Opinion: What might finally ensnare Trump - PressFrom - US

Opinion What might finally ensnare Trump

17:40  20 september  2019
17:40  20 september  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump pauses while speaking to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Monday.© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg President Trump pauses while speaking to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Monday.

President Trump tweeted on Thursday as the whistleblower scandal was unfolding: “Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call?” Actually, any sentient being knows that Trump has no idea what is and is not appropriate, so he would absolutely say something on a call that others found shocking. He told George Stephanopoulos he would take help from a foreign power again. He told Lester Holt he was thinking of Russia when he fired James Comey as FBI director. Trump is precisely the sort of person to say something deeply incriminating.

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And that brings us to The Post’s latest bombshell: “A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter, which has set off a struggle between Congress and the executive branch.” And it gets worse:

Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May.

That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.

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Yesterday, however, some news broke that may finally elevate the issue into a full-blown scandal that the rest of the media — piggybacking on Fahrenthold’s work — might actually sink its teeth into. The New York Attorney General admitted that he was investigating the Trump Foundation for improprieties.

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Trump and his fixer Giuliani, it has been widely reported, have been pressuring Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden based on a groundless theory that as vice president he was helping his son, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. (Biden was accused of getting a prosecutor investigating his son’s company fired. In fact, “The investigation into Burisma, Hunter Biden’s employer, had ground to a halt long before the prosecutor was sacked. A subsequent probe into the company’s owner was opened because of a request from Ukrainian legislators, not because of prosecutorial initiative.”)

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) adds this interesting account:

All of this raises the question as to whether the multiple actions amounted to a “promise” by Trump to release aid in exchange for Ukraine’s help investigating Biden. Aside from possibly implicating bribery statutes, there could be no clearer example of a “High Crime & Misdemeanor” than in using government revenue to extort a foreign power to help you get reelected. Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me that such an arrangement would probably meet the definition “within the meaning of the Constitution’s phrase ‘Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ although it might well fail to meet the narrow definition of ‘bribery’ for purposes of criminal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 201.”

But make no mistake: This would be the perfect example of conduct that might not technically be a crime but is obviously and blatantly a violation of the president’s oath of office and a threat to our democratic system. Former prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted, “If Trump promised foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating Biden’s son, that is obviously corrupt and should meet any definition of a ‘high crime’ for impeachment.”

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Meanwhile, Giuliani made a wild appearance on CNN. Amid the accusations and insults, he acknowledged that “of course” he asked Ukraine to look into Biden. Umm. That’s a problem.

Even if you took the aid out of it, going to a foreign government to request dirt on a political opponent would be precisely the “collusion” (or illegal conspiracy) that Robert S. Mueller III was investigating. Using taxpayer money (foreign aid) to facilitate such an arrangement makes it doubly corrupt.

Now, we do not know whether this is the basis of the complaint and whether any Trump “promise” was part of a quid pro quo. That is why we need the whistleblower’s complaint released to Congress, a lightning-fast investigation and then, if supported by the facts, a call for Trump to resign or be impeached.

Along the way, there were be enumerable questions as to whether Trump or his attorney general ordered the complaint not to be sent to Congress. There will be questions as to whether Vice President Pence, who went to Ukraine recently and was asked about release of aid by reporters, or former national security adviser John Bolton (who was there as well) knew anything about this.

And of course, we’ll have to see what excuse Republicans come up with for not doing anything. (It was a joke! Deep state!) However, if the facts point to corrupt behavior, impeachment will be a necessity and a political winner for Democrats. And yes, this would be way, way worse than Watergate.

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The sprawling internet theory, beloved by Trump supporters, has ensnared everyone from Tom Hanks to Hillary Clinton.

The president thinks justice only matters as it affects him. As his defenders fall away, he may find this all too painfully true.

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin: No patriots to be found: What is the matter with these people?

Jennifer Rubin: What we need to know about the whistleblower

Greg Sargent: As the whistleblower story gets worse for Trump, his corruption keeps spreading

Greg Sargent: Mystery of Adam Schiff and whistleblower takes dangerous new turn

Harry Litman: A whistleblower filed a complaint to the intelligence IG. Why is it being withheld from Congress?

The Post’s View: The Trump administration cannot withhold a whistleblower complaint from Congress

Why Democrats want the whistleblower complaint — not just the transcript of Trump's Ukraine call .
President Trump is apparently granting the Democrats their wish by agreeing to release the transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday. But the president's opponents still aren't satisfied. There's a few reasons for that, but the simplest one is the fear that the Trump administration could, well, edit the transcript, even though Trump said it would be complete and unredacted. CONTEXT ALERT: TheThere's a few reasons for that, but the simplest one is the fear that the Trump administration could, well, edit the transcript, even though Trump said it would be complete and unredacted.

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