1. Trump's presidential candidacy was *openly endorsed* by *numerous* world leaders during the 2016 presidential election. Trump *eagerly* received such endorsements.
1 (cont.). Trump's presidential candidacy was *publicly and formally* endorsed by the presidents of Hungary and the Czech Republic. It was endorsed *implicitly*—via public statements—by the presidents of Russia, North Korea, and Egypt. But that's not all—not by a long shot.
1 (cont.). Trump's candidacy was also endorsed by *numerous* high-level politicians from conservative political parties all around the world, including France, the Netherlands, Israel and many other nations. Trump deemed all these endorsements to be *wonderful* and *legal*.
1 (cont.). The reason this matters is that Trump's defense *hinges* on the idea that *any* public statement of support for Clinton by a Ukrainian official *immediately* legitimized him considering Ukraine to be a "corrupt" nation his administration would have to investigate.
1 (cont.). So Trump's defense will focus on statements by Ukrainian officials like Ukrainian ambassador Valeriy Chaly and Ukrainian parliamentarian Serhiy Leshchenko. Trump wants you to *falsely* believe he considers foreign endorsements of political candidates "corruption."
To repeat: Russia INVADED EUROPE to MAKE WAR on one of America's most indispensable EUROPEAN ALLIES, a country that WILL soon gain admittance to NATO AND the European Union.
The Russian invasion was a WAR CRIME.
Yet Trump not only opposed lethal defense aid to Ukraine during the 2016 campaign, but said Russia should face *no punishment* for invading Ukraine.
2. Trump will say that not only did Ukrainians (in tiny numbers) publicly attack him and support Clinton's candidacy—frankly, it was more them rightfully attacking his *Ukraine policy* than endorsing Clinton—he'll say they *helped* her.
2 (cont.). Specifically, Trump will call left-wing/semi-reluctant U.S. witnesses like Alexandra Chalupa and willing/"faux whistleblower" Ukrainian witnesses like Andrii Telizhenko to claim that in 2016 the Ukrainian embassy was passing information to the DNC through Chalupa.
2 (cont.). One reason any high-volume criminal defense attorney would choose the defense Trump is going to go with is because there are *many accurate pieces of information* within it and anything "false" is merely something left out (as opposed to a lie actively delivered).
2 (cont.). For instance, Chalupa *was* a well-paid DNC consultant who was, in 2016, secretly passing information from Ukrainian nationals at the Ukrainian embassy to officials at the DNC. But—well, there are a *lot* of buts here that Trump's defense will of course leave out.
2 (cont.). Chalupa's work was focused on Manafort—not Trump—and she'd been investigating him pro bono since before Trump announced his run. The DNC never asked her to get info and never used in its materials any info she got them. But there's more wrong with Trump's defense.
2 (cont.). It's unclear that *any* info the Ukrainian embassy gave to Chalupa it wasn't *also* giving to reporters and/or making available in other ways. And Chalupa's aim was to get Congressional hearings on Manafort, not Trump. But there's more wrong with Trump's defense.
2 (cont.). Chalupa stopped working for the DNC in June 2016, *before Trump was the Republican nominee*. During the general election, her focus was on getting info about Manafort to the press, not the DNC. But there's even more wrong with Trump's "Chalupa defense" than this.
2 (cont.). Manafort's activities in Ukraine, *per Trump*, had *nothing to do with him*—so why would he care if Chalupa uncovered them? (And BTW, Manafort *did*, as Chalupa claimed, turn out to be a criminal.) And Trump fired Manafort and moved on—so what's the big deal here?
...*said there was nothing wrong with it*. So he can't pretend he finds such actions corrupt now!
3. Trump will say that *even if* Ukrainians could endorse Clinton, and *even if* they could send info to the DNC, they can't *manufacture* evidence.
3 (cont.). That's right: part of Trump's defense will involve claims (previously ferried by Nunes, Giuliani, Kennedy, and others) that the "black ledger" that proved Manafort was a criminal was... wait for it... *forged by the Ukrainians to help Clinton win the White House*!
3 (cont.). Trump's theory is that if he can show (spoiler: he *can't*!) that either the Poroshenko administration or NABU (Ukraine's independent anti-corruption unit) released *forged* evidence to target Manafort, that was, implicitly, an attempt to aid Clinton and hurt him.
3 (cont.). The issues in this second-to-last fallback position in Trump's defense are...many. First, Manafort has already been successfully prosecuted/imprisoned. Second, there's no credible evidence of forgery. Third, Russia did far worse to help Trump *and he welcomed it*.
3 (cont.). Trump learned Russia was waging cyberwar on America and stealing US docs and Trump *publicly and privately sought access those docs* and *told ABC him doing so was OK*. How could it be—had it happened, which it *didn't*—"corrupt" if Ukraine did something similar?
5. Trump *actually* only spoke about the "Crowdstrike" and "Burisma" conspiracy theories with Zelensky—and this could be a problem for his defense that he has only a few options to solve.
5 (cont.). Any complaints Trump had about Chalupa or the "black ledger" were ferried by surrogates—not Trump—so he'd need to call witnesses who'd say he *privately* was angry about (and *publicly* referring to) Chalupa and the "black ledger" when he complained about Ukraine.
5 (cont.). Alternatively, Trump could—this'd be the *real* Hail Mary—try to claim the "Crowdstrike" (Ukraine hacked the DNC server, not Russia) and "Burisma" (Biden bribed Poroshenko to protect Hunter) conspiracy theories are true...though there's no evidence of that at all.