Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by Early August, Undermining Trump Defense

Top officials were told in early August about the delay of $391 million in security assistance, undercutting a chief argument President Trump has used to deny any quid pro quo.

Comments: 243

  1. Does anyone believe anything the trump officials say any more? Enough is enough. Impeach!

  2. @Mark Trump's base backs him all the way, and continues to defend him against radical left-wing extremists... They are unbothered by facts.

  3. @Mark And, hopefully, after the House impeaches, the repubs in the Senate are fed up enough with how trump is ruining their party that they will vote to remove.

  4. Don't rush it. There's a declining number of sane individuals who support the president, but for those still allied with him, the wool over their eyes has grown thick. A few more weeks with more cuts like this one should help a few more regain their vision.

  5. The half-life of Trump lies is getting shorter and shorter.

  6. Anything Trump says, the opposite is true.

  7. @Mr. Mark And the corrollary is that anything Trump accuses others of, he is guilty of himself.

  8. @Mr. Mark True so true

  9. @Mr. Mark He's the perfect reverse barometer.

  10. And the dominoes are toppling...

  11. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 I agree Red!! I keep thinking of that tune, "The Party's Over" "The party's over It's time to call it a day They've burst your pretty balloon And taken the moon away It's time to wind up the masquerade Just make your mind up the piper must be paid"

  12. It has reached the point where the liars simply cannot keep their lies straight, and they cannot keep the lid on lies that are scrambled. "When first you practice to deceive..."

  13. How long before we hear : "I couldn't have committed a crime if I didn't know what I was doing was a crime. "

  14. @Tom Q Somewhere around the age of five, maybe six, my parents taught me that ignorance of a crime is no excuse. Has the rule changed? I don't recall getting the memo.

  15. @Tom Q Mulvaney is likely to take the fall for holding up the funds. And, of course, he'll receive a pardon from Trump for having done so.

  16. @Ken K This is assuming that any norm applies to our so-called president

  17. The Ukrainians were in danger of constant attack from Russia in the east. US policy sides with the Ukrainians, against the Russians. The Trump Administration withheld congressionally approved military munitions from the Ukrainians, leaving them vulnerable lethal attack by the Russians. How is this not giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

  18. @Paul McGlasson Trump doesn't think Russia is his enemy. That's all he needs to know.

  19. @Mike Fair point: the President will say to the Senate impeachment prosecution: "the Russians aren't my enemy...they were Hillary's."

  20. It’s called treason.

  21. “Liars have to have good memories” my mom used to say, as a warning in the midst of growing up. Obviously Donald Trump either does not have a good memory, never grew up, or he just thinks all other people are dumb.

  22. All of the above.

  23. @MIMA MIMA overlooks a fourth possibility: That our so-called president simply does not care. So long as his name is in every newspaper every day, he's having fun. This thought, of course, may just be a refinement of MIMA's "never grew up."

  24. To paraphrase the novelist Mary McCarthy, “Every word that comes out of the White House, including “the” and “a,” is a lie.”

  25. Do we really need any more poof that Trump is corrupt and a liar and unethical?

  26. Please stop suggesting that this pathological liar is a liar - it upsets him and the GOP senators.

  27. Another Trump lie, another brick in the wall.

  28. @Deutschmann More like another nail in the coffin, hopefully

  29. One by one, the stones are getting overturned, exposing the grime beneath. Republicans are going to have a tougher time defending their President. GOP, this is on your hands now. The justice wheels are picking up speed.

  30. Of course Ukraine knew why the aid was being held up. First, the aid was so important to Ukraine that it would have noticed the slightest delay. Second, what’s the point of withholding in the admitted quid pro quo if you don’t tell Ukraine? Third, what else would Giuliani be doing in all these off the books contacts he made, and with Trump telling Zelensky to contact Giuliani about investigations? Most importantly, these people aren’t idiots. Trump mentioning “a favor though” in the same conversation as the aid is implicitly making it a quid pro quo. You’d have to be dense to not figure it out.

  31. Nothing else really needs to be said at this point. Trump is guilty. He is guilty of many other things too. We are witnessing one of the most corrupt administrations in American history. Once he is out of office, whether by impeachment or the 2020 election, he better be prosecuted. Nixon got pardoned in the name of the nation "needing to heal" and almost no one faced any serious repercussions. This is worse and blatant government corruption. It's time the powerful are held accountable for destroying our democracy. Prosecute them all.

  32. @BReed More than 40 people were sentenced to significant time in prison during Watergate.

  33. @Susan Dean Mainly the fall guys. And they served terms people get for being caught with marijuana.

  34. Thank heavens one more time for a free press, and thanks especially to the reporters and editors of the Times and the WashPost.

  35. @Mike Weston: And thanks also to the dedicated civil servants who have recognized that their overriding duty is to the United States of America.

  36. “ . . . communications show that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than United States and Ukrainian officials had acknowledged and was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when Giuliani two American diplomats were pressing Zelensky to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Trump” Zelensky and Trump can claim there was no pressure or wrong doing until the cows come home but the tangible evidence, the communications, indicates otherwise and speaks for itself. The more Trump and Zelensky try to dig their way out of this hole, the hole only gets deeper and deeper, pulling them in farther and farther down.

  37. @Marge Keller Zelensky is stuck. He won't come clean til he is sure Trump is gone...even then he still has Pence to deal with.

  38. And this assumes that the Ukrainians are both stupid and do not have access to the internet. And that they were unaware of Trump’s hack emissary “The Mayor” palling around Kiev with the oligarchs stooges (collectively, “the Three Stooges”) and meeting with the ex-prosecutor with a giant axe to grind and conspiracy theories to peddle.

  39. Extortion. Isn’t that a common Mafia trick ? Who could have guessed.

  40. BTW, the extremist Russian Republican House members who interrupted the deposition this am should be arrested and jailed. Looking a lot desperate.

  41. Yes, breaking in on a secret meeting among Russian agents is very serious. What would happen if, forbid the thought, truth leaked for once?

  42. @John Bowman Wait? Did the democrats break into the president's cabinet meeting? Lock em up!

