Matter of Fact – Op-ed: Highly questionable


For only the third time in the 230-year history of the United States Congress, the Senate is in the midst of holding a presidential impeachment trial. The proceedings are slow and yet move at a rapid pace.

For all of the developments in what appeared to be a trial with a foregone conclusion, what most Americans are certain to take away from the trial are more questions.

If President Trump was only concerned about corruption, why did he not push Hunter Biden and Joe Biden to be investigated in his first two and a half years in office? Why did he wait until Joe Biden was leading in the polls among Democratic candidates looking to challenge him in the 2020 election?

If rooting out corruption in other countries is something President Trump is so passionate about, and it has nothing to do with the Bidens, how come he has not asked any foreign leaders to conduct any corruption investigations that don’t involve his political opponents?

If it was all genuine concern over Hunter Biden’s role on the board of a Ukrainian company, why would he not ask the United States Justice Department to look into it, rather than press a foreign nation to investigate a United States citizen?

The hypocrisy is difficult to comprehend. The Mueller investigation determined that during candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he pursued a deal in secret to build a Moscow Trump Tower, including asking for assistance from Putin’s office, despite assuring Americans he had nothing to do with Russia.

While President Trump and his GOP supporters avoid disputing the facts of the case being made against him, they repeat time and again that he didn’t actually break any laws, all while frequently reverting back to mentioning what they claim Hunter Biden did. The fact is, what the president is accusing Hunter Biden of is, at worst, possibly unethical, but not a crime.

Lawyers for the president argued on the Senate floor that nepotism in the executive branch is a very bad thing that needs to be investigated and dealt with. Meanwhile, the president that they are defending has his daughter and son-in-law holding top White House adviser positions in his administration, without any relevant experience necessary to have ever been rightfully considered for such posts.

In his five years with Burisma, Hunter Biden made about $3 million. In 2018 alone, Ivanka and Jared Kushner made as much as $135M, much of it from new ventures they have secured since her father took office.

A firm that Jared Kushner owns a large stake in created a fund that takes advantage of large tax breaks by investing in areas that are in disrepair and have been designated as “Opportunity Zones” by a Trump administration program that was promoted by none other than Ivanka and Jared.

If President Trump is so interested in finding corruption, he doesn’t need to look 5,000 miles away to Ukraine, but rather just down the hall in the West Wing to his top two White House advisers.

If the congressional Republicans who are defending President Trump are so concerned about Hunter Biden, why didn’t they investigate him in 2014 or 2015 or 2016, during his father’s time as vice president, when they knew about his role at Burisma and they were in control of both houses of Congress?

The answers to these questions are self-evident. All of the protestations and distractions are completely disingenuous and meant only to draw attention away from actions that cannot be defended.

In no other trial would a defendant claim, “The jury shouldn’t consider whether I committed the offense I stand accused of, but instead focus on the fact that someone else did something else at some other time and therefore they made me do it.”

Regardless of the outcome of the Senate’s verdict, it will have created many more questions. Will it have permanently crippled its oversight powers, establishing that a president can disregard all congressional subpoenas? Will it have forever ceded its power of the purse, setting the precedent that a president can withhold congressional appropriations in exchange for personal favors?

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