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Trump has now twice implicated Pence, who seems aware he’s in a Prisoner’s Dilemma

[The vice president meeting Ukraine President Zelensky in Warsaw, Sept 2]

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

[In regards to this Washington Post story: Trump involved Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader, though officials say vice president was unaware of allegations in whistleblower complaint]

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a paradox in which two suspects would go free if they cooperate but instead act in their own self-interest and go down. This is the Prisoner’s Dilemma playing out in the White House.

Trump has now twice implicated Pence — perhaps fearful of Pence undercutting him since Pence would become president upon a successful impeachment.


For his part Pence has now implicitly conceded pressuring Ukraine by withholding foreign aid in a separate meeting with Ukraine’s president, but says he was unaware that dirt on Biden was what Trump had asked for. Pence’s unawareness is dubious, given the timeline and the fact that Trump wasn’t at all shy about asking Zelensky in that phone call, but put that aside for the moment because what’s interesting here is the exposure of a genuine rift between Trump and Pence. Uncooperative prisoners.

Pence evidently realizes that if it can be shown that he did know that he was making foreign aid to Ukraine contingent on Ukraine fabricating a fake investigation of Joe Biden, he’s just as impeachable as Trump. So he has shoved an awkward wedge between himself and Trump, and Trump may be an imbecile but he’s going to notice, and I think his instinct will be to take Pence down with him, even if it winds up meaning a few months of President Nancy Pelosi.

[In regards to this Washington Post story: Giuliani consulted on Ukraine with imprisoned Paul Manafort via a lawyer]

This idiocy is about the black ledger book that was found to contain scores of direct, illegal payments to Manafort. Giuliani’s desperate idea is that the DNC and Ukraine secretly framed Manafort with a fake ledger.

The provenance of the black book is wholly irrelevant to Manafort’s activity in Ukraine and his conviction, though. Mueller meticulously traced payments going to Manafort through multiple LLCs.

Like all the sudden whining about hearsay, it’s as if they’re arguing that the house couldn’t have caught fire because no video footage exists of it burning, despite that there are only ashes and cinders where the house once stood. Giuliani (and thus Trump and Barr) are all promulgating an alternate reality that contradicts the reality we can all otherwise plainly see.

[And Scott’s latest observation…]

Trump in a speech just now made the China basically the same offer he made Ukraine — investigate Biden in advance of forthcoming trade discussions. It’s like proudly announcing that you just burned down a building while awaiting trial for arson.

Abuse of office is impeachable whether the abuse occurred in secret telephone calls or in broad daylight.

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