  43. @John Bowman Cute, but I think you know that the hearing was not "secret", just behind closed doors - and Republicans on the committee have access and have been participating in the depositions, in fact the leader of the "protest", Rep. Gaetz is one of those, so the claim that Republicans are being excluded is bogus. Unless the Russian agents you referred to are the Republicans on the committee.

  44. It’s almost as if someone is lying.

  45. Awaiting Trump’s presser right now well aware that we can trust nothing he says. Sad.

  46. I wouldn't believe Trump if he reported on the weather.

  47. @Tom - You shouldn't Trump has lied about the weather more than once.

  48. He did, and he lied about it. Do you remember Sharpiegate?

  49. What more is left to prove?

  50. @Liberal I want every single one of Trump's crimes to be exposed. Americans must know the full extent of the corruption, graft, and evil of this administration. Otherwise, too many people will claim that what Trump and his enablers did was just "business as usual" and he was railroaded for something that would otherwise have been overlooked. Nixon's associates received significant prison sentences after Watergate; that has to happen here as well.

  51. Well that one didn't last long. I wonder what's next in Wonderland?

  52. More lies from Trump. Why is he still in office? Oh right, Congressional corruption.

  53. The corrupt Trump house of cards is quickly falling . Thank god.

  54. Didn’t I hear that two years ago?

  55. It was just a matter of time. Even they have lost track of their dealings and shady characters in “unofficial” administrative positions.

  56. @Brett B No it isn't. We've been here before. Talk to a fox news viewer. You'll find that for them none of this is even real and if it were real it wouldn't matter. Trump isn't going anywhere

  57. Our (or any) government lies - its just a matter ofr how often. So what else is new? Its not just Trumph he just lies more often.

  58. @ez can you get over using false equivalence as justification? It's tired trope.

  59. @ez ...and Trump's lies jeopardize US national security. Just sayin'.

  60. @ez Crimes in office is another level completely.

  61. If Republicans in the Senate have any shred of patriotism, they will vote to remove trump.

  62. Don't hold your breath.

  63. @say what Well, there's the rub.

  64. @say what Good luck with that! A shred of RINO patriotism has no chance against the fear of losing a sinecure to which you have come to believe you are entitled as a matter of right.

  65. We all know he froze the money for political purposes. The question is whether the republicans care.

  66. @Raidersfan I don't think the question is whether or not "Republicans care," Raidersfan. The question is whether the legislative committee can retrieve the document or record of the communication between the administration and the office of management and budget which ordered the hold to release the funds. That's where the evidence for having done so will be found, if it's to be "found" at all.

  67. @Raidersfan Oh, we would witness an explosion and how very passionately Republicans "care" if this was a Democrat, not Trump. But right now GOPers care FAR MORE about retaining their seat in Congress amid threats against them if they waiver one bit on their blind loyalty to their repugnant leader, Trump.

  68. @Daniel K. Statnekov It is very easy to see that you making up the existence of a "smoking gun" document in order to defend the President's action when one isn't found. Unfortunately for you and Trump, that is not how investigations work. You don't investigate a murder by saying we have to find a person with blood on his hands or else we can't prosecute. I believe you're creating a false argument here, Daniel, easily thwarted. There is not and will not ever be a document from the White House to the OMB that says "hold up this money until Ukraine does what our President wants". There is simply a request from the White House to delay the money. You will say "see, no evidence of a quid pro quo" and then hope this all blows over. That is why the Democrats have called a steady stream of witnesses to go under oath and all say that they were aware release of the money was contingent on investigations being started. Very difficult to argue against multiple, credible, career diplomats that have worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Keep trying to move the goalposts. It isn't going to work this time.

  69. I am just SO surprised to see this latest revelation. Have no fear, there is plenty more to come. Drip, drip, drip ....

  70. @Alan Guyes I'm sick of drip drip drip- this has to stop.

  71. Jimmy Breslin must surely be guffawing in heaven. Trump & Co. are truly "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight."

  72. How many lies before his supporters finally understand they’ve been duped by a con-artist?

  73. As long as Trump doesn't turn black, Muslim, or Latino, they won't figure it out.

  74. There is no limit.

  75. @Geez Louise At an average of 13 per day, it will take another 15,000 lies for them to realize it (i.e. until January 20th, 2025). Ugh.

  76. I greatly enjoy watching the NYT pick up rocks to see what crawls out from under them. Keep up the good work.

  77. This story is too confusing. You should prepare a clear graphic timeline showing what happened when. That is the best way to get people to understand clearly. If people don't understand then Trump can confuse us.

  78. Mr. Taylor’s opening statement provides a very clear and thorough timeline of events. It’s been published in full by the NYTimes.

  79. @danarlington "This story is too confusing. You should prepare a clear graphic timeline showing what happened when. " Well, that's part of the problem. Too many participants are being cagey, or are just uninformed, about what happened when. That's part of what the continuing investigation is trying to get straight.

  80. @danarlington I completely agree. I would even encourage the NYT and other top outlets to cooperate in producing a similar visual (even if stylistically different across outlets) that can be updated as new important events arise. The information needs to be as simple as possible, crystal clear, and disseminated widely -- as does the reason these events matter.

  81. Surprise, our President and his enablers lies to us! AGAIN!

  82. Donald Trump, his staff and his Gaslighting Over People party want Americans to know that that they didn't say what they said and that they didn't do what they did.....never mind the facts, the evidence and objective reality. If Trumpers think gaslighting 24 hours a day by the President and his sycophantic staff will lead this country anywhere else but the sewer, they better wake up before they're up to their eyeballs in Up-Is-Down-Down-Is-Up sewage of the first order. Impeach the entire Trump Administration.

  83. @Socrates And the Tatar pony they rode in on.

  84. @Socrates , eloquently plain and simple truth.

  85. @Socrates Trumpers aren't going anywhere. Trumpers will sacrifice themselves on the pyre of their demagogue. And they'll try to take the rest of us along with them. That's how Making American Great Again looks to the Pro-AfterLifers.

  86. Just assume that everything that comes out of the White House is a lie. Especially if it come out of Trump's mouth. .

  87. Everything that comes out of the Whitehouse during this administration *IS* a lie! We’re at ~14,000 proven FALSE or MISLEADING statements since 2016 and COUNTING. How Trump supporters can just IGNORE this fact is beyond me. Compared to Obama’s entire 8 years in office, with approximately 2500 false or misleading statements. So, yes, while in politics it’s common to bend or distort truth sometimes, the level of dishonesty from the current administration is nearly 5 TIMES worse than the previous one!!

