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foreign policy

No Quid Quo Pro in Trump’s Chat With Ukraine? Read On

Before President Trump's conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was released, he said to reporters that it was a "perfect conversation". Half a dozen separate video clips — chopper talk, at his desk — had him saying over and over that it was "perfect".

Who ever thinks of conversations as "perfect" (or imperfect)? It made one think that his aides, prepping him for the call, which we are told is routine, had coached him not to make any mention of the funds release being contingent on Zelenskyy agreeing to investigate Biden, that he must be extremely careful not to suggest any quid pro quo. So when Trump came away from the call without having made that slip, his celebratory mood had him calling the call "perfect".

That equipped Republicans in the hallways of Congress and Fox News hosts to say, as did Tucker Carlson,

"It says none of the things the news anchors claimed it would. Read it for yourself. It’s online. Try to find the extortion in there. There isn’t any. Trump never even mentions military aid.

To pretend there was nothing extortionist there for lack of its mention is textbook phony willful ignorance. Let's break down the conversation:

It covered only two subjects: Military aid to Ukraine brought up by Zelenskyy, and Trump's concern only for investigating Biden and his server theory.

First Zelenskyy wisely flattered Trump, knowing how important that is to this president:

...and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that

Trump then sets up an obligation:

...but the United States has been very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.

Zelenskyy obligingly thanked Trump profusely so as then to get to Ukraine's most important point as a vulnerable nation being chewed up by Russia:

I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

That was the last word about Ukraine's defense despite how eager Trump is to tout weapon sales to the likes of Saudi Arabia and other countries, because Trump had only one thing in mind:

I would like you to do us a favor though

The use of "though" has been pointed out, as in English meaning there's a condition attached for those Javelins. Trump at this point had ordered the holdup of funds, and "though" intimates that they depend. He continued:

I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very importanmt that you do it if that's possible.

"Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it...", he says. What could be clearer? Giuliani is no stranger to Ukraine, so Zelenskyy knows what's coming:

I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine.

Trump makes plain that Zelenskyy will be guided in his promised investigation:

I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.

And Trump lays out what Zelenksyy is to look into and what Trump already thinks he should find:

The other thing, There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so it you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.

Zelenskyy indicates that the next prosecutor will know what's expected:

...the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.

Trump making sure once again:

I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out.

The hapless Zelenskyy, desperate for those funds, knows how to put a cherry on top before saying "Bye, bye":

Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower.

That was it. When the whistleblower complaint became known, Trump would claim that he held up the $400 million allocated for Ukraine's defense until government and oligarchical corruption was rooted out. But there was no mention in the conversation of any corruption other than that believed by Trump of the Bidens.

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