Oct 2, 2019

WaPo: Pence national security adviser was on Trump-Ukraine phone call

Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence's national security adviser Keith Kellogg was on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is now at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, the Washington Post reports, citing "current and former U.S. officials."

Why it matters: Pence likely would have been briefed the following day on the details of the phone call, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. The summary of the call, which has since been released by the White House, also likely would have been included in Pence's briefing materials ahead of a Sept. 1 trip to Warsaw in which he met with Zelensky and informed him that the administration had frozen millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.

The big picture: Officials tell the Post that neither Pence nor Kellogg were aware that the call had set off alarm bells within the White House, which eventually led to an official whistleblower complaint being filed with the intelligence community inspector general. They also claim that Pence was not aware of Trump's and Rudy Giuliani's broader efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Biden.

  • However, Trump did instruct Pence not to attend Zelensky's inauguration in May and to later break the news to the Ukrainian president that the aid would not be released until he took more aggressive action on corruption.
  • Former officials tell the Post that the vice president's emphasis on corruption likely would have been interpreted by the Ukrainians as "code" for the Biden issue, but Pence chief of staff Marc Short insists that this was not the case.
  • Short points to the fact that the aid to Ukraine was eventually released after the meeting. An official also told the Post that Pence informed Trump that Zelensky had a "good heart" and urged him to release the aid.

Between the lines: The Post contends that Trump's reliance on Pence to convey messages to Zelensky is part of a broader strategy by the president of using administration officials to "advance his personal or political interests — even in cases when those subordinates appear not to know that another agenda is in play."

Go deeper: What Joe and Hunter Biden actually did in Ukraine

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Updates: George Floyd protests enter 12th day

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 6,852,810 — Total deaths: 398,211 — Total recoveries — 3,071,142Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,917,080 — Total deaths: 109,702 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.