Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, amzn.to/2sQBWYL). Professor. Dec. 03, 2019 3 min read

Why is no one noting that Trump, Pompeo, Giuliani, Nunes, Solomon, Parnas, Lutsenko, and Fruman began their plotting AT A TIME WHEN they didn't know if Mueller would take down Trump? The evidence shows Trump began this scheme when he learned he was being investigated over Russia.

1/ In other words, Trump *believed* Mueller would take him down. His *years-long* plot against Ukraine, *per the evidence*, originated as a defense to allegations he knew were being made against the Kremlin, which he believed were going to be connected to him via *Paul Manafort*.

2/ I'll say this until I'm blue in the face: this WAS NOT CONCEIVED as a plot against Biden; harming Biden was a bonus.

This was a plot to exculpate Trump, Putin, and the man who connected them: Manafort. It was a plot to end sanctions and pave the way for Trump deals in Russia.

3/ If this plot had been all about Biden, it would've been initiated only when it was clear Biden was going to be in the 2020 race. In fact, all of the key pieces and many of the key events in this international scheme *predated* anyone knowing that Biden would run for president.

4/ There's a story to be told here that's far larger than the story Democrats are telling. I understand they're simplifying the story to an extraordinary degree to make sure that everyone "gets it," but let's not sleep on the fact that this is all much worse than we've been told.

5/ When the Mueller Report came out, I said that it had spawned 24 probes that would continue the work of the special counsel's office. I said that many of the probes would be Congressional. While it didn't originate with Mueller, the Ukraine scandal *is* a Mueller-linked probe.

6/ Mueller detailed Trump's efforts to obstruct the Russia probe. But there were parts of that effort that Mueller couldn't report on, because they involved counterintelligence information. *One such effort*, which we learned of via the CIA, is now known as the "Ukraine scandal."

7/ What I'm saying is that when the CIA whistleblower filed his/her report, they were most certainly concerned about the July 25 phone call they had just heard, but also hailed from an intelligence community that without question knew Trump had additional obstruction plots afoot.

8/ Since 2017 Trump's Ukraine policy has been an insurance policy against the possibility the Russia probe would disclose his pre-election Russia collusion. Note that it was only after Trump learned via Barr that he'd escape charges that the Biden element became the *main* focus.

9/ If you like, you can think of the "Ukraine scandal" as the scandal that began *the day the Russia scandal was exposed* in summer 2016. The Ukraine scandal is, that is, a series of conspiracy theories Trump and Putin planned to advance in order to *cover up* the Russia scandal.

10/ Remember that Devin Nunes was Trump's man in Congress *both* to a) spy on the Russia probe from the inside, *and* b) frustrate the Ukraine investigation. Nunes was also on the Trump transition, during which Trump-Russia collusion occurred.

The two scandals are *one scandal*.

11/ Stage 1 of the Ukraine scandal was *exculpating Russia* of attacks on America. Stage 2 of the Ukraine scandal was *exculpating Manafort* of any crimes at all, the better to ensure he would *shut up* about Russia collusion.

Joe Biden only comes in at *Stage 3* of the scandal.

12/ As you watch the news tonight and hear every cable news host and every cable news guest talk about how much deeper this scandal goes than we presently know, I hope you'll remember a piece that I published in NEWSWEEK almost *two and a half months ago*:  https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newsweek.com/trump-impeachment-pelosi-tip-iceberg-manafort-1461143%3famp=1 


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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