Trump Denies Quid Pro Quo for Ukraine, but Envoys Had Their Doubts

While President Trump has denied any quid pro quo in pushing Ukraine to investigate his foes, text messages indicate that his own team saw it otherwise.


Comments: 193

  1. I don't understand what the importance is of the Quid pro Quo. Trump asked the Ukrainian President to do him a favor and investigate Biden (Trump's political advisory). That in itself is an impeachable actions. There is no need for a quid pro quo at all. The Democrats are desperately looking for a quid pro quo, giving Trump numerous possibilities to muddy the waters. He asked a favor from a foreign nation for his own political gain. That is an impeachable offense. Period

  2. The NYT is looking for a quid pro quo and adopting the Republicans’ standard. Same as it did with “collusion.”

  3. @KS Actually.. the narrative about a quid pro quo is coming from the republicans in their talking points to defend Trump. They want Americans to think if there was no QPQ.. then no crime was committed. Democrats are simply responding to the nonsense. And.. they are wrong... but that does not stop them trying to sow disinformation.

  4. Agreed. But their charge is to find out everything they can—and news of existing text messages today indicate—that what you call “desperation” for quid pro quo has turned out to yield what they have needed all along to corroborate the whistle blower’s complaint.

  5. To be clear, Trump supporters, with straight faces, expect us to actually buy the following: - After YEARS of being completely silent on the topic of corruption in Ukraine.... summer of 2019 rolls around, (which coincidentally coincides with polls showing Biden as a major threat to Trump's re-election), and Trump suddenly decides, without telling anyone publicly, that he's interested in addressing corruption in Ukraine. - Plus with conversations and trips to Ukraine that he and Rudy initially denied ever happened...until the whistleblower report came out. At which point it transformed into a noble enterprise where they should be regarded as heroes for tackling corruption in Ukraine. - Moreover, their narrative on allegations Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election has changed from them (not Russia) were behind the DNC hacked emails and attempted to damage Clinton, to NOW right wingers are claiming Ukraine attempted to help Clinton's campaign. This is what they actually expect Americans to buy. Hah!

  6. @Joe Arena Furthermore his actions put Ukraine's survival and stability in jeopardy making it vulnerable to encroachment by Putin, with whom Trump is already entangled.

  7. @Joe Arena, well, not all Americans. trump just needs to get it by enough voters in a few swing states.

  8. @Joe Arena Spot on!

  9. Trump has employed the "big lie" technique all his life so he has no reason not to continue now. The question is will anyone finally hold him accountable -- Democrats need to stop threatening and start acting.

  10. @Pat Like an impeachment inquiry?

  11. The issue some are forgetting is a law that prohibits Americans seeking or accepting anything of value from foreign entities to assist in an American election. Quid pro quo is secondary and relevant if the American campaign has the power or leverage over, or is being blackmailed by, the foreign entity.

  12. 'Quid pro quo' will be the new 'collusion'. Quid pro quo is not a crime, no more than collusion is. But we will be duped into parsing the meaning of the term rather than looking at the behaviour and seeing it for what it is: corruptly using the power of the presidency to promote the election chances of a candidate. So can I copyright #NoQPQ?

  13. @Kathy White Am I remembering correctly that what used to be the Justice Dept. looked at the transcript and the WB report and made the determination that there wasn't "anything of value" being sought?

  14. "Republican lawmakers said that Mr. Volker’s testimony, taken behind closed doors on Thursday by House investigators, did not support the nefarious interpretation of Mr. Trump’s actions ..." Maybe they can read the documents released, which prove otherwise?

  15. @jhanzel One of the chief Trump defenders who claimed with a straight face and a strident voice that Mr. Volker's testimony and evidence did not support Democratic claims of abuse of power is the very same man who earlier also ignored abuse -- the sexual abuse of athletes where he was the coach that the athletes said he must have known about Whether it is political or sexual abuse, Jordan's deliberate blindness is amazing.

  16. do you truly believe he knows the meaning of quid pro quo? that's not part of his code. the word is favor. like don corleone. some day i'm going to ask you a favor.... although not all the details are out, it is obvious that his former special envoy's testimony yesterday makes this a conspiracy driven by the rogue giuliani and certainly initiated by trump. a criminal should not be permitted to sit behind the desk in the oval office. public sentiment has turned against trump and the percentage will likely increase. there are also a meaningful number of citizens who don't care. they seem to believe that trump is representing their interests - and it's mostly those who don't like the way US demographics have changed over the years. that ship has sailed. if this democracy was supposed to be a great experiment, it remains an ongoing one. the country isn't ever going back to what it used to be, but that isn't necessarily bad - only for those unwilling to adapt. they seem to forget most of us are here because our ancestors were immigrants. so let's get on with it. those in congress who support trump now could change their opinions. except for trump-like members - graham, jordan. nunes, among others. hopefully their constituents will see that they have put their own ambitions ahead of the country and remove them from office as well.

  17. @Steve Ell the genuine coup is the attempt by a corrupt, royalist party to maintain power despite the wishes of the majority of citizens and their elected representatives.

  18. Mr. Trump may see no quid pro quo, but one area in which he is unequalled is in seeing only what he wants to see. The rest of us have deal with the consequences of that. It’s one of the important causes for our current constitutional crisis.

  19. Good grief already. Stop already. Trump continues in his relentless denials of “any quid pro quo attached to his pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political enemies” yet his own representatives see a glaring different scenario as per the “new batch of text messages released late Thursday night.” Everyone is wrong or misunderstood or misinterpreted what Trump has stated – regardless of issue – except for Trump. He is ALWAYS right because he says so. There comes a point, a tipping point, where the GOP has to finally wake up and smell the burnt coffee – their leader is out of control, is borderline potentially delusional, and needs to be removed from office. For the Republicans to remain silent and continue to defend their boss implies their complicity.

  20. @Marge Keller The only tipping point that matters to GOP members is when they believe that their personal political standing is threatened. Then they will drop Trump immediately, just as their predecessors did with Nixon.

  21. @Marge Keller With Trump, he never said what he just said.

  22. @Pat Agreed. In my brain I keep hearing - tick tock, tick tock.

  23. Trump has invited now at least two countries to interfere in a free, democratic, US election. That is emphatically and necessarily an impeachable offense, or we cease to be a democracy. Whether there was a quid pro quo is a secondary question, but not determinative. What other countries may or may not now do is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant. The process needs to focus on the one key point above all others, which has nothing to do with the Bidens per se. Trump is asking foreign countries to intervene in our democratic process. Procedures to remove him from office must go forward with due determination and focus.

  24. You are correct that as president Trump has asked two foreign countries for illegal electoral assistance. But let’s remember that he asked “Russia, if you’re listening...” for Hillary Clinton’s emails. The crime is not new to him.

  25. @Paul McGlasson That is your interpretation. He has asked to countries to reveal any malfeasance in office commuted by an American elected official. That is an entirely appropriate execution of his duties —even if there was arm twisting. Political advantage always acrues to an official when he does his job but that doesn’t mean that doing so is electioneering.

