Thinking clearly about Trump and aid to Ukraine

Featured image That’s the title of an article by Byron York in the Washington Examiner. Byron’s thinking on the subject is consistent with what I have been trying to say the past few weeks. Byron identifies five possible explanations for the temporary withholding of military aid to Ukraine that have been put forth by one party or another. The first three are: (1) Trump’s general dislike of foreign aid, (2) his concern »

Ukrainian corruption, a Russian myth?

Featured image The lead headline in today’s Washington Post (paper edition) proclaims: “Foes of Ukraine swayed Trump.” Just below this headline, we are informed that “Putin, Orban urged a hostile view; leaders fed corruption narrative, U.S. officials say.” The Post’s story is here. Just a few days ago, however, the Post paid glowing tribute to Joe Biden’s “brawling efforts” to combat corruption in Ukraine. Clearly, Ukrainian corruption is real and serious, not »

What Trump Asked Ukraine to Investigate

Featured image In his phone call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky, President Trump asked for a favor. The favor was not, as was widely reported at the time, to investigate Joe Biden. Rather, the favor was for Zelensky’s government to investigate Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about »

Mick Mulvaney’s presser, a closer look

Featured image I want to take another look at Mick Mulvaney’s presser — the one that Democrats and the mainstream media claim nails down the existence of a quid pro quo arrangement between President Trump and Ukraine (or offer thereof) involving U.S. military aid. My previous post focused on the fact that if Mulvaney was talking about a quid pro quo, it wasn’t military aid in exchange for conducting an investigation of »

Mick Mulvaney’s presser

Featured image Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney held a press conference today. Mulvaney cited two reasons for the holding up of military aid to Ukraine: (1) lack of a contribution by European countries and (2) corruption in Ukraine. Then he added: Did [Trump] also mention to me in passing the corruption related to the DNC server?” Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held »

Key witness: Trump said no quid pro quo

Featured image We know from documentary evidence that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, told William Taylor, our ambassador to Ukraine [correction, the chargé d’affaires], that there was no quid pro quo involved in connection with Ukraine investigating the Bidens. Sondland appears to have been the president’s point person within the diplomatic corps for dealing with Ukraine in these matters. Sondland will testify before a congressional committee this week. According »

Why do Republicans want to hear from the former ambassador to Ukraine?

Featured image Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is testifying today before congressional committees on Capitol Hill. As Ed Morrissey notes, it’s curious that, although the White House has blocked a number of government officials from testifying before Congress, Yovanovitch showed up today to testify. The White House may be okay with Yovanovitch testifying. According to this article by Debra Heine in American Greatness, Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of »

The Washington Post tumbles down the ski hill

Featured image Jim Dueholm was a law partner of John and Scott in Minneapolis. In retirement, Jim lives in Washington, D.C. Here, he attends key Supreme Court arguments, extends his already vast knowledge of American history, and sometimes writes letters in which he attempts to set the editors and readers of the Washington Post straight. Jim’s latest letter concerns the Post’s coverage of the Trump-Ukraine affair and the rush to impeach the »

Why all the talk about “quid pro quo”?

Featured image In an article called “Welcome to Foreign Relations,” Andy McCarthy tells us that “foreign relations typically involve quid pro quo arrangements” because “governments do not ordinarily assist each other out of fondness.” That’s true of course, but beside the point in the context of President Trump’s relations with Ukraine. From the moment rumors about Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president appeared, the suspicion has been that the quid pro quo »

Lee Smith: It’s not all about the Bidens

Featured image Lee Smith is one of our most invaluable investigative reporters and political analysts. I have followed his work at the Weekly Standard and at Tablet. Lee is the author of the forthcoming book The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History. He is now with RealClearInvestigations, which has just posted his column “It’s not all about the »

The Ad That CNN Wouldn’t Run

Featured image CNN refused to run this Trump ad on the Biden Ukraine scandal. Why? “CNN is rejecting the ad, as it does not meet our advertising standards,” a network spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “Specifically, in addition to disparaging CNN and its journalists, the ad makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets, including CNN.” I have no idea what “assertions” have been “proven demonstrably false.” That »

Trump: The Constitution made me do it

Featured image President Trump has defended his calls for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens in constitutional terms. He said: This is not about politics. This is about corruption. If you look and you read our Constitution and many other things, I have an obligation to look at corruption. I have an actual obligation and a duty. As I read the Constitution, it does not obligate a president to investigate a »

Those “Explosive” Ukraine Texts Make Zero Case For Impeachment

Featured image Paul wrote here about a selection of text exchanges among American diplomats that Adam Schiff released on Thursday. Politico, a reliable narrator of the Democratic Party line, termed the texts “explosive.” Politico highlights this one, from then-Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, dated July 25, the day when President Trump spoke on the phone with President Zelensky: Politico tells us that “This is a key exchange that Democrats are likely »

Report: A second “whistleblower” may be coming forth. Does it matter?

Featured image According to the New York Times, “A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress.” Given the appearance of this story in the New York Times, this potential whistleblower’s “weighing” doesn’t appear to be a private affair. He (or she) is no Hamlet. The Times has more to say about this second »

Trump’s Secretary of Sh*t

Featured image During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Vernon Jordan was known, informally, as the Secretary of Sh*t. Stated more kindly, it was his assignment to put out or minimize the fires that Clinton’s lack of discipline and integrity generated. I yearned for a president who didn’t require such a “Secretary.” Clinton’s two immediate successors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were both disciplined. Each set, or at least experienced, some fires, but neither »

Quid pro quo, the next battleground

Featured image In discussing President Trump’s famous phone conversation with Ukraine’s president, I have distinguished between a president asking a foreign government to cooperate in a U.S. investigation of that president’s political rival and a president asking a foreign government to launch its own investigation. In my view, the former request is okay in itself, but the latter request is problematic. The latter is what Trump called for yesterday. John describes what »

Trump Doubles Down (2)

Featured image I agree with Paul that President Trump is making a bold move by calling on both Ukraine and China to investigate corruption involving the Biden family while Joe Biden was vice president. Unlike Paul, I see Trump’s call as entirely defensible. There is strong evidence that the Biden family accepted bribes from both Chinese and Ukrainian interests. Those who bribed the Bidens obviously thought they were buying influence with the »