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Politics Trump, allies push back on ‘quid pro quo,’ say envoy testified Ukraine initially unaware of aid holdup

18:15  23 october  2019
18:15  23 october  2019 Source:   foxnews.com

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President Trump and allies in Congress pushed back against damaging revelations from diplomat Bill Taylor’s Tuesday testimony saying the witness “The mainstream media reporting that he provided evidence of a quid pro quo involving military aid is false — I questioned him directly on that,” Ratcliffe

Trump ally changes testimony and admits quid pro quo . Trump 's special envoy for Ukraine , Kurt Volker, told a senior Ukrainian official that the new Ukrainian President could secure a White House Instead, Zelensky said he would look into the two politically charged matters that Trump brought up .

President Trump and his allies in Congress pushed back against damaging revelations from diplomat Bill Taylor’s Tuesday testimony — in which the Ukraine envoy said the administration linked U.S. military aid to a call for politically related investigations in Kiev — saying the witness also acknowledged under questioning that Ukraine was initially in the dark on the aid holdup.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Fox News Network LLC

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, asserted that this counters claims of a “quid pro quo.”

DIPLOMAT BILL TAYLOR TESTIFIES TRUMP USED UKRAINE AID, WH MEETING AS LEVERAGE FOR PROBES

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The acknowledgment of a quid pro quo is an explosive shift that threatens to upend claims by the president’s allies that military aid was not used as a Trump ’s allies initially believed Sondland would provide exculpatory evidence to boost the president's case, but subsequent witnesses had

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“At the end of the day, this was about quid pro quo and whether or not the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld and on that most important issue. Neither this witness or any other witness has provided any evidence that there was a quid pro quo, or any evidence that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld on July 25,” Ratcliffe said on “The Story” Tuesday night, claiming that absent testimony speaking to that point, “a quid pro quo is legally impossible.”

He was referring to the now-famous phone call on July 25 between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump pressed for investigations into 2016 election interference and Biden family dealings in the country, specifically Hunter Biden's role on the board of natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.

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Trump allies push back on ' Quid pro quo ,' say envoy testified ukraine initially unaware of aid holdup . As part of the House Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian natural gas firm where Hunter Biden was employed in a lucrative role on the board. “I was alarmed by what Mr

' quid pro quo ,' say envoy testified Ukraine initially unaware of aid holdup . President Trump and allies in Congress pushed back against damaging revelations from Taylor’s Tuesday testimony saying the witness also acknowledged under questioning that Ukraine was initially in the dark on the

A source familiar with the testimony confirmed to Fox News that during questioning on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Taylor said the Ukrainians did not know at the time of the call about the hold on U.S. military aid.

“The mainstream media reporting that he provided evidence of a quid pro quo involving military aid is false — I questioned him directly on that,” Ratcliffe said Tuesday. “I can’t tell you what he said … but I can tell you what he didn’t say — neither he nor any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld.”

He added: “You can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo.”

The president echoed Ratcliffe’s comments on Twitter early Wednesday, quoting from his appearance on Fox News.

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Trump allies push back on ' Quid pro quo ,' say envoy testified ukraine initially unaware of aid holdup . "The Ukrainians were being told, the president of Ukraine was being told, to make a public statement on CNN," he said . "That was supposed to be part of the deal.

“I shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson,” Sondland said at one point, referring to the Republican Giuliani on Wednesday pushed back against Sondland’s testimony, tweeting he “came into this” at the request of then- Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker.

"Where is the whistleblower? The Do Nothing Dems case is DEAD!" Trump tweeted.

However, Taylor did testify that he was told U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland informed top Ukrainian aide Andriy Yermak weeks later that “security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”

Taylor testified that he learned of the Sondland-Yermak conversation during a phone call with National Security Council aide Tim Morrison.

“I was alarmed by what Mr. Morrison told me about the Sondland-Yermak conversation,” Taylor testified. “This was the first time I had heard that the security assistance not just the White House meeting — was conditioned on the investigations.”

So according to Taylor's testimony, the Ukraine government eventually was informed of the apparent reason for the aid delay.

That same day, Taylor said, he sent Sondland a text message asking if security assistance and a White House meeting "are conditioned on investigations," prompting Sondland to request Taylor call him.

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  In photos: Impeachment push against President Trump Scenes from the impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives.

President Trump and his allies say the summary of a conversation with Ukraine 's president shows no At issue was the revelation that Trump had withheld nearly 0 million in military aid for Ukraine just With House Democrats moving toward impeachment, Trump ’s “no quid pro quo ” defense was

US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland has testified that there was a quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and Ukraine on the Joe Biden issue.

"During that phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President (Zelensky) to state publicly that (Ukraine) will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election," Taylor testified.

“By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections,” Taylor testified.

Throughout this, Trump still insisted he was not seeking a "quid pro quo."

Taylor's testimony, though, has fueled Democratic criticism amid the impeachment inquiry launched in the House last month over revelations concerning Trump's phone call with Zelensky.

Trump took heat for pressuring the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine — concerning Hunter’s role on the board of Burisma Holdings, and Joe Biden's bid to pressure the former Ukrainian president to fire a top prosecutor who was investigating the firm. A whistleblower who first aired the allegations claimed Trump was improperly soliciting foreign aid to investigate a political opponent to ultimately influence the 2020 election.

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At the heart of the debate today is whether U.S. military aid was directly tied to these requests.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. aid to Ukraine had been frozen. But the White House and the president’s allies have denied a quid pro quo — though acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney recently seemed to say otherwise, before walking it back — and the Bidens have maintained that they did “nothing wrong.”

Slideshow by photo services

Democrats called Taylor's testimony the most damaging yet.

"The testimony is very disturbing," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., used the same word. Asked why, he said, "Because it's becoming more distinct."

But top Republicans cited Ratcliffe’s questioning as a big moment in the hearing that undermined Taylor's argument.

“In 90 seconds, we had John Ratcliffe destroy Taylor’s whole argument,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday in an interview on "The Ingraham Angle."

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House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, D-Calif., echoed the sentiment.

“The truth is, in two minutes, John Ratcliffe destroyed this witness,” Nunes said on “Hannity.” “There is no quid pro quo.”

And Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said reports of Taylor’s testimony had been “laughably overblown and don’t tell the full story.”

“Still no evidence of quid pro quo. Much of the statement and hearsay allegations didn’t hold up against any real scrutiny. The FULL transcript should be released immediately,” Meadows tweeted.

Meanwhile, Taylor described the existence of an "irregular" communications channel with Ukraine led by Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, and a "weird combination of encouraging, confusing, and ultimately alarming circumstances" once he arrived in Kiev. The statement confirmed previous reporting of Taylor's remarks by Fox News.

Fox News' Gregg Re, Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel, Alex Pappas, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Republican protest delays impeachment testimony from Pentagon’s Ukraine expert .
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was expected to answer questions about the mechanics of U.S. security assistance for Ukraine.Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was due to speak at 10 a.m. in a closed-door session about the mechanics of U.S. security assistance for Ukraine and the fallout from the White House’s decision to withhold it for several months over the summer. But her session was disrupted as it was about to begin, with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus refusing to leave the area where impeachment witnesses have met with lawmakers.

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