Quid Pro Quos, Bureaucrats and Duty

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For more than two weeks now, a stream of current and former U.S. officials, this week including Amb. Bill Taylor, have described to Congressional committees the White House’s sordid effort to outsource American foreign policy to the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who sought to advance the personal political interests of Donald Trump. Faced with compelling testimonies to the effect that the president subverted U.S. national interests to his own, the White House has begun to trash those officials.

Even for this White House, that is a despicable new low.

The testimonies make clear that President Trump insisted on a quid pro quo, as his Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed in an October 17 press conference (he later tried to walk it back, but watch the video of the press conference). The president wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a long-debunked charge about former Vice President Joe Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. President Trump also wanted the Ukrainians to check whether the Democratic National Committee’s e-mail servers might have ended up in, of all places, Ukraine (no one has offered evidence to suggest that they have).