New breaking news episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast. Kate Riga and I talk to TPM’s Josh Kovensky about what we’ve learned on the Ukraine/Whistleblower front over the last 48 hours and how it connects up with Josh’s reporting going back months. If you’re interested in understanding this story I strongly recommend it. Listen here.
The lede in this new Journal article pretty much tells the story.
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.
As part of the Covering Climate Now coalition’s week devoted to climate coverage, we published a few great Cafe pieces that really get at the politics of climate action.
All four that we published are worth a look, but we had two particularly insightful posts from political science researchers.
Over the last 24 hours, in emails and tweets, I’ve heard people say some version of ‘Hey, it’s a twofer. Maybe this new scandal will take out Trump and Joe Biden!’
Let me say that there are lots of reasons for Democrats not to support Joe Biden – ideology, mass incarceration, age, it not being his time, politics, just qualities as a campaigner. But even though these comments are semi-flippant this is a temptation Democrats should resist. This really is no different from claims that Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster or Barack Obama was born in Kenya, though obviously there’s a racist component to the latter canard. In terms of being in touch with reality or not, it’s no different. Democrats are prone to being manipulated in this way. They really need to resist the urge, just as Clinton’s opponents should have resisted rightwing and Russian efforts to sow divisions among them in 2016.
President Trump has just gotten his first crack at responding to last night’s news. Asked whether he discussed Joe Biden in his conversation with the President of Ukraine, he replies: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed” and says “someone out to look into Joe Biden.”
We’re going to be focusing on this story throughout the day. We’re actually going to record a special episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast with our lead reporter on the story, Josh Kovensky, which you can download this afternoon. But I wanted to give you a basic overview of what’s transpired over the last 48 hours, what we know and where this might be going.
Happy Friday, September 20. The DNI whistleblower scandal exploded overnight, with revelations that the complaint concerned a promise that President Donald Trump made to the Ukrainian president, followed by a national TV interview during which Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that he’d asked Ukrainian officials to “look into” Joe Biden. Here’s more on that and the other stories we’re watching.
Okay, it comes into focus. Josh Kovensky was prescient. This whistleblower thing is about Ukraine.
9:53 PM: I’m working my way through the video of Rudy Giuliani tonight on CNN. It’s a wild interview. He sounds like someone in deep panic. He is all but admitting that President Trump blackmailed the President of Ukraine, threatening to withhold military aid unless Ukraine went after Joe Biden.
Here are some representative video excerpts from the interview …
Even with new details on the whistleblower complaint that the DNI is withholding from Congress — namely, that it concerns “multiple acts” involving President Trump and a supposed commitment he made to a foreign leader — there is so much we don’t know.
But, a close look at the timeline of events narrows down the possibilities.
On Monday in North Carolina, Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted for allegedly instructing an unknown individual on how to murder his former deputy, Joshua Freeman, and get away with it.