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 PaulOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Top Foreign Relations senators introduce Turkey sanctions bill 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 John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE leveraged assistance to Ukraine to pressure Kiev to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview Yang cautions Democrats: Impeachment might not be 'successful' Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment 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 GiulianiGiuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Overnight Energy: Trump taps deputy energy secretary to replace Perry | Praises pick Dan Brouillette as 'total professional' | Perry denies quid pro quo over Ukraine Ex-Watergate prosecutor says evidence in impeachment inquiry 'clearly' points to Trump MORE and more as part of the investigation. However, the White House has ordered several officials to rebuff the demands.