“Quid Pro Quo”

“Quid Pro Quo”

© David Burton 2019

Quid Pro Quo

     “Quid pro quo (‘something for something’) is a Latin phrase used in English to mean an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other.” (Ref. 1)

     On 25 July 2019, President Donald Trump held a 30-minute phone call with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zalensky.[2] During their conversation, it is alleged that President Trump offered the Ukrainian president a quid pro quo. The president would release hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the Ukraine if Zelensky would try to dig up some dirt on the son of Trump’s potential 2020 presidential opponent, Joseph Biden. The younger Biden had been hired to serve on the board of directors of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings Ltd. He was reported to be a director who provided advice on legal issues, corporate finance and strategy during a five-year term on the board, which ended in April of 2019.[3] In addition to military assistance, the Ukrainian president also wanted a chance to publicly meet with Trump.

     Not too long after the fateful telephone call between American President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, a government whistle blower reported on 12 August what he considered to be improper behavior on the part of the American president. The whistle blower accused President Donald Trump of " 'using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.'
     “ ‘In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,’ the whistleblower complaint reads. ‘This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General [William] Barr appears to be involved as well.’
     “The complaint — which was filed Aug. 12 but not released until Sept. 26 — is corroborated by a memo of a July 25 phone call that Trump placed to the recently elected president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The memo, which was released by the White House on Sept. 25, confirmed that Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 4)

     In light of the heated issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election, one can reasonably question why, just three years later, President Trump could be so foolish as to involve a foreign government – in this case the Ukraine – in the upcoming 2020 American election.

     The quid pro quo aspect of the Trump-Zelensky phone call seems to be clearly and unequivocally established. Trump asked that Ukraine work with Giuliani to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, which seems like a completely improper request that the president of Ukraine work with Trump’s personal counsel to investigate a political rival. It provides strong evidence that this took place in the context of a quid pro quo for desperately needed military aid and a much-desired meeting between the two presidents.

     Donald Trump himself even admitted that there was a quid pro quo but claimed that it wasn’t a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians didn’t know about it. However, according to NBC News, everyone in Ukraine knew that it was a quid pro quo. William Taylor, the top US diplomat in the Ukraine, testified that there was a quid pro quo. He was to withhold the Ukraine aid until the Ukrainians agreed to investigate the Bidens. Taylor also testified that the person who was directing the quid pro quo was Donald Trump. In admitting that there was a quid pro quo, Trump and the White House have adopted the position of admitting everything, but saying so what.

     The issue of a quid pro quo evolved as follows.

     The quid pro quo telephone call was made on 25 July 2019.

     On 12 August, the whistleblower reported his concerns.

     On 26 September, the Whistleblower’s complaint was made public.

     On 3 October, “President Trump denied again . . . that there was any quid pro quo attached to his pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political enemies, but text messages and testimony collected by congressional investigators indicated that his own representatives saw it differently.” (Ref. 5)

     On 17 October, Gordon Sondland, the ambassador in Brussels since July 2018, a major Trump donor and the “U.S. ambassador to the European Union who played a key role in events at the center of the impeachment inquiry planned to tell lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry that he and other diplomats were reluctant to work with Rudy Giuliani on issues related to Ukraine, but felt they had no choice.
     “According to his prepared opening statement, Sondland said he and other diplomats were ‘disappointed’ that President Trump directed them to work with Giuliani shortly after the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
      - - -
     " ‘Taking the issue seriously, and given the many versions of speculation that had been circulating about the security aid, I called President Trump directly,’ Sondland testified. ‘I asked the President: 'What do you want from Ukraine?' The President responded, 'Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.' The President repeated: 'no quid pro quo' multiple times. This was a very short call. . .” (Ref. 6)

