It’s not clear what Donald Trump was whining about when he complained, “Somebody please explain” to Fox News’ Chris Wallace that Trump’s July conversation with the president of Ukraine was “a congenial & good one.”
Somebody please explain to Chris Wallace of Fox, who will never be his father (and my friend), Mike Wallace, that the Phone Conversation I had with the President of Ukraine was a congenial & good one. It was only Schiff’s made up version of that conversation that was bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2019
On his show yesterday, Wallace never characterized Trump’s July 25th phone call with the president of Ukraine, which will likely get Trump impeached. But he didn’t defend Trump either. My best guess is that Trump was upset because Wallace didn’t announce his support for Trump when he briefly discussed impeachment with Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Near the end of his interview with Esper, which was mostly about Syria, there was this exchange:
WALLACE: House Democrats have subpoenaed you, personally, that you, as the secretary of defense, turn over all documents related to decisions being made about authorization and then the decision to withhold military aide to Ukraine.
Will you comply by the deadline to for the House subpoena, which is this Tuesday, two days from today?
ESPER: Well, you know, we will do everything we can to respond to their inquiry, Chris. My general counsel, a week or two ago, sent out a note, as we often do in these situations, to the key members in the Pentagon to say, retain your documents and institute other controls.
So, again, we will respond as we can.
WALLACE: You say we will respond as we can. You're not making a firm commitment that you will meet the deadline of Tuesday?
ESPER: Well, I don't know -- I don't know the status of what that document preparation is. I don't know what restrictions we may have internally with regard to releasing them. The White House has a say on the release of documents as well.
There are a number of things that play into this.
WALLACE: Finally, last May, the president's phone call with Zelensky was in July, but last May, two months before, the undersecretary of defense certified to Congress that Ukraine had made major efforts in fighting corruption and certified to Congress that the Pentagon was, in fact, going to release all military aide that had been approved by Congress to the Ukrainians.
Did President Trump ever explain to you why he had decided to go against the Pentagon's decision and to hold up the aide?
ESPER: Chris, I have nothing to share with you on this. As you know, I came into office in late July …
In fact, Wallace was much harsher about Trump while questioning Esper about the administration’s decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to slaughter by the Turks. But maybe his pending impeachment is of much more concern to Trump than any foreign policy.
And maybe Trump thinks that with Shepard Smith gone, he can muscle out Wallace next.