Thomas Gallatin / October 18, 2019

Spinning Mulvaney’s ‘Quid Pro Quo’

His statements actually uphold Trump’s claim of no personal political deal with Ukraine.

We’ve seen this movie before: Members of the Leftmedia are breathlessly asserting that they’ve finally uncovered the “smoking gun” that will prove President Donald Trump’s guilt. “Mulvaney brashly admits quid pro quo,” CNN’s headline blared. The rest of the Leftmedia dutifully declared that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had just undercut Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo with Ukraine. However, as with the story of the boy who cried wolf, few are taking the Leftmedia seriously, nor should they, as this is yet another instance of fake news.

So, what did Mulvaney actually say? During a press briefing on Thursday, Mulvaney explained that the foreign-aid package for Ukraine had been held up due to concerns over possible corruption. Mulvaney stated, “Did [Trump] also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it and that’s why we held up the money.”

Aha! Democrats were quick to assert. Rep. Adam Schiff vacuously claimed, “I think Mr. Mulvaney’s acknowledgment means that things have gone very, very bad to much, much worse.” However, such sentiments only appear to be the case in Schiff’s dream world.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Mulvaney’s statements actually comport with what Trump and the White House have been saying ever since the “whistleblower” complaint arose. As the New York Post observes, “All Mulvaney did was repeat yet again that Trump ‘was worried about corruption with that nation’ — and specifically say those worries extended to cooperation in ‘the look-back to what happened in 2016.’” When pressed by a reporter that withholding the aid package amounted to a quid pro quo, Mulvaney responded, “We do that all the time with foreign policy. … We were holding up aid [to] the Northern Triangle countries [Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador] … so that they would change their policies on immigration.”

And once again Mulvaney reiterated that the temporary withholding of military aid for Ukraine had nothing to do with Trump’s request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky look into Joe Biden’s publicly admitted quid pro quo or Hunter Biden’s corrupt dealings in Ukraine.

The reality is that all U.S. presidents have engaged in foreign-policy deals that can be termed “quid pro quo,” as Mulvaney correctly asserts. The only question is whether Trump’s dealing with Ukraine was done solely and primarily for his own political benefit by seeking to take out a political opponent. And there is thus far no evidence supporting such a claim, irrespective of how loudly the Democrats and Leftmedia insist there is. In fact, if there were such damning evidence, Nancy Pelosi and company would have already voted on articles of impeachment. Instead, the fact that House Democrats are holding this not-yet-voted-on impeachment “inquiry” entirely behind closed doors demonstrates that they have nothing. It’s all a game of political smoke and mirrors, which the Leftmedia seeks to convince the American people is real.

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