Despite the findings of the Mueller Report, in which several specific examples of obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump were found, such as instructing the White House Counsel to fire the special counsel, nothing happened to him.
Despite his continued violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause by profiting from foreign entities, currying favor through frequenting his hotels and golf clubs, Trump faced no consequences.
Despite being the most divisive president in recent history (no, Mr. President, there were not some “very fine people on both sides,”; there were no very fine people on the side carrying tiki torches chanting “the Jews will not replace us”), Trump continues leading the county.
Despite a continued effort to obstruct Congress’ Constitutional oversight responsibilities by preventing witnesses from testifying and despite the results of the 2018 midterm election which was a mandate for Democrats to do something about the unfitness of this president for office, nothing was done.
Nothing happened to Trump. That is until now.
Finally, the smoking gun may have surfaced, ironically, at a time when the gun control debate may be at its most heated. That smoking gun is the president’s attempt to coerce Volodymyr Zelensky, the newly elected president of Ukraine, to investigate and find dirt on Trump’s main Democratic presidential opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Searching for a 2020 version of 2016’s Hillary email issue, Trump seems to have decided on Biden’s involvement as vice president in a multinational, I repeat multinational, effort to have a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office. A prosecutor, I might add, who was not directly involved in any investigation of Biden’s son’s role with a Ukrainian gas company under investigation.
Here are the facts as we know them so far as of this writing:
- In July, Trump put a freeze on nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, a country currently threatened on its eastern border by Russia.
- Also in July, Trump called Zelensky and asked him to launch a baseless investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
- Finally, a whistleblower filed a complaint which Trump’s own inspector general said was urgent and credible, triggering a requirement that Congress see the complaint.
- The White House released the complaint after Trump has refused to hand over. By law, it is required for the complaint to be delivered to the Intelligence Committees of both the House and the Senate.
According to the notes of the telephone conversation that was finally released by the White House after, and only after, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry, Trump stated: “I need a favor” to Zelensky. Coming from a U.S. president who has held back military aid from the nation from which the favor is being sought constitutes an implied quid pro quo.
Remember the testimony of both Jim Comey and Michael Cohen. They both testified that Trump makes clear what he expects you to do without stating it outright. The way Michael Cohen described it, “Mr. Trump talks in code.” I suspect Zelensky interpreted the “favor” in the same way. Vito Corleone lives on.
Since Trump himself has openly admitted much of this, and thanks to tremendous grassroots pressure, the dam finally broke with Pelosi finally calling for a formal impeachment inquiry with, again as of this writing, support from 233 House of Representatives Democrats to date.
Where does that leave Republicans? Spouting the same White House line about the need to investigate Biden. Could any Republican really believe that Trump asked President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens because of corruption concerns and the request had nothing to do with Biden being the front-runner to oppose him in 2020?
If there was any truth to that, you think Trump might have sought the investigation a bit earlier in his administration and not wait until campaign season?
To cover all bases, just in case this nonsense of an explanation does not catch on, Trump also claims to have held back the military aid from Ukraine because Europe was not paying its fair share. This is also a falsity since, as it turns out, Europe provided more than three times the amount of military aid than the United States did.
Could pulling back military aid from Ukraine have anything to do with whom Ukraine’s enemy is, Russia? Just asking.