“IT WAS A PERFECT CONVERSATION WITH UKRAINE PRESIDENT!”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
This Tweet right here: "IT WAS A PERFECT CONVERSATION WITH UKRAINE PRESIDENT!" is about as close as anyone could come to sorting out what Donald Trump's whole freaking problem is. He doesn't see the problem with it. This is how he has done business his whole life. You just hint at the possible repercussions for someone who doesn't play ball, and they fall in line with what you want. Michael Cohen explained this in his testimony: Trump speaks in code. What he doesn't seem to understand though, is that if, say, Cohen, or President Zelenskyy, can figure out what he's trying to get at, so can the rest of us.
Trump indicated as much in a previous Tweet, before the summary of the explosive phone call and the whistleblower report were dropped. He asked if "anybody was dumb enough to believe" he would say anything inappropriate on a "heavily populated" phone call. As if, based on his previous behavior, people should believe anything else! It's almost like an extension of his assertions that he's not racist while blowing a dog whistle to racists--surprise, we can all hear the dog whistle, too! And we can also puzzle out what the word "favor" means in the context of this phone call:
The President: 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. 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. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible.
Zelenskyy understands English pretty well. Trump wants him to find out something. I suppose, unless you speak "Fox News" dialect, all of that "Crowdstrike" and "server" stuff might be a little dense (boy, is it!), but the broad sense is there. What is he supposed to do? Find out something. Pin the DNC hacking thing on someone in Ukraine. And what else? This:
The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, 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.
Two pretty clear asks. Get to the bottom of Ukraine involvement in the DNC hack (which doesn't exist, because Russia did it) and reopen an investigation into Biden's son (which shouldn't be necessary, because he wasn't involved in whatever the complaint against Burisma was, because it came from before Hunter Biden's involvement with the company). He's asking the Ukrainian president to help him bury the Russian scandal from 2016, and help him against a possible 2020 rival. Neither of these things is for the benefit of the United States or for Ukraine. They both are to help Trump. And Trump wants him to please contact his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his other personal lawyer, AG William Barr, with any details. Sweet.
And that's mostly what the whistleblower complaint actually said. Forget about claims of it being hearsay--you just heard what it said from the report the White House gave us. But the complaint also says that White House lawyers are instructing calls like this (this one and at least one other--definitely more than one) be classified on a secret server. Not because it's your standard really top secret stuff mind you. But because they aren't really, really what you would call "perfect conversations."
They are kind of incrimination--like this one. The kind of conversation guys like Don McGahn could never quite convince him not to make, because Trump doesn't seem to realize that he's ever done anything wrong. It's the exact thing the Russia collusion storyline was about because it is a continuation of it--they scratch his back, and he will scratch theirs. (You better believe Russia does not want their conversations out on the street like this.) Art of the deal, yes?
Deals--yes. Would I call it art? It's amateur hour. It's what you get when a narcissist has surrounded himself with yes-men so long no one can ever tell him "No." He can't even hear himself being incriminating. Once he said the phone call was perfect and beautiful, of course he was going to issue the transcript, just like of course he said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos that he would listen to any foreign figures who offered him dirt on his 2020 opponent. He got away with it. So it must be fine. And yes-men, like William Barr, who let him get away with it, encourage his lawlessness. You can't tell this man anything but what he wants to hear. And if you say things he doesn't want to hear, well, that's treason! Just like the Fake News people who are out to get him!
In other Tweets today, he's accusing Rep. Adam Schiff of being a sick man for doing what anyone else should be able to do--read between the lines to get at Trump's actual meaning. Schiff is completely in his right mind. He's saying what's there. But is Trump okay? I mean, IS HE OKAY? Because it's looking not so perfect, if you know what I mean.