Teri Kanefield
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Oct. 05, 2019 4 min read

(Thread) The Russian Way of Doing Politics

Here are my Cliff notes on this packet released by Schiff, Engel, and Cumming:  https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/a/4/a4a91fab-99cd-4eb9-9c6c-ec1c586494b9/621801458E982E9903839ABC7404A917.chairmen-letter-on-state-departmnent-texts-10-03-19.pdf 

You can also see Trump, Giuliani, and pals doing politics the Russian way.

1/ The text messages make clear Trump tied the release of military aid (and a WH meeting that Zelensky wanted) to Trump’s push for investigations that would benefit his 2020 campaign.

First, for context, some info from the Whistleblower complaint:

2/ Beginning late 2018, Guiliani met with Lutsenko, former Ukrainian prosecutor.

In March 2019: Lutsenko made public allegations that Ukrainian officials interfered in the U.S. 2016 elections in coordination with the DNC and Biden and family engaged in corruption in Ukraine.

3/ Trump, on Fox, said Lutsenko’s claims were “big” and “incredible.”

Spring: Giuliani traveled to Ukraine.

From Volker's statement to Congress (Volker is the former envoy to Ukraine):

In May, Volker was “concerned” that false negative stories. . .

4/ . . .were reaching POTUS and impeding Ukraine-US relations.

Volker told Congress he knew the accusations against Biden were baseless and Lutsenko was self-serving:

5/ On June 21, Giuliani tweeted:

Now, from this packet of information.  https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/a/4/a4a91fab-99cd-4eb9-9c6c-ec1c586494b9/621801458E982E9903839ABC7404A917.chairmen-letter-on-state-departmnent-texts-10-03-19.pdf 

Guiliani, Volker, Sondland (a GOP donor who Trump appointed ambassador to the EU) and Taylor (former ambassador to Ukraine) communicate about the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call.

6/ On 7-19: Volkner wrote: “Most impt. . .” ⤵️

7-21: Taylor: “Zelensky is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.”

Sondland replied: “Absolutely, but we need to get the conversation started. . .


On 7-22, Volker told Sondland “Rudy is now advocating for phone call.”

Before the Zelensky-Trump call, Volker made clear that Zelensky had to persuade Trump that he would open an investigation in order to get the meeting⤵️

8/ After the phone call, they begin arranging for a Zelensky White House visit and for Zelensky to make a public statement.

8-9: Sondland mentions Trump wants a “deliverable” ⤵️ (appears to be a public announcement that there will be an investigation)


8-10 Volker tells Giuliani he wants to “make sure I advise Z correctly as to what he should be saying”

Then they are going to “iron out” the statement which will include among other things “Burisma and election meddling in investigation.”


8-17: Need an unequivocal draft⤵️

Volker wants “a transparent and unbiased investigation of the 2016 election.”

8-28: This appears to be the date that Ukraine became aware that military aid from the US was delayed.


9-1: Taylor asks Sondland: Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?

Sondland says “call me” ⤵️

9-8: Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.


Sondland responds with this ⤵️
Notice how careful Trump wants to be to avoid quid pro quo.

gave a stellar answer to the question, "Was there quid pro quo"

13/ Notice Asha says yes, there's a quid pro quo, but that’s just the start. She explains “black propaganda”— attempts to conceal the source of information, so that it appears to come independently from Ukraine instead of having been drafted by Giuliani.

14/ From Asha: Trump administration Is trying to conduct an illegal covert psyop on the American public, using officials from the State Department and Giuliani.

Put another way: Trump and Giuliani are working hard to undermine both rule of law and factuality.

15/ Timothy Snyder explains the Russian way of doing politics.
What's the Russian way?
Undermine factuality so that nobody can figure out what’s true and what isn’t.

Without facts, you can’t have rule of law.
Without principles, there is only power.

16/ The torpedoing of facts allows the Trump-FOX-GOP to draw a moral equivalence between the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the election and the investigation that Trump tried to force in Ukraine.

17/ Notice how hard the Trump-GOP is trying to make the conversation about whether there was quid pro quo.⤵️

Yes, of course there was quid pro quo.

But that was the least of it.

Do like Asha in the clip. Don’t take the bait.

Talk about the overarching much larger issues.

18/ Adding this:
Trump doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong because he lives in a moral vacuum.
He told Pelosi that his conversation with Zelensky was “perfect.”
He has no principles.
He doesn't distinguish fact from fiction . . .

19/ This makes Trump the perfect tool for the Russian AND the logical result of several decades of Fox-GOP politics.

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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