed acceptable and within the President’s purview as well.
Why would a demand for election assistance from Ukraine be acceptable and ones of Russia or Saudi Arabia wouldn’t? Why would demands for assistance to his personal businesses be worse than ones for election interference? (To me, they’d be less problematic. The President profiting personally from the presidency is wrong but it’s less damaging to the country than preventing a free and fair election.) Clearly I can hypothesize any kind of wrongdoing and say that it’s now possible and that his team would go along with it. But that’s the point: whatever in extremis guard rails we may have been thinking existed, at least for what the President does in full view of the chiefs officers of state, clearly don’t exist.
We know the President wants to do all manner of bad acts and sees nothing wrong with them. This new development suggests he probably has, that his top advisors know about those bad acts and decided it was okay.
By the way, somebody must be chatting with Bolton, right? I don't know how far he's willing to go to stab Trump in the back, but he could certainly shed some light on all this if he chose to.
I wouldn't count on it. Bolton is Bolton. But he's pissed so who knows?