Trump Wanted Ukraine to “Play Ball” on His Personal Agenda — But Portman Doesn’t Think Trump Crossed a Line
COLUMBUS — Over the past 24 hours, Sen. Rob Portman has been doing damage control for Donald Trump’s growing Ukraine scandal, telling Spectrum News 1 that he doesn’t believe Trump crossed a line when he asked the Ukrainian president for a political favor and going on Fox News to parrot Trump’s spin.
“It’s shameful that Rob Portman, the co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, is actively involved in the Trump administration’s disinformation campaign about the Ukraine scandal,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Rob Portman is continuing to repeat lies about Donald Trump’s rationale for holding back support for Ukraine. The whistleblower complaint makes clear that Trump wanted the Ukrainian president to ‘play ball’ on his personal agenda before he would talk or meet with him. Once Trump finally talked with the Ukrainian president, the transcript recounts how Trump asked him for a political ‘favor.’ Portman keeps volunteering to cover up for Trump and spout his talking points — which begs the question, what does Rob know about the Ukraine scandal and when did he know it?”
“I called the president because we were getting to the point where the funds had to be released. And the president was very clear with me. He only raised one issue and that issue only and that was about the Europeans not doing enough.”
“I don’t see the quid pro quo that the Democrats are claiming. In fact, I actually believe that if Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and the Democrats had taken another 24 hours to make their decision and actually looked at the facts — which is the transcript itself — they might not have moved forward because there is no quid pro quo. Never did the president threaten the aid. And nor did he with me. In other words he never linked the aid to corruption in general or certainly not an investigation in particular, so he talked about the fact that you know he wanted the Europeans to do more and was concerned about sending taxpayer dollars to Ukraine when the Europeans weren’t doing what they should be doing.”
Reporter: “Has the president crossed a line at all with this situation?”
Portman: “I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that — the transcript is what I expected because it’s what he said it was going to be.”