Scalise doesn't directly say whether it's OK for Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate political opponents

Scalise doesn't directly say whether it's OK for Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate political opponents
© Greg Nash

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseChris Wallace: Trump testifying 'would be akin to Prince Andrew testifying about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein' Fox's Neil Cavuto rips into Trump over attacks on Chris Wallace's impeachment coverage This week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings MORE (R-La.) did not directly answer questions on Sunday about whether it was acceptable for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE to ask Ukraine to look into his political opponents.

Asked by ABC’s “This Week” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosLawmakers spar over upcoming Sondland testimony GOP rep on impeachment: 'I think the evidence is crumbling' Senate Republicans can acquit Trump — but they cannot defend his conduct MORE whether he agrees that it is wrong for the president to solicit investigations into political opponents, Scalise said “that’s not what was happening on the phone call.”

“When the president said ‘will you do me a favor’...that wasn’t about Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE,” Scalise said. 

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“The transcript clearly shows the president was asking [the] Ukrainian president to investigate his political opponents,” Stephanopoulos said, referring to a rough transcript of  Trump’s call with Ukraine's leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, released by the White House.

“Do you think that was appropriate?” the ABC host then asked.

“That wasn’t, first of all, about political opponents,” Scalise said.  “The law, George, requires President Trump or any president, when they’re sending foreign aid...to another country, to first ensure that that country’s rooting out corruption. He and Zelensky were talking about that on the phone call.”

“Do you think it’s appropriate for the president to ask the Ukrainians or the Chinese, which he’s also done in public, to investigate his domestic political opponents?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“He was not talking about the 2020 election or political opponents,” Scalise said. “He was talking about corruption relating to the 2016 election.”

The July 25 phone call is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. On the call, Trump asked Zelensky to "look into" Biden, a  Democratic presidential candidate and his son, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, according to the White House transcript. 

Trump has denied wrongdoing.

He has also publicly said China should look into the Bidens.