web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Mulvaney, Mick

Kelly Says He Told Trump a ‘Yes Man’ as His Successor Would Lead to Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group merlin_148108983_62198fa6-f1f3-401e-bfef-5fe1613548a9-facebookJumbo Kelly Says He Told Trump a ‘Yes Man’ as His Successor Would Lead to Impeachment Washington Examiner, The Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Mulvaney, Mick Kelly, John F (1950- ) impeachment

WASHINGTON — John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff who during his tenure made it clear he detested the job, expressed regret on Saturday about leaving and implied that he could have helped stave off the impeachment inquiry now threatening Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Mr. Kelly, who left barely on speaking terms with the president, said he warned his boss to pick a successor in his mold, meaning someone who would push back against him.

“I said, whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” Mr. Kelly said, according to The Washington Examiner, which covered his remarks at a political summit it hosted in Sea Island, Ga. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

Mr. Kelly left the administration last December, and has since joined the board of Caliburn International, the umbrella organization of a company that runs the largest housing facility for migrant children. Mr. Kelly has spoken out about his time in the administration on only a handful of occasions since his departure.

On Saturday, he did not mention his successor, Mick Mulvaney, by name. But his comments appeared to pin the blame for the fast-moving impeachment inquiry on Mr. Trump’s embattled acting chief of staff, who said at a news conference last week that aid to Ukraine had been withheld because the president wanted to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals, only to later backpedal. And Mr. Kelly framed Mr. Trump himself as a careening leader who needed to be controlled by his aides.

“I have an awful lot of, to say the least, second thoughts about leaving,” Mr. Kelly said. “It pains me to see what’s going on, because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place.”

During his early days as chief of staff, Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star general, was credited for bringing order to a chaotic West Wing. But by the end, he found the task of managing Mr. Trump to be impossible, and often complained to colleagues that the role was thankless.

In his comments on Saturday, however, Mr. Kelly cast his management style as a better model than what has followed.

“Don’t hire someone that will just nod and say, ‘That’s a great idea, Mr. President,’” Mr. Kelly said, adding that any successor needed to tell Mr. Trump that “you either have the authority or you don’t, or Mr. President, don’t do it.”

Mr. Kelly added that “the system that should be in place, clearly — the system of advising, bringing in experts in, having these discussions with the president so he can make an informed decision — that clearly is not in place. And I feel bad that I left.”

Mr. Trump and the White House, however, made it clear that the feeling was not mutual.

“I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president,” the press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement.

The White House also issued a statement under Mr. Trump’s name, disputing that Mr. Kelly ever gave him advice about his successor.

“John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that,” the president said. “If he would have said that, I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does.”

Other speakers at the three-day conference included Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary, as well as Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes, two of Mr. Trump’s Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Kelly Says He Told Trump a ‘Yes Man’ as His Successor Would Lead to Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group merlin_148108983_62198fa6-f1f3-401e-bfef-5fe1613548a9-facebookJumbo Kelly Says He Told Trump a ‘Yes Man’ as His Successor Would Lead to Impeachment Washington Examiner, The Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Mulvaney, Mick Kelly, John F (1950- ) impeachment

WASHINGTON — John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff who during his tenure made it clear he detested the job, expressed regret on Saturday about leaving and implied that he could have helped stave off the impeachment inquiry now threatening Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Mr. Kelly, who left barely on speaking terms with the president, said he warned his boss to pick a successor in his mold, meaning someone who would push back against him.

“I said, whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” Mr. Kelly said, according to The Washington Examiner, which covered his remarks at a political summit it hosted in Sea Island, Ga. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

Mr. Kelly left the administration last December, and has since joined the board of Caliburn International, the umbrella organization of a company that runs the largest housing facility for migrant children. Mr. Kelly has spoken out about his time in the administration on only a handful of occasions since his departure.

On Saturday, he did not mention his successor, Mick Mulvaney, by name. But his comments appeared to pin the blame for the fast-moving impeachment inquiry on Mr. Trump’s embattled acting chief of staff, who said at a news conference last week that aid to Ukraine had been withheld because the president wanted to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals, only to later backpedal. And Mr. Kelly framed Mr. Trump himself as a careening leader who needed to be controlled by his aides.

“I have an awful lot of, to say the least, second thoughts about leaving,” Mr. Kelly said. “It pains me to see what’s going on, because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place.”

During his early days as chief of staff, Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star general, was credited for bringing order to a chaotic West Wing. But by the end, he found the task of managing Mr. Trump to be impossible, and often complained to colleagues that the role was thankless.

In his comments on Saturday, however, Mr. Kelly cast his management style as a better model than what has followed.

“Don’t hire someone that will just nod and say, ‘That’s a great idea, Mr. President,’” Mr. Kelly said, adding that any successor needed to tell Mr. Trump that “you either have the authority or you don’t, or Mr. President, don’t do it.”

Mr. Kelly added that “the system that should be in place, clearly — the system of advising, bringing in experts in, having these discussions with the president so he can make an informed decision — that clearly is not in place. And I feel bad that I left.”

Mr. Trump and the White House, however, made it clear that the feeling was not mutual.

“I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president,” the press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement.

The White House also issued a statement under Mr. Trump’s name, disputing that Mr. Kelly ever gave him advice about his successor.

“John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that,” the president said. “If he would have said that, I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does.”

Other speakers at the three-day conference included Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary, as well as Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes, two of Mr. Trump’s Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by Early August, Undermining Trump Defense

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-aid-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by Early August, Undermining Trump Defense Zelensky, Volodymyr Volker, Kurt D United States Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Office of Management and Budget (US) Mulvaney, Mick Giuliani, Rudolph W Defense Department

KIEV, Ukraine — To Democrats who say that President Trump’s decision to freeze a $391 million military aid package to Ukraine was intended to bully Ukraine’s leader into carrying out investigations for Mr. Trump’s political benefit, the president and his allies have had a simple response: There could not have been any quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know the assistance had been blocked.

Following testimony by William B. Taylor Jr., the top United States diplomat in Ukraine, to House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the freezing of the aid was directly linked to Mr. Trump’s demand for the investigations, the president took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to approvingly quote a Republican member of Congress saying neither Mr. Taylor nor any other witness had “provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld.”

But in fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.

The problem was not a bureaucratic glitch, the Ukrainians were told then. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.

The timing of the communications about the issue, which have not previously been reported, shows that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than United States and Ukrainian officials had acknowledged. And it means that the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and two American diplomats were pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Mr. Trump.

The communications did not explicitly link the assistance freeze to the push by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani for the investigations. But in the communications, officials from the United States and Ukraine discuss the need to bring in the same senior aide to Mr. Zelensky who had been dealing with Mr. Giuliani about Mr. Trump’s demands for the investigations, signaling a possible link between the matters.

