So it looks like the initial speculation was wrong and the whistleblower complaint that has created such turmoil in the intel community and in Congress deals not with him giving out classified information but in making unspecified promises to a foreign leader. The Washington Post reported Thursday night that it involves a phone call with the president of Ukraine.
We’ve known for quite some time that Trump, at least through Rudy Giuliani, has been pushing Ukraine to reopen an investigation that was found to have no merit into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, the Democrat he sees as his greatest threat in 2020. How do we know that? Because Giuliani has admitted to it and did so again in the last couple days. Hunter did work for a Ukrainian gas company, which Rudy has turned into Biden himself bilking Ukraine of millions of dollars. In May, Rudy canceled a trip to Ukraine, which he admitted at the time was for the purpose of “meddling” to get Ukraine to reopen an investigation previously closed by a prosecutor in that country after finding nothing there.
“We’re not meddling in an election; we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani told the New York Times’s Kenneth P. Vogel. Giuliani added: “There’s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it’s improper. . . . I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
So not only did he admit to pressuring Ukraine to reopen the investigation, he explicitly says he’s doing so because it would be helpful to Donald Trump. Then he did it again the other day in his usual rambling, contradictory, incoherent manner, first denying doing so then admitting to it in no uncertain terms in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo:
“Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?” asked host Chris Cuomo at one point in the interview.
“No! Actually, I didn’t,” Giuliani said. “I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election of 2016 by the Ukrainians for the benefit of Hillary Clinton for which there already —”
“You never asked anything about Hunter Biden, you never asked anything about Joe Biden and his role with the prosecutor?” said Cuomo.
“The only thing I asked about Joe Biden was to get to the bottom of how it was that Lutsenko who was appointed dismissed the case—”
“So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?” asked Cuomo.
“Of course I did!” yelled Giuliani.
“You just said you didn’t!” replied Cuomo.
Typical Giuliani interview where he can’t keep his own story straight for even 30 seconds. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why Trump keeps him around. How many times has he done more damage than good when sent out defend a story? They send him out to put water on a fire and he throws diesel fuel instead. So far, Ukraine has refused to budge on the investigation and it seems highly likely that the promise Trump made to them was to give them the incentive to change their kinds. What could he have promised them? Well first, let’s note that at the time Trump was refusing to release $250 million in military aid to help them fend off more Russian interference (he finally did so last week under tremendous pressure from both parties in Congress). So it seems entirely reasonable that he promised to release those funds if they did what he wanted, relaunched an investigation into Biden that would help him against a major rival in his 2020 reelection campaign.
Trump’s response to all of this has, of course, been to blame the “corrupt media” for spreading “fake news,” which, as always, might as well be a confession. Would it be illegal for him to do this? That’s unclear at this point. But it’s certainly scandalous, an attempt to use the office of the president to pressure a foreign government to help him win reelection. It’s certainly impeachable, but we’ll just add that to the long list of actions he’s taken that are impeachable. Regardless, Congress needs to keep digging and find out the truth about this. The American people deserve to have that information before they vote next year.