Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.


Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.

"White House national security advisers suggested President Donald Trump raise the broad issue of corruption in his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 21, but Trump chose not to, according to a person familiar with the matter," Politico's Natasha Bertrand reported Friday evening.

"One of Republicans’ central defenses in the impeachment inquiry has been that Trump cares deeply about corruption in Ukraine, which is why he asked Zelensky in July to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter's dealings with the country," Bertrand noted.

"That the president did not adhere to his National Security Council’s advice to discuss corruption with Zelensky during their April call appears to undermine those claims," she noted. "According to the record, Trump congratulated Zelensky on his election victory but did not mention corruption."

This may also explain the discrepancies between the read-out of the call released by the White House on the day the leaders spoke and the rough transcript released by the White House Friday morning.

"A person familiar with the events preceding and following the call said the NSC news release had been drafted based on the talking points provided to the president — and, because the call occurred on a Sunday, likely wasn’t updated before it went out to reporters," Politico reported.