Friday, November 22, 2019

Go Ahead, Investigate

Let’s assume for a moment that Joe Biden remains the frontrunner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination and becomes its standard bearer. All the while he would be subjected to a withering attack by Donald Trump and his henchmen about his alleged improper interference in Ukraine’s investigation of corruption.

Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to Biden and the Democrats to welcome an investigation of his activities in Ukraine, even if it is by a Senate committee chaired by Republican Lindsey Graham ( If Graham’s committee displays bias the Democrats could always convene a House investigation that would afford Biden a more evenhanded venue. Such a House probe could call witnesses Graham might not wish to testify.  

If Biden is telling the truth, that he did nothing improper, imagine how that would buttress his candidacy and undermine Trump’s. It’s a play he should be willing to undertake to squelch not the drip, drip, drip of Trumpian tweets but the deluge of misinformation and outright lies cast his way. 

Republicans also want to investigate Hunter Biden’s role as a director of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. For someone with no background in the energy field, Hunter was paid a ridiculous amount of money. Millions, it has been reported.

What Republicans are forgetting is what transpires in the Senate can be replicated in the Democratically controlled House. Donald Trump’s children can be investigated by multiple House committees for their international and domestic businesses. Just as Hunter Biden is maligned for trading on his father’s position as vice president the Trump progeny can be scrutinized for how their businesses benefitted from their relationship with the president.

Taking advantage of familial ties to our nation’s chief executive is nothing new. Presidents with siblings or children who created some embarrassing moments include Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan.  

Service to The Crown: If you are among the fans of The Crown, the fictionalized Netflix series on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, you might have already seen episode two of the third season of the series. It is 1965 and the new government of prime minister Harold Wilson is facing a financial crisis. The country’s deficit is running some 800 million pounds. Its only hope of avoiding economic ruin is to receive a cash infusion from the United States. But president Lyndon Baines Johnson is no friend of Wilson (Wilson didn’t support the Vietnam War), so despite the special relationship enjoyed for decades by the two countries, Johnson is loathe to bail out the British.

Spoiler alert—The solution concocted by the Brits is to stroke LBJ’s ego, to soften him up to give them what they want.

All this maneuvering 55 years ago has a very current ring to it. The key to currying favor with Trump parallels the same path. The Saudis knew this and did their best to shower affection on Trump during his state visit. The British did as well. So did France. And China.

Ego enhancement and money in his pocket ignite affection from the grifter-in-chief. Politicians, foreign dignitaries and business executives with their lobbyists know this, too. They have eagerly paid top dollar at Trump hotels. In addition, Trump has squeezed hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars from the U.S. treasury to pay for his frequent golf and weekend visits to his various golf courses and resorts. In just the first five months of his presidency, the Secret Service spent more than $250,000 at Trump properties ( 

Though Trump was shamed into cancelling the G-7 economic meeting at the Trump National Doral in Miami, the Republican National Committee has jumped in to pick up some of the revenue slack by booking its winter meeting at the resort. 

Taking Credit: Even fabulously successful businessmen get caught up with Trump infallibility. In Texas Thursday Trump took credit for the opening of a plant that makes Apple computers. He did so while standing next to Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer.

Cook knew the plant had opened in 2013, during Obama's presidency, but he chose not to correct Trump, not to his face or in subsequent comments. 

It is speculated that truth-talking is less important than corporate profits which Trump could affect through his tariff policies (