President Donald Trump and his associates have recently tried a new defense for the Ukraine scandal, claiming that there couldn’t have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians were supposedly unaware of the military aid freeze the Trump apparently ordered to force them to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
On Wednesday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Washington Post journalist David Swerdlick and his co-panelists smacked down that narrative.
“The New York Times reports that the Ukrainians learned in early August that aid was frozen and they were told to reach out to the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“Right. That can easily be established by the documents out there,” said Swerdlick. “It’s ridiculous that the administration and their backers are trying to feed people this line. President Selensky reads the Washington Post, The New York Times. He knew that Congress approved the $391 billion. He knew that the president signed it. So then they’re sitting around wondering where’s the money? We need it. We’re fighting the Russians.”
“Certainly by the summer, the Ukrainians are aware of stories showing Rudy Giuliani trying to push this storyline of what he wants investigated by the Ukrainians,” agreed senior justice correspondent Evan Perez. “It’s all abundantly clear to everyone how the two things are connected, right? It’s not a huge guess by any means.”
“Can we just say, you don’t even need a quid pro quo,” added columnist Gloria Borger. “This is a phrase that the president has adopted. He’s saying it over and over and over again like he said witch hunt and all the rest during the Mueller investigation or collusion and whatever. You don’t need — the Constitution doesn’t say quid pro quo. It says this could be — Congress has to decide — an abuse of power, period, because the act, I’d like you to do me a favor, comma though, that’s the ask. That’s all you need. You don’t need Zelensky on the other end to say, oh, okay, I’ll do you that favor. We don’t care about Zelensky. We care about what the president did.”
‘Don’t be a sucker’: CNN’s Cuomo begs viewers not to let Trump’s antics distract from the horror of COVID deaths
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Chris Cuomo warned viewers not to be taken in by President Donald Trump's distraction tactics — and instead focus on the loss of human life from the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a sad night. I don't know any other way to put it," said Cuomo. "I don't even like that the music's playing, to be honest. It's just three months. We've lost a hundred thousand lives. Do you need band music to tell you it's something urgent?"
"We were told this pandemic would magically disappear without any real trouble. A couple dozen cases," said Cuomo. "Today, did you hear what our president, Donald John Trump, said to calm and reassure our nerves, that we will do everything we can to keep us safe as we reopen and that he will make it his life's focus because that what a president does? Did you hear him say that? Me either. Not a damn word from Trump as this country is just struggling to get our heads and our hearts, let alone our hands around processing such loss so quickly. Suddenly he is now at a loss. Not even a tweet."
‘There needs to be a prosecution’ of cop who killed George Floyd: CNN guest says ‘call it what it is’
On CNN Wednesday, criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson walked through why the Minneapolis police officer responsible for George Floyd's suffocation death must be prosecuted.
"Bottom line, question here from looking at this, should the officer face charges?" asked host Erin Burnett.
"Erin, I don't think there is any question about that, and I think if you look at it, under any reasonable measure there needs to be a prosecution," said Jackson. "You know, when you look at issues of excessive force — and I know this comes with a lot of emotion, and it should because of the blatant nature of what occurred. But if you even look at it legally and forget about the emotion, you look and you see, was there an imminent fear that the officer was facing when he had his knee in the neck of Mr. Floyd? And the answer is resoundingly no. You look at the force he used, that is the officer, and you say is it proportionate to whatever threat was posed? The answer is no, you don't see any threat. You see a person detained and really not resisting at all."
CNN’s John King astonished Trump keeps tweeting things that would get anyone else ‘fired in a snap’
CNN's John King on Wednesday expressed shock that no one has been able to convince President Donald Trump to stop tweeting unfounded conspiracy theories about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdering a staffer 20 years ago.
During an interview with David Gergen, King said it was particularly jarring to see Trump, in the middle of a pandemic that has killed 100,000 Americans, to be tweeting things that "if I tweeted them, we would be fired in a snap."
Gergen then looked back at how past presidents have handled tragedies, and he said Trump pales in comparison to all of them.
"This should be a week of national mourning, to have 100,000 deaths, the number we'll reach in the next two or three days, and the country is saddened by that," he said. "Traditionally, presidents bring us together for occasions like this. They brought comfort, they met privately with the families of the victims and cheered people up... and here now, we have completely the opposite. It's very, very sad."