Last night, Rep. Adam Schiff released a letter that he, along with Reps. Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings, sent to members of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees that they chair, respectively. The letter introduces a set of eyepopping text messages relating to the Ukraine scandal that paints a portrait of a calculating and shamelessly corrupt administration. It also sends a strong message about what’s coming down the pike, and it does not look good for Donald Trump.
The texts include exchanges between Ambassador Kurt Volker, who testified in a marathon session before the House yesterday, Rudy Giuliani (Trump’s Court Jester), Andrey Yermak (Ukraine President Zelensky’s Aide), Bill Taylor (Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine), and Gordon Sondland (U.S. Ambassador to the European Union). The texts, which were sent over a period of July 19 through September 9, emphasize the existence of a long-term coordinated effort to get Zelensky to agree to pursue investigations for Trump’s political benefit, and they confirm that Zelensky was quite aware of what Trump was seeking to accomplish through his pressure campaign. In one revealing text sent less than a month ago, Taylor expressed concern to Sondland: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
Not only did Schiff release these texts to the public promptly after Volker’s testimony yesterday, but he chose to present them in chronological order, organized by subtopic with handy annotations. This swift, helpful action no doubt stopped a new set of conspiracy theories from emerging based on the very limited excerpts that were already leaking out of context.
As damning as these texts are, they don’t expose the whole picture. As the letter points out, “The additional excerpts we are providing are still only a subset of the full body of the materials, which we hope to make public after a review for personally identifiable information.” Through this letter, Schiff, Engel, and Cummings delivered a warning shot to Trump loyalists that before they twist themselves in knots to craft a defense based on these texts, they should fear what’s coming soon. The letter is also a signal to the public that these House committees are not only determined to uncover the truth behind Trump’s criminality, but that they are already carefully yet quickly advancing toward their goal. Stay tuned.