Details just keep pouring out demonstrating just how wide the campaign really was from the Trump administration to get Ukrainian authorities to produce dirt on the Bidens. Now, the Associated Press has revealed that before Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke on the phone in July in the call at the center of a whistleblower complaint revealing the dirt scheme, Zelensky was already feeling the heat from the Trump team over their hoped-for Biden probe. On May 7, he met with a small group of advisers with the stated purpose of discussing energy policy, but their some three hours together quickly mainly focused on Trump’s push for a Biden investigation.
The Associated Press explains:
‘Zelenskiy gathered a small group of advisers on May 7 in Kyiv for a meeting that was supposed to be about his nation’s energy needs. Instead, the group spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting.’
The meeting unfolded weeks after Trump spoke to Zelensky on the phone following his initial Ukrainian presidential election victory. Although Trump has said he’d release a more full transcript of the call, there’s presently only a very slim official recap available — although it does include that Trump admonished Zelensky to “root out corruption,” which could be a euphemism for pushing for a Biden investigation. That would mean Trump pushed Zelensky for a Biden investigation months before he was previously known to have done so.
The revelation of this meeting comes right alongside others about just how far back the scheme really went. The New York Times reported this week that Ukrainian officials knew that the Trump administration had abruptly halted U.S. aid for them weeks before officials from either country previously admitted. That means that throughout the exact same time when Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others were pushing for a Biden investigation, Ukraine also knew that aid had been withheld. You’d really have to close your eyes and stick your head in sand to miss the shape of this shakedown.
At one point, Giuliani met with Zelensky adviser Andriy Yermak to push for that Biden investigation, and Yermak is one of the people who was present for that May meeting and who U.S. officials told Ukraine should get in touch with White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to get the aid moving again.
Apparently, it’s shortly after their first notification that the aid had been intentionally halted to begin with that U.S. officials like E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland formally told Ukraine that “everything” they wanted from the U.S. would be dependent on them investigating the Bidens. Sondland, Giuliani, and former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker even worked to draft a statement for Zelensky to release publicly announcing the investigation, although he never did so, and everything fell out into the open instead.