It appears that his week’s breaking story, Trump withholding Ukrainian aid in an attempt to extort Ukraine into investigating Biden, is not a breaking story within the DC “beltway.” People “in the know” have known for months. This is more than just an interesting aside, it has direct implications for who may be going to jail, or impeached, including Mike Pence and William Barr.
The notes and transcript may have been contained in a top-secret server, but it certainly was not “top secret.” From Rawstory:
Scarborough said he and Brzezinski heard almost two months ago from a former Department of Defense official that Trump was holding up the aid as leverage, and he said the allegation was widely known.
“It seemed to be the worst kept secret in Washington, D.C., that’s why Republicans denying a quid pro quo today is so laughable,” Scarborough said
Now, if Joe and Mika knew of the story, having been told by a “Department of Defense” official, someone outside of the White House and outside the formal intelligence community, it defies belief that Mike Pence, and William Barr knew nothing about the threat.
Speaking of Mike Pence, perhaps we didn’t appreciate Pence’s trip to Poland enough, at the time. We were too focused upon sharpies and hurricanes hitting Huntsville. But Pence had his eye on the ball, and a message from his boss, to give to the Ukrainian president, who was also in Poland at the time:
Pence met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky early this month in Poland, where he denied speaking about Biden but did admit to discussing corruption — which Trump has used as a code word for his efforts to investigate the former vice president’s son.
Both Trump and Rudy Giuliani used “corruption” as the code word when they address the need to investigate Biden. It is hard for me, or anyone, to believe that Pence did not deliver the exact same message to Ukrainian president Zelensky, “you must investigate Biden.”
Pence could be destined for impeachment himself, especially if that discussion was more “express” in its quid pro quo. Though, of course that would be tough to prove. But, want to know who would “know” exactly what was discussed? Joe Scarborough assures us that John Bolton will know, and will talk.
Pence is in real trouble.
But the problems for the Trump crowd do not end there, because the fact that this was “widely known” among the right circles in Washington also means that Barr’s denial that he knew “anything” about what Trump said during the phone call, or had been asked to do anything, becomes less tenuous.
James Maguire, the DNI who testified yesterday, said the complaint had been forwarded to the Department of Justice for investigation, and the DOJ declined to investigate the matter. Perhaps prior to today, we might have believed that the matter didn’t come to Barr’s attention. Though, to be sure, even that is doubtful, a complaint asking that the president be investigated for extortion is likely something of which the Attorney General would be aware. But, now that we know that this was the “worst kept secret” and that it had been making the rounds, all combined with the fact that the funds certainly had been withheld, makes it impossible to believe that Barr didn’t know anything. Indeed, Barr likely knew everything.
Salon agrees with me:
While Barr’s DOJ released a statement denying that Barr had any contact with the Ukrainians, it is increasingly difficult to believe an attorney general who has already been held in contempt of Congress for previously faulty testimony. As Sen. Kamala Harris recalled on Wednesday, Barr previously testified under oath that he had never been directed by the president to investigate a political rival. Remarkably, a month before that, Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he ordered Barr to look into Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.
Barr must resign, as the man who declined to investigate. At a minimum, he must recuse himself from all activity relating to the impeachment inquiry.
This entire matter will pick up steam as insiders start leaking at a greater pace, hoping to save themselves. Additionally, I find it likely that more and more whistleblowers will file complaints, again, attempting to set themselves on the right side of history.
It is easy for me to imagine a wave of criminal prosecution that sweeps up both Pence and Barr, two men integral to everything Trump does. Put simply, It is hard to fathom that Trump could engage in such outright criminality without his two most obvious accomplices. Going to be a lot of business for lawyers in the D.C. area.
I will deal with Mulvaney, White House Chief of Staff in another column, he need not be impeached, I don’t think. I need to do more research, but he’s in just as much trouble. I’ll be back with more soon enough.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @MiciakZoom