President Trump touted a news story Thursday night that he said should “end” the Democrats’ impeachment fantasies.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko reportedly said earlier on Thursday that U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland did not explicitly offer the Ukraine government a “quid pro quo,” throwing cold water on the Dems’ main argument for impeachment.
According to Reuters, Prystaiko told Interfax Ukraine that Sondland did not link military aid to Ukraine with opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
“Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigations. You should ask him,” Prystaiko said, meaning Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
Prystaiko’s comments came a day after William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, testified in the first televised hearing of the impeachment inquiry.
In a disclosure that drew the most attention, Taylor pointed to Trump’s keen interest in getting the eastern European ally to investigate Biden and reiterated his understanding that $391 million in U.S. security aid was withheld from Kiev unless it cooperated.
Taylor said a member of his staff had overheard a July 26 phone call between Trump and Sondland in which the Republican president asked about investigations into the Bidens, and Sondland told him that the Ukrainians were ready to proceed.
That call occurred a day after Trump had asked Zelenskiy during a phone call to conduct the investigations.
“I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance,” Prystaiko was quoted as saying by Interfax. “Yes, the investigations were mentioned, you know, in the conversation of the presidents. But there was no clear connection between these events.”
Democrats launched their impeachment inquisition after an anti-Trump complainant, identified online as CIA operative Eric Ciaramella, accused Trump of freezing nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into opening investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Trump, who constantly lambastes the Dems’ inquiry as another deep state hoax, trumpeted the Daily Wire’s write up of the Reuters story during his rally in Bossier City, La., Thursday night.
“Their schemes are already unraveling as you saw yesterday,” the president told the spirited crowd of approximately 7,500.
“They’re unraveling and their sinister plans will fail,” Trump added as he pulled a printout of the story out of his coat pocket.
The president explained that as he was given the story as he was getting out of “that beautiful airplane,” [Air Force One].
Reading the headline for the crowd, Trump said, “New Remarks From Top Ukrainian Official Damages Democrats’ Impeachment Narrative.” While pointing to the media, he noted, “I only read it because they don’t like to report stories like this because we’re fighting the Democrats—but much more difficult to fight is the fake news, I’m telling you. And they’re a partnership. I call them a partnership made in Hell.”
The president posited that the media would ignore the story because “it ends it. It ends it.” Then he went on to express disgust at the idea that he needed help from Ukraine to beat “Sleepy Joe Biden” anyway.