     On 18 October, “Mick Mulvaney set out to offer an impassioned defense of President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, but he may have only made matters worse for his boss -- and himself.
     “Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on Thursday seemed to admit what Trump had been denying for weeks: that the president offered Ukraine a quid pro quo for badly needed military aid in exchange for investigating his political opponents. [Emphasis mine]
     “He later denied it, but his words from a press briefing – ‘get over it’ and ‘there’s always going to be political influence in foreign policy’ -- belied his later statement.” (Ref. 7)

     On 5 November, “Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker repeatedly denied that quid pro quo took place during the July 25 call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, transcripts released on Tuesday show.” (Ref. 8)

     Also on 5 November, “In response to the Tuesday release of damning closed-doors transcripts connected to the Democratic-led House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, the White House released a statement insisting that the new evidence cleared the administration from accusations of quid pro quo deals.
     “ ‘Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought,’ stated White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham while commenting on congressional testimonies by U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.” (Ref. 9)

     Still again on 5 November, “U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland made a significant change to his testimony to House impeachment investigators this week: He said he now remembers telling a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Ukraine would not receive U.S. military assistance until it committed to investigating the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 10)

     Before a decision on impeachment can be made, “more investigation is necessary. Congress needs to understand the full context of Trump’s decision to place a hold on military aid to Ukraine, it needs to hear the whistleblower’s complaint (though it appears that the whistleblower may have been mainly complaining about the call that we’ve now read), and it needs to determine what, if anything, Ukraine did in response to Trump’s requests. It also needs a full accounting of Giuliani’s odd actions on behalf of his client.” (Ref. 11)

     As of now, it has become more and more certain that a quid pro quo - explicit or implied - was requested by the president in his telephone call. What Trump is being charged with doing was wrong and would seem to be an abuse of his power as president. Only time will tell if this is so and, if so, whether or not it constitutes an impeachable offense.

     It has been claimed that, “Trump did not ask that Ukraine get tougher on corruption in general. He asked that a specific investigation be conducted into Joe Biden, a political rival, and his son.
     “{It has been further alleged that this} wasn’t a request to advance the foreign policy objectives of the United States. It was to improve Trump’s odds of winning re-election in 2020.
     “Any doubt about that was removed by his request that Ukraine work with Rudy Giuliani in the investigation of the Bidens. Giuliani isn’t a foreign policy official representing the U.S. government. He is Trump’s personal lawyer. He was representing Trump the candidate, not Trump the president. [Emphasis mine]
     “It is inappropriate, and an abuse of power, for a president to ask a foreign government specifically to investigate a political rival. [Emphasis mine] That is what Trump asked of Zelensky privately. . .” (Ref. 12)

     In and of itself, is Quid Pro Quo wrong? Certainly not, and most certainly not in the field of foreign relations. In one of the more famous inter-governmental applications of quid pro quo, the United States and Great Britain reached a quid pro quo that helped England stave off Nazi attempts to sever its vital sea supply lines in the early dark days of World War II.

     In late 1939 and during1940, Nazi Germany’s submarine fleet was wreaking havoc on ships supplying England with vital war supplies. Great Britain needed destroyers to combat the threat. Winston Churchill, England’s war time prime minister, appealed to the American president, Franklin Roosevelt, for help.

     In the decades following World War I, many Americans remained extremely wary of becoming involved in another costly international conflict. Even as fascist regimes like Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler took aggressive action in Europe the 1930s, isolationist members of Congress pushed through a series of laws limiting how the United States could respond. Selling war material to the warring parties was blocked.
     By the summer of 1940, France had fallen to the Nazis, and Britain was fighting virtually alone against Germany on land, at sea and in the air. After the new British prime minister, Winston Churchill, appealed personally to Roosevelt for help, the U.S. president agreed to exchange more than 50 outdated American destroyers for 99-year leases on British bases in the Caribbean and Newfoundland, which would be used as U.S. air and naval bases. These vitally needed anti-submarine ships helped England to fend off the submarine threat Until the U.S. entered the war in late 1941. This historic agreement was part of a larger program that became known as the Lend-Lease Program. [13]

     This was an example of a legitimate quid pro quo – England got the use of more than 50 badly needed destroyers while the United States received 99-year leases for the use of military base in the western hemisphere. In this case, the quid pro quo was for the mutual benefit of two governments – England and the U.S. In the case of the quid pro quo that Donald Trump allegedly requested from Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukraine would have benefitted from the military aid that it was seeking while - it is charged - the reciprocal benefit to be received from the Ukraine would have personally benefitted Trump in the upcoming 2020 election and not the United States.

