The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the latest attempt to derail Trump’s presidency which revolves around the US president asking Ukraine to conduct a legal investigation into former US Vice President Joe Biden, who boasted, on video, about withholding $1 billion in US loan guarantees unless Ukraine fired the man charged with investigating his son, Hunter, and his son’s company Burisma for corruption.
The Washington Post is now quietly reporting that a July 25th phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not contain an explicit quid pro quo if Ukraine launched an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son as initially reported.
In other words, there was no quid pro quo (during that specific phone call) offered in exchange for Trump asking Ukraine officials to investigate possible crimes committed by Hunter Biden.
For days we’ve been treated to MSM insinuations that President Trump may have betrayed the United States after a whistleblower lodged an ‘urgent’ complaint about something Trump promised another world leader – the details of which the White House has refused to share.
Then, we learned it was a phone call.
Then, we learned it was several phone calls.
Now, we learn it wasn’t Russia or North Korea – it was Ukraine!
Here’s the scandal; It appears that Trump, may have made promises to newly minted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – very likely involving an effort to convince Ukraine to reopen its investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, after Biden strongarmed Ukraine’s prior government into firing its top prosecutor – something Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have pursued for months. There are also unsupported rumors that Trump threatened to withhold $250 million in aid to help Ukraine fight Russian-backed separatists.
And while the MSM and Congressional Democrats are starting to focus on the sitting US president having a political opponent investigated, The New York Times admits that nothing Trump did would have been illegal, as “while Mr. Trump may have discussed intelligence activities with the foreign leader, he enjoys broad power as president to declassify intelligence secrets, order the intelligence community to act and otherwise direct the conduct of foreign policy as he sees fit.”
Moreover, here’s why Trump and Giuliani are going to dig their heels in; last year Biden openly bragged about threatening to hurl Ukraine into bankruptcy as Vice President if they didn’t fire their top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin – who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm whose board Hunter Biden sat on.
In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. –The Hill
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.
“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event – while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat.
In short, there’s both smoke and fire here – and what’s left of Biden’s 2020 bid for president may be the largest casualty of the entire whistleblower scandal.
And by the transitive properties of the Obama administration ‘vetting’ Trump by sending spies into his campaign, Trump can simply say he was protecting America from someone who may have used his position of power to directly benefit his own family at the expense of justice.
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are acting as if they’ve found the holy grail of taking Trump down. On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) interviewed inspector general Michael Atkinson, with whom the whistleblower lodged their complaint – however despite three hours of testimony, he repeatedly declined to discuss the content of the complaint.
Following the session, Schiff gave an angry speech – demanding that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire share the complaint, and calling the decision to withhold it “unprecedented.”
“We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress,” said Schiff, adding “We’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected.”
According to Schiff, someone “is trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress … There certainly are a lot of indications that it was someone at a higher pay grade than the director of national intelligence,” according to the Washington Post.
Just asked Schiff why IG couldn't talk today about substance of whistleblower complaint or WH involvement, and he said DNI and DOJ won't let the IG talk about it. "This shows someone is trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress." pic.twitter.com/q3cyg4zt36
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 19, 2019
On thursday, Trump denied doing anything improper – tweeting “Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself.”
“Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call.”
….Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
Giuliani, meanwhile, went on CNN with Chris Cuomo Thursday to defend his discussions with Ukraine about investigating alleged election interference in the 2016 election to the benefit of Hillary Clinton conducted by Ukraine’s previous government. According to Giuliani, Biden’s dealings in Ukraine were ‘tangential’ to the 2016 election interference question – in which a Ukrainian court ruled that government officials meddled for Hillary in 2016 by releasing details of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s ‘Black Book’ to Clinton campaign staffer Alexandra Chalupa.
President Trump's attorney says he had spoken with a Ukrainian official about Joe Biden's possible role in that government's dismissal of a prosecutor who investigated Biden's son. pic.twitter.com/hqmqtmx2VW
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) September 20, 2019
And so – what the MSM doesn’t appear to understand is that President Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden over something with legitimate underpinnings.
Which – of course, may lead to the Bidens’ adventures in China, which Giuliani referred to in his CNN interview. And just like his Ukraine scandal, it involves actions which may have helped his son Hunter – who was making hand over fist in both countries.
Journalist Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two – and two weeks later, Hunter’s firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China, which expanded to $1.5 billion
Meanwhile, speculation is rampant over what this hornet’s nest means for all involved..
The latest intell hit on Trump tells me that the deep-state swamp rats are in a panic over the Ukrainian/Obama admin collusion about to be outed in the IG report. They’re also freaked out over Biden’s shady Ukrainian deals with his kid.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) September 20, 2019
“As the 2020 election draws closer, 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,” wrote the chairman of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees wrote in a letter, citing media reports over the alleged threat to withhold $250 million.
House Democrats are also looking into whether Giuliani flew to Ukraine to ‘encourage’ them to investigate Hunter Biden and his involvement with Burisma.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.