The basic gist of Donald Trump’s conspiratorial attacks on his potential presidential rival Joe Biden is that the former Vice President supposedly pressured the Ukrainians to replace a prosecutor who was investigating a local natural gas company on which his son, Hunter Biden, was a board member.
Even if Trump’s allegations contain even a shred of truth, it’s inexplicable how Trump views the supposed pressure that Biden applied to the Ukrainians as any different than the pressure he has been applying to the country’s leaders to begin an investigation of his opponent and his son.
Despite abundant evidence that Biden’s actions were consistent with U.S. State Department policy and his efforts at removing a corrupt prosecutor were simultaneously being mirrored by diplomats from our European allies at the time, Trump continues to portray the former Vice President’s involvement in Ukraine diplomacy as a shady and illegal endeavor.
In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that either Joe or Hunter Biden committed any crimes, nor is it clear if Hunter was under any sort of investigation by Ukranian officials at all.
A recently resurfaced letter written by a bipartisan group of Senators in 2016, however, demonstrates that Joe Biden’s efforts to root out corruption in Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office and judiciary were emphatically supported by Republican Senators at the time, according to a report on CNN.
The letter was sent by the Senate Ukraine Caucus and signed by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and urged then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.”
The letter demonstrates that fighting corruption in the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s office enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the Senate and undercuts Trump’s baseless politically motivated attack on the Biden’s.
The letter reads, in part:
“Succeeding in these reforms will show Russian President Vladimir Putin that an independent, transparent and democratic Ukraine can and will succeed. It also offers a stark alternative to the authoritarianism and oligarchic cronyism prevalent in Russia. As such, we respectfully ask that you address the serious concerns raised by Minister Abromavičius. We similarly urge you to press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s Office and judiciary. The unanimous adoption by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Basic Principles and Action Plan is a good step.”
It’s interesting to note how shifting political loyalties can disrupt the memories of some Republican Senators, since one of the very signers of this 2016 letter, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, just last week joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in sending a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging the Justice Department to investigate the actions by the Former Vice President in Ukraine that he had previously supported enthusiastically.
With Kirk no longer serving in the Senate and neither Johnson and Portman responding to CNN’s request for comments about the sudden reversal in their stances on the issue, the political debasement of the Republican party under the Trump administration continues apace as a party too fearful to confront a leader with an ever-smaller but vengeful base of supporters refuses to call out his lies and, increasingly, his obvious criminal behavior.
Like an old Trump tweet, the Republicans’ past — from a time when at least a few members of the GOP still worked in the world of reality — is coming back to haunt them and taking Trump’s false and deflective propaganda down as it rematerializes at the most inconvenient time possible for the hypocritical politicians.
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Original reporting by Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck at CNN.