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Trump endangered Ukraine, Europe

DEAR EDITOR:

There was no justification for President Trump’s July 2019 call to President Zelensky of Ukraine when Trump told Zelensky release of military funding they desperately needed depended on Zelensky’s help. Zelensky said they needed to buy Javelin missiles, and Trump replied, “I want you to do us a favor, though” — to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

Why would Trump approach Ukraine about the Bidens? Hunter Biden took a job on Burisma’s board of directors in mid-2014. Burisma, a Ukrainian gas holdings corporation, was investigated multiple times for shady reasons. Politifact reported that it was investigated at the time Hunter was associated with it. He pocketed $50,000 per month for being a pretty face with a well-known name and left in 2018.

In 2016, before Zelensky was elected, then-Vice President Joe Biden expressed our intention to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if Ukraine’s corrupt prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was not dismissed. Several European allies stood with us on the issue and Shokin became history.

Hunter’s work with Burisma was not an issue with Trump until April of this year when Biden announced his run for president. Then Trump reached out to discredit his rival.

Withholding the money from Ukraine hurt them and endangered democracy in Europe. While Ukrainians are fighting Russian-backed separatists on their Eastern border, Putin has already annexed a small part of Ukraine called Crimea. Ukraine gets a significant part of their defense budget from us.

Trump not only withheld that help, he also rubbed Zelensky’s nose in it during a press conference. Zelensky offered that he was not pushed into saying anything. Trump then advised Zelensky, “Why don’t you work it out with Putin?” With Putin’s soldiers killing off Zelensky’s people, I think the guy looked like he was going to get sick.

Why does Putin want to take over Ukraine? Why does the U.S. fund its military defense? Because as poor and backward as it is, Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia. We’re paying defense money to preserve democracy in Europe.

Considering this situation, perhaps it was inadvisable for Hunter to work for Burisma. But a worse controversy would be the millions Ivanka Trump has made from selling trademarks to China. Last November, two months after China bought 18 trademarks, Trump lifted sanctions against ZTE, one of China’s two telecommunications companies.

Hunter’s job at Burisma cannot excuse a scenario in which an American president threatens to withhold congressionally approved funds from another country in order to benefit personally. For disrespecting and walking all over the U.S. Constitution, the president deserves to face an impeachment inquiry.

LINDA COCCUZZI RICHTER

Niles

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