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The truth will out: Texts from the State Department contradict Trump's Ukraine cover story

No quid pro quo, President Trump has said again and again about Ukraine, about as robotically as he got used to saying no collusion and no obstruction about Russia.

Deeply damning text messages of Trump’s own diplomats turned over to Congress now reveal that they saw an explicit connection between Ukraine getting favorable treatment and its leader doing Trump’s personal political bidding.

The morning of the now-infamous July 25 phone call in which Trump leaned on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to gin up an investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker texted Zelenskiy adviser Andrey Yermark: “Heard from White House – assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.”

In late August, a concerned Yermark texts Volker a link to a Politico story about Trump holding up U.S. military aid.

In early September, the nexus gets more explicit: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Bill Taylor, the ranking U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, asks Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Sondland replies: “Call me.”

A week later, Sondland, Volker and Taylor continue the conversation, with talk of an “interview” the Ukrainians were apparently being pressed to give. Taylor states: “The nightmare is if they give the interview and don’t get the security assistance. The Russians love it. (And I quit.)”

The next day, Taylor writes: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Sondland – who seems to have the good sense to understand what he shouldn’t put in writing – texts back a denial that was what was happening, adding, “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”

Very very bad just got worse.

– New York Daily News