Jason Sattler, Opinion columnist
Published 4: 00 a.m. ET Nov. 24, 2019
National Security: Where would Trump begin if he truly cared about unethical behavior and children profiting off their famous fathers? His own sons. Not Hunter Biden.
Let’s assume that Donald Trump actually cares about corruption.
Let’s imagine that investigating “corruption” isn’t just a convenient excuse for Trump to extort Ukraine’s new president into interfering in our elections by staining the character of his potential political rival Joe Biden, and absolving Russia of guilt for the 2016 hacks of the Democratic National Committee — possibly so Vladimir Putin will conspire to elect him, again.
Let’s take Trump at his word that he’s very concerned about even the appearance of family members wringing cash from a president or vice president who shares their name.
Let’s pretend that the man going to the Supreme Court to hide tax returns he promised to reveal dozens of times actually cares about unethical behavior. Because if he did, he’d be so busy investigating his own administration that he’d have to give up all his favorite pastimes — being the friend in “Fox and Friends,” yelling at women on Twitter and helping Republicans lose governorships in red states.
Where would Trump begin if he were truly bothered by the corruption closest to him?
National Security: ‘I wish my name was Hunter Biden’
For the sake of his marriage, let’s dismiss the fact that he has never explained how his wife became a citizen after working in this country without a visa. And let’s suppose that getting his daughter and son-in-law security clearances over the objection of almost everyone who cares about national security was an act of fatherly love.
Let’s skip his campaign, after noting that his former campaign chair and co-chair, along with two of his closest advisers, have been convicted of multiple crimes. And we’ll just submit for the record that he shut down his foundation after New York state filed a lawsuit charging “extensive and persistent” illegal conduct, including holding a political fundraising rally for veterans under the auspices of the foundation.
Let’s begin with Trump’s grown sons, the ones he didn’t want working in the White House.
“I wish my name was Hunter Biden,” Donald Trump Jr. recently said. “I could go abroad, make millions off of my father’s presidency. I would be a really rich guy.”
Don Jr. may not be aware of this, or of anything that requires self-awareness, but the company he allegedly runs is still owned by his father, who refused to clearly divest from it, in violation of 19 promises to do so.
You could make the case that a president’s sons should not even get near a “corrupt company,” as Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., did during impeachment hearings last week.
Of course, Stefanik was talking about Hunter Biden’s work on the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma — not Don Jr. and Eric Trump’s employment at a company whose two biggest growth areas are generating conflicts of interest and using their dad’s influence to fuel a fundraising pyramid scheme. But boys in their mid 30s and early 40s will be boys.
Let’s move on to the strange case of Trump’s 75-year-old lawyer, former U.S. attorney and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Trump also should find out what Rudy was doing with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were trying to leave the country when they were arrested on charges of conspiring to violate bans on foreign and straw donors.
Trump also needs to examine what appears to be Rudy’s attempt to use connections to the president to cash in on the Ukrainian energy sector (in other words, exactly what Republicans accuse Hunter Biden of doing). Federal prosecutors looking into the scheme would surely appreciate the help.
National Security: Impeachment was made for Trump
Finally, if Trump truly cared about corruption, he could spend the next thousand years investigating Donald Trump.
To do this properly, he would welcome an investigation into the vast allegations of tax fraud against him and his family that led his sister, a former federal judge, to resign rather than face an inquiry. At the very least, he should figure out why he owes $50 million to a business he owns, because it looks a lot like a tax dodge.
Amateur hour on national security: Sondland’s impeachment testimony proves Trump foreign policy is run by corrupt clowns
The truth is that if Trump cared about corruption, he would be a huge fan of impeachment. As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said last week, the Founders put impeachment in the Constitution “because they wanted a powerful anti-corruption mechanism when that corruption came from the highest office in the land.”
But Donald Trump’s concerns here are far more sinister and obvious. If he’s looking into corruption, it’s for one simple reason. He wants to do more of it.
Jason Sattler, a writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and host of “The GOTMFV Show” podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @LOLGOP
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