State Headliners: Leahy pressured Ukraine to reopen investigation into 2020 prez candidate

By Guy Page

Vermont Public Radio reported Wednesday night: “Sen. Patrick Leahy said Wednesday the House “had to” open an impeachment inquiry following this week’s developments. ‘I’ve never seen a president do this with a foreign power,” Leahy said.’”

If “this” refers to pressuring the Ukrainian government to reopen its investigation of a 2020 presidential contender, Sen. Leahy need only look in the mirror. Last year, Vermont’s senior senator himself attempted to restart a Ukrainian investigation into a 2020 candidate — one Donald J. Trump. He even suggested U.S. aid to Ukraine was hanging in the balance.

Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont.

In a letter written on U.S. Senate letterhead dated May 4, 2018, Sen. Leahy, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), urged Yuriy Lutsenko, General Prosecutor of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, to cooperate with the investigation then being conducted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“We have supported that capacity-building progress [i.e. foreign aid] and are disappointed that some in Kiev appear to have cast aside these principles in order to avoid the ire of President Trump. If these reports are true, we strongly encourage you to reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation,” the senators wrote.

The translation from diplomatic jargonbluster reads like this: ‘do what we say or lose your foreign aid.’ This is not a new tactic. Those are the established rules of the foreign aid game. There are no government shekels without government shackles.

The United States Congress approves more foreign aid than any nation on earth – $50 billion in 2017. The Senate alone can approve treaties with foreign governments. In return for their patronage, senators can expect to be taken seriously by recipient governments when they request that “we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” as the three senators wrote. Coming from Leahy (vice-chair, Appropriations Committee), Menendez (former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair who backed Ukraine over Russia), and Durbin (member, Appropriations Committee), that’s no idle threat.

Yesterday the three senators hastily published a press release saying “the Senators’ letter in no way calls for the conditioning of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine.” They can claim that now. But a plain reading of the direct, two-page May, 2018 letter suggests otherwise.

In it, three senior senators already known to have budget clout remind the Ukrainians they have been “strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine.” They “are writing to express great concern” about a Ukrainian investigation into a U.S. political rival. Then, after reminding Lutsenko again of years of vital US aid to Ukraine, the three senators tell him, “we strongly encourage you to reverse course.”

To some, that sounds like pressure. Imagine if three of the biggest investors in your entrepreneurial startup walked into your office and said, “we strongly urge you to reverse course.” Pressure? You’d be a dope to think otherwise.

If Trump really was pressuring the Ukrainian president to reopen an investigation into a political rival, so was Leahy. It doesn’t matter that Leahy himself won’t ever run against Trump. Pat Leahy doesn’t get up in the morning and wonder how he’s going to beat the Republican’s sacrificial lamb in 2022. His biggest political rival is in the White House.

And what about their motives? It may be too cynical to conclude that either elected official is abusing Constitutionally-bestowed powers just to “get” a rival. Trump promised he would drain the swamp. So when along comes a creature like Hunter Biden, rich with money received from the Ukraine and China while under the protection of his VP father, Trump’s pursuit of justice is just him fulfilling (yet another) campaign promise. Leahy may really believe that Ukrainian cooperation with Mueller would show the world Trump isn’t fit to serve.

As always with Vermonters and other Americans’ views on their elected officials, what they see depends on where they stand.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of U.S. Army National Guard/Michelle Gonzalez

20 thoughts on “State Headliners: Leahy pressured Ukraine to reopen investigation into 2020 prez candidate

  1. Guy, I love this line of yours: “There are no government shekels without government shackles.” So true. If you want freedom, then figure out how to pay your own way. And don’t send your children to a state-paid school and expect them to learn what you desire them to learn.

    I have yet to meet a parent who wants their child to go through 12+ years of school to learn as little about the real world as they will learn in a public school.

  2. It’s just one more case of the slimeball party’s universal practice of accusing others of whatever transgression they have already done or are about to do. When the real perp is uncovered they then claim it’s a phony diversion and, as directed by the media, slide right off the hook.

  3. “Mr. Trump did not discuss the delay in the military assistance on the July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky, according to people familiar with the conversation.

    A Ukrainian official said Mr. Zelensky’s government did not learn of the delay until about ONE MONTH AFTER THE CALL,” the New York Times reported.

    Trump decided to place a hold on $440 million in military aid at least a week before his disputed call with Zelensky, but told reporters earlier this week it was because he wanted other European countries, particularly Germany, to contribute more aid.

    Google article titled: “Trump Says He Withheld Aid To Ukraine Because European Countries Failed To Pay Their Fair Share”

    The transcript of the phone call confirms that the two leaders did NOT discuss the aid freeze.

    Trump spoke more generally about the United States’ support of Ukraine through “effort” and “time,” while Zelensky expressed a desire to purchase more U.S. military weapons.

    NOTE: Trump deciding to place a hold a week before the disputed call, but the Ukrainian government was not told about it until ONE MONTH AFTER THE DISPUTED CALL.

