Nancy Pelosi has handled the Trump impeachment beautifully in many ways. Specifically, she was patient, and gambled that given time, Donald Trump would continue to give Democrats more ammunition with which to take him down. She also made a strategic decision to investigate narrowly and focus on only the most simple and easy to understand charges against Trump as part of the impeachment inquiry. Today we witnessed a consequence of that decision.
If you read the actual summary of the telephone call between Trump and the President of Ukraine (often incorrectly referred to as a transcript), you find that while Trump clearly did ask the Ukraine President to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, Trump appeared to spend even more time asking for another investigation involving the origins of the Mueller report and the DNC’s involvement with a Ukrainian company Trump claims was actually behind the meddling. Pelosi and pundits alike have largely brushed off this ask by Trump of another investigation, in favor of focusing on Trump asking for dirt on Biden, his political rival. Perhaps they brushed off Trump’s first ask because they want to stay laser focused on a narrow and easy to digest storyline. Maybe it is harder to understand how the investigation of the origins of the Mueller investigation is an impeachable offense.
However, when I read the full summary of the Trump/Ukraine call, it was crystal clear to me what Trump was up to, and I think today we witnessed why it’s a mistake not to tell the full story: Trump was attempting to force the President of Ukraine to publicly state that he found evidence that it was Ukraine, and not Russia, that interfered in the election, and that the DNC was involved in some shady collusion with the Ukrainian company that executed the interference.
If Trump had been successful in getting the Ukrainian President to agree to his scheme, he could have used this as an October surprise to accuse the Democrats and the DNC of being the ones that were actually corrupt and colluding with foreign governments, and to claim complete and total exoneration of himself and Russia. Then he would also link Joe Biden to shady business dealings in Ukraine. This is classic Trump gaslighting: accuse your opponents of doing the very thing you have done.
But it gets even better for Trump, because he had Pompeo and Barr working hard to get countries like Italy and Australia to back the conclusions he was strong-arming Ukraine into announcing. If it worked, this really could have helped him get re-elected!
Clearly, the Inspector General of the State Department read the entire whistleblower report and he saw in it the same story I saw. So, when a whole package of information was delivered to him, filled with documentation of the details of the same ‘Ukraine not Russia interfered in the election” storyline Trump fed to the President of Ukraine, the Inspector General of the State Department realized that people in the State Department were likely also involved in pushing foreign governments to corroborate his false narrative, exonerating himself and Russia, and implicating the DNC and Ukraine in 2016 election meddling.
Come on Democrats, this is not that hard to understand, and it’s likely more and more relevant information will come out. We need to tell the whole story and quit ignoring the fact that Trump also pressed the President of Ukraine to validate his claim that Russia election meddling was a hoax. Now we know Trump was also using the State Department to pressure other countries to do the same. There will be more to come.
Cheryl Kelley lives in the DC area with her husband and young son. She is active in government and politics.