Ukraine: Maybe Another Shit-Show But There Are Grounds To Investigate


“The bottom-line allegation in the whistleblower complaint is that Trump sought to ‘solicit interference from a foreign country for electoral gain,’ which was the core animating theme of Russiagate,” Michael Tracey tweeted earlier today. “This is a continuation of Russiagate by another name.”

I always thought RussiaGate was a largely a “scandal” manufactured and paid for by Donald Trump’s opponents, but I don’t agree with that tweet. Trump brought the Ukraine investigation onto himself.

Trump wasn’t president when Russiagate emerged, he was running for office. He’s president now and he called a foreign leader to ask for help gathering dirt on his potential 2020 opponent. There’s dirt available on Biden’s son — it’s not clear if more than what’s already been reported — but finding it would normally be the task of Trump’s opposition research team, not himself, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and his attorney general William Barr.

As president, you’re not supposed to use your office to seek anything of value, and dirt on Biden clearly has value to Trump. It also appears that Trump was shaping foreign policy — no matter how stupid providing $400 million to Ukraine might have been, which Trump ultimately released — around whether its government cooperated with his request for information on Biden’s son.

Also, when is the last time Trump was genuinely concerned about corruption? Or Giuliani? Last year the latter was traveling to Romania — not for Trump but in his role as an attorney — on behalf of a local oligarch accused of corruption, and, also, it seems, on behalf of the the notorious Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz.

The whistleblower works for the CIA and may well have a personal agenda, but we don’t know that yet. Maybe the whole thing turns out to be a shitshow, and Democrats are going to have to come up with documents and records and witnesses to confirm their case. There’s not enough information available to make a determination, but I don’t see how it doesn’t get pursued.

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