More Drip

There is a certain level of indication that the Republican stonewall defence of Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is running into two big problems.

70% of people aren’t buying it and Parnas keeps adding more evidence (though to be fair this come second hand from his associate Igor).

Damning new audio of Trump illuminates the Ukraine scandal’s back alleys
By Greg Sargent, Washington Post
Jan. 24, 2020

Given that Donald Trump was elected president of the United States shortly after a video surfaced featuring him boasting of committing sexual assault with impunity, you might be forgiven for thinking that a damning new audio recording of Trump that’s directly relevant to the Ukraine scandal might not end up mattering much.

But this new scoop from ABC News is remarkable, and raises questions about what’s going on in this scandal’s subterranean passageways that might not be evident at first.

Most superficially, this contradicts the president’s repeated denials that he knew Parnas, who was recently charged with campaign finance crimes and has since turned on Trump, spilling potentially incriminating new information on Trump’s Ukraine scheme.

As a side note, when Trump claims not to know an associate who has just been busted for wrongdoing — which happens rather often — what he’s really doing is telling the world, and the rest of the gang, that this person is now dead to him.

The recording also suggests new detail about just how involved Trump was in the campaign to oust Yovanovitch. As you’ll recall, Yovanovitch had to be removed — which Trump ultimately did — to clear the way for the corrupt scheme that Giuliani was preparing to orchestrate in an effort to extort Ukraine into announcing investigations that would help Trump politically.

If it’s true, as ABC News reports, that this audio recorded Trump in spring 2018, that might suggest the scheme to oust Yovanovitch had been in the works for longer than we thought. It’s difficult to say whether Trump is merely responding to being told by his henchmen that Yovanovitch has been “bad-mouthing” him, as ABC News reports, or whether there’s something else going on.

It’s worth noting here how bat-bleep insane it is that Trump, who has the power to recall ambassadors, is talking with his goons about this. Remember that Giuliani launched an epic smear campaign to hound her out of office. Trump finally did remove the ambassador, but if there were legitimate reasons to do so, why this secretive campaign against her?

“The president can say, ‘I’m recalling this ambassador,’ ” former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told me. “Why in the world instead of doing that do you yell to two underworld characters like Parnas and Fruman, ‘get rid of her,’ going around the entire machinery of government?”

That’s why it’s extremely suggestive, as ABC reports, that the audio was made by Fruman.

It’s possible that Fruman merely gave this audio to prosecutors to get it out into the public domain, Kirschner told me. But he added that it also raises at least the possibility that the SDNY investigation is far wider than we thought.

Kirschner noted that Yovanovitch testified that she had been abruptly recalled from Ukraine amid warnings about “my security,” and that she didn’t know what that meant. And, of course, Trump told the Ukrainian president that “she’s going to go through some things.”

“It seems like there could be an investigation into a conspiracy to do something to Yovanovitch,” Kirschner told me. “SDNY is or should be looking at all of this.”

All of which is a reminder that we still have only the foggiest understanding of the role Attorney General William P. Barr is playing. Is Barr allowing this investigation — whatever it’s examining — to proceed wherever the facts lead? We just don’t have any idea.