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(15,943 posts)
Mon Sep 23, 2019, 08:57 AM Sep 2019

This may be the worst Trump scandal yet

A mob enforcer doesn’t have to say “pay up, or we will destroy your store” to be guilty of extortion. The message is conveyed clearly enough if he says “nice store, shame if anything happened to it” combined with the storekeeper’s knowledge of what the mafia has done to those who didn’t pay up.

Likewise, President Trump did not have to say to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “Accuse Joe Biden of corruption, or you’ll never see any more aid from the United States.” It was sufficient that, according to the Wall Street Journal, in a July 25 call, Trump badgered Zelensky eight times to investigate Biden, before also withholding $250 million in military aid. The Ukrainians got the message whether the quid pro quo was explicitly laid out. As a Ukrainian official told the Daily Beast, “Clearly, Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.”

We don’t yet know the full details because of White House stonewalling, but from what we already know, this may be the most shocking revelation of wrongdoing by Trump since he fired FBI Director James B. Comey on May 9, 2017, (by his own admission) to squelch the investigation of his Russia ties. In 2016, candidate Trump implored a foreign power to interfere in the U.S. election on his behalf (“Russia, if you’re listening…”). In 2019, Trump appeared to use the full power of his office to extort a foreign leader to intervene in the next U.S. election on his behalf. The latter is far more egregious than the former. It is hard to imagine a more glaring example of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

If there were any justice in the world, this would mark a turning point where Democrats find the courage to impeach and Republicans find the decency to stop defending the indefensible. Instead, so far we are getting a rerun of previous scandals characterized by Trump’s brazenness, Republicans’ servility and Democrats’ pusillanimity.


I'm sure there will be even worse scandals to come.

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