MSNBC contributors David Corn and Cynthia Alskne take apart the latest desperate talking point coming out of Trump-land, which is that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine, but it wasn't a "corrupt one."
October 13, 2019

As we already discussed here, the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, will testify before Congress that the "no quid pro quo" text he sent to the Ukrainian came from Trump, but he's still doing his best to give Trump cover by saying that while there was a quid pro quo, it wasn't a "corrupt one."

MSNBC contributors David Corn and Cynthia Alskne did a fine job taking that latest talking point apart on this Sunday's AM Joy:

REID: Ad now breaking overnight, we have The Washington Post reporting that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the EU will testify to congress on Thursday that he worked with Rudy Giuliani to get Ukraine to investigate, quote/unquote corruption in exchange for a White House meeting. According to a person familiar with Sondland's planned testimony, it was a quid pro quo, but not a corrupt one.

David, Cynthia, Paul back with me. David, this idea that this is how it works, you've covered a lot of international news and the way that it works. This is not how it works.

CORN: No, no, and Cynthia mentioned this earlier. You can have a legitimate quid pro quo in foreign policy. You send troops here. It's easier for you to do that and we'll give you... we'll replenish your supplies or we'll make a call to this other country on your behalf. It's policy. It's trading policy. It's not trading political favors and digging up dirt on your enemy.


So that's where this is completely wrong and it also might violate several laws, and it also might lead to a conspiracy.

REID: And another thing is, and to your point of making up a conspiracy, because they're two things in one, and we talk a lot about the dirt they wanted dug up or pretended or made up about the Bidens, the other thing they want was to prove a conspiracy theory.

This is almost like Donald Trump saying he was going to send investigators to Hawaii, saying that he was going to prove birtherism, which was equally crazy, is true. He actually wanted to use the resources of another country, their version of William Barr, to go after and try to pretend that this conspiracy theory was true. This is now --

ALSKNE: This is why he's going to be impeached.

REID: Of course. Absolutely. And I guess the question then is, if there is a real quid pro quo, which is policy for policy, if this is now policy for favors for me, including making up information about an opponent and also pretending a conspiracy theory is real, is that a crime?

ALSKNE: Yes. That's definitely a crime.

REID: What is the crime?

ALSKNE: First of all, it's an abuse of power which is -- it's basically all we need. It's an abuse of power. It's the cover-up with taking this call and hiding it on the super-secret server. And it's obstruction. It's also a campaign finance violation, because essentially what you're saying is I want something of value. I want you to make this up. I want you to... even if nothing ever comes back, I want you to churn and make it look like there's something. And that's going to help me and my campaign. That's something of value, a campaign finance violation, for which Michael Cohen is in jail.

As Reid explained in her opening, they can't even get their stories straight right now. There was a quid pro quo, there wasn't a quid pro quo. If there was one, it was perfectly legal. They're just throwing spaghetti against the wall right now to see what sticks.

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