Ever since Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House has maintained there was “no quid pro quo,” offering as “proof” two calls the Trump made to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.
On those calls, the administration maintains that Trump insisted there was “no quid pro quo,” but as Just Security lays out in a fascinating article, the two phone calls were actually just one, and it’s incredibly damning for the president:
“The call occurred on September 7th. In this call, Trump did say there was ‘no quid pro quo’ with Ukraine, but he then went on to outline his preconditions for releasing the security assistance and granting a White House visit. The call was so alarming that when John Bolton learned of it, he ordered his’ deputy Tim Morrison to immediately report it to the National Security Council lawyers.
“Sondland has testified there was a call on September 9th in which Trump said there was ‘no quid pro quo,’ but that he wanted President Zelenskyy “to do” the right thing. A close reading of the publicly available evidence shows that the latter call was actually the very one that sent Morrison to the lawyers, and that Ambassador Bill Taylor foregrounded in his written deposition to inform Congress of the quid pro quo.”
In other words, the impeachment inquiry has indeed proven definitively that Donald Trump did indeed ask for a quid pro quo. He demanded something for something else. More specifically, Trump demanded an investigation of the Biden family before he would release $390 million in military aid to Ukraine. The case is rock solid. But the administration’s so-called “defense” is no defense at all.
Once again, as Just Security notes:
“This ‘defense,’ it should be noted, is hardly a defense at all. There is no dispute that the President used the powers of his office to coerce a foreign state into investigating a domestic political rival, nor is there any dispute that the Ukrainians were informed by the Trump administration that the hold on security assistance would not be lifted until these investigation were publicly announced.”
Even if the GOP-controlled Senate refuses to convict Donald Trump, the facts will not change. Not now and not ever. That’s because Trump has indeed committed high crimes and misdemeanors and will go down in history with a black mark by his name. That alone is enough to drive him even crazier than he already is.