HYPOCRISY: Senate Democrats Sent Letter to Ukraine Demanding They Investigate Trump Just Last Year

As Democrats launch an impeachment inquiry over President Trump’s remarks to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s corrupt actions, it has been revealed that Senate Democrats made a similar request to Ukraine last year regarding President Trump.

Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote a letter to General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko from the Office of the Prosecutor General in Ukraine on May 4, 2018 demanding compliance with the Mueller probe.

“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,” they wrote, referring to the investigation that ultimately found no evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians to impact the resulf of the 2016 presidential election.

They referenced a report from the New York Times indicating that Ukraine was not properly cooperating with the Mueller witch hunt, and implied that their refusal to comply could jeopardize diplomatic relations with the United States.

“This reported refusal to cooperate with the Mueller probe also sends a worrying signal—to the Ukranian people as well as the international community—about your government’s commitment more broadly to support justice and rule of the law,” they added.

The Democratic Senators ended their letter with a request that the following three questions be answered:

1. Has your office taken any steps to restrict cooperation with the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller? If so, why?
2. Did any individual from the Trump Administration, or anyone acting on its behalf, encourage Ukrainian government or law enforcement officials not to cooperate with the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller?
3. Was the Mueller probe raised in any way during discussions between your government and U.S. officials, including around the meeting of Presidents Trump and Poroshenko in New York in 2017?

Fake news conspiracy theorists were floating the baseless notion at the time that Trump had bribed Ukranian leaders to prevent them from cooperating with the Mueller probe:

In December, the administration allowed the sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. Supporters of the administration held up the sale as evidence that Trump could not have colluded with Russia — here he was, arming Russia’s enemy. “The year that began with the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion is ending with an unexpected plot twist — the Trump administration is confronting and cracking down on Russia,” reported Fox News. The Wall Street Journal editorial page mocked “people who say President Trump colluded with Mr. Putin to win the election and wants to appease him now.” Skeptics merely saw the sale as evidence that the foreign policy bureaucracy operated at some distance from Trump’s whims.

Today’s New York Times suggests a darker interpretation altogether. In response to the missile sale, Ukrainian officials have frozen out the Mueller investigation. Ukraine’s government had previously cooperated eagerly to expose the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia — providing, among other importance evidence, ledgers detailing payments to Paul Manafort by the Russian-backed Ukrainian party he had advised.

Now Ukraine is withholding cooperation from Mueller, and Ukrainian officials are not even hiding the fact that they’re doing so because of the missile sale. “In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials,” one Ukrainian lawmaker says. “We shouldn’t spoil relations with the administration.”

It is of course possible that Ukraine reached this decision on its own, completely independent of any suggestion from Washington. It is far more likely that somebody in the administration proposed a quid pro quo, and Ukraine quite rationally decided it would rather have weapons to defend itself against the next Russian aggression than participate in an investigation that the president of the United States regards as a mortal threat.

It does not appear that the Ukrainian government ever responded to the letter, and the fake news bribery speculation quickly dissipated due to lack of evidence.

By the new standards of the Democrats, these three lawmakers committed criminal actions by demanding the investigation of their political adversary. Perhaps an impeachment inquiry of Menendez, Durbin, and Leahy should be in order!

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