The Trump administration has gone above and beyond in showing the United States how blatantly corrupt it can be, the most recent brow-raising scandal is being the President’s request for help from a foreign government in the investigation of a political opponent (that opponent being Joe Biden, one of the Democratic frontrunners). After concerns were raised through a whistleblower complaint regarding the President’s phone call with the recently elected President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, it was reported that Trump directed his chief of staff to withhold $400 million in military aid to Ukraine a week before the call. Furthermore, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, admitted live on CNN that he spoke with Ukrainian officials in an effort to push them into investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
This brings up the question of quid pro quo, as this provides the administration using a bargaining chip to influence the actions of the Ukrainian government. Fortunately, the White House released a transcript (keep in mind this is based off of memory and not verbatim) of the president’s conversation with the new Ukrainian president.
The conversation starts off congratulatory, then the Ukrainian president remarks, “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
Trump then replies, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and proceeds to bring up having Ukraine investigate into “the server,” possibly referencing the DNC servers that were allegedly not handed over in their entirety to the FBI during the Mueller investigation into Russian interference, despite no evidence supporting that claim. He goes on to request that the Ukrainian president investigate Biden and his son regarding work Hunter Biden did in Ukraine with an energy firm (which may raise ethics questions, but in itself isn’t illegal).
The fact of the matter is that the president of the United States requested a foreign government to work with his own Department of Justice into investigating a current political opponent. One may argue that President Obama did something similar in the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but it is important to note: One, the investigation was into credible allegations; two, Trump was not running in an election against President Obama; and three, President Obama did not personally ask both his personal attorney and a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent. This is blatant corruption and abuse of office, and shows that Trump is willing to use U.S. aid, a major component of our foreign policy, as leverage to help his own political position. While this is only the most visible act of corruption of this administration, there are dozens more. However, this alone—collusion and coercion with a foreign government in an attempt to influence a United States presidential election—seems to fit the definition of a high crime or misdemeanor.
At this point, if you don’t believe that such corruption is worth impeachment, there really isn’t any convincing I can attempt to do. If you are unhappy with the current administration and believe that this conduct is criminal, contact your representatives and demand that they publicly state that they support impeachment.
Cameron Cantelmo is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.