White House officials, Giuliani come to Trump's defense on Ukraine allegations

Administration officials on Sunday came to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE's defense amid reports that he pressed Ukraine's leader to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE's son Hunter Biden.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump hypes China trade deal as new doubts emerge Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire MORE during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" denied that the topic had come up during Trump’s calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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"I wasn't on the call, but I have no reason to believe the president pressured ... a foreign leader. I think this is a lot being made up about one person's speculation," Mnuchin told Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperBiden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' White House officials stand by Syria withdrawal, sanctions delay amid bipartisan pushback Kasich to Congress: 'Look in the mirror at how you want to be remembered' MORE. "I think things are being implied that just don't exist."

Pressed by Tapper on why the White House will not release a transcript of the call in question, Mnuchin said that "conversations with foreign leaders are supposed to be confidential."

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump: Let Assad, Russia or China protect the Kurds Reporter presses Pompeo on whether he met with Giuliani in Warsaw Pompeo: 'I wish the NBA would acknowledge' China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims MORE was similarly opposed to releasing a transcript, saying it "wouldn’t be appropriate." 

"Those are private conversations between world leaders, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so except in the most extreme circumstances," Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The secretary of State also defended a potential investigation of Joe Biden’s family, saying, "I do think if Vice President Biden behaved inappropriately, if he was protecting his son and intervened with the Ukrainian leadership in a way that was corrupt, I do think we need to get to the bottom of that."

President Trump, however, implied in remarks to reporters Sunday morning that his call with Zelensky had in fact included discussions of Biden and his son. As he left for an event in Texas, Trump said the subject of the call "was largely the fact that we don't want our people like Vice President Biden and his son [contributing] to the corruption already in the Ukraine."

"I'm not looking to hurt Biden ... but he said a very bad thing. He said a very foolish thing," Trump added.

Meanwhile, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report Ex-Trump aide on Russia testifies for 10 hours as part of impeachment inquiry MORE, who made headlines last week when he said that he had communicated with Ukraine on Trump’s behalf after initially denying it, sparred with “Fox News Sunday” guest host John Roberts on whether the focus should be on the contacts themselves.

"I have all the contacts between Democrats and the Ukraine," Giuliani said. "When the rest of this comes out and we look at China and the $1.5 billion that the Biden family took out of China while that guy was negotiating for us, this will be a lot bigger than Spiro Agnew."

When Roberts asked whether it was appropriate for him to solicit information on Joe Biden from foreign governments, Giuliani responded, “That’s the way you characterize it.”

“That’s the way it appears to line up,” Roberts said, with Giuliani countering, “That’s the way the pro-Biden media lines it up.”

On the Democratic side, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffEx-Trump aide on Russia testifies for 10 hours as part of impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe GOP rep says he was kicked out of Trump aide's deposition MORE (D-Calif.), one of the most reticent House leaders on impeachment, said it could be “the only remedy” if Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden.

"[I] want the country to understand this is the last resort," Schiff said on CNN’s "State of the Union" on Sunday. "The president is pushing us down this road."

Schiff said House Democrats will push for the release of both the transcript and the whistleblower complaint that brought the allegations to light.

"Clearly, the president is afraid for the public to see either one of those things," he said.

And Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyBacklash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics Congress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds Administration to give 'top secret' briefing on Syria amid pushback MORE (D-Conn.) said Zelensky told him he had no intention of interfering in the 2020 presidential election in the wake of the allegations.

"Later in the meeting, I raised with him these overtures from the Trump campaign. He gave me a very strong answer. He said they have no intention of getting involved in an American election, that they knew what damage it would do to them," Murphy said on NBC’s "Meet the Press," referring to a recent trip to Kiev.