Advertisement

Impeachment: Republican lawmakers focus on 4 points to defend Trump

By
Clyde Hughes
President Donald Trump attends a wreath laying ceremony Monday during the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
President Donald Trump attends a wreath laying ceremony Monday during the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The Republican members of three House committees leading the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump issued a detailed memo Tuesday that specifies how they plan to defend the president from accusations linked to his dealings with Ukraine.

The memo outlines a four-point approach to defending against accusations Trump attempted to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Advertisement

The memo recommends that Republicans argue a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this summer showed "no conditionality or evidence of pressure" for a Biden investigation. During the call, Trump urged Zelensky to investigate the Democrat and his son, Hunter, a former Ukrainian gas company executive.

The inquiry is trying to determine if Trump tried to hold up Ukraine's Congress-approved aid for a personal political favor -- a prospect, Democrats argue, that's grounds for removal from office.

RELATED Impeachment battle framed as law and order vs. conspiracy

The memo advises noting that Zelensky said he didn't feel pressured in the call, that the Ukrainians were not aware the aid was withheld and that the money was eventually released on Sept. 11 without stipulations.

"These four key points undercut the Democrat impeachment narrative that President Trump leveraged U.S. security assistance and a presidential meeting to force Ukraine to investigate the president's political rivals," it states.

Trump has acknowledged withholding the aid and asking for investigations of the Bidens. However, he's maintained the two prospects weren't related.

RELATED Pentagon official: Trump ordered Ukraine aid freeze despite legal concerns

"The evidence shows that President Trump had a deep-seated, genuine and reasonable skepticism toward Ukraine, and a vocal position that Europe should contribute more to regional defense," the memo notes.

The committees have heard from administration officials, however -- including Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland -- that they were concerned the aid was directly dependent on Ukraine investigating Joe and Hunter Biden. Others testified they had legal concerns about Trump's conduct.

Investigators will begin public hearings in the investigation on Wednesday.

Latest Headlines