     Other examples of valid quid pro quos occur in the Hebrew Bible. In one case, God asks Abraham to do certain things, in return for which He promises to take special care of Abraham’s descendants. Jewish men are circumcised as a symbol of this quid pro quo or covenant. Here, the Hebrew Bible states that God promised to make Abraham the father of a great people and said that Abraham and his descendants must obey God. In return God would guide them and protect them and give them the land of Israel.

     In another case, at Mt. Sinai during the exodus, the Hebrew people and God agree to a quid pro quo in which the Israelites promise to follow God’s laws, while God, in return, accepts the descendants of Abraham gathered there as His people. In the “quid” God asked the Jews to obey His voice and keep His covenant in return for which – the “quo” - the Israelites would be His own possession among all peoples; “for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation...” The Jewish people agreed to the “quo” by shouting out, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” - Exodus 19: 1-8

     Quid pro quo means an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other. In foreign relations, it is appropriate when used for the benefit of two or more governments. It is similarly so in a covenant between God and humans.

     In the current situation, related to the issue of quid pro quo is the matter of emoluments. The foreign emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution “prohibits federal officeholders from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title from any foreign state or its rulers or representatives.” (Ref. 14) The definition of emolument is: “profit, salary, or fees from office or employment; compensation for services.” (Ref. 15) Does asking the head of a foreign government to provide damaging information on the son of a potential political opponent constitute profit - and thus an emolument? Does seeking information - via a quid pro quo - from a representative of a foreign state to help a federal official retain political office constitute an emolument?

     The impeachment hearings televised in November of 2019 were quite a revelation. Several facts came out during these proceedings. One fact that came out very clearly was the complete agreement of all the witnesses called that President Trump withheld congressionally approved military aid to the Ukraine and a desired meeting with the Ukrainian president in order to get the Ukrainian president to agree to investigate Hunter Biden and do so with a public announcement. All these witnesses were long-time non-political professional government employees - not Republicans nor Democrats – who unanimously came to the same conclusion – Donald Trump was demanding a quid pro quo for the Ukraine’s much-needed military assistance, the return “favor” being an announced investigation of the son of Trump’s potential political rival in 2020. Not one witness denied this!

     Trump’s response: He insulted, belittled, defamed and derided the witnesses but offered no proof whatsoever that they were in error or were lying.

     It was also totally apparent that Trump never came out and explicitly stated that the meeting and the military aid were being withheld until President Zelensky gave President Trump the “favor” he was implicitly demanding. There was no smoking gun, per se, BUT, as every witness stated, they all understood what was being demanded by Trump. Donald Trump was too devious to come out and openly state that he was blackmailing the Ukrainian president. Instead, he let it be unequivocally obvious what he was doing. He could say there was no quid pro quo, but he did so with a wink and by letting his lawyer Rudy Guiliani, convey the message, either directly or by implication.

     What we have here is one more case of “plausible deniability”. Donald Trump did not come out and expressly demand a bribe. He didn’t have to. As every witness at the hearings stated, it was obvious what the president wanted. He didn’t give a shit about an American ally, he only cared about the “big stuff” that directly affected him, such as the 2020 election. Trump’s behavior is reminiscent of the actions of Henry II of England in the 12th century. "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" said the English Monarch, which led to the death of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. While it was not expressed as an order, it caused four knights to travel from Normandy to Canterbury, where they killed Becket. The phrase is now used to express the idea that a ruler's wish can be interpreted as a command by his or her subordinates.[16]

     Was there ever a valid reason given for the withholding of the military aid needed by the Ukrtaine? Not only was there no “valid” reason provided, but there simply was no reason given for holding up the delivery of the crucial assistance!

