Multiple Senior Officials In Trump Admin. Implicated In Whistleblower Complaint
President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani are far from the only two individuals in Trump’s orbit to be implicated in the Ukraine scandal, as the whistleblower complaint released on Thursday references numerous administration officials.
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait rattled off a list of both known and unknown participants in the “scheme to shake down Ukraine,” calling it a “massive plot” that spread through the federal government.
Trump and Giuliani are the obvious players, but others implicated include the president’s chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney, who froze military aid to Ukraine on the order of Trump.
“Congress had passed the aid, and Ukraine was under military attack from Russia, a fact that made the halting of the assistance worrisome to numerous officials in two branches of government,” Chait noted.
This brings in more officials who at best provided cover stories for the real reason the aid was being held.
When lawmakers questioned what was going on, they “were first told the assistance was being reviewed to determine whether it was in the best interest of foreign policy,” Chait quoted The New York Times as reporting. “Other administration officials said, without detail, there was a review on corruption in Ukraine, according to current and former officials. Then, as August drew to a close, other officials told lawmakers they were trying to gauge the effectiveness of the aid, a claim that struck congressional aides as odd.”
Vice President Mike Pence himself told inquiring officials that the aid was in limbo “based on concerns from the White House about ‘issues of corruption.’” And he told reporters earlier this month that “President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption,” when asked whether he discussed the notion of a Biden investigation during his meeting with Ukraine’s president.
“In other words, yes, Ukraine needed to investigate Biden if it wanted the money,” Chait wrote.
Attorney General William Barr is also implicated, as Trump expressly stated in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Barr is one of his point men on the issue of Joe Biden. Barr also worked to keep Congress from seeing the whistleblower complaint.
Giuliani has also indicated that he worked the Ukraine issue alongside the government: “You know who I did it at the request of? The State Department.”