If the latest allegations about President Donald Trump’s conversations with the leader of Ukraine are true, his conduct may constitute a garden-variety public corruption crime: extortion and bribery.
The Washington Post has reported that the subject of an intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint relates to a “promise” made by Trump in a conversation with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Further reporting indicates that the conversation amounted to a threat to withhold $250 million in military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky investigates the family of Joe Biden, who is of course running to unseat Trump in 2020.
And The Wall Street Journal has reported that during a single phone call in July, Trump made “about eight” demands for Zelensky to work with his lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, to investigate Biden, though Trump did not mention the aid during the call. The Post reported that while there was no explicit quid-pro-quo during the call, that conversation is part of a broader set of facts included in the whistleblower complaint. According to the Post, a “Ukrainian official this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son, Hunter Biden.”