Donald Trump really cares about fighting corruption, his impeachment defense lawyers keep telling us. He cares so much that he held up nearly $400 in military aid to Ukraine to ensure that it would crack down on corruption (in a way that would just so happen to benefit him personally). And now Trump has showed how strongly opposed he is to corruption by … unveiling a major (deeply problematic) Middle East plan alongside a world leader who was indicted just today for corruption.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. In one of the three cases, he steered hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory benefits to a media company owned by a friend, and in exchange got favorable news coverage. Netanyahu tried to argue he was immune to prosecution and has called the prosecution an “attempted coup.” So actually, he’s the perfect person for Trump to be standing with on the last day of the defense’s opening arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial.
The plan Trump and Netanyahu are unveiling “is overwhelmingly expected to be skewed in Israel's favor and is largely viewed as dead on arrival in the region,” CNN reports. Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman charged that Netanyahu is using the event and the plan to boost his own political strength, saying that “Netanyahu is taking a political plan and turning it into a survival plan for him personally.”
With Israel set for an unprecedented third election in early March after the last two resulted in deadlocks, Lieberman explained, “Everyone understands that, 34 days before an election, it is impossible to start a deep, meaningful, fundamental discussion.” Cynically using sham policy for personal political benefit? Another way the Trump-Netanyahu partnership on this plan, on this day is a perfect meeting of minds.
But an hour after Trump was side by side with Netanyahu, his impeachment defense team will be back to argue that he really, really cares about corruption. Tell us another one, guys.