Trump has repeatedly pushed Ukraine to announce investigations into his political opponents.
Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) claimed on Friday that Donald Trump never asked Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
A partial transcript from Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which he has repeatedly pressed the public to read, shows he did.
Lesko, a staunch Trump supporter, was participating in a press conference with other House Republicans to address the House Judiciary Committee's vote to approve two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of power and another for obstruction of Congress — earlier that morning.
The congresswoman claimed Democrats had zero evidence to support their impeachment proceedings, ignoring testimony from multiple administration officials who said Trump withheld critical aid to Ukraine and dangled the possibility of a White House meeting to secure investigations into Biden and the Democratic National Committee.
"I have never in my entire life seen such an unfair, rigged railroad job against the president of the United States," she said. "... They have no proof, no evidence, no crime, but they went ahead anyway."
CNN reporter Manu Raju then pressed Lesko, asking whether she thought it was okay for an American president to ask a foreign nation to investigate a political opponent.
Lesko responded by claiming Trump had never done such a thing.
"He didn’t. He didn’t do that," she said.
Trump has repeatedly demanded that people "Read the transcript," a reference to a partial memorandum of his July 25 call with Zelenskiy. Supporters have even started wearing shirts adorned with the phrase at Trump rallies.
Lesko herself tweeted the phrase on Thursday, as the House Judiciary Committee debated amendments to the two articles of impeachment against Trump.
"READ THE TRANSCRIPT. It's only 5 pages long," she wrote.
But the partial transcript that Trump released in September instead proves Lesko wrong.
At one point in his memorialized conversation with Zelenskiy, Trump says, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great."
He continues, "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."
Biden at the time was seen as the foremost frontrunner in the Democratic primary race, and Trump's possible opponent in the general election.
It is illegal to solicit or accept election help from a foreign national, according to both the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department.
Elsewhere in the call, Trump asks Zelenskiy for a "favor," to investigate a long-debunked conspiracy about the DNC servers and supposed Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election.
"Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it, if that's possible," he says.
Experts have said the idea that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. election is a conspiracy peddled by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, and only serves to benefit Russia. The unanimous consensus of the U.S. intelligence community is that Russia interfered in that election to benefit Trump.
In October, while standing on the lawn outside the White House, Trump also asked China to investigate Biden.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.