Trump allies keep making public spectacles of themselves in service of President Donald Trump’s claims that he’s done nothing wrong in the Ukraine quid pro quo scandal. In fact, the clearly available evidence shows that his team halted aid for the country while pressuring them to produce dirt on Democrats, and the president’s team also told them a summit in D.C. was also contingent on that aid. This weekend on Fox News Sunday, top Trump ally and top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee Doug Collins resorted to the “defense” of simply denying the whole thing. How much longer can they keep this denial up? Would it continue even if Trump waved a piece of paper in front of their faces on which he’d written — “I did it”? Probably.
Host Chris Wallace asked:
‘Do you see anything wrong with… the president conditioning support for Ukraine… to that country investigating some of the president’s political rivals?’
Although Wallace had played a series of clips of impeachment inquiry witnesses insisting that there’d been a quid pro quo, Collins replied that they weren’t trustworthy. Of course, in his estimation, only his side was trustworthy — although all he had were witnesses who mostly, in reality, simply said that they hadn’t personally known about a quid pro quo.
‘Well, I think it’s interesting that the premise of your question is based on witnesses who agree with your premise. I disagree and say that Mr. Volker, Mr. Morrison, even Mr. Sondland who presumed it was being conditioned — the president himself told Senator Johnson there was no precondition, there was nothing to be presumed on this. So, if you want to show one side, then show the other side to go along with this.’
On FOX News Sunday: Chris asks Congressman Doug Collins if he sees anything wrong with President Trump conditioning support for Ukraine to them investigating the president’s rivals. #FNS #FoxNews #Impeachment #Politics pic.twitter.com/PLDdDCudU0
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) December 1, 2019
Just because the president says he’s innocent, that doesn’t mean he’s in the clear. Collins continued by launching into a tirade about how deeply concerned the president supposedly is about foreign aid in general. That does not cover let alone contradict the fact that the president and his team has repeatedly demanded that Ukraine investigate conspiracy theories involving Trump’s domestic political rivals.
‘President Trump has always been concerned about foreign aid. He’s always been concerned about what’s going on in the Ukraine and in Europe and how is Europe participating and how our tax dollars — the question is, if we’re looking at corruption, does it matter who’s involved? That’s the problem and the policy issue… He was looking at the corruption part of this.’
No, he wasn’t. As Wallace noted, the White House record of a phone conversation Trump had with Ukraine’s President Zelensky doesn’t even include the word “corruption” once.
There is no evidence of any actual corruption surrounding the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine, which include then-Vice President Joe Biden pressuring the country to drop a top prosecutor when that figure — Viktor Shokin — was supposedly investigating a company that Joe’s son Hunter worked for. In fact, the explicitly expressed concern of Biden and others surrounding Shokin was that he wasn’t being vigilant enough in combating corruption.
In other words, as the next stage of the impeachment inquiry gets underway in coming days, Republicans have still got nothing.