Diplomats Knew Donald Trump Was Strong-Arming Ukraine Weeks Before Phone Transcript Release, Secret Texts Show

Jonathan Vankin

More than two weeks before the White House released a partial transcript of a July 25 phone call between Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, top United States diplomats involved in negotiations with Ukraine were aware that Trump was trying to strong-arm the country into helping with his 2020 re-election campaign. This was purportedly revealed by a secret text message exchange provided to Congress on Thursday by one of those diplomats, former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker, ABC News reported.

The first reports that Trump made some sort of improper "promise" to Zelensky in the call surfaced in the media on September 19. Subsequent reports filled in more details, revealing that Trump had supposedly pressured Zelensky to stage some sort of "investigation" into Trump's potential 2020 election opponent Joe Biden. As The Inquisitr reported on September 20, a Ukrainian official confirmed that Trump was seeking "kompromat," comprising information, on Biden from inside Ukraine.

The claims were reportedly confirmed on September 25 with the release of the phone call transcript which, though clearly incomplete, nonetheless revealed that in response to a request for military aid by Zelensky, Trump responded, "I would like you to do us a favor though," according to the transcript posted online by The White House.

Trump then proceeded to ask for the investigation into Biden, as The Inquisitr has reported.

But according to the encrypted text messages provided by Volker in closed-door testimony, it was several days prior to Trump releasing the needed aid package to Ukraine, which took place on September 11, that top U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor texted Volker and Gordon Sondland — the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. The messages supposedly show that he knew Trump was holding back the aid to pressure Ukraine into helping his campaign, according to the ABC News report.

"I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," Taylor reportedly wrote in the text handed over by Volker.

Sondland, a Republican "megadonor" who funneled $1 million to Trump's inauguration before being named ambassador to the EU, pushed back in a text message reply, saying that Trump was "crystal clear: no quid pro quo's of any kind." Sondland then wrote that the diplomats must stop discussing the matter via text message.

California House Rep. Ted Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, quickly took to his own Twitter account, saying that the texts made it "clear we have enough evidence right now to draft Articles of Impeachment."

"The top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine understood at the time that [Trump] blocked military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens," Lieu wrote. "Congress will continue investigating."