Congressional Republicans conducting the impeachment inquiry said that the closed-door testimony has not established that President Trump has committed an impeachable offense.
“The body of evidence to date does not support the Democrat allegation that President Trump pressured Ukraine to conduct investigations into the president’s political rivals for his political benefit in the 2020 election,” according to a GOP talking-points memo reviewed by Reuters.
“The evidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense,” it added.
The 18-page memo released by the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees reveals the arguments that Republicans plan to make as the inquiry shifts into public testimony Wednesday after weeks of closed-door hearings, according to The Hill.
According to the memo, the Republicans plan to argue that “President (Volodymyr) Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call.”
It also says they will argue that “the Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on US security assistance at the time of the July 25 call; and President Trump met with President Zelensky and US security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals.”
The Democrats are trying to determine whether Trump abused his office for political gain by asking Zelensky in their July 25 phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
The contents of the call were revealed in a whistleblower complaint by an anonymous intelligence official.
Officials have testified that they were concerned that Trump and his administration sought to tie nearly $400 million in security aid for Ukraine to the probes.
Trump has strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a witch hunt by “Do Nothing Democrats.”
According to the memo, Trump “holds a deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption.”
It cites news reports of Ukrainian officials backing Trump’s former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election, according to Reuters.
“Seen in this light, any reluctance on the president’s part to meet with President Zelensky or to provide taxpayer-funded assistance to Ukraine is entirely reasonable,” the memo says.
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