Sullivan says Trump call to Ukraine president is not grounds for impeachment

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, speaks Sept. 8, 2017, at Joint Base-Elmendorf-Richardson. Sullivan was in Haines on Monday. (Public domain photo by David Bedard/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has not condemned President Donald Trump for his July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine. But Sullivan isn’t among the Republican Congress members who are offering full-throated defenses, either.

At a luncheon in Haines on Monday, the Alaska senator offered his most extensive public remarks yet on the controversial call.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry has dominated the news coming out of Washington since the White House revealed that Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, speaks at the American Legion Lynn Canal Post 12 in Haines, Oct. 7, 2019. (Photo by Claire Stremple/KHNS)

House Democratic leaders say Trump’s request for a foreign power to investigate a political rival was inappropriate. But Sullivan doesn’t see it that way.

“I’ve read all of this, including the transcript. It certainly does not rise to the level of impeachment,” he said.

Sullivan said there is no quid pro quo in the transcript. He urged Alaskans to read the transcripts and decide for themselves. He also criticized the national news media, arguing they can’t objectively interpret the transcript, whistleblower account or inspector general’s report.

Sullivan said investigations into the 2016 election and corruption in Ukraine are appropriate. But he stopped short of endorsing the way the president conducted the call.

“Would I use the exact language that the president uses on some of these calls? You know, probably not. But are these impeachable offenses? No. Not from my view,” he said.

Sullivan said the impeachment question threatens to slow down Congress’ progress on items like his bipartisan Save Our Seas Act and a domestic violence bill he authored with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

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