By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) As it appeared that Democrats would not be able to convince enough Republicans in the Senate on Friday to back impeachment witnesses, The New York Times dropped another “bombshell” allegedly contained in former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book.
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The Times is claiming that President Donald Trump directed Bolton to ramp up a pressure campaign on Ukraine two months ahead of a July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky in an effort to convince him to give up politically damaging information on Democrats — a meeting which the paper said was attended by top Trump officials and presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani:
More than two months before he asked Ukraineâ€™s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the presidentâ€™s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the presidentâ€™s impeachment defense.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Boltonâ€™s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.
The previously undisclosed directive that Mr. Bolton describes would be the earliest known instance of Mr. Trump seeking to harness the power of the United States government to advance his pressure campaign against Ukraine, as he later did on theÂ July call with Mr. ZelenskyÂ that triggered a whistle-blowerÂ complaintÂ and impeachment proceedings.Â
The president, as well as Giuliani, have “categorically” denied that any such conversation took place.
â€œI never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky,â€ the president said Friday. â€œThat meeting never happened.â€
â€œIt is absolutely, categorically untrue,” said Giuliani.
The Times goes on to claim that, according to a Bolton manuscript that the paper admittedly has yet to see, Trump was ‘obsessed’ with Ukraine because of “conspiracy theories” that officials there were attempting to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
But it’s no ‘conspiracy’ that the DNC and the Clinton campaign sought out Ukrainian officials in an attempt to get them to help disrupt Trump’s 2016 campaign — as the “Spygate” operation was playing out. Both of these occurrences have been well documented, even if the NY Times won’t acknowledge those reports.
POLITICO was the first to report on the DNC/Clinton/Ukraine connection:
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clintonâ€™s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafortâ€™s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trumpâ€™s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraineâ€™s foe to the east, Russia.Â
The Ukrainian antipathy for Trumpâ€™s team â€” and alignment with Clintonâ€™s â€” can be traced back to late 2013. Thatâ€™s when the countryâ€™s president, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Manafort had been advising, abruptly backed out of a European Union pact linked to anti-corruption reforms. Instead, Yanukovych entered into a multibillion-dollar bailout agreement with Russia, sparking protests across Ukraine and prompting Yanukovych to flee the country to Russia under Putinâ€™s protection.
John Solomon, then of The Hill, would note subsequently that Ukraineâ€™s top prosecutor, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko, said it seems as though his countryâ€™s law enforcement institution purposefully leaked Manafort financial records so as to sway the election in favor of Clinton:
The leak of the so-called black ledger files to U.S. media prompted Manafortâ€™s resignation from the Trump campaign and gave rise to one of the key allegations in the Russia collusion probe that has dogged Trump for the last two and a half years.
Ukraine Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenkoâ€™s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarianâ€™s release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clintonâ€™s campaign.
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Also, in a columnÂ publishedÂ byÂ The HillÂ in August 2017 by Matthew Whitaker, then-executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) and who would go on to serve as Trumpâ€™s interim attorney general, took a closer look at those Clinton-Ukraine connections:
In aÂ tweet last month, Trump said â€œUkrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign â€” â€˜quietly working to boost Clinton.â€™ So where is the investigation A.G.â€ It even prompted aÂ Ukraine member of parliament, Andre Derkah, toÂ send a letter last monthÂ to Ukraineâ€™s prosecutor general requesting â€œthat authorities launch a pretrial investigation into â€˜illegal interference in the election of President of the United States organized by a criminal investigation.â€™â€ It also raised some very serious concerns for our organization, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).
As to the alleged contents of Bolton’s book, it should be noted that even if the allegations are true — that President Trump wanted something ‘political’ from the Ukrainian government, the conduct of foreign policy is not illegal or unconstitutional. And in the end, there was no such “Democrat dirt” forthcoming. Plus, the Ukrainians were provided the military aid Congress authorized.
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