Donald Trump is up against the ropes. An official impeachment inquiry was announced this week and just this morning the official whistleblower complaint that started this entire Ukraine debacle was finally released. It’s now clear that not only did the president try to exploit his office to coerce a foreign leader into damaging a possible 2020 opponent, but the White House then attempted to pull off an expansive coverup to hide that fact.
According to the whistleblower complaint, Trump and his staff tried to “solicit interference” from Ukraine. The president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani was also allegedly “circumventing the national security decision-making processes” as he sought to find damaging information on the Bidens. Perhaps the most stunning new bit of information is that members of Trump staff were discussing “how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain.” In other words, officials within the administration knew that Trump had gone too far but rather than expose his possibly criminal misdeeds chose instead to run interference for him.
In truly predictable fashion, Trump has been trying to drive the media narrative away from coverage of his own wrongdoing to conspiratorial allegations about former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter. Giuliani has been lobbing slobbering allegations of corruption against the younger Biden but has, of course, failed to produce even a single scrap of evidence to back up his attacks.
Now, another crucial piece of the whistleblower’s complaint has come under the microscope. Biden’s Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates took to Twitter to share a segment of the newly released document. In it, the whistleblower reveals that Trump “praised” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he might want to keep Lutsenko serving in his current position. The complaint notes that Lutsenko made allegations against the Biden family in March 2019, many of which he later “walked back.” Presumably, Trump was aware of the former point and not the latter, hence the heaping on of praise. He thought Lutsenko could help him smear the Bidens.
Now, The Washington Post reports that Lutsenko—who the Post describes as “at the heart of the dirt-digging effort” by Giuliani in Ukraine—has come forward to state that Hunter Biden “did not violate anything,” immediately collapsing Trump’s tenuously and disingenuously constructed conspiracy theory.
“From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, [Hunter Biden] did not violate anything,” Lutsenko told the Post. “Hunter Biden cannot be responsible for violations of the management of Burisma that took place two years before his arrival,” he went on. Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served. It was previously investigated by Ukranian officials who eventually closed the case, considering it settled. Hunter Biden was not found to have committed any wrongdoing.
In one fell swoop, Lutsenko has collapsed Trump’s narrative and removed the one thing he had to distract from his growing scandal. It’s safe to presume that the president will ignore this development and continue to push his self-serving fabrications but at this point only the most diehard MAGA ignoramuses will believe it.
NEW: The former top Ukrainian prosecutor "whose allegations were at the heart of the dirt-digging effort by Rudolph W. Giuliani" says Hunter Biden "did not violate anything."
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewBatesNC) September 26, 2019
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.