90 Miles From Tyranny : Why The Deep State Is Terrified Of Trump Investigating Ukraine Angle...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Why The Deep State Is Terrified Of Trump Investigating Ukraine Angle...

The impeachment inquiry Democrats launched last month may ultimately hinge on a simple question: Did President Trump try to force a foreign power (or powers) to help him take down a political opponent, Joe Biden?

But the backdrop of their effort is far more complex and convoluted, connected not just to Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine and related evidence but the three-year war of attrition the Democrats have waged against the president. Their main instrument was the Trump-Russia collusion story that roiled the capital until Special Counsel Robert Mueller pronounced it unfounded. Now they have moved on to one or more "whistleblower" complaints from within the intelligence community.

Given all the focus on nefarious Russia, you could be forgiven for missing the fact that Ukraine was always at the center of the Trump-Russia affair.

Viewed in this light, the Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo bribery narrative must compete with another explanation: Trump's determination to get to the bottom of an underhanded years-long campaign arrayed against him. One of the first things he did after the Mueller report debunked the collusion narrative was to call the Ukranian president and ask him to help do just that.

The impeachment battle is not just about congressional probes and alleged presidential strong-arming, but about the Russiagate narrative. Anti-Trump forces in the government and media are working to vindicate their previous efforts and discredit a forthcoming Justice Department inquiry into the origins of Russiagate by again connecting Trump and a foreign power to a U.S. election.

I’ve covered the Trump-Russia story for three years. Even before these operations emerged publicly after Trump’s 2016 victory, I doubted the pre-election whisper campaign circulating throughout the Washington press corps that held Trump was clandestinely cooperating with Moscow.

First, the idea that Trump had for many years been a Russian ally, even an agent, was hard to believe given that there had been no mention of this during a long career lived entirely in the spotlight. I was especially skeptical of this claim because Trump’s business concerns were based largely in the most media-saturated city in the world, and because they involved industries – especially real estate and casinos – that attract the attention of legal authorities.

Second, candidate Trump’s proposed policies toward Russia were similar to those of the Obama administration – and would prove tougher after he was elected – making it hard to see how he was secretly beholden to Moscow.

I was not surprised when the special counsel concluded the story was false. Neither was it surprising, given the amount of money, time, and prestige spent on pushing collusion, to see Russiagate rebooted two weeks ago in the form of a whistleblower’s complaint.

So far the basic facts are these: An active, and unnamed, CIA officer alleged that Trump had sought information from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding Biden’s involvement in a Ukrainian prosecution possibly involving his son Hunter. In exchange for information that, according to the CIA officer, would assist Trump’s 2020 re-election, the president would release military aid to Ukraine.

Although the details are different – no mention this time of hookers and golden showers – the whistleblower’s central claim closely resembles the thesis laid out in the anti-Trump dossier compiled by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which the FBI used as its roadmap to collusion: That Trump took or solicited dirt on his Democratic opponent from a foreign power in exchange for favors to that country’s government.

Once again, much of the media seem to be treating every allegation against Trump as probable fact, while dismissing any questions and concerns as conspiracy theories.

Although the whistleblower complaint seems to have emerged quickly, it must be viewed in context of the long war against Trump and its numerous elements tied to Ukraine.

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