There It Is

US President Donald Trump looks on during a joint-press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz, south-west France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the lea... US President Donald Trump looks on during a joint-press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz, south-west France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 20, 2019 3:52 p.m.
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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.

The sources who spoke to the Journal did not think the military aid package was specifically stated as a quid pro quo, though it probably didn’t need to be made explicit.

There’s another thing to note in the story though. Rudy Giuliani told the Journal that his meeting with Andriy Yermak, an aide to President Zelensky was arranged by the State Department and that he briefed the State Department on their conversation. It’s not entirely out of the ordinary for a prominent American to brief State Department officials if they meet with a foreign government official. It’s good policy on both sides. Where it gets dicier is Giuliani’s suggestion that the State Department arranged the meeting. What Giuliani has been up to in Ukraine is no secret. If his claim is true – State declined to comment – that means the Trump administration has gotten itself tangled up in this more than we knew.

One final point. This is experienced speculation. But this piece reads more like officials at the White House trying to get ahead of the story rather than the “former U.S. officials” who’ve been speaking to the Post.

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