  26. @Paul McGlasson: and the laws read "directly OR indirectly."

  27. it's great that the inquiry is proceeding thoroughly and with apparent fairness. However, the real question now is will Congress enforce the Constitution and its own laws and remove this President for refusing to carry out his oath of office and execute the laws or will Congress decide that we are no longer a nation of laws. Speaker Pelosi was right. The question is can we keep our Republic given to us by the Founders or not. We are about to find out the answer to this question. God save the United States of America.

  28. I saw a shakedown by trump of the leader of a foreign country for a personal favor, not quid pro quo. Quid pro quo in this context would be defined as: US military aid (US govt is the quid, not trump) in exchange for some Ukrainian govt owned/controlled asset (the quo, not a personal favor to trump to interfere with US elections). This is shakedown, not quid pro quo.

  29. @oldBassGuy Nevertheless, illegal.

  30. @oldBassGuy Something of value (US military aid) for something of value (dirt on political opponent). Looks like quid pro quo to me.

  31. @oldBassGuy Legal experts have suggested that extortion and bribery are often closely intertwined (lawfare.com)

  32. Does Trump think he is King? What he is doing goes against the constitution in many ways. For example, The Title of Nobility Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states and monarchies without the consent of the United States Congress. Also known as the Emoluments Clause, it was designed to shield the federal officeholders of the United States against so-called "corrupting foreign influences." Trump corrupts everything he touches.

  33. The long term impact of this inquiry is that impeachment will become just one more political weapon and not the serious constitutionally based tool to work toward removing a President who committed a serious transgression that it is supposed to be. The act reflected in the transcript does not justify impeachment. So if impeachment occurs, it will become a bit more common.

  34. @ehillesum I will ask you directly - if a Democrat were to do what Mr. Trump is openly and publicly doing, what would your reaction be? Republicans impeached Mr. Clinton for lying under oath about a purely personal matter. Should you not impeach Mr. Trump for illegally asking for foreign help in discrediting a political opponent?

  35. @ehillesum You are correct insofar as the partisan and petty impeachment effort of Bill Clinton created doubt and hesitation in using this Constitutional tool even in this current most obvious and egregious example of Presidential mismanagement, corruption and executive failure.

  36. @ehillesum A president using taxpayer funded foreign security assistance to extort an ally to undertake bogus ‘investigations’ to aid that man’s reelection campaign seem pretty high up the ladder of high crimes.

  37. Maybe Trump can solicit Lichtenstein next.

  38. Ask yourself, why was Mr. Trump’s _personal lawyer_ involved with Mr. Yermak, the top Ukrainian presidential adviser? Flat out extortion and the threat of no money if they don’t play ball i.e. dig up some dirt.

  39. @Sally, the involvement of Trump's personal lawyer/bagman Rudy Giuliani gives the lie to any possible claim that Trump was supporting U.S. interests when he requested "a favor" from Ukraine. No matter how plausible the Biden stories might be made to look, the favor was a personal one.

  40. Now the Trump playbook calls for distancing himself from Volker, Sondland, and Giuliani and claiming they hatched the Ukraine plans all on their own. We’ve seen that playbook many times before. Once a lackey’s usefulness is over they get tossed under the bus without a second thought by mister loyalty.

  41. Trump is as corrupt as they come. We have the smoking gun. Time to impeach. Case closed.

  42. Why is anyone focusing on this sort of nonsense when Trump outright and publicly asked China to investigate the Bidens? Impeach him! What else do you need? Oh don't mind that blatant slap in the face, just keep focusing on some obscure unnamed American diplomat in Ukraine... enough of this Schiff get to it!

  43. Oh my god. This is a coup. The Democrats MUST HURRY to impeach, or we will have at LEAST 4 more years of trumpism. Republicans - I implore you - are there any of you left that love this country? We don’t want to live in Gilead!

  44. @Victor: I understand that Trump has talked about purchasing Gilead from Denmark.

  45. Schiff needs to talk to Mr. Taylor about conversation with Mr. Soderland. Sounds like Soderland is in POTUS's pocket and will either lie, obfuscate or take the fifth.

  46. One thing very basic that isn’t enough is that Mr. Gulialin’s sole obligation as a lawyer and his role a lawyer is to represent Trump. Not the The US. While Rudy would ethically be required to do some illegal for Trump, legal ethics require him to do what’s best for the client regardless of impact on policy. So it’s seems so obvious as a good lawyer (!) that was what ruddy was doing as required by his legal ethics.

  47. @NYT Reader - Lawyers are never supposed to do anything illegal. Rudy should be disbarred.

  48. @NYT Reader, 1) Rudy would never be required "to do some illegal for Trump." I think there's a typo in your comment. 2) Rudy himself claims to have worked at State's behest and in cooperation with State; he is claiming some official status. 3) Rudy's involvement is the nail in the coffin for Trump's claim to have acted in the interest of the U.S. Trump simply can't have been pursuing a government interest, as opposed to a personal one, when he asked Ukraine to work with Rudy to help him politically. Perhaps that is why Rudy is so desperately claiming official sanction.

  49. The House should ask for the word for word transcript of the phone call. The quid pro quo might very well be behind the three dots and that would explain why Trump released it in an edited version, blindly believing that, having expunged the quid pro quo part, it would fly...

  50. Trump can change reality. It really doesn't get any more obvious then this. All the dots have been connected. The man is as guilty as sin. And yet he goes along his merry way saying the old saw; are you going to believe me or your lying eyes. "China are you listening" on the front lawn of the White House. Deny deny deny. And then there are his enablers, Lindsey Graham, Jourdan, Meadows lying through their teeth. The height of arrogance is acting dumb when you know better.

  51. Where there is a trump, there is a pro's quid that has been grabbed.

  52. If Congress and the American people allow the criminal Trump and his goon squad to get away with his crime based on his lame defense crafted by professional liars, then we have no rule of law in this country. Imagine a bank robber telling the judge, "Your honor, I didn't rob the bank, the teller voluntarily handed me the money. I just politely showed my loaded gun and gave her a note politely asking her to do me a favor and fill the bag up with the money. She complied."

  53. The robber wouldn’t even have to have a loaded gun, he could just hand the teller the note. From there, humans will act on assumption. You asked me to do you a favor, it is natural to assume that you are going to do something for me or forebear from doing something against me. When did we got to the point where everything has to be spelt out. If someone walks in a bank with a weapon, they are probably there to rob it. If Trump has the government withhold aid that has been authorized by Congress while asking for an investigation, he is trying to get help from the investigation in the upcoming election. Trump would probably even try to control the results of the investigation. It wouldn’t matter though because he could use the investigation to signal guilt and taint Biden at a key moment in the election.

  54. “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

  55. This isn't a case of Quid Pro Quo or doing us a favor. This "I'm making you an offer you can't refuse."

  56. This isn't a case of Quid Pro Quo or doing us a favor. This "I'm making you an offer you can't refuse."

  57. The White House “secure server” needs to be locked down to preserve its contents and avoid someone hitting “ctrl, alt, delete”.

