On October 17, 2019, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s chief of staff, inadvertently admitted that the President used freezing critically needed military aid to force the new president of Ukraine to undertake investigations concerning the hacking of the Democratic National Committee servers in the 2016 elections. In effect, he verified a quid for quo did occur. He conveniently ignored the rough text of Trump’s July 25 telephone call where not only was that issue listed as one of the “asks” and favors of the Ukraine president, but also included was the investigation into Joe Biden’s son. So ‘politics happen in foreign policy’, said Mulvaney, but “we should just get over it. “He later tried to walk back the damning admission that there was a quid pro quo and ask so what?  This appears to be the beginning of a defense tactic. Admit the deed happen, but make it look like it is no big deal, not worthy of impeachment and removal from office.

That’s a hard argument to make, especially since last year the President shouted to high heaven with relief when the Mueller report exonerated him personally of collusion with the Russians to tilt the election his way though Russians were indicted and Trump associates went to jail for lying about contacts with Russians. Trump had been very afraid that would be grounds for impeachment.  Now he himself was actually the initiator of collusion with a foreign government, demanding Ukraine find dirt on his opponent to help him win in 2020 and to undermine the Mueller findings that it was not Russia who hacked the DNC, but Ukraine. in 2016. As TV attorney Ari Melber noted, “he went from no collusion to pro collusion”. It breaks federal election laws just to ” solicit, accept, or receive”something of value from a foreign government.         

To add gravitas, Tump risked our national security interests. He froze Congressional appropriations for  military aid Ukraine desperately needed in their hot war with Russia in their eastern provinces and conditioned that aid  release on some “favors” with the infamous word in a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian President, who asked for release of the frozen military aid, with  “though”, as he listed the favors he wanted. That was the quid pro quo, the bribery, to which Mulvaney admitted.

That we should just get over it, that happens all of the time, quid pro quo’s to force governments to bend to our will, helps us pursue our foreign policy and national security objectives, per Mulvaney. But that is not what Trump’s objective was in this case. The purpose of the pressure on Ukraine was not for helping US national security to keep Russia from spreading further control over eastern Europe; it was to benefit Trump himself in elections.

We have had only four presidents ever impeached in our 250-year history and no vote has ever passed in the Senate that met the two-thirds needed to remove the president after the trial there. (Nixon resigned before the vote)  Probably it will not happen this time either. Twenty GOP senators would have to vote with the Democrats to meet the 2/3 threshold. In recent times, we have impeached for lessor travesties. One involved lies about a cover-up of a break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters (Nixon) and lies about a sexual dalliance with an intern (Bill Clinton).   In 2019, the difference is that the President has not so much lied about it, but that he openly and brazenly enlisted collusion for campaign support from a foreign government and he used as bribery to get that support tools dangling a visit to the White House and withholding military aid deemed important to our own national defense against an adversary. So we are supposed to get over this?  For more, visit www.Mufticforumblog.blogspot.com