Scalise defends Trump Ukraine call: 'I'm glad President Trump continues to look into [Russian] interference'

Scalise defends Trump Ukraine call: 'I'm glad President Trump continues to look into [Russian] interference'
© Greg Nash

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment Republicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death MORE (R-La.) defended President Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he is "glad" the president is looking into Russian interference. 

“There’s still a lot of information about how the Russians interfered in our election when Barrack Obama was president, and I’m glad President Trump continues to look into that interference so it doesn't happen again,” Scalise said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

Scalise repeated Trump's unproven allegations against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview Yang cautions Democrats: Impeachment might not be 'successful' Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment MORE, but wouldn’t directly address whether he felt Trump acted appropriately based on the transcript of a call between Trump and Zelensky. 

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“Do you think it was appropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader for help investigating his chief political rival in 2020?” NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter White House officials stand by Syria withdrawal, sanctions delay amid bipartisan pushback Sunday shows — Officials rush to Trump's defense on Syria, sanctions MORE asked Scalise Sunday on “Meet the Press.” 

“Again, go look at what he talked about in that call conversation,” Scalise responded. “He was talking about the 2016 interference that happened in our election.”

“Congressman you know the truth behind that, why are you putting it out there,” Todd asked.

Todd pressed Scalise on whether he felt Trump acted appropriately in asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, and accused Scalise of avoiding the question. 

“Don’t try to infer anything,” Scalise said, again without directly answering the question. 

“You seem uncomfortable defending the president's actions,” Todd said. 

“You’ve made a lot of statements and accusations president trump was looking into the 2016 collusion interference that Russia had when Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEven with likely Trump impeachment, Democrats face uphill climb to win presidency Clinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings MORE was president we all know that has happened under Barack Obama's watch,” Scalise responded. 

The Ukraine call and whistleblower complaint alleging the White House tried to hide the transcript on a highly classified server are part of the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump. 

Almost all Democrats have come out in support of the impeachment inquiry, but most Republicans have been reluctant, with many defending the president’s actions.