March 2, 2024

“Mafia methods” or not worth mentioning? – DW – September 25, 2019

Who would have thought that a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would lead to impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump? Until recently, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi was hostile to calls for impeachment. But on Tuesday evening in Washington, Pelosi announced that Democrats would launch an investigation, the first step toward potential impeachment.

Reason: Trump reportedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do so Corruption investigations against Joe Biden's son To tighten. a Record reminder for phone conversation Between Trump and Zelensky, which was published by the White House on Wednesday morning local time, shows that The US President asks his counterpart to “get to the bottom of the matter.”

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon in New York, Trump said Pelosi had been persuaded by the “radical left” of the Democratic Party, and called the accusations against him a “hoax.”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives: “Trump undermined the integrity of our elections.” Photo: Image Alliance/Abaca

Trump confirms American support

In the phone call on July 25 of this year, according to a White House transcript, Trump said he felt it was “unfair” that the then-Ukrainian prosecutor general’s investigation into the case involving Hunter Biden was closed and the prosecutor was fired. .

At the beginning of the conversation, Trump emphasized how well the United States was dealing with Ukraine, and that it was a greater supporter of the country than European partners. In addition, the memos show that he promised the Ukrainian president that his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and US Attorney General William Barr would communicate with Zelensky to advance the investigation. “There's a lot of talk about Biden's son: that Biden stopped the investigation, and a lot of people want to know what happened,” Trump said, according to the memos. “So whatever you can do with the district attorney would be great.”

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“This is what a mafia boss talks about.”

Former US Vice President Biden is one of the most prominent Democratic candidates for next year's presidential elections. Trump's opponents see the conversation as evidence that the US president is trying to stir up a scandal surrounding Biden with the help of a foreign head of state. Opposition Leader Pelosi said Trump had committed “betrayal of his oath of office” and “national security.”

Democratic Senator and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, went further. He described Trump's behavior in the phone call with Zelensky as “classic mafia tactics.” The memo shows “the Ukrainian president who desperately needs US help.” Trump explained to his interlocutor that the United States helped Ukraine a lot. “This is how a mafia boss talks,” Schiff commented to reporters. “We've done so much for you, but what have you done for us? Now I want to ask you for a favor.” Of course, this favor is investigating your political opponent.”

President Trump has called the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt” by Democrats against him. There was “no pressure at all” in the phone call and the conversation was not worth mentioning. For his part, President Zelensky responded with humor. “No one can put pressure on me because I am the president of an independent country,” the former TV comedian told Russia's Rossiya 24 channel about his phone conversation with Trump. “The only person who can pressure me is my six-year-old son.”

Joe Biden (left), still serving as US Vice President, with his son Hunter Biden (right).Photo: Photo Alliance/DPA

He is unlikely to be impeached

The phone conversation with Zelensky is just part of the Ukraine issue that prompted Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump. A Secret Service informant originally called attention to the phone call. Experts in Washington hope the informant's statement will provide more information. But it is still unclear when he will answer investigators' questions.

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“It is unclear what will happen next in the impeachment process — everyone is now waiting for the whistleblower’s testimony,” said Brandon Conradis, a journalist at The Hill, a Washington newspaper and online news website that covers US politics and the economy.

One thing is certain: Trump will not actually be impeached unless there is one in the Senate alongside all the Democrats A large number of Republican senators voted in favor of it. This is considered highly unlikely. But the fact that Pelosi, who has long opposed calls for Trump's impeachment, has now opened the proceedings shows just how dire the situation is for Trump.

“Pelosi's appearance on television was a signal of radical change,” Conradis told DW. “So it's not an exaggeration to call this a critical moment. But how the House moves forward and how the whole thing develops from here is completely open.”

Many Republicans see this process as beneficial to the presidential campaign because it gives Trump the opportunity to portray himself as a martyr under attack by mean-spirited Democrats. But even if the Republican Senate majority saves Trump from impeachment, the action alone represents “an ugly stain on the legacy,” Conradis says.