Evidence Suggests Donald Trump Engineered ‘Shakedown’ Of Ukrainian Government, Says Legal Expert

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In an interview with MSNBC broadcast on Thursday, former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah discussed the impeachment case against President Donald Trump, reports Raw Story.

Rocah began by weighing in on U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s involvement in the case.

As Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, suggested during his testimony before Congress earlier this week, Sondland called Trump by cellphone from a Ukrainian restaurant in late July.

The president allegedly asked Sondland about whether the Ukrainian government would be launching investigations.

Taylor told Congress that he believes the president was referring to investigations into his political rivals, which suggests that he was pressuring the Ukrainian government in order to benefit himself, thus committing an impeachable offense.

A second official has reportedly confirmed that the Trump-Sondland phone call was about investigations into Democrats.

According to Rocah, Sondland is “definitely at risk for perjury.”

“But, look, I will say perjury is a very hard crime to prosecute,” she noted, explaining that the ambassador “may have some wiggle room,” and might be able to defend himself without contradicting the statements made in his initial testimony.

Sondland may be able to defend himself for now, with William Barr being the attorney general, Rocah added, but “any honest and independent” prosecutor would analyze his testimonies and look for discrepancies.

The situation is not nearly as good for Trump, Rocah suggested.

The legal expert explained that evidence suggests the president engineered a “shakedown” of the Ukrainian government.

“This is really about Trump, and the inescapable facts that are just building up brick by brick — and this is another brick — that he did a shakedown of the Ukrainian president,” according to Rocah.

Other legal experts have similarly argued that Trump’s actions amount to extortion and bribery. For instance, in a recent interview, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe suggested that Trump not only sought to bribe and extort the Ukrainians — and did so to harm his political opponents — but also wanted to protect himself from allegations of collusion with Russia.

According to Democrats in the House of Representatives, Trump committed impeachable offenses by pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in order to damage Biden’s White House bid, Democrats claim.

Their allegations are based on a complaint filed by an anonymous whistleblower, who claims that Trump pressured Ukraine by withholding military aid.

The transcript of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, released by the White House, corroborates the whistleblower’s claims, according to House Democrats.