The “whistleblower” story, assumed to implicate Trump in an attempt to induce the new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in that country, has taken on a life of its own, and the hysteria will continue to grow and morph unabated, at least until Thursday, when acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee. At this point, we don’t know the specifics of the phone call at issue or the identity of the whistleblower (and I use that term loosely because it typically refers to “blowing the whistle” on an internal matter; a more accurate word here would be “leaker”). That hasn’t stopped the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many in the media from saying Trump should be impeached over it. In fact, with no evidence, they have already decided that President Trump used foreign officials to go after his political opponent.
(Hey, we KNOW Hillary Clinton did that, in 2016, by way of Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, among others.)
Democrats are demanding a transcript of the phone call, but in their minds, it’s only a formality. They might actually be just fine with not getting it because they could throw a fit and go with the narrative that Trump is abusing his executive privilege – heck, they’re already accusing him of that – even though Presidents aren’t supposed to have to turn over transcripts of their conversations with foreign leaders. And, gosh, if this transcript isn’t privileged, what about others? Devin Nunes, on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES with Maria Bartiromo, asked why we shouldn’t also get transcripts of Obama’s and Biden’s talks with Ukranian leaders, Putin, etc.
Nunes also noted that the stories about Hunter Biden’s business dealings originally surfaced when Hillary was running for President and didn’t want Joe Biden to enter the race. (I’ve always thought Biden’s grief over the death of his son Beau was only one reason he didn’t run in 2016. The prospect of running against the Clinton Machine was definitely another. I digress.)
You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump were intending to release this transcript all along. It takes a while to decide what needs to remain classified, and in the meantime he might enjoy stringing the Democrats along to set them up for an even bigger letdown. Maybe there’s something in that transcript that incriminates – oh, I don’t know – Joe and/or Hunter Biden. The scenario might play out like the ending of the classic Uncle Remus story, a work of pure genius that is, sadly, no longer read by kids in school because it’s considered a relic of racist times. Br’er Fox finally snares Br’er Rabbit and considers how to proceed, and Br’er Rabbit says (in non-PC Southern black dialect), “Oh, please, please, Br’er Fox, do whatever you want to do to me, kill me, eat me, but DON’T, I’m begging you, DON’T throw me in the briar patch!” Proving that reverse psychology works, Br’er Fox throws him in the briar patch to make him suffer, when the briar patch is exactly what Br’er Rabbit wants, as he can easily wriggle through the briars and get away.
Maybe Trump is saying, “Oh, please, PLEASE, Democrats, don’t make me release that transcript!”
It’s fun to laugh and speculate about something like that happening, and who knows? But however it plays out, keep in mind that there is much, much more to this whole Ukraine story than we are being led to believe. Sen. Lindsay Graham, also on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES, stressed that just as the “Trump/Russia” ties were relentlessly (and fruitlessly) investigated, the “Biden/Ukraine” and “Hillary/Ukraine” connections also need to be examined through and through. It will be up to Attorney General Bill Barr, he said, to make this happen; the media will not do it.
Leave it to John Solomon at THE HILL to get past the obvious and look at all the angles, including ones that are being ignored by both sides. His most recent commentary examines Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s contacts with Zelensky’s people and the narrative being furthered by the media. They suggest that Giuliani’s reason for reaching out was to get dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine because Joe was a likely political opponent in 2020. But that scenario leaves out an intriguing piece of the puzzle.
Giuliani did not initiate this contact. It was set in motion and facilitated by members of our own State Department, specifically, a senior U.S. diplomat – one of Solomon’s sources for this story – who contacted Giuliani in July and asked permission to connect an attorney and adviser to the Ukrainian president, Andrei Yermak, with him. (Recall that mid-July was when Trump had “that” phone call with President Zelensky.)
In early August, Giuliani met the Ukrainian official in Spain, and on August 11 he was debriefed over the phone by two U.S. diplomats. In other words, he informed the State Department of the details of their meeting.
So, while we’re waiting to find out more about Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, at least we can be assured that Giuliani’s contact with Ukrainian officials was on the up and up. He was asked to go, he went, and he told them all about it afterwards. He was NOT conducting “oppo research” on the Biden family. As Trump’s top lawyer talking with Zelensky’s top lawyer, he was part of a diplomatic effort by the State Department to build trust with the new president of Ukraine. At least, he thought he was.
But at this point, it’s hard not to speculate that this was part of yet another set-up.
Solomon has been looking into our ties with Ukraine and their possible involvement in our 2016 election for a long time. (Recall the stories about the leak of Paul Manafort’s “black book” that was said to contain records of under-the-table payments he received from Ukrainians.) From interviews with more than a dozen Ukrainian and American officials, Solomon has learned that the Ukrainian government has been trying since the summer of 2018 to hand over evidence concerning the conduct of certain Americans during the Obama years that may have been in violation of U.S. law. The Ukrainians say their efforts to get this evidence to U.S. authorities were thwarted, first by the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, and then by the U.S. attorney’s office in New York.
Solomon learned that last part from the respected U.S. attorney who had received the hand-delivered evidence and passed it on to the New York office.
And what were the allegations? Ukrainian officials reportedly had evidence that the Democratic National Committee (Hillary Clinton, same thing) had pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. The officials also had information about Hunter Biden’s efforts to prosper in Ukraine while his father was Vice President and in charge of managing U.S.-Ukraine relations.
Solomon makes a great point: that while Hillary and other political enemies of Trump are saying he tried to solicit a foreign power to interfere with the next election, this really seems to be more about resolving what happened with the LAST election. And that’s the last thing Trump’s adversaries want.