Donald Trump is likely to be impeached, at least in part because of a scheme the White House hatched to get Ukraine to go after one of the president’s domestic rivals. As the scandal has unfolded, an obvious quid pro quo has come into focus: Ukraine needed military aid; Trump wanted something he could use to defeat Joe Biden; and the Republican hoped to trade one for the other.
Recently disclosed text messages showed Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador in Ukraine, asking U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, “Are we now saying that security assistance and [a White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?” In a subsequent message, Taylor added, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
But while Americans continue to learn new details about the scandal, let’s not overlook what’s happening at the same time in Kiev. The Wall Street Journal reported late last week:
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said Friday it is reviewing past investigations into the owner of a gas company linked to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s son, raising the possibility of restarting probes amid pressure from President Trump.
For the past several months, the Trump White House has pushed the authorities in Kyiv to investigate Burisma Group, a big gas-production company, and the role there of Hunter Biden, who served on its board, along with actions of Mr. Biden when he was overseeing U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported yesterday:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says his country will “happily” investigate whether Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Zelenskiy told reporters Thursday that “we can’t say yes or no” as to whether there was any interference without an investigation. He said it’s in Ukraine’s interest to determine what happened.
The Ukrainian president also insisted yesterday that Trump didn’t try to “blackmail” him.
Or put another way, Ukraine now appears to be saying and doing what Donald Trump wanted Ukraine to say and do.
At a distance, it seems as if the quid is suddenly meeting the quo.