Speed Reads

new catchphrase

Trump is trying to make 'no quid pro quo' the new 'no collusion'

President Trump wanted readers to get one thing out of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he's spelling it out for everyone.

The White House released a memorandum from a call between Trump and Zelensky on Wednesday, which shows Trump pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and the 2016 DNC email hack. But Trump isn't too concerned about where those requests could land him, specifically because he doesn't blatantly ask for something in return.

The rough transcript is not a good look for Trump, so at first, it seemed curious why the White House would release it without excessive prodding. It turns out that's because, in Trump's eyes, it doesn't contain an explicit "quid pro quo:" a promise to give Zelensky something in exchange for a favor. In tweets, Trump has singled out pundits who claim the phrase doesn't exist in the memo, and in talking points mistakenly sent to House Democrats, Trump's White House suggested using the phrase when defending the president.

But just because the words "quid pro quo" don't appear in the memorandum doesn't mean it wasn't implied. Opponents are specifically homing in on one thing Trump said: "I would like you to do us a favor though," which is his immediate response after Zelensky thanks him for being a "bigger partner" than the EU. Other opponents are meanwhile arguing that an explicit mention of a give and take isn't even necessary to impeach Trump anyway, and that he's already proved he's in the wrong.