QUID PRO FAUX: Treaty Invalidates Impeachment
By Jonathon Moseley
Impeaching President Donald Trump is legally invalid. The chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America requested that Ukraine assist our attorney general investigate suspected criminal activity in 2014 through 2016.
Ukraine already entered into the “Treaty Between the United States of America and Ukraine on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters,” negotiated by President William Clinton, and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 2000.
You quid-pro-quo all day long
So what Trump asked newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do the Ukraine was already compelled to do by its reciprocal treaty with the United States. (Zelensky was elected in April and his party won other seats in June. But conversations with prior officials had been on-going.)
A quid pro quo—which literally means “one thing in return for another.”—is an element of bribery and other similar crimes. But any time you buy a cheeseburger and hand over the money to pay for it, that is a quid pro quo or “one thing in return for another.” You quid-pro-quo all day long. To be a crime, the exchange of one thing in return for another” must be independently illegal, such as contracting for something that one does not have the right to sell.
Legally, you cannot enter into a quid-pro-quo for someone to do what they were already obligated to do anyway. If you pay $1.50 for a copy of The Washington Post, it is a quid-pro-quo. But if you have a subscription, they cannot charge you for today’s newspaper that you already paid for.
Let’s say I am driving 150 MPH on Virginia’s I-81 highway and I am pulled over by a State trooper. The trooper tells me “Do me a favor, son. Turn off your engine and show me your driver’s license and registration. Then I won’t have to shoot you.” (Driving over 80 MPH is a crime in Virginia.)
Am I really doing the trooper “a favor?” Aren’t I already required to show him my driver’s license and registration? Saying “Do me a favor” is just a social nicety, not a legal reality.
Let’s say my tenant owes me $800 in rent on the 1st of the month. I tell him “Do me a favor. Don’t forget to pay the rent on the 1st.” Is he really doing me “a favor?”
Both Ukraine and the USA are obligated to help each other investigate crimes where some evidence, actions or witnesses might be found in the other country. Suppose a crime occurred in the U.S.A., but one of the witnesses flew home to Ukraine. Maybe nothing wrong happened there, but U.S. investigators still need to talk to the witness. Or perhaps the crime crossed national borders. Maybe parts of a crime were in the U.S. yet parts in the Ukraine. And of course the treaty works both ways, as well.
Many are arguing that it is illegal to ask a foreign country to investigate any U.S. citizen. That’s just false. We have a treaty requiring it.
Was there evidence of illegality justifying Trump’s request? See: David Stern, “Ukrainian MP seeks probe of Ukraine-Clinton ties: Parliament member demands to know whether his country’s government targeted Trump in the 2016 campaign,” The Politico, August 16, 2017.
“A Ukrainian member of parliament has requested a criminal investigation into possible meddling by his country’s government into last year’s U.S. presidential elections, claiming the interference has “seriously damaged Ukrainian-American relations.”
“In a July 24  letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andrei Derkach, an independent MP who was formerly aligned with a pro-Russian party, requested that authorities launch a pretrial investigation into “illegal interference in the election of President of the United States organized by a criminal organization.” This organization, he said, consisted of senior members of the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, government officials, and other public figures.”
Democrats from the United States colluded with corrupt Ukrainian politicians and operatives to try to elect Hillary Clinton
We know that Democrats from the United States colluded with corrupt Ukrainian politicians and operatives to try to elect Hillary Clinton: See, Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire: Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton,” The Politico, January 11, 2017.
“Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.”
“A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.”
$1.8 billion of foreign aid allegedly vanished when it passed through ProvatBank
In this case, $1.8 billion—that’s billion—of foreign aid allegedly vanished when it passed through ProvatBank (also spelled as PrivatBank from Ukrainian) owned by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky and partly controlled by Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky is also the owner of Burisma Holdings. Zlochevsky had previously been Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, where he supervised vast energy wealth in and moving through Ukraine from Russia.
Burisma Holdings then put Hunter Biden, son of the then Vice President of the United States, and other well-connected “second sons” on its Board of Directors, paying Hunter as much as $83,000 per month for light, part-time work.
Even if Hunter had no clue that this was fishy, even if Burisma did nothing wrong, putting Hunter on Burisma’s Board was an insurance policy. And it worked. Like a charm. Kolomoisky and Zlochevsky were being investigated for activities outside the four walls of just Burisma itself. Yet Burisma was only the paymaster to apparently bribe Vice President Joe Biden through Biden’s son Hunter. And Quid-Pro-Joe came to the rescue to demand the prosecutor’s firing.
We are told that many nations wanted the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin fired. That makes it okay for the U.S.A. to order Ukraine to fire its own government official? How’s that again?
About the author
Jonathon Moseley is a Virginia business and criminal defense attorney. Moseley is also a co-host with the “Conservative Commandos” radio show, and an active member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party. He studied Physics at Hampshire College, Finance at the University of Florida and law at George Mason University in Virginia. Moseley promoted Reagan?s policies at High Frontier and the Center for Peace in Freedom. He worked at the U.S. Department of Education, including at the Center for Choice in Education.
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