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ATTENTION: Many will miss this, but Volker just testified that one reason he was (in his view) Trump's *official* channel to Ukraine is that he was the Trump agent working on the Russian sanctions issue. The Ukrainians knew this, so they knew Trump's shakedown was about *Russia*.
1/ That is, Trump took the guy trying to bring "peace" and an end to sanctions in the Russia-Ukraine war (a Russian war crime) and sent him into negotiations with Ukraine with a series of demands. Trump in essence was inserting himself *on Russia's side* in the war negotiations.
2/ What Trump specifically withheld from Ukraine was *war materials*, using (in part) his *war negotiator*. So why the hell are we pretending this was primarily about Biden—when it was clearly in major part about aiding Putin in pressuring Ukraine for a resolution to *sanctions*?
3/ Indeed, would not the choice to use Volker be *specifically* a way for Mr. Trump to underscore that he was, with both his choice of negotiator and his choice of negotiating chip (military aid) sending a message that he sought to aid Putin in the war-and-sanctions negotiations?
4/ It is therefore wholly correct to say that Russia invaded Europe in February 2014—a war crime—and that Trump, during a 36-month period he was secretly negotiating real estate deals with the Kremlin, then sought to intercede on the Kremlin's behalf in a post-invasion shakedown.
5/ And what Trump was demanding of Ukraine USING HIS RUSSIA SANCTIONS NEGOTIATOR was that Ukraine ABSOLVE RUSSIA OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE 2016 ELECTION ATTACK as part of US mediation of the Russian invasion-and-Russian sanctions negotiations. Isn't Biden just a bit player here?
6/ We may be seeing this scandal the wrong way. From Day 1 Trump wanted Russian real estate deals. From Day 1 he wanted an end to Russian sanctions. From Day 1 he wanted Russian aid *and* for Russia not to be caught/blamed for aiding him.

His Kiev shakedown addressed *all* that.
7/ Major-media breaking news this week is that Trump was given the idea of concocting a "Ukraine election conspiracy" by (among others) *Putin*. This happened long *after* Putin had committed a war crime by invading Europe. Putin thus got Trump's aid in getting sanctions dropped.
8/ How is Trump's Ukraine shakedown anything but more (and more direct than ever) Russian collusion, especially as (Jesus!) the idea to pin 2016 election interference on Ukraine came from Manafort and Kremlin agent Kilimnik, *the key Trump-Russia colluders* in the Mueller Report?
9/ Trump's Ukraine shakedown agents:

VOLKER—the official looking at how Ukraine could achieve its main aim (ending war with Russia).

SONDLAND—the official looking at whether the US would aid Ukraine's second-greatest aim (EU admission).

GIULIANI—his 2016 election-theft fixer.
10/ Why is no one asking *why* Trump used the specific "irregular" agents he was using? Maybe we should just believe him the first time? Trump was in part dangling peace and the EU before Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine exculpating Russia for the 2016 interference Giuliani aided.
PS/ Every time Ukraine saw Volker enter the room, they knew to think about "peace with Russia and ending Russian sanctions." When they saw Sondland, they knew to think about "getting into the EU so Russia can't threaten us again." The cost—exculpating Russia over its 2016 crimes.
PS2/ None of this changes what overarches *all* the investigations into Trump's covert activities:

1. The Mueller Report revealed a bribery scandal involving Russia.

2. These impeachment hearings reveal a bribery scandal involving Russia.

It's always bribery and always Russia.
PS3/ This is one reason the use of "Ukrainegate" is inane/false. We are—in all respects—still in the midst of the Trump-Russia scandal: the same one that produced 200+ charges, many prison sentences, ten pending obstruction allegations against Trump and *yes*, proof of collusion.
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