    That means Zelinsky did not know anything at the time of the disputed call, and thus the subject did not come up during the disputed call.

    All this is important because some folks are saying Trump threatened to withhold $440 million unless he got help from Ukraine, i.e., a “quid pro quo”

    That “quid pro quo” clearly did not exist, and LEAHY, and SCOTT, and WELCH, and SANDERS, and PELOSI, a FULL WELL KNOW IT, or should know it after they read this comment.

    • Trump and the President of Ukraine had a telephone conversation on July 25th, 2019. Barr, the Attorney General, receive the whistleblower complaint on August, 12th, 2019

      The complainer, a CIA agent working in the White House, had not heard the conversation, but heard ABOUT IT FROM OTHER PEOPLE, i.e., hearsay.

      “This document looks as if this leaker had outside help, possibly from congressional members or staff,” Fleitz wrote Thursday in an op-ed piece for the New York Post. He also says the whistleblower’s declassified complaint, made public Thursday, “appears to be written by a law professor.”

      Fleitz, who is the president of the Center for Security Policy, describes himself as “troubled” by the whistleblower affair. “I am troubled by the complaint and wonder how an intelligence officer could file it over something a president said to a foreign leader. How could this be an intelligence matter?” “It appears likely to me that this so-called whistleblower was pursuing a political agenda.”

      The former CIA officer notes that he is “very familiar with transcripts of presidential phone calls since I edited and processed dozens of them when I worked for the NSC. I also know a lot about intelligence whistleblowers from my time with the CIA.”
      “From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of.”
      The think tank director insists it’s “more than a coincidence that this complaint surfaced and was directed to the House Intelligence Committee just after Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), an outspoken opponent of Trump, expressed numerous complaints in August 2019 accusing the President of abusing aid to Ukraine to hurt Joe Biden.

      Fleitz notes the similarity between the whistleblower’s complaint and an Aug. 28, 2019 tweet from Schiff and writes, “House Republicans need to ask the whistleblower under oath whether he spoke to the press or Congress about his complaint.”

      He believes the entire whistleblower affair is part of a larger political plan.
      “I refuse to believe that the leaking, timing and presentation of this complaint is coincidence. I don’t think the American people will buy this either,” adding that this latest instance of blatant politicization of intelligence by Trump haters will do long term damage to the relationship between the intelligence community and U.S. presidents for many years to come.”

      Finally Schiff had something to get Trump. Pelosi wanted an impeachment inquiry like another hole in her head. She could no longer sit on the fence and finally came out in favor to start an inquiry. She felt confident, because the Vermont Congressional folks would support it

      Go to this site to read the entire legalistic whistleblower complaint.

  4. It’s unfortunate that in this day and age that corruption is OK for Joe, it’s OK for Hunter and now, it’s OK for Patrick, BUT when the Ptesident exercises his rightful authority to communicate with a world leader, the Dems/Progs/Libs, Pelosi, and the Quad all have a hissy fit and call for impeachment. Question: why does Biden and his ilk get a free ride? Answer, the Dems control the house and are still trying to figure out a way to overturn the results of the 2016 election. My fervent hope. Is that in 2020 this all comes back to bite them big time in the place where the sun never shines!!!!!

  5. The three things you can count on in life:
    1 Death
    2 Taxes
    3 What ever the leftist liars are accusing you of they have done…
    alinsky 101

    Will there be justice doled out for the traitorous action of the 3 named corruptocrats??? No their untouchable swamp creatures of the democRAT pack.

  6. “strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine.”
    Leahy also had a robust and close relationship with Quirks and Stenger.

  7. Let’s be honest. The only time Leahy makes headlines; the only time the Dems trot him out is when they need hate spewed about. That is all he has ever done; that is all he is capable of . He has never done anything for Vermont or the country. Being Ted Kennedy’s sidekick was his claim to fame, EXCEPT when he undermined America, revealing classified info. to the media when Bush 1 became too popular during Desert Storm. And he was head of the Intelligence committee at the time. A patriot? Hardly.
    The man has sucked off the taxpayer dime way too long. He rivals Welfare Sanders, in that regard.

  8. What the heck is going on with Leahy, does he not know that his actions were illegal………why does he get away with this behavior? Vermonters should throw him out asap!

  9. ” Babbling ” Pat Leahy is correct, they need to look ” Ukrainian ” but with the Biden’s & Clinton’s
    endeavors ……… but they won’t even mention that…………….Hypocrites.

    Liberals, It all Trumps fault that the only thing they have, story after story… all hype, as they look
    more foolish every day with their bitterness.

  10. You know that leaky Leahy never does anything wrong. Just ask the liberal news organizations.
    He’s a saint but they want to impeach Trump for doing far less. What they won’t say or do just to get Trump.
    Just look at what Biden did when he was VP but that’s not mentioned. What a bunch of hypocrites.
    When are the people going to wake up and see these people for what they are.
    We really need term limits.

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