Democrats working on the impeachment trial sought Saturday to rebut a six-point defense that Trump’s defense team presented on the Senate floor. Here’s an encapsulation of the six points and the Democratic rebuttal.
●Trump — A rough transcript of a July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that Trump did not condition either security assistance or a White House meeting on anything. The paused security assistance funds aren’t even mentioned on the call.
Democrats — Trump would like to ignore the overwhelming evidence that he engaged in a scheme over many months to hold up aid to Ukraine and the White House meeting as leverage to get Ukraine to conduct investigations to help him politically. The July 25 call was an important part — but only part — of that scheme.
●Trump — Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything.
Democrats — Ukraine’s security and democracy depends on support from the United States. Zelensky said privately that he did not want to be involved in U.S. domestic politics but ultimately relented and scheduled an announcement of the two investigations on CNN.
●Trump — Zelensky and high-ranking Ukrainian officials did not even know the security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July call.
Democrats — According to multiple witnesses, Ukrainian officials knew Trump placed a hold on security assistance soon after it was ordered in July. Regardless, no one disputes that everyone found out and Ukraine soon relented to Trump’s demands before the president got caught.
●Trump — Not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else.
Democrats — The president’s attorneys do not dispute that the White House meeting was conditioned on the investigations. Multiple witnesses also testified that there was a quid pro quo for security assistance and that Trump confirmed that directly.
●Trump — The security assistance flowed on Sept. 11, and a presidential meeting took place on Sept. 25 without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.
Democrats — The president released the security assistance only after he got caught, and he still has not given Zelensky the White House meeting. (The Sept. 25 meeting took place in New York during the U.N. General Assembly.)
●Trump — The Democrats’ blind drive to impeach the president does not and cannot change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses, that Trump has been a better friend to and stronger supporter of Ukraine than his predecessor.
Democrats — If that is true, then it proves that there was no legitimate reason for the hold. The only difference between 2017 and 2018, when there were no issues with releasing the aid, and 2019, when it was held, is that Biden announced he was running for president.