Former GOP senator to Republicans: Trump subjected Ukraine leader to a 'shakedown'

Former GOP Sen. Slade Gorton (Wash.) is urging Republicans to stop dismissing the House's impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE's dealings with Ukraine as a "partisan witch hunt." 

In an op-ed for The New York Times, the former senator calls on Republicans to allow a legitimate investigation into the president unfold, saying that "history demands that we all wrestle with the facts at hand."

"Fifty years from now, history will not accept the position that impeachment was a referendum on the House speaker, Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Texas AFL-CIO endorses Cuellar's primary challenger MORE. It must be a verdict reached on the facts," wrote Gorton, who served as a U.S. senator from 1981 to 1987 and 1989 to 2001. 

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Gorton goes on to argue that "there are multiple actions on this president’s part that warrant a vote of impeachment in the House." He asserts that his opinion is backed up by former and current administration officials who have testified before Congress about Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine into opening politically advantageous investigations. 

"It seems clear that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was subjected to a shakedown — pressured to become a foreign participant in President Trump’s re-election campaign, a violation of the law," Gorton also wrote, pointing to testimony from officials such as Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandHouse impeachment manager: 'Evidence against the president is overwhelming' Democrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' MORE, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanPresident Trump's intelligence community security blanket Whistleblower's lawyer questions GOP senator's whistleblower protection caucus membership White House limits number of officials allowed to listen to Trump calls with foreign leaders: report MORE, a White House expert on Ukraine. 

Gorton later stressed that an impeachment inquiry and Senate trial "are designed to find out" if the officials' testimony is to be believed. 

"So, to my fellow Republicans who have been willing only to attack the process, I say: engage in the process," he wrote, noting that they should "use the process to surface those exculpatory facts." 

The essay from the former senator comes in the midst of the House's impeachment inquiry into President Trump's interactions with Ukraine.  

Trump and Republican congressmen have repeatedly decried the impeachment inquiry as an effort to reverse the results of the 2016 election. 

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' House Democrats release second batch of Parnas materials Democratic lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism MORE (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has called the impeachment procedures a "comedy" that Democrats have been pursuing since Trump's election.