Republicans on three key House committees have written their own impeachment inquiry report as a prebuttal to the referral that Democrats on the Intelligence Committee will make to the Judiciary Committee this week.
The GOP’s 123-page argument includes the conclusion that President Donald Trump’s hesitation to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and provide military aid to the country was ‘entirely prudent.’
And it claims there is ‘indisputable evidence’ to support the theory that Ukraine’s leaders attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election by siding with Hillary Clinton.
The report disputes that Trump was laying out a ‘quid pro quo’ with Ukraine when he asked the country’s new leader to investigate alleged corruption linked to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
It says Trump held a ‘deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism’ of Ukraine due to its history of corruption, and acted properly in slow-walking hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money.
And it reinforces a conspiracy theory that Democrats dispute: that Ukraine, either instead of or in addition to Russia, meddled on Hillary Clinton’s side in the election that shot Trump to power.
President Donald Trump got some support on Monday in the form of a 123-page report from House Republicans that claims impeachment herarings are the product of a political vendetta
As the ranking GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Devin Nunes is carrying most of the load in argyuing Trump’s case, and was among three prominent lawmakers who issued the report
‘Indisputable evidence shows that senior Ukrainian government officials sought to influence the 2016 election in favor of Secretary Clinton and against then-candidate Trump,’ the write.
The report cites mostly public statements and an op-ed, but leans heavily on a January 2017 article in Politico that described a Ukrainian effort to ‘sabotage’ the Trump campaign.
‘Although Democrats reflexively dismiss the information presented in this article, neither Politico nor [the reporter] have retracted the story.’
The Republicans argue in the report released Monday that Democrats are trying to impeach Trump because of his ‘outside the beltway’ approach to diplomacy.
Republicans leaked their report to reporters on Monday, and then released it more publicly, in advance of Democrats’ planned splash of their own on Tuesday.
The report bears the names of Reps. Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan and Mike McCaul, the ranking Republicans on the House Intelligence, Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, respectively.
All three, but particularly Jordan and Nunes, are long-time Trump defenders.
They write that Democrats have been eager to impeach Trump since before his inauguration, and are now using the Ukraine flap as a pretense.
House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking Republican Jim Jordan (right) is another firebrand who defended Trump in the lengthy report issued Tuesday
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff is the target of attacks in the Republicans’ prebuttal report; he chaired House Intelligence Committee hearings designed to build a case for impeaching the president
‘The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct,’ their report states, ‘it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system’ enabled by bureaucrats who disagree with the president’s unconventional approach to foreign policy.
Republicans claim Trump committed ‘no quid pro quo, bribery, extortion, or abuse of power.’
‘The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump pressured President Zelensky to initiate investigations for the purpose of benefiting the President in the 2020 election,’ they write.
‘The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump covered up the summary of his phone conversation with President Zelensky. The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump obstructed the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.’
The Republicans insist that Trump’s interest in Hunter Biden’s lucrative position on the board of Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm, was justified and ‘valid.’
The Ukraine saga began with a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Selensky (pictured), in which the U.S. president suggested a corruption probe of former VP Joe Biden and his son Hunter; Democrats say the White House held up military aid money in order to pressure Kiev for action
‘The Obama State Department noted concerns about Hunter Biden’s relationship with Burisma in 2015 and 2016,’ they note.
Both Trump and Zelensky have said a now-infamous July 25 phone call did not include any undue pressure to probe the Bidens in exchange for the release of long-planned military aid money, or for the high-profile public relations coup of a formal White House visit.
Democrats, however, insist that Trump had no legitimate reason to ask Zelensky during the call for ‘a favor’: a Biden corruption probe.
That topic will soon come up in House Judiciary Committee proceedings, beginning with a scheduled Wednesday hearing that features four constitutional law scholars—three chosen by Democrats and one by Republicans.
Of the two Democratic witnesses, two have been donors to Democratic candidates.
‘Well there you go,’ a White House official said late Tuesday. ‘If you can’t find a nonpartisan legal scholar to back you up, you really shouldn’t be doing this.’