On Monday's edition of CNN's "New Day," fact checker John Avlon broke down the seriousness of the allegations against President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal — and said that he must be removed as president if the facts are confirmed.
"Perspective is the thing we have least of in our politics," said Avlon. "Let’s put this latest Trump scandal in perspective before the weight of Washington normalization once again defines deviancy down. To investigate his political rival Joe Biden’s son — and keep in mind this was one day after the Mueller hearings on Capitol Hill — the very next day, President Trump is accused of being at it again. This time from the Oval Office potentially using taxpayer dollars as leverage."
"It turns out a quarter of a billion dollars of aid to Ukraine was put on hold at the time," continued Avlon. "The whistleblower complaint was investigated by a Trump appointee who found it of urgent concern. At this point the Director of National Intelligence is to share it with Congress. But he refused. This is believed to be the first time the DNI refused to share a whistleblower complaint from Congress. The White House initially denied everything. Then the president admitted it included a conversation about Biden."
"The president calls the conversation pitch perfect. Did nothing wrong," said Avlon. "Which raises a few obvious remedies. First, just release the inspector general’s report. Nothing’s wrong. Then there’s nothing to hide. Second, release the transcript. This is going to fuel calls for impeachment. Related to domestic agencies use — after the whistle-blower complaint could be considered attempted bribery. A CNN legal analyst explains they can curry favor with the president by digging up dirt on political opponents. It is illegal for any person to receive anything of value from a foreign nation in relation to an election."
"But the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub told me, 'It is a mistake to look through this at the narrow lens of criminal statutes. We can't let the president solicit a foreign attack on the very thing that makes us a republic. Every member of Congress should demanding the transcript of the call. They need to evidence to know if he was looking for help with the election. If so, his presidency must end. If not, only transparency will resolve suspicions of grave wrongdoing. Trying to solicit dirt from a foreign power on a political rival would be an abuse of power and one Republicans would condemn if a Democratic president did it.'"