During the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Republicans have frequently pushed the talking point that there couldn’t have been any real “quid pro quo” between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Despite a multi-month delay, they claim, the funds allocated for military aid to Ukraine were eventually released without Zelensky ever investigating former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden, as Trump wanted. No harm, no foul, these Republicans argue.
Many have explained why this argument does hold up for a variety of reasons. But MSNBC’s Ari Melber, on his Thursday show, outlined a new reason why that talking point is bogus: 14% of the money allocated for military aid to Ukraine remains unreleased, according to the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report.
Melber, on his MSNBC program “The Beat,” explained that merely asking for a bribe is still bribery whether or not the bribery attempt is successful.
“Many Trump supporters have argued — this is very important….. that Ukraine ultimately got the money, and that cancels out any impeachable offense,” Melber explained. But the MSNBC host soon added that merely requesting a bribe in the first place is illegal regardless of the ultimate result.
“It’s not a valid legal defense to bribery,” Melber asserted. “In fact, other politicians are in prison today for unsuccessful bribery plots. So, Trump’s alleged extortion of Ukraine while the money was frozen; that’s what made it allegedly extortion. That’s No. 1. But what’s new tonight: this report also cuts into Trump’s defense on the facts.”
Melber went on to reveal that the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report confirms that according to Pentagon officials, Ukraine still hasn’t received all the military aid from the U.S. that was allocated: 86% of the funds were released, but the other 14% remains unreleased. The MSNBC host stressed that 14% “of the entire money has still has been denied to Ukraine. So, Trump did not actually get all the money back to Ukraine even as he tried to lift the hold to cover up the plot.”
Melber added: “Any time you hear this defense that actually, all the money went to Ukraine — the kind of no harm, no foul defense…. that is factually false. Not all of the money went to Ukraine. And as of tonight, the Trump administration still doesn’t have a good reason as to why.”
Watch the video below:
Trump lawyers argue ‘the president did absolutely nothing wrong’ as GOP presents impeachment trial defense
White House lawyers began their defense of Donald Trump at his historic Senate impeachment trial on Saturday, saying the president did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and American voters -- not Congress -- should decide his fate.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone said it would be a "completely irresponsible abuse of power" if the Senate follows the lead of the House of Representatives and votes to remove the 45th US president from office.
"They're asking you to do something that no Senate has ever done," Cipollone told the 100 senators gathered on a rainy Saturday morning for a rare weekend session at just the third impeachment trial in US history.
Louise Linton defended Greta Thunberg against her husband’s attack — but deleted her comments in less than an hour
The wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stood up against her husband online on Saturday, but quickly deleted her comments.
At the World Economic Forum, Mnuchin told climate action activist Greta Thunberg to "go study economics."
"I stand with Greta on this issue. (I don’t have a degree in economics either)," Linton posted on Instagram.
"We need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels," she explained.
"Keep up the fight @gretathunberg," she urged.
Here’s why Mike Pompeo picked the worst possible moment for his expletive-laden anti-Ukraine rant
By all accounts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's interview with "All Things Considered" host Mary Louise Kelly was a disaster. He reportedly swore at her, challenged her to pick Ukraine off an unmarked map, and said "Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?" — an incredibly insulting statement for America's top diplomat to say of an allied foreign country.
But as Politico noted, the timing of all this was especially ill-considered, because Pompeo is gearing up for an official visit to Ukraine — and even before this outburst, that visit was fraught with difficulties.