Sen. Rand Paul: Dems 'Impeaching Trump for Exactly the Same Thing That Joe Biden Did'

By Susan Jones | November 11, 2019 | 9:00am EST
Sen. Rand Paul sits on the Foreign Relations Committee (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Sen. Rand Paul sits on the Foreign Relations Committee (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( - "The American people want fairness" in an impeachment proceeding, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said it's not fair to impeach President Trump for doing "the same thing that Joe Biden did" -- threatening aid to Ukraine if some kind of corruption was not investigated:

And it seems like everybody, both parties, have been threatening aid if some kind of investigation either doesn't happen or is ended.

And so I think really what's going to happen is people are going to say, oh they are impeaching President Trump for exactly the same thing that Joe Biden did. He threatened the aid if they didn't fire someone. And supposedly, the president did if they didn't investigate someone.

So it sounds exactly like what Joe Biden did. And if they weren't going to impeach Joe Biden, they look like hypocrites in a way for only going after President Trump and not having a word to say about what Joe Biden did.

Chuck Todd, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," said he wanted to "set aside what Vice President Biden did." He asked Paul if it's "appropriate" for President Trump to withhold U.S. military aid until the Ukrainians agreed to publicly announce corruption investigations involving the 2016 U.S. election and the Bidens:

"I think there is a real question whether you think the president should specifically go after one person, but there is a real question whether Joe Biden should have gone after one prosecutor. It's exactly the same scenario," Paul responded.

"There is a real question about that. But if it were me, I wouldn't give them the aid, because we don't have the money. We have to borrow the money from China to send it to Ukraine, so I'm against the aid. And I think it's a mistake to do the aid, so I wouldn't have played any games. But I think the American people think it's unfair to treat Trump under one standard and Joe Biden under a different standard."

Chuck Todd complained that the Biden quid pro quo -- fire this prosecutor or else you won't get a loan guarantee -- is "always used as a deflection."

"Does that mean you think it's now OK for the president to act this way?" Todd asked. "It doesn't matter what we think of Joe Biden at this point. If it's wrong for this to be done then it's wrong -- no?"

I'll approach it from a different way," Paul said. "Fairness is one angle, and I don't think people are going to think this is fair. But I think the second angle is this, foreign aid, by law, can only go out to countries that are not corrupt. So, if you think a country is acting in a corrupt way, the president can always withhold aid until the corruption is fixed.

"So, you're going to have to get into the mind and his advisers and say, well, he didn't really believe that the Bidens were corrupt. I think he absolutely does. I think you give him a lie detector test and say do you think the Bidens were corrupt and do you think you're investigating corruption and that corruption is in the law, that you can't give aid to a country that has corruption?

So, there's no way, this ends up being a policy debate and a partisan debate and has nothing to do with legality or illegality or impeachment, it's purely a partisan way of trying to overturn the election."

Sen. Paul noted that even President Obama withheld congressionally approved aid to Ukraine: "You know, he was supposed to give lethal aid, Congress said give them $300 million in lethal aid, and he sent them blankets.

So, the presidents since the beginning of time have resisted Congress, and there's been this sort of back and forth jockeying over what is sent. But also presidents have withheld aid for corruption. So, the thing is, I think it's a mistake to say, oh, he withheld aid until he got what he wanted. Well, if it's corruption, and he believes there to be corruption, he has every right to withhold aid.

So, I think it'`s a big mistake for anybody to argue quid pro quo, he didn't have quid pro quo. And I know that`s what the administration is arguing. I wouldn`t make that argument, I would make the argument that every politician in Washington, other than me, virtually, is trying to manipulate Ukraine to their purposes. Menendez tried it, Murphy tried it, Biden tried it, Trump has tried it. They're all doing it. They're all trying to manipulate Ukraine to get some kind of investigation -- either to end an investigation or start an investigation."

Todd asked if Americans "should be concerned that the president of the United States wanted a foreign government to help investigate a political rival?"

Paul turned tables: "I think an equal number of people are upset that Hillary Clinton hired a British spy to hire Russians, to get dirt called the Steele Dossier. So, here's Hillary Clinton in the middle of a campaign, hiring a foreign spy agency, or a foreign spy--"

Todd cut off Paul, telling him, "You did it again. You went back and said, OK, here's behavior that's bad over here. There's behavior that's bad over there. All that does is condition us for more bad behavior. When do we put a stop to it?"

Paul said he was simply making the point that "they be treated equally. And I think the American public is going to say, if you didn't do anything to Hillary Clinton for hiring a foreign spy, why is it all of a sudden wrong for President Trump to investigate somebody?

"Well, what I would say it that people want them to be treated fairly. I'm not saying two wrongs make a right, I'm not even saying I would have done it that way. All I'm saying is, is that you're going to impeach President Trump and you're going to give Hillary Clinton, you know, let her skate. So, then I think people see that as unfair, so it becomes partisan. That's why no Republicans voted for impeachment."


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