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The Latest: Trump says calls foundation case "harassment"

FILE - In this Wednesday Nov. 6, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at a campaign rally in Monroe, La. A judge in New York on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, has ordered President Trump to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging he misused his charitable foundation to further his political and business interests. Judge Saliann Scarpulla also signed off on an agreement to close the Trump Foundation and distribute about $1.7 million in remaining funds to other nonprofit groups. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Republicans continue trying to explain President Donald Trump’s actions with Ukraine with changing defenses. First, they argued, the whistleblower’s complaint is based on hearsay. But based on multiple testimonies, most of the complaint has been verified. Then the defense was that Ukraine was not doing enough to reduce corruption. It’s been reported that Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood wrote a letter to congressional committees in May stating that Ukraine had “taken substantial actions” to decrease corruption and agreed the security aid, approved by Congress, should be given to Ukraine.

The next defense was that the White House transcript does not show a quid pro quo. The transcript itself states it is not verbatim but a reconstruction of the conversation. That can be debated. The Republicans’ defense then changed to “there was no quid pro quo.” However, five career diplomats have testified there was a quid pro quo.

The latest defense is that there was a quid pro quo, but it’s not an impeachable offense. Republicans believe that former President Bill Clinton lying about a consensual sexual affair was heinous enough to the country that he should be impeached and removed from office. Yet it’s OK for President Trump to abuse his powers by asking for campaign help from Ukraine in exchange for military aid.

Ken Fisher • Columbia, Ill.