Here's the latest in the revolving series of defenses coming from Trump's Republican enablers in Congress. Here's Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX13) on ABC's This Week telling host Martha Raddatz that Trump's extortion of Ukraine can't be impeachable because Trump says the same stuff in public that he said on the phone call.
THORNBERRY: Well, as you know -- maybe you know, Martha -- I believe that it is inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. Now that leads to a question, if there's a political rival with a family member who’s involved in questionable activity, what do you do? Just let them alone. But set that aside. I believe it was inappropriate. I do not believe it was impeachable. And process -- you know, you all always want to say substance, not process.
There's a reason we let murderers and robbers and rapists go free when their due process rights have been violated. We believe the integrity of the system, the integrity of the constitution, the integrity of the processes under our legal system, is more important than the outcome of one particular case.
So, I don't think you can sweep process under the rug, because it is part of an impeachment decision, which has a constitutional requirement: bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors, but also a political element about whether it's good for the country to pursue it under these circumstances.
RADDATZ: Why is what you have seen not a clear abuse of power? I know you've said it's inappropriate, his remarks, but not impeachable. Why is what you've seen thus far, and the transcript of that phone call, which we discussed, not a clear abuse of power or bribery as the constitution lays out?
THORNBERRY: Yeah, you're right, the constitution is very specific -- bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors, which basically means felonies. So, that's what you have to prove as a threshold question. The second question is, under the circumstances, do you believe that it's good for the country to proceed with impeachment.
I would suggest a couple of circumstances are relevant here, number one, there's not anything that the president said in that phone call that's different than he says in public all the time.
So, is there some sort of abuse of power that rises to that threshold that is different than the American people have been hearing for three years? I don't hear that. But secondly we do have an election coming up.
So, doing it at this time -- and make no mistake, the Democrats are rushing this through by Christmas so they don't interfere with their candidates being in Iowa and New Hampshire and so forth next year. Let the American -- put everything they've got out there, fine...
RADDATZ: Let me ask you quickly, sir.
THORNBERRY: ...let the American people decide this in less than a year.
It's been nothing short of astounding watching these people twist themselves into knots trying to defend the indefensible and it's only going to get worse once we start having public hearings this week.