A(nother) Ukraine coincidence!
I’ve long maintained there is no such thing as a coincidence in politics. You don’t just “happen” to be in Iowa if you are considering a run for president down the line. It’s not just happenstance that a congresswoman stays quiet in private impeachment hearings but has more to say when the bright lights go on in the public hearings.
Which brings me to this: A WHOLE lot happened on July 25 regarding the nearly $400 million in military aid that the United States withheld from Ukraine over several months this summer and early fall.
Consider what we already knew about that day:
1) At around 9 a.m. Eastern, President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky talked on the phone. It was on that call that Trump made clear a) the US does lots for Ukraine b) Ukraine doesn’t reciprocate c) Trump wanted Zelensky to look into the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine was in possession of the hacked Democratic National Committee server from the 2016 election and d) Trump alleged that the Bidens — Joe and his son Hunter — were corrupt, and could Zelensky look into that?
2) That afternoon, according to sworn testimony from Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, her office had three interactions that made clear the Ukrainians were aware of the hold on the aid (which the Pentagon and State Department were notified on July 18 had been frozen at the direction of the President).
Then there’s this — another MAJOR event that occurred on July 25, and which we learned about Tuesday: The White House budget office took their first official action to withhold $250 million in aid for Ukraine.
Man! Crazy coincidence, right?!
Here’s the thing: Even if all of these events happening on a single day was an actual coincidence, it would still badly disrupt the White House’s official timeline of events surrounding the alleged quid pro quo.
Trump and his allies have long maintained that it was simply not possible for there to be a quid pro quo because Zelensky (and the Ukrainians) weren’t aware of the military aid hold-up. So Zelensky couldn’t have known that unless he announced investigations into Trump’s priorities that he was risking much-needed aid in Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia.
In order to believe that now, you have to think that no one in the Ukrainian government told Zelensky of the military aid hold-up either before or after the July 25 call. Or that the man who was smart enough to get elected president of a country wouldn’t have been able to connect the dots between Trump’s much-stated demands for investigations and the military aid.
The Point: Trump’s timeline has been on very shaky ground ever since Cooper’s testimony. But the confluence of events on July 25 seems to now smash it to pieces.