“For Republicans, the key fact is that Ukraine received the money, regardless of any request from Trump for an investigation of Joe Biden or the 2016 U.S. elections.”
Thus the beginning of the narrative, the “No harm, no foul” defense.
1) If person A tries to bribe person B and person B refuses to take the bribe, isn’t the act of person A trying to bribe still illegal?
Likewise, the “No harm, no foul” is a variation of the defense the Republican’s used with the Mueller report. He can’t be guilty of obstruction if there is no underlying crime. Of course that’s not how it works.
2) Brought up by many Republicans is the fact that the Ukrainians got the aid and didn’t do the investigation, so what’s the big deal?
Catherine Croft, the special adviser for Ukraine at the State Department, says two Ukrainians reach out to her to ask about the status of the military assistance. She told lawmakers she couldn’t recall the exact dates, but believes the outreach took place before the Aug. 28 publication of a Politico article detailing the hold.
AUG. 12: The complaint
A whistleblower files a formal complaint addressed to Congress that details concerns over the July 25 phone call and the hold placed on the military aid. The complaint is withheld from Congress until Sept. 25.
AUG. 28: The article
Politico publishes details that the military aid to Ukraine is on hold, setting off a scramble among diplomats in Ukraine and the United States.
AUG. 29 AND AFTER: Ukraine’s desperation
William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified that he did not know the aid had been withheld until after the Politico article appeared, when he started receiving “desperate” calls from Ukrainian officials.
“The minister of defense came to me,” he said. “I would use the word ‘desperate,’ to try to figure out why the assistance was held.”
Taylor said the minister thought if he spoke to Congress, or the White House, he could find out the reason and reassure them of whatever was necessary to get the aid. If the money wasn’t provided by Sept. 30, it would be lost.
SEPT. 9: The investigations begin
Three House committees launch a wide-ranging investigation into the allegations that Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and possibly others, tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to help the president’s reelection campaign by digging up dirt on a political rival.
SEPT. 11: The aid is released
The funds are suddenly released. Senate Republicans said that happened in part because Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, threatened to block $5 billion in Pentagon spending for 2020 if the aid wasn’t given to Ukraine. They said the aid was held up while Trump looked into whether Zelenskiy was serious about fighting corruption. Taylor and other diplomats involved in Ukraine were not given a reason for the aid being released.”
3) Ukraine didn’t ultimately announce that they were going to do the investigation and didn’t even know the aid had been held up. The “you can’t have a “quid pro quo” without the “quo” argument.”
Did Ukraine know before the Politico article that the aid was being held up?
Ambassador Taylor testified that he didn’t know about the aid being held up until the Politico article too.
However, the NYTimes reports: “In fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.
The problem was not bureaucratic, the Ukrainians were told. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.
The timing of the communications, which have not previously been reported, shows that Ukraine was aware the White House was holding up the funds weeks earlier than acknowledged.”
4) What are the undisputed facts?
The aid was held up.
Trump did ask Zelensky to investigate the Bidens: “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has.it…The other thing, There’s a lot of. talk about Biden’s son,. that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”
The aid was eventually released.
5) What are the other defenses?
The first and the one they are leaning on is that the vote to open the inquiry was strictly along partisan lines. Thus, this is a partisan witch hunt. Of course, two democrats voted to NOT open the inquiry but the majority of the country (as represented by the house) wants an inquiry.
They are trying to overturn the will of the people. This is the most infuriating because of how it is defined. Presidents are not elected by the people; they are elected by the electoral college. If it was really about the will of the people, then Hillary Clinton would be President. She received 3 million more votes than Donald Trump.
If the Electoral college really reflected the will of the people then we’d have a whole different story.
I’ll do the math for you. Wyoming (the least populous state has 3 electoral votes for roughly 600,000 people); California has 55 electoral votes for roughly 40,000,000 people. If electoral votes represented the will of the people then California (using the Wyoming proportion) would have 200 electoral votes. So clearly Trump is not governing with the “will of the people.”
The electoral college, the senate, and even the house to a degree give outsized representation to smaller states versus larger one. Using what is called the “Wyoming Rule” where each house seat represented ~600,000 people, California would get an additional 13 seats; Texas would get an additional 9 seats.
Now for a really fascinating read, investigate the real reason we have an electoral college. It’s some pretty twisted stuff.
And one final point that is rarely mentioned. Ukraine needed the assistance to buy Javelin missiles (that they have to keep in western Ukraine not at the Russian front). Javelin missiles are made by Lockheed Martin/Raytheon. So in essence we are giving money (through Ukraine) to American weapons manufacturers.