by Gary Fouse
As we watched yesterday’s impeachment play out in the House of Representatives, there is one basic question that must be asked-and will be asked when this goes to the Senate for trial: Which was worse-Trump’s request that the president of Ukraine conduct an investigation into the actions of some Ukrainians during the 2016 election-with no reference to US foreign aid, or then Vice President Biden’s demand that the then president of Ukraine fire the chief prosecutor who was investigating corruption in Ukraine-which included the energy company, Burisma, which had hired Biden’s son to be on their board of directors? Biden’s demand was directly tied to US aid. He told the Ukrainian president that if the prosecutor wasn’t fired within 6 hours (when Biden was scheduled to return from Ukraine to the US) one billion dollars in US aid would be canceled. He got exactly what he wanted.
Trump, in his call to President Zelenskyy, also asked him to investigate the actions of the Bidens. He could have been cautious and let it go since Biden was a leading candidate to run against him in 2020, and he (Trump) would be accused by the Democrats of acting in his own political interest. To do so would be to give the Joe Bidens of the world a license to steal, virtual immunity for his (Biden’s) corrupt actions in protecting his son.
And in comparing the actions of Donald Trump and Joe Biden vis-a-vis Ukraine, what is the standard of proof? The Democrats have relied on a tip -to Adam Schiff’s office- by a disgruntled and (officially) unidentified “whistle blower,” who they won’t produce as a witness and who got his information second hand. It relies on other government witnesses like Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, and State Department officials who felt or presumed that Trump’s request was improper.
In contrast, Trump released a transcript of the call-the accuracy of which is unchallenged by the Democrats. There was no quid pro quo, no demand, no explicit threat. One could reasonably infer that Trump was sending a subtle message to Zelenskyy-even though the Ukrainians were unaware at that point that the aid had been held up- but nobody can honestly say that that transcript is a smoking gun.
But what is the standard of proof as to Joe Biden’s actions in Ukraine while he was vice president? We have his full confession. Confession is actually not the proper word. He was bragging about it while speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations. And we don’t have to rely on a transcript. We have the video.
Even if you feel that Trump was wrong or that his conversation with Zelenskyy was improper, compare it to what Vice President Joe Biden did. There was nothing subtle. There was no need to make inferences. No presumptions were necessary. Quid pro quo? That was Joe Biden. Abuse of power for personal gain? That was Joe Biden.
As soon as the windbags in the House have had their say and voted to impeach, these questions will be front and center during the Senate trial. I don’t know whether Joe or Hunter Biden will have to testify, but their names will be there front and center. It must be and will be part of the discussion at the trial. It was Joe Biden’s actions as vice president on behalf of his son that (partially) led to the contested conversation between Presidents Trump and Zelenskyy. The Democrats in the House may have been able to keep it from public scrutiny during the impeachment proceedings, but the Senate Democrats cannot do that during the Senate trial.
I predict that the coming Senate trial will be much more damaging to Joe Biden than it will be to President Trump.