Word of the aid freeze got to the Ukrainians at a moment when Mr. Zelensky, who had taken office a little more than two months earlier after a campaign in which he promised to root out corruption and stand up to Russia, was off balance and uncertain how to stabilize his country’s relationship with the United States.

Days earlier, he had listened to Mr. Trump implore him on a half-hour call to pursue investigations touching on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Zelensky’s efforts to secure a visit to the White House — a symbolic affirmation of support he considered vital at a time when Russia continued to menace Ukraine’s eastern border — seemed to be stalled. American policy toward Ukraine was being guided not by career professionals but by Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Taylor told the impeachment investigators that it was only on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 meeting in Warsaw between Mr. Zelensky and Vice President Mike Pence that the Ukrainians were directly told the aid would be dependent on Mr. Zelensky giving Mr. Trump something he wanted: an investigation into Burisma, the company that had employed Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son.

American and Ukrainian officials have asserted that Ukraine learned that the aid had been held up only around the time it became public through a news story at the end of August.

The aid freeze is getting additional scrutiny from the impeachment investigators on Wednesday as they question Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. This month, Democrats subpoenaed both the Defense Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget for records related to the assistance freeze.

As Mr. Taylor’s testimony suggests, the Ukrainians did not confront the Trump administration about the freeze until they were told in September that it was linked to the demand for the investigations. The Ukrainians appear to have initially been hopeful that the problem could be resolved quietly and were reluctant to risk a public clash at a delicate time in relations between the two nations.

The disclosure that the Ukrainians knew of the freeze by early August corroborates, and provides additional details about, a claim made by a C.I.A. officer in his whistle-blower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

“As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it,” the anonymous whistle-blower wrote. The complainant said that he learned that the instruction to freeze the assistance “had come directly from the president,” and said it “might have a connection with the overall effort to pressure Ukrainian leadership.”

Publicly, Mr. Zelensky has insisted he felt no pressure to pursue the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

“There was no blackmail,” Mr. Zelensky said at a news conference earlier this month. He cited as evidence that he “had no idea the military aid was held up” at the time of his July 25 call with Mr. Trump, when Mr. Trump pressed him for investigations into the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Mr. Zelensky has said he knew about the hold up of the military aid before his meeting in Poland on Sept. 1 with Mr. Pence, but has been vague about exactly when he learned about it. “When I did find out, I raised it with Pence at a meeting in Warsaw,” he said this month.

In conversations over several days in early August, a Pentagon official discussed the assistance freeze directly with a Ukrainian government official, according to records and interviews. The Pentagon official suggested that Mr. Mulvaney had been pushing for the assistance to be withheld, and urged the Ukrainians to reach out to him.

The Pentagon official described Mr. Mulvaney’s motivations only in broad terms but made clear that the same Ukrainian official, Andriy Yermak, who had been negotiating with Mr. Giuliani over the investigations and a White House visit being sought by Mr. Zelensky should also reach out to Mr. Mulvaney over the hold on military aid.

A senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue said on Monday that Mr. Mulvaney “had absolutely no communication with the Ukranians about this issue.”

Ukrainian officials had grown suspicious that the assistance was in jeopardy because formal talks with the Pentagon on its release had concluded by June without any apparent problem.

In talks during the spring with American officials, the Ukrainians had resolved conditions for the release of the assistance, and believed everything was on schedule, according to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s former vice prime minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration.

But by early August, the Ukrainians were struggling to get clear answers from their American contacts about the status of the assistance, according to American officials familiar with the Ukrainians’ efforts.

In the days and weeks after top Ukrainian officials were alerted to the aid freeze, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were working with Mr. Giuliani to draft a statement for Mr. Zelensky to deliver that would commit him to pursuing the investigations, according to text messages between the men turned over to the House impeachment investigators.

The text messages between Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and the top Zelensky aide did not mention the hold up of the aid. It was only in September, after the Warsaw meeting, that Mr. Taylor wrote in a text message to Mr. Sondland, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

After being informed on Sept. 1 in Warsaw that the aid would be released only if Mr. Zelensky agreed to the investigations, Ukrainian officials, including their national security adviser and defense minister, were troubled by their inability to get answers to questions about the freeze from United States officials, Mr. Taylor testified.

Through the summer, Mr. Zelensky had been noncommittal about the demands from Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and Mr. Giuliani for a public commitment to the investigations. On Sept. 5, Mr. Taylor testified, Mr. Zelensky met in Kiev with Senators Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, and Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut.

Mr. Zelensky’s first question, Mr. Taylor said, was about the security aid. The senators responded, Mr. Taylor said, that Mr. Zelensky “should not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”

But Mr. Sondland was still pressing for a commitment from Mr. Zelensky, and was pressing him to do a CNN interview in which he would talk about pursuing the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Zelensky never did the interview and never made the public commitment sought by the White House, although a Ukrainian prosecutor later said he would “audit” a case involving the owner of the company that paid Hunter Biden as a board member.

Mr. Giuliani has said he had nothing to do with the assistance freeze and did not talk to Mr. Trump or “anybody in the government” about it. “I didn’t know about it until I read about it in the newspaper,” he said in an interview last week.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by August, Undermining Trump Defense

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-aid-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by August, Undermining Trump Defense Zelensky, Volodymyr Volker, Kurt D United States Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Office of Management and Budget (US) Mulvaney, Mick Giuliani, Rudolph W Defense Department

KIEV, Ukraine — To Democrats who say that President Trump’s decision to freeze a $391 million military aid package to Ukraine was intended to bully Ukraine’s leader into carrying out investigations for Mr. Trump’s political benefit, the president and his allies have had a simple response: There could not have been any quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know the assistance had been blocked.

Following testimony by William B. Taylor Jr., the top United States diplomat in Ukraine, to House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the freezing of the aid was directly linked to Mr. Trump’s demand for the investigations, the president took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to approvingly quote a Republican member of Congress saying neither Mr. Taylor nor any other witness had “provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld.”

But in fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.

The problem was not a bureaucratic glitch, the Ukrainians were told then. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.

The timing of the communications about the issue, which have not previously been reported, shows that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than United States and Ukrainian officials had acknowledged. And it means that the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and two American diplomats were pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Mr. Trump.

The communications did not explicitly link the assistance freeze to the push by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani for the investigations. But in the communications, officials from the United States and Ukraine discuss the need to bring in the same senior aide to Mr. Zelensky who had been dealing with Mr. Giuliani about Mr. Trump’s demands for the investigations, signaling a possible link between the matters.

Word of the aid freeze got to the Ukrainians at a moment when Mr. Zelensky, who had taken office a little more than two months earlier after a campaign in which he promised to root out corruption and stand up to Russia, was off balance and uncertain how to stabilize his country’s relationship with the United States.