  58. Maybe they should hire Hillary to lead the effort on how choose which sensitive messages to keep on an insecure server and which messages to delete right after they are supeoned by Congress? After all, she has long experience with both activities.

  59. @Fred Rick It doesn't matter what Hillary did or didn't do. This is about Trump!

  60. @Fred Rick As long as we're bringing up people who have nothing to do with this, why don't they hire Fred Rick?

  61. UNBELIEVABLE! It's soooooo clear the aid was tied to Ukraine's work on Trump's conspiracy theories. And he just keeps piling on with requests to other foreign governments. Trump is cooked...

  62. Who are you going to believe? The printed record or the words of a congenital liar who happens to be president? Every conversation that trump has had with other leaders should be examined for the same mob tactics and requests for help with his re-election. No collusion, indeed.

  63. This president’s profound ignorance of international diplomacy is no excuse for its illegal trashing. The Cabinet is supposed to be staffed with experts in their field, not just political sycophants. So much for “I only hire the best people.” This disaster for his administration is directly linked to his (and his servile lickspittles) personal, private self-serving motivation, not for the interests of the American people. The president brought this on himself and his State Department is forever tarnished and compromised.

  64. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 I concur with your comment except I tend to believe that Trump's actions are not due to his ignorance but rather due to his arrogance. He continually confuses being president and the U.S. Constitution with being a preordained king who can literally do whatever he wants with NO consequences.

  65. Trump will be king only if the majority of Americans support him. Once he's king and controls all the levers of power, it'll only get worse. Bottom line, the American people are responsible for Trump. If you're unhappy with this situation, call, write and inundate the GOP representatives that continue to support Trump. These GOPer care about only one thing, their skin. They do not serve the people; they use people for their political gain.

  66. @moksha You are absolutely right. Americans must show their outrage and stop being so dispassionate about the destruction of our democracy by a Putin sympathizer and stooge.

  67. @moksha The majority of people not only have never supported him, they also didn’t vote for him, yet he is president.

  68. First off, President Trump is lying; we know this from his OWN released transcript of his call with the President of Ukraine. Right after the Ukrainian President talks about needing US military aid (that President Trump was holding up) President Trump says "Do me a favor, though" and then asks him to investigate the Bidens. At least 8 times in one conversation Trump asks for this. Secondly, even if there were no explicit quid pro quo involving military aid, simply asking or suggesting that a foreign power investigate a political opponent is a crime in itself. Don't let Trump and Fox News distract us by clouding the details. The president committed an impeachable and traitorous crime as soon as he asked other governments to investigate his political opponents. Period.

  69. @AMinNC Right on! Just asking for or accepting aid from a foreign power in an election campaign is a Federal crime. Period.

  70. @AMinNC Actually, we know Trump is lying whenever he says something.

  71. And now, it boils down to whether the grand strategy of the Grand Old Party will work - the strategy of packing the courts with Federalist Society judges. If the actual transcript ever comes off the double-secret probation server, Trump's defense falls apart and his administration comes crashing down. If a partisan judicial branch rules that the conversation cannot be pulled from that server, locking in a cover-up, they may well be able to protect Republican politicians - vindicating the long game the GOP has played, to gain control of the judiciary.

  72. @Greg the tape The audio of the conversation:Release it immediately, if not sooner!

  73. A quid pro quo is unnecessary for a campaign finance violation which only requires that a foreign power be solicited. Further, an actual crime is not necessary for impeachment, although several federal statutes appear to have been violated by Trump in just the last week, including witness intimidation. Getting hung up on finding a quid pro quo is what the Republicans want. Focus on the obvious abuse of power and the misuse of the State and Justice Departments for Trump's personal political ends.

  74. Absolutely correct. Quid pro quo is a smokescreen. 52 US Code Sec 30121 states: It shall be unlawful for-- (1)  a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make-- (A)  a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election; (B)  a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party;  or (C)  an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title);  or (2)  a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national. The illegal act occurred under (2) because Trump SOLICITED a thing of value from the Ukraine.

  75. I disagree. The quid pro quo is obvious and the only thing that has a chance at actually removing this clown from office. He's already committed the other crimes in the Russia investigation or openly and nothing was done about it or will be done about it.

  76. @Justin As a basis for impeachment the Mueller investigation of DJT was effectively sidetracked because DJT defenders managed to make it about how, when and who broke the law. Not this time. DJT and his defenders in the House and Senate attempts to make abuse of authority a legal matter is considerably more difficult, if not impossible. Consider there is a transcript of President DJT's own words during an official call, while in the WH and with the Secretary of State listening. And there was an attempt to sequester the call transcript for concerns about the call's political implications and not national security.

  77. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Sounds as if Mr. Taylor, the top American diplomat, believes there was a quid pro quo.

  78. @Eduardo Mr. Taylor, unfortunately, is about to get the Comey / McCabe treatment--FOX and the Federalist will dig up any pro-Obama/pro-Clinton statement he's ever made and spin it as Taylor is a partisan hack, part of the deep state who has never accepted the 2016 election results.

  79. They should put All these state dept officials on the stand to testify.

  80. @Eduardo Crazy, not illegal. The defense rests.

  81. Most damning insights to be released so far. Trump, sorry, but this really is getting bad.

  82. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

  83. Mr. Trump has not asked Ukraine, China or other foreign governments to investigate corruption. He has asked them to make up dirt on his political rival and to manufacture evidence to bolster his conspiracy theories. Trump is corrupt. And he has damaged our national security and given assistance to Russia by delaying military assistance to Ukraine as required by Congress. Do your job, Congress.

  84. Sooner or later, the Republicans in the Senate are going to have to decide whether to ride it out on the Barr "investigation" and risk going down with the ship, or jump overboard to try to save themselves. Their decisions will determine whether or not Trump leaves office before the end of his term.

  85. It is clear that trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate Biden to dig up political dirt on a potential rival, case closed, trump needs to be impeached.

  86. The crime is to request help from other countries to dig up dirt on his political opponent. It doesn't matter whether he strongly armed them or not. Requesting foreigners to help you in a US election is a CRIME.

  87. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” As the headline reads, it sounds as if Mr. Taylor, the top American diplomat, believes there was a quid pro quo.

  88. I really hope that I'm wrong but even if the Democrats manages to convince the GOP that Trump got to go (don't hold your breath), the damage Trump has caused to America is extremely severe and probably permanent. He tapped into this destructive schism in America that has been festering for decades. And even worse, he has empowered the disenfranchised and fringe groups on the right while legitimizing in their eyes criminality, racism, misogyny, etc. Let's face it. Government, period, has let down the people and America for the sake of their personal careers and corporate backers. There's no stuffing this genie back into the bottle.

  89. Given Trump's long history of blatant mendacity, my money is on Mr. Volker. Trump has lied consistently since his campaign and stolen election; we have no reason to believe him now, or ever.

  90. Quid Pro Quo is not required. Just the solicitation.

  91. Here’s a question for Trump: Should Elisabeth Warren be investigated? Should Bernie? Pelosi? He and his supporters are saying there is nothing wrong with the President asking other countries to investigate his opponents. This is, in and of itself, impeachable.

