Nov 10, 2019

Trump snipes at Republicans for not defending Ukraine call as "PERFECT"

Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

President Trump on Sunday tweeted that his Republican allies should not be "led into the fools trap" of calling his dealings with Ukraine inappropriate, but not impeachable.

"The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong. Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable. No, it is much stronger than that. NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!"

Driving the news: Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) used that language on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, while former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the Washington Post: "[D]o I think it’s not good practice to talk to foreign governments about investigating Americans? Yes. Do I think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed."

The big picture: Republicans have been largely divided on how to defend Trump throughout the House's impeachment inquiry. While many House Republicans have criticized the process of the inquiry and key witnesses' lack of firsthand knowledge, Senate Republicans are being advised by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to say as little about impeachment as possible.

  • The Post reported last week that a growing number of Republicans are ready to admit that Trump used U.S. military aid as leverage to convince Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, but that it was not illegal and does not constitute an impeachable offense.

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GOP Rep. Will Hurd: A Ukraine quid pro quo would be "violation of the law"

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) said on "Fox News Sunday" that it would be a "violation of the law" for "a president or any official" to withhold aid from a foreign country in exchange for investigations into political rivals, though he stopped short of saying President Trump had done so with Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowNov 10, 2019

Swalwell says House Intel has evidence of Trump-Ukraine "extortion scheme"

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that the impeachment inquiry has uncovered evidence of an "extortion scheme" involving President Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to investigate his political opponents.

Go deeperArrowNov 10, 2019

Scoop: GOP outlines theory of impeachment defense in memo to members

Reps. Mark Meadows (L) and Jim Jordan (R). Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Republicans on the three House committees conducting the Trump-Ukraine investigation have settled on "four key pieces of evidence" that they claim will undermine Democrats' arguments for why the president should be impeached, according to a staff memo circulated to committee members Monday night.

Why it matters: The first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry will take place this week. The Republican memo previews how committee members plan to defend Trump on the substance of the Ukraine allegations, in addition to the "process" attacks on the Democratic-led inquiry that have defined much of the GOP's defense strategy thus far.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019