After President Donald Trump withheld congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine, urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's allies insisted that the move was to root out corruption, rather than an example of corruption itself.
As abuse of power and obstruction of Congress articles head to the House floor for an impeachment vote, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to employ the familiar excuse to CNN's Jake Tapper.
It didn't go well.
.@jaketapper: "So you're saying that you think that President Trump was actually doing this because he was combatin… https://t.co/MPNNBdKDhE— State of the Union (@State of the Union) 1576423626.0
Paul parroted many of the Republican claims of corruption in Ukraine, emphasizing Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company on which Biden's son was a board member. Paul insisted that Trump was just rooting out corruption.
But Tapper wasn't letting Paul get away with the talking point, instead listing the numerous men who worked for Trump who've since been convicted.
"This is a President whose former personal attorney Michael Cohen, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security advisor Mike Flynn, former campaign advisor Roger Stone, former deputy campaign chair Rick Gates, former associate George Papadopoulos. All of them have been convicted of federal crimes."
Tapper didn't forget the lawsuits either.
"In addition, last year Trump University settled a $25 million fraud lawsuit. Last month, President Trump admitted misusing his own charitable foundation's money, was ordered to pay $2 million. You really think Trump is concerned about rooting out corruption?"
"I think most of what you've listed and most of the people indicted or convicted were alleged to have been part of some sort of huge Russian conspiracy, but I think what we found out from the inspector general report is that it was all based on a false premise."
Tapper pointed out that it was Trump's own Justice Department who indicted and convicted the men.
People weren't convinced by Paul's answers.
He drank the t-rump wine? What is he hiding, maybe t-rump knows? Another one, on his knees. What's libertarian abou… https://t.co/DEEDRxRsgF— ProInfrastructure (@ProInfrastructure) 1576442929.0
Spineless. https://t.co/AvDqXt8rSI— The Creator (@The Creator) 1576432379.0
Here's some backwards logic that the GOP and Rand Paul continue to employ: 1⃣ Trump has to commit crimes to fight… https://t.co/821se3VbsK— Eva Putzova 🏜️ (@Eva Putzova 🏜️) 1576432640.0
Another example of Rs continuing to reject reality https://t.co/NOtYcHCGe8— Dee Voss (@Dee Voss) 1576426635.0
It is inconceivable that @RandPaul believes what he is saying here. It is simply party over country with these comp… https://t.co/EAWwP6cpsc— Marty Loughlin (@Marty Loughlin) 1576426969.0
@jaketapper did a good job trying to get an evasive @RandPaul to answer the question (shame on you, Rand) The noti… https://t.co/KfIE0swL6e— Marshall Power Locke (@Marshall Power Locke) 1576430149.0
Tapper also pointed out during the interview that if the House votes to impeach Trump, Senator Paul will have to take an oath of impartiality before acting with the other 99 U.S. Senators as jurors in the President's impeachment trial.
However, it looks like Rand Paul already made up his mind.