The actions that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been taking in Ukraine have not been getting 1/10,000th of the press they deserve, and what ink they have received has been far too kind. In an effort to prove that Joe Biden inappropriately used his power as vice president to protect his son by leaning on a foreign government, Trump has been … leaning on a foreign government to produce dirt about Biden. And finally, three different House committees are moving to investigate this incredibly and blatantly dishonest scheme.
In this case, Biden was—and is—totally innocent. His request to sack a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor in 2016 came as a forwarded request from U.S. allies in Europe. The prosecutor was not investigating the company where Hunter Biden worked and, in fact, had already given that company a pass. If anything, Biden’s actions were a threat to the company that employed his son.
On the other hand, Trump and Giuliani have been engaged in clumsy, extraordinary, and repeated attempts to solicit “dirt” from Ukraine that can be used against Biden. To get that phony dirt, Giuliani has made multiple trips to Kiev, Trump has directly called a former prosecutor who offered to make up something quick, and when he was no longer welcome in Ukraine Giuliani went to Madrid to lean on a Ukrainian official there.
And now Donald Trump has put a hold on desperately needed military aid to Ukraine, saying that he’s waiting for the outcome of a Pentagon review. But the review was actually completed even before Trump issued his hold.
As the press release from the House Intelligence Committee states, they, along with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Oversight and Reform, are looking at Trump and Giuliani’s “attempts to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the President’s re-election campaign.”
Giuliani’s initial statements about this manipulation enjoyed front-page treatment from The New York Times, where Trump’s attorney was allowed to present Biden’s supposed crimes at length and without counter. But as a new, pro-Western government took its seat in Ukraine, Giuliani and Trump lost easy access to the pro-Putin, pro-corruption officials that were ready to help them generate a false story.
A combined letter from chairmen Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings makes their position clear: “A growing public record indicates that, for nearly two years, the President and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing two politically-motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activity.”
What Trump is doing openly is far worse than anything he’s accusing Biden of doing in 2016, even if the story about Biden was true. Which it isn’t.
Trump and Giuliani don’t care about truth. All they are after is being able to trot out a claim that Biden is under investigation in Ukraine—and a little something that included the name Clinton, or an implication that Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort did nothing wrong, wouldn’t hurt. To get there, they are placing a democratically elected government of U.S. allies, whose territory is already occupied by Russian troops, in danger of additional military aggression.
This is an investigation that needs to be expedited—and a story that deserves more coverage from a media that is not simply repeating what Rudy Giuliani brings through the door.