The impeachment inquiry was triggered by the complaint of an unidentified intelligence agent who insisted that Trump was using "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election".
According to the source, during a 25 July phone call, Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to resume investigations into Hunter Biden, a son of US presidential candidate Joe Biden, and his role in Burisma Holdings Limited in exchange for the nearly $400 million in US military aid that was suspended a week earlier. The intelligence official admitted that he was "not a direct witness to most of the events described" in his complaint.
On 26 September, the White House released the transcript of the phone call in question and soon after that, the whistleblower's complaint was also made public.
Remember yesterday when we were told President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden's son? 8 times? And offered quid pro quo in exchange?— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) 25 сентября 2019 г.
None of that was true. They did it again.
Just like collusion. Just like obstruction. Same old story.
The publication caused opposite reactions from the two sides of the US political spectrum: While the Republicans and conservative pundits say that the release has once again indicated that the Dems' claim is just a 'nothing-burger', Democratic lawmakers argue that the situation is much graver for Trump than they thought.
"I would like you to do us a favor...”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) 25 сентября 2019 г.
Folks, I am surprised the White House even released this transcript. It’s worse than we thought.
The President sought to use the powers of the United States government to investigate a political opponent.
We have no choice but to impeach. https://t.co/teZ8p83GXL
Vladimir Golstein, associate professor of Slavic Studies at Rhode Island-based Brown University, has outlined the immediate repercussions of Ukrainegate.
Sputnik: What is your take on the recent events involving President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky? Does it mean that the Dems' effort to dig up dirt on Trump ahead of the 2020 vote has succeeded? Why did Nancy Pelosi (who was previously reluctant about launching impeachment proceedings) immediately jump on this bandwagon? Does it mean she is sure of victory?
Vladimir Golstein: During a political campaign, parties are engaged in so called “oppositional research.” The whistleblower report clearly belongs to this category. There is no doubt in my mind that the whistleblower, who wasn’t actually present during this notorious phone call, but went out of his/her way, to find out as much as he could about it, has created a real storm. The report of this whistleblower had to be addressed.
So Pelosi – knowing very well that her impeachment proceedings would not pass Senate – had made a calculating gamble. She concluded these proceedings would damage Trump more than it would damage Democrats. In my view, this is an erroneous calculation, for the simple reason that Democrats like Biden, or some of the Democratic operatives of Ukrainian heritage, have been involved in Ukraine for a much longer period, and therefore, and had many more chances to be drawn into the country’s swamp of corruption.
Sputnik: What is Ukraine's role in the scandal? Is Ukraine an impartial bystander or is it in cahoots with the Dems?
Vladimir Golstein: Ukraine’s role is not the most envious one. As they say, “you are doomed if you do and you are doomed if you don’t”. Zelensky has to walk a very thin line not to ostracise any of the players on whom he would have to rely in the future. Be it Republicans, Democrats, or European powers. If anything, it would be a real test for the new Ukrainian president. If he is smart and skillful, he’ll try to distance himself from all sides without alienating them. If he is less so, he’ll side with the globalist establishment – that is with the European-Democratic neo-liberal alliance, and join them in attacking Trump.
Sputnik: If the Democrats manage to prove that Trump "blackmailed" the Ukrainian leadership in exchange for military aid, will it result in the US president's impeachment? If not, how can it affect Trump's election campaign?
Vladimir Golstein: Trump might have been rather sloppy in his phrasing; that might have exposed him to further investigation. But what needs to be stressed is that any government, the American government, in particular, constantly use their military or economic muscle to get the results they want. So the case that the whistleblower had brought to the service reveals no secrets about Trump, but highlights a cynical and hypocritical use of intelligence information. But Democrats were relying on the leaked documents from the intelligence community for quite some time. Needless to say, when the whistleblowers, like Assange or Manning, reveal the shady deals of the Democratic leadership, they are routinely denounced as “traitors.”
Consequently, this cynical use of the whistle-blower information might help Democrats to rally their troupes. But it won’t result in impeachment (the Republican-controlled Senate won’t allow it) and it wouldn’t tarnish Trump's image among those who’ve been supporting him so far.
Sputnik: Is the fuss over the alleged "quid pro quo" anyhow related to the upcoming conclusions by IG Horowitz on the potential FISA abuse and AG Barr's "investigation into investigators" concerning the FBI/DOJ and Democrats' alleged efforts to throw a wrench into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign?
Vladimir Golstein: The devil is in details, as they say. I am sure that more documents would come to light, and they would be subjected to more political spinning. What should, and I hope will, be exposed, however, is the unsavoury role of the Ukrainian government and the pro-Ukrainian Democrats in producing the anti-Russia, anti-Trump hysteria, that had swept United States off its feet, and still does not let go. Why Americans allow these ideologues and nationalists to dictate their policies, while pushing two nuclear super-powers, like United States and Russia, into a possible confrontation, is beyond my comprehension.
Sputnik: What is your prognosis regarding the Democrats' Ukrainegate?
Vladimir Golstein: So the Ukraine-gate seems like a rather powerful demolition explosion. The Democratic leadership hopes that they would be able to control it and direct it against Donald Trump.
I am sure, however, that Biden will be a victim of Ukrainegate. That might be a part of the Democratic Leadership, however, in case, they are playing chess to win 2020 elections. They sacrifice Biden to pull Trump down. I am not sure they will succeed, however.
JW announced it filed a FOIA lawsuit for records about the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor after then-Vice President Joe Biden threated to withhold aid. The lawsuit was filed yesterday against the U.S. Department of State.— Judicial Watch 🔎 (@JudicialWatch) 27 сентября 2019 г.
READ MORE: https://t.co/wVPYjXCnrf pic.twitter.com/ZE6KsUp23L
But at least, the world would have a chance to learn more about all levels of corruption that seem to penetrate both the US and Ukrainian governments and their interaction with each other. Thus, we just learned about the resignation of Kurt Volker, a neocon ideologue, who has been serving as US Special Envoy to Ukraine (for the record, he also served as US Ambassador to NATO and as the executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership). While serving in his government role, Volker was also involved in some lobbying and public relations firm, called BGR Group, that advised on doing business in Ukraine and that had represented the previous Ukrainian government.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.