Who would benefit from a Biden investigation?

My radio was on as I ate my lunch, and as I heard a bit of the public deposition of Ambassador Gordon Sondland, I pricked my ears as at the following exchange.  (I do not pretend to quote, but just to relay the sense of what was said.)

Congressman: Who would benefit from investigation into the Bidens?

Ambassador Sondland: The person requesting investigation.

Congressman: That means President Trump?

Ambassador Sondland: Yes.

Congressman: See, you said it, and it did not hurt.  President Trump demanded a personal benefit in the form of foreign government's investigation of his domestic political opponent in return for the official act of releasing the much needed aid.  Correct?

While this was an obvious trap set to provide a sensational headline like "Sondland admits to Trump wrongdoing" or suchlike, my reaction was "that's not a right answer to the question!"

For indeed, there are many who would benefit from the Biden investigation by Ukrainians.  Most immediately, of course, it would be Biden's political opponents: President Trump on the Republican side, and Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, and the rest of hopefuls for nomination among the Democrats.

But that is not all.  Suppose the Bidens came out clean (after all, they claim to have done nothing wrong).  That outcome would, paradoxically, greatly benefit Biden, by confirming to Americans his high character and good judgment.

Yet, above all, the investigation would benefit America, by making sure that misdeeds and corruption of claimants to a public office are indeed investigated, and those involved are kept at arm's length from the positions of public trust.  

One other aspect of the question should be noted: its premise confuses cause with effect.  One of the grievances against Trump is that his wish for a Biden investigation encouraged the very corruption the U.S. is trying to eradicate in Ukraine.  But this thinking is confused, and causality inverted.  First, the Bidens took advantage of Ukrainian corruption to enrich themselves, which, as a result, caused Trump to demand investigation.  If not for the Bidens' desire to fish in the muddy waters of Ukrainian corruption, Trump would never have made a request for an investigation of Bidens.  It is not (or not only) Trump who took advantage of the culture of corruption in Ukraine — the Bidens did, too.

So all in all, what is the proper answer to congressman's question of "who benefits from the Biden investigation?"

It is indeed simple: "the USA."

Image: Marc Nozell via Flickr.

My radio was on as I ate my lunch, and as I heard a bit of the public deposition of Ambassador Gordon Sondland, I pricked my ears as at the following exchange.  (I do not pretend to quote, but just to relay the sense of what was said.)

Congressman: Who would benefit from investigation into the Bidens?

Ambassador Sondland: The person requesting investigation.

Congressman: That means President Trump?

Ambassador Sondland: Yes.

Congressman: See, you said it, and it did not hurt.  President Trump demanded a personal benefit in the form of foreign government's investigation of his domestic political opponent in return for the official act of releasing the much needed aid.  Correct?

While this was an obvious trap set to provide a sensational headline like "Sondland admits to Trump wrongdoing" or suchlike, my reaction was "that's not a right answer to the question!"

For indeed, there are many who would benefit from the Biden investigation by Ukrainians.  Most immediately, of course, it would be Biden's political opponents: President Trump on the Republican side, and Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, and the rest of hopefuls for nomination among the Democrats.

But that is not all.  Suppose the Bidens came out clean (after all, they claim to have done nothing wrong).  That outcome would, paradoxically, greatly benefit Biden, by confirming to Americans his high character and good judgment.

Yet, above all, the investigation would benefit America, by making sure that misdeeds and corruption of claimants to a public office are indeed investigated, and those involved are kept at arm's length from the positions of public trust.  

One other aspect of the question should be noted: its premise confuses cause with effect.  One of the grievances against Trump is that his wish for a Biden investigation encouraged the very corruption the U.S. is trying to eradicate in Ukraine.  But this thinking is confused, and causality inverted.  First, the Bidens took advantage of Ukrainian corruption to enrich themselves, which, as a result, caused Trump to demand investigation.  If not for the Bidens' desire to fish in the muddy waters of Ukrainian corruption, Trump would never have made a request for an investigation of Bidens.  It is not (or not only) Trump who took advantage of the culture of corruption in Ukraine — the Bidens did, too.

So all in all, what is the proper answer to congressman's question of "who benefits from the Biden investigation?"

It is indeed simple: "the USA."

Image: Marc Nozell via Flickr.