The scandal surrounding President Donald Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens that could be useful to Trump’s re-election campaign is continuing to develop. Congressional Democrats are zeroing in on — among other things — the role that Vice President Mike Pence has played in the situation. Although a large portion of the most high-profile investigative efforts are concentrated in the Democrat-majority House, this week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) joined in with questions of his own that he sent Pence and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Menendez demanded they come clean about whether or not they participated in Trump’s scheme to “turn” the Ukrainians, which has sparked an impeachment inquiry.
At issue (among other things) is the fact that around the time that the scandal was getting underway of Trump pausing the aid to Ukraine and eventually directly demanding the dirt, Pence abruptly cancelled a planned trip to the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the leader Trump has targeted. Perry went instead, and Menendez wants to know why.
Demanding an explanation, the Senator admonished Pence:
‘You met with President Zelensky in Warsaw, Poland. When asked by a reporter on that trip whether you could ‘assure Ukraine that the hold-up of that money has absolutely nothing to do with efforts, including by Rudy Giuliani, to try to dig up dirt on the Biden family,’ you did not answer the question… President Trump requested a foreign government help investigate his domestic political opponent… your statements regarding your discussions with Ukraine officials raise questions whether you may have helped carry that message.’
Meanwhile, Menendez demanded that Perry reveal whether he was in any way recruited to transmit that same message in question, namely, that the Trump administration wanted concessions (meaning dirt) from the new Ukrainian government before they’d hand over aid that had already been approved but Trump abruptly paused.
Menendez noted to Perry:
‘Given your role as the leader of the official United States delegation to the inauguration, and the White House’s recent release of evidence that President Trump requested that Ukraine’s government investigate his domestic political opponent, your insight into the U.S. delegation’s trip is of particular interest to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.’
A whistleblower complaint that revealed details of Trump’s interactions with Ukraine includes the revelation that besides Trump apparently personally directing Pence to cancel his trip to Zelensky’s inauguration earlier this year:
‘According to these officials, it was also made clear to them that the President did not want to meet with Mr. Zelenskyy until he saw how Zelenskyy chose to act in office.’
Trump has offered a number of excuses for his behavior towards Ukraine, including that he’s just suddenly super concerned about corruption in Eastern Europe and wants Zelensky to get to the bottom of it. Few if any who have followed Trump for any considerable amount of time put much if any stock in this assertion considering even how eager Trump was for help from the Russians during the 2016 campaign season.
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