This week, two associates of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani were abruptly arrested over an alleged scheme to violate campaign finance laws and get upwards of $1 million in Russian money into the U.S. The cast of characters involved in the Ukraine scandal that includes them doesn’t end there, though — there’s now new reporting from the Wall Street Journal describing how a political appointee in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) named Michael Duffey (who’s also a former leader of the Wisconsin state GOP) was specially given the authority to hold back aid to Ukraine as Trump pushed for dirt from them on the Bidens.
The Journal explains:
‘While career civil servants put an initial hold on the aid, Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs in OMB, was given the authority for continuing to keep the aid on hold after the career staff began raising their concerns to political officials at OMB, according to people familiar with the matter.’
The publication adds that Duffey was eventually placed as the final say over the distribution of a number of other instances of foreign aid, a role that former OMB officials explained as “unusual.”
The aid consisted of nearly $400 million worth of military assistance in defending against Russian aggression. Trump has claimed that he held it back because he was concerned about having to spend the money at all when he thought other countries should — but the reality of the sequence of events remains. Trump abruptly ordered the aid be paused despite officials having already approved it, and he subsequently launched a campaign to get dirt from Ukraine on the Bidens. That scheme included more and more people than previously known.
Besides Duffey, other recently revealed players include the since resigned U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker and the still serving, major Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who is on record in texts talking about Trump going after the “deliverable” — meaning Biden investigation and dirt. Volker has already testified to Congress, but Sondland refused after the president ordered him to stay away and has since been subpoenaed.
Besides the aid, those text conversations reveal that a summit in D.C. including Ukrainian leaders and the Trump administration was also made dependent on whether Ukraine announced a Biden probe. They never did, and no summit has taken place.
House Democratic investigators have taken up these issues as part of their ongoing formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, in which they’ve already issued subpoenas for — besides Sondland — information from Giuliani and the White House. The current White House counsel recently sent a letter asserting to House Dems that they would not comply with any aspects of the impeachment inquiry, so Dems seem likely to have to resort to the court system to get their info.
Trump and his cronies have consistently insisted that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with anything that they did, but — we can all see the evidence! Demonstrable evidence doesn’t lie. That’s what Trump does.
Featured Image via screenshot