  88. If you're a supporter of President Trump, what's more likely: a massive deep state cabal of left-wing socialists intent on staging a coup, or a President with a long history of corruption, who constantly surrounds himself with shady enablers (from Roy Cohn to Paul Manafort), withholding taxpayer approved funds earmarked for our national security interests all to create a smear campaign against a political rival? The cognitive dissonance necessary to maintain Mr. Trump's lie is deafening.

  89. @jrinsc - The only explanation I can think of is that this is the psychological trappings of a cult. Trump's supporters are cult members. They eschew any truths that contradict their belief system, that Trump is their savior & can do no wrong. Trouble is... when Trump is out, he'll take those people with them & foment his own little "social war" on the sidelines, constantly injecting himself into the political narratives of the day. He won't stop, until social media platforms collectively censure him.

  90. Trump himself made the quid pro quo explicit in his July 25 phone call with Zelensky. Zelensky said he was ready to move to the “next steps” of U.S. military support, and Trump immediately responded that he needed Zelensky to do him a favor, launching into his requests for help finding the made up DNC server and for help investigating the Biden’s. Zelensky’s responses make clear that he understood that Trump was making requests, and Zelensky tried to give assurances on both.

  91. Trump has one last shred of a defense left: claiming he didn’t know or personally direct Giuliani to extort Ukraine. A rogue lawyer, if you will. Expect the coming subpoenas to explicitly tie political extortion to Trump personally. Then Senate Republicans face a choice: this Republic or this Administration can stand, but not both.

  92. @Delicious Wolf The already publically released evidence shows/proves trump was the ring leader and personally directed the entire operation.

  93. Keep it simple, Dems. You have the goods here. As the old lawyer adage goes, "Tell them what you're going to say. Then say it. Then tell them what you said."

  94. I think we may eventually find out that Trump's hold on people like the once sane Lindsey Graham has to due with compromat on him received from Putin by DJT. Cravenly fearing getting primaried doesn't usually make you lose all sense of self. He's clearly facing some sort of existential crisis that he can tell no one about.

  95. Well, of course, Mulvaney does this "all the time". Wouldn't Ukrainian 'bank accounts?' show a deposit increase when the money came in? They would have been looking for it.

  96. Quid pro quo isn't spoken out loud between a mobster org and the one being asked for the favor. It's expected you'll get the picture. Mr. Mulvaney explained that Mr. Trump is a businessman and used to having what he wants before making payment. Mr. Trump's "businessman" perspective for this administration is of a mobster. His only objective is to win the next election and remain in power. Then what? God forbid.

  97. As far as the question of a quid pro quo, I think that was adequately answered by Mulvaney last week when he blurted out explicitly there was one. He can try to deny it now if he wants, but then why'd he say that? And why does every other piece of testimony point to an explicit requirement that the Ukrainians give Trump (fabricated) political dirt on Biden?

  98. Stop reporting on the quid pro quo! It doesn't matter! The President of the United States of America asked a foreign country to investigate his political rival for his own personal gain. That is enough for impeachment! We are in a banana republic. This is the stuff we see in small dictatorships.

  99. @M. Exactly!

  100. We all need to understand that this wasn't actually a search for "dirt" on Biden or the DNC. Just the CNN interview itself would have been enough. Imagine how such an interview would have been weaponized by Republicans, Fox and the rest of the right-wing media. The tactics they honed during the Clinton email saga would have been deployed again, this time to tar Biden. Even if the Ukrainian "investigations" did not yield anything, a CNN interview would have been enough to sink Biden. Credit to Zelensky for holding out.

  101. @MattC Thanks for your post. I'm surprised this very important point has not been discussed more in all parts of the media. The GOP, trump, and right wing media have an extensive history of cherry picking events to suit their needs. This is worthy of an entire article.

  102. Also credit to the two US Sentators Johnson (R) and Murphy (D) who met with Zelensky and Ambassador Taylor in Kyiv on September 5th. In that meeting, Zelensky’s first question was about the security assistance being withheld (and likely what he was being pressured to do), to which both senators explained that bipartisan congressional support was Ukraine’s most strategic asset and that President Zelensky shouldn’t jeopardize that support by “getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics. I’m sure it would be interesting to hear more about that meeting from both Senators Johnson and Murphy, it may shed more light on how Ukraine was perceiving the withholding of security assistance funding!

  103. First the GOP defense of Trump was there was no Quid, Pro, Quo. When this was shown to be false they said that maybe there was but Ukraine was unaware. Now that we know Ukraine was aware they are protesting the process. Will they ever just admit to the fact that Trump acted illegally and with corrupt intent?

  104. @Dave There is no Quid Pro Quo if BOTH sides are not aware of the terms... by definition.

  105. @carl bumba Everything we have seen so far shows that Ukraine was aware of the quid pro quo - the President's phone call on July 25 made that clear, even if Zelensky was not yet aware that the aid had actually been held up at that point - the "we need a favor though" is clear - and by the way, just asking Zelensky to get dirt on his political opponent is an impeachable offense.

  106. Am I missing something about the timeline? The "QPQ" call was July 25th. Ukraine learned about possible aid holdup in August. That means on July 25th there was no reason for them to think that any request by the President was a quid pro quo. So if this timeline is correct, this story seems overblown.

  107. @Paul Yes you are. The timeline clearly reveals that the aid was put on hold before the call. Releasing the aid was contingent upon a public announcement of the investigations being launched. There is your quid pro quo. Not that it matters, it is impeachable that trump even Asked for the investigations; the quid pro quo only adds more crimes.

  108. Silly... the efforts to get Ukraine to provide political dirt began BEFORE that call, and continued after the call, through intermediaries of Trumps administration. The call was simply one facet of the total coordinated effort. READ people! Sheesh...

  109. @Paul Yes, you are missing something. We, the people, do not know what was 'exactly' stated, word for word, in the call you mentioned. We only know of a summary that the WH released. And of course, there is a private lawyer pursuing his and others very shady trips for photo ops and to push for the Biden's and others to be investigated.

