House Republicans circulate memo outlining Trump defenses ahead of public impeachment testimony

House Republicans circulate memo outlining Trump defenses ahead of public impeachment testimony
United States Institute of Peace

Pro-Trump Republicans, in recent weeks, have offered a variety of talking points in opposition to the impeachment inquiry that President Donald Trump is facing in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. And GOP staff of three Democrat-led House panels involved in the inquiry, CNN reports, are circulating a memo outlining some key talking points in defense of the president.

CNN reporters Phil Mattingly and Veronica Stracqualursi describe the memo as “the most centralized and detailed effort to lay out the Republican counterargument to impeachment that has been crafted.” And the memo, which CNN has obtained a copy of, consists of four main talking points.

One is that Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.”

House Democrats have been arguing that on July 25, Trump tried to pressure Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden — and that urging a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is an impeachable offense.

Another Trump defense outlined in the memo is that Trump and Zelensky “have both said there was no pressure on the call.” And a third defense is that “the Ukrainian government was not aware of the hold on U.S. assistance” when the leaders spoke on July 25.

Trump critics have been asserting that he made investigating the Bidens a condition of receiving military aid.

The fourth talking point is that a hold on assistance to Ukraine was lifted on September 11.

The memo reads, “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.”

This memo comes just as the impeachment inquiry is getting ready to present its first public testimony. So far, all of the witnesses who have testified have done so in closed-doors hearings.

The three witnesses scheduled to testify publicly this week are diplomat William Taylor, who handled Ukraine-related matters for the Trump Administration; George Kent, an official for the U.S. State Department; and Marie Yovanovitch, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Taylor and Kent are both scheduled to testify this Wednesday, November 13, while Yovanovitch’s testimony is set for this Friday, November 15. All three of them have already testified in closed-door hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.