New evidence that Donald Trump withheld badly needed military aid from Ukraine in order to get a “quid pro quo” from Ukraine, in the form of “investigations” into various conspiracy theories that would benefit Trump politically, continued to roll in on Friday. A Republican senator who has been one of Trump’s most staunch defenders in the Ukraine scandal admitted that he was told about the “quid pro quo” as far back as August 31, according to a Wall Street Journal report published on Friday morning.
The reported admission by second-term Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson comes less than a day after the House Foreign Affairs Committee released a trove of newly revealed text messages that clearly linked Trump’s refusal to release the military aid to his attempts to benefit his 2020 re-election campaign.
In one text, the acting United States ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, asked Trump’s European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, “Are we now saying that security assistance and [White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?”
In another, as The Inquisitr reported, Taylor said, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
According to the Wall Street Journal report Friday, Johnson told reporters Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus that it was Sondland who told him in August that “aid to Ukraine was tied to the desire by Mr. Trump and his allies to have Kyiv undertake investigations related to the 2016 U.S. elections.”
Johnson also said that he spoke to Trump on the phone on August 31, and in the conversation, Trump denied the “quid pro quo.”
In a transcript of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky released by the White House on September 25, as The Inquisitr has reported, Trump replied to the Ukrainian leader’s request for military aid from by telling Zelensky that he needs a favor.
Trump then proceeded to ask Zelensky to open investigations into Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, as well as into a supposed Democratic National Committee computer server that Trump believed has gone missing and, for some reason, may be in Ukraine, possibly in the hands of “one of your wealthy people.”
Trump’s demand for an investigation into the allegedly missing server, according to an NBC News report, derives from an internet conspiracy theory that originated on the extremist message board 4Chan, and subsequently spread throughout far-right-wing media in the U.S.
According to the conspiracy theory, which is not supported by any evidence, the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike was instrumental in uncovering Russian government hacking of the DNC in 2016. CrowdStrike was allegedly part of a conspiracy between the DNC and Ukraine to frame Russia for the hack.
Trump asked Zelensky to investigate CrowdStrike in the July 25 phone call, according to the released White House transcript.