Sunday shows preview: Republicans on defense as new reports emerge on impeachment

Congressional Republicans once again find themselves on the defensive heading in to the weekend following the publication of text messages of U.S. officials indicating their discomfort with President Trump‘s conversations with Ukraine’s president regarding former Vice President Joe Biden.

Calls for Trump’s impeachment only intensified among House Democrats this week following a barrage of reports about Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as well as Trump’s own public statements in recent days calling for Ukraine as well as China to open investigations into Biden.

Texts from multiple State Department officials released late Thursday indicated that Trump’s conversation with Zelensky was predicated on the condition of talking about Biden even as many Republicans insisted that Zelensky was not pressured to discuss Biden or open an investigation into Biden, a 2020 candidate for president.

Trump publicly defended his calls for Biden to be investigated by multiple foreign governments including China, a U.S. adversary, on Friday, telling reporters that “when I speak to a foreign leader, I speak in an appropriate manner,” and claiming that his motives were apolitical.

Several Republican lawmakers are set to appear on the Sunday news shows amid the growing scandal, though no White House representatives were booked on any networks. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who has so far supported Trump publicly, will appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” while Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was set to appear on ABC’s “This Week” opposite Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a top ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), another opponent of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, is set to appear on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” while Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who has called the whistleblower complaint “concerning” but has refused so far to support the inquiry will appear on “Fox News Sunday.”

Here’s the full lineup for the Sunday shows, according to the Associated Press:

NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

ABC’s “This Week”: Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Reps. Jim Hines (D-Conn.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)

“Fox News Sunday”: Reps. Val Demings (D-Fla.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah)

CNN’s “State of the Union”: GOP presidential candidates former Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

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