Johnson: Whistleblower 'exposed things that didn't need to be exposed'

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonHillicon Valley: Twitter to start verifying 2020 primary candidates | FTC reportedly weighs injunction over Facebook apps | Bill would give DHS cyber unit subpoena powers | FCC moves to designate 988 as suicide-prevention hotline Senate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal Senate bill would give DHS cyber agency subpoena powers MORE (R-Wis.) said the whistleblower who spurred the House impeachment inquiry "exposed things that didn't need to be exposed." 

Johnson said the allegations the whistleblower laid out in the formal complaint set a precedent that will weaken presidential power. 

"You know, it's going to be very difficult for future presidents to have a candid conversation with a world leader because now we’ve set the precedent of leaking transcripts. The weakening of executive privilege is not good," Johnson said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

"If the whistleblower's goal is to improve President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE's relationship with Ukraine, he utterly failed," Johnson said.

Johnson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who traveled to Ukraine as part of a bipartisan team to deliver the aid, dismissed the allegation at the center of the impeachment inquiry that Trump withheld the aid as a way to pressure Ukrainian officials to launch investigations that would benefit him in the 2020 election. 

"When I was in Ukraine with Sen. [Chris] Murphy [D-Conn.], one of the things I was trying to make clear as we left that meeting — let's try to minimize this. Let's talk. This is a timing difference," Johnson said. 

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"This would've been far better off if we had just taken care of this behind the scenes," he added. 

Murphy, also speaking to "Meet the Press" on Sunday, said there was an "extortion campaign" but added that he was unaware it was happening when he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in September. 

"The president was trying to use the power of his office to influence the upcoming election," Murphy said. 

Republicans have long criticized the way House Democrats are conducting the impeachment inquiry. 

House Republicans have asked for the whistleblower to testify. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMcConnell, White House lawyer huddle on impeachment strategy House GOP lawmaker wants Senate to hold 'authentic' impeachment trial Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) has denied their request and is not allowing questions during the impeachment hearings that would lead witnesses to identify the whistleblower.