Portman Carries Water For Trump On Growing Ukraine Scandal

Ten Questions for the Senate Ukraine Caucus Co-chair

COLUMBUS — As co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Sen. Rob Portman claims to be an advocate for Ukraine — so it’s strange he has been echoing Donald Trump’s talking points on the scandal, rather than calling for an investigation into how the president sought “to use U.S. leverage with the new leader of Ukraine for Trump’s political gain.”

“Instead of pushing for an inquiry into exactly what happened with Donald Trump asking Ukraine’s president for political favors, Rob Portman is doing the exact opposite — he’s been carrying Trump’s water and parroting his ever-changing talking points, in an attempt to distract from the president’s clearly corrupt behavior,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Just yesterday, on national television, Portman repeated the Trump smear against our allies that they have not been adequately supporting Ukraine. Surely, in his role with the Senate’s Ukraine Caucus, Portman knows that is an outright lie. Still, he said it only hours after Trump began saying it.

“The truth is, Portman’s role with the caucus and his recent statements covering for Trump raise a lot of questions about what he knew about this growing scandal and when he knew it.”

Here are 10 questions for Portman:

  1. When did you first become aware of Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president?

  2. Were you aware of it when you had your call with Trump on Sept. 11?

  3. Do you believe it was “totally appropriate” for Trump to ask the Ukrainian president for a political “favor,” while he was personally directing his administration to withhold congressionally appropriated funds from that country?

  4. Do you agree with Trump that Ukraine had “a very good prosecutor” that was “shut down”?

  5. Do you believe it’s appropriate for Trump to suggest to the Ukrainian president that he speak with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the attorney general about looking into Vice President Joe Biden and his family?

  6. What do you know about Giuliani’s efforts at “meddling in an investigation” in Ukraine and were you briefed by administration officials about it?

  7. Were you aware of Giuliani pushing to oust the American ambassador to Ukraine?

  8. Do you believe it would be appropriate for State Department officials to be arranging Giuliani’s contacts with Ukrainian officials?

  9. As Trump’s cover story about the rationale for withholding the Ukrainian funding has evolved, have you received guidance from the White House about what to say on this issue? Why did you falsely accuse America’s allies of not supporting Ukraine when the facts are that they clearly do?

  10. Why did you vote with the Trump administration when they relaxed sanctions against companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska?

Portman on Fox Business, Sept. 24 (2:05):

“Yeah you’re absolutely right, and the president is correct in that. And that was the reason that I was given as to why the funds were not being released. And I agree with that, that we needed to be doing more to pressure our European friends, and NATO in particular, to help Ukraine.”