Ukraine AND Australia?

Trump Knocks Out Two Scandals With One Stone

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Ukraine AND Australia?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Raina Carfaro, Contributing Writer

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Here’s the deal. Since 2014, Russia has been encroaching on Ukraine’s borders and the conflicts have caused the death of at least 10,000 Ukrainians, with the death toll rising daily. Legislators, due to Russian aggression, promised Ukraine a set amount of aid, but in mid-July Trump halted the intended funds. In late July, the day after Robert Mueller’s testimony to congress, a phone call went down between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky for a favor, implying the conditional return of American aid to Ukraine. The transcript of the call was stored on a special server for classified national security information, and was made purposefully difficult to track down. The transcript of the call, released by the Trump administration, reveals the President urging Zelensky into investigating Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden. Hunter Biden sat on the executive board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings. Trump was digging for information that might link Joe Biden, a competitor in the 2020 presidential race, to a corruption investigation involving Bursisma back in 2014. Trump told Zelensky that Attorney General William Barr, as well as Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, would be in contact to secure more information later on and “get to the bottom of it.” Zelensky agreed to meet Guiliani in Ukraine when he visited and promised his new prosecutor the case.

This scandal with Ukraine is a centerpiece for the unfolding impeachment investigation led by House Democrats, and an example of the President abusing his power for his own political gain. One would think Trump might have learned by now to watch his step in light of the constantly unfolding investigations that center on him. However, another instance of power corruption has been revealed, this time involving the Australian prime minister. In a strikingly similar manner to his conversation with Zelensky, Trump encouraged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to assist Barr in gathering information that might discredit the Mueller investigation.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in 2017 to investigate the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and his highly anticipated report was first released to Barr in March of this year, with a redacted version released publicly in April. Barr read the report and determined that the information inside cleared the president of any involvement in Russian interference, and from any obstruction of justice. Mueller, however, disagreed with Barr’s characterization of the report and said that Barr didn’t understand, or want to understand, the report and its nuances. Barr’s duties as attorney general are to give legal advice to the president and other government officials, as well as serve as the head of the Justice Department. It is not in Barr’s job description to devalue the information of important documents that might enlighten the country to the serious shortcomings of its most powerful employee.

The New York Times authors Mark Mazzetti and Katie Benner see the relationship between Barr and Trump as extremely inappropriate: “The president is using federal law enforcement powers to aid his political prospects, settle scores with his perceived ‘deep state’ enemies and show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt, partisan origins.” Some might argue that it is well within Trump’s right to ask other foreign leaders to help in an investigation that would protect the American people. What is unusual is that Trump, with no founded evidence, is intervening in and attempting to reopen a five-year-old foreign investigation in order to connect his opponent to a scandal. Trump might be attempting to connect Biden to the scandal for legal prosecution, but just by bringing up Biden in association with a corruption case, he is tarnishing Biden’s reputation by name association.

Trump cares less and less about how he is perceived by the entire nation. Trump is only concerned with maintaining power and keeping some policy promises that secured him the rural and mainstream republican votes in 2016. He is not concerned with encouraging unity, he is only concerned with power and control, which the Senate has allowed. Any of the scandals that Trump has been involved in during his presidency would have meant catastrophe for Obama, and the length to which the GOP is going to protect him is almost unprecedented. The impeachment inquiry led by the House is a moral and constitutional obligation, and even if it fails, it will be understood that in the face of corruption and tyranny Americans did not just roll over. The Trump administration is almost completely out of control and the impeachment inquiry is the last chance to reign in the power-mongering and possible corruption consuming the White House.