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    Ukraine Tag

    Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning. He answered questions to the best of his ability over the whistleblower report on the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The House committee released the whistleblower's unclassified report this morning.

    The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel determined that the whistleblower on the phone call with President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not present an "urgent concern" nor do officials have to hand over the account to Congress. The intelligence community inspector general also discovered the whistleblower "showed indications of 'political bias' and was 'in favor of a rival candidate'" of Trump's. Despite that conclusion, the House and Senate have the whistleblower's account.

    President Donald Trump released the transcript of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that took place on July 25 from 9:03 AM to 9:33 AM. It shows that he asked Zelensky for a review on Vice President Joe Biden's family dealings in Ukraine. However, Trump did not threaten to withhold "military aid as part of a quid-pro-quo, as Democrats have suggested in pressing forward with impeachment."

    The Ukraine scandal food fight is about to get a whole lot more interesting. Tuesday, Trump announced via Twitter that he would release the "complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine." In this particular conversation, Trump has been accused of pressuring Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Biden, whose son's company received favorable business dealings with Ukrainians while Biden was in office.

    We are in the middle of a media feeding frenzy over a supposed intelligence community whistleblower complaint on Trump's conversation last summer with the Ukrainian president. We know almost nothing about the complaint or the conversation, but that has not stopped a full-blown "we've got him now!" type joyfulness throughout the mainstream media and Never-Trump-land.

    Over the weekend, Ukraine held its presidential election. Current President Petro Poroshenko, who won in 2014 after the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych, lost to comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a landslide. Television became real life since Zelenskiy played "school teacher Vasyl Holoborodko, who by a sheer stroke of coincidence becomes Ukraine’s president," on the show Servant of the People.

    President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the increased tensions in Ukraine after Russia attacked and seized Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea. From Fox News:
    "Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin,” he tweeted Thursday.

    *UPDATE 2:42PM: Ukraine's parliament has approved "martial law for 30 days in the regions bordering" Russia. The undeclared war between Ukraine and Russia took a horrific turn on Sunday after Ukraine claimed that Russia opened fire on its navy in the Kerch Strait, which separates the Black and Azoz Seas. The attack wounded six sailors and Russia seized at least three Ukrainian vessels.

    On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed into sunflower fields located in eastern Ukraine. Everyone reasonably pointed fingers at Russia since the two countries had been (and still are) fighting in that region of the former Soviet republic. A Dutch-led team of investigators announced today that the missile that downed the flight and killed all 298 people aboard came from a Russian brigade.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan for making "materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations" to his office and the FBI. Van Der Zwaan will appear in a federal court in Washington this afternoon. He is expected to enter in a guilty plea since he was charged with a criminal information. Mueller claims Van Der Zwaan lied about his communications with former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates and with someone else only identified as Person A and deleted emails that his office requested concerning a report from 2012 with Ukraine's Ministry of Justice.
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