CLAIM: President Donald Trump never cared about corruption in Ukraine.
VERDICT: FALSE. Democrats’ own investigation showed that he did — long before Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Burisma were an issue.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) opened the fourth day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump by mocking the idea that Trump cared about corruption in Ukraine. “It’s difficult to even say that with a straight face,” he said.
Crow, who has also been blaming President Trump — falsely — for Ukrainian deaths, repeated the false claim made by lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this week that Trump only cared about corruption in Ukraine once it involved former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential rival in the 2020 presidential election.
Actually, even if it were true that Trump only cared about allegations of corruption against Biden involving a foreign country because he was a political rival, that would have been a legitimate reason — according to Schiff himself.
Last April, Schiff wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “If a foreign power possessed compromising information on a U.S. government official in a position of influence, that is a counterintelligence risk. If a foreign power possessed leverage, or the perception of it, over the president, that is a counterintelligence nightmare.”
Schiff was defending the Obama administration’s decision to launch an investigation into Trump, who was then the Republican nominee for president. But the same logic would apply to Biden: it is in the national interest to know.
Regardless, we know from Schiff’s own impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives that Trump had previously expressed strong concerns about corruption in Ukraine.
As Breitbart News has noted several times, State Department official Catherine Croft testified in her closed-door deposition in Schiff’s “basement bunker” at the House Intelligence Committee that Trump was particularly concerned about corruption in Ukraine, even to the point of lecturing then-President Poroshenko — in front of his whole delegation — about it:
Croft: The President was skeptical of providing weapons to Ukraine.
A: When this was discussed, including in front of the Ukrainian delegation, in fnont of President Poroshenko, he described his concerns being that Ukraine was corrupt, that it was capable of being a very rich country, and that the United States shouldn’t pay for it, but instead, we should be providing aid through loans.
The whole conceit of Democrats’ argument is that merely mentioning Burisma — widely considered corrupt — and Joe Biden and Hunter Biden — whom President Trump believed to have behaved corruptly — does not count as discussing “corruption” because Trump used specific examples rather than the general term.
It is a distinction that makes no logical sense — and actually emphasizes the case for the Bidens should testify, if witnesses are called.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.