STEVE CASTOR: They’ll try to convince you that the Trump administration, the same administration Democrats regularly accuse of being incompetent, orchestrated an international conspiracy at the highest levels. None of this adds up. It may be a great screenplay, but it’s not what the evidence shows. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry ignores all of the evidence that does not advance their story. The Democrats’ impeachment narrative revolves all ambiguous facts and conflicting evidence in a way that is most unflattering to the President. The Democrats’ impeachment narrative ignores public statements from senior Ukrainian officials that contradict the narrative. As you listen to the Democrat presentation later today, I urge you to keep these points in mind. What evidence that has been gathered in the impeachment inquiry paints a different picture? I won’t provide a detailed presentation now, but allow me to highlight a few points.
First, the summary of the July 25th phone call reflects no conditionality or pressure. President Zelensky never vocalized any discomfort or pressure on the call. Contrary to Democrat allegations, President Trump was not asking for a favor that would help his re-election. He was asking for assistance in helping our country move forward from the divisiveness of the Russia collusion investigation. Second, since President Trump has declassified and publicly released the call summary 75 days ago, President Zelensky has said publicly and repeatedly that he felt no pressure. He said it on September 25th at the United Nations General Assembly. He said it in an interview published on October 6th, he said it again on October 10th, and most recently, he said it just last week in Time magazine. Other senior Ukrainian officials have also said there was no linkage between a meeting, security assistance, and an investigation. If President Trump was truly orchestrating a pressure campaign to force Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden, one would think that Ukraine would have felt some pressure. Third, at the time of the July 25th call, senior officials in Kyiv did not know that the security assistance was paused. They did not learn it was paused until the pause was reported publicly in the U.S. media on August 28th. As Ambassador Volker testified, because the highest levels of the Ukrainian government did not know about the pause, there was no leverage implied. Finally, President Zelensky met with President Trump in New York on September 25th at the United Nations. Shortly thereafter, or shortly before that, the security assistance flowed to Ukraine. Both happened without Ukraine ever taking actions or investigations.