  110. Still no 'smoking gun' here.... But close only counts in horseshoes, hand-grenades, and PR campaigns. A statement that it was 'not a bureaucratic glitch' isn't enough for that elusive quid-pro-quo. If the explanation for the hold-up is that it's due to something that Ukraine needs to do, i.e. it's contingent, THEN you've got something.

  111. @carl bumba You haven't read the publically released evidence, have you. We're way past smoking gun. We have the victim, the bullet, the fingerprints and the DNA evidence.

  112. @Carl Bumba And if you asked your boss for a raise and your boss said I need you to do me a favor and fire Josephine Schmo, you wouldn’t understand that your raise was contingent on whether you lowered the boom on Josephine? The gun is smoking — and Trump apologists are having trouble washing the discharge residue from Trump’s hands.

  113. All of it? That's hard to say. Did you? I'm just referring to the false Quid Pro Quo accusation. The Quo is still missing.

  114. Nearly four hundred million was appropriated by Congress to protect Ukraine and by extension America's national security interests, and Trump blocked it to shake down Ukraine for an investigation that would help Trump get re-elected. This is every manner of wrong. It is illegal to solicit foreign aid in an election. It is a misuse of taxpayer money for his own personal gain. It put Ukraine in jeopardy from Russia. It was part of a shadow foreign policy run by Giuliani for Trump's personal interest. How can the Republicans in the Senate seriously defend this?

  115. @Ann My only difference from you is that I'd say he didn't solicit aid from Ukraine, he tried to extort it.

  116. @Ann I just finished reading Mr. Taylor's opening statement. That aid was going to expire on Sept. 30th, so there's a time crunch that hasn't been clearly reported. Trump wanted Zelensky to be interviewed on CNN and state that they were opening an investigation. It's still not a guarantee that they would have received that aid money as Taylor also states Trump didn't want them to get anything. It got released on Sept. 11th after it was made public that the Trump administration was withholding the aid.

  117. Trying to commit a crime and failing doesn't seem to trouble the GOP base. He didn't actually get away with it, right? So no harm done, right? Note to GOP base: this is one time we have discovered this type of activity. What if he succeeds the next time? You do know there will be a next time unless he is removed from office, yes? He has violated the trust of the country so many times he simply can't be trusted to act on our behalf in any sphere of presidential activity. And that is why he needs to be removed.

  118. @Djt Exactly. And, for that matter, what has he gotten away with that we DON'T know about? More to come. Film at eleven...

  119. You know the funds were not held up for the reasons allegedly related to our President’s inquiry into the Biden family’s largesse. Yet you continue to try to connect dots that do not exist. Funds to other nations are routinely held up or advanced for a variety of logical and legal internationally recognized as perfectly legit. Trying to nail the impeachment farce to this is an act of utter desperation.

  120. @JBC Or maybe it us just sadly true.

  121. @JBC The evidence clearly speaks otherwise. No desperation, not a farce. Just facts.

  122. @JBC Or perhaps your attempt to spin the details, raise “alternative facts” and deny the truth is the real act of “utter desperation.”

  123. The Ukrainian problem for the White House is that the activity involved a lot of people acting in a coordinated fashion. To coordinate, there will be communications, and thus evidence of the alleged abuse of power will be found in such communications and testimony. So far, nothing has come up from the investigations to help Mr. Trump. So the Congressional impeachment inquiry should continue to seek evidence and testimony, so that more and more denials can be defeated with facts.

  124. This is all very compelling and convincing if you take the time to read and understand the entire narrative. But most people -- especially the remaining Independents who might be in play -- won't do this on their own. The story needs to be straightforward and bulletproof at the same time. As the pieces fall into place, I think it would be most useful for the NYT to publish a timeline of who (in US and Ukraine) knew what, at what time, based on the best available evidence. This might be a relatively straightforward way for the average reader to digest all of these important pieces as they emerge, and ultimately for Congress to issue a straightforward message to the American people that leaves little room for interpretation.

  125. @JLR Read Taylor's opening statement to Congress. The timeline is there. Also, Taylor's concern and worry are clear.

  126. So Republicans, I assume you'd vote for a bill clarifying that it's perfectly legal to request foreign support in an election and that federal foreign aid can buy opposition research.

  127. Trump and Giuliani would happily extort 100 different nations for all manner of manufactured dirt on their political opponents. Incompetence feeds insecurity, which in turn inspires treason. Impeach at once.

  128. @David Adams ...and, remove. Let the senators know they have the last word in getting rid of the trump mess and if they don't they will pay at the polls.

  129. Ok, all this damning evidence is coming fast and furiously for Donald. Trump is at this moment throwing up another smokescreen and diversionary tactic... releasing all sanctions against Turkey. Trump's hoping this is headline news instead of more damning testimony and supporting evidence about his impeachable Ukraine crimes.

  130. Never ending lies. The entire Republican party must be disbanded if we have any hope of restoring something representing a republic.

  131. After watching Matt Getz storm the investigative hearings this morning, I am sure the GOP is in a panic mode. Breaching protocol for meetings sends a clear message: Panic. These congressmen are not on these committees. I think the GOP leadership knows not to put these mediocre representatives on those committees for good reason. Trump tweets, witnesses contradict. Trump claims. Ukraine says no. Next thing you know, he will hand over Syria with a big ribbon to Turkey and Russia. Oops, to late. He's already withdrawing sanctions. The GOP.....looking the other way ....or storming the doors with meltdowns.

  132. The damage coming from corruption in the Trump White House far exceeds the destruction from corruption in Ukraine. At this point having the US advise Ukraine is a clear case of the fox recommending changes to the henhouse. Do realize that McConnell, Graham and McCarthy are trashing the Constitution in hopes of being re-elected to continue tearing our system apart. Even farmers know planting in poor soil is a waste of time & money. Vote for somebody different this election.

  133. Nothing has been accomplished in the last three years. We have all been busy pointing out the lies, or defending the lies with more lies. The world's educated are aghast at the American Truth.... that we are much more than the American tourist they personally meet.

  134. @Ed I am sure Sicilians are envious of us. We are overshadowing them in the mafia world.

  135. @Ed - Correction. Nothing good has been accomplished. Trump and company have managed to inflict plenty of damage.

