The whistle-blower complaint at the heart of the Ukraine scandal alleges that the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was fired because Rudy Giuliani and his allies had attacked her as hostile to President Trump and his goal of ginning up an investigation of Joe Biden. But the report had to connect some dots. It had no direct evidence that Trump had fired her over the Biden investigation.
Now there is evidence. It comes from, of all people, Giuliani himself. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Trump lawyer admits that, as the paper puts it: “in the lead-up to Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal, he reminded the president of complaints percolating among Trump supporters that she had displayed an anti-Trump bias in private conversations. In Mr. Giuliani’s view, she also had been an obstacle to efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden and his son Hunter.”
So Giuliani’s account heavily suggests that Trump decided to fire Yovanovitch because she was standing in the way of their plan to pressure Ukraine to go after Biden. It is at minimum a highly inconvenient fact to introduce into the president’s defense. And it comes from his own lawyer!
This raises the question of whether Giuliani is incompetent or whether he is actively incriminating other figures, including his client, to prevent himself from being the fall guy.
Meanwhile, ABC News has obtained a text exchange from earlier this year, in which Bill Taylor, an American diplomat to Ukraine, wrote, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” In response, Gordon Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union and a Trump megadonor and presumed loyalist, spoke with Trump, then called the charge “incorrect” and immediately suggested the discussion be taken offline.
When somebody writes that your organization is engaging in unethical and possibly criminal behavior and then another person communicates withe the boss, denies the charge in writing and immediately moves the discussion into a forum where it will not be recorded, it seems … suspicious.
Lots of people were involved in Trump’s plan to leverage Ukraine against Biden. Many of them seem to have an incentive to rat one another out.
The New York Times adds that diplomats drafted a statement for Zelensky in August that would have committed him to investigating Trump’s political rivals. Trump corrupted American foreign policy for his political benefit, and there are lots of documents and people that will confirm the story.
This post has been updated.