     Republicans at the hearing claimed that since Ukraine eventually got the military assistance it needed, no impropriety or impeachable act was committed. But it was only after Trump was caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, did he release the funds. This is akin to a robber holding up a bank at gun point and returning the money after he is identified and then claiming that no crime was committed because the bank got its money back. In both cases, a crime was committed!

     As usual, instead of responding to charges against him with facts, Donald Trump took to smearing his accusers. As former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch spoke, “Trump unloaded on Twitter, writing ‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?’ ” (Ref. 17) Never mind that Yanovitch has had a long (30 year) and distinguished career in foreign service. The Donald doesn’t care at whom he hurls mud or who he hurts. So plain was Yovanovitch’s “dedication to country and seriousness of purpose – that not only did Republicans {at the hearing} not dare to attack her, they often took turns praising her service and thanking her for it.” (Ref. 17)

     Republican committee members tried vainly to discredit Colonel Alexander Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, career diplomat, Army infantry officer and “an American.” Their efforts to disparage and denigrate witnesses was in keeping with the President’s name calling and attempts to smear anyone who dared to say anything negative about him.

     “Vindman, a Soviet Jewish immigrant, felt it necessary to state his allegiance as he batted away Republican questions about the offers he got to work for Ukraine’s government. ‘I immediately dismissed these offers,’ he said. Still, the queries carried an implicit suggestion of disloyalty. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     Trump and his allies tried to identify Vindman and fellow witness Jennifer William, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, as ‘Never Trumpers.’ {without any factual basis whatsoever on which to base their allegations}
     “ ‘I’m not sure I know an official definition of a ‘Never Trumper,’ ' Williams said, but she rejected the label.
     “ ‘I’d call myself never partisan,’ Vindman said.
      - - -
     “{True to form, even} before Vindman finished testifying, the White House was raising fresh questions about him on its official Twitter feed.
     “Vindman was 3 years old in 1979 when his family fled Ukraine for the U.S. Earlier in his Army career, Vindman served as an infantry officer and did tours in South Korea, Germany and Iraq. In October 2004, he was wounded by a roadside bomb and awarded the Purple Heart.
     “Since 2008, he’s served as a foreign area officer specializing in Eurasia, leading him to stints in Kyiv and Moscow. Vindman also served as a political-military affairs officer for Russia for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He moved to the Trump White House in July 2018 after being tapped to serve on the National Security Council.  . . .
     “Testifying in full uniform, he was unafraid to call out his commander in chief: Trump’s lean on Ukraine to gain information on a Democratic rival was ‘improper,’ Vindman said.
     “ ‘Without hesitation, I knew I had to report this,’ Vindman testified. ‘It was inappropriate, it was improper for the president to demand an investigation into a political opponent.’ “ (Ref. 18)

