Don’t squawk, ya dirty rat

It’s ok to commit high crimes and misdemeanors as long as you keep it secret.

The senior White House lawyer who placed a record of President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president in a top-secret system also instructed at least one official who heard the call not to tell anyone about it, according to testimony heard by House impeachment investigators this week.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated Army officer who served as the National Security Council’s director for Ukraine, told lawmakers that he went to the lawyer, John Eisenberg, to register his concerns about the call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, according to a person in the room for Vindman’s deposition on Tuesday.

Eisenberg recorded Vindman’s complaints in notes on a yellow legal pad, then conferred with his deputy Michael Ellis about how to handle the conversation because it was clearly “sensitive,” Vindman testified. The lawyers then decided to move the record of the call into the NSC’s top-secret codeword system—a server normally used to store highly classified material that only a small group of officials can access.

That’s the senior White House lawyer right there – deciding that the thing to do with a record of the president strong-arming a vulnerable ally to find dirt on a political rival is to hide it. The thing to do about the crime is to join in it by covering it up.

Vindman did not consider the move itself as evidence of a cover-up, according to a person familiar with his testimony. But he said he became disturbed when, a few days later, Eisenberg instructed him not to tell anyone about the call—especially because it was Vindman’s job to coordinate the interagency process with regard to Ukraine policy.

Eisenberg’s decision to move the call record to the codeword system following his conversation with Vindman was first reported by The Washington Post. But Eisenberg’s subsequent request that Vindman not disclose the content of the call to anyone has not been previously reported.

The NSC and Eisenberg ignored Politico’s requests for comment.

Eisenberg’s purported request that Vindman keep the call a secret raises questions about whether the lawyers’ intent was to bury the conversation altogether. It also undermines Trump’s insistence that the call was “perfect.”

Just a tad.

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