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Op-Ed

No, President Trump's Ukraine Call Didn't Violate Campaign Finance Law

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Now touting impeachment, Democrats and their media allies are teaming up yet again to live out their 2016 revenge fantasy of taking down President Donald Trump. And, yet again, their cries of campaign finance violations are ringing hollow and false.

To date, more than 200 House Democrats have announced support for the impeachment inquiry, with many citing alleged campaign finance violations as their reason d’être —  facts and law be damned. At the same time, the left-leaning mainstream media is churning out headline after headline accusing Trump of breaking the law.

The purportedly objective Associated Press recently suggested President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “could amount to an illegal request for a campaign contribution from a foreign citizen.” Liberal news outlets like Slate, meanwhile, continue to reference “campaign finance crime” with no understanding of the law allegedly violated.

But, the law is clear: Trump is not guilty.

Anti-Trumpers, let me repeat: By urging the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son (as he should), the president did not violate campaign finance law.

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Democrats are seeking to criminalize Trump’s valid exercises of authority under the U.S. Constitution to conduct our nation’s foreign affairs, and to “take care” our laws be faithfully executed. Federal officials regularly request information from foreign governments about illegal activities of U.S. citizens in foreign countries, including corruption that may violate the Federal Corrupt Practices Act.

The notion that the FBI is able to investigate possible corruption by U.S. citizens abroad, but the constitutional head of the executive branch may not, is patently absurd.

Lest we forget: The Obama administration (including the FBI), Democratic members of Congress, and the Democratic National Committee had no problem with repeatedly reaching out to Russian and Ukrainian officials and intelligence sources throughout the 2016 election, in search of derogatory information about the overseas activities of Trump and his senior campaign officials. They played politics then, and they’re playing politics now.

President Trump was entirely justified in investigating whether Joe Biden had unethically and illegally threatened to withhold federal funding unless Ukrainian officials fired a prosecutor investigating his son’s company. That qualifies as potential corruption on the part of a U.S. citizen in a foreign country — let alone the sitting vice president at the time.

As fellow campaign finance attorney Eric Wang explained, Trump does not appear to have tied the request for an investigation of Biden and his son to his own re-election. Therefore, the objective evidence that a “contribution” is being solicited by or provided to an elected official simply doesn’t exist.

The fact that Biden is presently running for office does not insulate him from being investigated for his potentially unethical and illegal conduct as vice president. Even if the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Biden’s son faced his own corruption-related concerns, Biden’s conflict of interest alone should have disqualified him from acting in support of his son.

Separation-of-powers doctrine makes it unconstitutional for Congress to impeach a sitting president because its members disagree with how he exercised his constitutionally vested discretion, at the core of the Constitution’s Article II.

It is also unconstitutional for Congress to impeach Trump because its members question his motives or believe he may have exercised his power with the “wrong” mindset.

And it’s certainly unconstitutional for Democrats to do what they’re doing here: Finding any flimsy, half-baked excuse to impeach a president just because they don’t like him and can’t accept he won an election, and they lost.

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The Ukraine story is yet another nothing-burger. President Trump did not violate campaign finance law, and this impeachment charade is every bit the farce it seems.

If you hear otherwise, just remember: It’s the Trump Derangement Syndrome talking.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates and PACs, including two of the largest pro-Trump super PACs. He is the founding attorney of political.law PLLC, a campaign finance and political law firm in Alexandria, Virginia.




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