  92. If a joke has the effect of being a threat, then it is a threat. If your staff prepares you a cost-estimate of a moat fill of alligators, then you asked for alligators. And if your diplomatic team acts as if you were offering a quid-pro-quo, then you offered a quid-pro-quo. Saying you had your fingers crossed isn't a mitigating factor. The President is responsible for the effects of their words. The buck doesn't stop with anyone else For a President to say that is does is to impeach the government that he runs. It is not just an admission, but a declaration of failure. It is literally self-impeachment. All that's left is for Congress to follow through.

  93. "Trump Denies Quid Pro Quo for Ukraine, but Envoys Had Their Doubts" Quid Pro Quo is irrelevant, as obvious as it was. Raising it in a headline helps Trump obscure the underlying high crime--asking a foreign country to gin up a sham investigation into a political rival to influence an American election. Putting it in a headline obscures rather than clarifies. That task should be left to Trump. A more appropriate latin phrase is Cui Bono -- "Who benefits?". As always, Trump's actions ONLY benefit Trump, American interests are meaningless. But this time Trump has gone too far with too much proof. He WILL be impeached despite all the lying, all the witness intimidation, and all the help a complicit GOP can give him. Alea iacta est.

  94. Chalk up another first for the man in the Oval Office. He can and will make his own laws that will benefit him. I never knew a President could do that. I wonder why the other before him did not do it. My guess democrat or republican President's would not stoop to this level of a career swindler. Yes I also want it to be investigated what his children and their spouses are doing for their salary. See another first, he hires his own family. Go figure

  95. Well that settles it. If someone has doubts about you, then whatever they think must be the truth.

  96. Mr. Sondland needs to be interviewed under oath immediately. It will be interesting to see if the Secretary of State tries to obstruct his appearance before the Intelligence Committee

  97. Every day, I think surely THIS is the tipping point that will force the Republican leadership to right the ship, to choose our democracy over this insane loyalty to the Republican party and Trump. I'm losing faith. And today is no different.

  98. @Kelly It would be a good idea to ask for Mitch McConnell's comment on each of these revelations, and include his response as part of the story. Will he go on record defending the president's actions every time, or will we get a constant stream of "no comment"s from the Speaker? Trump would be unhappy if he did not receive complete loyalty from McConnell.

  99. Investigation, particularly if that's transparent, is of no use to normalize its relation with the US so long Trump remains American President. Autocrats and dictators do not much care about investigation or truth or national interest. They want all their whims and prejudices supported and fulfilled by anyone who want its blessing/help. In short, Ukraine needs to declare what Trump wants, i.e.- 1) Joe Biden (who carers about his son) was guilty of some kind of fraud, corruption of just anything. It would be even better if Ukraine can somehow make or indicate it in present tense, i.e. Joe Biden is still engaged in some form of corruption. Leave the rest on Trump, who would immediately make that as the "greatest" corruption in human history! 2) It's Ukraine, and not Putin's Russia (as every sensible people in the planet Earth and all US intelligence know for long) was behind all interference in 2016 US election. At the same time, Ukraine also must keep in mind that Trump is a passing phase in US politics. More importantly, their country, Ukraine, needs a transparent and credible Govt that its own citizens can trust. And this episode is now beyond either Ukraine or Trump's control. So they better be careful of how they get involved in it.

  100. Impeachment might have more credibility of Democrats had not announced that intention the day Trump was sworn in. To all but those who have always wanted to impeach Trump these so called whistleblower complaints feel contrived and orchestrated by the #resistance.

  101. Trump would have had more credibility if he had not violated the Emoluments Clauses the day he was sworn in. Ignoring, of course, his longstanding general lack of credibility.

  102. If there was an inctual interest to investigate Biden's links to Ukrainian corruption, the investigation would have proceeded quietly and without any fanfare. Trump didn't care about the actual investigation, of course, but wanted the Ukrainians to make a public announcement. It is the public announcement--the fanfare--that was the object of value to the Trump campaign, and the reason why members of his own team felt the urgent need to "lock down" all correspondences. Dangling nearly half a billion dollars of military aid over Ukraine, refusing to meet with the Ukrainian President - the quid pro quo is about as obvious as it gets.

  103. Aren’t Trumps actions closer to extortion? If you don’t do this, I will or won’t do that? I won’t give you the military aid you need, and a lot of aid, unless you create the illusion that my political rival is a hack? Also, isn’t it the sum of Trump’s actions that make him subject to removal from office?

  104. A quid pro quo is actually not necessary for Trump to have broken the law. Just asking is enough. Obviously through from all the texts that have been release and the memo of the actual conservation Trump did expect to get is way with the foreign governments. He must really be scared of Biden. Of course it could be that Trump has operated this way for so long that it is just second nature to him. I never did understand why Nixon went off rails like he did. It was clearly overdone in his case as he had nothing to worry about.

  105. Having a President who at first does not understand what Quid Pro Quo means and does not understand why this would be an issue is making laugh.

  106. The impeachment investigation may turn out to be a particularly heated test of blatant lies vs. the truth. In this short time, we've seen various facts confirmed by many different sources. And still, Repubs just make up their own stories and repeat them relentlessly. They're like a little kid who insists he never even saw that plate of cookies, but there's chocolate all over his face for all to see.

  107. @Betsy Todd Perhaps it's more like a kid who denies he ate the cookies despite displaying all the crumbs and smears of chocolate, declaring that even if he had eaten the cookies, there was nothing wrong with eating them and it was his duty to eat cookies and he will eat as many as he can in the future. Not only that, but you have to look for all the cookies that that other kid ate and I will beat them up if they don't tell you how the other kid ate all the cookies. We are dealing with a brat who has a lifetime of experience of projecting his wrongdoing onto others and escaping punishment by trolling and deflection. It has worked so well. Why stop now?

  108. @Betsy Todd Repubs learned long ago that if they repeat the same lies for years, and decades on end, certain people will come to believe them. Trump has simply taken it to it's logical conclusion in which he lies about everything and everyone and dares people NOT to believe him. Normal people see right through his lies. Trumpers not so much.

  109. @Betsy Todd The ENTIRE Trump administration has been a battle between blatant lies and the truth. Sadly, 40% of Americans still choose to believe the blatant lies.

  110. So everybody was telling Trump that the stuff about the Bidens were not true but he insisted that Ukraine say that it was taking it seriously and investigating them. anyway Trump is supposed to be protecting Americans' right to due process of law but apparently he thought the only way he could flout it was to have some foreign countries smear the Bidens through phony investigations. That he has to go to foreigners to pursue his corruption might speak well for our system as it now exists but Trump is clearly bent on replacing that system with his personal rule. Trump is pursuing trumped up charges. "Trump" is now an eponym for the destruction of rule of law.

  111. If it is OK for a president to get multiple foreign countries (including dictatorships of various kinds) involved in defeating the other party, how on earth is this fair to the other party? If nothing else, would not any president be assured of a second term? Even if such behavior doesn't put the Trump family permanently in office, it could easily defeat voters' real wishes.

