POLITICS

White House Officials Absent From Sunday Shows As Ukraine Controversy Grows

Trump's facing an impeachment inquiry and not a single White House official signed on to answer questions about it.

As Sunday morning political talk shows debated and discussed the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his dealings with Ukraine, there was a glaring absence from their lineups: White House officials.

Last week, senior White House adviser Stephen Miller defended Trump on “Fox News Sunday.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave interviews to ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” the week before.

This week birthed several major developments regarding impeachment and Trump’s push for foreign leaders to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 presidential election.

But not a single White House official made the Sunday morning rounds this week on the “big five” networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN.

The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Sunday that his show invited the White House to participate, but it did not offer a guest. Trump’s personal attorneys, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, as well as top Republicans in the House and Senate were also invited but either declined or did not respond, he said.

A spokesperson for Fox News said the network was unable to book a White House official for Sunday’s program.

“We reached out for relevant White House guests and we were told they were unavailable, so we went with bipartisan members of the House Intelligence committee leading the impeachment inquiry,” the spokesperson told HuffPost in a statement.

ABC, CBS and NBC did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment about whether White House officials also snubbed their programs.

The lack of White House officials on Sunday shows didn’t stop Trump and his allies from rolling out his defense.

Republican lawmakers appeared ready to push the White House’s narrative on Sunday, shrugging off news that a second whistleblower had come forward with firsthand information about Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the center of the impeachment inquiry.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), a member of the House Intelligence Committee that’s investigating Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, told “Fox News Sunday” that he’s “not at all” concerned about a second whistleblower.

Giuliani appeared on Fox News late Sunday morning, where he shouted at host Howard Kurtz for pushing back on his Ukraine conspiracy theories.

“Could you just listen for one second?” Giuliani shouted at Kurtz, who later shook his head in disbelief. “You don’t let me get a sentence out. You contradict me immediately.”

It’s unclear whether ABC, CBS and NBC refrained from inviting Giuliani on their programs Sunday after Biden’s campaign sent a letter to the “big five” networks last week urging them to not invite the former New York City mayor as a guest.

“Giving Rudy Giuliani valuable time on your air to push these lies in the first place is a disservice to your audience and a disservice to journalism,” a pair of top Biden advisers wrote in the letter.

Trump, whose White House hasn’t given a press briefing in months, fired off a spate of tweets during the Sunday morning shows that attacked Democrats and doubled down on his call for Biden to be investigated.

“It is INCREDIBLE to watch and read the Fake News and how they pull out all stops to protect Sleepy Joe Biden and his thrown out of the Military son, Hunter,” the president tweeted. “As lawyers & others have stated, as President, I have an OBLIGATION to look into possible, or probable, CORRUPTION!”

None of the Republican guests on this week’s Sunday morning talk shows offered a direct answer when asked if there was a record of Trump asking foreign leaders to investigate any other American besides Biden on corruption.

This article has been updated to include comment from Fox News.

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