It’s been a non-stop whirlwind of criminality when it comes to the Trump administration. From violating the emoluments clause, to obstruction of justice and tax evasion, just to name a few. However, the most serious of all has to be withholding aid to Ukraine, (to the tune of at least $391 million) then asking the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate his potential rival for the 2020 National Election, Joe Biden.
For those who may not know what this situation regarding the Ukraine is, allow me to explain. According to Vox.com, the story of the Ukraine scandal began back in September. An anonymous member of the CIA detailed to the National Security Council filed a whistleblower complaint to two of the chairmen on the House Intelligence Community, Richard Burr and Adam Schiff.
In this complaint, the whistleblower urges that this past July, when President Trump called the newly elected Ukrainian president to congratulate him on his victory; he also committed a highly alarming act. The whistleblower claims that the president attempted to solicit political favors from the newly elected Ukrainian president by withholding military aid, specifically to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and asked that a server that was supposedly used by the DNC during the hack of 2016 to be turned over.
It’s not just that. The whistleblower also claims that the White House attempted to bury the truth about the transcript of the phone call. In a copy of the letter published by Vox, he writes, “In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room.” Since then, the president and White House have denied any kind of criminal wrongdoing and/or cover-up and released an official transcript of the call with the foreign leader.
Unfortunately for the White House, the official copy of the phone call between the two world leaders seems to have made things even more suspect. In a recent article, “The Impeachment of Donald Trump, Explained,” Vox details, “In a nutshell, the official White House record of the call shows Trump linking American foreign aid to his desire for Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and a conspiracy about the 2016 election. When the president of Ukraine expressed a desire to follow up, Trump confirmed that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, rather than any of the relevant diplomats, was the right person to talk to.” This would all feel like a comedy of errors, if it weren’t actually happening.
As of today, the House has already begun impeachment proceedings against the president, such as the testimony of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who the President has come dangerously close to committing witness intimidation against, saying in a tweet, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad […] It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
We all need to face facts. The president has committed a serious crime, and has done other things that would oust any other president: 1.) He has resorted to bribing a world leader with military aid to the Ukraine, and then demanded that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son. 2.) He has resorted to intimidating witnesses involved with the impeachment inquiry and implying capital punishment to the whistleblower in question, as always, via tweet. 3.) The White House has attempted to obstruct the process of impeachment by going into “lock-down” and trying to hide transcripts into servers normally reserved for highly classified information.
Even with blatant criminality looming over the White House in regard to the Ukraine scandal, members of the Republican Party have continued to defend the president’s actions as legally sound, while also trying to defame the impeachment committee proceedings. Americans across the country, especially young Americans, are now watching what is happening right now. They are watching the entire GOP’s flagrant disregard for democracy by pretending that it’s not a crime when one of their own breaks the law. What is the future of our country when our own elected officials don’t care about enforcing the law?
Kelly Baker is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and film criticism. KB819687@wcupa.edu