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In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Ukraine may be at the center of a major geopolitical battle, but it’s feeling increasingly alone and abandoned by its U.S. backers amid the impeachment drama unfolding in Washington.
In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Ukraine may be at the center of a major geopolitical battle, but it’s feeling increasingly alone and abandoned by its U.S. backers amid the impeachment drama unfolding in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Columnist Cal Thomas says Democrats are now using the word “bribery” to depict President Donald Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine only because focus groups preferred “bribery” over the Latin term “quid pro quo” (“Desperate Democrats,” Nov 21).

Mr. Thomas references a Washington Post article to document his assertion. He conveniently omits this part of the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 4) quoted in the Post article before any mention of focus group research: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

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The Constitution gave Democrats the word “bribery,” not a focus group. Republicans’ defense of Mr. Trump is more accurately “reason to be cynical about politics.”

During the impeachment hearings, for instance, Republicans have repeatedly mentioned how Mr. Trump, not President Barack Obama, provided Ukraine lethal weapons — those Javelin anti-tank missiles — as if that proves the president has no untoward motives in stopping $400 million in more recently approved security assistance. Republicans also want us to believe that when Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky says he felt “no pressure” from President Trump that shows everything is aboveboard.

I don’t believe for a minute President Trump earlier provided Ukraine Javelin missiles because he cared about Ukraine. He did so simply to do something President Obama didn’t, to put down his predecessor — something that apparently brings him joy. He wasn’t concerned about any corruption in Ukraine. I imagine though it brought President Trump some pain that he might be hurting Russian President Vladimir Putin while one-upping Mr. Obama.

Ukraine and its newly-elected president need the political and financial support of the United States to defend against Russia’s aggression and strengthen its position in negotiating peace. That U.S. support includes, among other things, the simple act of Mr. Trump welcoming President Zelensky in the Oval Office.

Surely, President Zelensky knows Mr. Trump’s bullying ways. If he publicly said President Trump was pressuring him, he would be waiting for his nasty attacks on Tweeter and the South Lawn of the White House. All hopes of U.S. support from the White House would evaporate. Clearly, Mr. Zelensky doesn’t have the luxury of confronting a bullying U.S. president and walking away.

When saying Mr. Zelensky’s denial of pressure shows all is OK, Republicans are essentially blaming the victim of Mr. Trump’s bullying and, yes, bribery.

Frederic H. Decker, Bowie

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