Days earlier, he had listened to Mr. Trump implore him on a half-hour call to pursue investigations touching on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Zelensky’s efforts to secure a visit to the White House — a symbolic affirmation of support he considered vital at a time when Russia continued to menace Ukraine’s eastern border — seemed to be stalled. American policy toward Ukraine was being guided not by career professionals but by Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Taylor told the impeachment investigators that it was only on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 meeting in Warsaw between Mr. Zelensky and Vice President Mike Pence that the Ukrainians were directly told the aid would be dependent on Mr. Zelensky giving Mr. Trump something he wanted: an investigation into Burisma, the company that had employed Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son.

American and Ukrainian officials have asserted that Ukraine learned that the aid had been held up only around the time it became public through a news story at the end of August.

The aid freeze is getting additional scrutiny from the impeachment investigators on Wednesday as they question Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. This month, Democrats subpoenaed both the Defense Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget for records related to the assistance freeze.

As Mr. Taylor’s testimony suggests, the Ukrainians did not confront the Trump administration about the freeze until they were told in September that it was linked to the demand for the investigations. The Ukrainians appear to have initially been hopeful that the problem could be resolved quietly and were reluctant to risk a public clash at a delicate time in relations between the two nations.

The disclosure that the Ukrainians knew of the freeze by early August corroborates, and provides additional details about, a claim made by a C.I.A. officer in his whistle-blower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

“As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it,” the anonymous whistle-blower wrote. The complainant said that he learned that the instruction to freeze the assistance “had come directly from the president,” and said it “might have a connection with the overall effort to pressure Ukrainian leadership.”

Publicly, Mr. Zelensky has insisted he felt no pressure to pursue the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

“There was no blackmail,” Mr. Zelensky said at a news conference earlier this month. He cited as evidence that he “had no idea the military aid was held up” at the time of his July 25 call with Mr. Trump, when Mr. Trump pressed him for investigations into the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Mr. Zelensky has said he knew about the hold up of the military aid before his meeting in Poland on Sept. 1 with Mr. Pence, but has been vague about exactly when he learned about it. “When I did find out, I raised it with Pence at a meeting in Warsaw,” he said this month.

In conversations over several days in early August, a Pentagon official discussed the assistance freeze directly with a Ukrainian government official, according to records and interviews. The Pentagon official suggested that Mr. Mulvaney had been pushing for the assistance to be withheld, and urged the Ukrainians to reach out to him.

The Pentagon official described Mr. Mulvaney’s motivations only in broad terms but made clear that the same Ukrainian official, Andriy Yermak, who had been negotiating with Mr. Giuliani over the investigations and a White House visit being sought by Mr. Zelensky should also reach out to Mr. Mulvaney over the hold on military aid.

A senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue said on Monday that Mr. Mulvaney “had absolutely no communication with the Ukranians about this issue.”

Ukrainian officials had grown suspicious that the assistance was in jeopardy because formal talks with the Pentagon on its release had concluded by June without any apparent problem.

In talks during the spring with American officials, the Ukrainians had resolved conditions for the release of the assistance, and believed everything was on schedule, according to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s former vice prime minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration.

But by early August, the Ukrainians were struggling to get clear answers from their American contacts about the status of the assistance, according to American officials familiar with the Ukrainians’ efforts.

In the days and weeks after top Ukrainian officials were alerted to the aid freeze, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were working with Mr. Giuliani to draft a statement for Mr. Zelensky to deliver that would commit him to pursuing the investigations, according to text messages between the men turned over to the House impeachment investigators.

The text messages between Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and the top Zelensky aide did not mention the hold up of the aid. It was only in September, after the Warsaw meeting, that Mr. Taylor wrote in a text message to Mr. Sondland, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

After being informed on Sept. 1 in Warsaw that the aid would be released only if Mr. Zelensky agreed to the investigations, Ukrainian officials, including their national security adviser and defense minister, were troubled by their inability to get answers to questions about the freeze from United States officials, Mr. Taylor testified.

Through the summer, Mr. Zelensky had been noncommittal about the demands from Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and Mr. Giuliani for a public commitment to the investigations. On Sept. 5, Mr. Taylor testified, Mr. Zelensky met in Kiev with Senators Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, and Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut.

Mr. Zelensky’s first question, Mr. Taylor said, was about the security aid. The senators responded, Mr. Taylor said, that Mr. Zelensky “should not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”

But Mr. Sondland was still pressing for a commitment from Mr. Zelensky, and was pressing him to do a CNN interview in which he would talk about pursuing the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Zelensky never did the interview and never made the public commitment sought by the White House, although a Ukrainian prosecutor later said he would “audit” a case involving the owner of the company that paid Hunter Biden as a board member.

Mr. Giuliani has said he had nothing to do with the assistance freeze and did not talk to Mr. Trump or “anybody in the government” about it. “I didn’t know about it until I read about it in the newspaper,” he said in an interview last week.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Contradicting Trump, Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze Before It Became Public

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-aid-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Contradicting Trump, Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze Before It Became Public Zelensky, Volodymyr Volker, Kurt D United States Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Office of Management and Budget (US) Mulvaney, Mick Giuliani, Rudolph W Defense Department

KIEV, Ukraine — To Democrats who say that President Trump’s decision to freeze a $391 million military aid package to Ukraine was intended to bully Ukraine’s leader into carrying out investigations for Mr. Trump’s political benefit, the president and his allies have had a simple response: There could not have been any quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know the assistance had been blocked.

Following testimony by William B. Taylor Jr., the top United States diplomat in Ukraine, to House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the freezing of the aid was directly linked to Mr. Trump’s demand for the investigations, the president took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to approvingly quote a Republican member of Congress saying neither Mr. Taylor nor any other witness had “provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld.”

But in fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.

The problem was not a bureaucratic glitch, the Ukrainians were told then. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.

The timing of the communications about the issue, which have not previously been reported, shows that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than United States and Ukrainian officials had acknowledged. And it means that the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and two American diplomats were pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Mr. Trump.

The communications did not explicitly link the assistance freeze to the push by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani for the investigations. But in the communications, officials from the United States and Ukraine discuss the need to bring in the same senior aide to Mr. Zelensky who had been dealing with Mr. Giuliani about Mr. Trump’s demands for the investigations, signaling a possible link between the matters.

Word of the aid freeze got to the Ukrainians at a moment when Mr. Zelensky, who had taken office a little more than two months earlier after a campaign in which he promised to root out corruption and stand up to Russia, was off balance and uncertain how to stabilize his country’s relationship with the United States.

