Arkansas congressmen have circled the partisan wagons for Donald Trump’s misconduct, as evidenced in a Democrat-Gazette roundup this morning.

The most popular excuse for the damning contents of Trump’s call to Ukraine is laughable: That there is no quid pro quo. A written contract is not necessary to prove the obvious deal suggested by Trump through word and deed — U.S. aid in exchange for digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

Advertisement

Send to your Arkansas congressman former solicitor general Neal Katyal’s explainer that Trump need not commit a crime to commit an impeachable political offense.

The White House memo summarizing the president’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s new president (it’s not really a transcript) contains devastating facts. It shows that the president of Ukraine asked President Trump for help buying Javelins (an antitank weapon system) and that Mr. Trump’s next words were, “I would like you to do a favor, though,” after which he requested information about CrowdStrike (an American cybersecurity firm) and his leading 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.

 

That is brazen conduct — and it took place the day after Robert Mueller testified in Congress, perhaps when Mr. Trump felt liberated from the shadow of the Russia investigation. It shows the president trying to outsource his political opposition research to a foreign government in exchange for enabling the purchase of weapons from the United States. Even Richard Nixon, who knew a thing or two about opposition research, never thought to outsource the Watergate break-in to a foreign government.

Arkansas congressmen depict this “brazen” act as unremarkable — “reasonable” was the word Rep. Steve Womack used. Such a view of open corruption is unbelievable. Except it isn’t from this gang.

Advertisement

Bad as the partial account of the Trump phone call is, there’s more to come. The whistleblower complaint that inspired the recent developments is about more than a single phone call. A version of that complaint is to be released today and testimony is set in committee.

It’s a sordid tale linked with Trump’s ties to Russia and his desire to rehabilitate Paul Manafort and continue his pursuit of dirt on the woman who beat him by 3 million votes in  the 2016 election. Just politics, say Arkansas congressmen. Yes, of a particularly poisonous sort on their side.

Advertisement