Dem Focus Should Be on Military Aid, Quid Pro Quo

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Regular reader AM writes today about something I’ve been meaning to mention for a while. I’ll let him go first since he has family and friends in middle America:

My concern is that Dem messengers of all stripes; chyrons on MSNBC and CNN; and print media sources are now all but uniformally stating things like “No White House dinner for Ukraine until investigation into Bidens.” But the screaming horror of it all was extortion (i.e. no military aid/Javelins for you till you do us a “favor”).

Now my own anecdotal research with my veteran, right-leaning friends back in real America is that if you don’t prove and emphasize the denial of lethal aid it sounds like something for Emily Post to suss out. I can’t tell you how CRITICAL this component is and I think it applies to a lot more than my Marine, combat vet friends.

I have a related but similar complaint about the widespread belief on the left that the quid pro quo doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Trump asked Ukraine for help investigating a political opponent. The fact that he offered something in return is neither here nor there.

Legally, that might be right. Politically, it’s dead wrong, and impeachment is a political process. It’s absolutely critical that Trump is shown to have withheld vital military aid to an ally unless they agreed to help Trump in his reelection campaign. And like AM, I agree it’s the military assistance that’s key. No one really cares about visits to the White House, which are widely viewed as political favors in the first place.

Obviously the news is coming down on us like a firehose these days, and there are lots of things to report. That’s fine. All of them are worth following up. But underneath it all, we should all be focused 24/7 on one key issue: Donald Trump withheld military aid from an ally unless they would help him smear a political opponent in order to gain a leg up in his reelection campaign.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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