Top GOP Senator Learned of Trump Ukraine Quid Pro Quo Months Ago – But Accepted President’s Denial Without Question
A prominent U.S. Republican Senator learned directly from an American ambassador that President Donald Trump was attempting to extort dirt on his top Democratic opponent via the president of Ukraine in exchange for the release of $400 million in military aid. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), a loyal Trump supporter, confronted President Trump on the quid pro quo allegations. Trump denied the facts. The Senator did not pursue it any further.
Senator Johnson serves on the Committee on Foreign Relations, so he has a fiduciary responsibility to investigate the allegations that were made to him in August against the president by the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. But Senator Johnson is also the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, meaning it is literally his job to look into executive branch abuses of power, especially related to military aid to foreign countries.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in an interview Senator Johnson said he had “raised the issue with Mr. Trump in a phone call on Aug. 31, shortly before the senator was due to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, Mr. Trump flatly rejected the notion that he directed aides to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on a new investigation by Kyiv, Mr. Johnson said.”
Text messages, including those to and from Ambassador Sondland, released late Thursday night by House Democratic chairman reveal Trump’s declaration of innocence to be a lie.
“Mr. Johnson, who supports aid to Ukraine and is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the region, said Mr. Trump was adamant on the issue,” The Journal adds.
“He said—expletive deleted—‘No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” the Wisconsin senator recalled. Mr. Johnson told Mr. Trump that he had learned of the arrangement from Mr. Sondland.
Sen. Johnson on Thursday was exposed by CNN for supporting President Donald Trump’s false smears against Joe Biden, while having signed a 2016 letter demanding Ukraine reform its top prosecutor’s office – the same prosecutor then-Vice President Joe Biden had been demanding be removed for not prosecuting known corruption.
Johnson also came under fire Thursday for saying he supports President Trump’s very public and illegal request that China invetigate Trump’s top political opponent, Joe Biden.
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GOP Senators ‘Feel Blindsided’ Administration Had Bombshell Bolton Book and Didn’t Tell Them – Experts Call It a ‘Cover Up’
Republican Senators are angry and “feel blindsided” the White House did not tell them it had a draft copy of John Bolton’s upcoming book before they defended President Trump’s lies that he did not extort Ukraine. The New York Times late Sunday revealed it had obtained the unpublished manuscript in which Bolton writes that in August Trump told him he wanted to continue to withhold aid from Ukraine until they agreed to manufacture “dirt” on Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.
One fo the authors of that NY Times article, Maggie Haberman, Monday added to her reporting, via Twitter:
Per sources, some GOP senators privately pushing White House for information on who at administration had visibility into the manuscript over the last month. Senators feel blindsided.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 27, 2020
But many are convinced that Republican Senators had to have known that Trump was lying about his “perfect call” with Ukraine President Zelensky, as they lied for him.
And some experts are pointing to Haberman’s tweet and doubting they didn’t know – and accusing the lawmakers and Trump of engaging in a “cover up.”
If any R’s are looking for cover – an excuse (not that they need one) to break ranks & end Trump’s cover up, they’ve got it now. It’s likely the last chance to put country over party & save the republic. That there is so little hope this can happen is Trump’s chief accomplishment https://t.co/aApO8qpIZo
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) January 27, 2020
Understand why this is important: GOP Senators (and even House) have staked their careers on a defense story that the White House encouraged. Now they look like they were part of the cover up.
They were betting Trump had all this nailed down better. https://t.co/3YHMV9XPlH
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) January 27, 2020
“How do you expect us to assist in your cover up if you don’t tell us what we’re supposed to be covering up?” 🙄 https://t.co/yGO1oUmjbK
— scary lawyerguy (@scarylawyerguy) January 27, 2020
Senate GOP outraged that they weren’t more closely kept in the loop on coverup. https://t.co/93JWicXVq0
— Michael Czin (@MikeCzin) January 27, 2020
"If we're going to run a cover-up for you, can you at least let us know when facts are going to come out that will make us look like fools?" https://t.co/sBD2FHG1sn
— Sasha Samberg-Champion (@ssamcham) January 27, 2020
"We are incredibly offended that the White House is making us look bad because the damaging information that we've worked very hard to keep out of the Senate impeachment trial (one might say, 'cover up') is now going to come out anyway."
