December 3, 2019

The Trump Impeachment and Ukrainian Collusion

Part 1:

"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 Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found."

Long complicated read...but from what I gathered most of it concerns Manafort's relationship with Putin ally, Yanukovitch, and his subsequent joining of the Trump campaign. They indeed helped Clinton, but they, from what I've read, didn't stoop to the same level as the Russians (trolling, bots, compromised accounts, false narratives), rather they just backed the wrong horse.

Part 2: 
And what happens after that Politico article (see prior post) gets picked up by conservatives.

"Alina Polyakova, a director and fellow at the Brookings Institute, told BuzzFeed News that the Politico piece was likely the beginning of the Ukrainian collusion narrative. “To me, this is the origin story of that narrative,” she said. “We've seen now Giuliani and people around him pull data points [from the piece] that in a conspiratorial mind look connected but aren't.”

For the record, the two reporters on the Politico article left Politico and now work at the NY Times (Vogel) and the Washington Post (Stern).

Yet this one source is spinning a narrative that is disputed. "The Ukrainian Embassy disputes Telizhenko’s version of events. And Chalupa wrote of the article on Facebook at the time, “The title and theme are nonsense.” She went on to say that, “In my experience, the Embassy of Ukraine was always very careful throughout the U.S. election to stay neutral and tried to engage both campaigns. They were always professional and upfront about not getting involved, even where Manafort was concerned.”
So he starts pushing the narrative, it gets picked up and is used to do what?

"It looks as if his efforts to curry favor with Trump’s inner circle by members of the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office were actually part of a larger plan to oust Marie Yovanovitch, the US ambassador to Ukraine and a vocal anti-corruption critic. The Trump administration recalled Yovanovitch in May."

The real questions then are if this is the origin story of Ukrainian interference, are there more sources to back up Telizhenko's story about DNC corruption? Even Politico suggests that their involvement, " the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections."

Straining diplomatic protocol is not the same as interfering.

Part 3:

The question is, "what do they really want?"

Seems to me that this is an argument for a President who reads, checks sources, doesn't just rely on his gut, and doesn't have a touch of paranoia, and only surrounds himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear.

Part 4:  

My conclusions are that Republican operatives pushed a phony conspiracy plan to get Trump to remove an honorable Ambassador who was advocating for US interests that stood in their way. I want to know Perry, Giuliani, Trump, and Pompeo's interest in SigmaBleyzer and Aspect Holdings LLC.

In the process, Giuliani fed the President's natural inclinations (remember the birther phenomenon) and he used his powers (with no one in his staff to tell him it would be a bad idea) to hold up Congressionally mandated aid to get something out of the Ukrainians.

Giuliani convinced him of this plan by suggesting that he could get the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens (he could've done that all of 2017 and 2018 but didn't), which would benefit him in the 2020 race by hamstringing what was, at the time, his strongest rival-Joe Biden.

The lesson for Trump from the Mueller report was not that he shouldn't get foreign help to win an election, but that as long as he didn't conspire to make it happen he'd be okay. That's why he wanted the Ukrainians to announce the investigations themselves-"they should want to do it."

Unfortunately, the whistle-blower and other ethical actors in the State Department didn't get the memo. Its the news cycle, not the investigations. Trump wants to use a similar tactic ("but what about her emails") to drive the election cycle again. Only this time, if Joe Biden is the nominee, it'll be (and probably still will be) what about Hunter Biden and Burisma? Trump politically doesn't really want Hunter and Burisma investigated. He just wants the cloud of investigation hanging over the entire election.

Now, setting aside the above, is what the President did impeachable?

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