By Dana Milbank
September 27 at 4:22 PM
“It shall be unlawful for —
(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make —
(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election . . .
(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) . . . of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.”
— 52 U.S. Code 30121
“There’s a lot of talk about [Joe] 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. . . . I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General [William] Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out.”
— President Trump, soliciting a
“thing of value” for his reelection from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
on July 25
During his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump famously said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
Now, based on a common-sense reading of the White House’s own rough transcript, Trump has fired the campaign-law equivalent of a Fifth Avenue gunshot. Will he lose any Republican lawmakers?
Let’s step back.
Forget, for the moment, whether there was an implicit or explicit quid pro quo in Trump suspending and dangling aid to Ukraine just before he asked Ukraine’s president for help dishing dirt on his likeliest 2020 opponent.