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Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Ron Johnson (R.-Wis.) told the Wall Street Journal that he learned of a possible quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukraine's government from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The big picture: Johnson said that he pressed President Trump on the issue, which allegedly linked the distribution of $400 million in U.S. military aid with a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, in an Aug. 31 phone call. "He said ... 'No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?'" Johnson told the Journal of his conversation with the president.

  • Johnson asked the Justice Department earlier this week to look into links between Ukraine and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. His letter questioned the narrative that Biden's actions in Ukraine had nothing to do with his son's connection.
  • However, it was also discovered that he signed onto a 2016 letter that mirrored Biden's work to reform Ukraine's prosecutor general and judiciary.
  • There is no evidence that Biden's reform work in Ukraine was to protect his son's business dealings, as the president and some of his allies allege, or that he committed any form of corruption.

The state of play: Sondland, a Trump political appointee who donated $1 million to the president's inaugural committee, denied that there was a quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukraine's government in a series of text messages that former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker provided to a group of House committees investigating the Trump-Ukraine matter.

  • "I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, texted Sondland.
  • Sondland texted back: "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."
  • The New York Times reported that Sondland's response came only after he spoke to the president.

Go deeper: House committees release texts from former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.