An internal GOP memo circulating to Republicans sitting on the impeachment committees has revealed the path the party will take to defend President Trump against the accusations at the core of the Democrats’ impeachment movement.
In the memo, top Republicans argue that there are multiple points of defense that Democrats are trying to ignore as they move forward with their plans to throw the president out of office. They encourage GOP committee members to focus on those points as the public hearings commence this week.
The arguments favored won’t come as any surprise to those who have watched the proceedings unfold so far. They aren’t sideshow points. They aren’t circus stunts intended to distract from the hearings (although they will certainly be characterized as such by the media). These are reasonable, thoughtful rebuttals to the Democrats’ over-arching theme: That President Trump did something impeachable when he told the Ukrainians to look into corruption involving their country and the United States.
- Democrats have failed to present evidence of a quid pro quo in the infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
- Trump has a “deep-seated, genuine and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine and U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign aid” based on the country’s corruption issues over the past thirty years.
- Ukrainian officials have said publicly that they felt “no pressure” to initiate investigations into the Bidens or the 2016 election.
- Trump ultimately released the frozen military aid, essentially removing the central impeachment issue from the table.
- The Ukrainians were not even aware that aid was being withheld at the time of Trump’s call with Zelensky.
Republicans also intend to be proactive in their attacks on the impeachment process itself, which they (accurately) say has been shrouded in secrecy.
“The fact-finding is all unclassified, so the closed-door process is purely for information control. This arrangement has allowed Chairman Schiff—who has already publicly fabricated evidence and misled Americans about his interactions with the anonymous whistleblower – to selectively leak cherry-picked information to help paint misleading public narratives while, at the same time, placing a gag order on Republican Members,” the memo read.
House Democrats and their allies in the media are going to try and use the public hearings to sway American opinion and convince the public that impeachment is the correct remedy for Trump’s wrongdoing. It will be up to the Republicans on these committees to show the public that just because Democrats say a thing is true, that doesn’t mean that it is.
If they can do that effectively, these hearings could turn into the backfire of the century.