In a shocking letter written during the climax of the Mueller probe into now debunked Russian ties to the Trump administration, three democratic Senators committed the same crime Trump faces potential impeachment over: asking Ukraine to investigate something!
“We are writing to express great concern,” Mendendez [D-NJ], Durbin [D-IL], and Leahy [D-VT] started their letter with, “about reports that your office has taken steps to impede cooperation with the investigation of United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller.” On May 4th, 2018, almost a year before Mueller’s final report came out, the three Senators sent a displeased letter to the office of General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko asking why he chose to block a select group of investigations within Ukraine related to President Trump, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and overall Ukrainian corruption.
“Our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” they added. The lack of willingness to aid a partisan investigation worried Democrats, saying it was in both parties interests to maintain “accountable democratic institutions.”
They then demanded retribution, stating “we strongly encourage you to reverse course and halt any effort to impede cooperation with this important investigation.”
The letter cites a New York Times report, claiming Ukraine halted four investigations within Ukraine, revoking the possibility of further cooperation between Ukraine and Mueller. The Democratic authors of the letter write, the cases in question were seen as too “politically sensitive,” hence the reason for them being shut down. Ukraine had limited the ability of special prosecutor Serhiy Horbatyuk to subpoena evidence and interview witnesses.
Democrats add, this investigation is not only relevant to the Mueller probe, but it “speaks to critically important investigations into the corrupt practices of the Yanukovich administration.” Blocking this investigation, they wrote, limits the ability of internal law enforcement to investigate Ukrainian corruption.
The refusal to cooperate sends a “worrying signal” to Democrats.
Menendez, Durbin, and Leahy made three requests to Lutsenko. The demanded to know how and why the Ukrainian administration limited the Mueller investigation. They wanted to know if anyone from the Trump administration had directed Ukraine to act in this way. And finally, whether the Mueller probe was discussed by President Trump and Former-President Poroshenko.
Depending on your side of the isle, this letter alone may be a massive scandal or a nothing burger, but there is no denying the level of encouragement made by the three Senators rivals the severity of the request made by President Trump to current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump, on the infamous phone call between him and Zelensky said, “a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” adding, “if you can look into it?” There was no mention of withholding aid in the exchange for investigating Biden and his role in getting the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating his son fired, however, any request by the president to a world leader is now seen as an abuse of power.
Durbin responded to the resurfacing of the 2018 letter by stating “we wrote to the Ukrainian prosecutor general in 2018 regarding press reports that, in order to curry favor with President Trump, Ukraine was considering not cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in U.S. elections.” He added, “the Ukrainians were justifiably concerned that President Trump would exact revenge by blocking security assistance if they did not act in his political favor.”
Categories: U.S. News