Republicans try new response to Ukraine call: Quid pro quo isn’t impeachable

“Concern is different than rising to the level of impeachment,” Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “Look, if I believed everything the Democrats are saying, I would still say this isn’t an impeachable offense.”…

[A]s House Democrats conclude the fact-finding portion of their inquiry and prepare to make the case in public that Mr. Trump abused his presidential power to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals, Republicans, recognizing that their process argument has a looming expiration date, have cast about for a new line of defense.

Adding to the angst is Mr. Trump himself, who implored Republicans last week to stop defending him on process and instead defend the substance of his call in July with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in which Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to “do us a favor” and investigate Democrats. Lawmakers have since resigned themselves to the notion that the president will continue to use his Twitter feed as an unvarnished, one-man war room, two Republican aides said, and can only hope he will not go off on too many tangents.

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