‘As strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine, we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) One of the greatest struggles Democrats face in their efforts to rein in President Donald Trump with ethical and legal battles is that they often implicate themselves in the process.
Thus, debunked accusations of Trump’s collusion with Russia gave way to the revelations of actual collusion within the Clinton campaign and the Obama intelligence community.
The claim that Trump used financial leverage against Ukraine—disproven by a newly released transcript of his conversation with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy—poses a dilemma for supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden‘s campaign since Biden was caught on tape admitting to just that.
Still, Trump’s partisan adversaries insist, a president asking Ukraine to investigate his political opponent screams ‘abuse of power’—thereby justifying their long-sought impeachment proceedings.
Except for the inconvenient fact that three powerful Democratic senators already went there—asking Ukraine in a May 2018 letter to investigate Trump on their behalf prior to last year’s midterm elections, as noted Marc Thiessen revealed in a Washington Post opinion piece.
Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey sought the support from then Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko in several investigations tied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion.
“As strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine, we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” they wrote. “Ours is a relationship built on a foundation of respect for the rule of law and accountable democratic institutions.”
Ironically, Lutsenko—a corrupt figure with a criminal background that implicated him in embezzlement, a poisoning attempt and other political violence—had replaced the prosecutor that Biden had demanded be fired, coinciding with an investigation of a company that had his son Hunter on its payroll.
Biden, in a panel discussion with the Council on Foreign Relations, referred to Lutsenko as “solid.”
The Democratic senators complained, however, that the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office had Lutsenko’s office had frozen four investigations that were deemed “politically sensitive” and accused him of attempting to curry favor with the Trump administration much as he had with the Obama administration.
They appeared to strong-arm Lutsenko by bringing up past financial support, suggesting that it was conditional upon his cooperation with Democratic political interests.
“In four short years, Ukraine has made significant progress … despite ongoing military, economic and political pressure from Moscow,” they said. “We have supported that capacity-building process and are disappointed that some in Kyiv appear to have cast aside these principles in order to avoid the ire of President Trump.”
They threatened as well to cut off support for the Ukraine prosecutor’s investigations into its own political figures, such as ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich.
“This investigation not only has implications for the Mueller probe, but also speaks to critically important investigations into the corrupt practices of the Yanukovich administration, which stole millions of dollars from the people of Ukraine,” they wrote. “Blocking cooperation with the Mueller probe potentially cuts off a significant opportunity for Ukrainian law enforcement to conduct a more thorough inquiry into possible crimes committed during the Yanukovich era.”