  136. By holding back this military aid - thus signalling the Russians that US support was weakening, Trump risked encouraging a further Russian invasion. What would the US and the EU have done then? Possibly defend the Ukraine. So - to be clear - Trump was willing to risk war to get dirt on someone he supposedly thought he could beat easily. It is hard to think of something more traitorous than this. Impeachment isn’t enough.

  137. @T The Kurds were next on the Trump Endangerment for Political Gain List. That's "two strikes"....when will Trump be called (or hauled) "out"?

  138. @T This is a very good point. And Russia retains a massive nuclear arsenal. It's easy to succumb to hyperbole about this, but it's important to remember that Trump was playing games in the middle of a very serious situation.

  139. The story here is simple at its core. Trump solicited a BRIBE. If the president of Ukraine says in public "We have opened an investigation into Biden," that damages Biden. That's the payoff. It's simple. Do this for me and I will release the aid. The president's people are doing everything they can to obfuscate this very simple story, which has been laid out for all to see by people with sterling reputations for honesty.

  140. @Steve Pitting Trump's record against Taylor's, the result is not likely to come out in Trump's favor. Yes, this will become Trump's "the boy who cried wolf" moment. Who will believe him.

  141. @Steve He didn't solicit a bribe, he tried to extort a bribe.

  142. Will there be a point EVER when this White House stops lying?

  143. @lz - Will there ever be a point when the base gets sick of being lied to?

  144. @lz When we vote Trump and the Republicans out of office.

  145. @lz no, nope, nyet, nada, non, never, fuggeddabodit—his headstone will say "Here he lies"

  146. So long Mike Pence. Hello President Pelosi.

  147. @Blue in Green And take a hike Mike Pompeo.

  148. @Elle All cabinet members would be gone. Thank God.

  149. @Byter Yeah, but the sooner the better. It will be very interesting to see who deserts the ship as the water rises and stuff floats. As if they can have a life after the Con Don is gone gone.

  150. "But in fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times." The wall propping up Trump is being taken down brick by brick, and eventually this Humpty Dumpty President will have all his lies and all his deceits scattered about... and irretrievable.

  151. There is adequate proof that Trump is deeply involved in using taxpayer money to bribe another country to investigate his political opponents. His normal response to being besieged is to sue everyone. This is how the president has often responded over the decades. The pressure of the impeachment inquiry is intensifying so he is now thinking of retaliating against news outlets such as CNN, WaPo and MSNBC. . The media is responsible for telling the truth, not doctoring it up to please a president who is ignorant but wishes to be worshiped. Nobody is above the law!!

  152. @Carol Ring Bill Maher had a field day when Trump sued him (Trump lost) so you can imagine the glee at MSNBC, etc. -- just thinking about the depositions they'd demand from Trump. Trump is way out of his league with these people and they're going to continue to thump on his head. All of the MSM are going to sharpen their focus and their language in describing Trump's mental deterioration under Pelosi's lash. Imagine the great Donald Trump being maneuvered out of office by a woman! How great it is.

  153. @Carol Ring Carol, Trump doesn't merely 'often' use lawsuits to intimidate ans harass- this is his go to- his modus operandi: 'An analysis by USA Today published in June 2016 found that over the previous three decades, Donald Trump and his businesses have been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. federal courts and state court, an unprecedented number for a U.S. presidential candidate.' And he's fast closing in on 14,000 lies

  154. Trump is above the laws as is evident so far.

  155. Trump's argument, that there cannot be a quid-pro-quo if the Ukraine did not know their support was blocked - is nonsense. They we're waiting for help from the US and had to assume that they would need to fulfill the demand Trump kept insisting upon. This would have been crystal clear to any skilled negotiator.

  156. @S Also immediately after Zelensky had thanked him for the aid Congress had already appropriated for Ukraine and he believed to be forthcoming Trump interjects with "but I need you to do me a favor..."

  157. @S And also begs the question: Regardless of IF "They" didn't know, WHY was the support blocked? We know now it WAS. Der Trumpf is not the type of individual who does something for nothing, EVER. And I mean EVER. No trifle too small, he's got to get something. "What's in it for me" is the philosophy of the cutthroats.

  158. @S And also begs the question: Regardless of IF "They" didn't know, WHY was the support blocked? We know now it WAS.

  159. Thank you NYT. Outstanding reporting like this provides an invaluable service to our democracy.

  160. @Lindsey On May 1, Jonathan Chait/NYMag 9/23: " the New York Times published a story that contained the most important facets of the Ukraine story. The Times reported that President Trump, through his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was pressing Ukraine’s government to investigate Joe Biden. And yet, having uncovered a massive scandal, the Times buried its own scoop. The revelation, which many people now see an an impeachable offense, was buried in the middle of a story that was primarily devoted to carrying Trump’s water."

  161. Pretty amazing to see the hardline House Republicans turn out in force to try to distract the public from the Taylor testimony. The evidence is getting so clear that they have little left to do but try to argue that the process is unfair. Seeing them so easily mobilized to break the law in the secure room may be a small foretaste of what is coming. Rule of law seems to be little respected.

  162. @WHM I don't see any evidence. I see another example of second-hand information being structured to fit a narrative. Add in the lack of cross-examination, the calling of other witnesses to refute/expand the picture, then you have one persons opinion on the activities around him. It would be like me hearing from several people that @WHM robbed a bank. I guess you are guilty and should be punished for your actions. Unless, of course, you would like a chance to defend yourself. But since the President is not being given this chance of due process, you should not be granted that either. Whether the President or @WHM is guilty or not is almost irrelevant. The lack of constitutional process should be disconcerting to every American citizen. Illegal immigrants get more protection than this.

  163. You clearly don't understand either constitutional process or standard investigative technique. Republicans on the investigating committees are present and able to ask any questions they want. Once the investigation ends, whatever defense Republicans want to mount can be made. Good luck with that btw.

  164. @WHM that’s why today the republicans on the House Intel Committee staged a protest that stopped the hearings. The truth hurts!

