Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) claimed President Donald Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the subject of a whistleblower complaint filed by a U.S. intelligence official last month, was perfectly fine, prompting heated pushback from CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“You really don’t have any problem with the president of the United States leveraging his power to push a foreign leader to investigate a political rival?” Tapper asked Jordan during Sunday’s episode of “State of the Union.”
The whistleblower, identified by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as a CIA analyst, alleges Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a front-runner in the race to challenge Trump’s reelection. The complaint prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to announce a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
But Jordan, one of Trump’s loudest cheerleaders in Congress, shrugged off the call.
“What I have a problem with is what the Democrats are doing,” Jordan said. “There’s nothing there, but the Democrats say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to move towards impeachment.’ They don’t care about the facts.”
Jordan said the rough record of the call released by the White House last week, which showed Trump pressing Zelensky to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr on the Biden matter, cleared the president of wrongdoing.
“The transcript gives you no reason to impeach this president,” Jordan said.
The conversation then turned to Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Biden, as vice president, pushed for a notoriously corrupt prosecutor in Ukraine to be removed for the purpose of impeding an investigation into Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company where Biden’s son was a member of its board.
Jordan bashed Biden’s son for getting paid $50,000 a month to sit on Burisma’s board, prompting a fiery response from Tapper.
“The president’s daughter right now is having all sorts of copyrights granted in foreign countries; that doesn’t alarm you,” Tapper said. “The president’s sons are doing all sorts of business all over the world; that doesn’t alarm you. ... Either there’s a principle that people should not benefit from their connections or there isn’t.”
“The president is pushing the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival,” he added. “I can’t believe it’s OK with you.”
“But he didn’t do that,” Jordan claimed.
“It’s in the transcript,” the CNN host fired back. “We all read it.”
Democrats say the allegations against Trump, if true, amount to a U.S. president seeking assistance from a foreign government to help his reelection campaign. What’s more, the whistleblower complaint alleges the White House tried to cover up Trump’s call with Zelensky by storing it in an electronic system meant to handle classified information regarding national security issues.
Republicans, on the other hand, have largely defended the president’s actions. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he has “zero problems” with Trump’s call with Zelensky.
“I do have a problem with Nancy Pelosi,” he said. “If you think the president did something wrong in this phone call, then vote to open up an article of impeachment inquiry, and a lot of House Democrats won’t because they’re afraid.”