Listen: Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani, Justice Department discussed on Impeachment: A Daily Podcast
"He is ongoingly violating his oath of office and abusing his power we have to impeach this president and majority of Americans not only support impeachment They support removal this is impeachment a daily podcast from WNYC. I'm Brian Lehrer Holy United and of course the impeachment news has continued to develop over the last twenty four hours I'm thinking two things today the pace of the revelations is breathtaking and it isn't stopping yet think about how slow the Mueller investigation felt right this Ukraine investigation is absolutely flying right now and team trump cannot control it they are losing the PR war every day right now as one government official after another sounds the alarm about something terribly rotten taking place and second there are so many new names to get to know in the last few weeks including a new one test flying before Congress every single day this week so we'll continue to try to introduce you to these people and their place in the story but we promise not to lose the the forest for the trees justice will take place only if people remember the main plot trump asked Ukraine to collude with him on political interference to her job Haydn after two years of denying that he colluded with Russia to hurt Hillary Clinton and to boot trump seems to have bribed or extorted his way mccranie and collusion by offering all things changes and actual US foreign policy the parade of witnesses this week is intended to see how wreck the evidence is for the quid pro quo our guest on impeachment today is New York Times Justice Department correspondent Katie Benner Hi Katie for doing this nice to have you on today Nice to be here. The testimony yesterday was by a senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine policy named George can and one of these new names who said he was one of those shoved aside and told to lie low on Ukraine even though Ukraine was part of his Aub so that the shadow foreign policy team including Rudy Giuliani could really run things where do you see George Ken testimony fitting into the picture said church can testimony is part of this mosaic being put together by former State Department officials for excuse me former and current State Department officials who are all contributing a little bit of knowledge to this idea that the State Department was at the heart of the president's attempts to get personal things for himself using the levers of lament you know we should probably take a step back and remember again why the State Department is so important its primary function to for the policy political national security and military interests of the United States without the use of force to work with other countries and to try to find ways to get what we want in a way that helps other people as well but first and foremost what he's going to benefit this country in a national security in a military policy way and what they're all saying the president decided this very very powerful lever of the government could also help him and they're each contributing a little bit to that picture and George actually contributed pretty powerfully to by saying that even though he was an expert in this area even though he should be running and helping contribute to conversations with Ukraine gene there is something about him about the way that he wanted to represent the government I then made him an unappealing messenger and instead three other people all were more inline with the president's agenda would take over and we've now heard similar stories from Maria von of it is the former trump ambassador to Ukraine fired to enable the scheme and Fiona Hill former trump Ukraine expert and via Fiona Hill's testimony a national security adviser John Bolton who was also shoved aside in favor of this Rudy Giuliani crew and now torch Kent when it's so many people who trump jointed and these are all trump appointees I think one of the big plot points here is that it's getting harder for trump to hang the revulsion with his Ukraine scheme on some kind of anti-trump deep state so I'm curious how much do you think we're seeing the deep state defense crumble before our eyes this very week well it's interesting the deep state defense is crumbling quickly for a lot of people of course you have to remember that over the White House they have not yet come up with new talking points it's really fascinating to watch how you have on one hand over on Capitol Hill very close to her I'm sitting right now these closed door meetings where lawmakers are gathering a lot of information we only know a tiny little bit of the things that they're being told these witnesses or coming in and testing crying for hours and hours and hours down Pennsylvania Avenue over at the White House they do not know what's happening and it's clear that inside the White House there's an almost incoherent response to what's going on because they're having a really hard time to your point earlier controlling the messaging too much information as dribbling out too fast they're always on their back foot and then to some of the old messaging only does not apply in this moment like the deep state defense but who knows what will end up again they don't know where this testimonies heading all they know is that people are defined them they are going to talk to lawmakers they're painting a very unflattering portrait of the President and I've essentially his fixer Rudy Giuliani today's witnesses Michael McKinley another new name to the general public McKinley resigned and this is quite a story if you haven't heard it yet folks. McKinley resigned suddenly last Week as a very top aide to Secretary of state POMPEII so Katie Benner any idea what Michael McKinley might want to expose today McKinley is an interesting figure because of his role and his proximity to Pompeo we know that Pompeo was on the call with Ukraine and that he originally did not want that known so oh McKinley is extensively the kind of figure who would know a lot more about the things that pompeo might not have already publicly said we do know that he's going to tell me acres that he was for a longtime concerned that people at the State Department career diplomats were being mistreated while he worked there and ah for political reasons they were being abused and some of them had their careers derailed including Marie Yovich who was the former ambassador Ukraine and tomorrow it's Gordon Sunland a very key player whose name people are starting to know because he's that trump donor from the hotel industry