MURPHY: THE TEXTS MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THERE WAS A QUID PRO QUO ON THE TABLE

Murphy Joins “Meet the Press” to Talk About Ukraine, Impeachment Inquiry

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Sunday joined MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd to discuss the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and the quid pro quo of investigating Trump’s political rivals for U.S. military aid in Ukraine:

Murphy said: “Listen, the texts make it clear that there was a quid pro quo on the table. That the State Department, the White House, the president's personal lawyers were all working to try to get the Ukrainians to interfere in the 2020 election in exchange for access to the White House and likely–the resumption of aid.”

Murphy continued: “Our democracy isn't the piece of paper that it's written on, it's the decisions that we make. It's the actions that we take. And the difference between the United States of America and tin pot dictatorships is that we don't let presidents of the United States do this. We don't let them take their official office and merge it with their reelection arm. They shouldn't be fearful of this president. If they vote to get rid of him, there's nothing he can do to hurt them.”

A full transcript of the interview is below:

CHUCK TODD: “Joining me now is Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. Senator Murphy – thanks for coming on. A question I was gonna try to get to Senator Johnson had to do with the fact if he shared his concerns about the linkage of military aid and the president's decision to want an investigation. Did you ever hear Senator Johnson wince? Did he talk about it with you? You guys were traveling a lot together? I'm just curious.”

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY: “Well, I mean, first of all, Ron's a good friend, but I'm deeply scared by the positioning that Republicans have chosen to take. That interview was just a giant greenlight to the president of the United States to continue to solicit foreign interference in US elections. He telegraphed that he's gonna ask China to do the same thing he asked the Ukrainians to do this week because Republicans are allowing are allowing him to do it. And this entire country should be scared that at a moment when we need patriots, what we are getting is blind partisan loyalty.

“Listen, the texts make it clear that there was a quid pro quo on the table. That the State Department, the White House, the president's personal lawyers were all working to try to get the Ukrainians to interfere in the 2020 election in exchange for access to the White House and likely–the resumption of aid. Now, I didn't hear Senator Johnson make that connection in Ukraine. And as I've said previously, neither did I hear President Zelensky make that connection.“

TODD: “So—“

MURPHY: “—in Ukraine.”

TODD: “So Senator Johnson seemed – he implied and he talked about he had heard about this. So we're, again, you were working pretty closely on this same situation. Did Gordon Sondland make this clear to you, that the issues were connected?”

MURPHY: “No, when we went to meet with the president in early September – no one from the White House – or Gordon Sondland had told us that the two were connected. But, of course, it stood to reason that the two were connected.

“In Ukraine, there were many people who were under the impression that they must be because this aid had been suddenly cut off with no process, with no bipartisan notification. And there was an outstanding request to Zelensky to interfere in the United States election that Zelensky was not acceding to. And so, of course, it stood to reason to people in Ukraine that these two were connected. We now know from these text messages that they absolutely were connected. That they were telling Zelensky that, ‘If you want to see the president, if you want to normalize relations with the United States, you need to start investigating the president's political opponents.’ And now Republicans are basically inviting the president to do that over, and over, and over again.”

TODD: “When did you find out the aid was frozen?”

MURPHY: “I found out the aid was frozen when it was reported in the press. So I did not have any prior notification.”

TODD: “Did the Ukraine – when do you get the sense that Ukrainians knew it was being frozen, cause they didn't know at the time of the phone call, it appears, that it technically had been frozen?”

MURPHY: “Yeah. I do not know when the Ukrainians found out about it. But what we now know is that there were extensive conversations happening between Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Ambassador Taylor and the Ukrainians. And so clearly, the Ukrainians had a long period of time in which they knew that they had to provide what was called in those text messages a deliverable. Interference in the 2020 election, or they weren't gonna see the president. And they likely weren't going to get their aid. So I guess it's interesting what time they found out about it. But they found out about it in time to make it perfectly clear to Zelensky that he needed to do Trump's political bidding if he was gonna get back on good footing with the White House.”

TODD: “This is obviously – it – it's pretty clear that Republicans are fearful of even criticizing the idea of what the president is being accused of doing. For – fearful of even criticizing the concept of it. A whole world is gonna rain down on 'em. Based on – Senator Johnson's not one of those that usually is a conspiracy theorist that usually goes down these rabbit holes. How fearful do Senate – are Senate Republicans of the president's wrath?”

MURPHY: “I mean, listen, I don't know what Senator Johnson was talking about getting to the bottom of. I mean, is he doubting that Russia interfered in the 2016 election? Does he think that Paul Manafort was framed? I mean – this is wild, the lengths to which Republicans are going to try to avoid being criticized by this president.

“Listen, you have a responsibility to the Constitution of the United States, right? Our democracy isn't the piece of paper that it's written on, it's the decisions that we make. It's the actions that we take. And the difference between the United States of America and tin pot dictatorships is that we don't let presidents of the United States do this. We don't let them take their official office and merge it with their reelection arm. They shouldn't be fearful of this president. If they vote to get rid of him, there's nothing he can do to hurt them.”

TODD: “Let's be realistic though. The president is going to do this. We're spinning up – I mean, we have – we have a major problem here. I mean, the comfort level that the senator had to character assassinate the show and us – in this – in this bizarre, personal way I think shows you where we're headed. What do we do?”

MURPHY: “Yeah. I mean, listen, I think our only choice now is to take this to the American public. And, you know, ultimately, these members of the Senate want to get reelected. And as you have seen public opinion shift very quickly. As you see more Republicans go into the bunker like that, and the president go deeper into trying to get more countries to interfere in our elections, I think public opinion will change. It is true. The president seemingly can shoot somebody in the middle of 5th Avenue and Republicans won't care. I don't think—“

TODD: “Do you feel powerless—“

MURPHY: “—people want that.”

TODD: “Do you feel powerless?”

MURPHY: “No, I don't feel powerless. I mean, listen, I feel like this is a moment where patriots need to step up and try to save this country. And I think there are a lot of regular citizens out there that are going to demand that their members of Congress look at the facts, make a decision on the facts, not make a decision based on their loyalty to the cult of Donald Trump.”

TODD: “Democratic Senator Chris Murphy – thanks for coming on here.“

MURPHY: “Thanks, yes.”

 

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