GOP senator on asking foreign countries to investigate Americans: 'It depends on the circumstances'

GOP senator on asking foreign countries to investigate Americans: 'It depends on the circumstances'
© Greg Nash

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE could have been "over the line" to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE and his son, but added that it “depends on the circumstances.”

“Here are two possible scenarios: number one, the president asked for an investigation of a political rival, number two, the president asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival,” Kennedy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The latter would be in the national interest, the former would be in the president’s parochial interest, which would be over the line,” he added.

Kennedy added that the impeachment inquiry into Trump would likely “come down to the president’s intent, his motive, did he have a culpable state of mind.”

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Pressed by host Margaret Brennan on whether actions he considered “over the line” would also be impeachable, Kennedy responded “yeah, probably.” But he added, “That’s like asking me if I didn’t go fishing Saturday, how many fish will I have caught,” and blasted the inquiry as a “fair and impartial firing squad.”

Kennedy also said that the credibility of White House Ukraine adviser Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified behind closed doors, also “depends on the circumstances.”

“I can comment on the gentleman’s testimony if you let me hear his live testimony, let me hear his cross-examination, let me judge his credibility, let me judge his body language and also allowing the other party to call their own witnesses,” he told Brennan.

Kennedy added that while he had read some of the transcripts released by the House, “any lawyer in my judgment … knows that a sterile transcript is no substitute for live witnesses.”