President Trump, facing an impeachment inquiry for pressing Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, is not the first American official to encourage Ukrainians to help with a probe.
In May 2018, three Democratic senators wrote a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general — pushing the foreign office to cooperate with the Mueller investigation into Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“We are writing to express great concern about reports that your office has taken steps to impede cooperation with the investigation of United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” wrote Sens. Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy.
“If these reports are true, we strongly encourage you to reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation,” added the senators from New Jersey, Illinois and Vermont.
The letter was written after a New York Times report revealed that Ukraine had frozen investigations into four open cases there, “thereby eliminating scope for cooperation with the Mueller probe into related issues.”
“As strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine, we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” the senators stated.
As vice president in 2016, Biden reportedly threatened to freeze $1 billion of U.S. aid to Ukraine if the foreign leaders didn’t fire the nation’s top prosecutor. “Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden … who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general,” The New York Times reported.
The Democrats who are now trying to impeach Trump were the “first to open the door with Ukraine,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Ukraine seems to be a one-stop-shop for everyone who wants to get political dirt on their opponents.”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy recently met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“I told him it was best to ignore requests from Trump’s campaign operatives. He agreed,” Murphy tweeted. He added in a statement, “In order to keep the United State — Ukraine relationship strong, it was much better for the president (Zelenskiy) to rebuff any pressure he’s getting from political campaigns in the United States to conduct investigations.”
(c)2019 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.