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

Administration officials on Sunday came to President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE's defense amid reports that he pressed Ukraine's leader to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE's son Hunter Biden.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTreasury staffer quits after being implicated in college admissions scandal: report China doesn't need World Bank's loans, just as Trump says Trump admin hits Iranian shipping network, airline with new sanctions 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 TapperCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Defense secretary fires Navy chief over SEAL war crimes case Democrats look to next steps in impeachment 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 PompeoPompeo: 'No mistake' Trump warned Russian diplomat about election tampering Trump admin hits Iranian shipping network, airline with new sanctions The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - An unusual day: Impeachment plus a trade deal 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 GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Horowitz offers troubling picture of FBI's Trump campaign probe Horowitz: 'Very concerned' about FBI leaks to Giuliani 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 SchiffDemocrats seek leverage for trial Pence's office denies Schiff request to declassify call with Ukrainian leader Comey, Schiff to be interviewed by Fox's Chris Wallace 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 MurphyDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism NCAA president wants a federal athlete compensation bill 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.