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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Almost since it broke just days ago, the White House whistleblower scandal–in which Donald Trump may well have withheld military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure that country’s leader to dig dirt on Democrat Joe Biden–has felt at least qualitatively different than the myriad Trump scandals which came before.
Perhaps it is that this one has mushroomed so quickly. Maybe it’s that this time it involves a foreign power led by someone not tied to Trump’s hip.
And it may mark a darker turn for this administration because–up until now–Vice President Pence has kept his name distantly away from any of the past serious misdeeds, including Russia interference and the related obstruction of justice.
Let us be very clear and say we are far from making any definitive statements. But news reporting has begun to indicate that Pence may have had knowledge of, if not direct involvement in, the campaign to hold up aid for Ukraine as a stick to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to smear former vice president Joe Biden, who has consistently bested Trump in public opinion trial heats ahead of next year’s US presidential election.
A variety of lawmakers and others have agreed that if facts are borne out, the whistleblower scandal–so named because it was brought to light by a whistleblower in the US intelligence community–could finally push Congress into impeaching Trump.
And now if it is indeed proven that Pence also holds culpability, the United States could well be in for a constitutional and presidential crisis not seen since Watergate–indeed, one which could easily dwarf Watergate.
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