     The final two witnesses at the impeachment hearings, Fiona Hill and David Holmes, were senior Trump administration officials who "tore apart Republicans’ main defenses of President Trump, painting a picture of a president who cared only for his own interests rather than Ukraine’s existential challenges. And they warned that Trump’s pressure campaign in Ukraine — as well as the GOP’s conspiratorial defense — only helps Russia damage America's democracy and national security.
     “Their testimony knocked down nearly every defense House Republicans have pushed for Trump — namely that the president withheld aid because he was deeply concerned about Ukraine’s corruption problems. They also dismantled {the} GOP talking point that Ukraine had any role in the 2016 election hack.
     "Hill, the State Department’s former top Russia and Ukraine expert, called the latter arguments ‘a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,’ and warned that such narratives are ‘harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.’
     “Holmes, a top official in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, meanwhile, highlighted multiple times when Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani attacked and undercut American diplomats to further his personal agenda. He said he was ‘shocked’ when he first found out that military aid to Ukraine had been withheld at Trump’s direct order, and blasted Giuliani and others for spreading gross smears against then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, which he said ‘were unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my career.’ And he testified that he overheard Trump ask about ‘the investigations’ during a July 26 phone call U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — after which Sondland told Holmes that Trump did not ‘give a shit about Ukraine’ and only cared about ‘big stuff’ like the ‘Biden investigation.’
     “Holmes said that Ukrainians ‘deserve better’ than how they’ve been treated — and warned about the damage to America’s international reputation that Trump’s alleged actions have caused.
     “ 'We are now at an inflection point in Ukraine, and it is critical to our national security that we stand in strong support of our Ukrainian partners. Ukrainians and freedom-loving people everywhere are watching the example we set of democracy and the rule of law,’ he concluded.
     “Hill was just as damaging. The former National Security Council member, who served as the White House's top Russia expert until early July, flayed House Republicans for their repeated, misleading claims during the hearings that Ukraine substantially meddled in the 2016 election, and for ignoring Russia’s actual serious interference in American politics.
     “Hill warned that their actions and refusal to take Russia seriously increased the chance that they would interfere in the 2020 election and further damage American democracy.
     " ‘In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,’ she said.
     “And she made clear that Trump himself had pushed this narrative with his ‘reference to crowd strike and the server’ during his July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
     “House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and other Republicans on the committee have repeatedly pushed a conspiracy theory that Ukraine worked in an organized way to undercut President Trump’s 2016 campaign, even though there’s no credible evidence there was a coordinated effort to do so.
      - - -
     “That’s the same conspiracy theory that Trump and his personal attorney Giuliani have pushed in public and private for months — and allegedly sought to coerce Ukraine’s new government to investigate. “ (Ref. 19)

     With respect to David Holmes’ sworn testimony concerning the President’s telephone conversation with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, in which he overheard Trump ask about ‘the investigations’ during the July 26 phone call, after which Sondland told Holmes that Trump did not ‘give a shit about Ukraine’ and only cared about ‘big stuff’ like the ‘Biden investigation,’ Donald Trump’s only response was to twitter: “I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life. My hearing is, and has been, great. Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail. Try it live!(Ref. 20) It should be noted that nowhere in his twitter does the president deny the accuracy of the report about the phone conversation!

     None of the witnesses at the hearings were political. They were career diplomats and soldiers without blemishes on their long careers in the service of this country. They presented facts and conclusions they had drawn from the events that took place. Their testimonies were consistent. Republican representatives of the hearing presented no contradictory facts. Instead, they badgered the witnesses, obfuscated, introduced irrelevancies and sought to confuse and divert attention from the witnesses’ unswerving revelation of presidential misbehavior that was inappropriate and dangerous.

     While Republicans claimed that the hearings were not impartial, their claim held little weight since it was President Trump who had consistently refused to release all relevant documents and ordered a number of administration officials to refuse to testify. Republicans cried foul because the whistleblower wasn’t identified or called. But, the identity of the whistleblower had absolutely no significance since every witness stated what the whistleblower had reported! Republicans screamed unfairness because Hunter Biden wasn’t called to appear before the committee. But Hunter Biden wasn’t the object of the impeachment hearing. His testimony could have absolutely no relevance to the charge that Donald Trump had acted improperly! Republicans and Donald Trump had every opportunity to refute the testimony of the witnesses called. But it was the President and his Republican cohorts who chose to withhold relevant documents and to prohibit administration officials from appearing!

