In more evidence that Donald Trump was trying to use his position to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, The New York Times reports that senior diplomats in the administration had pushed Ukraine to commit – on paper – to investigations into the president’s political rivals.
According to the report, “Two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine drafted a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations sought by Mr. Trump into his political rivals, three people briefed on the effort said.”
The report notes that Trump was seeking to “bend American foreign policy to [his] political agenda” by obsessively pushing Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton.
More from the report:
The drafting of the statement marks new evidence of how Mr. Trump’s fixation with Ukraine began driving senior diplomats to bend American foreign policy to the president’s political agenda in the weeks after the July 25 call between the two leaders.
The statement was drafted by Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s envoy to Ukraine, according to the three people who have been briefed on it.
The statement was written with the awareness of a top aide to the Ukrainian president, as well as Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and the de facto leader of a shadow campaign to push the Ukrainians to press ahead with investigations that could be of political benefit to Mr. Trump, according to one of the people briefed on it.
The statement would have committed Ukraine to investigating the energy company Burisma, which had employed Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. And it would have called for the Ukrainian government to look into what Mr. Trump and his allies believe was interference by Ukrainians in the 2016 election in the United States to benefit Hillary Clinton.
The entire Trump administration was in on the Ukraine scheme
This scheme to extort a foreign power into handing over dirt on a political opponent is not one of those instances in which Trump went off on his own and did something impeachable.
Instead, this operation appears to be administration-wide – from Donald Trump and Mike Pence to William Barr and Mike Pompeo. Thanks to The New York Times report on Thursday, we now know that senior diplomats on Trump’s team were in on it as well.
This is no longer about one phone call Donald Trump had with the president of Ukraine, or even about one whistleblower complaint that set the political world on fire.
This is about a president of the United States who is using all the powers of the American government and foreign policy apparatus for nefarious purposes – and a growing number of officials inside the administration were accomplices in his criminal efforts.
The House impeachment inquiry becomes more imperative with each passing hour.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.