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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) GaetzGaetz: Trump 'should pardon everyone' including himself to quash liberal 'bloodlust' Florida passes 850k coronavirus cases Florida GOP Rep. Mike Waltz tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.) on Sunday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden 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 BidenBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  New DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad 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 GiulianiKrebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Trump campaign loses appeal over Pennsylvania race Krebs: I'm 'most upset' I didn't get to say goodbye to my team MORE, acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBiden faces challenges, opportunities in Middle East O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Israeli military instructed to prepare for Trump strike on Iran: report 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 PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) announced last week that the House will move forward and draft articles of impeachment.