Sen. John N. Kennedy on Sunday said the impeachment inquiry against President Trump is “as rigged as a carnival ring toss.”
“And we both know that,” the Louisiana Republican told NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd. “Have they allowed the president to call his own witnesses? No. Have they allowed him to have his lawyer present? No. Have they allowed him to offer rebuttal evidence? No. Have they allowed him to cross-examine the witnesses that were hand-picked by Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi? No.”
Mr. Kennedy’s breakdown echoed the primary position of Mr. Trump and his GOP allies — that House Democrats have been running a one-sided, “sham” inquiry into the president.
At the same time, the White House has been unwilling to allow key witnesses to testify before House lawmakers.
Democrats note they’ve invited Mr. Trump to participate — they’d like to get a sense of his plans by Friday — and that the House is conducting something akin to a grand jury proceeding, while the Senate will hold a trial on removal.
The inquiry pivots on whether Mr. Trump held up military aid for Ukraine with the hope of extracting political investigations into a chief 2020 rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, worked on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while Mr. Biden was in office.
Mr. Trump also asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into a missing Democratic National Committee server that was hacked by Russia during the 2016 presidential campaigns.
Mr. Trump subscribes to an unsubstantiated theory that the server ended up in Ukraine.
Mr. Kennedy on Sunday walked back an earlier assertion that Ukraine may have been responsible for hacking the DNC server, saying he realized he was wrong and meant to say Ukraine meddled more generally in the 2016 election.
Pressed on whether Mr. Kennedy was doing Russia’s dirty work in shifting blame for 2016 interference from Moscow onto Kyiv, Mr. Kennedy said both meddled.
He cited reports that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pushed to elevate Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump, who he viewed an unfit for the presidency.
“Russia was very aggressive and they are much more sophisticated,” Mr. Kennedy said. “But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton.”
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