And there it is, the other quid pro quo. Notorious Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash would help Rudy and DiGenova and Toensing cook up dirt on Joe Biden. In return, they’d work with Trump to get US corruption charges against Firtash tossed. Firtash has been fighting extradition to the US on federal corruption charges since 2014.
When the Trump/Ukraine scandal broke, now almost a month ago, I said that the biggest revelation wasn’t that Trump would do these things or try to do these things but that he could do them and all of his top advisors would go along with it and even participate in whatever cover-ups were necessary to conceal. Don’t call me naive. One of the biggest takeaways from the Mueller Report was while Trump committed all sorts of obstructive acts, he was actually shut down at a number of points by top advisors. Either they yessed him and then ignored his demands. Or they refused and he relented. Or in some cases they threatened to resign. Usually Trump backed down. Trump usually didn’t have the guts to make the big moves himself. It was usually trying to get someone else to do it — usually some version of shutting down the investigation or firing Bob Mueller. Frequently, they refused.
Happy Friday, October 18. With an ear to the ground, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has officially announced his impending resignation “later this year” with a cinematic send-off. Here’s more on that and the other stories we’re watching.
Aside from the national humiliation and breach of trust with allies, we have a remarkable development with President Trump’s sudden and still entirely unexplained decision to green-light a Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria. President Trump had already entered the greatest crisis of his presidency to date. And yet, a few tut-tuts and misgivings notwithstanding, Republicans remained reflexive in their support. President Trump chose this moment to drive a massive wedge between himself and the overwhelming majority of his own party. At a critical moment he chose to open a second front … against himself.
Among many other things, in his just concluded remarks, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney slightly shifted the White House explanation. He said one reason for the hold up of weapons aid to Ukraine was about the “corruption related to the DNC server.” This needs to be unpacked.
It is just a shard of information. But it is a reference to the Seth Rich/DNC Server conspiracy theory which holds the following …
While it’s pretty obvious that President Trump is the one who flipped out in yesterday’s meeting in White House, it’s still true that every narrator will have their own point of view and own slant to their description. But Democrats in the meeting who have spoken to the press suggest that it was pressing Trump on “all roads lead to Putin” that pushed Trump over the edge. Here’s Pelosi’s explanation of what lead to the ‘meltdown’.
The late House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) made investigating the President Trump’s census citizenship question a priority as he retook the gavel this year — and, in that probe, uncovered a key piece of evidence that helped the question’s legal challengers blow open the case.
New episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. We discuss the latest Trump/Ukraine investigation developments and try to make sense of the Dems’ marathon twelve-person on one stage debate. Listen here or it should be on your device if you signed up.
Updated Oct. 16, 2019.
The past few weeks have been a firestorm of new details concerning the intelligence community whistleblower and the subject of his complaint: An attempt by President Donald Trump to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, son of Trump’s leading Democratic rival Joe Biden.
To truly understand the story, we need to go back a few years. Here’s how we got to where we are today.