  112. @Barbara Yes, makes sense, doesn't it? That's why it's against the law. If only R voters would apply logic to their screwy ideas.

  113. Mr. Sondland replied. “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.” From the start, one has been left wondering about the fixation on the tag line "no quid pro quo". With the publication of Sondland's text, DJT and defenders will increase their repetition of "no quid pro quo" and the narrowing of the Constitution's impeachment for "high crimes and misdemeanors" to be illegal acts. Constitutional impeachment for high crimes is about persons abusing their unique and special authority and was never restricted to illegal acts. Any repetition of "quid pro quo" by others reinforces the distraction propagated by DJT and his defenders. Each and every day the challenge is to keep focused on DJT's abuse of authority on a phone and on a podium.

  114. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Inquiry will result in a recommendation to impeach and in turn the House, with its Democratic majority, will endorse it. So, what this inquiry must do is to develop evidence that, on the face of it, will not only make it clear that Trump is corrupting foreign policy as part of his reelection campaign, but has ensnared the Justice and State departments in that effort. This dramatic abuse of power, if Trump succeeds, will be normalized for all future presidents effectively ending our republic as we know it. The only thing that lies in Trump's path are the Republicans in the Senate. They are the ones that will decide if we are to continue as a republic or become the authoritarian state Trump is methodically transforming America into. It is not an exaggeration to say that we are experiencing the greatest threat to America's democracy in its history, possibly even greater than the Civil War.

  115. @GerardM That sums it up perfectly.

  116. @GerardM What a shame that it is the Republicans (who up until now have endorsed most things this president has done) are the ones we have to count on to be the heroes. It is up to them to actually right this wrong. No doubt those who turn on him will ultimately be celebrated. Meanwhile, empirically minded anti-Trump voters, columnists, and politicians will still be castigated for their “unfair” slant. Really that doesn’t matter in the end. The middle schooler within me still really wants the record to reflect that many Americans have been seeing this for what it was from the very beginning. Shame on Trump. Shame on the Republican establishment.

  117. The texts are damning. If there was ever any wiggle room for Trump to spin the content of the July phone call, it is rapidly evaporating. Quid pro quo.

  118. Cut the quid pro quo baloney. Trump's behavior is unconstitutional without it!!! The qpq is primarily a red herring (distraction) pushed by Trump supporters as if the basis for impeachment was a signed contract explicitly declaring military aid in exchange for campaign dirt. It might seem more damning with the qpq or provide additional illegality to the request, but it is not required to be a crime.

  119. Just because an oblivious, incompetent idiot was ignorant to his own crimes doesn't mean they aren't crimes.

  120. @stewarjt DJT is not ignorant of his own criminality. His strategy to escape punishment is to maintain that if he does it, it is not a crime. It is the Nixon claim intensified and taken to a level that is hard to believe. He has to convince a set of people that he is indeed above the law and another group that it does not matter. Who are those that care and are there enough of them to get us through this crisis? That is the question.

  121. I think the investigation will go on like this for several weeks or months, with witness after witness corroborating the whistleblower's complaint and Republicans denying what is in front of them. Then the dam will break and Trump will fall. What will cause this change of heart? Polls and the economy- not the horrific misconduct of the President.

  122. The fact is that it does not matter if there is an explicit qui pro quo. From these texts t is looking pretty damning that there was but that is besides the point. The president cannot solicit foreign government interference in our elections. Full stop. Why is the NYTimes, WaPo, etc..deliberately muddying the waters around this? Enough already. Trump broke the law and needs to be impeached. End of story.

  123. The Trump Regime, a " Presidential " Dumpster Fire. Period. Thanks, GOP/NRA Party. 2020, Bigly.

  124. @Phyliss Dalmatian A Trumpster Dumpster Fire. I like it because it's so picturesque.

  125. Are we all idiots? If the transcript is accurate-the one he released- then he’s insane to keep staying this. Or he knows exactly the what he and others pushed on his behalf and is attempting to normalize it. Either way we are in a deep water constitutional crisis. This man keeps his status only due to the very same constitutional protections that now mandate he be impeached and removed.

  126. There’s no point in any of this. Senate republicans are sycophants that will never convict this lunatic.

  127. There is no other way to plausibly interpret this than as a quid pro quo. Congressional Republicans, who have all sold their souls to Trump, may pretend up is down, right is left and black is white, but to any human being with a brain, this couldn’t be more plainly obvious. Keep gong, uncover it all, and Trump will continue to impeach himself as he unravels in public. Meanwhile it’s amazing how much of this cuckoo scheme comes back to Giuliani, an utter clown who as a “defense attorney” is his own client’s worst enemy.

  128. @David Does it even matter whether there was quid pro quo or not? My understanding is that the request itself violates federal campaign law, so while Trump denies the existence of a quid pro quo, the response is "so what?".

  129. @David The seventh paragraph in the story pretty much summarizes the story. "During the call that followed, Mr. Trump did press Mr. Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate supposed Ukrainian efforts to help Democrats in the 2016 presidential election, ..." It's obvious President Trump is trying to find out what happened during the 2016 Presidential election. Mr. Biden was not running for President in 2016. President Trump wants to get rid of corruption actually. Ukraine and Russia were active participants in spreading false information during the 2016 Presidential elections. I thought we all have the same goal ensure the 2020 presidential elections are going to be fair and without the interference of foreign countries/actors. President Trump's efforts to investigate the Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections are dismissed partisan political efforts because it appears the Hillary Clinton Campaign did in fact used foreign countries to interfere in the 2016 elections. Why not investigate what happened with Ukraine in 2016?

  130. @David I served on a jury with someone who just couldn't believe her fantastical interpretations, which relied on ignoring established facts and assuming other things not in evidence, did not constitute reasonable doubt. Having come to our conclusion in about two hours of careful consideration, eleven of us spent an entire afternoon listening to her, wondering if indeed she had a brain. I guess we were lucky with one out of twelve - it turns out close to one out of three Americans is brainless.

  131. Why not say, “Trump alleges,” rather than denies?

  132. The quid pro quo in the Ukrainian interactions is obvious in the original read out and then plainly identified in these texts. In fact the texts appear to be a set up to establish that US policy was being manipulated to manufacture a headline to hurt Trump’s political opponents. Why does this headline lead with Trump’s lie (no quid pro quo) and then follow with a weak statement about the truth (others have their doubts)? It is my impression that the headline writing at the NYT often misleads readers as to the contents of the story. Baquet’s editorial decisions have weakened the paper’s reputation, and I believe the inability to write a simple and honest headline is very damaging as well.

  133. This article makes the situation and Trump’s impeachability crystal clear—until at the very end we get the flat denial (here by Sondland) that 1+1 doesn’t equal 2. You can’t just say stuff and make it so, Gordon and Donald. This whole thing is making Ukraine look weak—not a good look vs Putin in Crimea. Why does Trump have to ruin everything? Why does he capitalize random nouns?

