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It is an abuse of executive power to use the government to dig up dirt on opponents. However, I am not sure what the felony is.

Zelensky does not seem hard pressed to agree to what Trump suggest, rather he seems ethusiastic. And the arms support does not seem to have been contingent on an agreement. So if this is extortion, it is only in the sense that when the sole super power calls the threat is always present. And I doubt the US wants to criminalise that.

Zelensky is not invited to meddle in the US election as such, but encouraged to investigate possible foul deeds in Ukraine (with repercussions on US politics). Having been elected on a anti-corruption platform this is a natural fit for his stated politics. It will interesting to see if it goes anywhere, considering the rumours of connections between Burisma and the oligarch Kolomoyskyi, who also supported Zelensky's career. Anyway, as Ukrainian president I would assume that can (obeying the proper forms) order the prosecutors to investigate foul deeds in Ukraine. Asking a foreign president to investigate crimes in accordance with their laws (including investigations that have political consequences) is also something the US does and probably doesn't want to criminalise.

So, I do get the abuse of power aspect - the president has to be prevented from bringing the full weight of the govenrment apparatus on his opponents - but I don't get what the felony is.

by fjallstrom on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 at 10:37:55 AM EST
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