A CNN panel discussion led by host Jim Sciutto blistered Republican defenders of Donald Trump for intentionally misrepresenting evidence in State Department texts that indicate the president was withholding aid to Ukraine in return for cooperation in digging up disparaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden.
Speaking with former GOP lawmaker Charlie Dent (PA) and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, host Sciutto started off with a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) dismissing the information in the texts as nothing that was concerning.
"How can he say that when so clearly the text messages seem to corroborate many aspects of the whistle-blower complaint," the CNN host asked rhetorically.
Turning to guest Dent, Sciutto stated, "We're so far through the looking glass right now."
"Even when you have what seems to be black and white evidence, I won't call it proof, to exactly what the whistleblower said in their complaint about these signs of a quid pro quo, these signs of a quid pro quo, pressure, leverage on the Ukrainian government what the president wanted here, why isn't that changing the narrative, convincing really any Republican to come out and call it like it is?" Sciutto asked.
"The reason why they're not calling it out is because elements of their base have not turned on the president yet," Dent replied. "But we have to be very clear, what the president has done here is he has used resources -- the resources of the federal government to try to dig up dirt or investigate the Bidens."
"That's simply -- it's wrong. It's inappropriate, it's frankly, I don't know if it's criminal or not, but this is a major problem," he continued. "I served as chairman of the House Ethics Committee and I'll tell you, if these sorts of things were brought up about a member of the House using his office for these purposes, this would have triggered immediate investigation and probably a referral to the Department of Justice at some point."