The purpose of today’s post is to clearly lay out the simple facts regarding the current impeachment inquiry. Think of this as an attempt to provide talking points for the Thanksgiving dinner table. You know, assuming there are no further bombshells dropped between now and then. 

I’ll provide 6a few links to the source materials for the post, but you all know how to use Google.  On that note, I stole a lot of this from CNN not-so-fake news.

HERE’S THE SIMPLE

Ukraine desperately wanted two things from the United States: Military aid and a meeting at the White House. The former to help Ukraine fight Putin and the latter to clothe the new Ukrainian administration in legitimacy. President Trump conditioned  both of these things on Ukraine agreeing to investigate the DNC, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company Hunter Biden worked for. This was an abuse of the power of the Office of the President. Trump used the power of his office for personal gain by soliciting foreign governments to investigate his political opponents. To put the cherry on this abuse of power cupcake, keep in mind that the president was required by law to release the military aid. His withholding was ethically, morally, and legally wrong.  It was also against our own foreign policy interest in putting a check on Putin’s attempts to expand Russia’s influence. 

FUN FACT: All of this started because Trump had his personal attorney pursue a debunked conspiracy theory that the DNC was never hacked, and in fact moved its network server to a secret location in Ukraine, because people will believe anything. In other words, Trump was looking for a way to pretend that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 election on his behalf. I don’t know why he would do that. I mean, he’s never tried to cozy up to Putin before.

Everything set forth above, has been verified in public by Trump. Even as I type this, his own people are testifying and/or confirming everything.

Whether Trump should be impeached is debatable. His abuse of power, corrupt intent and actions are not. Of course, in a world where people are still arguing that the world is flat and the moonwalk never happened… 

Anyway, here we go. 

LESS SIMPLE

In 2013, the Russian backed government of Ukraine decides not to join the European Union. Instead, it hitches its wagon to Russia. This results in massive protests in Ukraine. The protests are supported by the Obama administration.  By early 2014, the protesters succeeded in toppling the Ukraine government. It’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych  flees to Russia.  

Putin, pissed at the loss of his puppet government, invades Ukraine in March 2014. This results in the annexation of Crimea. Obama responds with strong sanctions. People die. Our allies die. At least 12,000 of them. The world turns. 

A month later Hunter Biden takes a paid position with Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company owned by Mykola Zlochevsky. This Zlochevsky guy was a member of the previous Russian backed government, and probably corrupt. Hunter Biden was willing to have a shady character sign his paycheck (then again, so was our entire White House cabinet).

In May, 2014, Petro Poroshenko is elected president of Ukraine and promises to clean up corruption and cozy back up to the EU.  That’s good news for the West. Two days later, Stranger Things is released on Netflix and nothing happens for the next 16 months. Coincidence? Maybe. 

She’s no hero, okay? I like hero’s who aren’t nose bleeders.

In September 2015, Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, criticizes Ukraine’s prosecutors for not rooting out corruption, and mentions Burisma, the company who had Hunter Biden on his board.  So we have a U.S. ambassador in the Obama administration, pressuring Ukraine to take a tough stance on corruption, including on Hunter Biden’s boss. 

Fast forward to December 2015. VP Joe Biden,  the European Union, the Ukrainian activists and everyone else who isn’t Putin, call for the firing of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. This was done AFTER Shokin had already stopped investigating Burisma. Shokin burns his “I love Joe” posters and resigns as Ukraine’s prosecutor general. Within a year Ukraine’s new prosecutor general reopens the Burisma case, finds no evidence of criminal action, and dismisses the case.  AT THIS POINT, IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS THAT THE BIDEN CONSPIRACY THEORY IS MORE NUTS THAN RED MEAT. 

Then in August, 2016, the world learns that Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a paid consultant for Ukraine’s pro-Russian president before he fled to Russia. Manafort resigns from the campaign because someone leaked a secret ledger that disclosed payments from the Russia-backed Ukraine government to Manafort. The payments form part of the criminal case in which Manafort was found guilty of tax fraud, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts. 

Shortly thereafter, the trailer for the final Game of Thrones season is released and the world loses its collective mind.

Did you know “Hordor” is Ukrainian for “witch hunt?” Hordor! Hordor! Hordor!!

Almost a year later, Trump tweets about “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign,” and asks then-attorney general Jeff Sessions to investigate. Sessions just stands there like a Hordor, so Trump’s sends his BFF, Rudy Giuliani to investigate who leaked the secret ledger. Because leakers are the real problem here, right?

Giuliani’s efforts at playing State Department seem to pay off, because in December 2018, a Ukrainian court finds that two Ukrainian officials interfered in the 2016 US presidential election by releasing details of the secret ledger payments. That decision, however, is overturned by an appeals court. 

On April 21, 2019, Zelensky is elected President of Ukraine. Four days later, Joe Biden announces he is running for president, and Hunter Biden resigns from the board of Burisma.

So far, so simple!

Replacing the State Dept. with the Giuliani Dept. 

On April 29, Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, is recalled to Washington. Marie is a career foreign service officer. That’s fancy talk for “not a political hack.” While Marie is back in Washington, associates of Giuliani are trying to contact the incoming team of President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. This is also known as “going behind the State Department’s back.”

On May first, we learn that Giuliani met repeatedly with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko in New York and pushed for Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Burisma.  Five days later, the State Dept. announces that Marie will be leaving her post as ambassador to Ukraine. Five days after that, Giuliani steps in shit when he announces he will be going to Ukraine to meet with it’s new president. He eventually cancels this trip.

FUN FACT: On 27 February 2012 Lutsenko was sentenced to four years in jail for embezzlement and abuse of office. So Giuliani went to ask a convicted felon to start a bogus corruption investigation into the Bidens!

