‘The summary bears absolutely no resemblance to Chairman Schiff’s self-described ‘parody’ interpretation…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) House Republicans laid out their strategy to defend President Trump in the ongoing impeachment battle in an 18-page memorandum, focusing on facts in the case that they believe exonerate him.
The memo, released Monday night by Republican members of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and the Foreign Affairs Committees, provides “four key pieces of evidence” that poke holes in the Democratic claim that Trump was involved in obstruction of justice and corruption.
“Stripping away the hyperbole and hysteria, these indisputable pieces of evidence show that there was no, ‘Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and Misdemeanors,’ as required by the U.S. Constitution,” the memo states.
The members say four facts establish that Trump did not withhold foreign aid from Ukraine in exchange for dirt on his political rival, Joe Biden.
First, the transcript speaks for itself, Republicans said.
There is clearly no explicit quid pro quo in the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“As transcribed, the call summary denotes laughter, pleasantries, and compliments exchanged between Trump and Zelensky,” the memo states. “The summary does not evince any threats, coercion, intimidation, or indication of a quid pro quo — as even Democrats have acknowledged. The summary bears absolutely no resemblance to Chairman Schiff’s self-described ‘parody’ interpretation of the call.”
Second, Zelensky has made it clear that he did not feel pressured during his phone call with Trump.
“Nobody pushed me,” Zelensky said earlier this year, “I was never pressured.”
Democrats have attempted to argue that Zelensky would deny any “pressure” or “blackmail” due to the “power imbalance between the U.S. and Ukraine” and Ukraine’s dependence on the U.S. military in its fight against Russia.
But Republicans reminded the House that there is “no evidence” for these claims and that they’re nothing more than a smoke screen.
Third, Ukraine has admitted that it was not aware that the U.S. had delayed military assistance when Trump spoke with Zelensky in July. In fact, the witnesses Democrats had called to testify in closed-door hearings admitted as much in the now-released transcripts of their testimonies, Republicans said.
And fourth, the U.S. provided military assistance to Ukraine before and after Trump brought up Biden in his phone call with Zelensky. This alone proves that Trump did not try to use foreign aid “as leverage to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals,” says the memo.
Republicans said they will still focus on the impeachment process, which is “one-sided, partisan, and fundamentally unfair,” according to the memo.
“There is no co-equal subpoena power,” the memo says of Democrats’ public hearings. “There are no due process protections for the president.”
But the facts are important, too, Republicans said.
“Notwithstanding this unprecedented partisanship, 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 reads. “The summary of President Trump’s conversation with President Zelensky reflects no conditionality or pressure, and President Zelensky himself said he felt no pressure … The evidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense.”