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Gaetz defends Ukraine call: Trump acted on 'sincere' concerns of corruption

Gaetz defends Ukraine call: Trump acted on 'sincere' concerns of corruption
© Aaron Schwartz

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzKatie Hill says 'it would take a lot' to convince her to run again for House GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants Kinzinger: Conspiracy theory FBI planned Jan. 6 example of 'legacy of Trump and Trumpism' MORE (R-Fla.) on Sunday said President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE was acting on "sincere" concerns of corruption during his July 25 phone call with Ukraine.

He also said on ABC's "This Week" that having White House officials testify in the impeachment inquiry would benefit Trump but could set a dangerous precedent.

The Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he believed Trump acted on his long-held skepticism about foreign aid and worries about corruption in Ukraine as well as about the connection between former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenExpanding child tax credit could lift 4 million children out of poverty: analysis Maria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back MORE's son and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

"I think the president was acting on a sincere, longly held view and skepticism of foreign aid," he said. "I think he was acting on concern about Ukraine being the third-most corrupt country in the world."

Gaetz added that he thought having Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe wild card that might save Democrats in the midterms Court sets Smartmatic dismissal date on Giuliani, Bartiromo, others Ukraine sanctions two businessmen tied to Giuliani MORE, acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE testify in the impeachment inquiry would help the president’s defense but expressed concerns about the precedent the testimony would set.  

“I think it would inure to the president's advantage to have people testify who could exculpate him, but they — we want to preserve an executive branch where there are out-of-the-box strategy sessions where people come up with crazy ideas and reject those ideas and hone them,” he said. 

The House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into the president after a whistleblower complained Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden and his son days after military aid was withheld from the country.

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Republicans have maintained the president’s request reflected Trump’s goals of combating corruption and preventing U.S. funds from going to corrupt countries.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) announced last week that the House will move forward and draft articles of impeachment.