Impeachment talk has reached fever pitch, and new polls suggest public support for impeaching President Trump is growing.
But let me pose this question, and then duck for cover: Is it wrong for Trump’s administration to investigate allegations of political corruption?
Before you all throw digital tomatoes at me, let me explain.
The impeachment uproar (long simmering in Democratic circles) boiled over after news broke that President Trump had asked the Ukrainian President to look into allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden inappropriately used his political influence to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to protect his son, Hunter Biden. As the allegation goes, Biden threatened to withhold over $1 billion aid to Ukraine until a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating corruption at a company on which his son Hunter sat on the board.
The general position in support of impeachment is that President Trump was wrong to ask the Ukrainian President to investigate a political opponent.
But what is that position really saying?
Is it wrong just because Biden is a candidate for president in the 2020 election?
Would it not be wrong had Biden stayed retired?
Is it wrong in and of itself to ask a foreign leader to look into allegations that a prominent US political figure engaged in corruption?
It can’t be the latter, right? Because that is exactly what the Obama administration did to then candidate Trump. They received assistance from numerous foreign intelligence agencies in their investigation into allegations that Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia to undermine the US election. That turned out to be a false allegation, as Special Counsel Mueller confirmed much to the Democrats’ dismay.
So I’m still searching for an answer to this question.
Certainly, everyone would agree that political corruption should be rooted out wherever it exists.
And everyone would agree that it should not matter if you are a Congressman, Senator, Vice President, President, or any other government official. Corruption is a danger to democracy regardless of the office the accused holds. Period.
So again, I ask, what is the true essence of the problem with President Trump’s request to investigate allegations that then Vice President Biden engages in political corruption? I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I agree with the actions President Trump took here. Given his past actions and his general demeanor, it is hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But I can see where he is coming from. As someone whose campaign was spied on by his own government with the assistance of foreign governments, I can imagine he might have been surprised to learn people would think poorly of his call with the Ukrainian President.