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21 Sep, 2019 19:30

Trump ‘fishing for election dirt’ in Ukraine bad, Trump hit by election dirt from Ukraine… forget?

Trump ‘fishing for election dirt’ in Ukraine bad, Trump hit by election dirt from Ukraine… forget?

President Donald Trump is being roasted for “pressuring” Ukraine to get dirt on Joe Biden over past meddling sins. Did the same people cry murder when Trump’s aide Paul Manafort was torpedoed by the ‘black ledger’ leak from Kiev?

This week dedicated Russiagaters had a short yet intensive thrill ride, after it was revealed that a whistleblower had complained about President Donald Trump having an inappropriate phone conversation with a foreign leader. The gotcha moment soon passed as sources of various media outlets claimed that the foreign leader was not Vladimir Putin of Russia but rather Volodymyr Zelensky, the freshly elected leader of Ukraine.

READ MORE: Russiagate’s last stand? #Resistance works itself up over whistleblower complaint on Trump’s alleged ‘favor to foreign leader’

So instead of an exposed case of collusion Trump haters got a suspected case of corruption. Namely, Trump stands accused of leaning on his Ukrainian counterpart to have Ukrainian law enforcement investigate Hunter Biden and whether his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, abused his position as VP to shield the junior from an inquest.

Biden famously bragged how he’d threatened Zelensky’s predecessor that a large loan from the International Monetary Fund would be withheld unless he sacked the Ukrainian prosecutor general. Incidentally, the prosecutor general’s office at the time was investigating a Ukrainian gas company, which had hired Hunter Biden shortly after an armed coup in Kiev placed a fervently anti-Russian government in power, a move that was endorsed (some even say orchestrated) by the United States’ VP himself and the administration he was part of.

Also on rt.com Another probe?! Democrats to investigate Trump ‘pressuring Ukraine’ into 2020 election meddling

So Trump, his detractors believe, pressured Zelensky to get dirt on the man who is likely to be his Democratic rival in next year’s presidential election. Trump has denied it, tweeting on Saturday that “nothing was said that was in any way wrong” between the two. Kiev officials seem to deny it too, with Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko telling the media he knows “what the conversation was about” and that he thinks “there was no pressure.”

However, when it comes to Trump, the president doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Unlike Biden, who publicly revealed he wanted the Ukrainian persecutor out because he was a “corrupt son of a b***h,” in Biden’s own words (and definitely not because his son Hunter had landed his lucrative consultant’s job in Ukraine as part of some sleazy influence-peddling scheme).

The conversation between Trump and Zelensky may be as appropriate as the US president now claims it to be. Or as sinister as his accusers imagine it. But apparently, not every lump of election dirt coming out of Ukraine is born equal in the eyes of angry liberal commenters.

Also on rt.com Biden’s Ukraine ties: Nepotism and corruption or ‘conservatives pounce’?

Scroll back to August 2016. The Trump versus Clinton campaigns are in full swing, polls give the Democrat a win, but the Republican is not far behind. So, a pair of Ukrainian officials – a US-linked MP and the head of a freshly created anti-corruption bureau – conspire to illegally leak to the US media material about an ongoing probe into ousted President Viktor Yanukovich and his party. 

At least that’s how a Ukrainian court in October 2018 described what they had done.

In particular, the two leaked photos of a handwritten ledger allegedly showing cash payouts by Yanukovich’s party with the name of Paul Manafort on it. The same Manafort who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time and was later tried and sentenced for tax evasion and bank fraud as part of the Robert Mueller investigation.

Also on rt.com Manafort gets 4 years in prison for financial crimes unrelated to Russia

There are serious questions about how reliable this leaked ledger was in the first place and how extensive the conspiracy was. The two Ukrainian officials may have acted alone, or on behalf of senior figures in their government wishing to score some points with the perceived future leader in Washington. There are claims of some coordination with people in DC, or rather, the DNC.

Whichever the case, one thing is clear: what the Kiev court described was a case of foreign interference in the American election. And when it came out, Trump critics somehow didn’t stampede to denounce it. Which brings us to the partisan logic gripping the US right now: there is “good meddling” and “bad meddling,”“illegal” dirt-digging and one “for the greater good,” as well as “impeachable” allegations of corruption – and those you can boast about.

Also on rt.com DNC contractor asked Ukrainian Embassy for dirt on Trump campaign, envoy confirms

“He’ll use every element of his abusive power and every element of [his] presidency to try to do something to smear me. Everybody looked at this, and everybody said there’s nothing there. Ask the right question!” Biden fumed on Saturday, after a reporter dared to ask about Hunter and Ukraine.

Ask the right question indeed.

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