Georgia senator admits GOP will acquit Trump no matter what

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Sen. David Perdue indicated that Senate Republicans will ignore any incriminating evidence the House unearths about Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) admitted this week that Republican senators have no interest in evaluating evidence of Donald Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine, currently being examined in the House impeachment inquiry, but are set on giving Trump's behavior their stamp of approval.

"We're going to get through this impeachment thing, it will come to the Senate, we'll vote it down," Perdue told Politico on Thursday. He added that once the Senate lets Trump off the hook, it would "get on to the people's business next year."

The House of Representatives is currently holding impeachment hearings about Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, in exchange for a White House meeting and critical military aid.

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Multiple administration officials have now testified that Trump withheld almost $400 million in military aid earlier this year in order to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and a long-debunked conspiracy about the Democratic National Committee servers.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, it is illegal to solicit or accept campaign assistance from a foreign government. Bribery is one of the impeachable offenses specifically listed in the U.S. Constitution, in addition to other "high crimes and misdemeanors."

If the House impeaches Trump, the Senate will hold a trial during which Perdue and other senators will be jurors. But Perdue appears to have already made up his mind to acquit Trump, no matter what evidence is brought to light.

Perdue's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether there was any sort of evidence or testimony that might change the senator's mind.

Matt Lieberman, a Democrat running for retiring Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson's soon-to-be-vacant seat, weighed in on Perdue's comments in an email Thursday.

"Perdue's comment isn't surprising because he is a leading member of the cult of personality that Donald Trump demands," Lieberman said. "I am sure that whoever the Republican is that I end up running against will be just as sweet a lap dog for the President."

He added that "the voters of Georgia want someone who's working to represent them, not working to represent Donald Trump."

Perdue is not the only Republican senator to pre-judge Trump's innocence before the House impeachment hearings have concluded.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in October that he believed the Trump administration was too "incoherent" to have conducted an effective pressure campaign against Ukraine. Graham noted that month, however, that "if you could show me that, you know, Trump was actually engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing."

On Wednesday, Trump's hand-picked ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told House investigators that there was absolutely a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine, and that he and others were acting on Trump's direct orders when they told Ukrainian officials a White House visit would only happen if the country announced an investigation into Biden.

Sondland added that while he was not privy to conversations about the aid freeze, he came to believe the support was also conditioned on such an investigation.

Perdue said Thursday that once the Senate absolves Trump of alleged wrongdoing, the Senate will return to normal business. In 2019, the Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked nearly 400 House-passed bills on topic ranging from gun safety to prescription drugs to election security.

In October, McConnell vowed to "stop impeachment" in a campaign fundraising ad, despite the fact that there had been no public impeachment hearings at the time.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.