A Tale of Two Phone Calls: an Impeachment Puzzle

Here’s a puzzling question: The House impeachment inquiry against President Trump is focused entirely on Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president that linked US aid to Ukraine with Ukraine’s investigation of Trump’s rival Joe Biden. The evidence for this quid pro quo, from transcripts and whistleblowers, is now solid, but this impeachment effort faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Meanwhile, there was a second phone call, this time between Trump and Turkey’s President Erdogan. After this call, Trump, for some unknown reason, reversed US policy, shattered regional stability and betrayed Kurdish allies by giving Turkey its long-desired green light to invade northern Syria.

Turkey has clearly benefitted from this surprising presidential decision, but few have asked just what the US – or Trump himself – have gained. Trump provides a likely answer, befitting his overarching focus on his own financial gain. Trump himself boasted in a December 2015 Breitbart interview that he had “a little conflict of interest in Turkey: a major, major building in Istanbul … called Trump Towers.”

Could this be another quid pro quo (this time resulting in the deaths and displacement of thousands of Kurds)? And might this offer another case for impeachment? After all, the House overwhelmingly condemned Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds in what The New York Times called “the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.” And even Trump’s allies in the Senate, including Mitch McConnell, have expressed their disdain about the call and Trump’s decision. So this route to impeachment could have a much stronger chance in the Senate.

Why then is almost no one in Congress, rather than going on and on about Ukraine, instead demanding transcripts and other evidence related to the Turkey call? After all, this seems to present a golden opportunity to finally kick our accursed president out of office.

There’s something curious going on here, behind the curtain, that demands its own investigation.

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Doug Noble is an activist with Upstate (NY) Drone Action Coalition.

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