  165. As a logical matter, why wouldn't the Trump administration communicate to Ukraine the aid was being withheld? It would diminish Trump's leverage to extract the "favor" he desired if Ukraine did not know their aid was at stake. It seems that the factual defenses that the administration's defenders have rather lamely advanced have crumbled one by one, in part due to a lack of a coordinated strategy on their part. Trying to coordinate with an impulsive and infantile ruler is a fool's errand to begin with. The remaining defenses seem to be to attack process, to launch ad hominem assaults, or to retreat into denial or fantastic conspiracy theories. The true believers will buy anything, but it doesn't alter the fact that on the substance, on the facts and the law, there seems now to be precious little, if anything, left for Trump.

  166. Let the party begin. I believe any prosecutor would conclude there's enough evidence to go to trial. The hapless Dems should move boldly within a few days or forever go back to the business of mediocre and ineffective law-making. There is not a single statesman/woman in the House or Senate on either side. American politics is no place for the best and brightest. Who would want to cast their lot in what passes as government? I'm disgusted and depressed. I hear our politicians start sentences with "The American People" and it's more than I can take.

  167. @Ralph Braseth It would be nice to not have the weak Dems in charge of the investigation. What wimps they are and they actually are hurting the presidential hopefuls by their timid reluctance to stand up for what is right and legal and outlined carefully in the constitution what their duty is.

  168. High crimes and misdemeanors, in spades. However, the more that can be documented the better. At some point the Senate Republicans are going to go visit the White House and tell Trump his time is over. We are not at the tipping point yet. Towards that goal, another few weeks of this phase of investigation will be very productive. No reason to rush toward the public hearings. It is clear that a lot of people are now feeling more emboldened to disclose what they know. Each new example of a documented impeachable act being covered up or lied about just brings that fateful meeting a bit closer.

  169. The GOP needs to stop looking at this issue through the lens of politics and view the facts through the lens of democracy and recognized their responsibility to our country.

  170. "The communications did not explicitly link the assistance freeze to the push by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani for the investigations. " Why do we immediately assume investigating the politically privileged is a crime? Biden bragged about having a prosecutor fired in exchange for restoring aide, the prosecutors scope could include investigation of his Son's company, the Prosecutor has a afivdavid linking his firing to Biden, we have an investigation treaty with the Ukraine. What President with an interest in "taking care that the laws be faithfully executed" would not take care of the head of state communications needed for both Justice departments work together. Are the politically privileged immune from prosecution. We have the State department. Our State Department us not intended to be the Deep State Department. They are to support the President's execution of foreign policy, and not to define such policy.

  171. @John yes. we've heard the FOX Narrative. it's wrong. but it is oft repeated.

  172. Ukraine’s response to the Trump administration’s request for an investigation and withholding of military aid is useful to know, but non-dispositive. The issue is whether the president sought to influence Ukraine by demanding investigations of the Bidens and withholding aid— not whether Ukraine honored the request.

  173. Let’s be clear...it DOES NOT MATTER if there was a quid-pro-quo (although there clearly was). Asking for foreign interference was/is sufficient. Keep it simple, and don’t get lost in the extraneous.

  174. I’ll take the comedian every time.

  175. Now it appears we have not only a corrupt president but a Vice that willingly does Trump's bidding when asked. What did "mother" say about that, Pence? That pretty much negates Pence's claim to innocence and should disqualify him from stepping into the presidency after Trump is impeached in the Senate and removed. The measure of a coward is when to refuse to assist in nefarious actions by the boss. That would allow Pelosi to move into the oval office by default! This fiasco is truly worse than Watergate by a large margin.

  176. Under Trump we have become a banana republic. It is time our currency reflected this change. I say on all currency should be a picture of a smirking Trump and a new motto: In Lies We Trust

  177. @Stefan Ackerman Really? When did our economy devolve into a one-cash-crop economy dependent on bananas? "Banana Republic," despite the Woody Allen film "Bananas," has nothing to do with being, proverbially, bananas.

  178. @matty The label "banana republics" initially referred to the small countries in Central America, whose cash crop was bananas and whose governments tended towards corruption and suppression of the population.

  179. @matty The Trump and Kushner families' have turned selling out America into a one-cash-crop. That we allow this to go on turns us into being, proverbially, bananas ... and a banana republic.

  180. What do you think the Ukrainian officials must be feeling? They did their best to begin a campaign to clean up the country and here comes Trump and his henchman Giuliani. What an unfortunate circumstance for them; brunt Russia’s attacks or concede to American corruption.

  181. Will trump resign before he's impeached? Whatever's best for his lined pockets. "What should it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul."

  182. @Desiree You’re working with the presumption that the man in question has a soul.

  183. @Desiree I doubt Trump will ever resign. He's being investigated by New York State for tax evasion, etc. He could end up in prison when he isn't President, so he'll hang on as long as possible. When he's supposed to leave, our military will have to carry him out of the Oval Office by force. I'm surprised he hasn't tried to turn it into a rectangle.

  184. Congress..do your job and let's just get this over with. As Leonard Cohen said, "Everybody Knows".

  185. This pretty much fills in the picture, if it wasn’t clear enough already. With such simple and concrete facts in public view, brace yourself; the president and his men are about to engage in gaslighting like it’s never been seen before. Be vigilant.

  186. Trump/Zelensky phone discussion: July 25, 2019. And according to the document, "word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August. The month of August comes *after* July, as such, this report undermines its own premise.

  187. @Jaffa Bozare The nit you are picking is the latest Trump talking point, isn’t it? And it’s an imaginary nit, at that. Getting actual confirmation of the aid hold up, and the reason, was something the Zelenskyy already knew — Trump told him as much in the July 25th call.

  188. Do the Trump supporters simply not care about national security? Because this is where we are now: For his own selfish personal interests, Trump held funding important for American national security hostage so he could shake down a foreign power in violation of American election laws. So even if you are so in love with Donald Trump that you somehow don't care about his self-dealing, don't care about his violations of the law, don't care about the integrity of our elections, don't care about foreign interference in our democracy, and don't care about his compulsive lying about all of this--what about American national security? Do you not care about that either? This is getting simply ridiculous. What ever happened to patriotism?

  189. @Ann 90% of them haven't left the county in which they were born. National security is something they take for granted in their isolated, secure little lives.

