WH Hangs Onto ‘No Quid Pro Quo’ Defense Even After Sondland Confirmed It

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 6: Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, talks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on November 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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November 6, 2019 10:07 a.m.
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The White House is holding tight to its “no quid pro quo” defense, even after EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed it in a revision to his previous testimony in the House impeachment probe.

During a segment on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway argued that “no quid pro quo is proven” in Sondland’s revised testimony. In three new pages of sworn testimony Tuesday, Sondland confirmed that he told an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that congressionally approved military aid would be depend on the Ukrainian government’s public announcement that it would probe the gas company that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son sat on the board of as well as the origins of the Russia probe.

In other words — pro quo, meet quid.

“I actually thought the transcript releases, and even what he thought he was supplementing there, proved nothing yesterday and here is why,” Conway said, citing page 106 of Sondland’s transcript. “He very clearly says that he engaged in no small talk with President Trump, and he clearly asked him what do you want from Ukraine? And President Trump said, I want them to do what they ran on which is anti-corruption. There was no quid pro quo in that conversation.”

Conway then took issue with Sondland stating in his revised testimony that he’d “presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement,” before launching into a rant about the idea of impeaching a President less than a year before the 2020 election.

“How are we going to impeach President an extraordinary event in our constitutional democracy, less than a year away from the next election?” Conway said. “We’re going to impeach a president because one witness has said my interpretation was X. Another witness says I presumed Y.”

Conway went on to argue that because the whistleblower was not on the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and “saw the transcript apparently when the rest of the world saw the transcript,” the media is “trying to knit together very specious and very sparse claims from individuals.”

Watch Conway’s remarks below:

Conway’s remarks echoed White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s Tuesday statement when she argued that Sondland’s updated testimony shows how “there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought.”

Grisham, who also took aim at Sondland stating that “did not know, (and still does not know) when, why or by whom the aid was suspended,” pinned her blame on media coverage of the impeachment inquiry.

“No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong,” Grisham said in the statement.

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