I was interested, though aghast, to read Byron York's recent column, “Above the law? Well, what is the crime?”, defending President Donald Trump's attempts to push Ukraine's president to “dig up dirt” on former Vice President Joe Biden, his most likely election foe next year. Throughout this latest Trump scandal, I continue to be astonished at how low his defenders will go to defend the indefensible.
First, we need to dispense with the inaccurate headline. Yes, there was certainly a crime. Quid pro quo or not, there was a crime. As stated on the FEC website, there is a broad prohibition on foreign national activity in connection with elections in the United States. The first example listed is:
“Making any contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or making any expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement in connection with any federal, state or local election in the United States ...”
No one of minimal common sense could argue that “digging up dirt” on Biden would not be “a thing of value” to Trump's campaign. No one can argue that it would not require some expenditure or disbursement on the part of Ukraine to create this contribution.
Further, under United States law, as determined by a 1969 Supreme Court decision, by encouraging another to commit an “imminent lawless action”, as this would be, Trump committed a crime himself.
There was a crime.
And why have I put “dig up dirt” in quotes? Because these charges have been investigated and debunked. There is no dirt to dig up. It must be manufactured. It is just another example of repeating a lie until some people start to believe it.
We can disagree on policy. We can disagree on goals. But if our nation is to survive, we must agree on facts. If York wants to believe that it is acceptable for Trump to break the law, he can believe that, but he cannot make the law disappear by quoting specious reasoning by Bradley Smith or stretching a decision by the Mueller team to the breaking point. The law is clear. And it was broken.
Carl Eyman III