A Republican senator said he was told by an American diplomat in August that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation desired by President Trump and his allies, but Mr. Trump denied pursuing any such proposal when the lawmaker pressed him on it.
Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.
Alarmed by that information, Mr. Johnson, who supports aid to Ukraine and is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the region, said he raised the issue with Mr. Trump the next day, Aug. 31, in a phone call, days before the senator was to meet with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, Mr. Trump flatly rejected the notion that he directed aides to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on a new probe by Kyiv, Mr. Johnson said.
“He said, ‘Expletive deleted—No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” the Wisconsin senator recalled in an interview Friday. Mr. Johnson said he told the president he had learned of the arrangement from Mr. Sondland.
That Trump was trying to extort the Ukraine by delaying aid was obvious to anyone who was following the issues in aid going to Kiev. (I was not one of these people, but Johnson was).
He is releasing this statement now only because he’s afraid of being collateral damage in the every widening disaster.
I still don’t think that any Republicans will vote to convict in the Senate, but the cockroaches are fleeing the light.