street in Portland Oregon who got rewarded with the job of ambassador to the e U Now the EU does not include Ukraine so that's not officially been in his portfolio no but he was very involved with Rudy in the pressure to get Ukraine to investigate Biden according to the text messages that have been revealed and other evidence so since he's up to his ears in this Katie why do you think on Mona's even agreeing to testify tomorrow well I mean there are a couple of reasons why we could why we presume that song would wanNA testify one of everybody around him testifying and it is inevitable that his name is probably being brought up in these closed door hearings and he would probably if he is smart want you half his own version of events in the record to he is in those text messages and in those text messages that you just mentioned somebody says to him point blank Listen Sawn Lynn I do not think that it's a good idea to hold back aid holdback assistance to Ukraine basically subvert the policy we believe is best for this country just so president trump can get something that he wants which is something for his own political personal gain in investigation one as rivals and silent interest Stanley in Tuscon text message exchange writes a very formal message back that says you know that is not how I see it it's not how the president see that please call me you know taking this conversation off line it's gotten too hot so there is a question about what sunland believes he was doing the president believes he was doing and those are the questions that Gordon someone's going to have to answer now you cover the Justice Department and one of the big bombshells came last week when two of Rudy's associates got arrested and charged by trump's own US attorney in New York with buying influence in the US government on behalf of Ukrainians today's a congressional deadline for them to turn over documents regarding communications with the White House these two defendants eager fruman left Parnasse do you know more specifically what Congress's seeking from them you know Congress again they want to know what the trump administration is doing and it's it's communication for Ukraine you know where their deals being made was there some sort of quid pro quo but what's what's also interesting is that this really puts the focus back again on Rudy Giuliani right again people say they don't really know in what capacity Giuliani was doing some of these things Giuliani said he was doing it with the blessing of the State Department he's also said he is acting on behalf of president trump he said he was hacked acting in private capacity but what's clear as he isn't every single -sation and so these two men are so closely tied to Giuliani they would be really interesting witnesses now. This is a key wrinkle for the Justice Department they have charged urged these two associates of Giuliani they suspect them of committing a crime as the southern district of New York it's closer and closer to these two men the cranium oligarchs who worked with them and anybody who would be interested in buying influence in the United States again that makes us wonder we have to ask the question will trump's own justice department bump up against Rudy Giuliani and if so how hard will they go after him we already know that he's a person event rest and that they are looking at his own actions and whether or not he was acting unlawfully as he tried to further the interests of people in countries like Ukraine is Julian johnny who was once the US attorney in Manhattan himself now under investigation by his old office. I mean that is what we've heard we've heard that he certainly personally interest people want to know what he's been up to now this also presents a quandary as you can imagine for the Justice Department for the southern district or New York they need to go where the evidence exam and if the evidence is pointing to Rudy Giuliani having committed any crime done anything wrong they would be obligated to go down that road that has what accusers do and certainly at Southern District Region York they take pride very much so in going hard after people who may have committed a crime now the president you can imagine would not want Rudy Giuliani investigated we saw this during the Mueller investigation a criminal investigation remember impeach Nada Criminal Process It is a political process during the Mueller Investigation this criminal investigation every time somebody closer to trump's inner city Michael would be investigated we would see charges brought against them it caused great agile within the White House and president trump attorney general bill bar in the same way that he spoke about molars prosecutors and former attorney general jeff sessions every time of investigations got close his inner circle he railed against those people he criticized them and he basically told them to stop the investigation we have not seen that yet with Mr Bar but it is to be seen how president trump responds to the idea that somebody almost as close to him as this department correspondent what do you think is placed in all this is because his reputation has been that though he's the attorney general of the United States and name he's another trump defense attorney in fact is it any different in this case than it was during the Muller investigation or the way he spun the release of the an exact transcript you can hear that in the recreated conversation that the White House released of the call between president trump and Ukraine's president zone ski right so it's clear that trump thinks of bar as somebody who will do anything to personally defend him not defend the presidency not defend the White House but personally defend him for lar- I think that the way that the investigations into these figures in Ukraine and into people like Giuliani that's going to be his real authorize it now we've said previously here I'll say it again so people are very clear that such a vote is not required under the law it's not required by the institution it's not required by house rules but last night speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down on her refusal to take such a vote voluntarily like that so why not called trump's bluff Katie I imagine Pelosi has the votes than Penson Rudy and all the others would be out on a limb Rudy Giuliani on the merits of actions that is actually I mean that that is not a concern that I think is going to stop Nancy Pelosi and Adam show that this impeachment inquiry this process is not legitimate and they would probably still stonewall and if you want articles of impeachment out by Thanksgiving."