A question for admirers of Donald Trump:
When suspicions first were raised, did the man you helped elect sound like someone who asked the president of a foreign country to investigate the son of a political opponent?
Ah hah. You nodded your head. Ever so slightly, you did.
Or maybe you said, “Hell, yeah.”
Did your chosen leader sound like someone who would have threatened a foreign head of state with hardball – withheld military aid — for not playing along?
I nodded, too, just like you. I know your man Trump as well as you do.
We don’t know the whole story, but as pertains to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s leader and a requested favor for the 2020 election, in the blink of an eye the Trump line changed from, “I would do no such thing” to, “So what if I did?”
Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Team Trump had not asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son. Then a barren few syllables later, Giuliani acknowledged that in fact the president had asked for that very thing.
Then Trump acknowledged that he in fact had brought up the Biden matter with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Wow.
All of this is to say that the “whistleblower” matter roiling Washington is not at all about some anonymous “Deep State” bureaucrat out to get our heroic president. Nah. It’s just another example of a man in the nation’s highest office who all his life has believed no rules apply to him.
For months we heard from Trump that he never conspired with the Russians or Wikileaks to gain an advantage in 2016. We also heard him and his rotating mouthpieces basically fall back on a variation of, “If he did, so what?”
This is not about “fake news.” This is about a duly elected leader attempting to fake out those who elected him.
And now: Ukraine.
One of the most richly telling clues about something fishy in 2016 was when Republican conventioneers set out, as Republicans once were assumed to do, to condemn Putin’s anti-democratic actions in Ukraine as Russia attempted to subjugate the former republic.
The national security arm of the GOP platform committee voted to support the supplying of arms to the Ukraine to fend off Russia’s advances.
Then like Men in Black with amnesia-inducing wands in hand, agents of the Trump campaign (led by then-Ukrainian wheeler-dealer, not just your average convict Paul Manafort) zapped the plank from the Republicans’ memories.
This same convention was attended by Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak with whom eventual attorney general Jeff Sessions said he didn’t meet there, when of course he did.
Trump says he’d never say anything that would compromise national security.
Sure he wouldn’t. That’s why the U.S. had to recall an American intelligence agent over concerns that secure matters Trump shared with the Russian foreign minister, and possibly with Putin, compromised that agent.
Trump’s response to all of that is the standard two-step: Didn’t do it. And if I did?
Now Congress, as is its legal responsibility, wants to know what the whistleblower knows about what our president said to a foreign government that the agent felt was so compromising.
Our president. Our employee. He and his fans seem to forget that he is on our payroll, not Putin’s, not the Saudis’. This is a democratic republic run by and for us, not a corporation whose lot is entirely up to the CEO.
The House should seize on this and more for actual, honest-to-goodness impeachment proceedings (to be duly rejected by the Stepford Sons in the Senate). This will leave it up to voters in 2020 to end this dance.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.