If Trump froze aid to Ukraine because its government did not investigate Trump’s political opponent, this would, in my view, constitute serious malfeasance. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, has approved U.S. aid to Ukraine in order to help that country resist Russian aggression. Freezing this aid because the Ukrainian government wouldn’t go after a Trump domestic opponent would be truly scandalous.
He then suggests that the timing of the release of aid create a presumption that must be overcome by Trump--the presumption being that pressuring Ukraine in this way raises a "good faith suspicion" of a quid pro quo which is illegal:
The administration unfroze aid to Ukraine last week. Is the delay in the release of the aid long and unprecedented enough to raise a good faith suspicion that a quid-pro-quo was at work? If so, Were there legitimate reasons — reasons unrelated to advancing Trump’s political interests — that overcome the suspicion and reasonably explain the delay?
Here's the problem I see with this argument. Mirengoff keeps talking about the possibility that Trump was pressuring Ukraine to "investigate Biden." I can think of no reason why Mirengoff would think this is what was going on. Ukraine knows exactly what happened--Biden is on record telling the world that he spoke directly to Ukraine's leaders, demanding that they fire a certain prosecutor. Ukraine has no need to investigate. They can deal with the matter any way they see fit. Something else, I think, is going on.
Ukraine may have no need to investigate. On the other hand, the United States does have a need to investigate. Biden's well publicized statements about his dealings with Ukraine's leaders create a prima facie criminal case and seriously tarnish the international image of the United States in the process. However, the United States can't simply assume Biden's guilt. Acting through the Department of Justice and the FBI, the United States does need to investigate further to establish that Biden's statements were not mere braggadocio--something Biden seems prone to. To conduct such an investigation the United States will require the cooperation of Ukraine's authorities in the production of documents and the interview of witnesses. Moreover, as we have seen, and as Rudy Giuliani and others have asserted, there is considerable evidence connecting Ukrainian government officials to the Russia Hoax that Bill Barr and John Durham are investigating. The Biden family involvement in Ukraine may intersect with that investigation--it's definitely an angle worth looking into in any thorough investigation. Just as US officials have secured the cooperation of the UK and Italy to obtain the interview of witnesses--including former intelligence officials of those countries--it should come as no surprise that US investigators should seek to conduct investigation in Ukraine as well.
Seen in this light--a highly probable light, in my view--is there "serious malfeasance" in a president of the United States pressuring a foreign leader to cooperate with the United State's investigation of criminal corruption by a US citizen? The answer is clearly: No. There would be no such investigation in the first place absent reasonable suspicion by DoJ and the FBI that a crime had been committed, and that reasonable suspicion would need to be documented in writing in a case file. The president is charged with enforcing the laws of the United States and with conducting relations with foreign powers. Who better, then, to pressure a foreign power to cooperate with a legitimate US investigation of a US citizen than the president?
Well, normally such matters are handled through ambassadors. However, if a foreign leader is recalcitrant, or if the US ambassador is recalcitrant (as is alleged in this case), and the case is important enough--as I believe this case unquestionably is--then it seems appropriate for the president to get involved and exert moral pressure or, if need be, other forms of pressure. Not all countries have equal resources for pulling that off, but the use of coercion to bring about compliance with legitimate legal processes is SOP throughout the world, including in America.
Nor does such pressure constitute an illegitimate quid pro quo. Aid was not being offered to entice Ukraine to act for the benefit of the president. Aid was withheld to enforce a demand that Ukraine cooperate with a legitimate US investigation. To suggest that this constitutes an illegal quid pro quo is tantamount to suggesting that all the various forms of legal coercion that are routine in under US law are also illegitimate. This is simply how cooperation must sometimes be obtained between sovereign states. Thus, there is no reason to presume that the Trump administration is up to something underhanded, just because the president was required to get involved in order to secure Ukraine's cooperation. The legitimacy of the investigation itself is within the purview of DoJ. Ultimately, it is not determined by the president but by US courts.
What's interesting about Ukraine is that a number of significant politicians, e.g. Yanukovich, Yushchenko, and Tymoshenko (all one time presidents), and a number of Mafiosi-type crime boss oligarchs got rich by controlling natgas supply. Supply that came from Russia, with wealth achieved by skimming the wholesale-retail spread charged to Ukraine customers.ReplyDelete
Hunter Biden was paid a few million dollars for a couple years appointment as a director of a natgas company?? Hunter Biden's career has been made up of such arrangements, one after another. Pure shamelessness.
Just listen to the video of Biden in which he gloats over getting the prosecutor fired. There's shamelessness!Delete
Wait 'til a serious look is taken at his China dealings. Ukraine was hardly a warm-up.Delete
Top levels of the Dems--OC family.Delete
Just an opinion, but I never considered Joe an ideologue, just one of your old school, run-of-the-mill, grifters at the public trough. As such it's not surprising he never saw anything wrong with feathering his kids nest. Traditional perk as it were.Delete
I like Mirengoff‘s post on baseball. Other than that you can flip a coin on whether he’s right I’d wrong. Just my humble opinion.ReplyDelete
I read him carefully. I just think he's significantly off base on this matter, and in a way that shows some prejudice.Delete
Mirengoff treats Democrat Media the way pigeons treat scattered kitchen refuse.ReplyDelete
I would wager there is literally no connection between the aid decision and the so-called conversation. To freeze/unfreeze aid in this manner is almost always in the hands of the State Department, when the issue, go/no go, is then presented to the President for his ok. I would guess Trump just rubber-stamped both decisions listening to the people actually responsible to for determining what to do.ReplyDelete
Could be. I get the impression that Trump is plenty involved, but that he does give lots of latitude to subordinates within the parameters of what he wants to see happen. It seems pretty clear that the phone call, in which he WAS involved, was to make things right. So the aid freeze got the new leader's attention. There's simply no problem with that in the context of seeking cooperation in a legit US investigation.Delete
One of the dirty little secrets of some prominent bloggers is that they are covert (and typically part-time) paid messengers. In other words, they are mercenaries that serve to create and disseminate a specific narrative in service to a covert agenda.ReplyDelete
Like the mainstream media, the blogging arena within the internet universe is a memetic battleground in which persuasion and indoctrination are the end goals of opinion promotion. Mirengoff is subtle and effective because he combines erudite common sense (in most of his posts) with selective use of hit pieces that are exquisitely targeted. He is the Walter Mitty kind of meme assassin and he only gets used in extreme circumstances. This means that the Deep State is very worried about the Biden-Ukraine story gaining traction.
Yeah, you can see that French jumped in with an unconvincing narrative to try to salvage some of the original smear. Mirengoff's half hearted endorsement of that effort makes him look foolish--at best.Delete
If you read the French quote that Mirengoff cited as an argument, it's quite silly.Delete
-->"There is not a Republican alive who would find it acceptable for a Democratic president to press a foreign country to work with his personal lawyer to investigate a domestic political rival."<--
French's premise is that he speaks for Republicans, as to what is acceptable, is spurious. Further, that a president urging a foreign leader to work with a third party is beyond the pale, is equally spurious. Equally, it's a couple layers shy of revealing the underlying story--which concerns something that happened in Ukraine, not something said in the WH.
This is simply more of the "omit certain details to put Trump in the worst possible light" rhetoric. As someone commented elsewhere, even Peggy Noonan has caught on to this. Slow learners all around.
Yeah, Mirengoff accepting French's nonsense as somehow valid kinda set me off.Delete
Dreher's writing sometimes induces frustration. He sometimes expresses my own feelings better than I ever could, and sometimes writes like an ignorant brainwashed child.ReplyDelete