POLITICS

Here's What Every Senate Republican Has Said About Trump’s Ukraine Scandal

They aren’t on the same page when it comes to the president's phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

President Donald Trump is urging Republicans to defend him on the merits of his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, repeatedly describing the conversation as “perfect” even as Democrats press ahead with their impeachment inquiry in the House.

In the Senate, however, there is far less agreement among GOP lawmakers about the substance of the call, in which Trump tried to persuade the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The conversation alarmed several senior Trump administration officials, who defied the White House and described a quid pro quo involving U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

A majority of Senate Republicans agree with Trump, dismissing the House impeachment inquiry into the call as a partisan effort meant to overturn the 2016 presidential election. But a few GOP senators have expressed concern about the president advocating an investigation into a political rival while holding up aid for Ukraine, even though they say they don’t ultimately see it as an impeachable offense.

Trump addressed those lawmakers on Sunday, suggesting he was closely following the mood of Senate Republicans, who would act as his jurors in a hypothetical impeachment trial. The president urged them to read the memo of the call and reiterated there was “no quid pro quo.”

Other Republicans have declined to weigh in on the matter by making procedural objections to the House inquiry or by citing their potential “juror” role.

Here’s what every Senate Republican has said since the White House released a memo of the president’s Ukraine call in late September:

The Call Was Totally Fine

Lindsey Graham (S.C.): “I read the transcript and found nothing wrong with it.”

Tim Scott (S.C.): “There is nothing that I saw in the transcript that was an impeachable offense. I find him to be innocent of an impeachable offense.”

John Kennedy (La.): “Did the president have a culpable state of mind? … Based on the evidence that I see, that I’ve been allowed to see, the president does not have a culpable state of mind.”

Kevin Cramer (N.D.): “It would be troubling if any president did a quid pro quo with tax dollars ... but so far we don’t have evidence that’s happened.”

Ron Johnson (Wis.): “We have proper agreements with countries to investigate potential crimes so I don’t think there’s anything improper about doing that.”

Joni Ernst (Iowa): “I’ve looked at the transcript; I don’t see anything there.”

Chuck Grassley (Iowa): “There was no quid pro quo, you’d have to have that if there was going to be anything wrong.”

Roger Wicker (Miss.): “Nothing impeachable … it’s just a huge overreach.”

Jim Inhofe (Okla.): “This happens every day.”

James Lankford (Okla.): “The phone call the president made public immediately, that came out right away ... We’ll wait and see. I don’t see anyone changing their mind at this point.”

David Perdue (Ga.): “This is a partisan sham trial and nothing more.”

Rand Paul (Ky.): “Making foreign aid contingent on behavior is actually the defining reason that countries supposedly give aid — to influence the behavior of the receiving country.”

Mike Braun (Ind.): “If you read the transcript closely there is no quid pro quo. I looked at it and I thought surely there had to be more in there to invest this much time and energy.”

Richard Burr (N.C.): “I’ve read the transcript. Is that a high crimes and misdemeanors ― the conversation that went on? I don’t see it.”

Thom Tillis (N.C.): “This is yet another pathetic attempt by Democrats to destroy President Trump with falsehoods to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”

Mike Lee (Utah): The call is not “a problem” and it “certainly doesn’t serve as the basis for impeaching and removing” Trump.

Tom Cotton (Ark.): Trump’s conversation with Zelensky was “a routine diplomatic phone call.”

Rick Scott (Fla.): “I still don’t see what the crime is. I keep saying, ‘Show me what the crime is.’ No one ever says that. They say he shouldn’t have done it. Well, all of us would do things differently than other people would do it, but if we’re going to impeach somebody, there ought to be something they did wrong.”

John Hoeven (N.D.): “U.S. Ambassador to the EU Sondland, in (released) text messages, said that President Trump did not want any quid pro quo.”

Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.): “I don’t see a quid pro quo in here. I see a conversation between two leaders that is pretty broad-ranging. I just don’t think this rises to impeachable on the conversations I’ve read.”

Mike Rounds (S.D.): “After reading the transcript of the phone call between the president and President Zelensky, I do not believe the president committed an impeachable offense.”

Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.): “The Democrats want this to be a Kavanaugh circus ... I got your back, @realDonald Trump.”

Josh Hawley (Mo.): “I looked at the transcript of the president’s call and don’t see any threat regarding US funding about anything. No quid pro quo.”

Bill Cassidy (La.): “Nothing in the transcript supports Democrats’ accusation that there was a quid pro quo.”

