There’s no problem with President Donald Trump asking the Ukrainian president to “look into” Joe Biden and do “whatever you can do with the Attorney General” about him. That’s what West Virginia’s 2nd District Republican congresswoman, Carol Miller, would have you believe through a statement from a spokesman, anyway.
I take exception to that. I say, “Republicans, we have a problem.” Here’s why.
Get a copy of the White House report on the telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Just Google, “Full text Trump Zelensky call.”
Read the last paragraph on page 2, “President Zelensky: ... I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins [missiles] from the United States for defense purposes.”
Here’s the important part, “The President: I would like for you to do us a favor though ... .” He goes on to ask Zelensky to “... find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine ... . Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
“Though” is the problem. “I would like for you to do us a favor, though.”
I know this is like what the meaning of “is” is, but it appears nonetheless decisive.
Though means however, nevertheless, nonetheless, yet or still. “I would like for you to do us a favor however,” ... or nevertheless, nonetheless, yet or still.
Dictionary.com says “though” is a conjunction. It’s used in introducing a subordinate clause, such as “notwithstanding that” or “in spite of the fact that.” “In spite of the fact that you want more Javelins, I want you to do us a favor,” is an interpretation.
So, the use of the word “though” by the president made his statement conditional. Investigate and we will release the $391 million in aid. Backstory here is that Congress approves aid and the president delivers. The president doesn’t negotiate terms further, especially self-serving ones.
And this isn’t based on what the Democrats say or will say. The problem is, this is what the president admitted he has already said.
Joe Biden? That’s a separate issue. What he may or may not have done does not revoke the fact the president appears to admit he was holding up aid in exchange for information. That’s the problem and what makes all other arguments superfluous. Especially as Ukrainians were dying in a hot war with the Russians at that precise time.
What about the whistleblower? We can’t deflect the inquiry by attacking the messenger. The New York Times identified him or her as a CIA officer who was, at one point, detailed to the White House. It’s also reported that he or she first expressed concerns anonymously to the CIA’s top lawyer.
So, can we Republicans stop the impeachment inquiry? No. It’s already turned on. My best guess now is that the House will vote to impeach. Then his guilt or innocence will be decided by the U.S. Senate.
Will he be found guilty and removed from office? It doesn’t appear so today, but stranger things have happened. Charles Wiggins, R-Calif., was a member of the House Judiciary Committee and a fierce defender of Richard Nixon during Nixon’s impeachment hearing. However, he suddenly dropped his support after the revelation of the so-called “Smoking Gun” tape, and other Republicans followed suit.
He explained, “The facts then known to me now have changed,” and that it was then obvious Nixon had a “plan of action” to cover up the break-in at the Watergate Hotel. That alone would be “legally sufficient” to justify voting to impeach him for obstructing justice.
Will Trump be impeached? Probably. Will he be acquitted by the U.S. Senate? Probably. But that depends on whether the facts, as known to us, change. It has happened before.
So, let’s not make illogical arguments over what he already admitted. The inquiry is on.