The left-wing mainstream media is taking a cue from its Democrat allies pursuing the impeachment inquiry and moving away from the July 25 phone call that triggered the probe, saying the alleged quid pro quo offer “evolved over time.”
“In the end, he may not have needed to say it out loud,” NBC News reported last Friday, referring to the alleged quid pro offer U.S. President Donald Trump made during the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In some 65 hours of testimony — details of which have been previously reported — along with public comments from Trump, his aides, and allies, a portrait is emerging of a quid pro quo that evolved over time, with the president progressively upping the ante when his demands were not met.
NBC assumed that the evolution of the quid pro quo is the reason why impeachment inquiry witnesses have failed to confirm that Trump politicized aid to Ukraine during the July 25 call by pressuring the country to investigate Biden and his son.
The news outlet surmised:
The evolution of Trump’s efforts to commit the Ukrainians to investigations that could help his re-election may explain the discrepancies in the accounts given to House investigators about whether Trump ever said explicitly that the freeze in aid was linked to his and Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s demands — and to whom he might have said it.
A “whistleblower” claimed that Trump made a quid pro quo offer to Zelensky during the July 25 call, in which the American commander-in-chief threatened to withhold aid unless the Eastern European country agreed to investigate Joe Biden and his son. The allegation, denied by Trump and Zelensky, triggered the impeachment probe.
House Democrats and their media backers, however, are moving away from the call now that testimony on the July 25 conversation between Trump and Zelensky is proving fruitless in pushing the quid pro quo narrative.
Some Democrats and the media are now claiming Trump abused his power, irrespective of whether there was a quid pro quo during the call, expressly or implicitly involved.
Both California Democrats House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, the leader of the impeachment probe, have said a quid pro quo is not necessary to remove Trump.
The decision to move beyond the July 25 conversation suggests that Trump did nothing wrong during the call, which is something the U.S. president and his Republican allies have been saying since the imb
On Monday, Pelosi capitulated to Republican demands and agreed to hold a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry. Pelosi’s decision indicates that Republican criticism that the impeachment probe is illegitimate has merit.
Echoing impeachment inquiry witnesses, the New York Times acknowledged that Ukraine was unaware that the Trump administration was withholding aid at the time of the call. Ukraine did not find out the U.S. had frozen the aid until days after the call.
Referring to that revelation, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), who has witnessed the impeachment probe depositions, declared, “You can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo,” Trump noted via Twitter on October 23.
That inconvenient truth is now prompting the mainstream media, echoing the Democrats’ position, to say the alleged quid pro quo offer at the heart of the impeachment probe “evolved over time.”
The lack of evidence to support the allegation that Trump made a quid pro quo offer during the July 25 call has left Democrats scrambling “to find a smoking gun or pieces of one,” Politico conceded on Monday.
While one impeachment witnesses — Amb. Bill Taylor — said a quid pro quo took place, citing second-hand information, others have said they were unaware of a pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
In another sign that the Democrats are moving away from the July 25 call, they are heavily relying on Taylor’s deposition to fuel their impeachment efforts.
Taylor’s claim that Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine to investigate Bidens was unrelated to the July 25 call.
Democrats pursuing the impeachment probe are supposed to be trying to determine whether Trump abused his power by demanding the investigation into the Bidens during the July 25 call.
Impeachment-minded House Democrats have repeatedly claimed there was a quid pro quo during the call, explicit or implied.