  134. Trump demanded a FAVOR. In those very words. This is like saying Trump denies shooting someone on Fifth Avenue but his entire White House that witnessed that shooting believes otherwise. It is appalling to read the lengths that the NYT goes to give legitimacy to a narrative that is as absurd as Trump saying his political rival just happened to walk by his gun when it accidentally went off.

  135. This article makes the situation and Trump’s impeachability crystal clear—until at the very end we get the flat denial (here by Sondland) that 1+1 doesn’t equal 2. You can’t just say stuff and make it so, Gordon and Donald. This whole thing is making Ukraine look weak—not a good look vs Putin in Crimea. Why does Trump have to ruin everything? Why does he capitalize random nouns? Think how hard it is to get into any college nowadays—his spot at Penn should have gone to someone literate.

  136. The problem is that republicans yell, "Squirrel!!" and then everyone looks away from the real problem: The president tried to get a foreign power to interfere in our election by asking for confirmation of a wild conspiracy theory hatched by the Lunatic Fringe against a political opponent. Absolutely nothing the republicans or trump can say or do will negate that fact. He needs to be impeached and removed from office ASAP.

  137. The only thing that puzzles me is why Zelensky or any responsible leader would want to meet with the White House occupant.

  138. Criminal Trump hates the Constitution. He has his own set of rules and does as he likes every day of the week. So far there has been zero justice for the American people.

  139. The amended subsection of the federal campaign election statute states : ”Subsec . (a). Pub. L. 107–155, §303(2), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows: "It shall be UNLAWFUL for a foreign national directly or through any other person to make any contribution of money or other thing of value, or to promise EXPRESSLY OR IMPLIED to make any such contribution, in connection with an election to any political office or in connection with any primary election, convention, or caucus held to select candidates for any political office; or for any person to solicit, accept, or receive any such contribution from a foreign national." Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 107–155, §317, inserted "or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8)" after "United States". Effective Date of 2002 Amendment Amendment by Pub. L. 107–155 effective Nov. 6, 2002, see section 402 of Pub. L. 107–155, set out as an Effective Date of 2002 Amendment; Regulations note under section 30101 of this title.“ While Trump and his allies spin Shondland’s text statement response to Ambassador Taylor’s concern as there being no quid pro quo as exculpatory, an expressly or overt one is not needed. Taylor’s wariness, concern and doubt of the issue reflects the implicit connotation of the transaction. Ambassador Taylor’s testimony is absolutely critical.

  140. There is absolutely zero doubt that this was a quid pro quo.

  141. This is becoming far more than just a scandal about a corrupt and probably criminal President holding the most powerful position in the world. It seems that this Kurt Volker and the whole policy of arming Ukraine with US made Javelin missiles are more of a corporate lobbying mixed with American internal politics, besides Trump's close association with Putin's Russia and trust on Putin's propaganda than believing his own intelligence agencies and nation interest of USA. //But at the same time Volker was pushing Trump to arm Ukraine, he also held positions with a major lobbying firm, BGR Group, and a think tank, the McCain Institute, that each had financial ties to Raytheon Co., which manufactures the Javelin system and earned millions from Trump's decision.//- https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/28/trump-ukraine-kurt-volker-1517874

  142. The dishonesty of Trump and his hand puppets is a known known. How could these life long diplomats continue to function in light of knowing that Trump was asking them to be complicit in his treason? An accomplice after the fact is still and accomplice.

  143. The “no quid pro quo” mantra is Trump’s attempt to mimic his “no collusion” mantra of last time, the bumper sticker of a larger deception and propaganda campaign—that worked because we never got that smoking gun witness, confession, tape to corroborate. (Just as this whole affair is a repeat, a Trump pattern of corruption that in itself mirrors his entire life...if you have any doubts.) But the mantra this time is the biggest of lies, a bullying challenge to GOP, media and his hardcore supporters to ignore his own words. Quid pro quo is the definition of that call.

  144. @JP This time "solicitation of collusion" is crystal clear.

  145. President: Change the law as you go along. Bypass Congress. Stack the courts. Autocracy, here we come. GOP: Morality? Defending the Constitution? No problem. Tax cuts for rich donors. Killing environmental protection. Denial of climate science. Guns in schools. No abortions. Much more important to you, I guess. Senators Collins, Portman, Romney, et al.: How can you look yourself in the mirror every morning? Your betrayal of our principles, the Constitution (and my former party) will not be forgotten.

  146. @Dr BaBa Collins, Romney, Portman, will betray their own grandmother in order to hold on to their pathetic Senate seats. They are the "useful idiots" Lenin was talking about that he used to establish the most brutal government in modern history!

  147. The Ukraine has a Herculean task-this fragile democracy is trying to fend off the Russians who are invading the country from the East and is working frantically to please Trump and Giuliani who want political dirt In return for releasing defense funds allocated by Congress. They are fighting a two front war in order to survive.How dare Trump hold up allocated funds for any reason especially those which suit him and his agenda!Trump knows that Putin is happy that national security help is delayed to the Ukraine-advantage,Russia!

  148. Repeat after me: Trump's own White House improperly locked up those transcripts - and others - because they knew what Trump had just done was corrupt. Who cares if Trump "denies" there was quid pro quo when Trump's handpicked team of "protectors" clearly knew it was. It is the Republican White House that believed this pressuring of Ukraine was corrupt, as their rush to lock up the transcripts proves. We STILL don't know what is in the transcripts since we have only seen the Republican memo edited version that probably leaves out the worst of Trump's crimes. We know for a fact that William Barr's memo version of the Mueller Report he tried to hide left out the worst of Trump's crimes.

  149. The headlines should be about what Trump does, not about what Trump says.

  150. @Ricardo Trump never said anything about putting children in cages, and separating them from their parents in a way (accompanied by no identification) that will leave some children separated from their families for years if not forever. His (publicly) unspoken intentions when put into practice can be far more terrible than words can adequately describe. Since these concrete examples of his philosophy of hate were never explicitly designed, and called for (in public) he can disavow them, and preposterously blame them on the Democrats. If what was intended by the suggestion that Trumps actions rather than his words should be given priority in being reported, was that these 'human crimes' (I only barely hesitate to say "crimes against humanity") be spotlighted, and made explicitly clear to the people of this country, as object lessons of "This is what you have wrought Trump supporters!" then I wholeheartedly agree. But as digital space, and paper is plentiful in this great land, my vote is for reporting both his words, and the results of them, and perhaps most importantly the results of what is implicit in the gaps between the words he has left unspoken.

  151. Too late. We already live in a Dictatorship. Trump controls the DOJ; the Courts;Law Enforcement and the Military. He planned to shoot people and very few people spoke up against it.

  152. Gordon Sondland - another "alternative facts" champion. It's morally corrupt, do-anything-to-win, the ends-justify-the-means people like him that has allowed trump to become ever bolder in his lawlessness. Then again, all the people that would have stood up to trump have either resigned or been fired long ago. So in essence that's all that seems to be left around trump these days. As for Jordan and Nunes - I hope that their constituents decide that they can do better replace them with reps that are honest and moral.

