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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Was the Biden stuff just an add-on? 

by digby

Pentagon official Catherine Croft's testimony today featured this interesting little tidbit:

So Mulvaney, obviously working on Trump's orders--- and over the objections of everyone else in the government --- didn't want to release the military aid because Putin wouldn't like it? And he said this out loud?

This is interesting because we've been operating on the assumption that all Trump wanted was the CNN statement. But one of the witnesses, Bill Taylor, said that he was worried that even if the Ukrainians delivered the Biden and Clinton dirt, Trump would still not release the aid anyway. He wrote in his text to Sondland:

"The nightmare" is they give the interview and don't get the security assistance. The Russians love it (and I quit.)"

If it's true that they had earlier said they wanted to withhold the aid because it would make Putin unhappy, then that might very well be true. It sounds as though they might have had "other reasons" besides the dirt. Indeed,  the silly DNC  conspiracy theory was very much about defending Russia from the US and foreign alies' conclusions that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election. Maybe the Biden stuff was just Trump's little taste.

Here's the Taylor testimony:

a. What did you mean by "the nightmare" and what would the Russians love?

A "The nightmare" s the scenario where President Zelensky goes out in public, makes an announcement that he going to'investigate Burisma and the election interference in 2016 election, maybe among other things. He might put that in some series of investigations. But the nightmare was he would mention those two, take all the heat from that, get himself in big trouble in this country and probably in his country as we11, and the security assistance would not be released. That was the nightmare.
The Russians loving it. The Russians are paying attention. The Russians are paying attention to how much support the Americans are going to provide the Ukrainians.

The Russians are leaning on Ukraine. They are leaning on Ukraine about Donbas. They are leaning on Ukraine about sovereign small little sovereign countries here little statelets. They are leaning on economically, they have got the Nord Stream coming through, they have got they are putting pressure on they have to come to a new gas agreement by the 1st of January.
So they are leaning on them. And they, the Russians want to know how much support the Ukrainians are going to get in general, but also what kind of support from the Americans.

So the Russians are loving, would love, the humiliation of Zelensky at the hands of the Americans, and would give the
Russians a freer hand, and I would quit.

And why would that make you quit?

A That's exactly the scenario that I was worried about when I had my meeting with Secretary Pompeo on the 28th of May where I said: Mr. Secretary, you know, your current strong policy of support for Ukraine is one I can support and I would be glad to go out to Kyiv and support it and push it hard. However, I told him and the others who were in the room, if that changes and this would have been a change, this would have been it was a nightmare. This would have been throwing Ukraine under the bus. And I told the Secretary: If that happens, I'11 come home. You don't want me out there, because I'm not going to defend it, you know. I would
say bad things about it. And you wouldn't want me out there doing that. So I'm going to come home on that. So that was the message about I quit.

Update: Check this out...