President Donald Trump sent around a Wall Street Journal column to all 100 senators arguing against impeachment.
Columnist Kimberly Strassel argued that nervous Republicans were being manipulated by the media and Democrats into believing the whistleblower's claims against the president, but she insisted the allegations were overblown.
"There is simply no evidence of what House Democrats have made the central claim of their impeachment inquiry: that Mr. Trump engaged in a 'quid pro quo' by withholding aid to Ukraine unless it 'opened an investigation' into former Vice President Joe Biden," Strassel argued.
The White House did, in fact, withhold congressionally approved aid from Ukraine -- illegally, according to the Pentagon -- as Trump was asking the Ukrainian president to do him a "favor," but Strassel denied the evidence was enough to pursue impeachment.
"We now have the transcript of the call, in which Mr. Trump never threatened to withhold aid as a condition of an investigation. He doesn’t even mention money," she wrote. "The press is trying to suggest the threat was 'implicit' — which means he didn’t say it."
Trump was clearly impressed by the argument, and apparently nervous about his support in the Senate, so he sent a copy of the column to each senator, according to two reporters.
Trump sent a WSJ op-ed by Kim Strassel titled "Ukraine Smoke and Mirrors" to all U.S. senators today, per senior Hi… https://t.co/sNQsVYO1I4— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1570812672.0
The column was sent by email, with a note asking senators to read it at the president's request.
Confirmed. Senate source says the White House staff sent an email with just a pdf of the Strassel column. The subje… https://t.co/XS5n3p7BiK— Sam Stein (@Sam Stein)1570812983.0
The email was circulated as the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine told lawmakers in a closed-door session that she believes she was abruptly forced out without cause because Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was undermining her.
“Contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers.