I know it’s a bit dicey, but get down in the weeds with me for a bit and I will help you understand how it is that the White House and Gordon Sondland have had their legs wiped out from under them in the Ukraine “defense.” You likely know that Ambassador Sondland testified to two phone calls with Trump about the quid pro quo, two days apart, one on September 7th and one on the 9th. We all sort of assumed that Sondland told the truth about everything because he had sold Trump out so badly in his “indeed their was a quid pro quo.” But remember, this man had to “re-remember” many things, and he either kept a few “good parts” in for Trump, or just go so crosswise he couldn’t remember what he was doing. The important thing to note is that the Republicans used his “remembered” second phone call on the 9th as a big part of their defense. iThe Trump administration believed this purported “second phone call” helped it a great deal in the Ukrainian scandal. The problem however is that the second phone call never occurred, according to an analysis of the evidence done by Just Security. Indeed, not only did the second call not occur, upon analyzing the “only call” in a proper light, it shows Trump was directly involved in negotiations about the quid pro quo and personally vetoed an option offered by Ukraine. First, let’s set out the purported two phone calls for clarity. The first phone call supposedly took place on September 7: 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. So, no matter what Trump might’ve said about “no quid pro quo,” the September 7th call had enough “conditions” on what Zelensky needed to do (a quid pro quo) that Bolton panicked and had it reported. According to Sondland and the White House, Trump had a second phone call with Sondland on September 9th. 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. To the extent that the White House has a defense, it is that no one testified directly to the president doing any of the acts constituting a quid pro quo on the aid money or a Zelensky trip to the White House. The defense relies heavily upon the “September 9th phone call as proof. Sondland testified that he had a quick call with Trump on September 9th: I asked him one open-ended question: What do you want from Ukraine? And as I recall, he was in a very bad mood. It was a […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.