Did Donald Trump ever have a boyfriend
Impeachment proceedings against Trump"A dangerous game by the Democrats"
Stephanie Rohde: "I want you to do me a favor." This sentence could be Donald Trump's undoing. In a phone call, the American president asked the Ukrainian president to investigate the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. Shortly before, both had talked about money for Ukraine. A whistleblower had lodged a complaint about this phone call, the transcript has since been published. The whistleblower also accuses the government of trying to hide the transcript. All of this strengthened the Democrats in their decision to initiate impeachment proceedings, accusing Trump of abuse of power. He denies this and attacks the whistleblower. Now, according to media reports, President Trump's special envoy for Ukraine has resigned. I can now talk to Ralph Freund about this, he is Vice President of the German Republicans and on the phone. Good Morning!
Ralph Freund: Good Morning!
Rohde: Is Impeachment Proceedings Right?
"Could just be an election instrument of the US Democrats"
Friend: In principle, it is right that the matter should be investigated to determine whether there is an amalgamation of personal and state interests. I think impeachment proceedings are problematic for a number of reasons: on the one hand, it is politically questionable, because I believe it makes more sense in an election year to ask the sovereign or the voter whether a president is presidential than politics does. The second, I think it will be a very tedious process, whether it will ever come to that, is the big question. And the third thing, your listeners should know, there has never been an impeachment trial for a US president that resulted in an impeachment. There were two presidents who resigned voluntarily, and two more failed. To that extent, this instrument in the American constitution has never been concluded for 250 years. To that extent, it could only be an election campaign tool of the US Democrats.
Rohde: Where would you say did Donald Trump then cross the line, which is why you then say that it is good that this is now being investigated.
(AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY) US Impeachment Proceedings - First Clinton, Now Trump?
Because he is said to have put pressure on the Ukrainian President, US President Donald Trump is threatened with impeachment proceedings. The Democrats see this as abuse of office and cover-up. Trump is not the first US president to be brought into such a case. A review.
Friend: The question is, has he even exceeded it. During the phone call, he told his colleague from Ukraine that he should investigate these allegations by Joe Biden and his son more legally. There is nothing wrong with that at first. What heats up the minds in this case is the question of whether there was a joint, a legal connection or even an economic connection, in the sense: Go ahead and find something and I will reward you for it later. If it had come to the point where it has no appearance at all, then it would in fact be a huge political, how shall I put it, a political process. But that has by no means been proven. I read the interview myself, but it only says, please investigate. At first it is not reprehensible in a constitutional state to get to the bottom of things again.
"Much more sensible to let the voters decide for themselves"
Rohde: Well, the transcript says they talked about Ukraine and money for Ukraine, and after that Trump says do me a favor - and he himself admitted to putting pressure on the Ukrainian president. So Trump himself admitted that he did that. Why are you still denying that?
Friend: I'm not denying, I'm just saying there was no connection. It doesn't say I'll give you money, you'll make a legal aid agreement or something like that for me, that didn't happen. In every conversation between presidents there is logically also about money, but if everything is there, I don't think that it will lead to impeachment proceedings. On top of that - as the current polls show - there is in the American population, at least currently, maybe that will change, there is no majority in favor of impeachment proceedings. The voter sees it very differently. On top of that, I think it is not very happy for the Democrats when they start impeachment proceedings, as with Clinton, for example, in the second term, then the voter can no longer vote the president out. Now we are in the election year, the sovereign can decide. It would make much more sense to let the people decide, the voter, than political processes ...
Rohde: Yes, Mr. Freund, but the US electoral law is relatively clear. That says, asking for foreign help in the election campaign is illegal, regardless of whether you ask friendly questions or promise money or whatever. Isn't that exactly the problem?
Friend: Yes, you have to make a distinction. Is it really support or is it more: Please investigate a process that I believe was illegitimate, that Joe Biden and his son may have done things there that are illegal. And that Trump says again, I point out to you to investigate it again. First of all, this is a healthy process in a democracy. The question is, is there a joint, is there a legal connection between "Have a look" and "I will support you". However, this cannot be found in the protocol.
