Cleveland’s Plain Dealer newspaper picked up this story from Darrel Rowland and the Columbus Dispatch and ran it on the front page last Friday — below the fold, but still on the front page and “must-read.”
In the story, Rowland wrote, “On Wednesday, Donald Trump said that GOP Sen. Rob Portman could back his account of dealings with the Ukraine.”
Senator Portman, R-OHIO, is the co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and, unfortunately for Trump, could not back up Trump’s account – he wouldn’t lie for Trump because Senator Portman and a bipartisan group of senators, prodded by Vice President Joe Biden, had sent a letter in February 2016 to then-Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko urging him to crack down on corruption within the Ukrainian government.
Part of the letter reads, “Succeeding in these reforms will show Russian President Vladimir Putin that an independent, transparent and democratic Ukraine can and will succeed,” the letter further states “It also offers a stark alternative to the authoritarianism and oligarchic cronyism prevalent in Russia. As such, we respectfully ask that you address the serious concerns raised by Minister Abromavičius. We similarly urge you to press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s Office and judiciary. The unanimous adoption by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Basic Principles and Action Plan is a good step.”
The letter, in fact, supports Joe Biden’s account of how Victor Shokin, the Prosecutor General referred to in the bipartisan letter, came to be fired — a month after the letter was sent, the Ukrainian legislature voted to remove Shokin.
The letter does not support the made-up, baseless account that Trump has been pushing where he called the firing “unfair ” and then demanded an investigation into Biden and his son.
From Darrel Rowland’s article, “ But Trump’s narrative — repeated again Thursday — was that ‘Ukraine got rid of a prosecutor who was a very tough prosecutor ‘.”
According to CNN, “At a hearing in March 2016 on Ukrainian reforms, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the Committee who would one day become a top Trump critic within the GOP, raised concerns about corruption in Ukraine and said his hearing would delve into what pressure the U.S. could apply.
For a much more complete and detailed account of the bipartisan letter and the concerns about Ukrainian government corruption, refer to CNN’s KFILE article here:
So, who else signed the February 2016 letter that was sent by the Senate Ukraine Caucus? –Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. They were joined by Republican Senators Rob Portman, Ron Johnson and Mark Kirk (defeated by Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, in 2017).
Portman actually posted the letter on his website and tweeted that he supported the fight against corruption in Ukraine.
So, why didn’t Senator Portman immediately come to Vice President and former colleague Joe Biden’s defense when Trump began to lie about the Ukraine, Biden and his son, Hunter?
That would have been a great question to ask him if he had appeared on any of the Sunday news/talk shows — especially since Portman said that he was “running around” and hasn’t read it and would not comment– when asked about the Whistleblower complaint when the story first broke.
I would think that as co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman would have been among the first to know about the Whistleblower complaint.
And Darrel Rowland, in his Columbus Dispatch article quotes Emmalee Kalmbach, Portman’s press secretary, “ As he has said many times, Rob believes the Democrats’ rush to impeachment is unwarranted.”
It would have been informative to have Portman on the record explaining why impeachment is unwarranted based on all of the evidence to the contrary and Portman’s own knowledge about the true nature of the Ukraine corruption investigation and Biden’s role in that investigation.
It would have been great to see Senator Brown, or any of the other Democratic Senators face off against Portman and proven liar Senator Ron Johnson discussing the letter that they all signed and sent to the president of Ukraine — the letter that Ron Johnson now claims he was tricked into signing – and to cover his ass, he and Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter last week to proven liar and obstructor of justice AG William Barr asking for an investigation into allegations against Biden.
This is the same Senator Johnson who signed a bipartisan letter that was sent to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on September 3 asking why funds that were approved for Ukraine’s defense were being held up. www.shaheen.senate.gov/…
Chuck Todd, on Meet The Press, did a nice job of exposing Senator Johnson’s lies, deflections, and deceptions and called him out on peddling the same old GOP crap and Chuck did contribute to Senator Johnson’s very bad week — but it’s not enough.
It may have been good theater and one of Chuck’s better performances, but it did little to get to the truth about corruption, Ukraine and Trump’s attacks on Biden and Trump’s illegal attempt to involve a foreign government in our domestic elections. It was half-assed infotainment, not particularly informative and it didn’t start at the beginning where it should have — the letter from the Senate Ukraine Caucus.
We need the whole truth. We can handle the truth.
It’s not too late.
Somebody, anybody, get all, some or most of these Senators together on-screen and ask them about the February, 2016 letter, the September 3rd letter and the recent Johnson-Grassley letter. Let’s see who dares to lie and deflect and defend Trump’s crazy-ass conspiracy theories and his impeachable behavior, Giuliani’s inept and illegal meddling and Barr’s dangerous obstruction and abuse of his office.