More and more, this has become the urgent question in the House impeachment hearings:
Who ordered that $400 million in military aid for Ukraine be held up to get Ukraine to investigate corruption?
Was is simply a matter of bureaucracy misfeasance, as some suggest, or did President Donald Trump order it held up as a quid pro quo to get the new Ukraine government to do his political bidding.
If Trump ordered the hold, then the case against him strengthens. If not, well, who did and why?
So far, the hearings haven’t shed a bright light on the question. But the answer was provided a month before the hearings from none-other than Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. You might have forgotten that it was only a few weeks ago because events are moving so quickly.
Here is what he said in an October press conference:
Did [Trump] also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server?” he said. “Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.
Mulvaney denied that it had anything to do with an alleged Trump effort to pressure Ukraine to get dirt on presidential candidate Joe Bidden. At 2:19 into the video he lists three reasons, including the history of Ukrainian corruption. But not for the Bidden thing.
He and the White House tried desperately to walk back his revelation. Obviously, Mulvaney won’t show up at the hearings to testify.
There’s a chain of command that the committee ought to follow. Who did Trump tell to hold up the aid? Mulvaney said in the video that he was “involved” in that. Who received the order to hold up the aid? Who pushed the execute button to actually hold up the aid? Who ordered the aid released?
The Trump administration probably would not allow the committee to subpoena these people. But if so, should a court require their appearance?
No easy answers from this corner.
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