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Reprinted with permission from Alternet

CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday revealed that in the middle of one of the defining scandals of Donald Trump’s administration, no one from the president’s administration or Republican leadership was willing to answer questions on “State of the Union.” And, according to former Republican congressman Joe Walsh, the reason is because “there is nothing to defend” of Trump’s actions.

“Confronted with the president’s own words prominent Republicans struggle to come up with ways to dismiss them,” Tapper explained. “After the president attacked one GOP critic will the bulk of his party toe the line?”

Detailing the president’s growing Ukraine scandal, Tapper told his audience “the lawyer for the first whistle-blower now tells me he is also representing a second whistle-blower who has spoken to the intelligence community inspector general,” noting the development “could play into the impeachment inquiry into President Trump” and “is the latest in a stream of new evidence this week backing up the original whistle-blower complaint against President Trump — including, notably, the president’s own public call for not only Ukraine, but for China, to investigate his potential 2020 rival.”

“But perhaps most damning, House Democrats have obtained text messages between three senior U.S. Officials discussing what looks like a quid pro quo, an offer of X in exchange for Y for Ukraine,” Tapper continued. “Including this exchange: ‘Heard from White House, assuming President [Volodymyr] Zelensky convinces Trump he will investigate — “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016,” we’ll nail down date for visit to Washington.’ “

“Or this text from a senior U.S. Diplomat in Ukraine,” Tapper added. “‘As I said on the phone, I think it is crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.’”

Then, Tapper laid out just how many Trump supporters declined interviews on “State of the Union” or flat-out refused to respond to requests.

“We invited the White House on to answer questions on the show this morning and they did not offer a guest,” Tapper said. “And we invited both of the president’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow and they declined to appear. We invited every member of Senate leadership and House Republicans and they all declined or did not respond. The Trump White House no longer holds regular press briefings or any press briefings at all.”

“And so, on one of the most critical news weeks of the last three years, here are just three of many questions that we feel need to be answered,” Tapper explained. “One, why did senior U.S. Diplomats believe that U.S. military aid was being withheld as a tool to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens and into attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation? Two, can this White House name another instance, just one, in which President Trump personally pushed a foreign leader to investigate an American citizen who was not one of his political opponents? Three, would you think it entirely appropriate for a democratic president to use the power of his or her office to demand foreign governments conduct investigations into Republicans and their families? As always, the invitation for an official to answer these questions stands.”

Walsh, who is challenging Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, later told Tapper the reason people declined to speak with “State of the Union” is simple.

Then, Tapper laid out just how many Trump supporters declined interviews on “State of the Union” or flat-out refused to respond to requests.

“We invited the White House on to answer questions on the show this morning and they did not offer a guest,” Tapper said. “And we invited both of the president’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow and they declined to appear. We invited every member of Senate leadership and House Republicans and they all declined or did not respond. The Trump White House no longer holds regular press briefings or any press briefings at all.”

“And so, on one of the most critical news weeks of the last three years, here are just three of many questions that we feel need to be answered,” Tapper explained. “One, why did senior U.S. Diplomats believe that U.S. military aid was being withheld as a tool to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens and into attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation? Two, can this White House name another instance, just one, in which President Trump personally pushed a foreign leader to investigate an American citizen who was not one of his political opponents? Three, would you think it entirely appropriate for a democratic president to use the power of his or her office to demand foreign governments conduct investigations into Republicans and their families? As always, the invitation for an official to answer these questions stands.”

Walsh, who is challenging Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, later told Tapper the reason people declined to speak with “State of the Union” is simple.

 

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, center, speaks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

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