In an effort to legitimize their impeachment case against President Trump House Democrats on Friday released a cache of text messages from former US envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, following his closed-door testimony on Thursday.
House Republicans who were in the meeting say Volker's testimony undercuts House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's (D-CA) impeachment efforts. According to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Volker made "crystal clear" that Trump didn't pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Zeldin has called for the transcript of the interview to be made public as soon as possible.
"I really believe it is in the best interest of the American public to have maximum transparency," said Zeldin, adding "I really believe that releasing the transcript as quickly as possible, allowing the American public to both read every question asked as well as every answer given is better than hearing from some third party."
Ohio Republican Michael Turner, an Intelligence Committee member, said he does "not believe that Volker’s testimony advanced Schiff’s impeachment agenda."
"The facts we learned today undercut the salacious narrative that [House Intelligence Chairman] Adam Schiff is using to sell his impeachment ambitions," said Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) said in a joint statement following Volker's deposition. "We hope the American people get to read the transcript of today's testimony and see the truth."
So, faced with testimony that apparently damages the impeachment narrative - the left has instead pounced on text messages that the MSM breathlessly reports are 'damning,' and which they say shows Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani running a 'shadow shakedown' in Ukraine.
The 'gotcha' is a text from US diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor, who said in a Sept. 9 text message to US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland: "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."
To which Sondland replies "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind," adding "I suggest we stop the back and forth by text."
Two more texts from the batch released by House Democrats would indicate that there are things that weren't put in writing. And that career diplomat Bill Taylor is uncomfortable with how the situation with a Trump meeting/Ukraine funding has been unfolding. pic.twitter.com/9ynmHDidIL— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) October 4, 2019
So - the left's argument here hinges on a diplomat's opinion about a quid pro quo, which another diplomat shoots down.
The second argument, proffered by NBC News, is that Giuliani ran a 'shadow shakedown' of Ukraine.
According to Democrat Rep. Eric 'let's nuke gun owners' Swalwell "We saw further evidence that there was a shadow shakedown going on, and that the lead, the lead deputy for the president was Rudy Giuliani. You had an experienced diplomat working for free, special envoy Mr. Volker, who, in many ways, was a front for work that was being done on the side parallel to his efforts by Rudy Giuliani."
Let's see the transcripts...