CNN's Toobin Alleges Quid Pro Quo: 'I Know English'

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The release of the transcript of the much talked about phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday has led to a flurry of hot takes from the media about what exactly went on between the two presidents and the state of impeachment. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joined At This Hour host Kate Bolduan to discuss the transcripts, his English speaking skills, and why he believes that there was a quid pro quo.

Bolduan began by asking Toobin, "How explicit does a quid pro quo need to be?" implying that the worse possible explanation is that there was a implicit threat. Something like: Nice aid you got there, be a shame of something happened to it. Bolduan's line of questioning was not out of the oridinary for the media.

But even former Obama donor and current CBS host Gayle King said the transcript amounted to a "bowl of nothing." CBS reporter Paula Reid agreed, "There's no quid pro quo. There's no explicit promise or threat." ABC's Terry Moran implied that questions about Joe and Hunter Biden are legitimate and should not be so quickly brushed aside.

 

 

Toobin began by stating the obvious, "First of all, let's be clear that quid pro quo is not necessary for this phone call to be wildly inappropriate and potentially impeachable." Of course a quid pro quo is not necessary for impeachment, the question is should the House impeach for simple inappropriateness. Toobin then went on his diatribe, saying that is self-evident to anyone who speeks English that there is evidence of a quid pro quo:

But there is also enormous evidence that there was a quid pro quo. If you read this transcript in its entirety, you know, I have been speaking English since I was a little boy. I know all of the words in English...When someone says, 'I want you to do me a favor,' that means I want you to do me a favor. That means I want you to do something for me and what he is asking for is political—it is dirt on Joe Biden. That's what he is asking for. As Kaitlin pointed out earlier, he raises that at the precise moment after Zelensky raises the issue of we need money for our defense. Money, favor. Quid pro quo. 

Just because some asks you for a favor, as Trump did, does not mean there was any improper exchange or blackmailing involved as Toobin suggests, Investigate Biden or no Javelin anti-tank missiles for you. Of course, Trump was asking for something political, that may be unseemly and undignified, but there is still no evidence, beyond speculation that insists such threats were implied, that delivery of the Javelins were tied to opening an investigation into the Bidens. Toobin's "It's true, because it's true" logic would seem to indicate he started with his conclusion and then reasoned his way backwards to justify that pre-determined outcome.

Here is a transcript of the September 25 show:

CNN

At This Hour with Kate Bolduan

11:12 AM

KATE BOLDUAN: And, Gloria raised some really interesting points. Jeffrey Toobin is here with me as well, Kaitlin Collins, Samantha Vinograd, here as well. Jeffrey, to the point of, I guess my question is how explicit does a quid pro quo need to be? The point on the transcript on page twp or a couple of different places, saying “I will have to say we do a lot for Ukraine, we expend a lot of effort, we spend a lot of effort and a lot of time, much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping more. I wouldn't say it is reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good, but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.” What is your take here? 

JEFFREY TOOBIN: First of all, let's be clear that quid pro quo is not necessary for this phone call to be wildly inappropriate and potentially impeachable. 

BOLDUAN: Okay. 

TOOBIN: The very notion of asking a foreign leader for dirt on a political opponent, independent of the issue of quid pro quo is troubling to many, many people. But there is also enormous evidence that there was a quid pro quo. If you read this transcript in its entirety, you know, I have been speaking English since I was a little boy. I know all of the words in English. 

BOLDUAN: You know lots of words. 

TOOBIN: When someone says, "I want you to do me a favor," that means I want you to do me a favor. That means I want you to do something for me and what he is asking for is political—it is dirt on Joe Biden. That's what he is asking for. As Kaitlin pointed out earlier, he raises that at the precise moment after Zelensky raises the issue of we need money for our defense. Money, favor. Quid pro quo. 

 

 
NB Daily Foreign Policy Europe Ukraine CNN Other CNN Video Kate Bolduan Jeffrey Toobin Donald Trump Joe Biden

 

 
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