Last week, we got a small but tantalizing glimpse of the explosive cache of documents that the White House has tried to keep hidden from public view. They detailed the Trump administration’s withholding of foreign aid to compel Ukraine to investigate one of the President’s political rivals. It was a stark reminder that the administration is keeping vital information away from Congress and the public by stifling key witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Indeed, this is a cover-up, unfolding right before us.
The New York Times reported this week that, in late August, Trump met in the Oval Office with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, then-national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The purpose of the meeting, according to the Times: to convince Trump that releasing the held-back foreign aid to Ukraine was “in the best national interests of the United States.” Pompeo, Bolton and Esper reportedly “tried but failed” in their mission.
Here are a few things about this August meeting that cannot be reasonably contested, regardless of political ideology. The meeting was important to the overall Ukraine timeline. At that meeting, Trump discussed with his key advisers whether to release the foreign aid to Ukraine. The team of advisers urged Trump to do so, but he refused.
Whatever was said at that meeting is crucial evidence of Trump’s plan and intent regarding Ukraine, for better or for worse. Pompeo, Bolton and Esper all know what happened during that meeting. And all of them have, in one form or another, honored Trump’s blanket instruction to executive branch officials not to testify.