December 15, 2019

Republicans, in draft impeachment defense, argue Trump decisions towards Ukraine ‘entirely prudent’ | TheHill

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House Republicans are expected to argue President TrumpDonald John TrumpPerry ends final day as Energy secretary Mexican officials detain suspects in massacre of members of Mormon sect READ: White House’s letter to Nadler saying it won’t participate in impeachment hearing MORE did not intend for his dealings with Ukraine to benefit him politically, but rather that the president made “entirely prudent” decisions driven by a “reasonable skepticism” about corruption in the country.

In a draft GOP impeachment report reviewed by The Hill, Republicans claim there is no evidence to back up Democrats’ allegations that Trump sought to use a White House visit and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid as leverage to get Kyiv to open two investigations that would benefit him politically.

In the 123-page draft that echos the president’s arguments in his own defense, Republicans don’t give an inch in admitting wrongdoing and attack the impeachment inquiry led by Democrats, describing it as a partisan campaign to shake up the political system.

“Understood in this proper context, the President’s initial hesitation to meet with President Zelensky or to provide U.S. taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine without thoughtful review is entirely prudent,” the draft impeachment report reads.

They argued that the evidence does not support Democrats’ allegations that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “to initiate investigations for the purpose of benefiting the President in the 2020 election,” nor that he “obstructed the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry” by blocking the testimony of multiple witnesses, including those with direct knowledge of such contacts with Kyiv.

“Even examining evidence beyond the presidential phone call shows no quid pro quo, bribery, extortion, or abuse of power. The evidence shows that President Trump holds a deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption,” it continues.

Instead, the Republicans – including the top three GOP members on the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees – take aim at the impeachment inquiry itself.

“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the draft reads.

“Democrats in the House of Representatives have been working to impeach President Trump since his election.” 

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Olivia Beavers
The Hill

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