Politics Trump touts Ukraine call during meeting with Republican senators

23:20  31 october  2019
23:20  31 october  2019 Source:   politico.com

4 takeaways from Bill Taylor’s huge opening statement

  4 takeaways from Bill Taylor’s huge opening statement Pretty much everything we thought was a quid pro quo was in fact a quid pro quo, Bill Taylor testified Tuesday.Taylor was last seen in those much-circulated text messages fretting to fellow diplomats Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker about the idea that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was being held up for political reasons. Of those three diplomats, he seemed to be the most alarmed about the possibility of a quid pro quo to benefit President Trump’s reelection campaign. The question was how much he knew.

President Donald Trump on Thursday continued courting the Republicans who will determine whether or not he is removed from office, telling a group of nine GOP senators that he was glad he had released the summary of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

President Donald Trump repeatedly pushed for Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, during a July 25 phone call , according to a transcript of the conversation released by the White House.

President Donald Trump on Thursday continued courting the Republicans that will determine whether or not he is removed from office, telling a group of nine GOP senators that he was glad he had released the summary of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump.© Scott Olson/Getty Images President Donald Trump.

Over chicken lunch in the Roosevelt Room, the president repeatedly referenced the summary of his call with Zelensky as exculpatory and touted the opposition of two House Democrats to the House’s impeachment resolution on Thursday, according to attendees. House impeachment inquiry witnesses have asserted that Trump had used aid to Ukraine as a condition for investigating his political rival Joe Biden, but Trump still sees the White House readout of the July 25 call as his best defense.

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During the call , Trump suggested four times that Barr will call Zelensky and repeatedly mentions Giuliani, the Trump ally and former New York City mayor. The Trump 2020 campaign was quick to unleash its own offensive, and several Republicans immediately came to the President's defense.

President Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine ’s leader to investigate leading Democrats as “a favor” to The aid freeze did not come up during the call , and Mr. Zelensky was not yet aware of it. Few Republicans broke with Mr. Trump on Wednesday. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah called the record

“He said: 'Read the transcript.' He said a number of times he was really glad there was a transcript and that he was really glad he released it,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). “What the president said over and over: He was delighted there was a transcript, he was glad that there was one and he was glad that he released it.”

“The point that the president is making is: They put the transcript out and if you look and read the transcript there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.). “There’s a transcript of the call and no one has said that if you read the transcript of the call it’s a violation of the law.”

No Quid Pro Quo?

  No Quid Pro Quo? As evidence mounts, the GOP defense of Trump’s call is falling apart.During the last impeachment, the Latin expression coitus interruptus got a workout. This time, it’s quid pro quo. Republicans lashed themselves to this mast when the White House’s own rough transcript of the Trump–Zelensky call was disclosed. That document, so damaging that one might think its release was the work of Trump’s opponents rather than Trump himself, left no doubt that the president had strong-armed a besieged ally for political dirt.

President Donald Trump lashed out at Republican Sen . Mitt Romney of Utah Saturday after Romney rebuked him for calling on Ukraine and China to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump insults Mitt Romney after Republican senator 's tough criticism of President.

Trump called the 2016 dismissal of the Ukrainian prosecutor "unfair" in his July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying, "A lot of Ukraine 's legislature voted to fire Shokin in March 2016, a month after the letter was sent. The letter was posted on the website of Republican Sen .

The president and senators did not discuss Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's assertion that some of the transcript of the call was omitted from the summary released from the White House. Vindman, a National Security Council official overseeing Ukraine policy, listened in to the July 25 call and a testified this week that he was so disturbed by it that he reported it to the NSC lawyer.

The president has been touting party unity and he found it on Thursday, as Reps. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) joined all House Republicans in rebuking the Democratic-led impeach inquiry.

“I don’t think it was lost on him,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Cornyn, Hawley and Scott joined GOP Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, as well as Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, both of Mississippi, according to an administration official. Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and legislative director Eric Ueland, Scott said.

'A very honest person': Trump defends Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine

  'A very honest person': Trump defends Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine President Trump is defending personal attorney Rudy Giuliani as concern grows that the former New York mayor’s meddling in Ukraine is lending credibility to the Democratic impeachment effort. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.“I think Rudy is a corruption fighter. I think he viewed Ukraine as a very corrupt place,” Trump said Thursday during a wide-ranging Oval Office interview with Washington Examiner reporters and editors, just hours after the House voted to formalize impeachment proceedings.

President Trump on Sept. 25 released the rough transcript of a July 25 phone call with Ukraine 's president. Republicans say Trump learned a lesson. Trump maintains he did nothing wrong. Senate trial: Senators grill the House impeachment managers and Trump defense team.

Trump touts Ukraine call during meeting with Republican senators . Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine , said Morrison told him that Trump sought to withhold military aid to Ukraine and refuse a White House meeting with the country’s president until it launched investigations into Trump ’s

Toomey and Cornyn have both said that the president should not have discussed Biden with Zelensky, but that the conversation between the two leaders is not impeachable. The president did not discuss the differing views of the GOP conference either on Thursday or last week, when he hosted 10 senators in a gathering that include a couple who have been mildly critical. Toomey declined to comment on the meeting besides that the chicken was "tasty."

“Jovial. He seems upbeat and positive,” Hawley said of Trump's mood.

The senators also discussed Syria, Iran and the recent raid against ISIS commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as well as the canine Conan who assisted in the military operation. Scott also buttonholed White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow to sign onto his bill to give Americans back the costs they’ve paid in tariffs.

Marianne LeVine and Nancy Cook contributed to this report.

Diplomat testified that Putin, Orban poisoned Trump's views on Ukraine .
Senior State Department official George Kent told House investigators that Trump's views on Ukraine changed after conversations with the leaders of Russia and Hungary.George Kent, a senior State Department official responsible for Europe, told House investigators that Putin and Orban, along with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, had "shaped the president's view of Ukraine and (President Volodymyr) Zelenskiy." He said Trump's conversations with the two leaders accounted for the change in Trump's view of Zelenskiy from "very positive" after their first call on April 21 to "negative" just one month later when he met with advisers on Ukraine in the Oval Office.

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