Two months ago, most Americans had never heard the expression, “quid pro quo.” Now it’s all anybody can talk about.
The Latin phrase literally means “this for that,” referring to an agreement made between two parties where each gets something from the other in the transaction.
The phrase itself is morally neutral. Some quid pro quo agreements can be corrupt - you pay Guido a monthly retainer and he won’t bust the windows out of your shop. But most are perfectly innocent. You give the installer an agreed upon amount and he repairs the windows Guido broke.
This is how nations from antiquity have done business together. Every treaty between nations and every treaty that ends a war is a matter of quid pro quo. In the treaty of 1783 that ended our war for independence, we essentially told the Crown we’ll stop killing your soldiers (the quid) if you recognize the United States (the quo.)
Now when Joe Biden told Ukraine I’ve got a billion dollars here and I’ll give it to you if you stop investigating my son’s business, that was the mother of all quid pro quos. Criminal? Likely. Corrupt? Certainly.
Things all depend upon what the quid is and what the quo is. Biden justified playing hardball on the grounds that it was about corruption and not greed. Ukraine is notoriously corrupt, and Biden claims the prosecutor in his son’s case was corrupt and needed to be terminated. Since the U.S. does not want to deal with corrupt governments and ship $1 billion overseas that might disappear in oligarchical pockets, he argued this was simply good governance. According to Biden, the fact that his son was a beneficiary was secondary.
Alrighty then. Donald Trump was sitting on $391 million of U.S. taxpayer money that Ukraine wanted. But Trump did not want our $391 million winding up in an oligarch’s bank account, and so he pressed for assurances that corrupt business practices in Ukraine were being dealt with. Since Hunter Biden had no familiarity with Ukraine - he has still never even been there - and didn’t know thing one about the energy industry, it was naturally a matter of concern as to what exactly Ukraine was paying Hunter $160,000 a month to do.
A president has plenary authority over foreign affairs in our system of government - you could look it up - and there is everything right about a president using his authority to ferret out government corruption as a condition of doing business with a foreign country.
Ukraine had significant leverage with the Obama administration after Hunter found his pot of gold, and it’s only natural to ask whether that had anything to do with the privileged deal the American vice-president’s son got and the influence his father had with the president of the United States. It’s impossible for that deal not to raise serious questions in the minds of any neutral observer.
The issue for Trump in his utterly innocent phone call with Ukraine's President Zelenski was corruption, not getting “something of value” in anticipation of the 2020 election. If there was “something of value” at work in the transaction, it was of value to the United States and its just concern that foreign aid be used for its intended purpose, not siphoned off for something or someone else. The fact that there may have been some perceived value to the president’s candidacy is secondary. The quid for the quo was justice.
But that’s Joe Biden’s argument exactly. If Trump’s quid pro quo is corrupt - it isn’t -, then certainly Joe Biden’s was, and his case is way hinkier than Trump’s.
U.S. diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor testified behind closed doors yesterday in this bogus impeachment inquiry. By mid-July, Taylor said, "It was becoming clear to me that the meeting Ukrainian President Zelensky wanted with President Trump was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma.” So what? If Burisma money was being used to bribe high ranking American officials, that’s something that deserves to be investigated.
Taylor also said, "President Trump was adamant that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say that he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference." Taylor added that Zelensky was to publicly say he “would leave no stone unturned” in such an investigation. So what? It’s not corrupt for an American president to press a foreign president to go to the mic and publicly pledge to cooperate with an American investigation into foreign policy decisions and meddling in our presidential elections. That’s not corrupt - that’s his job.
Democrats, by the way, are hoping you will not notice that President Zelensky never made the public declaration Trump was demanding, Ukraine is still not investigating Burisma, and Ukraine still got every penny of its $391 million. Some quid pro quo, eh?
We’ll believe the Democrats are serious about justice just as soon as we see Joe Biden behind bars. Until then, everybody just needs to back off.
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