Days earlier, he had listened to Mr. Trump implore him on a half-hour call to pursue investigations touching on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Zelensky’s efforts to secure a visit to the White House — a symbolic affirmation of support he considered vital at a time when Russia continued to menace Ukraine’s eastern border — seemed to be stalled. American policy toward Ukraine was being guided not by career professionals but by Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Taylor told the impeachment investigators that it was only on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 meeting in Warsaw between Mr. Zelensky and Vice President Mike Pence that the Ukrainians were directly told the aid would be dependent on Mr. Zelensky giving Mr. Trump something he wanted: an investigation into Burisma, the company that had employed Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son.

American and Ukrainian officials have asserted that Ukraine learned that the aid had been held up only around the time it became public through a news story at the end of August.

The aid freeze is getting additional scrutiny from the impeachment investigators on Wednesday as they question Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. This month, Democrats subpoenaed both the Defense Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget for records related to the assistance freeze.

As Mr. Taylor’s testimony suggests, the Ukrainians did not confront the Trump administration about the freeze until they were told in September that it was linked to the demand for the investigations. The Ukrainians appear to have initially been hopeful that the problem could be resolved quietly and were reluctant to risk a public clash at a delicate time in relations between the two nations.

The disclosure that the Ukrainians knew of the freeze by early August corroborates, and provides additional details about, a claim made by a C.I.A. officer in his whistle-blower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

“As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it,” the anonymous whistle-blower wrote. The complainant said that he learned that the instruction to freeze the assistance “had come directly from the president,” and said it “might have a connection with the overall effort to pressure Ukrainian leadership.”

Publicly, Mr. Zelensky has insisted he felt no pressure to pursue the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

“There was no blackmail,” Mr. Zelensky said at a news conference earlier this month. He cited as evidence that he “had no idea the military aid was held up” at the time of his July 25 call with Mr. Trump, when Mr. Trump pressed him for investigations into the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Mr. Zelensky has said he knew about the hold up of the military aid before his meeting in Poland on Sept. 1 with Mr. Pence, but has been vague about exactly when he learned about it. “When I did find out, I raised it with Pence at a meeting in Warsaw,” he said this month.

In conversations over several days in early August, a Pentagon official discussed the assistance freeze directly with a Ukrainian government official, according to records and interviews. The Pentagon official suggested that Mr. Mulvaney had been pushing for the assistance to be withheld, and urged the Ukrainians to reach out to him.

The Pentagon official described Mr. Mulvaney’s motivations only in broad terms but made clear that the same Ukrainian official, Andriy Yermak, who had been negotiating with Mr. Giuliani over the investigations and a White House visit being sought by Mr. Zelensky should also reach out to Mr. Mulvaney over the hold on military aid.

A senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue said on Monday that Mr. Mulvaney “had absolutely no communication with the Ukranians about this issue.”

Ukrainian officials had grown suspicious that the assistance was in jeopardy because formal talks with the Pentagon on its release had concluded by June without any apparent problem.

In talks during the spring with American officials, the Ukrainians had resolved conditions for the release of the assistance, and believed everything was on schedule, according to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s former vice prime minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration.

But by early August, the Ukrainians were struggling to get clear answers from their American contacts about the status of the assistance, according to American officials familiar with the Ukrainians’ efforts.

In the days and weeks after top Ukrainian officials were alerted to the aid freeze, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were working with Mr. Giuliani to draft a statement for Mr. Zelensky to deliver that would commit him to pursuing the investigations, according to text messages between the men turned over to the House impeachment investigators.

The text messages between Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and the top Zelensky aide did not mention the hold up of the aid. It was only in September, after the Warsaw meeting, that Mr. Taylor wrote in a text message to Mr. Sondland, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

After being informed on Sept. 1 in Warsaw that the aid would be released only if Mr. Zelensky agreed to the investigations, Ukrainian officials, including their national security adviser and defense minister, were troubled by their inability to get answers to questions about the freeze from United States officials, Mr. Taylor testified.

Through the summer, Mr. Zelensky had been noncommittal about the demands from Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and Mr. Giuliani for a public commitment to the investigations. On Sept. 5, Mr. Taylor testified, Mr. Zelensky met in Kiev with Senators Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, and Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut.

Mr. Zelensky’s first question, Mr. Taylor said, was about the security aid. The senators responded, Mr. Taylor said, that Mr. Zelensky “should not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”

But Mr. Sondland was still pressing for a commitment from Mr. Zelensky, and was pressing him to do a CNN interview in which he would talk about pursuing the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Zelensky never did the interview and never made the public commitment sought by the White House, although a Ukrainian prosecutor later said he would “audit” a case involving the owner of the company that paid Hunter Biden as a board member.

Mr. Giuliani has said he had nothing to do with the assistance freeze and did not talk to Mr. Trump or “anybody in the government” about it. “I didn’t know about it until I read about it in the newspaper,” he said in an interview last week.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hungary’s Orban Gave Trump Harsh Analysis of Ukraine Before Key Meeting

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-prexy1-facebookJumbo Hungary’s Orban Gave Trump Harsh Analysis of Ukraine Before Key Meeting Volker, Kurt D United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Putin, Vladimir V Mulvaney, Mick Hungary Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Just 10 days before a key meeting on Ukraine, President Trump met, over the objections of his national security adviser, with one of the former Soviet republic’s most virulent critics, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and heard a sharp assessment that bolstered his hostility toward the country, according to several people informed about the situation.

Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Orban on May 13 exposed him to a harsh indictment of Ukraine at a time when his personal lawyer was pressing the new government in Kiev to provide damaging information about Democrats. Mr. Trump’s suspicious view of Ukraine set the stage for events that led to the impeachment inquiry against him.

The visit by Mr. Orban, who is seen as an autocrat who has rolled back democracy, provoked a sharp dispute within the White House. John R. Bolton, then the president’s national security adviser, and Fiona Hill, then the National Security Council’s senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, opposed a White House invitation for the Hungarian leader, according to the people briefed on the matter. But they were outmaneuvered by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, who supported such a meeting.

As a result, Mr. Trump at a critical moment in the Ukraine saga sat down in the Oval Office with a European leader with a fiercely negative outlook on Ukraine that fortified opinions he had heard from his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia repeatedly over the months and years.

Echoing Mr. Putin’s view, Mr. Orban has publicly accused Ukraine of oppressing its Hungarian minority and has cast his eye on a section of Ukraine with a heavy Hungarian population. His government has accused Ukraine of being “semi-fascist” and sought to block important meetings for Ukraine with the European Union and NATO.

