In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to the impeachment of President Donald Trump as a television series, specifically citing the soap operas “Santa Barbara” and “Dallas.” Throwing cold water on what Democrats alleged to be a pressure campaign on Zelensky and his government, the Ukrainian president also said he looks forward to his next conversation with Trump and hopes to visit the White House.
Zelensky did bristle when asked about corruption in Ukraine, asking President Trump to stop referring to his country as one of the most corrupt in the world. But he did acknowledge that in the past, Ukraine has suffered under great government corruption. He promised his administration is changing that and operating openly and honestly.
The interview severely undermines the entire premise of the Trump impeachment effort. Why on earth would Zelensky look forward to further conversations with Trump if the latter was, in Democrats’ words, extorting him in their July 25 phone call?
According to the Democrats and their allies in the media, Zelensky has been lying when he says he felt no pressure from President Trump to launch investigations into the energy company Burisma tied to Joe Biden’s son Hunter. The entire impeachment effort was based on the notion that Trump was dangling military aid to Ukraine until such an investigation was announced. But no investigation was announced, and the aid flowed before its deadline.
Further, while the Obama administration sat on its hands when Russia invaded Ukraine and only managed to send non-lethal aid such as blankets, the Trump administration has given significant lethal aid in an effort to thwart Russia’s military advances. Clearly, Zelensky is interested in further cultivating this relationship with Trump and the United States.
Aside from the fact that Zelensky, a former comedian, should upgrade his cable package, as he’s watching TV shows from the early 1980s, his dismissive view of the impeachment debacle is telling. One gets the sense from his remarks that he feels Democrats have been using him and his country to further attacks on Trump’s presidency when those same Democrats should be focused on helping his country defend itself from Russian aggression.
Just over a week after Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, this interview further cements the fact that impeachment was a cynical political ploy, not a serious investigation into an alleged abuse of power in which the person allegedly being bribed didn’t even know any bribery was happening.
The soap opera is over, and it is obvious Zelensky wants no reboot of it. Nobody shot JR. What the Ukrainian president wants and what we should all want is to put this sham impeachment behind us and to move forward with a meaningful and productive relationship with our ally. Hopefully now, that is exactly what will happen.