White House senior aide Kellyanne Conway ignored a growing mountain of evidence proving Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
Kellyanne Conway defended Donald Trump on Monday by claiming impeachment is acceptable only when evidence against a president is clear.
As an example, she cited the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.
"We remove presidents from office in extraordinary circumstances where the evidence is clear and is right in front of us, as there was, frankly, with President Clinton," she said.
Conway claimed specifically that Clinton had perjured himself, saying, "We all saw it [happen]."
President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in December 1998, but acquitted by the Senate early the following year.
Conway's comments on Monday ignored a wealth of evidence presented by House investigators in Trump's impeachment inquiry.
At the center of that inquiry are Trump's efforts to force Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals, in exchange for a coveted White House visit and critical military aid. Multiple officials have testified that such a quid pro quo arrangement existed, and that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was extensively involved in the controversy.
Trump has repeatedly and forcefully claimed that there was "no quid pro quo" and that he did nothing wrong, referring critics to "read the transcript" of his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he explicitly asked Zelensky for a "favor" — to investigate his political rivals.
In addition to the quid pro quo evidence unearthed in witness testimony during public and closed-door House impeachment hearings, Trump himself requested from the White House lawn back in October that both Ukraine and China investigate Biden, who is leading in national polls to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president.
Accepting or soliciting election help from a foreign national is illegal, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also stated later in October — from inside the White House press briefing room, no less — that the Trump administration had engaged in a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government, telling critics to, "get over it."
During the course of the impeachment hearings Trump administration officials testified specifically that the Trump administration withheld military aid as a way to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rival and a long-debunked conspiracy involving the Democratic National Committee.
In a letter last month summing up the House Intelligence Committee's probe into the matter, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of committee, said investigators "uncovered a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest."
Schiff added that "the evidence conclusively shows, President Trump conditioned official acts — a White House meeting desperately desired by the new Ukrainian president and critical U.S. military assistance — on Ukraine announcing sham, politically-motivated investigations that would help President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign."
In addition to defending Trump, Conway on Monday spoke briefly about Giuliani's recent trip to Ukraine to meet with foreign officials, several of whom are tangled up in the current impeachment inquiry.
In an interview on "Fox & Friends," Conway defended Giuliani — Trump's personal lawyer who has no official role in the U.S. government — giving a discordant answer about special counsel Robert Mueller's report, which was made public this past spring.
"Well, Rudy is one of the president's personal attorneys, and I think that was particularly true during the Mueller investigation since that was an executive branch Department of Justice investigation — that is long gone,” Conway said. "I would say that Mayor Giuliani got the upper hand there, not director Mueller."
She then stated, "I don't know what Rudy's doing in the Ukraine."
Seconds later, she claimed that Giuliani was "rooting out corruption in the Ukraine."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.