Ten days after his meeting with Mr. Orban, Mr. Trump met on May 23 with several of his top advisers returning from the inauguration of Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The advisers, including Rick Perry, the energy secretary; Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine; and Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, reassured Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky was a reformer who deserved American support. But Mr. Trump expressed deep doubt, saying that Ukrainians were “terrible people” who “tried to take me down” during the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Orban’s visit came up during testimony to House investigators last week by George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine policy. The meeting with Mr. Orban and a separate May 3 phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin are of intense interest to House investigators seeking to piece together the back story that led to the president’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Mr. Kent testified behind closed doors that another government official had held the two episodes up to him as part of an explanation for Mr. Trump’s darkening views of Mr. Zelensky last spring, according to a person familiar with his testimony. A third factor cited to him was Mr. Giuliani’s influence.

Mr. Kent did not have firsthand knowledge of either discussion, and it was not clear if the person who cited them did either. But two other people briefed on the matter said in interviews that Mr. Orban used the opportunity to disparage Ukraine with the president. The Washington Post first reported on the meeting with Mr. Orban and the call with Mr. Putin.

It would not be surprising that Mr. Putin would fill Mr. Trump’s ear with negative impressions of Ukraine or Mr. Zelensky. He has long denied that Ukraine even deserved to be a separate nation, and he sent undercover forces into Crimea in 2014 to set the stage to annex the Ukrainian territory. Mr. Putin’s government has also armed Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, fomenting a civil war that has dragged on for five years.

But allowing Mr. Orban to add his voice to that chorus set off a fight inside the West Wing. Mr. Bolton and Ms. Hill believed that Mr. Orban did not deserve the honor of an Oval Office visit, which would be seen as a huge political coup for an autocratic leader ostracized by many of his peers in Europe.

Mr. Mulvaney, however, had come to respect Mr. Orban from his time as a member of Congress and his involvement with the International Catholic Legislators Network, according to an administration official close to the acting chief of staff. Mr. Orban has positioned himself as a champion of Christians in the Middle East, a position that earned him Mr. Mulvaney’s admiration, the official said.

Another official pushing for the Orban visit was David B. Cornstein, the United States ambassador to Hungary, who sidestepped the State Department to help set up a White House meeting, according to a person familiar with the matter. An 81-year-old jewelry magnate and longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, Mr. Cornstein told The Atlantic this year that the president envied Mr. Orban. “I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orban has, but he doesn’t,” Mr. Cornstein said.

The Oval Office meeting with Mr. Trump took place just four days after Mr. Giuliani told The New York Times that he would travel to Ukraine to seek information that would be “very, very helpful to my client” and three days after Mr. Giuliani canceled the trip in response to the resulting criticism.

In moves that have disturbed democracy advocates and many American and European officials, Mr. Orban’s government has targeted nongovernmental organizations, brought most of the news media under control of his allies, undermined the independent judiciary, altered the electoral process to favor his party and sought to drive out of the country an American-chartered university founded by the billionaire George Soros.

Mr. Orban’s government has pressured Ukraine over what it says is discrimination and violence against ethnic Hungarians living in the western part of the country.

Mr. Orban’s efforts to undermine Ukraine in Europe drew enough concern among American officials that Mr. Volker, while the State Department special envoy, visited Budapest and other places to meet with Hungarian officials to encourage them to talk with their counterparts in Kiev to resolve their differences.

Mr. Mulvaney’s role in facilitating Mr. Orban’s visit adds to the picture of the acting chief of staff’s role in the Ukraine situation. It was Mr. Mulvaney who conveyed Mr. Trump’s order suspending $391 million in American assistance to Ukraine at the same time the president was trying to pressure Mr. Zelensky to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

At a briefing last week, Mr. Mulvaney denied that the aid was held up to force Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden but confirmed that one reason it was frozen was to make sure Ukraine investigated any involvement with Democrats in the 2016 presidential campaign. After a resulting furor, Mr. Mulvaney then sought to take back his comments, denying any quid pro quo.

Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney also clashed when it became clear Mr. Mulvaney was facilitating Mr. Sondland’s role in pressing Ukraine. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton told Ms. Hill, according to her testimony to House investigators.

Adam Goldman contributed reporting from Washington, and Matt Apuzzo from Brussels.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Get Over It’? Why Political Influence in Foreign Policy Matters

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-interference1-facebookJumbo ‘Get Over It’? Why Political Influence in Foreign Policy Matters Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mulvaney, Mick Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — A July 25 call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine is the basis for an impeachment inquiry into whether Mr. Trump withheld American military aid until Ukrainian officials investigated former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter.

Last week the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, effectively acknowledged the quid pro quo, although he said the aid was in part contingent on Ukraine’s investigating Mr. Trump’s widely debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking Democratic Party emails in 2016. The theory is politically helpful to Mr. Trump because it would show he was elected president without that Russian help.

Mr. Mulvaney was unapologetic in his remarks. “I have news for everybody: Get over it,” Mr. Mulvaney told reporters at the White House. “There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” (He later reversed himself and has said his comments were misconstrued.)

Readers have asked The New York Times to explain why, exactly, another nation’s interference in the democratic process is such a serious issue.

Here are some answers.

Other countries have their own interests, and those interests don’t always match ours, said Trevor Potter, the founder of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that works to ensure fair elections.

“Many countries are rivals of ours and of our democratic system,” Mr. Potter said. He listed as two chief examples China and Russia, countries that Mr. Trump has publicly suggested could help him achieve his political aims. “In some cases, they’re going to want policies that help them and therefore hurt us. In other cases, though, they just want us to fail.”

Trump administration officials — but not the president himself — have publicly and repeatedly warned foreign governments not to meddle in American elections.

Yes. The ability of a foreign nation to gain access and influence over America’s democratic process has been a concern since the early days of the republic.

During the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, delegates debated what kind of behavior should merit a president’s removal from office. George Mason suggested the standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which holds to this day. One of the high crimes the framers had in mind was accepting money from a foreign power, or what Alexander Hamilton said was giving in to “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

In short, the authors of the Constitution saw few bigger threats than a president corruptly tied to forces from overseas.

Mr. Trump has denied any explicit quid pro quo — a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something — in his call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. He has repeatedly referred to it as a “perfect” conversation.

But several elements of the call could conceivably have been used as bargaining chips by Mr. Trump.

One was the American military aid, which came to nearly $400 million for security assistance to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression on its eastern border. The other was a proposed Oval Office meeting between Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Trump, highly desired by Mr. Zelensky as a powerful show of American support at a time when Ukraine is under threat from Russia.

According to a summary of the call released by the White House, Mr. Trump raised two matters after Mr. Zelensky spoke of his need for American help. “I would like you to do us a favor, though,” Mr. Trump said, shifting the conversation to ask Mr. Zelensky to investigate the Bidens as well as the conspiracy theory.

Mr. Zelensky responded that his prosecutor general would look into those issues, and asked Mr. Trump to provide any additional information that could aid in the investigation.

