Well, it turns out that the President of the United States is a liar.
So, the “perfect” phone call (as the president describes it) that President Trump had with the Ukrainian president Vlodmort Vikingface (seriously, who cares what this guy’s name is?) in which Trump was dangling Ukrainian aid in exchange for an investigation into dirt on political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, led to Trump withholding funds less than two hours after they hung up.
Which, for the kids in the back still writing their names with fat pencils, means Trump put the kibosh on congressionally approved funds to Ukraine until he got what he asked for, according to recently obtained emails.
The Center for Public Integrity obtained 146 pages of heavily redacted emails (which can be read here) that confirmed Trump was totally playing mob boss with Ukraine’s aid and asking for a favor that doesn’t sound like a favor because he’s holding money hostage.
The timeline of events is striking, and as it turns out, still coming into even sharper focus. On the morning of July 25, according to the White House’s own call summary, Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on launching investigations in Kyiv intended to target the Republican’s domestic foes. It was on this same call that the Ukrainian leader referenced military support, to which Trump replied, “I would like you to do us a favor, though.”
Just 91 minutes after the call ended, Mike Duffey wrote to officials at the OMB and the Pentagon, “Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional [Department of Defense] obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process.”
Reinforcing concerns about a possible cover-up, Duffey added, “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction.”
In other words, Congress – which approved the military aid, but wasn’t involved in “executing” the direction – was to be kept in the dark, legal requirements notwithstanding.
Which brings us to Mark Sandy. Who is Mark Sandy, you ask? Well. Mark Sandy was a career staffer in the White House Office of Management and Budget who left this department when Trump laid out this quid pro quo bullshit. Sandy kept throwing the name Mike Duffey around when he told Congress in November that he believed the president was operating outside the lines of the law. When Sandy was hesitant to perform the White House request to withhold aid the White House “transferred power away from Sandy and to Duffey—a political appointee who used to lead the Wisconsin Republican Party—a move without precedent at the OMB,” MSNBC reports.
“If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information. This email is explosive. A top administration official, one that we’ve requested, is saying stop the aid 91 minutes after Trump called Zelensky and said keep it hush-hush. What more do you need to request a witness?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a New York City press conference Sunday, MSNBC reports.
Schumer also noted that if Senate Republicans don’t want to hear from Duffey then they probably have their ass over their ears.