Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Ukraine corruption

Presidents Zelensky and Trump

I think there is a case to be made that President Donald Trump abused the power of his office.

He did threaten to withhold military aid unless the Ukrainian government announced an investigation of the Burisma oil and gas company and Hunter Biden’s involvement in it.

The problem with this is that Joe Biden, when he was vice president, did the exact same thing.

He threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine unless it fired the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.

Biden’s claim is that the prosecutor was lax in investigating corruption.  But the evidence indicates otherwise, that the prosecutor was closing in on Burisma at the time he was forced out.

Hunter Biden knew nothing of Ukraine or the oil and gas business.  His only value to Burisma is that he was the vice-president’s son and therefore provided Burisma with a certain immunity from prosecution.

It hasn’t been proved that Hunter Biden did anything wrong beyond this, but then his role hasn’t been investigated.

This is not a justification of wrong-doing by President Trump.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Ukraine is a vast swamp of corruption, and Hunter Biden is not the only politically-connected American who has sought to make money there.

Donald Trump and Attorney-General William Barr oppose the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which make it a crime for an American to bribe a foreign government official.  They want to make bribery once again simply a cost of doing business.

Barr also opposes the False Claims Act, which gives any American standing to sue a person or company that defrauds the U.S. government.  In other words, both Trump and Barr want protect corruption and fraud.

It would be very interesting to know how many Americans are on the boards of Ukrainian companies, or political consultants or public relations consultants to Ukrainian oligarchs or politicians.  I’m sure their numbers would include both Democrats and Republicans.

I think Democrats in the House of Representatives would help themselves politically by investigating corruption and mismanagement in the Trump administration across the board, rather than limiting themselves to this one ambiguous issue.

True, they might uncover things that are embarrassing to their own donors.

I feel sorry for the long-suffering people of Ukraine.  Neither the U.S. government, the European Union, the Russian Federation or their own plutocrats and autocrats care anything for their welfare.

LINKS

Corruption in Ukraine Wikipedia article.

Hunter Biden’s Ukraine gas firm pressed Obama administration to end corruption allegations by John Solomon on his blog.

A Timeline of Joe Biden’s Intervention Against the Prosecutor General of Ukraine by the Moon of Alabama blog.

Is Trump the Most Corrupt President in American History? an interview of Bill Black, an expert on financial fraud, on the Real News Network.  Black’s answer: Yes.

This Is What a Legitimate Anti-Corruption Effort in Ukraine Would Look Like by Samantha Winograd for POLITICO.

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2 Responses to “Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Ukraine corruption”

  1. David G. Markham Says:

    Joe Biden did not do the “exact same thing.” They were quite different situations, with different purposes, and with different implementation strategies.

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  2. philebersole Says:

    Most of the reporting I read led me to believe that Trump’s interference in Ukraine was for political gain while Biden’s interference was based on a desire for the public good.

    Biden allegedly wanted to fire this prosecutor because the prosecutor was apathetic about fighting corruption, including corruption in the Burisma oil and gas company, the company that employed his son.

    It was only by reading some alternative news sites – John Solomon’s reporting and the Moon of Alabama web site – that I discovered that this is a falsehood.

    The prosecutor was active in investigating Burisma, and his activity coincided with the successful pressure to get him fired. After which the investigation tapered off.

    The evidence indicates that Trump attempted to interfere with the Ukrainian criminal justice system for personal political reasons.

    The evidence indicates that Biden actually did interfere with the system for personal family (and also political) reasons.

    If you follow the mainstream press and broadcasters, you are led to believe that there are two teams, Team Red and Team Blue, and one is good and the other is bad.

    If you follow right-wing opposition press and broadcasters, you are led to believe the same thing, with the polarity reversed.

    You can’t find the whole truth by following one or the other or even by following both and splitting the difference.

    It’s necessary to be open to facts that aren’t being reported by either side—alternative facts, if you will—and even then you can’t assume that you know the whole story.

    Bertrand Russell once wrote The great mistake nearly everyone makes is this. A and B hate each other. Therefore one is good and the other is bad.

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