President Donald Trump had gotten off scot-free. ”A great day for me,” he declared on July 24. Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony about Trump’s alleged obstruction of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election had failed to convince House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ― let alone congressional Republicans ― to impeach him.
With not one member of his circle in prison for attempting to collude with a foreign power, and with the prospect of impeachment rapidly fading thanks to Pelosi’s hand-wringing and stonewalling, Trump did what any rational leader would do: He apparently did it again.
The day after Mueller’s testimony, Trump called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and pressured Zelensky to help him win the 2020 election by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. In the weeks that followed, Trump refused to grant Zelensky a meeting at the White House and halted $250 million of congressionally authorized military aid to the country, raising the possibility that the president was, as The Washington Post put it in an unsigned editorial, “not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign” but using U.S. military aid to “extort it.”
“That allegation, if true, would unambiguously constitute an impeachable offense,” national security expert Benjamin Wittes wrote Friday. “That would be a very big deal indeed.”
If the reports are correct, “there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country,” Joe Biden said in a statement released late Friday. “This behavior is particularly abhorrent because it exploits the foreign policy of our country and undermines our national security for political purposes. It means that he used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation… to subvert the rule of law in the express hope of extracting a political...