Nov 10, 2019

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.

The exchange:

CHRIS WALLACE: "Specifically, sir, the question is if there was a quid pro quo — U.S. aid for Ukraine was going to depend on their doing these investigations of political rivals of the president — is that an impeachable offense?
HURD: "I think if you're trying to get information on a political rival to use in a political campaign is not something a president or any official should be doing. I think most Republicans have said that that would be a violation of the law."

Why it matters: Hurd is a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee. Witnesses interviewed in the House's impeachment inquiry have so far testified that there appeared to be a quid pro quo involving a White House visit for Ukraine’s president, conditioned on the announcement of investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden and alleged interference in the 2016 election.

  • However, they differ on whether military aid was used as leverage. Some key figures, including Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, believe it was.

The big picture: Hurd, a moderate Republican who has criticized Trump at times, said he would "truly consider" whether impeachment is the "correct tool" to use if evidence of a quid pro quo emerges.

  • Hurd is also a former CIA officer and said that the identity of the Ukraine whistleblower whose complaint set off the impeachment inquiry should be protected.
  • Overall, however, the congressman criticized the inquiry as a "partisan exercise" and said that he agrees with other Republicans on the committee who called on Saturday for Hunter Biden to testify.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

46 mins ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.