There were two bribes.
This is bribe one:
- We know Ambassador Sondland and Guiliani and others had been trying to get the Ukrainians to announce “investigations” into Biden and Trump’s wacky conspiracy theory (where it was Ukraine, not Russia who interfered i n2016, and they were working for Clinton, not him).
- We know they were using the promise of a Presidential visit as payment.
- We know the Ukrainians know this is what Trump wants.
- We know that the Ukrainians wrestled with the dilemma of getting involved with US internal politics or not.
- We know they eventually agreed to announce the “investigations”.
Give Trump his investigations, get the visit. Bribe one.
This is the second bribe:
- In the second call, once the pleasantries are done, and Zelensky has asked about the possibility of a visit, and Trump has complained about not receiving enough thanks, Zelensky asks about the Javelins – the military aid.
- Trump immediately responds with “do me a favor though”, and talks about the investigations and his conspiracy theories.
- Again, Zelensky already knows Trump wants investigations. He knows what the investigations are. He knows they were already used as leverage for the Presidential visit.
- Zelensky apparently doesn’t at this point know that the aid has been held up. So, he likely thinks Trump talking about investigations is about the visit. So he asks again for the visit. Zelensky will later learn the aid is being held up.
- Trump tells Zelensky to talk to Rudy G, who has been laying the groundwork for the smear campaign against Biden.
That’s bribe two. Aid for investigations. From what we know, it was apparently not executed as cleanly as the first.
But then, word gets out that Trump is trying to bribe Ukraine, so Trump shuts the whole thing down: the military aid is released and the Presidential visit is agreed to / set up. And, Ukraine cancels their plans to announce the phony investigations.
So there were two bribes. And the only reason it didn’t work out the way Trump wanted was because someone blew the whistle on him before it all came together.