Trump-Ukraine Call Affair: US President Sought Foreign ‘Interference’ in 2020 Election

Written by | Saturday, September 28th, 2019

US President Donald Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on his Democratic political rival Joe Biden – a move that may lead to Trump’s impeachment. A whistleblower, whose identity has not been made public, but is reportedly a CIA official, said Trump’s actions in a phone call with Ukraine’s leader were “a violation of law or executive order” in that the president used his office to solicit interference in the 2020 presidential election from a foreign country. A declassified version of a whistleblower report, released on Thursday (26 September) by the US House Intelligence Committee, now stands at the center of Democrats’ impeachment probe of President Donald Trump.
In reference to a July phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy, the whistleblower wrote that “among other things,” Trump’s reported election interference included “pressuring a foreign government to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals,” referring to his Democratic political rival Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The whistleblower also pointed his finger at Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to have been “a central figure” in the president’s interference effort, but Attorney General William Barr “appeared to be involved as well.” Moreover, the whistleblower accused senior figures in the White House to have allegedly intervened to “lock down all records of the phone call,” in particular, the official transcript’s text.
On the other side of the Atlantic, while Ukrainian President Zelenskiy’s party has been called ‘Servant of the People’ for its pledge to work hard for the people, the Ukrainian leader is now denounced for turning himself into the ‘Servant of Donald Trump’. The transcript of the confidential conversation between both leaders is quite revealing: Zelenskiy’s flattery and servility towards the US president – even referring to him as a “great teacher” – were clearly aimed at securing US-Ukrainian cooperation at any cost. But while politics is always about competing interests, Zelenskiy hardly stood up for his country’s priorities when dealing with Trump on the other side of the phone line.
Zelenskiy neither asked Trump for US investments in his war-torn country, nor for the backing of his comprehensive reform agenda. And although Zelenskiy has up until now failed to even receive an invitation to the White House, both leaders seem to have agreed that the US plays such an important role for Ukraine – in a seeming contrast with the EU that supposedly only pretends to care about Ukraine, whereby the two affirmed their new-found ‘partnership’ by sharing insults on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. The great irony is that while the Ukrainians may be grateful to Zelenskiy for helping push through a new bill that makes it possible to impeach the country’s presidents, the Americans may soon be grateful to Zelenskiy too for his contribution to trigger the impeachment process against Donald Trump.

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