     So, after much of the dust has settled in the initial impeachment hearings, what are the facts that emerge in the quid pro quo case against the President of the United States? “After two weeks of breakneck impeachment hearings, we know two things for certain: that the president of the United States pressured a foreign leader to dig up dirt on his political rival. And that his fellow Republicans — both in the hearing room and watching at home — have no intention of holding him accountable at the moment.
     “As a parade of diplomats and Trump appointees blew up one GOP excuse after another, the president’s defenders retreated into their standard operating procedure: drown out the facts with partisan indignation.
     “Trump himself — when he wasn’t intimidating fact witnesses in real-time, or ranting incoherently on Fox News — could do little beyond blocking his closest aides from testifying and refusing to turn over documents. This conduct amounts to an obstruction of justice. But it’s also what Trump does, over and over, when he’s been caught. . .
     “Alas, Trump did release one document to the public: a partial transcript of his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. And it is this call record that emerges from the impeachment hearings as the most damning evidence. It’s not just a smoking gun. At this point, it’s a flame-thrower.
     “What we learned over the past two weeks is that Donald Trump lives in a paranoid and self-aggrandizing fantasy world. He ignores the information gathered by his intelligence agencies. He refuses to believe, for instance, that Russians hacked the 2016 election to benefit him, even though U.S. investigators indicted 12 Russian nationals for doing just that, having documented their digital efforts.
     “Instead, the leader of the free world subscribes to a more flattering conspiracy theory, one that the Russians themselves fed him: that it was the Ukrainians who hacked the 2016 election, and that they did so to undermine Trump.
     “For months, Trump has pushed this nonsense, along with the debunked notion that Joe Biden had a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to protect his son.
     “Trump dispatched his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to gather dirt on Biden, and ordered top officials to mount a pressure campaign on Ukraine to announce these sham investigations. As leverage, Trump withheld a White House meeting and military aid.
     “By July 25, Trump had clearly tired of having intermediaries do his dirty work, so he delivered the message directly.
     “Those White House officials in charge of Ukrainian policy implored the president to talk with Zelenskiy about how to help his fledgling democracy clean up corruption and stave off Russian aggression. You know, U.S. foreign policy.
     “Instead, Trump complained that America had been good to Ukraine but that the relationship wasn’t ‘reciprocal.’ Zelenskiy — whose soldiers were dying every day in their war with Russia — then brought up the military aid that Trump had personally blocked.
     “Trump responded by asking for a … favor. ‘I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it … I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.’
     “This sounds like a typical Trump word salad, but it’s important to slow down and unpack what he’s saying here, in particular, his repeated use of the phrase they say. Based on the best evidence compiled by U.S. intelligence agencies, they is the Russians. [Emphasis mine]
     “The president of the United States was pressuring a foreign leader to investigate a bogus conspiracy generated by Russian propagandists. In short, Trump was acting as a Kremlin asset.
     “Trump then moved on to his second demand: ‘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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.’
     “Again, Trump didn’t have any facts to offer Zelenskiy. He’d read none of the dozens of reports that debunk these claims against Biden. He’d ignored the briefings of his own intelligence agencies and diplomatic corps. [Emphasis mine]
     “Instead, he saw a chance to smear his most dangerous political rival using hearsay, and attempted to lean on Zelenskiy to do his bidding.
     “The Democrats may have erred in presenting so many witnesses in such a compressed manner. I suspect Republicans felt shamed by the overwhelming evidence, and reacted — as most ashamed people do — by digging in their heels.
     “What’s important to keep in mind, amid all the testimony we’ve seen, and the testimony to come, is that Trump is the central witness for the prosecution. The impeachment inquiry put those words into context and made them impossible to misinterpret or deny.
     “If Republicans choose to vote against impeachment, or conviction, they will be telling the world that the president of the United States is allowed to pressure a foreign leader to interfere in our elections, and to spread Russian propaganda. [Emphasis mine}” (Ref. 21)

     Throughout the impeachment process, neither Donald Trump nor his Republican backers offered any credible evidence to rebut the charges brought against the president. Republicans in the hearings repeatedly argued that the Democrats were out to remove the president from office ever since his 2016 election victory. That charge is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not Donald Trump is guilty of the current charges against him. The Republican Party’s lead counsel at the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings barely touched upon the core allegations that Trump abused his office in order to pressure a foreign government to launch an investigation into his top rival in the 2020 presidential election. Instead, the counsel spent most of his time attacking Democrats, whom he accused of making up wild charges to bring down the president – again, totally irrelevant.[22] Donald Trump, himself, has never denied the charges brought against him. In a 123-page report released by House Republicans defending the President just prior to the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings, the Republicans relied heavily on denials of a quid pro quo by people who did not testify in the impeachment inquiry, including Trump. [23] But is was Trump and the Republicans themselves who refused to allow these people to testify!

