The quid. The pro. And the quo.
As Republican Senators who have already vowed to put Donald Trump ahead of their country swear in to serve as jurors on his impeachment trial, vowing impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws so help them God, the revelations they are willfully ignoring regarding Trump using this country to extort Ukraine to help him cheat in another election becomes even more important.
Usually quid pro quo is hard to prove. And it’s not necessary in order to impeach president trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
But it just so happens that Trump and his mob boys are dripping with evidence of quid pro quo. Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, told Rachel Maddow Wednesday night that ALL aid was dependent upon digging up dirt on former Vice President and current Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden.
Parnas told Maddow that he delivered a message to a top aide to Zelenskyy, Sergei Sheyfir, that “it was all aid… we would stop giving them any kind of aid…” unless there was an announcement of an investigation into Joe Biden.
The Merriam dictionary definition of Quid pro quo definition is “something given or received for something else; also : a deal arranging a quid pro quo.”
Republicans have been saying that it’s not proven that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine while pressuring the country to investigate his political rival, but Parnas is saying that they threatened to withhold not just military aid, but all aid.
Parnas: “Basically, the message that I was supposed to — that I gave (Ukrainian official) Sergei Sheyfir was a very harsh message. That was told to me to give it to him in a very harsh way. Not in a pleasant way… the message was, it wasn’t just military aid, it was all aid. Basically, their relationships would be sour. That we would stop giving them any kind of aid.”
Parnas: Unless, well several things, there were several demands at that point. A, the most important one was the announcement of the Biden investigation.
Maddow: “So you believe that Mr. Pence’s trip to (Zelinskiy’s) inauguration was cancelled because they didn’t agree (to an investigation)?”
Parnas: “Oh, I know 100 percent. It was 100 percent.”
Maddow: “Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying. When Vice President Pence when over there (to Poland) on September 1st, again in President Trump’s stead, you believe, or you have reason to believe, that Vice President Pence was tasked at that meeting with getting President Zelenskiy to announce investigations of Joe Biden specifically?”
Maddow: “Do you believe that part of the motivation to get rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch to get her out of post was because she was in the way of this effort to get the government of Ukraine to announce investigations of Joe Biden?”
Parnas: “That was the only motivation.”
Maddow: “That was the only motivation.”
Parnas: “There was no other motivation.”
Parnas says after he delivered his “very harsh” demand message is when Sheyfir blocked Parnas on WhatsApp.
The White House denied all of Parnas’ claims, saying in a statement by the supposed White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who does not actually do the job of a press secretary and only speaks to right wing propaganda outlets, per NBC News, “These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison.”
But, legally, Parnas has a lot more to gain by telling truths than he does by making things up. If he is making things up, he won’t get the consideration he is obviously hoping to get by giving up information on the Big Fish, Donald Trump, and his associates. His claims do match up with the events, and that makes it even harder to dismiss out of hand.
Add to Parnas’ bombshell claims is the fact that on Thursday, the GAO report that said Office of Management and Budget violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (passed in response to another impeached Republican President’s overreach, this time Nixon) when it withheld funds slated for assistance to Ukraine. “Title X of the Act – “Impoundment Control” – established procedures to prevent the President and other government officials from unilaterally substituting their own funding decisions for those of the Congress.”
This might all seem meaningless given Senate Republicans behaving as if they, too, are a part of the Trump crime syndicate. And perhaps they are, given the revelations and confirmations about other Republican elected officials in the Maddow interview (Devin Nunes, we’re looking at you). But it is up to the people to make noise about these crimes, to refuse to allow Republicans to rugsweep their own president’s alleged crimes.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.