The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified Tuesday that he had been told that President Trump would withhold aid to Ukraine until the country would announce an investigation into Burisma (the company that hired Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son) and the Ukrainian government’s own possible interference in the 2016 presidential elections. If Ukraine wouldn’t do as asked, Taylor said, Trump wouldn’t meet with Ukraine’s leader and millions in aid would be put on hold. Yep, from the looks of it, UkraineGate has suddenly exploded.
Taylor was informed of Trump’s strategy by America’s ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland. Hilariously enough, Sondland added that Trump was not requesting a quid pro quo. But, he explained, Ukrainian President Zelenskiy had better investigate the matter. If he did not, no meetings or aid were forthcoming.
If you think to yourself: “Wait a minute, that is a quid pro quo,” you’re absolutely right.
According to Taylor, Sondland told him in September that “everything” — which means both a meeting between Zelenskiy with Trump and millions of dollars in military aid — was dependent on Zelenskiy going public with the demanded investigations. Sondland, Taylor explained to members of Congress, “said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskiy in ‘a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”
“Before these text messages, during our call on September 8,” Taylor explained, “Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check. Ambassador Volker used the same terms several days later while we were together at the Yalta European Strategy Conference. I argued to both that the explanation made no sense: the Ukrainians did not ‘owe’ President Trump anything, and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was ‘crazy,’ as I had said in my text message to Ambassadors Sondland and Volker on September 9.”
There is no defending this, but I can't wait to see how many Republicans attempt to do so. pic.twitter.com/IlyhHSdfnu
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 22, 2019
Amazingly, we now have Republicans admitting that Trump is guilty of abusing his power. But, they argue, who cares? Here’s Matthew Whitaker, former acting U.S. Attorney General, making the case that “abuse of power is not a crime,” so get over it:
Matthew Whitaker: Abuse of power is not a crime pic.twitter.com/IJsEwRTs8N
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 23, 2019
This is the first time that I’ve seen real, convincing evidence that Trump has been guilty of impeachable offenses. The Steele dossier, the Russia hoax… it was all a nothing-burger. But if Ambassador Taylor is telling the truth — and, from the looks of it, he is — Trump did use (or actually: abuse) the power of his office to force Ukraine into helping him win reelection in 2016.
Frankly, whether that’s a crime or not is completely and utterly irrelevant. As conservatives and libertarians, the number one thing we believe is that power is dangerous. That is why we are supposedly in favor of limited government. Because, if you give men power to use at will, they’ll abuse it which is downright dangerous. A socialist doesn’t care about that, but we conservatives and libertarians do.
Until now, I’ve defended President Trump. If Ambassador Taylor is telling the truth, however, Trump is guilty of abusing his power, which is completely unacceptable.
Should he be impeached for this? Let’s just say that if he is not, he has to be held to account in other ways.