When the history of Trump’s impeachment is written, several patriots will be prominent players. They defied orders from Trump, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and testified before House committees pursuing the impeachment inquiry.
Yovanovitch, Kent, and Hill
- US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Her outspoken anti-corruption views made her a target for corrupt Ukrainian politicians. That, in turn, made her a pawn in Rudy Giuliani’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son and to pursue Putin’s discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had been the origin of foreign interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified that he and other Ukraine experts were edged out by unqualified individuals whom Trump selected to pressure Ukraine into pursuing investigations that would help Trump against his US political adversaries.
- National security council adviser Fiona Hill told House investigators about the campaign that Mick Mulvaney, US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and Giuliani were running to pressure Ukraine to do Trump’s political bidding. She described a particularly troubling meeting on July 10, after which national security adviser John Bolton told her to talk to White House lawyers and tell them he didn’t want anything to do with the “drug deal that Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”
To date, the most detailed and damning accounts of Trump’s abuse of power have come from former US Ambassador William Taylor and NSC official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
Taylor and Vindman
Called out of retirement after Trump fired Yovanovitch, Taylor sensed “something odd” from the beginning of his new posting in Kiev.
- Mid-July 2019: It is becoming clear to Taylor that the meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeks with Trump is conditioned on Ukraine opening investigations into the Bidens and into Ukrainian interference with the 2016 US presidential election. It is also clear to him that Rudy Giuliani is driving those conditions.
- July 18: Taylor learns that the directive to withhold US military aid to Ukraine is coming from Trump to Mulvaney to the OMB person who repeats the order in an interagency videoconference.
- Aug. 29: Taylor writes to Secretary of State Pompeo that withholding aid in return for help with Trump’s political desires is “folly.”
- Sept. 1: Sondland tells Taylor that “everything” depends on Ukraine’s public announcement of investigations, including security assistance. He says that Trump wants Zelensky “in a public box” by making a statement ordering such investigations.
- And on and on and on…
Lt. Col. Vindman heard Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky as it happened. He reported his concerns to White House NSC lawyer John Eisenberg. And he viewed the problem as transcending a wayward president trying to exploit foreign policy for domestic political gain. To Vindman, Trump’s manipulation of US foreign policy for personal domestic political gain posed serious national security concerns.
Armed with the truth, a handful of citizens who place country over political party can change the course of history for the better.
There will be more.
Here is a list of the latest update to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and Just Security:
MAY 3, 2019: Trump Calls Putin; They Discuss ‘Russian Hoax’ and Ukraine
MAY 7, 2019: Zelensky Concerned About Status of US Aid
MAY 28, 2019: Pompeo Taps Taylor for Ukraine
MAY 29, 2019: Trump Writes Congratulatory Letter for Delivery to Zelensky
JUNE 17-18, 2019: Taylor Arrives in Kiev, Confronts ‘Two Channels’ of US Policy Toward Ukraine
JUNE 27, 2019: Sondland Tells Taylor What Trump Wants to Hear From Zelensky
JUNE 28-30, 2019: Taylor Senses ‘Something Odd’ in Sondland’s Requests on Trump’s Behalf
JULY 10, 2019: Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Concerned That Trump Phone Call Won’t Happen
BY MID-JULY: Realizes Taylor That Investigation of Bidens and 2016 US Election Are Required for Trump-Zelensky Meeting
REVISED: JULY 18, 2019: Volker Learns About Hold on US Assistance to Ukraine and That the Directive Comes From Trump
JULY 19, 2019: Hill and Vindman Brief Taylor on July 10 Meeting
JULY 20, 2019: Sondland Tells Taylor About Investigation Language He Had Recommended to Zelensky
JULY 28, 2019: Taylor Hears About Trump-Zelensky Call
EARLY AUGUST 2019: Giuliani Tells Sondland What He Wants From Ukraine: Investigations into Ukraine Election Interference and ‘Burisma’
EARLY AUGUST 2019: Ukraine Learns of US Aid Freeze
AUG. 16, 2019: Ukraine Wants US Submit ‘Official Request’ for Ukrainian Investigation
AUG. 22, 2019: Taylor Remains Concerned About Hold on US Aid to Ukraine
AUG. 29, 2019: Taylor Tells Pompeo That Withholding Aid from Ukraine is ‘Folly’
REVISED: SEPT. 1, 2019: Taylor Asks Sondland About Ukrainian Quid Pro Quo; Sondland Says, ‘Call Me’
SEPT. 5, 2019: Taylor Hosts Sens. Johnson and Murphy in Kiev
SEPT. 7, 2019: ‘Sinking Feeling’ About Trump-Sondland Phone Call
SEPT. 8, 2019: Taylor Talks to Sondland
SEPT. 12-13, 2019: Zelensky Confirms There Won’t Be a CNN Interview to Announce Ukrainian Investigations
SEPT. 13, 2019: Clinton Cleared in Email Investigation
REVISED: OCT. 10, 2019:Two Giuliani Associates Arrested, Had Sought Removal of US Ambassador to Ukraine; House Issues Subpoenas
OCT. 21, 2019: OMB Personnel Refuse to Obey House Subpoena
OCT. 21, 2019: Facebook Removes Russian and Iranian Accounts Spreading Disinformation and Division; Many United in Opposition to Biden
OCT. 22, 2019: Taylor Testifies
OCT. 23, 2019: Trump Lifts Sanctions on Turkey
OCT. 23, 2019: GOP Lawmakers Storm Secure Room Where Impeachment Hearings Are Taking Place; Delay Cooper’s Testimony
OCT. 23, 2019: Senate Blocks Election Security Bills, Again
OCT. 24, 2019: DOJ Opens Criminal Inquiry on Origins of Russia Investigation
OCT. 25, 2019: Butina Released and Deported, Gets Hero’s Welcome in Moscow
OCT. 25, 2019: Court Orders Production of Redacted Mueller Grand Jury Materials
OCT. 25, 2019: Key Witness Files Lawsuit Regarding Trump’s Efforts to Block Witnesses