UPDATE: Trump urged Ukraine president to investigate Biden with help from Giuliani, Barr, memo shows
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Ukraine-gate, the one in which Donald Trump pressured or even tried to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on his rival Joe Biden, seems like an open and shut case for impeachment. The misuse of the office of the presidency is blatant, evidence of breach of trust overwhelming and Trump’s gall, chutzpah and disregard for norms and conventions nothing less than mind-boggling, though far from surprising.
The scandal is so much worse if, as almost everyone assumes, Trump upheld the transfer of $391 million in Congressionally-approved U.S. aid in order to compel Zelensky to comply. Given that Trump’s goals had nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy – never mind his ridiculous claim of caring about corruption in the Ukraine – and everything to do with his personal political agenda, it seems that the President of the U.S. is resorting to mafia-style tactics, using his august position to extort concessions from foreign leaders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.Craig Ruttle,AP
The outrage is further compounded by the recidivist nature of Trump’s behavior. It seems that unlike most observers, Trump failed to appreciate that he had narrowly escaped indictment by Robert Mueller, by virtue of the former FBI director’s reverence for the office of the President.
On the contrary, Trump apparently interpreted Mueller’s conclusions as a carte blanche to repeat and expand his nefarious injection of foreign interventions in the American political process: His now infamous phone call with Zelensky – redacted portions of which were released by the White House on Wednesday – took place less than 24 hours after Mueller’s testimony in Congress, which everyone but Trump interpreted as a damning indictment, moral if not criminal, of his collaboration with the Russians during the 2016 election campaign.