The Difference Between What Donald Trump Did and What Joe Biden Did

Ever since a whistleblower came forward with the allegation of a quid pro quo between Donald Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump’s supporters have scrambled. According to the whistleblower’s account, Trump pressured Zelenskiy to investigate his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, as a condition for releasing needed military aid funds that had already been allocated to Ukraine. 

At first, Trump’s supporters quickly denied that there was a quid pro quo. Then, when it became apparent that denial was a lie, they tried to rationalize Trump’s actions with the idea that quid pro quo situations happen “all the time” between the U.S. and foreign governments. Now that the whistleblower’s story has been widely corroborated by a number of credible witnesses who found Trump’s actions “troubling,” Trump’s supporters are desperately trying to divert attention away from possible wrongdoing by equating Trump’s actions with those of Joe Biden when Biden had worked to help remove a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor.

On the November 10, 2019 broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), echoed the current GOP talking points when he said, “I think, really, what’s going to happen is people are going to say, ‘Oh, they’re impeaching President Trump for exactly the same thing that Joe Biden did.’

“He threatened the aid, if they didn’t fire someone. And supposedly, the president did, if they didn’t investigate someone. So it sounds exactly like what Joe Biden did. And if they weren’t going to impeach Joe Biden, they look like, you know, hypocrites, in a way, for going only after President Trump and having not a word to say about what Joe Biden did…It’s exactly the same scenario.”

But it isn’t.

Rand Paul was referring to the idea that (then vice president) Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was a paid board member of the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, during the time that then Vice President Joe Biden was working to have a Ukrainian prosecutor removed in order to, as Paul, and other Trump supporters put it, stop the prosecutor from investigating Hunter Biden’s company. This is, at best, a stretching of certain facts. 

Later in the show, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), said, “…That has nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with the actions of the United States president in extorting Ukraine in a way that damaged our national security.”

Joe Biden was not trying to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor to keep him from investigating his son’s company. He was trying to follow through, with the support of U.S. allies, on removing a prosecutor who was failing to investigate Ukrainian corruption, and who many agreed was himself corrupt. Contrary to damaging national security, Biden’s efforts were to strengthen security for Ukraine, as well as its allies. 

At the same time that some of Trump’s supporters have conceded that there may have been a quid pro quo, they’re also quick to try to say that Trump’s first interest was to fight corruption in Ukraine. With a president who, according to the Washington Post, has made more than 14,500 false or misleading claims during his presidency as of October 14, 2019, this is hard to imagine. What’s more, at the time Trump had decided to conditionally withhold military aid from Ukraine, the U.S. Departments of Defense and State had both certified that Ukraine had made great progress in decreasing corruption, and recommended the U.S. proceed with the aid to Ukraine. 

In resorting to “what-aboutism” as a defense against the whistleblower’s complaint and all of the testimony that backs it up, Trump’s supporters appear to be aware that they have little else to present as an argument. 

Full Himes: ‘We’ve Got To Get Off This Quid Pro Quo Thing’ | Meet The Press | NBC News [2019-11-10]

Biden defends son’s dealings in Ukraine while attacking Trump | Fox News

Trump Denies Whistleblower Claims, and Deflects; Business as Usual

In August, an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint with Michael Atkinson, Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), alerting him to multiple “troubling” conversations between Trump and a “mystery counterpart.” The counterpart was a (then) unidentified foreign leader. During at least one of the conversations, Trump allegedly made a promise to the leader, according to the whistleblower.

Though the U.S. Intelligence community determined that the whistleblower’s report was “urgent and credible” and forwarded it to acting director of national intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire, Maguire did not give the report to Congress, apparently on advisement from the White House and the Justice Department. 

According to the DNI, the report involved “confidential and potentially privileged matters relating to the interests of other stakeholders within the executive branch.”

Later, it was revealed that the “mystery counterpart” was from the Ukraine, and was in fact Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. 

In addition to suspecting a coverup and an abuse of power on the part of Trump, Democrats now suspect that Trump may have tried to use the promise of U.S. military aid to the Ukraine to initiate a probe into Ukraine business dealings by Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son.

Trump allegedly told Zelensky “roughly eight times” to work with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to investigate Hunter Biden. Trump alleges that Joe Biden demanded that the Ukrainian government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son. 

Joe Biden denies this.

As if on cue, Rudy Giuliani, in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, first denied that he had asked Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, then later in the same interview, when asked again, said, “Of course I did!” Giuliani later said he had misspoken. 

Also as if on cue, Trump deflected attention away from the scandal and toward Biden: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed with world leaders,” he told reporters. “I’ll tell you this: Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden‘s statement.”

And though Trump claimed not to know the identity of the whistleblower, he slammed him or her as a partisan, calling the situation a “political hack job” and ridiculing the news media for covering it.

“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine,” Trump tweeted.

Biden responded by saying “Not one single, credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertion.”

“…I have no comment except the president should start to be president,” Biden added.

Meanwhile, Democrats are calling for impeachment while Trump supporters are citing this scandal as more “proof” that Democrats and the media are involved in nothing but a “witch hunt” aimed at bringing Trump down. 

Since its inception, this administration has regularly been the subject of scandals that would have ruined other politicians. For Trump, however. each instance seems to strengthen the support of his base. Though some say this whistleblower’s complaint, if proven, could be especially damaging to Trump, recent history has shown that it will most likely be all but forgotten when the next potentially ruinous Trump controversy du jour overshadows it.

President Donald Trump Blasts Growing Whistleblower Firestorm As ‘Ridiculous’ | NBC Nightly News [2019-09-20]

The Trump WHISTLEBLOWER Story Is A SHAM! | FOTM | ATS | Huckabee