Ukraine, Australia . . . Who’s Next?

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The New York Times reports that a few weeks after Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine, Trump called the prime minister of Australia and asked for his help in an investigation of the Mueller report—an investigation that he hoped would discredit Mueller and help his reelection chances.

Over at National Review, Charles Cooke says that while Ukrainegate may be bad, the Australia call is a nothingburger:

It seems pretty unreasonable to me to (a) invest the power of investigation in the executive branch, (b) demand the executive branch conduct an investigation, and then (c) claim that if that investigation ever intersects with the personal political interests of the head of that executive branch, it’s ipso facto illegitimate. What is our standard here? “You must investigate this topic, but don’t ask any questions that might redound to your benefit”? Come now.

Come now indeed. The issue here isn’t that a legitimate investigation might just happen to produce findings favorable to Trump. That would be fine. But aside from the fact that this was never really a legitimate investigation to start with, we aren’t talking about Trump keeping himself at arm’s length and letting the chips fall where they may. We’re talking about Donald Trump explicitly getting on the phone to encourage an ally to help him.

By itself that may or may not be a big deal. But it sure shows a pattern of behavior, doesn’t it? If your goal is to make a case that Trump has been abusing the power and influence of the presidency to benefit himself personally, this is one more brick in the wall. Quite reasonably, I think that’s exactly how the public will see it.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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