Kellyanne Conway challenges CNN host to find quid pro quo in Ukraine call transcript

At the crux of the House Democrats’ efforts to impeach President Donald Trump over the content of his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is an allegation that Trump engaged in an unlawful “quid pro quo” by withholding military aid in exchange for investigations into a 2020 “political rival,” former Vice President Joe Biden.

But White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, in an appearance Sunday on CNN, pushed back against the narratives about “quid pro quos” and “political rivals” by pointing out the inaccuracies of both terms, IJR reported.

Heated debate

Conway squared off against CNN host Dana Bash Sunday morning on State of the Union over the allegations that President Trump acted inappropriately in his conversation with Zelensky.

Bash said, “The President of the United States asked a foreign power to investigate a top political rival. We read it in the summary of the July 25th call. We also saw him do it in public. Was that appropriate?”

But Conway was unwilling to accept the premise of Bash’s opening question, and replied, “Well, I have the transcript of the call right here, and I’d like you to show me where that is. And you can circle where there’s a quid pro quo.

“I have to push back on that”

Bash declined to do so as Conway pressed forward and pointed out that there was no mention from either Trump or Zelensky of withheld military aid or the 2020 election and that both presidents simply discussed their respective elections and campaign vows to “drain the swamp” and root out corruption.

However, Bash went ahead and read a portion of the phone call transcript in which Trump made mention of the alleged corruption involving Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm that was under investigation by a chief prosecutor whom the former vice president previously bragged about getting fired in exchange for U.S. aid.

“This is the president asking another foreign leader to look into the man who is the leading candidate to be his political rival. You don’t have to say ‘2020,’” Bash said.

“I have to push back on that,” Conway replied. “First of all, look at what he asked him to do: He asked him to investigate what happened when Joe Biden — as vice president of the United States then — stopped a prosecution of a company where his son, who, as his son has admitted, only got those jobs because of his last name, only got those contracts because of his last name.

“He’s talking about 2016, not 2020,” Conway asserted. “And respectfully, Joe Biden is not his main political rival. Joe Biden was in Iowa yesterday and said he was in Ohio.”

Tireless defender

Bash asked, why then, did President Trump tweet so often about Biden. But Conway fired back: “He tweets about many things.”

Whether or not what Trump requested of the Ukrainian president constitutes either a “quid pro quo” or election interference against a “political rival” will remain a hotly debated question everywhere from cable TV to Capitol Hill. However, one thing is absolutely certain: Kellyanne Conway is not about to let mainstream media narratives about the matter go unchallenged.

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