While Washington is a-flutter with allegations of abuse of power, collusion, treason, and whatever other scare-word you can dream up against President Donald Trump, it’s worth hopping in the Wayback Machine to May, when a trio of Senate Democrats did the exact same thing that they’re currently accusing the president of doing. Not a similar thing. The exact same thing (with, indeed, the exact same country). You really can’t make this stuff up.
From CNN (May 4):
Three Democratic senators have written a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general to “express great concern” over reports that Ukrainian officials had looked to potentially hinder special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont wrote in the letter to Yuriy Lutsenko that a recent New York Times report said his office “effectively froze investigations into four open cases in Ukraine in April, thereby eliminating scope for cooperation with the Mueller probe into related issues.”
“As strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine, we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” the three senators wrote.
“Blocking cooperation with the Mueller probe potentially cuts off a significant opportunity for Ukrainian law enforcement to conduct a more thorough inquiry into possible crimes committed during the Yanukovich era,” they wrote. “This reported refusal to cooperate with the Mueller probe also sends a worrying signal — to the Ukrainian people as well as the international community — about your government’s commitment more broadly to support justice and the rule of law,” the statement continued.
The implied threat is scarcely veiled. You want to keep getting aid money from the United States? Well, you’d better damn well keep looking into the corruption of one Mr. Paul Manafort, an ally of our chief political opponent, Donald Trump. Otherwise…well, we may have to re-evaluate our special relationship with Ukraine. We may have to find another use for those millions of dollars in military aid, yes we might. Think about it, long and hard.
How is this different from what Trump supposedly said in that recent phone call to the Ukrainian president? The Democrats can only shield themselves by saying, “Well, we just want to make sure the Ukrainian government isn’t giving in to corruption. We want to make sure they’re on a level, legal playing field.” But of course, by saying that, they are echoing the words of President Trump.
If Trump must answer for this “scandal,” then we demand that Sens. Menendez, Durbin, and Leahy answer as well. Because it’s literally the same thing.