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Trump thanks White House Russia expert after he defends Ukraine call

President Trump late Thursday thanked the outgoing top White House Russia expert who testified earlier that day that he didn’t think anything illegal happened during the president’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry. 

In response to a news producer’s tweet that quoted Morrison’s testimony, Trump wrote, “But the Crooked Democrats don’t want people to know this! Thank you to Tim Morrison for your honesty.”

 

Morrison during his Thursday hearing said in reference to the call “I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” according to a copy of his prepared remarks. 

Morrison’s testimony came on the same day that the House approved a resolution laying out the rules governing future steps in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. It passed by a vote of 232-196, largely along party lines.

Both Republicans and Democrats claimed victory after Morrison’s deposition

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said the testimony made it clear the impeachment inquiry had “huge holes.”

Democrats, however, said that the testimony supported accounts of other officials that Ukraine was issued a quid pro quo in order to receive financial aid. 

“If [Republicans are] suggesting he raised no red flags, then they’re lying. Because he did, multiple times,” a source familiar with the closed-door testimony said. “If their great breakthrough is that a former Republican House staffer is not saying, ‘I hate President Trump’ — give me a break.”

The House launched an impeachment inquiry following the revelation of the call, focusing on Trump pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Democrats are investigating, among other things, whether the Trump administration linked military aid to the Biden request. The president has insisted his call was “perfect” and that there was no quid pro quo, though prior witness testimony has conflicted with his claims.

The only possible criminal allegation that has come up in the probe is a possible campaign finance violation, but the Justice Department dismissed the possibility and declined to investigate further.

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