In the recent House Intelligence Committee hearings, all witnesses, even those requested by the Republican committee members, testified under oath that President Trump held up Ukraine defense funds approved by Congress. He wanted to force the Ukraine president to announce an investigation of the Bidens in spite of the May Pentagon letter stating that Ukraine was taking necessary steps to reduce corruption.

Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said this was standard procedure and we should “just get over it.” During the hearings, Republican committee members spent their time attacking the witnesses and the investigation but never questioning the facts presented.

Withholding defense funds benefitted Russia, who is invading our ally Ukraine, seizing their territory and killing thousands of their citizens. To date, Trump has entertained the Russian foreign minister twice in the White House while refusing to meet the Ukraine president until he publicly announces an investigation of the Bidens.

Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr has said that under no circumstances can a sitting president be investigated for any crimes until after he leaves office. Trump’s attorney actually argued in federal court that law enforcement cannot even stop a sitting president in the act of committing murder.

In the impeachment investigation, Trump has refused to allow any witnesses from the executive branch to testify or to allow any documents to be released. Barr has even refused to allow Congress to view an unredacted version of the Mueller report.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the effort to remove sanctions against Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who had illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. McConnell then announced that Deripaska would build a new aluminum plant in McConnell’s home state.

After the vote to impeach Trump, McConnell announced that he would meet with Trump’s attorneys to make sure that the Senate will not convict Trump in the upcoming Senate trial. As the effective jury foreman, McConnell vows to acquit defendant Trump.

In the past, the Republican party stood for integrity and standing up to Russia. Unfortunately, Republicans now seem to be the party of corruption and of Russian President Putin.

MICHEL WILCOX

Cochranton

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