Republicans unveil defense strategy ahead of public impeachment hearings

Republicans on the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE outlined their strategy for defending him in a new memo focused on "four key pieces of evidence" they say are "fatal" to Democrats' allegations about Trump's dealings with Ukraine. 


The Republicans argue in the memo that the summary of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure," according to memo, which was obtained by The Hill but first reported by Axios. 

According to the GOP House members, evidence supporting Trump also includes: "President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call; The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call; and President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals."

They add that the "evidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense."

"The evidence shows that President Trump had a deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism toward Ukraine, and a vocal position that Europe should contribute more to regional defense," the GOP lawmakers state.

"The summary of President Trump's conversation with President Zelensky reflects no conditionality or pressure, and
President Zelensky himself said he felt no pressure," they continue. "President Trump never raised US. security assistance to President Zelensky, and ultimately the assistance was released and a presidential meeting occurred without Ukraine investigating the President's political rivals."

House Democrats launched an impeachment probe into Trump following revelations that he asked Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE and his son after U.S. aid to Kyiv was withheld.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and said there was no quid pro quo, and Republicans have sought to defend him. 

Democrats, meanwhile, have held up claims from witnesses who testified behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry who have said they believed aid to be conditioned on such an investigation or that there was a quid pro quo. 

Three witnesses are scheduled to testify publicly this week. 

Olivia Beavers contributed.

— This report was updated at 9:56 a.m.