Details of a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky indicate that Trump is putting undue pressure on Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden. But it hardly rises to an inevitable crime.
This is my taking away from a transcript released by the White House on Wednesday detailing a telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky on July 25th. The call cuts to the heart of Democratic Party proposals that Trump pressures Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden's Ukrainian business dealings as part of a quid pro quo, in return for unblocking nearly $ 400 million in US aid.
In this particular issue, the census confirms Trump. Nowhere does Trump threaten to refuse help unless Zelensky investigates Joe Biden's son ̵
With the exception of this first service, it seems legitimate. Trump asks Zelensky to explore the role of all Ukrainians in hacking the 2016 election. While it is unclear whether Trump is referring to the idea that Democrats worked to collude with Ukraine in 2016, or something else, every president should wants to get new evidence related to an attack on the nation, such as what happened in 2016.
Then Trump leaves the deep end, citing former Ukrainian Attorney General Viktor Shokin as "very good" in his work and illegally imprisoned by then-Vice President Joe Aydin to protect Hunter. Trump later added that Shockin was "very fair."
See here: Nothing could be further from the truth. Shokin was a real Ukrainian swamp creature, corrupt like everyone else. If he was right in the Hunter Biden investigation, then it was only by accident.
Trump then spends the rest of the call, forcing Zelensky to speak with Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bar to re-investigate young Biden. This is obscene, and from a Green point of view, Trump's words would almost certainly seem like an urgent request. Ukraine knows it needs US support to deal with Russia. Moreover, given the defense of Ukrainian democracy against Russian expansionism and the broader implications for the credibility of the US-led international order, Trump's focus on Biden is incompatible with what his presidential priorities should be.
Yet again there is no explicit quid pro quo, and absent this, Trump can legitimately say that he is exercising the presidential power vested in him. At least so far he has done much more for Ukraine than President Obama. And the Democrats do not have the smoking weapon they would need for any prospect of a successful impeachment of the president. Bottom line: Without new evidence, Trump's presidency is certain, at least until the next election.