"I think preliminary examinations are right"
Rohde: Trump doesn't see any problem in this at all. Could it be that someone who has absolutely no awareness of injustice is at the forefront of a democracy?
Friend: So I don't know with the sense of wrongdoing. We have often had legal violations, you know that as well as I, is not an entirely American problem. We had the Dublin Agreement on illegal immigration, which was suspended, and there were serious lawsuits and charges against Ms. Merkel. Well, the question is a bit, in Western democracy you have very complex interrelationships again, the question is: Is this an offense or is it normal pressure that one has to exert in order, let's say, to even help the rule of law. It would make sense if the Democrats initiate something now, that investigations in Congress come about and that a judgment can then be made. The administrative assistance procedure is not yet under way, but preliminary investigations are being carried out for the time being, and I also think that these are correct.
Rohde: If none of this is a problem, and there was nothing to hide, why did Trump try to prevent transcripts from being published?
Friend: I think that as an American president you become very sensitive when it comes to security policy data, especially with countries that are now in a civil war, such as Ukraine. In this respect, I would first have a look at everything that is available in terms of data and then publish it. I honestly have to admit that according to the copy I have, the phone call was less spectacular than it is being made now.
Rohde: Well, but does this cover-up make Trump even more suspicious, doesn't it harm himself?
(dpa-bildfunk / AP / Evan Vucci) Trump's "Ukraine Affair": the people involvedA former comedian, the son of the ex-vice president and a great stranger. Donald Trump is not the only one who is in focus in the struggle for impeachment proceedings against the US president. Who was important in the Ukraine affair and on the way to a possible impeachment is and should become.
Friend: Certainly, just let us not forget that this is a complex matter. As the American president, you have contacts in several states that are either in civil war or that are politically unstable. To that extent, of course, I would always look at things beforehand and sit down with my advisors. And of course the US Democrats are now sucking out any ammunition they can get against Trump. Before they thought they could easily beat the president, now they see that he is doing well in polls, and of course they need all kinds of ammunition. It is part of the election campaign, but I would like to emphasize that it is not only part of the election campaign, it is also part of a stable democracy, such as the USA, which values the rule of law and which are now initiating investigative democratic processes as normal .
"A dangerous game by the Democrats"
Rohde: The Republicans do not want to initiate these processes, most support Trump. Who are you actually obliged to, the President or the Constitution?
Friend: Of course we are committed to the constitution, but of course it is politically explosive because we are now slowly getting into the primaries. It'll be another year and then we'll have the elections. Of course, attempts are being made on both sides to position themselves there. But this is a dangerous game for the Democrats. As I said at the beginning, there has never been a successful impeachment case against a president ...
Rohde: But it was also because, for example, presidents like Nixon resigned, Trump could do that too.
Friend: Nixon resigned, for example, because it was hopeless, but if the whole interview is as I have it, of course there is no back and forth. And just imagine that you are the President's challenger, and then there is still an impeachment process going on six months before the election, that should be around the time of a possible vote in the Senate, then if it goes wrong, then you can go to for forget about the choice. So far as I think it will not come to that. I think if no more investigative results come out in Congress than what we have right now, I would say the US Democrats would not be well advised to initiate an impeachment case. On top of that, Trump would cannibalize that he said, I am standing in front of the people, the administration in Washington, which I reject anyway, is trying to remove me, but you can keep me in office. I think that would be an unspeakable campaign support for Donald Trump. And I don't think the US Democrats will want to get into that.
Rohde: Another quick question: A poll by "Politico" yesterday found that ten percent of Republican voters are in favor of this impeachment process. Wouldn't the Republicans be well advised to position themselves differently now?
Friend: I am also in favor of a procedure that at least sheds light on the darkness ...
Rohde: But most of your party members don't.
Friend: Yes, nonetheless. That doesn't mean that you will vote for the US democratically, that you simply say you are in favor of the rule of law, it does not mean that you suddenly change the party fronts. So I don't think that's wrong, I think it's a healthy process. I think the whole interview that we have before us - again - does not reveal that at first, as did the Muller report at the time, when it also emerged that things were not ...
Rohde: Friend, unfortunately we have to stop. Thank you for the interview!
Friend: My pleasure!
Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt the statements of its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.
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