  153. Oh sure. As if Republicans will be forced to admit that there was a quid pro quo attached to Trump's investigation pressure on Ukraine because Trump's own representatives saw it that way. Remember, these are people who deny there was any quid pro quo when Trump himself explicitly said in his call with Urkaine's leader that he needed a favor from Ukraine right after its leader said he needed the javelin weapons. Even if Trump himself were to admit that there was a quid pro quo, Republicans will claim either that Trump misspoke or that he doesn't know what the phrase quid pro quo means.

  154. Exactly. Not a chance the empty suits in the Senate would ever convict after the House does it’s constitutional job with impeachment. Where does that leave us?

  155. Yes, he loves to use big words he doesn't know the meaning of.

  156. The fixation with the term quid pro quo is completely off base. Maybe people think saying something in Latin makes them look smart. The Constitution provides as grounds for impeachment "bribery" not just the more familiar (and impressive sounding) high crimes and misdemeanors. To understand that term it is important to realize that there were no statutes to provide a list of technical requirements of that crime. No statutes existed because there was no country to enact statutes. That's the point in writing a new Constitution, to create a country that can later enact statutes. In order to understand the meaning of the term "bribery" we need to examine the common law as it existed at the time. Come on all you originalists, drink the Scalia water and pull out your Blackstone. As I recall when I looked at Blackstone a few weeks ago there is no need for a quid pro quo to constitute bribery. He says that "eastern" cultures which encourage the habit of making gifts to the judge are abhorrent and an example of bribery even if no bias is induced. The Founders had this prohibition in mind when they provided for impeachment for bribery, not some statutes that were not enacted until years later. Quid pro quo is a red herring.

  157. @Chuck Correct! And let's all remember what Senator Lindsey Graham said when he was a Congressman back in 1999 during the Clinton impeachment: “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime in this constitutional republic if this body determines your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.” – Jan. 16, 1999

  158. Quid pro quo is secondary. What truly matters is the solicitation of a foreign government's intervention in our election process. The claim of "no pressure" is also erroneous. If your child asks for a second cookie, that's a reasonable request. If he continues to ask, then sends his sister and his brother as envoys on his behalf, that is pressure. One request for interference was enough to have raised serious questions. "Russia if you're listening," followed by, Ukraine, "do us a favor, though," and again, "China should start an investigation into the Bidens," should be enough to convince everyone of the rampant corruption emanating from the top.

  159. Any diplomat should know that the appearance of impropriety is just as damaging as behaving improperly, which is why it’s better to resign then do the bidding of superiors who have secret meetings with foreign leaders while misusing secure servers. Whether or not there was quid pro quo is moot. The question we should be asking ourselves is, “Can a person who even appears to abuse his office lead the country, even if he bothers to stop at the water’s edge?” This is why we hold presidents at a higher standard.

  160. @Colleen Dunn Another question is how can we trust this President not to encourage meddling in this election if we allow him to stay in office? We can't, as he proved yesterday. An investigation isn't enough - he must be removed from office.

  161. @Colleen Dunn It doesn't matter whether there was a quid pro quo. Merely asking for it is enough for a high crime or misdemeanor. Another example is Trump's brazen crazy attempt to create a false issue was his request for China to investigate Biden.

  162. @Colleen Dunn To me, it doesn't matter if there was a quid pro quo. He asked, can is continuing to ask, foreign countries to investigate his political opponent which will benefit him personally and politically. That is a crime worthy of impeachment.

  163. Every single minute of every day, Trump is lying through his teeth. This man is the greatest embarrassment to our nation. Whether it's by mental health or by malicious intent, his words show that he is unfit for the office of president. Either by impeachment or amendment 25 of the constitution, he has to go.

  164. During the Presidential campaign Trump invited Russia to continue their hacking of Clinton emails. How can this possibly be wrong/collusion/impeachable if Trump, once found out, does it publicly? We are now apprised of the Trump & Co. Russia collusion that impacted our elections. Trump of course knew all of this was going on. Now we're treated to Trump asking publicly Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens --now that we know he had secretly pressured the Ukraine president to do his dirty work. How could this be impeachable if he does it publicly? This is the man who bragged he could shoot someone in plain daylight on 5th Avenue in NYC if he wanted without fear of judicial reprisal. This is pure tactic. Of course I did it he crows. I said I did it. I am transparent. I am president. So this cant be wrong...?! Now that we are learning about the Ukraine, Australia, Poland, China and the effort to cover up his wrong doing by proclaiming he's guilty, asking for more and charging his opponents... Will he be forgiven by public opinion (and the Senate) once again by publicly confirming his impeachable offenses and proclaiming his innocence of high crimes and misdemeanors? Will the rules of honesty and decency and being American all be rewritten by Trump's dark force? Stay tuned...

  165. Ukraine, Australia, China...so much for Trump's anti-globalist foreign policy.

  166. If Trump is so interested in stamping out political corruption why is he asking countries known for their corruption to investigate a matter that was already thoroughly investigated with no proof found? Why didn't Trump use the appropriate US intelligence agencies for this investigation? If he really thought the Bidens were corrupt and continued to use their influence in Ukraine to win the 2020 election why not fully staff the FEC so it could investigate? Trump and everything he touches stinks.

  167. Is it the money? That simple? Are all those who don’t tow the line fearing Donald Trump May ruin their lives - at any expense - if they simply fail to support his irrationality? Their fear at our expense. This is what mental illness and money can perpetrate, on others, on the world.

  168. Lies lies lies and evidence that says so no matter how it’s spun. And kids where’s the entire transcript and not the edited one?

  169. Ukraine has Putin’s boot on their neck. The citizens of Hong Kong are protesting for the freedom that was promised to them under the threat of Chinese authoritarians. A journalist is murdered and dismembered. The Russians corrupted our elections. For more than a century, as Americans, we have fought to preserve democratic ideals all over the world and paid with blood and treasure. Republicans always held themselves out as the most strident protectors of these basic human rights. And now we have a President who sells them out for dirt on a political opponent. Profoundly shameful. A level of selfish deceit that is disgraceful. A turning point for Republicans and Trump supporters regarding just how much they will tolerate. This cannot stand.

  170. Trump supporters have just two paths to take at this point: 1) admit to being conned (which is not an easy thing for any of us to do) and take your anger out on the con man and hold him responsible; or 2) ignore reality and continue to embrace the con and the con man. The first path will lead to a liberating and cleansing future. The second path will lead to a self-destructive dead end, because the con man cares not a whit for you, but only for himself. He always has and always will.

  171. Now that Trump is publicly and repeatedly using the power of his office and subordinate government employees on the public payroll to pressure foreign governments to investigate political rivals during a reelection campaign, this scandal boils down to whether or not this is unlawful conduct. All Congressional Republicans and Democrats need to answer one question: Is it lawful for ANY sitting president to use the power of his office or direct any subordinate government employees to apply pressure on any foreign government to investigate a political rival in an election campaign? Yes or No?

