by Ren Jander
(Nov. 28, 2019) — Crucial exculpatory evidence is missing from the official record of the impeachment inquiry. This evidence directly exonerates President Trump concerning allegations of quid pro quo regarding both a pending White House meeting with President Zelensky and security assistance for Ukraine. While the July 27 press conference was mentioned in testimony, vital comments by Ambassador Kurt Volker were not.
The phone call between Trump and Zelensky took place on July 25th. The next day, Kurt Volker and Ambassador William Taylor met with Zelensky in Ukraine. The day after, July 27th, Volker gave a press conference in Kyiv. He was introduced by Charge d’Affairs Taylor, the head of our diplomatic mission to Ukraine. The transcript is available from the U.S. Embassy website. There are three important quotes:
THE WHITE HOUSE MEETING
Question from Journalist: You mentioned that there are some kind of negotiations about the future visit of Zelensky to the White House. Many say, what are the conditions for Ukrainian to fulfill or to do, so that such a visit will take place before the first of September…
Special Representative Volker: Thank you. First off, there are no conditions. The invitation stands. President Trump reiterated that invitation to President Zelensky on Thursday. And we look forward to welcoming President Zelensky in the United States. Now of course we want to develop an agenda so that this meeting is as productive as possible. And Ambassador Taylor and others of us have been in close contact with President Zelensky’s team to develop that kind of agenda. And then the other issue is synchronizing the two presidents’ schedules. We don’t know today exactly what date’s going to work for both of them, but Ambassador Taylor’s working on that, and I’m sure we’ll have news soon.
This is just two days after the July 25th phone call. Volker represents the Executive Branch. He represents President Trump when he speaks under official diplomatic capacity. The words identify a clear unconditional invitation from Trump for Zelensky to visit the White House.
The July 27th press conference was translated into Ukraine and is hosted on our official embassy server. No conditions means no quid pro quo. Ukraine heard President Trump’s message as conveyed by his official envoys. Russia too got the same message. The media also heard it.
Question from Journalist: I would like to ask you a specific question regarding the recent phone call between our presidents. And especially, [was the issue raised of] possible arms sales, any little defensive weapons sales, to Ukraine? And should we expect any progress by the end of this year in this regards, that Ukraine could be getting some new weapons from the United States for the Ukrainian army?
Special Representative Volker: According to the readouts that I’ve received of the phone call between the two presidents, that issue was not discussed.
Volker testified that he received three separate readouts of the call; one from his staff; one from Taylor; and, most important, a third readout from a diplomatic counterpart in Ukraine. If Ukraine’s officials were concerned with anything Trump said during the call, their official readout would’ve included a reference thereto. It didn’t. Both Volker and Taylor testified President Zelensky was happy with the call at their meeting on July 26th. The very next day, Volker stated:
Special Representative Volker: But as you know, back in 2017, the Trump administration lifted the arms embargo on Ukraine that the previous administration had put in place. So, there is no restriction on the provision of lethal defensive assistance to Ukraine anymore. And as a result, we work together with Ukraine as we do with any other close friend of the United States. We have appropriations through Congress for our military financing. We have through that provided defensive equipment such as Javelin missiles or anti-sniper systems. We’ve also transferred Coast Guard vessels. We’re also open to sales of military equipment to Ukraine, if Ukraine wishes to buy. Earlier this year, Ukraine amended its legislation to enable it to buy foreign military equipment. And the next phase under that is direct discussions between the Ukrainian government and the U.S. government, between the Pentagon and the Defense Ministry, on what needs there are, and what systems the U.S. has that would be suitable for addressing those needs, and then Ukraine has an opportunity to purchase those. So what I want to say is this is now on a normal trajectory, and things will come out of this, as they come out, based on the natural course of discussions about what Ukraine needs, what the U.S. can supply, what the finances are, and so forth.
See all this good stuff in the last sentence – “this is now on a normal trajectory” – and “the natural course of discussions about what Ukraine needs”. There’s no indication of a security assistance hold. In fact, Volker directly invites Ukraine to spend our money, stating, “We have appropriations through Congress for our military financing.” The key words being – “We have” – a present tense acknowledgment of security assistance funds provided by the United States available at that moment in time – July 27th, 2019 – to provide weapons at no cost to Ukraine.
Then Volker says, “We’re also open to sales of military equipment to Ukraine…” Also being the key word, as in addition to other forms of security assistance such as the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing (FMC) program, and DoD funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program processes our purchases of military aid for Ukraine. But since Ukraine changed their arms purchasing law in early 2019, Ukraine can now buy arms directly from us via the FMS program.
FMF and USAI are recognized forms of security assistance funded by grants for Ukraine by statutory authorization (NDAA 2019) and appropriation (H.R. 6157). Building Partner Capacity (BPC) is another type of DoD security assistance grant used to purchase arms for Ukraine (more on BPC in a follow up report).
FMS is also a direct form of security assistance, regardless of whether arms are purchased by Ukraine’s own money or grants provided to them in our statutes. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) operates FMS out of the Pentagon. Their website states:
“The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program is a form of security assistance authorized by the Arms Export Control Act…[FMS] May be funded by country national funds or U.S. Government funds.”
This clarifies that all security assistance pertaining to arms transfers between the United States and any foreign nation are processed via the FMS program. When Ukraine received Javelin missiles and launchers in April 2018, the transfer was processed through the FMS program by DSCA. Even though we supplied the Javelins free of charge to Ukraine from our existing stocks, the government classified the transfer as a sale to Ukraine via FMS. This is garden-variety security assistance.
