Report: GOP To Argue That Trump’s Extortion Of Ukraine Was Not Intentional
A staff memo circulated to Republicans on three House committees Monday night laid out an approach to undercutting Democrats’ arguments for impeaching President Donald Trump, according to Axios, focusing on the president's intent.
The GOP will argue that to “assess the President's state of mind during his interaction with [Ukrainian] President Zelensky,” those actions must be understood within the context of “four key pieces of evidence”:
- "The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure."
- "President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call."
- "The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call."
- "President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump's political rivals."
However, Axios noted that Republicans’ strategy “fails to consider counterarguments that Democratic members have been making for weeks.”
Notably, top Ukraine officials such as acting Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor and European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland “were under the impression that there was a quid pro quo involving aid, and that they communicated that understanding to their Ukrainian counterparts.”