September 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, appeared on EWTN’s World Over with Raymond Arroyo on Thursday to discuss House Democrats’ latest calls to impeach Donald Trump, arguing the president’s opponents were abusing procedure to keep the White House from mounting a proper defense against a false scandal.
For the past week, the political news cycle has been dominated by claims that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help investigate allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner to run against Trump in 2020, pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor that had been investigating his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country.
Biden openly bragged on video last year about successfully threatening to cancel a billion-dollar loan guarantee if the prosecutor in question, Viktor Shokin, was not fired. Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine's former Foreign Minister, says Shokin was fired as part of a crackdown on “prosecutor offices which were systemically corrupt” (a defense disputed by documents from the legal team defending Hunter Biden’s company, according to reporter John Solomon).
On Wednesday, the White House released a rough transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. It shows Zelensky referencing U.S. defense support for Ukraine, to which Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and asks for assistance investigating Crowdstrike, the cybersecurity contractor the Democrat National Committee contracted to investigate its hacked emails in 2016 (National Review’s David French, a stridently anti-Trump attorney, concedes this portion of the conversation is “entirely proper”).
Zelensky then requests that Rudy Giuliani, former New York City Mayor and now one of Trump’s personal attorneys, travel to Ukraine and meet with him. Trump responds by praising Giuliani, then adds, “the other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”
Trump’s defenders argue it’s legitimate for world leaders to request assistance in rooting out a previous administration’s potential corruption; his opponents claim it was at the very least inappropriate given Trump and Biden’s political rivalry, and a serious abuse of power if Trump made congressionally-authorized foreign aid a condition of compliance.
The U.S. did place a temporary hold on the aid, but the Ukrainians didn’t know that until a month after the phone call, didn’t perceive Trump’s request as threatening the aid, and reportedly attributed the delay to legitimate U.S. concerns about the proposed sale of a Ukrainian missile/jet engine factory to China.
Sensenbrenner told EWTN’s Arroyo that the controversy was “just another hit job on a president that (Democrats) have done nothing but hate since the moment the election results were announced in November of 2016.”
“All of us have asked friends or acquaintances to do them a favor,” he said. There's not a quid pro quo involved in that, it's just saying ‘please look into this.’ Now what happened is that Biden was in the Ukraine asking that the prosecutor that was investigating (his) son’s company for corruption be fired. Now if this was done in the United States, that's a clear case of obstruction of justice, but I guess because it was done in the Ukraine it's not.”
Sensenbrenner also accused Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, of having “completely ignored the procedural safeguards that we used in the Clinton impeachment 20 years ago” by holding hearings in which Trump “has not been able to have witnesses come” and “present a defense.”
As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Sensenbrenner said “she’s refused to put on the floor a motion to have a formal impeachment inquiry, which Republicans did against Clinton 20 years ago and which Democrats did against Nixon in 1974. Once again, the Speaker's mouth has gone into third gear before her mind started up.”
On Thursday, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, excoriated “Democrats, their media mouthpieces, and a cabal of leakers” for “ginning up a fake story, with no regard to the monumental damage they’re causing to our public institutions and to trust in government.”
He also noted that the original complaint that ignited the scandal largely consisted of things the whistleblower claimed to have heard secondhand, and that multiple elected Democrats and Democrat National Committee officials had themselves asked the Ukrainian government for politically-damaging information about Trump.
The Daily Wire noted that some left-wing activists are trying to make an issue out of Trump’s comment that Vice President Mike Pence “had a couple of conversations also” with Ukrainian officials, even attempting to get the hashtag #PresidentPelosi trending based on the theoretical scenario of impeaching both Trump and Pence, in which case the Speaker of the House would be next in the presidential line of succession.