The New York Times unwittingly confirmed the veracity of the GOP argument that there could be no quid pro quo because Ukraine did not know the United States had delayed the release of aid for the Eastern European country at the time of the July 25 call.
In an article on Wednesday, the newspaper actually tried to discredit the argument but ended up confirming it instead.
House Democrats pursuing the impeachment inquiry are trying to determine if President Donald Trump abused his power by allegedly coercing Ukraine during the July 25 call to investigate corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for aid.
Echoing the testimony of impeachment inquiry witnesses, the Times acknowledged Wednesday that Ukraine was not aware the United States was withholding aid until days after the July 25 call, in August.
In other words, Trump did not threaten to withhold aid during the infamous conversation between him and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.
Zelensky himself has acknowledged that “there was no blackmail” during the call, citing as evidence that he “had no idea the military aid was held up” at the time of his July 25 phone conversation with Trump, the Times conceded.
The Times article is just the latest sign that Democrats and their liberal mainstream media backers are trying to move beyond the July 25 call that triggered the impeachment.
On Wednesday, the newspaper reported:
To Democrats who say that President Trump’s decision to freeze $391 million in military aid was intended to bully Ukraine’s leader into carrying out investigations for Mr. Trump’s political benefit, the president and his allies have had a simple response: There was no quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know assistance had been blocked.
Word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times. … The communications did not explicitly link the assistance freeze to the push by Mr. Trump and [his private lawyer Rudy] Giuliani for the investigations [into the Bidens].
Impeachment probe evidence provided by former U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker in the form of texts also suggests the Ukrainians did not find out the U.S. had frozen the security assistance until weeks after the call, through an August 28 Politico article based on leaked information.
“I did not discuss the hold with my Ukrainian counterparts until the matter became public in late August,” Volker added his written testimony prepared for his impeachment probe deposition earlier this month. “The position was indeed reversed, and assistance allowed to continue, within a few weeks after that.”
“American and Ukrainian officials have asserted that Ukraine learned that the aid had been held up only around the time it became public through a news article at the end of August,” the Times acknowledged.
Politico’s article on the U.S. holding up aid came after the “whistleblower” filed the complaint on August 12, accusing Trump of coercing Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son in exchange for aid.
Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) office spoke to the “whistleblower” before he or she filed the complaint, based on hearsay.
Democrats and deep state actors may have coordintaed the leak of U.S. withholding aid to fit the impeachment narrative. The “whistleblower’s” allegation is at the center of the impeachment probe.
The Times article’s headline —Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by Early August, Undermining Trump Defense — admitted that the Ukrainians did not find out about the United States holding up security assistance until days after the call.
Citing Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “Neither he (Taylor) or any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld. You can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo.”
Neither he (Taylor) or any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld. You can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo.” Congressman John Ratcliffe @foxandfriends Where is the Whistleblower? The Do Nothing Dems case is DEAD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
Ratcliffe was present for Taylor’s deposition.
On Wednesday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who has also witnessed the impeachment inquiry depositions, added, “We’ve heard Ukraine wasn’t even aware aid was being withheld until a month after the phone call.”
He added, “So you’re telling me POTUS imposed leverage over something Ukraine didn’t know about? Got it.”
This is not a “new talking point”—we’ve been emphasizing it for weeks, because it’s true. We’ve heard Ukraine wasn’t even aware aid was being withheld until a month AFTER the phone call.
So you’re telling me POTUS imposed leverage over something Ukraine didn’t know about? Got it https://t.co/p7d30fxlCO
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) October 23, 2019
At least two impeachment inquiry witnesses — Volker and Taylor — explicitly testified in their leaked opening remarks that Ukraine was not aware the United States was withholding aid until days after the July 25 call.
Taylor noted in his remarks that Ukraine did not express concerns about the U.S. withholding aid until after the Politico published its story on the matter in late August.
It was not until September 1, more than a month after the July 25 call, that Taylor said he found out the security assistance “was conditioned on the investigations.”
Ivan Pentchoukov, the deputy chief editor at the Epoch Times, tweeted on Thursday that Taylor told lawmakers, “Amazingly, news of the hold did not leak out until August 29.”
“Amazingly, news of the hold did not leak out until August 29,” William Taylor, who knew that aid to Ukraine was on hold, told lawmakers.
Amazingly, Taylor met Adam Schiff's staffer in Ukraine on August 25, four days prior to Politico publishing the leak. pic.twitter.com/uZxOhL9Fao
— Ivan Pentchoukov (@IvanPentchoukov) October 24, 2019
Republicans say Taylor’s claim of a quid pro quo linked to Ukraine “collapsed” when lawmakers questioned him during his deposition.
The transcript of the July 25 call does not explicitly mention anything about freezing aid until Ukraine investigates the Bidens.
“No mention of security assistance was made in the readouts either, and I said so in my press remarks on July 27, 2019, in Kyiv,” Volker added in his opening remarks.
U.S. aid to Ukraine was ultimately released on September 11, although the Eastern European country had not launched an investigation into the Bidens.