Republicans released a memo Tuesday with talking points to defend themselves and President Donald Trump against the impeachment inquiry. Axios posted the memo, outlining four major points by the GOP that they consider to be "fatal arguments" against impeachment. But even the conservative Washington Examiner can't back them up.
"The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure,"
"President [Volodymyr] Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call,"
"The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call,"
and "President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals."
The Washington Examiner couldn't help but note the GOP's "fatal" talking points wouldn't exonerate Trump. They explained that it was clear there was pressure in the July 25 call to Ukraine. Even if it was part of the ongoing efforts of the international community to curb corruption in Ukraine, it doesn't help Trump.
Zelensky's claim that there was "no pressure" is hardly exonerates Trump, The Examiner said.
"To start, the call was not the only part of the pressure campaign," the site wrote. "But beyond that, of course, Zelensky, who is desperate for U.S. help, isn't going to publicly invite the wrath of a president he has to deal with for more than a year at a minimum and inject himself into U.S. politics by complaining Trump pressured him."
Another GOP claim was ripped to shreds with the release of two transcripts on Monday evening. The GOP claims that Ukraine wasn't even aware the aid was being held up. In fact, they knew "very early on," according to transcripts released on Monday by House investigators, Catherine Croft, a special adviser for Ukraine and deputy to Kurt Volker.
Calls and transcripts show that the Trump White House was dangling a White House visit to Zelensky as soon ago as August. The funds for the weapons for Ukraine were only released after the whistleblower complaint became public.
Another claim by the White House is that because Trump met with Zelensky in September at a United Nations summit, he proved the aid wasn't conditional for a meeting. The aid may not have been conditional to score a meeting, but it was conditional until Zelensky went on television to say he was announcing an investigation into the Biden family. It was only after that promise was made and the whistleblower report became public that Trump's Office of Management and Budget released the aid.
"Republicans are clearly trying to latch on to one set of talking points ahead of public hearings that will include damaging testimony, but in terms of substance, these core defenses don't hold up to much scrutiny," The Examiner closed.
Read the full report at The Washington Examiner.