When the first allegations surfaced that Donald Trump had put pressure on Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Trump vociferously denied it. Then the partial White House summary of a phone call between Trump and Zelensky revealed that Trump did raise the issue of investigating the Bidens and even tied it to Ukraine receiving military aid from the United States. So what began as a hot mess is congealing into the world’s biggest dumpster fire.
After forceful denials, then vague acknowledgements, then outright admissions on national TV, Trump is now making a new argument in his tattered and incoherent defense. Trump is asserting that he has an “absolute right“ to ask foreign governments to conduct investigations on U.S. citizens, including those who are his political opponents. He doesn’t bother to identify where in the Constitution he derives that right, but he’s determined to exercise it despite it being completely imaginary. And his justification for engaging in a blatant betrayal of the country is that he’s only concerned about corruption, not politics.
As President I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries. It is done all the time. This has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens. This does have to do with their corruption!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019
That’s an absurdity that requires some further examination. First of all, if Trump believes he has evidence of corruption he should be calling the FBI, not foreign governments, particularly not those with whom we have adversarial relationships. The notion of asking China – whose legal system is itself corrupt – to investigate an American citizen and political foe is ludicrous and is begging for wrongful outcomes. And it’s all the worse considering that Trump is simultaneously seeking trade concessions from China while making these improper requests.
Furthermore, Trump’s intentions are unarguably political. He’s totally focused on only the alleged corruption of Joe Biden, for which every credible investigation has found no wrongdoing. He repeatedly mentioned Biden in his communications with both Ukraine and China. If Trump is a corruption fighter, why isn’t he asking Ukraine – a nation rife with corruption – to look into anything other than Biden? And why isn’t he asking China to investigate presidential offspring who are suspiciously getting Chinese trademarks approved (Yes, that’s about Ivanka)? And why is he blocking efforts to probe corruption here in the United States (Yes, that’s about his tax returns)?
Clearly Trump doesn’t give a damn about corruption. He is only concerned with smearing his political opponents and stealing another election with the help of foreign governments. He’s doing almost exactly what he did in 2016 with Russia. The difference is that last time he was a passive beneficiary of the election interference that welcomed and encouraged. But this time he is actively initiating it, and using the power of the presidency to force his criminality on others.
The distinction that Trump is impotently trying to make between corruption and politics is impossible to reconcile (unless your Fox News). The truth is that Trump is both flagrantly corrupt and brazenly political. And all he’s doing by pretending that there is any difference between the two in his immoral behavior is reminding everyone what a slimeball hypocrite he is and always has been.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.