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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) GaetzFlorida passes 850k coronavirus cases Florida GOP Rep. Mike Waltz tests positive for COVID-19 Gaetz says he has coronavirus antibodies MORE (R-Fla.) on Sunday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race 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 BidenMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Biden says staff has spoken with Fauci: 'He's been very, very helpful' 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 GiulianiJake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election Pioneering New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies at 93 Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism 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's State Department picks are a diplomatic slam dunk Kissinger tells Biden to go easy on China Saudi-Israeli diplomacy progresses amid looming Middle East challenges 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 PelosiSpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.) announced last week that the House will move forward and draft articles of impeachment.