Conway harps on one word from Sondland's testimony in attempt to discredit quid pro quo admission

"In the case of ambassador Sondland, he said that he 'presumed,'" Conway tells the hosts of "Fox & Friends

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 6, 2019 7:07PM (EST)

Kellyanne Conway (AP/Evan Vucci)
Kellyanne Conway (AP/Evan Vucci)

Kellyanne Conway, who serves as a counselor to President Donald Trump, defended the president’s declaration of “no quid pro quo” Wednesday in his solicitation of a foreign power to dig up dirt on one of his chief rivals for the White House in 2020.

Conway was asked by the hosts of "Fox & Friends" about ambassador to the European Union George Sondland, who changed his testimony in the House impeachment inquiry to acknowledge a quid pro quo linking Trump’s demand for an investigation into former Vice President and military aid to Ukraine. She denied that the president had engaged in illegal activity when his administration held up military aid. 

“No quid pro quo,” Conway said during her appearance on Fox News. “It’s proven in that statement. I actually thought the transcript releases — and even what he was supplementing there — proved nothing yesterday.”

In an apparent attempt to discredit Sondlad, Conway later picked apart the linguistics of his testimony.

“Ambassador Sondland has said, ‘I presumed.’ How are we going to impeach a president — an extraordinary event in our constitutional democracy less than a year away from the next election — because one witness has said, ‘My interpretation was X.' Another witness says, ‘I presumed Y,’” Conway said.

"They're trying to knit together very auspicious and very sparse claims from individuals who are admitting — in the case of ambassador Sondland, he said that he 'presumed.' He 'presumed,'" she conitnued. "He also admits that he doesn't know if the aid was held up — or why it was held up. And he still doesn't know."

Despite Conway’s denial, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters last month that the president had engaged in “quid pro quo” and that his critics needed to “get over it,” because “there’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” Mulvaney later attempted to walk back those comments, but that was what he said from the White House podium.

There is also no evidence that Biden or his son was ever accused of a crime in Ukraine. The Trump campaign has promoted a debunked conspiracy theory which claims that Biden had a Ukrainian prosecutor fired when he was vice president in order to protect his son from facing criminal charges, who served on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. In fact, there was never any criminal case against Hunter Biden, and the prosecutor was fired due to international pressure over his alleged failure to clean up corruption in Ukraine.

You can watch the full segment below via Fox News:

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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