Top Armed Services Republican: Trump's Ukraine call 'inappropriate' not 'impeachable

Top Armed Services Republican: Trump's Ukraine call 'inappropriate' not 'impeachable
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Democrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Bipartisan Armed Services leaders tear into Pentagon over use of .8B for border wall MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said Sunday that President Trump’s call with Ukraine's president, which is at the center of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, was “inappropriate” but not “impeachable.”

ABC “This Week” host Martha Raddatz pressed Thornberry on the Republican strategy to combat the substance of the allegations against Trump as the impeachment inquiry enters the public phase this week with key witness testimony. 

“I believe it's inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. Now that leads to a question if there's a political rival with a family member who is involved in questionable activity, what do you do?” Thornberry said.

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“Just let them alone. But set that aside. I believe it was inappropriate. I do not believe it was impeachable,” he added. 

Thornberry also repeated the Republican attack heard throughout the inquiry, lamenting the process as a tainted “one-sided, partisan approach.” 

The impeachment inquiry centers on a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky to look into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE, a leading 2020 candidate, and Biden’s son. 

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House Democrats allege Trump withheld foreign aid in return for the investigation into the Bidens. 

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and most Republicans have continued to defend the president’s actions.