At its most basic level, asking another government for help — whether a quid pro quo existed or not — means that Mr. Trump would find himself indebted to another country.

Doing this in private is especially alarming, Mr. Potter said, because the Trump administration’s decision to even temporarily withhold military aid for a country that needs to arm itself against Russia goes directly against American national security interests.

“If the president of Ukraine has agreed to do this, he has something to hold over the head of the president of the United States,” Mr. Potter said. “It indeed opens the president up to political blackmail.”

Asking a foreigner for aid in an American political campaign is illegal, which Ellen L. Weintraub, the head of the Federal Election Commission, has made clear.

“If a foreign government is investing resources in producing something that will be a value to a campaign here in the United States, that’s a problem,” Ms. Weintraub said in an interview with ABC News.

No. Both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations have resisted the idea of enlisting help from foreign powers for political advantage.

In 1992, when President George Bush was behind in the polls in his re-election campaign against Bill Clinton, a group of Republican lawmakers suggested to White House officials that they ask the British and Russian governments to dig up unflattering information on Mr. Clinton’s actions protesting the Vietnam War during his time in London, and to look into a visit he made to Moscow.

“They wanted us to contact the Russians or the British to seek information on Bill Clinton’s trip to Moscow,” James A. Baker III, Mr. Bush’s chief of staff, wrote in a memo at the time. “I said we absolutely could not do that.”

Ten former chiefs of staff for five former presidents — Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, Mr. Clinton and Barack Obama — have all said they would have considered such a prospect unacceptable.

But that doesn’t mean the Russians haven’t tried. The Soviet Union offered to help Adlai Stevenson make a third presidential run in 1960, a proposal he turned down. The Soviet ambassador likewise offered to help finance Hubert Humphrey’s campaign in 1968, drawing another rejection. And Leonid Brezhnev told Gerald R. Ford that he would “do everything we can” to help him win in 1976, a comment Mr. Ford brushed off without taking seriously.

Yes.

The Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow elected leaders in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s and backed violent coups in several other countries in the 1960s. It plotted assassinations and supported brutal anti-Communist governments in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The C.I.A. has planted misinformation and, at times, used cash as a way to achieve foreign policy aims.

But experts have argued that modern American efforts are not morally equivalent to those in Russia. In recent decades, American efforts have been geared toward promoting candidates who challenge authoritarian leaders. Russian efforts, on the other hand, are meant to sow discord.

“We often consider ourselves and hold ourselves out as an example of how other countries should conduct themselves,” Mr. Potter said. “When we have internal battles or things have gone wrong here, it is much harder to do that.”

He added, “Countries can exploit that and say, ‘We may be bad, but the United States is no better.’”

Sort of.

The only impeachment involving foreign policy came in the case of a senator, William Blount, who was accused in 1797 of scheming to transfer parts of Florida and the Louisiana Territory to Britain. The House impeached Blount, but he fled Washington. The Senate opted to expel him rather than convict him at trial.

Peter Baker contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why Trump Dropped His Idea to Hold the G7 at His Own Hotel

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-doral1-facebookJumbo Why Trump Dropped His Idea to Hold the G7 at His Own Hotel United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Mulvaney, Mick impeachment Hotels and Travel Lodgings Doral (Fla) Conflicts of Interest Christie, Christopher J

He knew he was inviting criticism by choosing his own luxury golf club in Miami for the site of a gathering of world leaders at the Group of 7 summit in June, President Trump told his aides opposed to the choice, and he was prepared for the inevitable attack from Democrats.

But what Mr. Trump was not prepared for was the reaction of fellow Republicans who said his choice of the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line, and they couldn’t defend it.

So Mr. Trump did something that might not have been a surprise for a president facing impeachment but that was unusual for him: He reversed himself Saturday night, abruptly ending the uproar touched off two days earlier by the announcement of his decision by Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff.

“He had no choice,” Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and longtime friend of the president’s, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It shouldn’t have been done in the first place. And it’s a good move to get out of it and get that out of the papers and off the news.”

The president first heard the criticism of his choice of the Doral watching TV, where even some Fox News personalities were disapproving. By Saturday afternoon, his concerns had deepened when he put in a call to Camp David, where Mr. Mulvaney was hosting moderate congressional Republicans for a discussion of issues facing them, including impeachment, and was told the consensus was he should reverse himself. Those moderates are among the votes Mr. Trump would need to stick with him during an impeachment.

“I didn’t see it being a big negative, but it certainly wasn’t a positive,” said Representative Peter T. King of New York, one of those at Camp David. He said the group told Mr. Trump’s aides that sticking with the decision “would be a distraction.”

With many members already unhappy with the consequences of the president’s move to withdraw troops from Syria, and Democrats pressing their impeachment inquiry, Republicans on Capitol Hill were not eager to have to defend the appropriateness of the president’s decision to host the Group of 7 meeting at one of his own properties.

“I think there was a lot of concern,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of the Republicans’ leadership team. “I’m not sure people questioned the legality of it, but it clearly was an unforced political error.”

Mr. Cole said he did not speak to the president directly about it, but expressed relief that Mr. Trump had changed his mind, and was certain that other Republicans felt the same way. “We just didn’t need this,” he said.

By late Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump had made his decision, but he waited to announce the reversal until that night in two tweets that were separated by a break he took to watch the opening of Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News program.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 leaders,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter before again promoting the resort’s amenities. “But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”

Mr. Trump added, “Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020.”

Mr. Trump suggested as a possibility Camp David, the rustic, official presidential retreat that Mr. Mulvaney had denigrated as an option when he announced the choice of Doral. But Mr. Mulvaney said the president was candid in his disappointment.

The president’s reaction “out in the tweet was real,” Mr. Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The president isn’t one for holding back his feelings and his emotions about something. He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.”

Mr. Trump’s unhappiness may also extend to Mr. Mulvaney, who at his Thursday news conference — whose intended subject was the summit hotel choice — essentially acknowledged that the president had a quid pro quo in mind in discussions with Ukrainian officials.

But advisers to Mr. Trump were gobsmacked. The president has frequently expressed unhappiness with Mr. Mulvaney to others, and he recently reached out to Nick Ayers, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, to see if he had interest in returning, according to two people close to the president. Mr. Ayers is unlikely to return to Washington, but the conversation speaks to Mr. Trump’s mindset at a time when he is being urged by some advisers to make a change, and several people close to the president said Mr. Mulvaney did not help himself in the past week.

Mr. Mulvaney conceded on Fox News that this was all avoidable. “It’s not lost on me that if we made the decision on Thursday” not to proceed with the Doral, “we wouldn’t have had the news conference on Thursday regarding everything else, but that’s fine,” Mr. Mulvaney said. At another point, he acknowledged his press briefing was not “perfect.”

