Andrew McCarthy: Trump Doral resort pick for G7 a 'real unforced error'

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This week's hours of back-to-back closed-door hearings from diplomats and former top aides appeared to be providing investigators with a remarkably consistent account of the run-up and aftermath of Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymy Zelenskiy.

Despite a mere 10 days ago saying that he saw no reason to support impeachment of the president of the United States because he "did not see a clear quid pro quo" based on a transcript between President Donald J. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a 67-year-old OH area man announced "with great sadness" that he now supports impeachment after hearing Trump's acting chief of staff speak about the issue on Thursday.

At a news conference, Mulvaney confirmed that Trump froze almost $400 million in United States security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. However, as with the story of the boy who cried wolf, few are taking the Leftmedia seriously, nor should they, as this is yet another instance of fake news.

The Ohio Republican said the events of Thursday afternoon - Mulvaney's admission of a quid pro quo and the announcement of the resignation of Energy Secretary Rick Perry chief among them - caused him to rethink his stance.

"I can understand why executives would withhold military aid if it was in the sense of public policy, but you don't withhold military aid to anybody. for political reasons", Kasich said.

"Did he also mention to me. the corruption related to the DNC server?" Absolutely. No question about that. "But that's it and that's why we held up the money".

Aha! Democrats were quick to assert.

"Unless your ultimate goal is to get to the impeachment vote sooner rather than later, I don't see how that helps", said one former administration official with ties to the White House.

In his later statement, Mr Mulvaney offered a different account, saying: "There was absolutely no quid pro quo".

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Earlier on Thursday, Mulvaney told reporters that Trump sat on almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure the government in Kyiv to investigate an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee's computer server during the 2016 election.

Mulvaney admitted that the administration withheld aid to Ukraine until that country agreed to launch specific corruption investigations.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia and a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is involved in the impeachment investigation of the President, said the G7 arrangement would violate a constitutional restriction on the President taking gifts from foreign governments.

The Latin phrase "quid pro quo" is all over the news right now, but what is its meaning? We were holding up money at the same time for, what was it, the northern triangle countries.

Yet the Trump campaign claimed ownership of the phrase, boldly displaying Mulvaney's comment in large white letters on a navy shirt with Trump's signature hairdo adorning the "o" in "over".

Schiff said the idea of withholding military aid is "a phenomenal breach of the president's duty to defend our national security". The White House said President Trump won't profit off the decision to host the summit at a Trump resort.

"I asked the President: "What do you want from Ukraine?'" Gordon Sondland told lawmakers this week". "What about Doral?" Trump said, raising the name of his Florida resort that is reportedly facing declines in revenue, according to a description of the meeting given by White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Is the call wrong even without a quid pro quo? Beyond ethical questions of right and wrong, there is the further question of whether it would justify impeachment.

CORNISH: Another point of focus has been Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, and the work Giuliani had been doing in Ukraine. "And extortion, the last time I checked, is still a crime".

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