During a Saturday morning segment on CNN’s New Day Weekend, anchor Victor Blackwell and former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor André Bauer sparred over issues pertaining to President Donald Trump‘s contacts with Ukraine, Mediaite reports.
Blackwell asked his guest about the Republican Party’s impeachment strategy, pointing out that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney seemingly admitted during a recent press conference that Trump had a quid pro quo agreement with the Ukrainian government.
The host suggested that it seems like Republicans will soon change strategy, and stop denying the quid pro quo.
Bauer responded by arguing that the president’s demand for an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was made in a “jovial” manner.
“Jovial manner? How did you get jovial out of a written partial transcript?” Blackwell asked, referring to the transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During the call, Trump allegedly demanded that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, threatening to hold back military aid unless the request is fulfilled. According to an anonymous intelligence community whistleblower, Trump pressured the Ukrainian government in order to damage Biden’s presidential bid.
Bauer argued on CNN that the Bidens are guilty of corruption, which Blackwell pushed back against.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that they did something wrong or that it’s illegal,” Blackwell said of the former vice president and his family.
The host argued that “most of the Western world” wanted the Ukrainian prosecutor removed from his position, including Christine Lagarde of the IMF and American allies in the European Union.
Blackwell told his guest that he is “trying to change and shift what actually was happening in 2016.”
However, the former South Carolina lieutenant governor persisted, and began talking about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s alleged wrongdoings.
“We’re done with this conversation,” Blackwell said, ending the interview.
“I thought this was going to be a talk about strategy from the Republicans who are now acknowledging quid pro quo,” the host concluded, scolding his guest for spreading “debunked conspiracies.”
Reports indeed suggest that Republicans in the United States Senate are growing increasingly frustrated with Trump’s strategy.
During a private meeting, a group of GOP senators reportedly debated the issue, with some of them concluding that the president should admit to having a quid pro quo agreement with Ukraine.
The senators reportedly believe Trump should argue that his conduct is neither criminal nor impeachable, because there was no “corrupt intent” when he pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
The president has long insisted that he has done nothing wrong, as have his closest allies.