Many aides have said Mr. Trump — a real estate developer for whom the presidency at times seems like his second job instead of his primary one — had an understandable motivation for choosing Doral: He wanted to show off his property to a global audience.

“At the end of the day,” Mr. Mulvaney said Sunday, “he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world, and he wanted to put the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could.”

In a statement, an official at the Trump Organization, the president’s private company, reiterated Mr. Trump’s disappointment and his contention that American taxpayers had lost a good deal.

“Trump Doral would have made an incredible location and venue,” the spokesman said. “This is a perfect example of no good deed goes unpunished. It will likely end up costing the U.S. government 10 times the amount elsewhere, as we would have either done it at cost or contributed it to the United States for free if legally allowed.”

But legal experts said the statement itself showed how fundamentally Mr. Trump and his family misunderstood the ethical issues raised by his choice.

At a minimum, the president’s role in steering business to his own resort clashed with his promise, made 10 days before he was sworn in, that he would recuse himself from anything to do with his properties.

“My two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company,” Mr. Trump said at the time, referring to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. “They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They’re not going to discuss it with me.”

And the selection, as the president had anticipated, touched off a wave of censure from Democrats and ethics experts.

But it was also criticized by conservative legal scholars, who were already uncomfortable with a number of recent actions by the White House, including pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son Hunter Biden.

“It is really just about him ordering the country to pay him money,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a Department of Homeland Security official in the George W. Bush administration who is now associated with the Heritage Foundation. “It is just indefensible.”

Pushing the Doral site also threatened to hurt the United States’ standing globally, legal experts said, in light of its decades’ worth of efforts to combat corruption by other foreign governments, according to Jessica Tillipman, a lawyer who specializes in an American law known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“This is no different than any other corrupt leader of an oil-rich African country who is taking money from the government and taxpayers,” she said.

In the past, presidents and their top advisers have played a lead role in selecting Group of 7 sites, former State Department officials said, citing Ronald Reagan’s role in picking Williamsburg, Va., in 1983 and the first George Bush’s choice of Houston in 1990.

But the White House has typically just picked the host city, not the hotels. That has traditionally been left to the State Department, said Peter A. Selfridge, the department’s chief of protocol during the Obama administration.

The event draws as many as 7,000 people, including security personnel, news media, diplomats, heads of state and support staff, meaning an overall price tag that can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, once security is included.

The host government typically covers the cost of 20 hotel rooms per country — but that is the start of what each nation needs, according to a second former State Department official.

Scholars who have studied the history of Group of 7 gatherings — dating to their start in the 1970s — said they could cite no other time when a president effectively tried to force global political leaders to pay his or her family money at a resort owned by the head of state.

“This was unprecedented,” said John Kirton, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto and the director of the G7 Research Group, which studies these gatherings. “This was astounding and embarrassing to the United States.”

Mr. Selfridge said perhaps the most confounding piece of Mr. Trump’s now-aborted choice of the resort outside Miami was the idea of welcoming global leaders to a destination that is hot, muggy — and not particularly popular in June.

“It would be like picking northern Minnesota in the middle of the winter,” he said. “You would not want to be there then.”

Maggie Haberman reported from New York, and Eric Lipton and Katie Rogers from Washington. Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why Trump Dropped His Idea to Hold the G7 at His Own Hotel

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-doral1-facebookJumbo Why Trump Dropped His Idea to Hold the G7 at His Own Hotel United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Mulvaney, Mick impeachment Hotels and Travel Lodgings Doral (Fla) Conflicts of Interest Christie, Christopher J

He knew he was inviting criticism by choosing his own luxury golf club in Miami for the site of a gathering of world leaders at the Group of 7 summit in June, President Trump told his aides opposed to the choice, and he was prepared for the inevitable attack from Democrats.

But what Mr. Trump was not prepared for was the reaction of fellow Republicans who said his choice of the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line, and they couldn’t defend it.

So Mr. Trump did something that might not have been a surprise for a president facing impeachment but that was unusual for him: He reversed himself Saturday night, abruptly ending the uproar touched off two days earlier by the announcement of his decision by Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff.

“He had no choice,” Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and longtime friend of the president’s, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It shouldn’t have been done in the first place. And it’s a good move to get out of it and get that out of the papers and off the news.”

The president first heard the criticism of his choice of the Doral watching TV, where even some Fox News personalities were disapproving. By Saturday afternoon, his concerns had deepened when he put in a call to Camp David, where Mr. Mulvaney was hosting moderate congressional Republicans for a discussion of issues facing them, including impeachment, and was told the consensus was he should reverse himself. Those moderates are among the votes Mr. Trump would need to stick with him during an impeachment.

“I didn’t see it being a big negative, but it certainly wasn’t a positive,” said Representative Peter T. King of New York, one of those at Camp David. He said the group told Mr. Trump’s aides that sticking with the decision “would be a distraction.”

With many members already unhappy with the consequences of the president’s move to withdraw troops from Syria, and Democrats pressing their impeachment inquiry, Republicans on Capitol Hill were not eager to have to defend the appropriateness of the president’s decision to host the Group of 7 meeting at one of his own properties.

“I think there was a lot of concern,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of the Republicans’ leadership team. “I’m not sure people questioned the legality of it, but it clearly was an unforced political error.”

Mr. Cole said he did not speak to the president directly about it, but expressed relief that Mr. Trump had changed his mind, and was certain that other Republicans felt the same way. “We just didn’t need this,” he said.

By late Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump had made his decision, but he waited to announce the reversal until that night in two tweets that were separated by a break he took to watch the opening of Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News program.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 leaders,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter before again promoting the resort’s amenities. “But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”

Mr. Trump added, “Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020.”

Mr. Trump suggested as a possibility Camp David, the rustic, official presidential retreat that Mr. Mulvaney had denigrated as an option when he announced the choice of Doral. But Mr. Mulvaney said the president was candid in his disappointment.

The president’s reaction “out in the tweet was real,” Mr. Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The president isn’t one for holding back his feelings and his emotions about something. He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.”

Mr. Trump’s unhappiness may also extend to Mr. Mulvaney, who at his Thursday news conference — whose intended subject was the summit hotel choice — essentially acknowledged that the president had a quid pro quo in mind in discussions with Ukrainian officials.

But advisers to Mr. Trump were gobsmacked. The president has frequently expressed unhappiness with Mr. Mulvaney to others, and he recently reached out to Nick Ayers, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, to see if he had interest in returning, according to two people close to the president. Mr. Ayers is unlikely to return to Washington, but the conversation speaks to Mr. Trump’s mindset at a time when he is being urged by some advisers to make a change, and several people close to the president said Mr. Mulvaney did not help himself in the past week.

