Ukraine Newspaper's Front Page Features Trump's 'Shady Cast of Characters'

A Ukrainian newspaper featured President Donald Trump's "shady cast of characters" on its front page on Friday, as Democrats continue pressing on their impeachment proceedings and evidence emerged that appears to contradict the official White House narrative.

The cover of the English-language Kyiv Post, which has a sub-headline reading "Engineers of Trump-Ukraine scandal," has Trump in the largest picture.

His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is also prominently featured, while others who have been drawn in the investigation, such as Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, are depicted. Eighteen individuals, from both Ukraine and the U.S., are shown on the cover.

Trump has faced intense scrutiny over his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since The Washington Post reported on a whistleblower complaint about the conversation. The complaint concerned a "promise" that Trump made to Zelensky, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi soon launched impeachment proceedings as Democrats questioned whether Trump had arranged a quid pro quo agreement with Zelensky. The concerns centered on whether Trump had withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to push for investigations that would benefit him politically.

The president has fervently denied that any quid pro quo or misconduct occurred. But on Thursday, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney briefly changed the White House's course and said the Trump administration had withheld $400 million in security aid from Ukraine to pressure Kyiv to investigate Democrats.

"So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason he ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?" ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked Mulvaney during the press briefing.

"The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate," Mulvaney responded.

The reporter followed up, telling Mulvaney, "To be clear: What you just described is a quid pro quo. It is 'funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened, as well.'"

Mulvaney responded: "We do—we do that all the time with foreign policy. We were holding up money at the same time for—what was it?—the Northern Triangle countries. We were holding up aid at the Northern Triangle countries so that they—so that they would change their policies on immigration."

He added, "And I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy."

The chief of staff later walked back his comments, releasing a statement that said, "There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election."

But commentators quickly pounced on the remarks, saying they openly proved what the Trump administration has been denying about the July 25 call.

Other evidence has undermined the White House's official narrative.

Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, sent a text message to Sondland after a phone conversation they had last month. Taylor appeared to be trying to document that a quid pro quo arrangement had been discussed. "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," he wrote.

Sondland responded by denying that such an arrangement was being considered: "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo's of any kind."

Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on October 17. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Ukraine Newspaper's Front Page Features Trump's 'Shady Cast of Characters' | News