Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Basically Just Admitted That Trump Engaged in a Quid Pro Quo on His Call With Ukraine

Washington Post

Since President Donald Trump's pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Trump's political rival—former Vice President Joe Biden—spurred an impeachment inquiry, Republicans have scrambled to defend the President's actions. Days before, Trump withheld pre-approved military aid to Ukraine, leading many to think Ukraine's receipt of the aid depended on its eagerness to do Trump's bidding.

Among the main GOP talking points was the claim that there was no "official quid pro quo"—or that Trump didn't specifically say, "I will give you this military aid, on the condition that..."

Democrats, meanwhile, argued that the President did say he'd like Ukraine to "do us a favor though," right before mentioning investigations into Biden, the nonexistent DNC server, and the Mueller Report.

A quid pro quo was never a prerequisite to an impeachable offense, but its existence now is no longer debatable. The President's Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, just admitted it.

Mulvaney admitted that the promised military aid to Ukraine had been withheld not on the condition of investigating Biden, but for information regarding the nonexistent Democratic National Committee server some claim is tucked away in Ukraine.

As Second Nexus covered more in-depth yesterday, this is based on a conspiracy theory that Ukraine and the Democratic National Committee worked together to make it look like Russia hacked DNC servers to help Donald Trump.

There is no physical server with damning information, digital replicas of the servers' contents were all turned over to the FBI, there is no documented connection between Ukraine and the company that rehabilitated DNC servers, and the Russians are definitely behind the hacking of our elections.

Nevertheless, Mulvaney insisted that withholding military aid on the condition of Ukraine investigating a conspiracy theory was A-OK:

"Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences."

Experts disagreed.

Mother Jones reporter Kevin Drum expertly lays out the flaws in Mulvaney's argument with two example cases:

CASE 1: 'If we lift the embargo on Cuba, it will hurt us with the Cuban immigrant vote in Florida. We shouldn’t do it.'

CASE 2: 'I want Ukraine to investigate Democrats. We should hold up military aid until they promise to do it.'

Mulvaney is right: presidents do #1 all the time. Domestic politics invariably affects foreign policy, sometimes crassly and sometimes not.

But #2? Presidents absolutely don’t do that all the time. This is not “domestic politics.” It’s using the official power of the US government to force a foreign country to smear a political opponent."

As former National Security Advisor Sam Vinograd and others confirmed, this quid pro quo is not normal in the least.

Mulvaney continued to assure that the quid pro quo wasn't unethical or impeachable, saying that the White House didn't even try to cover it up. When asked why the White House originally took the unconventional step of putting Trump's conversations with Zelensky and other world leaders onto a highly-classified separate server, Mulvaney said he wouldn't discuss classifications.

There's no longer a question of whether or not there was a quid pro quo. The question now is, will we allow the corruption to continue?

Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images // Fox News

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has long been a target of the Right wing due to her vociferous opposition to President Donald Trump.

One of Waters' most vocal opponents, Omar Navarro, ran against the Congresswoman in 2016 and 2018, losing in a landslide both times. He intends to run against her again, but a recent development may have eliminated that possibility.

Keep reading... Show less
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For years now, President Donald Trump has claimed that the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election was a concentrated effort from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to undermine his campaign and subsequent presidency.

Now, the highly-anticipated review of the investigation's origins from Inspector General for the Justice Department Michael Horowitz—released Monday—has effectively debunked Trump and his allies' claims.

Keep reading... Show less
The Intercept

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee overseeing impeachment, was one of the most vocal critics of the public impeachment hearings overseen by the committee last month.

It turns out Nunes may not have been doing so completely out of party loyalty, but because he was in contact with Ukrainian-born Giuliani associates in an effort to pressure Ukrainian leaders to investigate President Donald Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Keep reading... Show less

The House of Representatives is expected to vote to impeach President Donald Trump before the end of the year, putting him on trial in the Senate in the same year he'll run for reelection.

As a result, more and more Republican Senators are going on the record to defend the President's actions.

Among them? Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Cruz's unyielding loyalty to Trump, despite the pair's bitter rivalry during the 2016 Republican primary, confounds many to this day. Now, Cruz is repeating conspiracy theories on the President's behalf.

In an interview with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, even the show's crew could be heard laughing at Cruz insisting that Ukraine meddled in U.S. elections.

Watch below.

When asked by Todd if he believed Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, Cruz responded, "I do and I think there's considerable evidence." An incredulous Chuck Todd responded, "You do?"

Laughter could be heard off camera.

Cruz continued trying to make his case, but was only able to cite an op-ed from Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., Valeriy Chaly. The op-ed was critical of Trump after Trump implied that Ukrainians in Crimea–which Russia illegally seized in 2014—would rather be living under Russian rule.

A single op-ed, according to Cruz, is equivalent to Russia's "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election."

Others agreed with the Meet the Press crew that the senator's remarks were laughable.

Cruz is all but certain to vote to acquit Trump in the Senate if the President is impeached. At least it won't be without rebuke.

Blaze TV

Continuing a steady slide to the right since her tenure as President Donald Trump's United Nations ambassador, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is under heat for recent comments regarding the Confederate flag.

The comments came during an interview with far-Right Blaze TV host Glenn Beck.

Keep reading... Show less
Fox News

Former Vice President and current 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden erupted at a man during an Iowa town hall who accused him of actively working to get his son Hunter a board position on the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Biden called the man a "damn liar" before challenging him to pushups.

Republicans seized on the moment as an opportunity to discredit Biden as a candidate, but Fox and Friends cohost Ainsley Earhardt's reaction may be the most deluded yet.

Keep reading... Show less