Mr. Mulvaney conceded on Fox News that this was all avoidable. “It’s not lost on me that if we made the decision on Thursday” not to proceed with the Doral, “we wouldn’t have had the news conference on Thursday regarding everything else, but that’s fine,” Mr. Mulvaney said. At another point, he acknowledged his press briefing was not “perfect.”

Many aides have said Mr. Trump — a real estate developer for whom the presidency at times seems like his second job instead of his primary one — had an understandable motivation for choosing Doral: He wanted to show off his property to a global audience.

“At the end of the day,” Mr. Mulvaney said Sunday, “he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world, and he wanted to put the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could.”

In a statement, an official at the Trump Organization, the president’s private company, reiterated Mr. Trump’s disappointment and his contention that American taxpayers had lost a good deal.

“Trump Doral would have made an incredible location and venue,” the spokesman said. “This is a perfect example of no good deed goes unpunished. It will likely end up costing the U.S. government 10 times the amount elsewhere, as we would have either done it at cost or contributed it to the United States for free if legally allowed.”

But legal experts said the statement itself showed how fundamentally Mr. Trump and his family misunderstood the ethical issues raised by his choice.

At a minimum, the president’s role in steering business to his own resort clashed with his promise, made 10 days before he was sworn in, that he would recuse himself from anything to do with his properties.

“My two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company,” Mr. Trump said at the time, referring to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. “They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They’re not going to discuss it with me.”

And the selection, as the president had anticipated, touched off a wave of censure from Democrats and ethics experts.

But it was also criticized by conservative legal scholars, who were already uncomfortable with a number of recent actions by the White House, including pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son Hunter Biden.

“It is really just about him ordering the country to pay him money,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a Department of Homeland Security official in the George W. Bush administration who is now associated with the Heritage Foundation. “It is just indefensible.”

Pushing the Doral site also threatened to hurt the United States’ standing globally, legal experts said, in light of its decades’ worth of efforts to combat corruption by other foreign governments, according to Jessica Tillipman, a lawyer who specializes in an American law known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“This is no different than any other corrupt leader of an oil-rich African country who is taking money from the government and taxpayers,” she said.

In the past, presidents and their top advisers have played a lead role in selecting Group of 7 sites, former State Department officials said, citing Ronald Reagan’s role in picking Williamsburg, Va., in 1983 and the first George Bush’s choice of Houston in 1990.

But the White House has typically just picked the host city, not the hotels. That has traditionally been left to the State Department, said Peter A. Selfridge, the department’s chief of protocol during the Obama administration.

The event draws as many as 7,000 people, including security personnel, news media, diplomats, heads of state and support staff, meaning an overall price tag that can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, once security is included.

The host government typically covers the cost of 20 hotel rooms per country — but that is the start of what each nation needs, according to a second former State Department official.

Scholars who have studied the history of Group of 7 gatherings — dating to their start in the 1970s — said they could cite no other time when a president effectively tried to force global political leaders to pay his or her family money at a resort owned by the head of state.

“This was unprecedented,” said John Kirton, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto and the director of the G7 Research Group, which studies these gatherings. “This was astounding and embarrassing to the United States.”

Mr. Selfridge said perhaps the most confounding piece of Mr. Trump’s now-aborted choice of the resort outside Miami was the idea of welcoming global leaders to a destination that is hot, muggy — and not particularly popular in June.

“It would be like picking northern Minnesota in the middle of the winter,” he said. “You would not want to be there then.”

Maggie Haberman reported from New York, and Eric Lipton and Katie Rogers from Washington. Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mick Mulvaney Struggles to Explain Comments on Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-mulvaney-facebookJumbo Mick Mulvaney Struggles to Explain Comments on Ukraine Wallace, Chris (1947- ) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Presidential Election of 2016 Mulvaney, Mick Group of Seven

WASHINGTON — Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, tried again on Sunday to back off assertions he made to reporters last week that the Trump administration had held up an aid package to Ukraine because the president wanted the country to investigate Democrats, acknowledging he did not have a “perfect press conference.”

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Mulvaney disagreed with an assertion by the show’s anchor, Chris Wallace, that Mr. Mulvaney’s remarks were proof of a quid pro quo, an exchange the president has publicly denied for weeks. But he struggled to explain how his comments Sunday were not at odds with what he said last week.

“That’s what people are saying that I said, but I didn’t say that,” Mr. Mulvaney said, adding that he had outlined “two reasons” for withholding the aid to Ukraine in a news briefing with reporters on Thursday. In the briefing, however, he outlined three reasons: the corruption in the country, whether other countries were also giving aid to Ukraine and whether Ukrainian officials were cooperating in a Justice Department investigation.

Mr. Wallace played back Mr. Mulvaney’s appearance before reporters in which he said the president’s concern about interference in the 2016 election — and his interest in a widely debunked theory that a Democratic National Committee server is being held in Ukraine — was part of that final reason for withholding aid.

Pressed by Mr. Wallace, Mr. Mulvaney said he was “not acknowledging there’s three reasons.”

“You said three reasons,” Mr. Wallace said.

“I recognize that,” Mr. Mulvaney responded. But he urged Mr. Wallace “to go back to what actually happened in the real world.”

“I recognize that I didn’t speak clearly, maybe, on Thursday,” he said. “Folks misinterpreted what I said. But the facts are absolutely clear and they are there for everyone to see.” He said there could not have been a quid pro quo because “the money flowed without any connection whatsoever to the D.N.C. server.”

Mr. Mulvaney’s comments last week set off alarm at the White House and among its Republican allies in Congress, as a Democratic impeachment inquiry over Ukraine gathers steam.

But Mr. Mulvaney doubled down Sunday on his assertion that the president had a right to demand information about the investigation into the unfounded theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was involved in hacking and releasing Democratic Party emails during the 2016 election.

“It is legitimate for the president to want to know what’s going on with the ongoing investigation into the server,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “Can I see how people took that the wrong way? Absolutely.”

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, declined on Sunday to weigh in on Mr. Mulvaney’s news conference.

“I will leave to the chief of staff to explain what it is he said and what he intended,” Mr. Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mr. Mulvaney, who initially held the explosive news conference to announce the site for the Group of 7 summit, also acknowledged that President Trump had made “the right decision to change” the host location from his Trump National Doral resort after bipartisan backlash. Mr. Trump announced Saturday that the summit would no longer be held there, after being “honestly surprised by the level of pushback,” Mr. Mulvaney said.

“At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” Mr. Mulvaney said of the president. “He saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders around the world and wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit, that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing it at Doral.”

“My guess is we’ll find some place else that the media won’t like either for another reason,” he added. “Will we end up putting on an excellent G7 someplace else? Yes, we will.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com