On Saturday, President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team laid out six key facts on Ukraine to rebut the Democrats’ arguments. Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura summarized the arguments in his opening remarks.
“The president did absolutely nothing wrong,” Purpura declared. He blasted the Democrats’ arguments as “unfounded and contrary to the facts.”
“The truth is simple and it’s right before our eyes, the president was at all times acting according to our national interest in pursuit of his oath of office,” the lawyer insisted.
To demonstrate this, he laid out the six key facts.
“First, the transcript shows that the president did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything. The paused security assistance funds aren’t even mentioned” in the July 25 call.
“Second, President [Volodymyr] Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything,” Purpura added. Indeed, they have insisted this many times.
“Third, President Zelensky and high-ranking Ukrainian officials did not even know — did not even know— the security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July 25 call.”
“Fourth, not a single witness testified that the president himself said there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else,” he added.
“Fifth, the security assistance flowed on September 11 and a presidential meeting took place on September 25 without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.” In other words, if there was any quid pro quo to begin with, the quid pro quo failed.
Finally, Purpura noted that none of the Democrats’ arguments can “change the fact that — as attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses — that President Trump has been a better friend and stronger supporter of Ukraine than his predecessor.”
These six key facts were established by the evidence the Democrats themselves presented in the impeachment trial, Trump’s lawyer argued. These powerful arguments eviscerate the impeachment argument that the president engaged in “abuse of power” by pressuring Ukraine to supposedly interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
In fact, Democrats’ own impeachment case is arguably an attempt to interfere in the election. In his opening statement, Trump lawyer Pat Cipollone condemned the impeachment as “the most massive interference in an election in American history.”
“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people,” he told the Senate. Which side is abusing power here?
Deputy White House counsel Michael Purpura lays out the legal team's argument in defense of President Trump, arguing that "there was no quid pro quo" and "no pressure" on Ukraine. https://t.co/AEw0I0JGrL pic.twitter.com/apn0Uw157O
— ABC News (@ABC) January 25, 2020
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.