Opinion: The Ukraine impeachment inquiry is giving us a serious case of Russiagate deja vu

President Trump's latest scandal lands him one step closer to impeachment.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

With all the news surrounding Trump, Ukraine and an impeachment inquiry, I can’t help but get a serious case of déjà vu.

It’s checking all my memory boxes.

One: Trump asks a foreign entity to run election interference by investigating a political rival.


Two: The world discovers said request, is obviously mad.


Three: Team Trump then lies, obfuscates, and obstructs investigation into said request.



Four: Investigation proceeds anyway, revealing troubling facts about the behavior of Trump and/or his inner sanctum of aides.


Five: Mike Pence inherits the earth.

(Ok. Maybe not this one.)

But swap Ukraine for Russia, Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton, and Hunter Biden for a private email server, and the headlines of today are nearly identical to those of just a few months ago. I never thought I’d write this, but we’ve somehow found ourselves in “The Hangover Part II” of presidential scandals, a beat-to-beat retread mimicking the original so closely it’s puzzling how it ever even came into being. Only this time, it seems, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally conjured the political will both within herself and the moderate wing of her party to open an impeachment inquiry against the president.

In the words of Michael Scott, “Fool me once, strike one. But fool me twice, strike three.”

The difference, of course, is Trump is now the sitting president (as opposed to a presidential candidate). And we may finally have our smoking gun, in the form of newly released notes recounting Trump’s telephone shakedown of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump told Zelensky, before continuing to blabber on.

“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country.”

Of course, to anyone who followed the news through the Mueller investigation, this doesn’t feel like the first smoking gun found during Trump’s reign. Again, déjà vu.

But now, perhaps, everyone can finally agree: This is Trump, in the Oval Office, with the revolver.