The Ukraine story is a Russia story
Play • 54 min

We talk about this as a Ukraine story. But it's also a Russia story. The leverage Trump had on Ukraine came from Russia's invasion of Crimea and continuing support for insurgents in Ukraine. The leverage Trump had on his own government came from the strategic threat posed by Russian aggression. And Trump’s willingness to use military aid to Ukraine as political leverage came from his odd lack of concern about Ukraine falling to Russia.

In this episode, I talk with Evelyn Farkas, the Pentagon’s former point person on Russia and Ukraine, about the Russia-Ukraine crisis Trump exploited. It’s a conversation that changes how I understood this story. It’ll change how you understand it, too.

I also talked with Vox’s Alex Ward about Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor’s testimony, former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker’s argument that “abuse of power is not a crime,” and the GOP’s fury over the House Democrats’ process.

And, at the end, a thought on why it’s Mitch McConnell, not Donald Trump, who poses the core threat to our constitutional structure.


Read Bill Taylor's opening testimony

"High Crimes and Misdemeanors," explained


Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Chris Shurtleff

Theme music composed by Jon Natchez 

Special thanks to Liz Nelson

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