In 2019, former President Donald Trump was impeached for a phone call that Democrats interpreted to mean he was withholding aid from a foreign nation for his own political gain. A new report suggests current President Joe Biden may have done something similar.
According to Reuters, Biden and then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had a phone conversation on July 23 to discuss strategies in Afghanistan. During the call, Biden reportedly suggested Ghani needed to change the perception of his fight against the Taliban.
“Hey look, I want to make it clear that I am not a military man any more than you are, but I have been meeting with our Pentagon folks, and our national security people, as you have with ours and yours, and as you know and I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” he said, according to a transcript of the call from Reuters.
“And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
With this statement, it looks as though Biden was pressuring Ghani to change the public’s view of the struggle in Afghanistan even if it required lying. By saying “whether it is true or not,” Biden apparently felt it was justifiable for Ghani to lie in order to quell concerns about the Taliban.
“If you empower [Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi] to execute a strategy focused on key parts of the population centers, and I’m not a military guy, so I’m not telling you what that plan should precisely look like, you’re going to get not only more help, but you’re going to get a perception that is going to change in terms of how … our allies and folks here in the States and other places think you’re doing,” Biden continued.
While Biden was not explicitly clear what he meant by “more help,” his next statement in the conversation might provide some necessary context.
“You clearly have the best military, you have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well,” he said. “We will continue to provide close air support, if we know what the plan is and what we are doing.”
These comments could admittedly be interpreted in multiple ways. One seemingly logical explanation is that the “plan” Biden was referring to is the aforementioned attempt to change the perception of the Afghan government’s fight against the Taliban.
If Biden was referring to that plan, he was potentially saying that if Ghani lied in order to change the public perception, the United States will in turn continue to provide air support for him.
Donald Trump, Jr. made that point on Twitter when he alleged, “Joe Biden offered US taxpayer funded aid to a foreign leader in exchange for his help in lying to the American people about the dire situation in Afghanistan — part of a scheme to use the presidency to protect Biden’s personal political interests.”
Joe Biden offered US taxpayer funded aid to a foreign leader in exchange for his help in lying to the American people about the dire situation in Afghanistan — part of a scheme to use the presidency to protect Biden’s personal political interests. #QuidProJoe
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 2, 2021
According to a CNN transcript, Trump told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky at the beginning of the call that the United States was doing “a lot for Ukraine.” The outlet noted Trump had frozen aid to Ukraine just before the call.
Later in the conversation, Trump told Zelensky, “I would like you to do us a favor … I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it.”
Crowdstrike had conducted an investigation into a data breach within the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election, CNN reported. The outlet also said Crowdstrike was “at the center of Rudy Giuliani’s effort to investigate how convicted tax evader and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was implicated for work he did in Ukraine.”
Finally, Trump discussed then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, with Zelensky.
“The other thing, here’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said.
After months of investigations, whistleblowers and interrogations, the House Judiciary Committee decided Trump had threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine if Zelensky did not do what Trump wanted. The House of Representatives ultimately impeached Trump on Dec. 18, 2019, Axios reported.
Before the impeachment, Zelensky said he did not feel pressured by Trump during the call. Nonetheless, the left decided to apply the worst possible interpretation to Trump’s comments in the call.
If the same sort of interpretation was applied to Biden’s reported call with Ghani, he would almost certainly be considered guilty of a quid pro quo. At their worst, Biden’s comments mean the United States offered to provide aid to Afghanistan for lying to the world, and that is certainly an impeachable offense.
Just as in Trump’s case, the evidence to convict Biden of a quid pro quo is relatively murky. But if the left wishes to hold their president to the same standard they held Trump to, Biden deserves to be thoroughly investigated.