  190. "Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it". I have a pretty good guess where they learned of it. It was when Trump told the Ukrainian president in their July 25 phone conversation. The only transcript released to the public was the White House edited version. Yet neither the Congress nor the media has pressed to have the compete word-for-word transcription released though it is publicly known to be on a secure White House server. Still the media is hesitant to claim Trump doesn't lie in any of his vitriolic protestations. Guess why Democracy dies in the darkness ... of a White House secure server. If this was a non-taxpayer funded server with Hillary's emails the media would spend the next 15 months on the subject like they did in 20015 & 16 when they ignored years of Trump's connection with Putin. (Look there in the darkness, it's the cold dead body of democracy)

  191. @Tony Williams Why isn't Congress asking for the transcript of the phone call, especially the House, you gotta ask.

  192. On one of the cable news shows Rep. Ted Liu, representative from California and member of Intelligence Committee said after hearing from Taylor that there were two (or 3?) quid pro quos: 1) dig up dirt on the Bidens by investigating Burisma; 2) locate, or investigate the location of the DNC servers squirreled away somewhere in Ukraine; 3) make a public announcement that Ukraine was opening an investigation into the Burisma / Biden business. Trump wanted the public announcement from Zelensky so he could point to the Ukrainian's "investigation" and say "see, I told you so..." as part of his obfuscation program. Finally, Liu brought up another important point when he observed that President Trump was working against the national interest by withholding important military aid (Javelin anti-tank missles), which theoretically weakened Ukraine in light of the presence of Russian troops in the eastern part of the country. I wonder if the the articles of impeachment will include an article for treason for assisting the Russians against the Ukrainians? Rep. Liu said the Intelligence Committee would be working on Saturdays to collect depositions to expedite the impeachment process.

  193. We are witnessing the beginning of the end of Donald Trump‘s administration and his hold on power in America. At this point Republican Senators are going to be ridiculed for the rest of their natural lives if they don’t finally step up to the plate and admit that their backing of this president , who has abused power and lied to the American people on a daily basis, was a miscalculation and a mistake. As for Donald Trump, when his approval ratings start to dip into the mid 30s which they most assuredly will within the next few months, you will start to see many more confused faces on Capitol Hill. And you will also begin to see this delusional president go even farther off the rails than he has in the past. Be prepared for this one ,it’s not going to be pretty.

  194. It will be beautiful, the pleasure of a climax.

  195. "No Quid Pro Quo" is a trump "Brand"....similar to "No Collusion" during the Comey investigation. Branding works if the end result turns in your favor (or you get lucky). In the case of the Ukranian debacle, it is a chain around trumps neck as the facts keep supporting just the opposite...that there was certainly a quid pro quo. Of course, the branding worked, to a degree, because impeachment does not require a quid pro quo but trump thought that he could change the narrative and standard of proof. That is what the press is printing despite the fact it is not relevant. Just the same, with an avalanche of proof against him, he is relegated to the ravings of a lunatic: "No Quid Pro Quo". They will write those words on his tombstone.

  196. Now there is evidence that Pence was also directly involved in quid pro quo. Does this mean we going to see a President Pelosi?

  197. @Tim I can not stand her but she would only be holding it till the next president comes in and hopefully that would be a non corporate Democrat. I will bet though that trump tries to get Pence to take the fall for him, and say everything was his plan.

  198. I think this is relatively weak evidence that Ukrainian officials unambiguously knew that aid was tied to investigations. One US official telling a Ukrainian that another Ukrainian should talk to Mick Mulvaney to learn more about the situation isn't exactly incontrovertible evidence. It can easily be dismissed by Trump and GOP. I believe wholeheartedly that this all involved quid pro quo -- it's quite obvious at this point that it did -- but this NYT reporting, however sound it might be, isn't going to be what we're all looking for viz a viz a smoking gun.

  199. An important point is that Trump, for personal reasons, held up Congressionally authorized funding, a violation of law. It is obvious there is a quid, and that Ukraine had been informed, yet even this simple act is impeachable.

  200. I think it's interesting that everywhere Trump has been meddeling allows for the possability of the Russians stepping in and taking over. In one spot they has succeeded, what if the man has another agenda for holding up the aid here?

  201. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, becoming the first female president after the removal from office of a corrupted President and Vice-President. I wonder if even Tom Clancy could have imagined such a scenario.

  202. Quid Pro Quo ain't just Trump's favorite seafood dish anymore...

  203. Bad at governing, bad for allies, bad for the environment and bad at lying about all the wrongdoings. Good for the rich getting richer.

  204. Whether the Ukrainian Government knew about the “quo” is irrelevant and a cheap ruse. If someone broke into your house and stole a diamond necklace, but you were not aware of the theft, doesn’t mean the theft didn’t occur.

  205. So how much longer will this charade of lies continue? May the wall of truth come crashing down on each and every lie and deceptive action.

  206. Amen!

  207. That steady drip-drip of revelations eventually becomes a stream of truth. Will the Dems be able to unravel this convoluted story and create a simple enough narrative for even the most ardent Trumpista to understand? Stay tuned...

  208. @Aron That's asking a bit much. People won't understand what they don't want to understand.

  209. @Aron You can lead the Trumpistas to water, but you can't make them think. As it is said, if you cannot change your mind, how do you know you still have one?

  210. After the inexcusable abandonment of our Kurdish allies, based upon his "gut", I thought that the Swamp King's gut only gutted American credibility. But, since he has been coming up with these hair-brained explanations, apparently without adult supervision, that means, poetically, his gut is gutting him, too. Carve on, oh craven one.

  211. Trump: Go ahead, keep battling the "fake" Media. It doesn't matter. Because we in the Resistance are now fully entrenched against your [truly] fake assertions. In the end: You Lose. We Win. Bye, bye...

  212. What a roller-coaster ride this must be. That is, the exhilaration of thinking one's gotten away with an exculpatory lie -- ''It couldn't have been extortion, the Ukrainians didn't know the money was being held up before the Trump-Zelensky call" -- regularly followed by the deflating realization that skilled investigative journalists, the betes noire of liars, have the will and the ability to explode the lies?

  213. I'm starting agree with President Trump that there was no quid pro quo. With his increasingly ridiculous defenses, it's looking more like quid amateur quo.

