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Remembering When Trump was Impeached for Withholding Security Aid to Ukraine

As former President Donald Trump continues to praise Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for his "very savvy" invasion of Ukraine, it is hard not to think back to his first impeachment in 2019 by the US House of Representatives. The former President was impeached for withholding security aid authorized by Congress in order to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into pursuing bogus and politically motivated investigations that might have damaged Joe Biden’s White House bid.

Trump's Republican allies in the Senate blocked his removal, but Mitt Romney had one of his finest moments in politics by becoming the first U.S. senator in history to cast a vote to convict and remove a president of his own political party. But, to Trump and most of his GOP sycophants in the House and Senate, Zelensky and the Ukrainian people were simply pawns to be used to further Republican political ambitions.

Moreover, news of Trump's loathsome plot to harm Biden tarred Zelensky as someone who could be manipulated at a time when he was building a reputation as a reformer. Those reforms and ending state corruption in Ukraine were essential to the nation's desire to orient toward the West and join the European Union and NATO.

American Progress: "Trump’s efforts to extort Zelensky seem especially outrageous. By pressuring the Ukrainian president to use the machinery of justice for political ends, Trump in effect demanded that Zelensky betray the very mandate that vaulted him to power. This could have potentially set back Ukraine’s anti-corruption reform efforts by years, while undermining the millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars already spent to battle corruption. Zelensky appears to have demurred on Trump’s request, but merely being party to the solicitation is likely to damage his reformist credentials inside Ukraine and provide fodder for his critics."

Undermining Zelensky by portraying him as a weak and corrupt also served Putin's interests. The Russian dictator has always feared that Zelensky's anti-corruption campaign would inspire Russians to reject his increasingly despotic rule and seek a real democracy.

#Russia #Putin

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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