The President, Vice President, And Sec. Of State Implicated In Ukraine Scandal
The presidency of Donald Trump has been anything but scandal-free over the past few years, but the current story rocking this president’s White House appears to be the significant yet — and it implicates not only Trump but his vice president and secretary of state as well.
On Tuesday, Trump confirmed that he withheld military aid from Ukraine, according to The Washington Post, but he insisted it was for good cause and had nothing to do with his desire to see the son of former Vice President Joe Biden investigated by Ukrainian authorities.
“My complaint has always been, and I’d withhold again and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine because they’re not doing it,” Trump said before reporters at the United Nations.
Reports indicate that Trump instructed acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney “to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for at least a week before Trump spoke to the Ukrainian president,” a phone call that allegedly included Trump’s request for an investigation into Hunter Biden.
The president suggested that he did in fact mention Biden during the phone call but has remained adamant that he said nothing inappropriate.
“It’s nonsense,” Trump said on Tuesday. “When you see the call, when you see the readout of the call, which I assume you’ll see at some point, that call was perfect. It couldn’t have been nicer.”
However, Trump’s claim that he withheld the money because other nations are failing to contribute to the cause does not withstand scrutiny. The Post noted that “the European Union has provided more than 15 billion euros ($16.5 billion) in grants and loans to Ukraine.”
Statements that Vice President Mike Pence made to reporters earlier this month appear to support the idea that Trump held back the military aid due to the Biden issue as well — which also indicates Pence is a party to Trump’s scheme.
Talking Points Memo noted on Tuesday that during his trip to Poland on September 1, Pence said Trump “had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption,” later adding that Ukraine’s rooting out of corruption is “an expectation the American people have and the President has expressed very clearly” in order to continue military aid to the country.
Pence said nothing about military aid being withheld due to Europe’s lack of contribution to Ukraine.
Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said nothing about Trump’s latest justification for his actions regarding Ukraine but has said he approves of the president’s personal attorney “inserting himself in foreign affairs” by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Trump’s potential opponent.
Asked by Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan if Rudy Giuliani’s actions were appropriate, Pompeo responded, “If there was election interference that took place by the vice president, I think the American people deserve to know.”
HuffPost noted that just what election interference Pompeo was referencing is unclear, but Giuliani has been peddling an unfounded conspiracy theory surrounding Hillary Clinton and a “Ukrainian journalist whose information helped convict former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on fraud and conspiracy charges.”
Giuliani has also claimed that he received assistance from the State Department in pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens — which the attorney admitted would be beneficial to his client, the president — but Pompeo would not comment as to whether his department had in fact offered such support.
All three members of the Trump administration appear to support the move to pressure a foreign government to investigate who they believe to be the president’s most likely opponent in the next election.
Though Trump seems to also believe that he has nothing to worry about in 2020. After calling the Ukraine issue a “witch hunt,” the president said Democrats are merely fabricating a problem to improve their chances at winning the presidency next year.
“I’m leading in the polls. They have no idea how they stop me,” Trump said. “The only way they can try is through impeachment.”
But The Post noted that “nearly every poll has Biden defeating Trump nationwide and in battleground states.”