The Biden Conspiracy

On May 16, Yuriy Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor general, told Bloomberg News that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing in Ukraine by the Bidens. So we can all breathe easier knowing Trump will drop this and not involve a foreign power in our upcoming election. So that’s that. 

But then there’s June. Trump states that he would want to hear it if foreign governments offered him damaging information about his opponents in the 2020 presidential election.

I CONFESS!

A few weeks later Rudy Giuliani tweets that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference” in the 2016 election. Quick recap for emphasis. Trump signals that he wants damaging information on his political opponents. Then his attorney makes a veiled threat directed at Ukraine. And this all happens around the time Trump puts a hold on the military aid to Ukraine.

FORESHADOWING: THIS IS FOUR WEEKS BEFORE THE JULY 25 PHONCALL TO UKRAINE, where Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and Burisma.

Okay. Pay attention now. We’re almost there. 

HOME STRETCH

About a week before the July 25 phone call with President Zelensky, Trump tells his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to put a hold on millions of military aid to Ukraine. 

On July 24, Mueller testifies to Congress about the witch hunt. He doesn’t say anything that isn’t in the report but what’s in the report is pretty damning We have multiple communications/meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russians. No actual criminal conspiracy, but clearly no exoneration of criminal conduct. Mueller goes through several  instances of when Trump tried to kill the investigation. Nevertheless, Trump gets a hard on and feels invincible. Maybe he is.

The next day, Trump is on the phone with the president of Ukraine.  The Ukraine President puts a readout of the conversation on his official website: “Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve [the]image of Ukraine, and complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.” 

Later, in September, the White House releases a memorandum of the phone call, not the actual transcript, that states Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump admits he did so.

On July 26, US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, and US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They don’t discuss Trump’s demands in the phone call, but after the meeting Volker and Sondland reportedly tell the Ukrainian leadership on how to “navigate” Trump’s demands of Zelensky. This is set forth in the whistleblower complaint

Hello! I donated One Million Dollars to Trump and got a job. I have no idea what I’m doing!

Two weeks later Trump announces that President Zelensky might be coming to the White House.  

“I think he’s going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine. And I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”
A meeting with Trump would strengthen Zelensky’s position in Ukraine. As hard as it is for some to believe, a meeting with Trump can benefit foreign leaders.  

Three days later the whistleblower complaint is filed with the Inspector General. Three days after that, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon both resign. A week or so later, the whistleblower complaint is delivered to acting director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire. 

 Two days later national security adviser John Bolton meets with President Zelensky in Kiev. Gatewaypundit reports that Bolton was there to purchase illegal mustache wax on the black market. This part turns out to be untrue in every sense, in that I made this part up. 

On September 1, Pence meets with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Poland. He admits discussing military aid and the issue of corruption in Ukraine.

The same day Bill Taylor, a bigwig in the US Embassy in Ukraine, texts US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker. Bill Taylor can’t believe that Trump’s decision to release US aid depends on President Zelensky agreeing to investigate the Bidens.

“Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Taylor asks.

“Call me,” Sondland writes back.

We now pause for a collective LOL.

On Sept. 2, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire misses the legal deadline to send the whistle blower complaint to congress. Why does he me miss this deadline? Because the William Barr Justice Department and White House lawyers told him to, of course. 

A week later the Intelligence Community Inspector General notifies House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of an “urgent concern” that Joseph Maguire has overruled. This is how Congress learns of the whistle blower complaint and it triggers investigations into Trump, Giuliani and others efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government interfere in the 2020 election.

 That same day, Bill Taylor expresses concern, again, to Kurt Volker and  Sondland, because the administration is withholding financial support to Ukraine “for help with a political campaign.” 

Sondland gets the message, has a scotch, has a chat with Trump and, four hours later, writes back:

“Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text…”

Err…

Remember, at this point, Acting National Security Advisor Maguire has still not turned over the whistleblower complaint, as required by law. 

On Sept 11, well after all the shit has hit the fan, Trump lifts the hold on the military aid to Ukraine.  Days later, Maguire is subpoenaed to testify. He refuses. The following week, Maguire agrees to brief the House Intelligence Committee on the whistle blower complaint. Under law, that complaint should already be in the the hands of the committee. The same day, Pence is playing telephone with President Zelensky. 

On September 24, Trump tweets that he will release the memorandum of Ukranian phone call. That same day and before the release of the memorandum Pelosi announces that Congress will begin a formal impeachment inquiry. 

The next day Trump meets with President Zelensky at the U.N. and Zelensky says he wasn’t pressured. HA!

Three days later, Sec. of State Pompeo is subpoenaed. He refuses to comply. 

On Sept. 27, Kurt Volker leaves the administration. 

At this point Republicans are just getting ready to mock the democrats for suggesting that the President of the United States would ever ask a foreign power to interfere in another election. Then Trump opens his mouth. On television, he asked two foreign powers – Ukraine and China – to investigate Joe Biden. And when I say two foreign powers, I mean he told the world that it was open season on U.S. elections.

A week later Bill Taylor testifies behind closed doors that Gordon Sondland told him US military aid for Ukraine was specifically contingent on a public promise by Ukraine to conduct investigations into the 2016 US election and into Burisma. By now it is clear that Trump was withholding aid in exchange for the investigations. Latin nerds all over the world start screaming “quid pro quo!”  

The next day, about 24 Republican knuckleheads storm a secure room with cell phones, in violation of the House rules and probably the law (I’m too lazy to look that fact up), is a bull shit political stunt. 

THAT’S IT! SO SIMPLE!

Well, there’s more. But my fingers are too tired. Besides this would be more than enough in, ya know, a normal world.

Published by Adam Sifre

I'm a fifty something writer of fiction. That makes me over qualified to discuss politics.

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