The new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has vowed to undertake a pro-reform agenda, including land reform, privatization of state companies, and cleansing of the judiciary. This is good news, considering that both Republican and Democratic administrations, and Western leaders have urged such measures in recent years, in an effort to draw Ukraine away from Russia. However, these ideas don’t comport with Vladimir Putin’s plans for Ukraine, so you know who Donald Trump is going to back, and it’s not Western democracies, right? Washington Post:
…Mr. Zelensky has so far failed to win the backing of President Trump. Not only has Mr. Trump refused to grant the Ukrainian leader a White House visit, but also he has suspended the delivery of $250 million in U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces.
Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, who is dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independence. But we’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it.
This is Trump and the GOP at their finest, trying to create an emails-level Joe Biden talking point in 2020, not only to smear Biden but to support Trump’s insane claim that Hillary Clinton was in fact aided by Russia in 2016. In a nutshell, Rudy Giuliani went to Madrid last month and met with a close associate of Zelensky’s to encourage an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Hunter Biden once served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which was investigated by Ukraine. Then-vice president Joe Biden, along with several other senior Western officials, urged the dismissal of the prosecutor who investigated the firm, because he was accused of blocking anti-corruption measures. It’s a no brainer that Trump and Fox News will spin this to read that Biden urged the firing of the prosecutor to cover up some purported wrong doing on Hunter’s part.
Mr. Giuliani also wants a probe of claims that revelations of payments by a Ukrainian political party to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, were part of a plot to wreck Mr. Trump’s candidacy. In other words, Trump associates want the Ukrainian government to prove that Ukraine improperly acted against Mr. Trump in the 2016 election; but they also want it to meddle in his favor for 2020.
Mr. Zelensky is incapable of delivering on either demand. The revelations about Mr. Manafort came from a Ukrainian legislator who was fighting for domestic reform, not Hillary Clinton. And the Biden case, which has already been investigated by Ukrainian authorities, is bogus on its face.
Bogus or not, watch for it to be prominently featured on Fox News, although we can only hope and pray that the New York Times does not give it even a fraction of the column inches that it devoted to Hillary’s equally bogus email drama.
Meanwhile, the Trump White House claims that military aid to Ukraine has been suspended pending a Pentagon investigation of the matter. Trump is apparently oblivious to the fact that CNN has reported that the Pentagon has already completed it’s study and recommended that the funding hold be lifted. So, here’s the bottom line from Washington Post: “Yet Mr. Trump has not yet acted. If his recalcitrance has a rationale, other than seeking to compel a foreign government to aid his reelection, the president has yet to reveal it.” I think we all know what we can expect from Putin’s puppet. With the economy sliding down a slippery slope, Trump is even more desperate than he was in 2016. This is a story to watch.