Tuesday, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-Selma) said that “no one is above the law” discussing an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump (R) announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
“This is a sobering moment in our nation’s history, when the rule of law and constitutional duty require Congress to move swiftly to protect our national security and the integrity of our democracy,” Rep. Sewell said in a statement.
“The President, by his own admission, has put Congress in an untenable position,” Sewell said. “Yesterday, the President admitted to asking the Ukrainian government to interfere with a political rival and threatened to withhold critical military aid to our ally if their government did not comply with his demand. “
“The events surrounding the whistleblower complaint are the final straw in a series of troubling and disconcerting actions by President Trump and his administration,” Sewell added. “This failure of the Trump Administration to disclose the whistleblower complaint to Congress flies in the face of the intent of the law; the President’s stunning admission shows a complete disregard for the constitutional duties he has sworn to uphold.”
“No one is above the law, including the President of the United States of America,” Sewell concluded.
In 2010, during the administration of then President Barack H. Obama (D), Viktor Yanukovic was elected President of Ukraine. Yanukovic was pro-Russia and heavily Russia backed. The election marked a dramatic change from the previous pro-European Union Ukrainian government. The United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, with the support of our European allies, engineered the overthrow of Yanukovic by pro-western Ukrainian opposition groups in February 2014.
Yanukovic fled the capital. Russia feared that the new government would ask to join the E.U. and NATO. Before any of that could happen, an angry Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his armed forces to seize the Crimea from Ukraine within days of the fall of the Yanukovic administration.
The Crimea has a population that is heavily ethnic Russian and Yanukovic had allowed the Russians to dramatically increase their troop presence in the Crimea, which was home to an important Russian Navy base at Sevastopol.
Following the rapid seizure of the strategic peninsula. Putin then backed pro-Russian militias, aided tremendously by Russian Spetsnaz special forces, to seized much of Eastern Ukraine. The U.S. backed Ukrainian government fought back and the two sides have been locked in a bitter fighting ever since. Stung by their failure to anticipate the Russian military intervention, Pres. Obama refused to give lethal military aid to Ukraine fearing an escalation of the conflict into a full-blown war.
President Trump inherited this situation and has increased sanctions against Russia for their occupation of eastern Ukraine and began sending U.S. weapons and military aid to the struggling Ukrainians.
In the midst of all of this international conflict, in April 2014 Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) son Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company named Burisma Holdings even though Biden had never worked in the energy sector in his entire life.
Burisma was owned by Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was a top official in the just deposed Yanukovic administration and was under investigation for allegations of corruption by the new Ukrainian government. In 2015 Viktor Shokin became the Ukraine’s top prosecutor and vowed to investigate Burisma. In 2016, the U.S. threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine unless Shokin was removed.
Joe Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations that in March 2016 he told the Ukrainian government that their loan guarantees would be cut off if they did not removed Shokin.
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion,’” Biden said in 2018. “I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’”
Conspiracy theorists, including Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani claim that the reason Joe Biden removed Shokin is because Shokin was threatening Burisma and Hunter Biden’s interest there. A claim that the Bidens deny. Biden supporters claim that Shokin was removed for failing to investigate corruption, not for investigating Burisma.
President Trump is apparently also convinced that something shady happened in the Bidens’ dealings with Ukraine and admits to asking the Ukrainian President to investigate the matter during a phone conversation. Trump reportedly threatened the Ukraine’s military aid if the country did not comply.
Pelosi and the House Democrats claim that it is improper to ask a foreign government to launch an investigation if legitimate financial threat is part of the request and is a clear violation of the Corrupt Practices Act which is a felony.
On these grounds, the House Democrats have begun an impeachment inquiry into the sitting President without even requesting that a special prosecutor be appointed.
President Trump denies any wrongdoing and insists that the impeachment inquiry is a “witch hunt” and that Democrats are desperate to do this because he is leading in the polls.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell is serving in her fifth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.
(Original reporting by Vox, Fox News, the Conservative Tribune, and Breitbart News contributed to this report.)