Washington debates meaning of Ukraine text messages
by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/04/19, 11:24 am
WASHINGTON—House Democrats have released a slew of text messages between U.S. diplomats and a Ukrainian aide that they say prove President Donald Trump wanted foreign leaders to undermine his political rivals. Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker turned over the messages Thursday. “American Presidents should never press foreign powers to target their domestic rivals,” House Democrats wrote in a statement accompanying the texts.
Are the texts open to other interpretations? Some of the messages suggest the president wanted to exchange a White House visit and aid to Ukraine for a commitment to cooperate in investigations of his political opponents. “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” diplomat Bill Taylor said. But U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said, “The president has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”
Dig deeper: Another phone call with a foreign leader—this time Chinese President Xi Jinping—has raised questions about whether Trump asked for political assistance in exchange for keeping quiet about the protests in Hong Kong. Trump said he asked world leaders to fight corruption but did not try to win political favors.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.