In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper discusses some popular GOP talking points regarding the impeachment inquiry, and what they leave out or get wrong.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan made these claims during the Dec. 4 House Judiciary Committee public hearing on whether to draft and approve articles of impeachment.
Jordan said, “We have the transcript. There was no quid pro quo in the transcript.” The Ohio Republican may not view the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that way, but Trump did say the relationship between the two countries hadn’t been “reciprocal” and asks for “a favor.” Trump asks Zelensky to investigate CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee after its computer network was hacked by Russian intelligence officers during the 2016 election, and then asks him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry also have testified that there was an elaborate effort by some within the administration to get Ukraine to publicly announce those investigations in exchange for three things: a phone call between Zelensky and Trump, a White House visit for Zelensky, and the release of nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine.
Jordan said the Ukrainians “didn’t know the aid was held up at the time of the phone call.” But that’s not an established fact, and there’s evidence they did know about the freeze on the aid on the same day as the call. Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said in her Nov. 20 testimony that a contact from the Ukraine Embassy called her staff on July 25, “asking what was going on with Ukraine security assistance.”
Jordan further claimed: “The Ukrainians never started, never promised to start and never announced an investigation in the time that the aid was paused.” We don’t know if Ukraine ever started an investigation, though it’s true the country never “announced” one. But it’s false to say Ukraine “never promised” an investigation. Zelensky, in fact, made that promise in the July 25 phone call.
The Ukrainian president told Trump that “the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate,” and “[h]e or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.” That company was Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company for which Hunter Biden had served on the board.
For more on these claims, see our story “Republicans Cherry-Pick Facts on Impeachment.” And for all of our fact-checking videos done in collaboration with CNN’s “State of the Union,” see this page on our website.