The Ukrainian Debacle is the Trumpiest Scandal Ever

The Ukrainian Debacle is the Trumpiest Scandal Ever

Let’s get this out of the way. OF COURSE, Donald Trump shouldn’t have asked the Ukraine to investigate his political opponent while holding up their aid. It was obviously wrong to do for the same reason it would have been improper for Barack Obama to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for a Falafel chain with locations across the Middle-East. The president is in charge of America’s foreign policy, but he shouldn’t be using it to benefit HIMSELF.

That being said, Trump’s improper request to Ukraine was completely unnecessary. His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had somehow been getting by with openly asking the government of Ukraine to help Trump out. That was also wrong to do, but he was getting by with it somehow. Moreover, if Trump had publicly brought it up and said Ukraine should investigate the issue, he would have gotten lots of attention, but there probably would have been no calls to impeach him over it.

In other words, this whole mess was completely unnecessary, which is very Trumpian.

The excuses for it are completely ridiculous.

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“Foreign policy is always quid pro quo.” Well yes, but quid pro quo benefitting each country, not quid pro quo benefitting one country and personally benefitting the president.

“But Joe Biden did it first! He asked Ukraine to fire a prosecutor that was investigating a company that was paying his son.” While that’s true, to the best of our knowledge, he asked Ukraine to fire that prosecutor at the behest of Barack Obama because the prosecutor was corrupt and not going after the company. Was it a conflict of interest to have Joe Biden firing that prosecutor? Yes. Was his son being paid an exorbitant amount of money in hopes of influencing Joe Biden? Yes. Does all that look terrible? Yes. Was it illegal? It doesn’t appear to be.

“These whistleblowers were liberals!” So what? It might be relevant if the whistleblowers were off base, but as it turns out, they were right. Donald Trump did behave improperly on his phone call to Ukraine.

Of course Trump, being Trump, made it impossible to ignore the unnecessary, stupid mess he created by publicly urging China to investigate the Bidens as well.

From here, the Democrats got involved. After clamoring for Trump’s impeachment from almost the moment he got into office, they didn’t have a lot of credibility and immediately shredded even the appearance of impartiality by having closed-door hearings. This gave Republicans a vitally important talking point because since Trump incessantly lies and changes his story, you can’t base your defense solely on what he says or you’ll look like an idiot when he inevitably says something different.

For example, Trump initially claimed that his deal with Ukraine didn’t include any quid pro quo. Of course, since witnesses Bill Taylor and George Kent made it clear, that wasn’t true. Even Trump’s Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney confirmed there was a quid pro quo and then later changed his story.

Again, as per usual with Trump, this has put Republicans in Congress in an impossible position. Despite what they’re saying, almost universally, they know he did the wrong thing. But, if they say so, like Mitt Romney, they’ll face the wrath of Trump’s supporters. On the other hand, if they don’t, they’re helping to set a horrible precedent that may come back to bite them in the ass when a Democrat gets into office. Still, no matter what they think, they almost have no other choice than to defend Trump. The same goes for most of the conservative media, which has spent the last few weeks making bad arguments they know are untrue because defending the indefensible is part of their job description these days if they want to be on the air.

Despite all this sound, fury and stupidity, should Trump be impeached over this? Probably not, although you could make a good argument for censoring him over it. When House Republicans went after Bill Clinton, it was for perjury not his corrupt pardons or selling access to the Lincoln Bedroom to pad his campaign coffers. Impeachment is a high bar and in this case, especially given that the aid was released, Trump’s misbehavior doesn’t seem to clear it. So, as we’ve seen so many times before in the Trump era, everyone looks bad. Trump has behaved badly, Republicans have made themselves look bad defending his bad behavior and Democrats have overreacted to such an extent that they look bad, too. That this is a completely unnecessary lose/lose/lose scandal makes this the Trumpiest scandal ever.

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