Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) ripped his Democratic counterparts amid the first round of public impeachment hearings, calling their inquiry into President Trump “hypocritical.” 

Westerman defended Trump’s interactions with Ukraine as being motivated by concerns about corruption, as Democrats continue to investigate whether the president withheld military aid in exchange for a Ukraine investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 election interference.

“We use foreign aid because we are trying to move U.S. policies in foreign countries. We are trying to use our foreign policy to get outcomes that we want to see … There is corruption in Ukraine. I don’t fault Biden for trying to stomp out corruption,” Westerman told Hill.TV.

“But I do fault the Democrats for being hypocritical and blaming President Trump for something Joe Biden did in the open,” he added. “Trump was transparent — he released the transcript of the phone which is still the best record that we have on what actually happened.”

Trump last month released a July 25 transcript of his conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the president asks for help in pursuing investigations into the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee server as well as the Bidens. Trump has defended the call saying he did nothing inappropriate.

As Democrats ramp up their impeachment probe, Trump has also accused Biden of seeking to force out a top Ukrainian prosecutor in order to thwart an investigation into an energy company in which his son served as a board member. The former vice president has denied these allegations, saying the Obama administration sought his ouster because of concerns over corruption. 

Westerman spoke with Hill.TV shortly before former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine described being “shocked and devastated” when she saw that Trump had brought up her service in Ukraine on a July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

Trump lashed out at Yovanovitch during Friday’s hearing, claiming that she had performed poorly during her career as a U.S. ambassador.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and other Democrats have condemned Trump’s attack, saying it amounted to “witness intimidation.” 

—Tess Bonn 

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