Newly elected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated on May 20, and United States Vice President Mike Pence had been scheduled to travel to Ukraine to attend the inauguration as an official representative of the Donald Trump administration. But Pence cancelled the trip at the last minute, and according to a whistleblower complaint made public on Thursday and posted online by the House Intelligence Committee, the order to snub Zelensky’s inaugural came directly from Trump himself.
But there was someone else who knew that Trump had ordered top United States officials to boycott the Ukraine president’s inauguration, and somehow knew days before the inauguration took place — the Russian government.
According to investigative journalist Julia Davis, who monitors Russian media and posts excerpts from Russian state TV on her Twitter account, commentators on Russia’s government-owned Channel One revealed one week before the inauguration that Trump had barred not only U.S. government officials but also his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani from attending the inaugural.
“Oh my, the Russians weren’t lying,” Davis wrote. “They knew what was taking place behind-the-scenes.”
When Davis posted her original report on the Channel One claim, on May 13 — one week before Zelensky’s inauguration — she believed that the Russians were “shamelessly” lying about their claim that Trump ordered the boycott. But in light of the whistleblower report, Davis revised her opinion.
#Russia's state TV shamelessly lies that Rudy Giuliani was going to travel to #Ukraine for President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration, but Trump personally directed him & any other official U.S. representatives not to attend the inauguration.
So many lies, so little time. pic.twitter.com/DaXAECe29N
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) May 14, 2019
Ultimately, Trump sent a delegation to the inauguration, headed by U.S. Secretary of Energy and former Texas Governor Rick Perry. Officials in that delegation said that it was “made clear” to them that Trump would not meet with Zelensky until he saw how the new president “chose to act” while in office, according to the whistleblower complaint.
As The Inquisitr reported, Giuliani had earlier communicated that Zelensky would need to “play ball” with Trump’s demands for Ukraine to stage an “investigation” of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate to challenge Trump for president in the 2020 election.
The revelation by Davis that the Russian government appeared to have inside knowledge of Trump’s decision to ban Pence and other officials from Zelensky’s inauguration quickly grabbed the attention of at least one Democratic lawmaker.
“How does Russian state TV know that President Trump personally directed any U.S. official to not attend the Ukrainian president’s inauguration?” wrote Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on his official Twitter account. “Why is the President directing anyone to not attend the inauguration of an ALLY?!?”
As The Inquisitr has reported, Trump and Giuliani have reportedly been attempting to pressure Ukraine to manufacture derogatory information about his Democratic rivals at least since 2017.