On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted that as willing as Republicans are to complain about the process of the impeachment proceedings, virtually none of them are willing to defend President Donald Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on its own terms.
"Jeff, hearing the president urging Republicans to, quote, go with substance," said Cooper. "It's almost like he's been watching news reports and people pointing out that the Republicans have been going with process because they can't really use substance or are unwilling to or it's more uncomfortable to do that. Is substance really on the president's side? It reminds me of him saying he wants to go testify in front of Mueller when, in fact, there was no way he was going to testify in front of Mueller."
"The Republicans can argue substance anytime they want," said Toobin. "The president has said over and over again that the phone call with the president of Ukraine was 'perfect.' He always uses that word, 'perfect.' I haven't heard a single member of Congress, any Republican, agree with him about that. You can argue substance if there is an argument to be made. The president's argument is just not persuasive to anyone, even in his own party. Yeah, sure, you can argue substance, but you have to have a substantive argument and, so far, the president hasn't put out any that even persuade Republicans, much less Democrats."
"But he wants Republicans to be with him on the substance even though they're not," said Cooper. "This is where it becomes very difficult for them. The process argument for them is much more comfortable."
"Absolutely," agreed Toobin.