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 ScaliseScalise after Democrat asks for examples of Sanders supporters 'being bad': 'I can think of an example' Bottom line Pelosi's staff huddles with aides in both parties on 'surprise' medical billing MORE (R-La.) did not directly answer questions on Sunday about whether it was acceptable for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE to ask Ukraine to look into his political opponents.

Asked by ABC’s “This Week” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosRahm Emanuel: Sanders is 'stoppable' National security adviser: 'I haven't seen any intelligence' that Russia is trying to help Trump Katie Hill: 'Biphobia' led to resignation from Congress 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 BidenSanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Klobuchar releases medical report that says she's in 'very good health' Candidates face pressure to exit presidential race 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.