A Million-Dollar Donation From Ukraine to the Trump Campaign Would Be Corrupt. So Why Isn’t a Million-Dollar Investigation?

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The House is currently hearing from constitutional scholars about whether Ukrainegate constitutes an impeachable offense. I would like to offer up a hypothetical. Consider the following two demands from the Trump team:

Demand #1: The president won’t release military aid until Zelensky goes on TV and commits to opening a serious investigation of Burisma and the Bidens.

Demand #2: The president won’t release military aid until Zelensky commits to spending at least $1 million for an investigation of Burisma and the Bidens.

Practically speaking, these are identical. Both demand an investigation of the Bidens that would benefit Trump personally. Both demand a way of binding Ukraine to carry out the investigation: the first with a public announcement, the second with a budgetary outlay. And both say essentially the same thing since any serious investigation of the Bidens would certainly cost Ukraine at least $1 million.

The only difference is that demand #2 actually states the dollar amount out loud. In demand #1, it’s merely implicit.

And yet, in much of the public’s mind, this minuscule difference seems to be key. As long as you take care never to be caught actually mentioning money, it’s not corrupt. Discuss.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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