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The president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he suggested investigations into 2016 election interference and former Vice President Joe Biden’s family’s dealings in the country, neither constitutes a crime nor an impeachable offense, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy argued Wednesday.
Appearing on “America’s Newsroom” with host Bill Hemmer, McCarthy added that “doesn’t mean it could never be impeachable,” but that there are “gradations of behavior and there’s context of behavior in every situation.”
“Here you have to recognize: we don’t impeach anyone over having a dirty mind,” he stated. Adding that it is “preposterous” to argue for impeachment because actions the president took were “not high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“Ultimately, there was no aid that was withheld, and we’re dealing in a factual context where the previous president actually denied all aid to Ukraine – in terms of lethal defense aid – that Trump has actually been giving since 2018. So, I think it’s a little bit precious for the Democrats to now be telling us they’re all worried about, you know, poor Ukraine,” said McCarthy.
On Tuesday, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor revealed in testimony before a House panel that President Trump was willing to hold up military aid and a White House meeting until a public announcement was made that the probes were underway.
The administration and Republicans had repeatedly countered that military aid to Ukraine was released in September and that there was no evidence the Ukrainians were aware that the aid was being withheld as a part of any implicit quid pro quo.
In addition, Ukrainian officials have denied that there was any undue pressure from the White House.
In a rare news conference, Mulvaney told reporters at the White House that the release of military aid to Ukraine was tied to the administration’s demands that Kiev investigate purported corruption by the Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
“‘Quid pro quo’ merely means ‘ this for that’ and it’s a staple of all negotiations,” McCarthy said.
“It’s legitimate to, at any time, for a president to ask a foreign power to assist a legitimate Justice Department investigation…I think you could make the argument that it would have been legitimate to ask about any corruption involved in U.S.-Ukrainian relations,” he noted.
However, he said that it was a “fair point” for the Democrats to counter that the president “only seemed to be interested in corruption that touched on Biden,” just like Biden “only seemed to be interested in firing prosecutors who were investigating his son.”
“If Ukraine is impeachment material, I don’t know what president is not going to be under an impeachment investigation,” McCarthy concluded.
“To inflate this into an impeachable offense is not only absurd under the circumstances, it will make this country ungovernable,” he told Hemmer.
Fox News’ Gregg Re, Kellianne Jones, Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel, Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.