A brief recap of the whistleblower scandal

Nearly three years into a presidency marked by controversy, Nancy Pelosi and her 255-member majority have announced the beginnings of an impeachment inquiry. The events leading up to the September 24 announcement began as far back as 2014, with recent developments taking place in late July of 2019 after a phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Not long after the call, an anonymous ‘whistleblower’ filed a report detailing the suspect motives of the call and other events that connected Joe Biden, Rudy Guliani and Donald Trump in possible conspiracy with Ukraine. Tensions have mounted since the White House released a memo of the conversation in question and a redacted copy of the anonymous complaint, leading fervent supporters and conscientious objectors of Trump and Biden alike to hold tighter to already-established beliefs, with no end to the turmoil in sight. It is unknown what exact implications this situation may pose for the Trump administration, the U.S.’s relationship with Ukraine, and the 2020 election.

Since around late 2018, Trump’s ally and former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani has been in contact with members of the Ukranian government. He has reportedly attempted to find out anything and everything he can in relation to the Biden family and their involvement in Ukraine, which dates back to May of 2014 when Hunter Biden joined the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings. Corruption in the Ukrainian government as well as the company Hunter Biden worked for led to a series of investigations. The man in control of some functions of the investigations, Viktor Shokin, was fired after Joe Biden, then Vice President, put pressure on Ukrainian officials and threatened to withhold money from Ukraine for reasons that have yet to be determined.

Due to the lack of definitive answers, President Trump and Guiliani want Ukraine to continue investigating the Bidens. Though nothing has come to light that implicates Hunter Biden of any wrongdoing, Guiliani has spoken with members of the Ukrainian government with possible hopes of finding political “dirt” on Joe Biden with the 2020 presidential election looming.

The whistleblower complaint details Trump’s insistence on getting information on Joe Biden: “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” This alarming report frames Trump’s efforts to dig into Joe Biden as a “threat to national security” and says that the actions taken break the law. 

Concerns were only elevated once the transcript of the President’s July phone call with Zelensky was released. Trump, after talking about how much the US has done for Ukraine, asked Zelensky for a “favor,” and proceeded to say, “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

This situation is far from its conclusion and escalates every day as new information is released to Congress and to the public. It is possible that the future of American politics, as well as the state of the executive office, are predicated upon what is discovered during the inquiry and what legislative mechanisms are employed in response.

Written By: Adriana Barker and Ruth Holloway

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