Seems about right… https://t.co/47cspQ1j9a
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) January 27, 2020
TFW you're trying to cover-up for the president & someone from the president's office releases information making the cover-up more difficult https://t.co/zN0pkbmQC5
— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) January 27, 2020
White House Livestreams Pence Speech at Church – Including Sermon With Pastor Saying ‘Demonic Spirit’ Causes Homosexuality
Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Tennessee this weekend tp deliver a speech at a predominantly Black Memphis-area church, just one day before the nation celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But it was not Pence’s remarks that are making headlines. Instead, those of Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor, who attacked gay people during his sermon – which the White House streamed live – are drawing criticism.
Bishop Taylor, the pastor and founder of the Holy City Church of God In Christ (COGIC), told his 800-member congregation, the Vice President, and the 67,000 people who have viewed the sermon on the White House’s YouTube channel, that homosexuality is caused by “a demonic spirit,” and is wrong because of people’s “plumbing,” while making a gay panic “joke,” as LGBTQ Nation reported.
“We got to expose what the devil is doing,” Bishop Taylor insisted, claiming the devil is “trying to destroy the foundation of marriage,” and “destroy the reproductive process.” The references are to same-sex marriage, and presumably to contraception and abortion, all issues his church opposes.
“Two men can’t have a baby,” Taylor continued, trying to make his case, while ignoring modern medicine and that same-sex couples can and do adopt, giving children in need loving homes. “Two women can’t have a baby.”
“It’s a demonic spirit that causes another woman to want to lie with another woman,” Taylor professed. “It’s a demonic spirit that causes another man, a man to be attracted to another man.”
“And then the man gets attracted to me and he’ll get in trouble – don’t put your hands on me,” he said, mocking gay people as his congregation laughed at his gay panic “joke.”
“God didn’t make us for that. He made a man to be a man. Somebody said, ‘If you want to know what God made you, when you go to the bathroom just check your plumbing.’ What kind of plumbing are you using?”
Not only did the White House live-stream the entire sermon, it included the video in its YouTube channel.
Neither a warning nor an apology is included.
The Vice President has not made any apologies either.
Watch (relevant remarks begin around the 2:42:53 mark):
‘We should just burn it up’ says Nunes of Mueller Report.
Devin Nunes (R-CA), who has most recently been in the news after suing a Twitter account based on a fictitious cow, has a unique take on the report prepared by Robert Mueller into Russian interference into the 2016 election: he thinks it should be burned.
“The Mueller report, we should just burn it up,” said Nunes on Fox & Friends this morning. “I mean, it is a partisan document. The Democrats are going to say, ‘Well, we need to see the underlying information.’ What we really need to see is, what was the FBI’s involvement with Fusion GPS? Who did they know about?”
“Fusion GPS was essentially the Hillary Clinton campaign,” added Nunes. “They were hired by the Clinton campaign. We need to see all that. We need to see the FISAs fully disclosed.
“I can’t imagine why they brought Jerome Corsi into this,” said Nunes. “He’s just a longtime kind of press guy. He had every right to call Julian Assange or anybody else that he wants to. Press people do that all the time. That’s part of our First Amendment rights.”
Nunes’ mention of Clinton is noteworthy: The re-emergence of Hillary Clinton in GOP talking points the last couple days has, to some signaled that Republicans will once again attempt to use her as a scapegoat going into the 2020 election cycle.
Lindsey Graham, speaking last night at Mar-a-Lago, called for a new investigation into Clinton and her involvement in the Steele Dossier. That dossier was one part of the Mueller investigation. A chant of “Lock Her Up!” started as Graham spoke about Clinton.
Nunes was part of the Trump transition team and could potentially face liabilities in the report.
View the exchange below:
Devin Nunes tells Fox & Friends that Mueller’s report should be burned and that Trump’s DOJ should instead launch an investigation of the Obama administration. pic.twitter.com/V7GREE56dI
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) March 24, 2019
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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