Pelosi’s Disinformation Campaign

Joseph Klein,
House Speaker issues bogus “fact sheet” full of blatant distortions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is currently leading the Ukrainegate probe, have refused to say when their so-called impeachment inquiry is expected to conclude. “The timeline will depend on the truth line, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Pelosi explained to reporters last week. More accurately, the timeline will depend on the success of the House Democrats’ propaganda line. To try and manipulate public opinion, as the closed-door star chamber proceedings move along, Pelosi decided to put out a jumble of out-of-context bits and pieces of cherrypicked quotes entitled “Truth Exposed.” It purports to lay out how President Trump “betrayed his oath of office, betrayed our national security and betrayed the integrity of our elections for his own personal political gain” in his dealings with the Ukrainian government.” It is divided into three sections with these ominous headings – The Shakedown, The Pressure Campaign, and The Cover Up. What Pelosi’s office has billed as a “fact sheet” is a pathetic attempt to spin a false narrative.

1. The Shakedown – Pelosi quoted selectively from the record of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky on July 25, 2019, falsely juxtaposing the following excerpts as if they came directly after each other and underlining certain phrases for emphasis:

“I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine…. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out.”

There are huge distortions in the way Pelosi set forth her “chronology” of quotes, which make her account as misleading as Schiff’s despicable attempt to put words in the president’s mouth when he described the call in a public hearing. The most glaring distortion has to do with President Trump’s request for a “favor.” It had nothing to do with investigating Joe Biden or his son, which is contrary to what Pelosi would like us to believe by placing the Biden reference right after the “favor” reference.

The truth is that immediately after President Trump said, “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” he referred to an investigation of possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election: “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”

Nothing here about Joe Biden or his son. The first reference to the Bidens and their possible corruption came later in the call, after President Zelensky spoke at length about the U.S.-Ukraine relationship and first brought up Giuliani’s name.

Pelosi just happened to skip over the fact that President Trump was requesting assistance from the new Ukrainian president to get to the bottom of alleged interference by his country’s prior government in the previous U.S. presidential election. Considering that alleged foreign interference in the 2016 election has been the subject of numerous official investigations during the last three years and continues to be, as U.S. Attorney John Durham currently investigates Ukrainian officials’ alleged involvement in that election, President Trump’s request for the Ukrainian president’s assistance was entirely appropriate. It was part of his constitutional obligation to take care that U.S. laws be faithfully executed.

2. The Pressure Campaign – Here, Pelosi quoted from texts written by U.S. Ambassador Bill Taylor, who was serving as Chargé d’Affaires in Ukraine. Taylor expressed his concern that the release of military aid to Ukraine and the scheduling of a possible White House visit by President Zelensky were being tied to Ukraine’s commitment to help with President Trump’s 2020 campaign by opening investigations of his political opposition. Pelosi left out that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador whose portfolio included Ukraine, expressed a more innocent interpretation of President Trump’s intentions after speaking with the president, which had to do with addressing Ukraine’s corruption problem as a whole. Taylor reportedly elaborated on his concern during his closed-door testimony on October 22nd, which the Democrats have already pounced upon to make their case to the public against the president. They would rather the public not hear Ambassador Sondland’s side of the story, including what he said in the opening statement to his own testimony last week: “to the best of my recollection, I do not recall any discussions with the White House on withholding U.S. security assistance from Ukraine in return for assistance with the President’s 2020 re-election campaign.”

Pelosi claimed in her bogus “fact sheet” that “Vice President Pence is entangled in this scandal.” How did she reach this far-fetched conclusion? She based it on the vice president’s meeting with Ukrainian President Zelensky in Poland where he “conveyed the news that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine was not going to be released amid concerns about the country’s lagging efforts to combat corruption.” Somehow, in Pelosi’s fevered imagination, using U.S. aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine into combating corruption in that country – following the same policy the Obama administration claimed to be following under former Vice President Biden’s leadership – is evidence of President Trump’s alleged abuse of power.

There are a few inconvenient facts that destroy Pelosi’s “pressure campaign” allegation. The object of the supposed pressure, Ukrainian President Zelensky, has said that he felt no such “push.” It turns out that the Ukrainian government was not even aware that military aid had been suspended until well after the July 25th call, during which there was no mention of military aid in the first place. When former United States special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker reportedly testified during one of Schiff’s closed-door hearings that Ukrainian leaders did not then know the aid was being withheld, Schiff was unhappy. Schiff declared, “Ambassador, you’re making this much more complicated than it has to be.” Schiff evidently thinks that getting to the real truth is just too complicated. So, he makes things up and tries to pressure witnesses into saying what he wants to hear.

Finally, the military aid that the Trump administration had suspended before the July 25th call was released on September 11th with no apparent political conditions attached.

3. The Cover Up – Here, Pelosi quotes portions of the whistleblower complaint claiming that the White House “had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records” of the July 25th phone call. The “transcript” of the call, the complaint said, was “loaded into a separate electronic system… used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature.” Supposedly, such treatment of call records is highly unusual and evidences an intent to cover up the existence of the call.

This claim is absurd on its face. After the leaks of the content of at least two prior phone conversations that President Trump had with foreign government leaders, the president had every right to direct heightened security for this call memo until he decided – not some leaker – whether to release it. In any case, the president did not stonewall the release of the call memo after news of the whistleblower complaint became public. To the contrary, he voluntarily authorized its release as well as the whistleblower complaint. That’s not a cover up. It’s being straight up with the American people. Moreover, if the president wanted to communicate something to Zelensky that he had reason to know was improper, he would not have permitted so many government officials to listen in. He could have limited the call participants to the translators.

There was a cover up, but not by the Trump administration. The real cover up, it seems, was by Vice President Joe Biden’s office when a State Department official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, expressed concern in 2016 that Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma raised an issue of possible conflict of interest. Biden’s office “blew him off,” according to a Fox News report of testimony that Mr. Kent provided last week behind closed doors to congressional investigators involved in the so-called impeachment inquiry.

In short, Pelosi’s “fact sheet” is an example of disinformation, in the same league as the infamous Steele dossier, that would make the Russians proud.

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