  214. And the next "....couldn't have happened because......" will be what? "no quid pro quod" Yes there was "Ukraine didn't know" Yes they did Republicans can't lie their way out of a paper bag. No they can't. Power cedes nothing without demand. Anti-Trust legislation 100 years ago - Democrats New Deal - Democrats Last Government Balanced Budget Surplus - Democrats Republicans are responsible for nothing other misery for the everyman.

  215. Gosh, it seems like everything Trump says turns out to be a bald faced lie. If only we had an inkling of this before he took office...

  216. @Christopher It seems that most of those who voted for him knew that he had very little commitment to truth and honesty. These principles did not matter to his supporters either. That is now abandantly clear. They were drawn to him because of his bigotry and hate. These qualities were missing from the other 17 candidates he beat handily in the GOP primaries in 2016. The question is, will Trump's so called "base" ever support what most of the rest of America would consider a decent Republican candidate?

  217. The 15 pages of opening statement from only yesterday proves that Ukraine not only new but almost acquiesced as their only option against the life-threatening theft of trump for his evil plot. But depressingly, we continue to put trump on the news while he rants lies like a madman. We must start to not air him live or to have big fat fact checking across the screen. What cowards they are, not answering one question today: trump, pence, and pompeo - such little, shameful ants in bloated egotistical bodies. As a student of International Relations I am still with my mouth wide open, not believing that a president could act, speak, and cause the murder of our allies like this. I hope it is clear from the the East to the West and throughout the North and South of America, that trump has acted against the will of Americans, America, and our allies. He has colluded with terrible dictators to undermine our safety. One day justice might be done...just seems it is coming much too slowly. Blood now covers this president and it has spilled deeply on his cronies pathetic pence and pompous pompeo. Wow, amazing that Bolton ends up being the courageous one...he should have shouted to the media but at least he did take some action.

  218. Hey Trump supporters, now that lie is put to rest, what you got?

  219. Mike Pence, too! President Pelosi??? That Warsaw meeting puts him right in the thick of it.

  220. How many legs does Trump have? This must be the twentieth time the other shoe has dropped. Enough!

  221. I think the withholding of the aid Zelensky had just mentioned was implied in the reply Trump gave; "but I need you to do me a favor..." What is the evidence that the request for an investigation is based on? We all know or at least should know, the Hunter Biden/VP Biden story is just a flat out lie and that the idea it was Ukraine and not Russia who interfered in our election is also a flat out lie. Then there is the conspiracy theory that the DEMs were conspiring with the Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election and that a DEM computer server is now being hidden in Ukraine???? Is that the "but her emails" server which she gave to the FBI or is it some other imaginary server? What exactly is the evidence for any of these theories that Presidente El Trumpo wants to have the Ukrainian authorities investigate? Well actually all he wants is for them to say they are investigating it. He'll tell them the results of their investigation or accuse them of covering up once he starts losing in the polls in a few months.

  222. @magicisnotreal I think the key word in Trump's request "but I need you to do me a favor, though" is the word "though", as it implies a condition related to what the U.S. was promising to give Ukraine. I agree that a quid pro quo is not required for impeachment, the simple fact of the request is, but if the facts indicate that the request also included a quid pro quo, which I believe "though" points to, that makes the case for impeachment that much stronger.

  223. I'm shocked — SHOCKED — that the Trump administration misled the American people concerning the quid pro quo with the Ukraine president. Having the Trump crime syndicate run the United States of America's domestic and foreign policies is like allowing The Three Stooges to perform open-heart surgery on your child. What a debacle. It just never ends.

  224. Nailed it, NYT! Keep fighting for us

  225. What? Trump lied? Cant be...he's so ethical. The call was absolute perfection. lol. How many is this?

  226. My 2-cent advice to Trump’s supporters coming to this comment section: before twisting facts and providing phony excuses explaining why Trump is innocent and why this is a conspiration from Far left/Hillary/Soros/Santa Claus... just wait for the next article which will debunk your comment. You may avoid making fools of yourselves.

  227. Much of it is a disinformation campaign paid for by the Trump campaign. They are not about to change their tune. Not so long as the paychecks keep coming.

  228. Donald Trump wouldn't know the truth even if it punched him in the face. Impeach him and hurry up.

  229. In "every" instance in this case Trump and his lackeys in his administration and Congress have been proven wrong. They're now arguing process instead of the law because they can't stand up to the Constitution. They are all crooks and traitors and need to go.

  230. NYT interview Rudy May 2019 he talks about goosing investigations into Biden, Crowdstrike/DNC server with contacts in Ukraine. He's all over the MSM talking about this. Before August. Before July. In the Spring, when the slow-walk of funding was noticed by house and senate committee members and State employees.

  231. The question will be asked years from now... “Where were you when DJT was impeached and removed from office?” We all know is coming! It’s just when.

  232. I have a bottle of removal from office champagne in the fridge. I’m looking very forward to a great hangover.

  233. @Is_the_audit_over_yet I remember exactly where I was when Tricky Dick resigned in disgrace. Expecting this next go-round to be even more memorable.

  234. None of this matters unless Trump's followers finally wake up and smell the coffee, then realize that the clown they've been supporting is the biggest piece of dirt that has ever been found in the white house. I am surprised that with all the dumb things that Trump has done since becoming president, he hasn't tried to award a posthumous medal to Benedict Arnold.

  235. @BTO There's still time.

  236. @BTO Trump wouldn't award a posthumous medal to Benedict Arnold because he doesn't know who he was. Putin might suggest that Trump make an award to Stalin. Now there's a strongman!

  237. As important as it is to have one or more articles of impeachment relating to UkraineGate, the Democrats would be derelict in their duties were they not to also present one or more articles of impeachment relating to: a) the emoluments clause, b) obstruction of justice, c) incitement of violence against his political opponeents, d) compulsive lying and d) being a disgusting, classless disgrace to the United States of America.

  238. If only Trump would read a book, he would be familiar with what one stable American genius (Twain) once said "“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything,”

  239. ''House of Cards'', the Trump years.

  240. I cannot imagine where the country would be were it not for the investigative journalists. Thank you.

  241. @Ruby Or without the Democrats taking back the House. Elections really, really do matter, as cliche as that is, and we must never grow complacent and think they don't.

  242. @Ruby If it were not for the investigative journalists, Hilary Clinton would be president now, instead of this nightmare.

  243. @Ruby And thank goodness for the whistleblower.