“Not a Crime”: Republican Senators Try Out Their Impeachment Defenses

“People do things. Things happen.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in senators for President Trump's impeachment trial.Senate Television/AP

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

President Donald Trump’s senatorial allies-slash-jurors hit the Sunday news shows to try out their best defenses of him ahead of his impeachment trial, which begins on Tuesday.

On ABC’s This Week, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) disputed the fact that the president has encouraged foreign  interference in US elections. “Do you think it was proper to solicit foreign interference in our election?” George Stephanopoulos asked Shelby. “I don’t know if that’s actually been proven. That’s in dispute,” Shelby said. 

When Stephanopoulos pointed out that Trump has publicly called for foreign election interference, Shelby argued that those statements were only “political.” “They make them all the time…People make them. People do things. Things happen.”

Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), denied the findings of a watchdog report from the Government Accountability Office, which found that the Trump administration had violated the law by withholding aid to Ukraine. The president’s actions were “certainly not a crime,” he asserted on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Over on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) argued that testimony from Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of presidential lawyer Rudy Guiliani, should not be permitted in the Senate because it is “second-hand information.” “This is a distraction,” Perdue said.

“How is it second hand? He was in Ukraine,” Chuck Todd said. “He was doing the bidding.”

Perdue then seemed to imply that Parnas, in fact, had no reliable evidence and was only acting to “have his sentence reduced.”

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate