You have to hand it to Senate Republicans. They are constantly looking for dishonest ways to bolster their claims of “president” Donald Trump’s innocence. Roy Blunt (R-MO) gets the award for the most creative to date. Blunt said, with a straight face, on CNN’s “State of the Union” that both President Obama and Trump “made plenty of mistakes” in “how to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine.” The problem for Blunt is that Trump was not at all concerned about “Russian aggression” in Ukraine; he was worried about how he’s going to rig the 2020 election. And when did President Obama try to blackmail Ukraine into helping with his reelection bid? The two situations are nothing alike. Republicans continue to try anything and to make it seem as if the rest of us are horribly stupid when it’s obvious who is stupid here.
While Republicans continue to scramble to come up with a defense for Trump’s inexcusable behavior, NBC News reports that the Center for Public Integrity received and released 146 pages of emails regarding the holdup of Ukraine military aid. The emails are heavily redacted but show just enough to reveal that Trump knowingly and willingly withheld Ukraine’s aid for his own purposes. He was aided and abetted by his staff. Some of his staff, however, knew that Trump was not only violating his oath of office but was violating the law. Palmer Report earlier reported on the Impoundment Control Act, and Public Integrity spells out exactly what that means:
Once Congress appropriates funds – like the Ukraine assistance – and the president signs the relevant spending bill, the executive branch must spend those funds. A president cannot simply ignore Congress’s direction, no matter how inconvenient or unappealing that instruction might be. If funds are withheld or shifted elsewhere, this cannot be done in secret, and Congress must approve.
In other words, everything Trump did was wrong. R. Jeffrey Smith, National Security Editor for Public Integrity, points out that “Trump was asking the officials involved to take an action that was not merely unwise but flatly illegal.” Trump blatantly violated the law, and he now wants to deny it even though the evidence is overwhelming.
No matter how Trump and the Republicans try to re-paint this picture, they cannot conceal the fact that “president” Donald Trump broke the law for his own personal gain. Trying to now paint Democrats as “the bad guy” isn’t going to fly. The release of these emails shows without a doubt that the funds were withheld “less than two hours after” Trump’s call with Zelensky according to NBC News.
OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel argued against this belief, stating that “It’s reckless to tie hold of funds to the phone call.” So, was it coincidence, Rachel? She then goes on to point out that “the hold was announced in an interagency meeting on July 18.” Yes, we all know that, and all this shows is Trump’s intent and planning in trying to blackmail Ukraine into doing his bidding. Just when you think Trump cannot get any more despicable, his Republican colleagues show just how truly bad he is in their asinine attempts to defend him.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years