'Out of 100 senators, zero believe you on the argument there is no quid pro quo,' Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers.
In the middle of Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had some blunt advice for Trump's legal team: Quit pretending there was no quid pro quo.
"Out of 100 senators, zero believe you on the argument there is no quid pro quo," Cruz said to Trump's defense team, according to the senator's own recollection that he shared with CNN on Wednesday. "Stop making it," Cruz added.
Cruz's revelation came after the Senate voted to acquit Trump on two articles of impeachment, one of which accused Trump of withholding military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure the country into opening investigations into Trump's political foes, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
A majority of senators, including several Republicans, publicly admitted Trump was wrong to engage in such a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
"It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said before he voted to acquit Trump. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio made similar claims.
Yet, every Republican senator except Utah's Mitt Romney voted to acquit Trump despite his wrongdoing.
The statement from Cruz that every Republican senator believed there was a quid pro quo comes in contrast to Trump's own repeated claims.
"You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call," Trump wrote on Twitter about his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, during which he asked for an investigation into Biden. "No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!" He repeated the false claim that there was no quid pro quo in nine additional tweets from September through December.
In the end, according to CNN, many Republican senators believed the Democratic managers had proven their case against Trump. But they voted for his acquittal anyway.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.