President Trump is floundering to extricate himself from his rapidly expanding Ukraine scandal. An impeachment inquiry has been officially announced and yet he can’t seem to keep his mouth shut as he continues to engage in his bad faith smears of Joe Biden and his son Hunter. With today’s release of a memorandum summarizing his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, we now know for certain that Trump pressured the foreign leader to open an investigation into the Bidens, obviously in an attempt to harm the former vice president should he be the Democratic 2020 nominee. It is, beyond any reasonable argument to the contrary, a cause for impeachment and removal from office.
For his part, Trump continues to insist there was nothing amiss with the call, which is truly a testament to how casually he views overt corruption and abuse of the Oval Office. If he thinks this is acceptable behavior one shudders to think how deeply criminal his actions would have to be for him to recognize them as unacceptable.
Now, Trump has dragged Vice President Mike Pence into the Ukraine debacle. Speaking at the United Nations today, the president said that interested parties should seek to get a hold of his first phone call with Zelensky, which seems like a transparent attempt to draw attention from the second, damning call that precipitated the impeachment inquiry. He then rambled about how “beautiful” and “perfect” the second call was, which is frankly a peculiar way to describe any conversation. It was then that he suddenly brought up Pence, unprompted.
“I think you should ask for VP Pence’s conversation because he had a couple of conversations also,” Trump said. “I could save you a lot of time, they were all perfect. Nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations. But the word is that they’re going to ask for the first conversation. Uh, you can have it any time you need it and also Mike Pence’s conversations which were one or two of them. They were perfect, they were all perfect.”
Despite the claim that Pence’s calls were above aboard, the decision to bring them up at all is suspicious. Why mention them? The obvious answer is that Trump is once again trying to muddy the waters.
Perhaps he believes that if he can get the media to focus on Pence instead of himself the impeachment inquiry will fizzle out. Or perhaps Pence’s call with Zelensky were every bit as coercive as Trump’s now-infamous conversation and the president is hoping to scapegoat his VP to save his own hide. In any case, there is no way the vice president can be pleased that he’s been pulled down into the Trumpian muck.
Watch the clip below.
Trump identifies at least two more conversations for the House to investigate—including some involving Pence.
If they're anywhere near as "perfect" as the one released today, we're sure the House would love to see them. https://t.co/TibsjwekAu pic.twitter.com/KHyiDvR8pM
— The Moscow Project (@moscow_project) September 25, 2019
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.