Ukraine Call is Trouble for Trump, or Maybe Biden

Calls for president's impeachment run into calls for investigating Democratic candidate
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2019 10:51 AM CDT
Ukraine Call is Trouble for Trump, or Maybe Biden
Cardboard images of Ukraine presidential candidates Volodymyr Zelensky, foreground, and Yulia Tymoshenko, right, are displayed in Kiev in March. In the background is Vladimir Putin.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(Newser) – Reports about a call from President Trump to Ukraine's president about Joe Biden have pretty much settled the impeachment debate, Tom Nichols writes in the Atlantic. If it's shown that the president did ask a foreign government to act against an American political opponent, Nichols says, "President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office immediately." Trump's goal was clear to that government, Nichols writes; a Ukraine official told the Daily Beast, "Clearly, Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison." (The Russian term, which translates to "compromising material, the Washington Post reports, refers to using dirt against political opponents in the media.) "If this in itself is not impeachable, then the concept has no meaning," Nichols writes.

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Others see the case differently:

  • It's the Bidens who should be investigated, Breitbart says: The reports about a whistleblower dropping a dime on Trump's call just are a misdirection. "They're trying to turn what was a Biden scandal into a Trump scandal," Peter Schweizer said on Breitbart News Tonight. The real issue, he said, is that Hunter Biden was paid $83,000 a month by a Ukrainian energy company despite having no expertise in the field. Schweizer said Trump was telling Volodymyr Zelensky, "I think you need to investigate this,' and that's something we've been calling for for a long time."
  • RedState agrees that the story is more threatening to Biden and says Democrats who don't support Biden are helping to drive it. It's reasonable to not like the idea of Trump's call, RedState says, or his refusal to follow protocol, but, "Trump’s actions are well within his authority as president."
  • Using the presidency to pressure another nation to help him beat a political opponent, George T. Conway III and Neal Katyal write in the Post, "would be the ultimate impeachable act." This is precisely what the Constitution's authors had in mind, Conway and Katyal said, when they wrote that "high crimes and misdemeanors” were cause for removing a president—what Alexander Hamilton called "the abuse or violation of some public trust."
("It doesn't matter what I discussed," Trump said.)

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