Key Trump Defender Throws Trump Under the Bus in Revised Impeachment Testimony Admitting to 'Quid Pro Quo'

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When the White House released a rough summary of President Donald Trump's damning phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate his possible 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, Republicans scrambled to defend Trump.

Their defense against the impeachment inquiry of Trump? There was no quid pro quo offered to Zelensky in exchange for investigating Biden.


Though no quid pro quo was necessary, since Trump was soliciting a foreign leader for dirt in a domestic election, Democrats were suspicious that the White House withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine without explanation days before the call with Zelensky.

In a testimony early last month, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified to the committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry that none of the aid slated for Ukraine was related to Ukrainian officials opening an investigation. Soon after, acting Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, testified that the White House was demanding a public announcement of the investigation in order for Ukraine to get the crucial aid.

Now, Sondland has revised his testimony to admit that he did, in fact, tell Ukrainian officials that the aid package was contingent on Zelensky publicly announcing an investigation into Joe Biden.

Sondland testified:

“I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."

Sondland still maintains that he doesn't know who suspended the aid to Ukraine and that he was merely presuming the demands for investigation were required for lifting the hold, but combined with the other damning depositions given to the committees, the writing is on the wall.

There's little room for doubt that the Trump administration was withholding aid for Ukraine. Now the question many are asking is how Trump's Republican allies, who dismissed the controversy regarding the call on the basis that there was no quid pro quo, will now defend the President's actions.

Clues are beginning to emerge as to what the Republican talking points will be.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, continuing the tradition of her predecessors, released a statement telling the country to deny their eyes and ears:

"Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought. Ambassador Sondland squarely states that he 'did not know, [and still does not know] when, why, or by whom the aid was suspended.' He also said he 'presumed' there was a link to the aid—but cannot identify any solid source for that assumption. By contrast, Volker's testimony confirms there could not have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know about the military aid hold at the time. No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong."

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) soon followed suit.

But it doesn't look like that's going to fly.

Numerous officials other than Sondland have said there was a quid pro quo, including White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Fox Business

After less than a year on the job and with zero White House press briefings to her name, Stephanie Grisham will step down as White House press secretary, returning to her work with First Lady Melania Trump as her Chief of Staff.

Stephanie Grisham is the third White House Press Secretary to step down during the administration of President Donald Trump.

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Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Across the country, states have instituted stay-at-home orders in an effort to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus that's upended daily life in the United States.

Late last month, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued one of these orders, urging his constituents to only leave their houses for necessary errands, such as getting groceries or filling prescriptions.

There's just one problem: Wisconsin's elections are scheduled for April 7. In addition to the Presidential primaries, Wisconsinites will vote for judicial positions, school board seats, and thousands of other offices.

The Democratic and Republican National Committees took the case to the Supreme Court, with Democrats arguing that the deadline for mailing absentee ballots should be extended by a week, to April 13, in order to facilitate voting from home.

With a Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat up for grabs on Tuesday, Republicans predictably made the case for why as few people as possible should be permitted to vote. It was a continuation of Wisconsin GOP efforts to suppress the vote, which included rejecting a demand from Governor Evers to automatically mail an absentee ballot to every resident.

The Republican majority in United States Supreme Court sided with the RNC and the election in Wisconsin will carry on as scheduled. This is despite Wisconsin being unprepared for the surge in absentee ballot requests, which leapt from a typical 250,000 to over 1.2 million in reaction to the virus. Thousands of these voters won't even receive these ballots until after the election, thereby preventing them from exercising their right to vote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a blistering dissent to the majority's decision, saying:

"Either [voters] will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others' safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own. That is a matter of utmost importance — to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin's citizens, the integrity of the State's election process, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation."

She was flabbergasted that her more conservative colleagues didn't think a global pandemic and national crisis was enough to justify emergency policies ensuring Wisconsinites their right to vote:

"The Court's suggestion that the current situation is not 'substantially different' from 'an ordinary
election' boggles the mind...Now, under this Court's order, tens of thousands of absentee voters, unlikely to receive their ballots in time to cast them, will be left quite literally without a vote."

A majority of the Supreme Court may not have agreed with Ginsburg, but the court of public opinion was fully on her side.





The Republican efforts indicated to some that the party cares more about maintaining control than preserving lives.




Large crowds are already gathering in Wisconsin to vote.

In a bit of devastating irony, the Supreme Court voted remotely when making its decision.

For more information about the tried and true tactic of GOP voter suppression, check out Uncounted, available here.

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