Speed Reads

quid pro questionable

Ukraine was allegedly told Trump wouldn't meet with Zelensky unless he would 'play ball'

The quid pro quo is getting less questionable.

In an attempt to distance President Trump from wrongdoing in a call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, he and allies have tried to claim there was "no quid pro quo" offered in exchange for Zelensky investigating the Biden family. Yet an intelligence community member's whistleblower complaint released Thursday details several instances where phone calls and meetings with, as well as visits to Ukraine by Trump, were at least made to appear off limits until Zelensky did what he was asked.

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has long pushed for a probe into Hunter Biden's work with a Ukraine-based company. Because of that, "multiple U.S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the president and President Zelensky" would not happen unless Zelensky "showed willingness to 'play ball'" on the Biden allegations, the whistleblower details in the complaint.

The whistleblower included two more instances that implied a quid pro quo between Trump and Zelensky, though the whistleblower was unsure if they were "connected with" Zelensky's "willingness to 'play ball.'" In one case, U.S. officials allegedly told the whistleblower Trump canceled Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Ukraine for Zelensky's inauguration. "It was also 'made clear'" to Ukraine that Trump wouldn't meet Zelensky until he "saw how Zelensky 'chose to act' in office," the whistleblower says officials told him.

On July 18, the Office of Management and Budget also announced Trump ordered it "earlier that month" to "suspend all U.S. security assistance" to Ukraine. Both OMB and the National Security Council did not know why that order was issued. The order was reiterated throughout "interagency meetings" on July 23 and 26, the whistleblower continued. Trump's phone call with Zelensky happened July 25.