- United States President Donald Trump released a transcript of a phone call where he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into the previous dealings of Joe Biden
- As a result, an impeachment inquiry has been raised in The House
- Trump isn’t likely to be impeached as the Republicans control The Senate
United States President Donald Trump has found himself in hot water once again. Just as it seemed as though the drama of the Russian investigation was settling down, a whistleblower reported him for what Democrats deem is an impeachable offense during a phone call with the Ukrainian President. Will this impact his Republican nominee odds or Presidential Election odds in 2020?
2020 Republican Party Nominee Odds
|Result||Odds at BetOnline|
|Not Donald Trump||+350|
*Odds taken 09/25/19
Whistleblower Reports Trump
From one controversy to the next. That’s how the Trump presidency seems to have gone. The latest news is a whistleblower, who sounded the alarm for a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The issue at stake is a reported quid-pro-quo where it was reported that Trump pressured the Ukrainian President to look into the dealings of a political opponent, Joe Biden. Had he not agreed, the United States might withhold military aid.
While the original reporting was inaccurate, a release transcript of the phone call showed that there was, in fact, a mention of Biden and a request for a “favor” to look into his previous dealings. On Wednesday, the two leaders happened to be together in New York and during the press conference, Zelensky clearly stated he didn’t feel pressured.
The other issue here is was there a quid-pro-quo? Was something withheld or was a deal sweetened as a result of this? At this point, we don’t know.
Democrats Rush to Impeach
There’s no question that the Democrats have had just about enough of Trump and this was the last straw. On Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that they’re opening an impeachment inquiry to see if Trump did, in fact, break any rules or laws and whether or not they should proceed with articles of impeachment.
It does feel like the Democrats rushed this a bit as the reporting on the call transcript was inaccurate. Originally, a Wall Street Journal report suggested that Trump mentioned Biden seven or eight times. However, the transcript shows just one mention.
The story of the whistleblower has also changed as originally, we had the perception that this is someone who was either on the call or had first-hand knowledge of the incident. As it turns out, neither are true as the whistleblower did not have any first-hand knowledge of the call or incident.
Beyond that, this allegation by the whistleblower was still taken seriously by the Department of Justice and they cleared the President. It feels like the Democrats jumped the gun here thinking that there was a smoking gun. They still might find one but we don’t have that as of yet.
Did Trump Break Any Rules?
In an effort to be completely unbiased in a very polarized time, it’s important to note that there are two ways that this phone call is being viewed.
Democrats see this as Trump asking for help from a foreign agent or government to provide dirt on a political opponent. On the other hand, Republicans feel as though he’s asking a foreign government to look into potential corruption and abuse of power by the former Vice President.
One way is to say that Trump wanted to find dirt on a potential 2020 opponent and that this request was forward looking. At the same time, Biden did, in fact, brag about getting the Ukrainian government’s top prosecutor fired in what some could see as a potential conflict of interest.
Biden, at the time, was Vice President, and his son worked for a board member of a Ukrainian gas company that was being prosecuted. Biden stated directly that unless this prosecutor was fired, the U.S. would withhold aid. The prosecutor was fired within hours.
The challenge here is that this specific prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was generally viewed as being corrupt and several western countries had called for his removal.
I think Dems have made another major gaffe. If it’s really Trump asking Ukraine to probe Biden dealings & the fake Manafort ledger, those are legit issues. And Trump has a precedent: Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold aid. https://t.co/Io5XbCTusi
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) September 20, 2019
For Trump, this seems like bizarre timing to look into Biden’s dealings from years ago. While he can probably defend himself in a court of law, it sure does look like Trump was asking for dirt on a potential political opponent. After all, Biden is currently leading in most polls to be the Democratic Party nominee in 2020.
Will Trump Be the Republican Nominee?
However you view Trump, the man is virtually bulletproof. No matter what’s thrown at him – or what he brings upon himself – the Republicans love him. He has unheard of levels of approval inside his own party.
In this case, for better or for worse, there’s a lot of smoke without an actual fire. The issue here is that even if the Democrats bring articles of impeachment, the Senate is controlled by Republicans. They won’t vote to impeach him unless there is a clear-cut smoking gun.
While this conversation with the Ukrainian President is a bad look for Trump, it’s nothing that will prevent him from winning the Republican party’s nominee. There is no one else, they probably won’t even have primaries and without any real chance of impeachment, don’t bet against Trump being the Republican 2020 nominee.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.