Ukrain said NO PRESSURE

Trump’s people have to be careful not to…confuse him.

He tweeted this on Tuesday:

Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER! Ukrain said NO PRESSURE.

That’s Trump shouting in public that he’s never even heard of his own NSC people.

Steve Benen at MSNBC explains:

At first blush, that didn’t make any sense: how could the president, who’s been deeply engaged on U.S. policy toward Ukraine for months, not know his own top Ukrainian expert?

Yesterday, the answer to that question came into focus, though the answer wasn’t altogether satisfying.

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration in May, Vindman was eager to brief Donald Trump on the implications of the change in leadership in Kyiv. Politicoreported, however, on why that did not happen.

[H]e was instructed “at the last second” not to attend the debriefing, Vindman told lawmakers, because Trump’s advisers worried it might confuse the president: Trump believed at the time that Kashyap Patel, a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February and had no discernible Ukraine experience or expertise, was actually the NSC’s top Ukraine expert instead of Vindman.

Vindman testified that he was told this directly by his boss at the time, NSC senior director for European and Russian affairs Fiona Hill.

Er. The top Ukraine expert was told not to share his expertise with Trump because it might confuse him because he thought it was this other random dude who knows nothing about Ukraine.

Godalmighty.

That other person, Kashyap Patel, is an acolyte of Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, and according to Vindman, Patel “misrepresented” himself to Trump in order to help guide the White House’s policy toward Ukraine.

The Politico report added, “Vindman also testified that he was told Patel had been circumventing normal NSC process to get negative material about Ukraine in front of the president, feeding Trump’s belief that Ukraine was brimming with corruption and had interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats…. It’s still not clear what materials Patel was giving Trump, or where he was getting them.”

It’s a wonder there’s anything left standing.

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