What we Learned from Trump’s Ukraine Call
Trump swore it was a perfect call. He said we’d be embarrassed for making a big deal out of it. But the only embarrassment is the shame we feel at a president who is flaunting his own corruption and lawlessness.
After releasing the official notes about his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and parts of the whistleblower’s complaint, America finally got to see how much further he’ll go to get foreign governments to help his re-election. First, let’s look at the timeline:
What are the most notable facts we’ve discovered?
Quid Pro Quo – Everyone’s focused on whether or not there was a quid pro quo – or an explicit offer to exchange US aid for dirt on Biden. Was there one? Yes, even if some of Trump’s defenders want to ignore it. What did it look like?
Trump begins by stressing that Ukraine depends on US aid, but warns that the support isn’t “reciprocal.”
Zelenskiy says “we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
Trump replies “I would like you to do us a favor though.”
That’s a quid pro quo. Zelenskiy says what he needs from the US, and Trump responds by demanding something in return.
Corruption – The ensuing conversation is a list of corrupt demands, from the removal of an ambassador Trump dislikes, to an investigation into “Joe Biden’s son.” That last demand seems to be Trump’s most urgent, as he continues to insist that Zelenskiy talk to Rudy Giuliani who publicly admits to pressing for the fake story. Trump even goes so far as to praise the fired prosecutor at the heart of the story, a prosecutor who was widely criticized for corruption and whom multiple countries and organizations demanded be fired.
Conspiracies – One of several odd demands the president made was to look into an American cybersecurity company that Trump seems to believe is owned by a Ukranian (it isn’t). The reason? Because he again falsely believes that Hillary Clinton’s emails are in a server there. It’s just another wild, fictitious conspiracy that the president wants pushed so that he can deny Russian agents hacked the DNC and discredit the facts of the Mueller Report.
Giuliani – Zelenskiy actually brings up the president’s personal attorney. Giuliani has reached out to Ukrainian officials already. Rudy has acknowledged as such, and admitted that it was to pressure the country to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden. Trump then tells Zelenskiy to continue talking to Giuliani, who has no official job in the government and no power other than what the president is willing to do at his request. This kind of back-channel is designed to avoid accountability and allow nakedly corrupt demands to be made behind the American peoples’ backs.
Timing – The call took place the day after Robert Mueller’s testimony about the Trump campaign’s corrupt foreign dealings and Trump’s personal obstruction of justice. Trump even references Mueller in the call. Clearly, he views the lack of any serious consequences for his previous crimes as a blank check to do worse in 2020, which is why we can’t let him get away with it again.
Obstruction of Justice – We know from the Mueller Report that the president has no problem obstructing justice. He certainly didn’t hesitate to do it again. The whistleblower tells us that the transcript of the president’s call was considered so politically damaging, that it was inappropriately classified at the highest level to keep it’s details hidden. What’s worse, the complaint alleges that the administration has done this with a lot of political documents, turning America’s national security institutions into a personal vault to hide criminally and politically damning information. Acting DNI Maguire himself today laid it out plainly: “there is an allegation of a cover-up.”
There’s quite a bit more to be unraveled, but the case is straightforward: The president used his power, and the power of our country, to demand a foreign government help him defeat his leading political rival, and then hid that conversation to protect himself. That is corruption, pure and simple.
No matter how long it takes for us to learn the full truth, we cannot let the president get away with his brazen corruption. Congress must pursue this and other allegations in their impeachment inquiry, reporting the facts to the American people. So far, only one party has proven willing to earnestly investigate this criminality. But every member of Congress should be concerned, and every American should take it seriously.
Stand Up Republic certainly won’t stop pursuing the truth.