Season 2 : EPISODE 0
Trailer: Here We Go Again
On July 25, 2019, President Donald Trump picked up the phone and called a foreign head of state for a favor. It wasn’t just any foreign head of state and it wasn’t just any favor. It was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, leader of a nation at war with Russia and its proxies, struggling to chart a free and democratic future independent of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. And so Trump made Ukraine an offer he thought they couldn’t refuse: help me get re-elected by investigating my political opponents and you’ll get a White House meeting and $400M in military aid. The phone call set off a cascade of events leading to the impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Season 1 of The Asset explored the backstory of how in 2016 Donald Trump conspired with a foreign government to become president. Now, The Asset is back with Season 2 to explore how Trump decided to do it again with the 2020 election around the corner. Season 2 will focus on the origins of the impeachment inquiry, the timeline and key players, and why it matters that the president used the national security apparatus of the United States to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival.
The Asset is a partnership between The Center for American Progress Action Fund, District Productive, and Protect the Investigation. Hosted by Max Bergmann, The Asset seeks to make sense of all the investigations, indictments, and speculation surrounding President Trump. The first episode will be available on November 4, 2019.
Season 2 Trailer Transcript (OPEN AS PDF)
Max Bergmann here. For more of The Asset podcast, please go to our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/assetpodcast. That’s patreon.com/assetpodcast. You’ll hear the full interviews with our roster of experts and analysts. You’ll also get more exclusive content from the Asset team, like our interview with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, our live event reacting to Robert Mueller’s testimony, an upcoming episode following the mysterious trail of dead Russians around the 2016 election, and a whole lot more. Don’t miss out. Sign up today at www.patreon.com/assetpodcast.
Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?
No. Actually, I didn’t. I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election in 2016 by the Ukrainians for the benefit of Hillary Clinton, for which there already is of course …
You never asked anything about Hunter Biden, you never asked anything about Joe Biden and his role with the prosecutor?
The only thing I asked about Joe Biden is to get to the bottom of how it was that Lutsenko, who was appointed, dismissed the case against AntAC—
So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.
Of course I did!
The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections. Therefore, today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.
On July 25, 2019, President Donald Trump tried to do it again. The 2020 election was around the corner. He was polling badly. He was engulfed in the Russia scandal and was facing the long arm of the law should he have to leave office. This coming election and the fight over Mueller was therefore existential to Donald Trump. And so he asked a foreign leader for a favor. It wasn’t just any country. It was Ukraine, a nation at war with Russia and its proxies, struggling to chart a free and democratic future independent of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. And so Trump made Ukraine an offer he thought they couldn’t refuse: Help me get reelected by investigating my political opponents, and you’ll get American backing—a White House meeting, and $400 million in military aid. Trump wasn’t acting on behalf of America’s interest. He was acting on behalf of his—and maybe Russia’s. This was extortion, a shakedown straight out of a mob movie.
A classic mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.
But when a whistleblower on the inside of government sounded the alarm, the White House sprang into action to cover it up. They had survived scandal after scandal by now. Nothing seemed to stick to them. And by this point, they had a playbook. They hid information, moving records of the call to a secret server. They stonewalled. They blocked the whistleblower’s report, stopped people from testifying, and they even admitted to the crime. This all had seemed to work before. Trump, during the Russia scandal, kept saying “no collusion,” despite the fact that he had openly called for collusion.
Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.
If somebody called from a country, Norway, “we have information on your opponent.” Oh. I think I’d want to hear it.
You’d want that kind of interference in our election?
It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.
But this time was different. The scandal didn’t blow over, and the coverup didn’t work. Democrats, instead of letting this drag out in the courts or turning the other cheek, they called out the extortion and moved to impeach the president of the United States.
Seven freshmen House Democrats cowrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post about why they support an impeachment inquiry from a national security perspective. The piece was titled, “These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect.”
There’s a couple of common themes to all of this. Number one, it all seems to be related to helping Donald Trump win reelection. Everything that he does seems to be geared towards how can he help his election and better his prospects in 2020.
The future of our democracy is at stake. There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action to protect and preserve the integrity of our nation. I believe, I truly believe, the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come.
As Democrats subpoenaed witnesses, they found people willing to talk. The dam started breaking. And the press attacked the story with ferocity, turning the news cycle once again into a whirlwind of breaking news and late-night scoops, just like the first six months of 2017. What has now been revealed is a plot—a plot to use American foreign policy to take advantage of a vulnerable ally, both for political gain in the 2020 election and to profit personally. Over the next four episodes, we will dive deep, sort through the firehose of news, and connect the dots and make sense of the sprawling scandal. But as we do that, we will also take a step back. With so much news coming to light so quickly, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, to lose sight of what is a rather simple tale. This is a story about the walls closing in on a corrupt man who was willing to do whatever it took to get away with it. It is about the corrupt people around him, looking to take advantage of a White House there to be bought. And this is about a country and its people, struggling to chart a path toward democracy and freedom while being attacked by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and now squeezed by Donald Trump’s America. It is a story of corruption, of greed, of extortion, of geopolitics—of collusion and a coverup. And ultimately, it’s about an asset of a foreign power getting caught red-handed. I’m Max Bergmann, and join us for a new season of The Asset.
They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that’s newly formed and all these companies, and you look at it—and by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens.