EDITORIAL: The line is drawn here: Gardner, GOP must press for ‘whistle blower’ probe into Trump’s Ukrainian extortion

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It will take years for the next congress and administration to unravel the full depths of depravity and corruption Donald Trump and his cronies have inflicted on the United States. The matter of Ukrainian extortion, however, can be exposed in relatively short order.

The entire nation drew a collective gasp this week when it became apparent that Trump used the power of his office to blackmail the Ukrainian government into a scheme of skulduggery against Trump’s political challenger former Vice President Joe Biden.

Actually, it was not the entire nation that has been outwardly shocked and repulsed by yet another act of treachery by the president and his complicit henchmen.

Sen. Cory Gardner, fellow Republican Colorado lawmakers and almost all of the Republican Congressional leadership have, as usual, gone silent about Trump’s latest criminal escapade. Some have actually already worked outright to defend one of the most despicable and dangerous acts against the U.S. government in its modern history.

It’s now clear that, earlier this year, Trump personally tried to force a newly elected Ukrainian president into forging an investigation into business dealings by Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Rumors of Ukrainian business influence by the senior Biden for his son’s benefit have appeared in earnest only in regularly debunked faux-journalism sources.

According to stories in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Associated Press, Trump not only pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone in July, he insisted as many as eight times during a phone conversation that the Ukrainians investigate Biden. The inferred and obvious ransom for all of this was U.S. financial support, a top-level White House meeting, and remaining in the good graces of the United States — and Trump.

The phone extortion was followed by a meeting in Madrid that Trump insisted on between his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani and a Ukrainian point person. The purpose of that meeting was to continue to pressure the Ukrainians into running an investigation against Biden and to try and uncover who outed Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Manafort was sentenced to seven years in prison for a laundry list of corruption charges stemming from past Ukrainian dealings.

All of this came to light because a U.S. intelligence official privy to the blackmail scheme outed Trump by reporting it as a “whistle blower” to a federal oversight office.

The problem now is that Trump and his cronies are working to squash that investigation into this episode of extortion and abuse of power.

For the past several months, Gardner has stood by Trump time after time when the President has violated not only the Constitution, but also seemingly endless departures from decency, and sound judgment.

Gardner has rightfully earned the scorn he has drawn upon himself from his constituents for his appalling sycophancy toward Trump. But even Gardner must draw a line here and speak out loudly to force the Trump Administration into turning over the whistle-blower report to Congress for investigation.

If Gardner cannot do this one thing, this one act of righteousness, lawfulness, and justice, then he should immediately resign. If Gardner and Colorado congressmen Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton cannot set aside their blind partisan allegiance to call out and correct Trump’s malevolent abuse of power, then each of them should stand aside to allow others with working moral compasses to check this president for this odious crime.

The future of the presidency, the Congress and the Nation are now at stake. If all those things cannot rise above partisan politics, then the Republican Party that these members are trying so desperately to protect will have died on this conceit.

Both houses of Congress, and anyone on Trump’s cabinet with a remaining shred of morality, should unanimously demand the release of the whistle-blower report and a full investigation into these seditious acts by Trump, Giuliani and any other co-conspirators uncovered — today.