Attorney Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor for Robert Mueller’s special counsel and legal analyst for MSNBC, speculated President Donald Trump took an unsecured telephone call from U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland in Ukraine because he does not care whether Russia wiretapped it — because, Weissman argues, he anticipates Kremlin support in the 2020 election.
“There’s an interesting aspect to that call, leave out the irony that this president ran against Hillary Clinton for using an insecure email server,” Weissmann, known as Mueller’s “pit bull,” began. “Here you have a call on a cellphone, lots of discussions about sending emails and texts, but this is one where you’ve heard from everyone who is in Ukraine who knows–you worry about everything being tapped,” he said of the Trump-Sondland call.
Weissmann then possed the question: “You know that call is going to be monitored by the Russians… Do you care about the Russians having it?”
“Why weren’t the president and Ambassador Sondland worried about the fact that the Russians would undoubtedly in Ukraine be able to hear this conversation?” he then asked.
Weissmann’s pair of questions prompted MSNBC anchor Nicole Wallace to ask under what circumstances would the president be comfortable about the call’s possible interception by the Kremlin.
“If your thinking is ‘I don’t care because the Russians will be siding with me in the 2020 election,’ then you’re all on the same team,” the former Mueller prosecutor hypothesized.
Critics point to President Trump’s July 26 call with Sondland as evidence implicating the president in a “quid pro quo” scheme to exchange U.S. military aid to Ukraine for an investigation into allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. A CIA analyst’s mischaracterization of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 is the subject of a “whistleblower” complaint, which sparked House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.
Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Sondland said it was likely he told the president that Zelensky “loves your ass” and stands ready to work together on a host of issues. On Thursday, State Department official David Holmes testified that he overheard President Trump asking Sondland, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” a reference to Zelensky launching a probe into the Bidens. Holmes said Sondland replied, “He’s gonna do it,” and told the president that Ukraine’s president would do “anything you ask him to.”
President Trump and Zelensky have both vehemently denied any pressure was applied to probe the Bidens and the White House has released two transcripts of the world leaders’ calls as evidence that no wrongdoing occurred.