Trump: Sure, I Did It. So What?

Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA

We are entering the inevitable end stage of Ukrainegate:

President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he discussed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Ukraine’s president….While Mr. Trump defended his July phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine as perfectly appropriate, he confirmed that Mr. Biden came up during the discussion.

I had an, um, spirited discussion about political matters with a friend this morning, and among other things he disagreed with my considered assessment that Ukrainegate, if true, represented “Nixonian levels of corruption.” In fact, he saw nothing wrong with it at all. It was just ordinary politics and he figured that presidents ask foreign leaders for favors like this all the time. Oh, and why did Joe Biden want to get rid of that prosecutor, anyway?

What’s more, he said, this wasn’t nearly as bad as all the stuff Hillary did. Nor was it as bad as Obama promising “more flexibility” to the Russians on a hot mic. It was just more Democratic witch huntery, like Mueller all over again, who proved that Trump was innocent of obstruction of justice because you can only obstruct criminal investigations, not counterintelligence inquiries.

I wasn’t even really mad about all this. Just depressed. This is what a big chunk of ordinary conservativedom thinks, and nothing is going to change it.

It’s pretty clear at this point that Trump realizes the truth of what happened is likely to come out. So he’s doing what he usually does: preemptively declaring that there’s nothing wrong with it and getting the entire conservative machine to publicly agree with him. I don’t know if it will work, but if Trump did what we all think he did, then he has to be impeached. It doesn’t matter if it’s politically helpful or not. It doesn’t matter if the Senate is likely to convict. It has to be done, and Republicans have to be put on the record as either approving or disapproving of his conduct.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.