Shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that representatives would begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took the podium to defend the President and the Republican party as a whole.
It could've gone better.
When CNN Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju asked McCarthy if it was okay for a President to solicit a foreign power to investigate his political rival, McCarthy's answer was...long.
I asked Kevin McCarthy if it's ever OK for a president to ask a foreign power to investigate a political rival, and… https://t.co/VIJGpgVlMN— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1575567615.0
Instead of "yes" or "no," McCarthy responded:
"Let's stick to the facts the President asked a country to participate in a case that happened in 2016. that one hundred percent legal that happens every day in America."
Raju then pointed out that the President is on record in his own transcript invoking former Vice President Joe Biden and his son to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while urging him to open an investigation.
McCarthy then said that the witnesses Democrats "started this all with" couldn't name an article of impeachment on which Trump should be tried. He neglected to mention that the early witnesses in the inquiry were fact witnesses, not legal scholars, and therefore could only speak to events that transpired, not to speculate on the law.
Three constitutional scholars in front of the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, however, named several articles on which Trump could be charged, including bribery and obstruction of justice.
McCarthy then invoked Alexander Hamilton, said it was a sad day in history, and left the podium.
At no point did he say that it wasn't okay for a President to solicit a foreign government to investigate his political rival.
That they’ve never been willing to answer this question straightforwardly tells you everything you need to know. https://t.co/n1rkis7tcO— George Conway (@George Conway) 1575573521.0
It’s a simple question that @mkraju asked. But Republicans still won’t answer it. Democrats will do our duty to th… https://t.co/WSZKSvdLdT— David Cicilline (@David Cicilline) 1575570875.0
If Republicans believed Trump was innocent they wouldn't dodge this question. If Republicans believed Trump was in… https://t.co/pPSVNs7sBO— Rep. Don Beyer (@Rep. Don Beyer) 1575580613.0
This should be an easy answer. Democrats, at least, will do our duty to the Constitution. #DefendOurDemocracy https://t.co/xkM8nTuwMF— Rep. Val Demings (@Rep. Val Demings) 1575569412.0
It's worth noting that McCarthy was caught on tape saying in 2016:
"There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump...Swear to God."
McCarthy claimed this was a joke, but his evasiveness to Raju's question said otherwise.
Yes Kevin, we’ve been thinking that way since we heard you say, “I think there’s two people Putin pays...” and Ryan… https://t.co/kuHI8x3lbI— Lynnaean (@Lynnaean) 1575572329.0
Ummm ... @GOPLeader .. are ya sure that's your story and you're gonna stick with it ??? House majority leader to… https://t.co/nqgYa7qVd5— Gary S Defiant (@Gary S Defiant) 1575571001.0
@mkraju Every journalist should ask @GOPLeader about the tape where he says Putin pays trump. What's up with that?— James Marchand (@James Marchand) 1575567754.0
Not a good look, Kevin.