Jim Risch (Idaho): “Everybody should read that minute by minute, and it will demonstrate the hostility and vitriol that the national media has for the president.”

Deb Fischer (Neb.): “I read the full unredacted transcript of President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president and, contrary what we were led to believe, there was no ‘smoking gun.’”

Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.): “This is how they operate. Verdict first, trial later. Break the rules. Ignore due process.”

John Barrasso (Wyo.): “They didn’t get what they wanted out of the Mueller investigation. They’re hoping they have something here. I just don’t see it.” 

The Call Was Bad But Not Impeachable 

Pat Toomey (Pa.): “While the conversation reported in the memo relating to alleged Ukrainian corruption and VP Biden’s son was inappropriate, it does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”

Rob Portman (Ohio): “The rush to judgment by [the House] I think is totally unwarranted. We’re talking about changing the results of an election in the United States.”

John Cornyn (Texas): “Do I wish President Trump hadn’t raised the issue with the Ukrainian president?  Yes ... But really, is it right for Democrats to now call for his removal for office over this?”

Ted Cruz (Texas): “Donald Trump says things frequently that I wish he wouldn’t say. I don’t have control over that. The fact that he shouldn’t have gone down that road is a long way from saying, ‘Therefore, he should be impeached and forcibly removed from office after the American people have voted in a presidential election.’”

Marco Rubio (Fla.): “I don’t think he should have raised the topic of Joe Biden with the Ukrainian president. I just don’t think our U.S. ... foreign policy should be used as leverage against individuals in our domestic politics.”

Lamar Alexander (Tenn.): It is “inappropriate for the president to be talking with foreign governments about investigating his political opponents.” However, “impeachment would be a mistake.”

Dan Sullivan (Alaska): “Would I use the exact language that the President uses on some of these calls? You know, probably not, but are these impeachable offenses? No. Not from my view.”

The Call Was Wrong

John Thune (S.D.): “The picture coming out of it based on the reporting we’ve seen is, yeah, I would say is not a good one.”

Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): “You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period.”

Ben Sasse (Neb.): “Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons ... when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling here.”

Mitt Romney (Utah): “Asking a leader of a foreign government to investigate a political opponent is, in my opinion, a troubling matter.” 

I’m A Potential Juror And Shouldn’t Speak

Susan Collins (Maine): “If there are articles of impeachment, I would be a juror just as I was in the trial for President Clinton, and as a juror, I think it’s inappropriate for me to reach conclusions about evidence or to comment on the proceedings in the House.” 

Johnny Isakson (Ga.): “I’m a member of the Senate, I’ll be in the jury if there is an impeachment.”

Todd Young (Ind.): “I’m a potential juror in this whole situation if they determine that it is. Jurors aren’t supposed to talk.”

Mike Enzi’s (Wyo.) spokesperson: “If there’s ever another impeachment, he will do what he did before — he will be a jurist, listen to the evidence, and once all the evidence is in, he will make a final decision.”

Criticized Impeachment But Have Not Weighed In On Call

Mitch McConnell (Ky.): “Any such inquiry must be conducted by the highest standards of fairness and due process. But thus far, this time around, instead of setting a high bar, House Democrats seem determined to set a new low.”

Roy Blunt (Mo.): “We have a process that’s going on in secret. We have selective leaking.”

Martha McSally (Ariz.): “My job is to be thoughtful, to look at the facts and to show good judgment, and in the meantime, do a good job for the people representing people for the things that are impacting their families every single day.”

Cory Gardner (Colo.): “The Senate Intelligence Committee is having an investigation, a bipartisan investigation. Unfortunately, though, what we’ve seen is a very political process take over.”

Steve Daines (Mont.): “This investigation remains in the hands of Adam Schiff and House Democrats who’ve had their minds made up about impeaching the president since before this investigation began.”

Richard Shelby (Ala.): “What about all the other conversations that the presidents of the United States have with foreign leaders and so forth? A lot of that is not for public consumption, I would imagine.”

Mike Crapo (Idaho): “As to the question of impeachment, our entire legal system is dependent on our ability to find the truth. I will wait for further information regarding the facts of this matter.”

Pat Roberts (Kansas): Dismissed impeachment inquiry as “political theater” but reserving judgment.

Jerry Moran (Kansas): “Absent concrete evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, Congress should not use impeachment proceedings to overturn the results of an election.”

John Boozman (Ark.): “Democrats have long sought to weaken the president, appease their base and further divide the country through impeachment. This latest action demonstrates their willingness to blindly follow this obsession regardless of the facts.”

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