Transactions with countries spending their own national funds under FMS are also considered security assistance, because our officials/employees work hard to facilitate arms purchases. We provide security assistance in these transactions by expending time and resources. Sales are expedited and pricing is better, since we utilize bargaining leverage in the military-industrial complex on behalf of our security assistance cooperation partners. And the United States government is prohibited from taking any profits under FMS.
Special Representative Volker’s official U.S. Embassy declarations prove that – on July 27, 2019 – all forms of security assistance were still available to Ukraine.
The major allegation for impeachment is that OMB first placed a hold on security assistance July 3, 2019 at Trump’s insistence, and by July 18, 2019 word had spread throughout the agencies, followed by the hold being lifted on September 11. Therefore, the July 27th press conference transcript is a deathblow to impeachment. The story timeline simply doesn’t add up.
My two previous reports here at The Postemail (one and two), and a follow up at American Thinker, prove there was no hold or freeze on USAI or FMF funds specifically provided to Ukraine by FY19 statutory appropriations. The nearly $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine you’ve been hearing about was legally obligated by June 7, 2019. Trump never held, slow-walked, froze or peed on it.
And if there had been a hold on security assistance prior to July 27th, Volker’s official statements that day would have been in violation of 22 U.S. Code 2321i(f):
(f)Presidential directive respecting purchase by foreign country of United States-made military equipment
The President shall continue to instruct United States United diplomatic and military personnel in the United States missions abroad that they should not encourage, promote, or influence the purchase by any foreign country of United States-made military equipment, unless they are specifically instructed to do so by an appropriate official of the executive branch.
Volker did a belly dance of arms promotion for Ukraine on July 27th. At the very least, internal disciplinary actions could lead to Volker and Taylor being fired and even barred from future government employment.
But neither Ambassador was stupid enough to engage in blatant insubordination to the diplomatic chain of command. The July 27th press conference proves that – while both envoys testified they became aware of a nebulous hold on July 18th – they understood President Trump wanted it expressed via official embassy statements that there were no conditions on the White House meeting, and there was no hold on security assistance for Ukraine.
I could not find a single American news report mentioning these crucial statements by Volker on July 27th. And that is simply pathetic. It’s also dangerous. We do not have a legitimate free press anymore. It’s all propaganda. Every last word of it.
I found exactly one blogger who did cover the presser. His name is Joel Harding, a career military intelligence officer who worked at DoD. After a 35-year career focused on national security issues, he founded toinformistoinfluence.com, where he shares knowledge on strategic communications and diplomacy. His expertise is evident in the following debrief of Volker’s presser:
“US Ambs Volker and Sondland visit Kyiv and meet with Ze. Amb Sondland comments to media on close engagement between POTUS and Ze – the media traffic reads like a mutual appreciation society chorus. This is important in several respects. Ukraine now has very strong bipartisan support in Congress, and is building a stronger relationship with the Administration. This enhances the US strategic position in Eastern Europe, filling a vacuum left by an internally conflicted EU, and it enhances Ukraine’s position in a multiplicity of ways. Most importantly, it is accelerating the transition of Ukraine from the Russian colonial past into a Western centred political, cultural, economic and military future. Russia’s loss is the West’s gain.”
Harding’s comment about the “chorus” of “media traffic” is haunting. Where did the chorus go? Why did they stop singing? Is there a pandemic of laryngitis? As of today – Thanksgiving 2019 – all western media coverage of this crucial diplomatic event has been scrubbed.
Ukraine news agency Unian covered it here, with the headline: “Volker: No conditions put forward by Washington for Zelensky-Trump meeting”.
Considering the breathless impeachment coverage, this presser, conducted in the heat of the moment should be on every newswire. It’s not. But the picture of Volker from the July 27 presser can be found all over the fake news media, it’s just that the transcript is missing.
We’ve been told repeatedly that on July 18th a shadowy off-camera voice belonging to an unknown OMB staffer lurking near a secure NSC video conference was heard to say that someone else at OMB heard that Trump ordered a freeze on additional Ukraine security assistance. (Read that sentence again now, then sit staring in awe.)
The impeachment inquisition is founded upon second, third and fourth-hand hearsay emanating from conveniently uncertain bureaucratic memories amidst crackling fragments of overheard snippets escaping tiny earpieces transmitting bizarre (and patently unreliable) cell phone conversation recollections in noisy restaurants.
Yes, America. This is the very portrait of Trump Derangement Syndrome. He has been POTUS for three years. The sky isn’t falling. No nation would dare attack us. Everyone who wants a job has a job, or can find a job. Beer still tastes good. Making love still works.
My advice to the resistance coup is this: We have the July 27th embassy document. It provides incontrovertible evidence concerning both pillars of the impeachment inquiry. No conditions were placed on the pending White House meeting. There was no hold on security assistance. These facts were uttered before the assembled world media on July 27th, 2019 by the one and only diplomatic voice available to the United States – President Trump’s voice – as channeled through his official envoys to Ukraine. Do not impeach the President. Censure is not appropriate either. But maybe you can save face with it. And please make an announcement soon, so I don’t have to finish my work here.
And then your humble author snapped out of an optimistic trance. Julius Caesar never saw it coming. Trump doesn’t either. Neither do you. Wake up, America. This is happening. The coup is real.
In my next report, the testimony of David Hale and Laura Cooper will be examined in relation to H.R. 6157, Section 9013 (specifically the words “obligation” and “notify”) in the radiant light of 18 U.S. Code 1001. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.
Written and researched by Ren Jander