GOP Sen. Shelby on Trump soliciting foreign interference: "Things happen"

Source: Axios | January 19, 2020 | Ursula Perano

Pressed on whether it was appropriate for President Trump to solicit foreign interference from Ukraine and China, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said on ABC’s “This Week” that the president is a “human” and that “things happen.”

The exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I asked if it was okay to solicit. We’ve seen the president in public ask the Ukrainians to get involved, ask the Chinese to get involved.

SHELBY: Well, those were just statements, political. They make them all the time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So it’s okay?

SHELBY: I didn’t say it was okay, I said people make them. People do things. Things happen.

Why it matters: There has been a range of responses from Republicans on the question of whether Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine was appropriate, with some arguing that it was improper but not impeachable — and others disputing the claim that he was soliciting foreign interference.

– Shelby’s response reflects the discomfort some Republicans have with admitting they had issues with Trump’s behavior, when the president himself has insisted he did nothing wrong.

– Shelby, who has been sworn in as an “impartial juror” in the Senate impeachment trial, said he doesn’t believe Trump’s conduct “rises to the standard of an impeachable offense,” but added: “I still think we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself.”

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