SERIOUSLY, Mr President?
Just a few weeks after you were cleared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of colluding with a foreign power to fix the 2016 Election, you called the leader of another foreign power asking him to investigate your main presidential rival Joe Biden for the 2020 Election?
Have you lost your mind????
On any level, this was spectacularly ill-advised and brazen behavior, and far removed from the ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful’ chat that President Trump led us to believe it had been.
And this is no longer ambiguous Washington rumor, it’s cold hard fact confirmed in Donald Trump’s own words, released in an official document from the White House.
Any impartial non-partisan observer who reads that transcript would conclude it’s at very least, highly inappropriate.
I certainly did.
Frankly, it’s absolutely shocking to me that President Trump would be so reckless so soon after the Mueller probe ended.
He must have known it would become public, and spark the very firestorm that is now erupting over it.
BUT, and it’s a very significant ‘but’, it wasn’t a crime.
At least, that was the clear determination of the Justice Department when its high-powered legal brains carefully studied the transcript after it was referred to them following a complaint by a mystery whistle-blower.
They concluded unequivocally that there was no criminal case to answer.
And the main reason for that, I suspect, is that it failed to establish the main charge – namely, that President Trump deliberately withdrew substantial aid to Ukraine unless they did his bidding on the investigation into Joe Biden.
So there was no ‘quid pro quo’, which would almost certainly have taken the conversation into very perilous legal waters.
Yes, Trump is heard saying ‘I’d like you to do us a favor’, and yes, he had withheld the aid just days before the call.
But there is no damning irrefutable connection proven between these two things in what has so far been published – no ‘smoking gun’.
And without it, we’re left with Trump asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate what he claims is possible – though vehemently denied – corruption in that country involving Biden’s son Hunter.
Many will think this is a not entirely unreasonable request given that Biden Snr was Vice-President at the time his son was being paid $50,000 a month to advise a dodgy Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, without, say his critics, any proper experience to do so.
As Vice-President, Joe Biden led US diplomatic efforts to protect Ukraine’s fledgling democracy and root out corruption after mass protests ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych.
Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden sat, had links to Yanukovych that prompted corruption probes and caused the Obama White House to panic about a potentially damaging conflict of interest.
No such conflict has ever been proven, but the stench of suspicion surrounding Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine remains and seems a legitimate issue of concern if his father wants to be President. The bottom line is this: Hunter was only valuable to Burisma because his dad was Vice-President, so what did he do for them?
The transcript reveals that Trump also asked President Zelensky to look into whether he could find Hillary Clinton’s infamous missing email server, which he said he’d been told might have ended up in Ukraine.
Again, many, particularly among Trump’s base, will think that’s not an outrageous request given how central it was to a criminal investigation that may have affected the 2016 Election.
Yet outraged Democrats think all this is deadly serious presidential misconduct, have decided to risk dying on this Ukraine hill, and are now moving to impeach the President.
And by doing so, I think they’re making a terrible political mistake that may well cause them to end up.. dying on this hill.
Impeachment is a very rare thing in America.
Only three Presidents have ever been impeached – Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.
None of them was convicted though Nixon would have been had he not resigned.