September 19, 2019

ONLY A PIKER WOULD OBSTRUCT JUSTICE IN A SINGLE COUNTRY:

Zelensky defends relationship with US after Trump accused of pushing Ukraine to meddle in 2020 election (Kim Sengupta, 9/19/19, The Independent)

The house committees' chairs say they will scrutinise a telephone call between the US president and Mr Zelensky on 25 July, during which Mr Trump allegedly told the Ukrainian president to reopen the Biden investigation if he wanted to improve relations with the US.




Trump and Giuliani's Quest for Fake Ukraine "Dirt" on Biden: An Explainer (Viola Gienger, September 10, 2019, JustSecurity)

Vice President Mike Pence was about to finish a routine joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw last week, when he got two astutely specific questions about his meeting the previous day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

"Number one, did you discuss Joe Biden at all during that meeting yesterday with the Ukrainian President? And number two, can you assure Ukraine that the hold-up of [U.S. security assistance] has absolutely nothing to do with efforts, including by Rudy Giuliani, to try to dig up dirt on the Biden family?" Associated Press reporter Jill Colvin asked.

Pence answered the first question directly: "Well, on the first question, the answer is no." His response to the second question was more interesting. He essentially demurred. But to decode the significance of Pence's reply, it's important to understand the recent history of Ukraine and U.S. policy toward the country. From there, we can unpack what's at the bottom of the Trump-Giuliani efforts.

Those efforts yesterday became the focus of a new joint investigation by three House committees - Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform. In letters to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeking "any and all" related records and a list of personnel involved, the three Democratic committee chairs outlined a litany of meetings, phone calls, tweets and other threats, including the withholding of the $250 million of security aid the reporter had referenced in the question to Pence.

"President Trump and his personal attorney appear to have increased pressure on the Ukrainian government and its justice system in service of President Trump's reelection campaign, and the White House and the State Department may be abetting this scheme," the chairmen wrote.

The reporter's questions to Pence struck at the heart of a controversy roiling U.S.-Ukraine relations since even before Zelenskyy's election win in April. Starting at least late last year, President Donald Trump and his personal attorney and advisor, Rudy Giuliani, have agitated for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden, the current frontrunner in the Democratic presidential race and the candidate they apparently think could be Trump's biggest rival for a second term.

Rudy is bitter about Don Jr getting to be Fredo.

Posted by at September 19, 2019 6:57 PM

  

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