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House GOP lawmaker: Trump conversation with Ukraine leader 'not OK'

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE's conversation with Ukraine's leader, during which Trump urged him to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again MORE, was "not OK."

Turner openly criticized Trump as he began his questioning of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire at a House Intelligence Committee hearing concerning a whistleblower complaint about Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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"I've read the complaint and I've read the transcript of the conversation with the president and the president of the Ukraine. Concerning that conversation, I want to say to the president: This is not OK. That conversation is not OK. And I think it's disappointing to the American public when they read the transcript," Turner said.

Shortly before the start of Thursday's hearing, the Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint detailing Trump's interactions with Ukraine's president.
 
The complainant said "multiple White House officials with direct knowledge" described details of the phone call with Zelensky, including that "the president used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president’s 2020 reelection bid."

The complaint also said that White House officials were "deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call."

Trump has acknowledged that he raised investigating whether Biden was involved in pressuring a Ukrainian prosecutor to drop an investigation of an energy company of which Biden's son Hunter was a board member. Biden has denied completely the allegations pushed by Trump and Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHow to stop Trump's secret pardons Trump tells aides not to pay Giuliani's legal fees: report Trump eyes lawyer who spoke at rally to help in impeachment trial: report MORE, the president's personal lawyer.

Trump has denied that he withheld military aid to Ukraine as leverage in pressing for an investigation of the Bidens.

A partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House on Wednesday shows that Trump brought up Biden and said that he would have Giuliani and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrActing attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report Trump condemns riots, says he will focus on transition in taped remarks MORE call the Ukrainian leader and "get to the bottom of it."

"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me," Trump said, according to the memo.
 
GOP lawmakers have largely stood by Trump and dismissed Democrats' calls for impeachment in the wake of the whistleblower complaint.

But a handful have expressed concern with the allegations, including Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse poised to override Trump veto for first time Lawmakers call for including creation of Latino, women's history museums in year-end spending deal House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit MORE (R-Texas), another member of the Intelligence Committee.

"There is a lot in the whistleblower complaint that is concerning. We need to fully investigate all of the allegations addressed in the letter, and the first step is to talk to the whistleblower," Hurd, a former CIA officer who is not seeking reelection, tweeted at the start of Thursday's hearing.
 
Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time McConnell: Trump impeachment trial to start after Biden sworn in McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that “Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say there’s no there there when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there."