10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable

The validity of allegations that President Donald Trump pressured a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political rival is not — or should not be — in doubt. In July, Trump delayed a military aid package for Ukraine that had been approved by Congress. A few days later, he called President Volodymyr Zelensky. After Zelensky asked about the delivery of Javelin missiles to Ukraine, Trump asked for “a favor” —  an investigation of alleged corruption by Joe Biden, the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and his son, Hunter Biden. Documents released in conjunction with testimony by Special Envoy Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerCNN obtains audio of 2019 Giuliani call linked to Ukraine meddling allegations GOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports MORE reveal that U.S. officials prepared a draft text of an announcement of the investigation for Zelensky’s signature. In a recent exchange with reporters on the White House lawn, President TrumpDonald TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party MORE publicly called on Ukraine — and China — to investigate the Bidens.

Three Republican Senators — Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (Maine), and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate eyeing possible weekend finish for T infrastructure bill Kaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate Overnight Defense: Senate panel votes to scrap Iraq war authorizations | Police officer fatally stabbed outside Pentagon ID'd | Biden admin approves first Taiwan arms sale MORE (Ohio) — have criticized Trump’s actions, but have stopped short of suggesting remedies. The rest of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate represent a collective profile of (dis)courage. Here is a countdown of statements by ten top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable:

10) Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection MORE (R-Calif.): CNN asked 80 Republican officeholders if they had any concerns about Trump’s call for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens. Only a handful responded at all. A spokesman for Congressman Nunes declared: “Until CNN retracts the dozens of false stories it ran insinuating that Trump and his associates are Russian agents, it should refrain from reporting on Trump’s interactions with any foreign country.”


9) Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSeven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill Overnight Defense: Biden administration expands Afghan refugee program | Culture war comes for female draft registration | US launches third Somalia strike in recent weeks Grassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa MORE (R-Iowa): At a town hall in Templeton, Amy Haskins, who identified herself as an independent, asked Ernst whether “it’s OK for our president to extort other countries.” Ernst replied: “We can’t determine that yet ... So not jumping to any conclusions … I can say ‘yay, nay, whatever.’ The president is going to say what the president is going to do.” This week, Ernst refused to answer a reporter’s question about whether it is wrong for a president to ask a foreign leader to meddle in American politics.

8) Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine The job of shielding journalists is not finished MORE (R-S.C.): Twenty years ago, while serving as a House of Representatives manager in the impeachment of Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonAzar regrets Trump didn't get vaccinated on national TV New spotlight on secretaries of state as electoral battlegrounds Bipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle MORE, Graham said: “He doesn’t have to say ‘Go lie for me.’ He doesn’t have to say ‘Let’s obstruct justice’ for it to be a crime. You judge people on their conduct, not magic phrases.” This time around, Graham declared a quid pro quo would be “if President Trump said ‘Uh, hey pal, you know, you need to like, go after the Bidens or I ain’t gonna give you any money. Be really, like, thuggish about it.” According to Graham, the transcript of Trump’s telephone call with Zelensky “speaks for itself — no quid pro quo … a nothing burger.”

7) Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyLiz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party Press: Inmates have taken over the asylum 58 percent say Jan. 6 House committee is biased: poll MORE (R-Calif.): During a 60 Minutes interview, Scott Pelley asked Congressman McCarthy what he thought of Trump’s reply to Zelensky’s request for missiles — “I would like you to do us a favor though.” McCarthy claimed, “You just added another word [i.e. though]. “No,” said Pelley. “It’s in the transcript.”

6) Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate rejects GOP effort to add Trump border wall to bipartisan infrastructure deal Johnson suggests FBI knew more about Jan. 6 planning than has been revealed: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE (R-Wis.): In February, 2016, Sen. Johnson joined Sen. Portman, Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.), and several Democratic senators, in a letter calling on Ukraine’s president “to press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s Office and Judiciary,” and, in essence, supporting Vice President BidenJoe BidenBiden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland 10 dead after overloaded van crashes in south Texas Majority of New York state Assembly support beginning process to impeach Cuomo: AP MORE’s demand for the ouster of Ukrainian Prosecutor Viktor Shokin. In 2019, Sen. Johnson asked Trump about reports of a quid pro quo with Zelensky. More recently, Johnson insists that, “unlike the narrative that President Trump wants to dig up dirt on his 2020 opponent,” he is only interested in “an accounting of what happened in 2016.”

5) Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenators highlight national security threats from China during rare public hearing Rubio presses DNI to investigate alleged unmasking of Tucker Carlson Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal MORE (R-Fla.): Asked by reporters about Trump’s request that China open a probe investigating corruption by the Bidens, Rubio opined that it was not “a real request.”


4) Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel Jordan58 percent say Jan. 6 House committee is biased: poll Kinzinger supports Jan. 6 panel subpoenas for Republicans, including McCarthy Jordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 MORE (R-Ohio): Following the closed-door testimony of Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Jordan maintained that “not one thing he has said comports with any of the Democrats’ impeachment narrative.  Not one thing.” Jordan endorsed Rubio’s characterization of Trump’s request to China.

3) Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress | Private sector adds 330K jobs in July, well short of expectations Senate panel advances first three spending bills McConnell lays out GOP demands for government-funding deal MORE (R-Ky.): Acknowledging that if the House voted to impeach the president, he would “have no choice but to take it up,” McConnell added, “How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.” While his colleagues tell reporters and constituents that as potential jurors they must await the evidence that will be presented to them, McConnell’s campaign released an ad, which says: “The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader … Your conservative Senate Majority is the ONLY thing stopping Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLiz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party 19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines Ohio special election: A good day for Democrats MORE from impeaching President Trump.”

2) Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBrooks pushes for immunity from Swalwell suit over January 6 Giuliani rips Ukraine investigation: 'I committed no crime' Capitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions MORE (Trump’s personal lawyer): “Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Giuliani. “No, actually I didn’t,” Giuliani replied. Moments later, Cuomo asked again. “Of course I did,” said Giuliani. In late September, Giuliani, who to date has uncovered no new information about Joe Biden or Hunter Biden, opined that he was the real whistleblower: “When this is over, I will be the hero.” Indictments last week of two of Giuliani’s Ukraine caper cronies ensure that we soon will hear more about — if not from — President Trump’s fixer.

1) President Trump: “I’m only interested in corruption,” he told reporters in late September. “I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about Biden’s politics … We’re not investigating campaigns. I don’t care about his campaign.”

When, one wonders, will Republicans acknowledge, along with Mitt Romney, that “when the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s [or Ukraine’s] investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated.”

When will Republicans stop denying the undeniable?

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of Rude Republic:  Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.