National security officials knew Trump was going to extort Ukraine president before call – and they rang the alarm
Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump (AFP)

The Washington Post has just reported that several national security officials were aware President Donald Trump – even before his infamous July 25 telephone call – would be trying to extort the president of Ukraine in a military funds for dirt scheme so egregious it has led directly to an impeachment inquiry.

"At least four national security officials were so alarmed by the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they raised concerns with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after President Trump’s July 25 call with that country’s president," The Post reports.

"Within minutes," of Trump's disturbing attempts to pressure the Ukraine president, during which he asked for that now infamous "favor," "senior officials including national security adviser John Bolton were being pinged by subordinates about problems with what the president had said."

The reporting positions Bolton as not in on the call. Earlier reporting showed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat in on the call, despite having pretended to be unfamiliar with the call's details.

"Bolton and others scrambled to obtain a rough transcript that was already being 'locked down' on a highly classified computer network."

The Post spoke with one person familiar with the events of that day.

“When people were listening to this in real time there were significant concerns about what was going on — alarm bells were kind of ringing,” said one person familiar with the sequence of events inside the White House, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. “People were trying to figure out what to do, how to get a grasp on the situation.”

Ultimately, no one did, and the whistleblower's complaint was filed, leading to the House's impeachment inquiry.

Former National Security Council spokesperson and CIA veteran Ned Price weighed in via Twitter, noting "the July 25 call was months in the making, with the President and his allies pressuring Ukraine on several fronts."

"This wasn’t a slip of the tongue with Zelensky. It was a concerted, coordinated campaign of betrayal," Price observed.