  172. This is yet another lie by Trump, who can not be trusted. It was implicit that one action would lead to another and Trump certainly never said otherwise about what was not expected. The words "quid pro quo" are weasel words for liars when the circumstances and context was quite clear. This event is certainly grounds for impeachment, beyond all doubt.

  173. Trump is reframing the offense again. With the Russia investigation, it was never about “collusion”, it was about illegal foreign interference and obstruction of justice. The Mueller Report and Mueller’s comments found and spoke of evidence of those crimes but it came to nothing because after 2 years the offense in question was successfully reframed as “Collusion”. Now the crimes are illegal campaign contributions, using the Office for personal gain and (more broadly) undermining democracy. Trump and his team are reframing the offense with “No Quid Pro Quo”. There was clearly an unstated quid pro quo but, as with the undefined collusion it will be difficult to prove explicitly in the court of public opinion. Don’t let them get away with it again. Focus on the obvious offenses and don’t let him reframe things to his benefit again. Our democracy hangs in the balance.

  174. So the Trump man with diplomatic cover sent to Ukraine, Mr. Sondland, denies any quid pro quos after extensive dealings by Mr. Guiliani to frame an exact statement mentioning Bidens and Bursima. Military aid is inexplicably held up (perhaps over fear of corruption in its spending). But only after the Ukrainian government significantly weakens its stance against issuing such a statement does the promised aid and meeting come through. This muck is clever, far more than Nixon's cover-up. Impeachment, they argue, can only done if there is a quid pro quo. We are looking for the missing tapes in this, like Watergate. Watergate took almost two years to settle. If there is to be a serious pursuit of this matter, it will very well spill over into our election cycle, even into the summer, into, God forbid, the fall. Republicans can then righteously accuse Democrats of seriously disrupting an election for their own purposes, of even being willing to bring chaos to the country to win. If the impeachment process is cut short to avoid this, we may never find the smoking gun and Trump can argue innocence. This man is an opportunist as lucky, as gifted in his own way, to think of himself as a savior, indeed, a stable genius. If he survives this to win a second term, there will be no stopping him for using our country to fulfill what he sees as his unique personal destiny, of which we still have no idea. May the quid pro quo be found in time.

  175. This headline is totally misleading. The aides did not "have their doubts". No, they "thought otherwise". If readers just glance through the headlines, they would form the incorrect understanding that Trump said "no quid pro quo", and that the aides following his orders were not sure if there was a quid pro quo. More than almost any moment in our history, having the public develop an understanding of the truth is crucial. The article by Mr. Baker does that. The headline does the opposite. PLEASE, DO BETTER.

  176. The phrase "I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty" neatly sums up the past 2 years and 256 days.

  177. Interesting he uses the word "I", not "The President of the United States." That sums it up for me. It's about Trump, not about the country.

  178. It does not matter if there was any "quid pro quo," explicit, implicit, or not. That is merely a semantic distraction that, it seems, everyone is falling for. What matters is abuse of Presidential power. This is a clear abuse of power and anyone suggesting or claiming otherwise is lying to you. The President invited a foreign government to interfere in a Presidential election, tried to cover it up, and then did it again on live TV with another nation. That republicans don't get is their future is as much on the line as is our nation's.

  179. Quid pro quo is NOT the crime. The crime is SOLICITATION of foreign aid, whether there was any benefit received or not. Please make this clear to readers and voters. Trump clearly solicited this aid, and for that he should be impeached.

  180. The "Russians love it" this is also part and parcel of the essence of this whole affair. Putin's Russia wants the Ukraine or they want a weakened Ukraine that is not part of the European Union. With all of this, Trump's handler, Putin, wins as well. Trump must be impeached.

  181. It will take a minimum 20 Republican senators to convict Trump if he is formally impeached by the House. Here's my current best-guess list: Romney, Lee, Alexander, Burr, Tillis, Toomey, Collins, Murkoski, Roberts, Lankford, Sasse, Ernst, Gardiner, Rubio, Johnson, Tim Scott, Portman, Paul, Moran and Hoeven. All that is needed is for Mitch McConnell to give the signal, and it will be over. Even good old Lindsay Graham and Chuck Grassley will come around. All of these and other Republicans are eager to find a way to get Trump out, have a chance to go with Pence or another candidate in 2020, and reclaim the integrity of their party. Anyone else have a different guess list?

  182. Sooner rather than later Congress has to decide whether this type of behavior is acceptable for an elected official, especially the president of the United States. If Congress decides that this behavior is acceptable, this sends an incredible message to the people of the United States and the rest of the world. And yes I personally hold elected officials to a higher standard than private citizens. A person cannot serve two masters.

  183. If you would just acknowledge that this president is a liar, we wouldn't have headlines like this that mean absolutely nothing. We don't need any more facts. We need Republicans confronted with the facts we already have.

  184. It's rather in our face obvious that Trump denies Quid Pro Quo. He denies everything negative. He is perfect. So now we will have to endure the GOP cult asking us to not see with our eyes or hear with our ears. The most corrupt POTUS ever now wants us to believe that it's not about Biden, golly folks!, Trump just wants to stop corruption in the Ukraine! and here at home. Aw shucks. What a guy. The cult will buy that one but the majority know this is Delusional Donald gas lighting. Unfortunately, it works for Mr. Perfect.

  185. If Trump is so concerned with corruption why doesn’t he start with himself and his family?

  186. Of course trump denies everything! He is a menace to our country, and the GOP needs to do some serious soul-searching and take action to help the Democrats, or this will be their last rodeo.

  187. It was a bribe. Call it whatever you want. Trump has to go. I can’t believe the folks in Kentucky who keep electing Mitch and lining his pockets can bring down our whole country. The other Republican senators better step up.

  188. I keep coming back to the awful question: What would John McCain say and do if he was still around to witness all this?

  189. Trump invented the "collusion" defense because he knew it wasn't a crime to "collude", and he could therefore never miss a chance to claim to exonerate himself and everyone fell for it. Trump is now laser focused on this "quid pro quo" defense and has everyone talking about it as if specific, explicit lack of this is something exculpatory, when it is not, not by a long shot. It's a canard. It's a ruse. It's a semantic smoke screen. He asked a foreign government to interfere with a Presidential election, lied about it, tried to cover it up, and then on live television once again asked another nation to do the same. THIS is abuse of power. This is against the law. Bribery and extortion require no explicit or implicit quid pro quo and the lack of one does not mean there was no bribery or extortion. Try to see through the smoke he's blowing. It's not an issue. The issue is HIS criminal acts.

  190. Let us not be distracted by whether there was quid pro quo - in my view a euphemism for extortion - or not, his word against theirs. (Although by now, thinking Americans have learned that Trump's words, tweets, indeed his very essence are lies.) Neither should we be distracted by the deeds of Hunter Biden. The fact remains that the House has all it needs to hopefully impeach Mr. Trump. He has invited two foreign powers to interfere with our 2020 elections, one weak and vulnerable, the other an adversary. THIS is the bottom line. And we can not let this man get away with his aspiration and determination to create an autocracy, alas, a dictatorship.