White House admits denying aid to Ukraine unless it "investigated" Democrats: "Get over it"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/18/white-house-admits-quid-pro-qu.html

1 Like

“OMG he said it out loud! We must now strongly denounce this terrible action which we all knew was criminal from day one.”



I hear Raymond Reddington’s jail cell is open. One of you guys should call dibs quick - it has carpet and a record player.


All I can think is Mulvaney thought he was phrasing it in such a way to mean something other than what he said, like he was parsing it some special way to neutralize it. Basically everyone heard what he was saying except him.

“Only the best people.”


I’m trying to imagine how to walk that back. If you are going to walk something back, it’s really best not to say, “Get over it” after you say the thing you are going to walk back. I mean, this is one problem with putting idiots in every position in your administration, I guess.


The way I parse Mulvaney’s wording is that he was trying to be clever with a red herring and that the quid pro quo was in regards to either a) the DNC server and corruption and not a specific political opponent, since that was the subject of the reporter’s question or b) political influence in foreign policy.

Are a and b both legal? I think maybe super gray area…but we all know it wasn’t really a or b.

trump playbook, call it fake news and your acolytes eat that shit up


Trump’s mouthpiece just admitted that Trump has committed the crime of barratry. Trump has in effect confessed that he has knowingly and deliberately misused the power of an official office for his own personal gain. Any Congresscritter who argues against impeachment now is guilty of violating his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and deserves to be impeached as well.


Let’s be careful. They are trying to state that a quid pro quo is necessary for there to be a crime. By jumping on this, the media is giving weight to that argument. No quid pro quo is necessary for there to have been an impeachable offense. Simply asking a foreign government to assist your campaign by dredging up dirt (or pretending to) on your opponent is a crime.


“You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative,” said GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. “Period.”

I’m going to disagree with this slightly. I guess it depends what “political initiative” means. In this very example, Obama had Biden threaten to withhold funding to the Ukraine over the removal of a corrupt government attorney. (Not because he was investigating his son, but because of international pressure to do so because he was clearly corrupt.) Many times in our history we have used aid to manipulate what we want from other countries. It is a flavor of “soft power”.

Now using it to investigate Biden, a direct political rival, is clearly a misuse of that power. Though I am conflicted on asking to investigate the 2016 election, because that largely involves the past and players who aren’t active political rivals (ie Hillary Clinton). OR is this whole thing more of a bribe to make stuff up. That could be another interpretation.

An honest to god look through their paper work to see if there was meddling coming from the Ukraine I could support. A “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” where they are in encouraged to “find” meddling from the Ukraine is, to borrow a phrase, deplorable.


The difference between those two use cases is that Trump made the money contingent on the Ukraine helping him with his re-election campaign.


Well that’s different than asking about past allegations. Asking to meddle in a current election is obviously wrong.

Mick Mulvaney, not Mike.

1 Like

Even then I think it’s pretty shifty. That move should be supported by reports put together by policy analysts at the state department that indicate there is actually a good reason to think Ukraine was meddling in the election and it should be discussed with congressional leaders as the legislators already directed the executive to do it.

Plus if you believe it’s going to turn up crimes committed by current political opponents, you should immediately wash your hands of it an turn all evidence you have over to law enforcement. Going off an investigating it yourself still looks like an abuse of power to me.


… using your personal (and unpaid?) attorney instead of an actual diplomat just wraps it in even more awful abuse.


OH I agree totally that it is mishandled. I just don’t want there to be some illusion that the US doesn’t make asks in exchange for money all the time.

In principle, done correctly, insisting on an investigation is something I am not automatically opposed to. But I have to agree that there hasn’t even been any credible allegations involving the Ukraine that I am aware of.

1 Like

I love how right after he admits that Trump did exactly what he was being accused of, the speaker still calls the inquiry a “witch hunt”.


I think the big, illegal distinction here is that the ask was for interference in our election. Also, quid pro quo be damned…that doesn’t have to exist for this whole damn thing to be illegal as cepheus42 said a bit higher up.


Thank you. It’s important to keep that in mind, and in the public’s eye.

That said, the big implication is that the GOP has spend weeks pushing the “no quid pro quo” line, and Mulvaney just made them all look like idiots. That’s the kind of thing that moves the needle in the Senate towards conviction.


Audie Cornish did an interview on NPR yesterday with one of the Republican reps from Pennsylvania (I think it was Fred Keller?). He made this defense of Mulvaney’s comments, along with a dig about not wasting taxpayer dollars on a corrupt country. She pointed out that 1. The Justice Department has publicly said they didn’t ask for that intervention, and 2. The Pentagon didn’t want the military aid held up. She also, very politely, pointed out that the Ukraine server thing is a batshit crazy, disproven conspiracy theory, and would an investigation of that be a waste of taxpayer dollars?

Not to mention explicitly illegal.


Meanwhile at the Trump 2020 Website: