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Trump’s weakest impeachment defense yet somehow blew up in his face

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When President Donald Trump said he was planning to release the record of his April 21 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, many observers yawned. In the controversy surrounding the July 25 call, some had raised questions about Trump’s only other call with the new leader, but interest in the April 21 conversation died down as the evidence against the president in the broader Ukraine scandal became so overwhelming and damning.

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It was easy to assume that since Trump was so eager this week to release the record of the April 21 call, it would likely be insubstantial and only amount to a distraction for the core issues at impeachment. Jokes were already circulating about the idea that Trump would claim that, since he didn’t commit any crimes on one call, he couldn’t have possibly committed other crimes.

Yet somehow, the release of the new records — again, a decision made largely of Trump’s own initiative — completely backfired.

The reason? The call transcript further undermines Republicans’ already implausible defense of Trump’s effort to induce Ukraine to investigate his political enemies: that he genuinely cares about fighting corruption.

Despite the fact that the original White House statement about the call claimed Trump and Zelensky discussed “reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption” — the U.S. president didn’t mention corruption once on the April 24, according to the records. Likewise, Trump didn’t mention fighting corruption in his July 25 call, either — he only mentioned investigations of his opponents.

These two facts dramatically undercut the argument that Trump was pursuing legitimate anti-corruption policy, rather than his own craven interests. But it gets worse.

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Politico reported Friday night that “advisers suggested President Donald Trump raise the broad issue of corruption in his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 21, but Trump chose not to, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

So, instead of supporting the idea that Trump really cares about fighting corruption — which always sounded like a joke — the focus on the April 21 call just emphasizes that the president is, in fact, actively uninterested in this foreign policy objective.


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Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor’s effort to postpone election — and protect voters from COVID-19

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Hours after Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order postponing this week's election to June, the state Supreme Court ordered the election must proceed as scheduled.

BREAKING: The Wisconsin Supreme Court has blocked Gov. Tony Evers' executive order postponing the spring election in the state. Tomorrow's election IS BACK ON https://t.co/nZz9D4IsA3

— Zach Montellaro (@ZachMontellaro) April 6, 2020

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Trump says governors are ‘very happy’ with the job he’s doing — even though they’re begging him for more supplies

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At the latest coronavirus task force press briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump boasted that "every one" of the state governors in America are "very happy" with the job he is doing to help them combat coronavirus.

His claim is at odds with numerous governors who have complained that the federal government is not doing enough to coordinate the delivery of medical equipment and forcing them into bidding wars with other states.

Trump even tried to add later in the speech that Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D-IL) was "a happy man" even though "he may not be happy when he talks to the press."

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There’s a horrifying history of leaders saying there’s a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

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President Donald Trump rang out in an all-caps tweet Monday morning "LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!" It was a comment he echoed from his Sunday press conference saying that the U.S. is in the home stretch of the coronavirus crisis. He went on to say that he anticipated the country reopening in a few weeks.

The quote was one that Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty noted was one that many other leaders have used at frightening times.

"It is difficult to imagine a poorer, more chilling choice of words," she wrote. "Or one that more illuminates, if inadvertently, the consequences of the mixed-messages that Trump continues to send."

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