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Rand Paul on Trump Ukraine call: Aid to other countries 'should be contingent upon behavior'

Rand Paul on Trump Ukraine call: Aid to other countries 'should be contingent upon behavior'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - World mourns the death of Prince Philip The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday morning that U.S. aid to other countries "should be contingent upon behavior” as questions over whether President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE leveraged assistance to Ukraine to pressure Kiev to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration MORE and his son drives an impeachment investigation in the House.

“I think it’s not incorrect or wrong,” Paul said on "CBS This Morning," referring to Trump’s request. “What I would say: that aid that we give to other countries should be contingent upon behavior and whether or not we should have Ukraine trying to eradicate corruption, yes.” 

“I think everybody has different ways that they would approach things,” he added when asked if he would have made the same request of Kiev if he were president. 

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A July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump lobbied Zelensky to investigate Biden, a chief political rival, and his son over unfounded corruption allegations is at the heart of the House’s impeachment efforts. 

Democrats have pointed to a decision days before the call to block millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Ukraine as evidence that Trump may have abused his power in leveraging the aid in an attempt to pressure Zelensky to agree to investigate the Bidens.

Trump has defended his request and the decision to block the aid, saying both were made to tackle corruption in Ukraine.

Zelensky said Thursday that he learned after the call that Trump had ordered the U.S. government to block the aid and that no mention of it came up during their conversation.

“We didn’t speak about this” during the July call, Zelenskiy said. “There was no blackmail.”

Democratic committee leaders have issued several subpoenas demanding records and testimony from the White House, Vice President Pence, the Office of Management and Budget, the Pentagon, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGaetz hires legal counsel amid DOJ probe Georgia lieutenant governor: Giuliani election claims helped lead to new voting law Rep. Lee Zeldin announces bid for New York governor MORE and more as part of the investigation. However, the White House has ordered several officials to rebuff the demands.