President Donald Trump has been accused by multiple witnesses of withholding military aid from Ukraine to pressure its government to announce an investigation of Joe Biden, and none of his associates are surprised.
The president's former employees and White House officials agreed the scheme sketched out by impeachment inquiry witnesses sounds like the guy they worked with in both real estate and government, reported Politico.
“He does nothing without a quid pro quo,” said one former White House official. “Nothing. Whatever deal has got to be to his advantage.”
Trump's private sector associates say he hasn't changed since moving into the White House.
“He’s used to getting what he wants and he’s a tough street guy,” said Billy Procida, a former vice president for the Trump Organization. “He’s been dealing with subcontractors his whole life. You know what it’s like to deal with subcontractors? They’re all terrorists. They all want more money for the job and then you’ve got to fight them and say, ‘Okay, quid pro quo, I’m going to give you this, you do that, I’ll give you this, you do that, if you don’t do this, I’m going to do that.’”
Another former White House official said the summary of Trump's call with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky sounds like conversations he's had with other foreign leaders.
“He treats a lot of conversations and a lot of negotiations, including with foreign leaders, along those lines,” said that former White House official. “‘What is it that you want? Here’s what we want.’ How can we find a way to reach some kind of deal or accommodation where we both get what we want but in particular where I, representing the U.S., get what I want.”
Trump repeated his request for Ukraine, as well as China, to announce an investigation of Biden in a news conference on the White House lawn, and former administration officials weren't surprised.
“He’s very direct from the beginning about what he wants,” said a former administration official. “You’re not wondering about what he wants or what the end goal is ... Then he’ll hammer at it, so it’s clear that the person understands it and then that every time he speaks to that person, it will be repeated until whatever goal is achieved.”
Trump's associates also believe the president most likely pressed Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden more times than have been revealed by impeachment witnesses, and they agree he'll make similar offers to Republican senators to protect him from the constitutional process.
“He would just never take no for an answer if he wanted something,” said Barbara Res, a former vice president for the Trump Organization.