     Were the president’s wrong-headed actions impeachable? Were the president’s actions sufficient to justify removal from office? Will the Representatives and Senators - Democrats and Republicans - do their duty and consider the facts without resorting to political favoritisms and pressures? Will the American people consider the facts without resorting to personal biases for or against the president? Will everyone support the Constitution and demand what is right for America? Will everyone do and/or accept what is legally and morally the proper action? Will everyone do what is in the best interest of the American people and will they ignore all political biases and pressures?



  1. Quid pro quo, Wikipedia, Accessed 7 November 2019.
  2. The timeline of Trump’s call with Zelensky just got a bit more complicated, Philip Bump,
    The Washington Post, 8 October 2019.
  3. Trump asked Ukraine president in phone call ‘if you can look into’ Biden and his son,
    Kevin Breuninger, CNBC, 25 September 2019.
  4. The Whistleblower Complaint Timeline, Eugene Kiely, Lori Robertson and D'Angelo Gore, factcheck.org, 6 November 2019.
  5. Trump Denies Quid Pro Quo for Ukraine, but Envoys Had Their Doubts, Peter Baker,
    The New York Times, 4 October 2019.
  6. U.S. ambassador to E.U. testifies Trump directed diplomats to work with Giulian,
    Stefan Becket, CBS News, 17 October 2019.
  7. In Defending Trump, Mulvaney Admits Quid Pro Quo He Later Denies, Jennifer A Dlouhy and Ben Brody, Bloomberg, 18 October 2019.
  8. Volker Denies Quid Pro Quo in Testimony Transcripts: ‘No Leverage Implied’, Edwin Mora, BREITBART, 5 November 2019.
  9. White House Denies Any Evidence of Quid Pro Quo After Transcript Featuring Clear Evidence of Quid Pro Quo, Caleb Ecarma, mediaite.com, 5 November 2019.
  10. Sondland changes testimony, acknowledges delivering quid pro quo message to Ukraine,
    Josh Lederman and Adam Edelman, nbcnews.com, 6 November 2019.
  11. The Trump–Ukraine Transcript Contains Evidence of a Quid Pro Quo, David French, National Review, 25 September 2019.
  12. Quid pro quo or not, what Trump did was wrong, Robert Robb, azcentral, 18 October 2019.
  13. Lend-Lease Act, history.com, 4 November 2019.
  14. emoluments clause, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 November 2019.
  15. emolument, Dictionary.com, Accessed 7 November 2019.
  16. Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?, Wikipedia, 1 November 2019.
  17. Trump smears and witness drama: key Marie Yovanovitch takeaways, Tom McCarthy, theguardian.com, 15 November 2019.
  18. Lt. Col. Vindman pushes back against GOP loyalty questions, Laurie Kellman,
    Chicago Sun Times, 19 November 2019.
  19. Final Impeachment Witnesses Are Dismantling GOP's Trump Defenses, Cameron Joseph, vice.com, 21 November 2019.
  20. Trump touts his ‘great’ hearing during David Holmes testimony, Lia Eustachewich,
    New York Post, 21 November 2019.
  21. Heavy On Indignation, Light On Facts: A Guide To The GOP's Impeachment Strategy,
    Steve Almond, cognoscenti, 26 November 2019.
  22. Experts amazed as GOP counsel Castor offers stunningly weak defense of Trump at hearing, Brad Reed, rawstory.com, 9 December 2019.
  23. House Republicans defend Trump’s actions in new report responding to impeachment inquiry, localnews8.com/, 2 December 2019.

  20 December 2019 {Article 392; Politics_53}    
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