Appearing on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) repeatedly denied that President Trump's requests for Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election and a gas company with ties to Joe Biden's son had anything to do with his domestic political opponents.

Why it matters: As the No. 2 Republican in the House, Scalise's comments illustrate one of the varied defenses of Trump's behavior that the president's allies have deployed as they grapple with how to counter the impeachment inquiry.

  • Scalise argues that the investigations Trump desired were not related to the 2020 election and instead concerned corruption in a country to whom the U.S. was providing military aid.
  • But as ABC's George Stephanopoulos points out, it's worth noting that the only two investigations that Trump asked Ukraine to carry out involved Joe Biden — the president's top 2020 rival — and a computer server belonging to the Democratic National Committee.

The big picture: Most Republicans have taken to attacking the impeachment process, accusing House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of running the investigation in secret and blasting the inquiry as illegitimate because it hadn't been authorized by a full House vote.

  • Even after Speaker Nancy Pelosi did hold a vote, however, Republicans have continued to label the inquiry a "sham," claiming that the impeachment resolution passed last week is an attempt to legitimize an unfair process that is already underway.

What to watch: The Washington Post reported on Friday that some Senate Republicans are prepared to acknowledge that there was a quid pro quo involved in Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Biden. While Trump has long denied that he used military aid to Ukraine as leverage, the Republicans' argument is that the president's actions were not illegal and do not amount to an impeachable offense.

Go deeper: GOP Rep. Gohmert invokes "civil war" following impeachment vote

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged White House negotiators not to cut a deal with Democrats on new coronavirus stimulus before the election.

Driving the news: McConnell informed Senate Republicans of the move at a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, two people familiar with his remarks tell Axios. McConnell's remarks were first reported by the Washington Post.

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