Jake Tapper Confronts GOP Rep. on New Ukraine Testimony: ‘Does That Not Alarm You?’


CNN’s Jake Tapper spoke with Republican Congressman Mike Turner this morning on State of the Union and questioned him on new testimony from several officials in the impeachment inquiry.

Taper opened by asking Turner about the new testimony from State Department aide David Holmes regarding a call between Gordon Sondland and President Donald Trump regarding Ukraine that he overheard.

Turner started by railing against the process being overseen by Adam Schiff before hitting the media coverage of the text exchange between Sondland and Bill Taylor and saying it was similarly overblown as “scandalous.”

“You have an issue with there being private depositions, even though, of course, that’s how Republicans ran the committee when they were in charge as well,” Tapper said.

Turner disputed that and told Tapper, with respect to the closed-door testimony, “You should have a problem with it, Jake.”

“I’d like all the information to be in the public and I’m happy that they’re releasing the transcripts and I’m happy that they’re having the hearings in the open, in the public now. Absolutely 100 percent,” Tapper continued. “That said, I’m asking you to address the substance of what David Holmes said he heard, which was President Trump telling Gordon Sondland, ‘He’s going to do the information.’ That must alarm you.”

Turner reiterated he can’t discuss Holmes’ full testimony yet, going back to what Taylor had publicly testified to last week:

“You’ve personally watched Donald Trump at a microphone say he thought that Ukraine should undertake an investigation of Burisma and of the Bidens’ connections to that. So you actually know as much as he does. It’s not so scandalous about the fact that he claims to have overheard this conversation, which happened the day after the conversation with president Zelensky. That conversation, which you have the readout of, the actual words of the president and he’s confirmed, is the same thing. So he offers nothing new. He offers the same information, still no quid pro quo. Still no smoking gun. Still the same information, but yet according to the Democrats, because they’re leaking information to you, it’s a bombshell.”

Tapper brought up the testimony from former NSC official Tim Morrison, who said Sondland told him “that what he communicated was that he believed the — what could help them move the aid was if the prosecutor general would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation.”

Tapper again asked, “Does that not alarm you?”

“Well, of course, all of that is alarming,” Turner said. “And as I’ve said from the beginning, thing is not okay. The President of the United States shouldn’t even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent. So, no, it’s not okay. But if you look at sondland’s testimony, which is also public, he says that the direction he received from the President of the United States was no quid pro quo and that he said he wants nothing, he wants him to do the right thing.”

At one point, Tapper said, “Just saying that something isn’t a quid pro quo when you’re demanding someone says or does something doesn’t vanish, doesn’t make the quid pro quo inherit vanish… Do you really think there were no Ukrainians who were under the impression they needed to publicly announce these investigations in order to get the White House meeting or the aid, the $400 million they desperately needed. You think no Ukrainians were under that impression?”

“The only two I can speak to, ’cause I’m obviously not psychic as to what Ukrainians think,” Turner said, “the president of Ukraine and the foreign minister… both stated they were not under that impression, that they did not believe it was tied, and they didn’t believe there was pressure. I can only tell you what is the public accounts of what Ukrainian statements have been.”

You can watch above, via CNN.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac