If you only listened to the House Democrats' case against President Donald Trump, one could walk away thinking that freezing foreign aid to Ukraine was an unprecedented move by the administration.
But, as Townhall's Cortney O'Brien points out, the White House's top lawyer, Pat Cipollone, revealed to the nation and members of the Senate a major piece of evidence that Democrats have conveniently omitted from their presentations.
"They didn't tell you that burden sharing was discussed in the call," Cipollone said Saturday, referring to Trump's call with the president of Ukraine.
White House Counsel Cipollone notes how Dems skipped the mention of burden sharing. #ImpeachmentTrial https://t.co/j5bTuQhHEc— Townhall.com (@Townhall.com)1579967773.0
As Cipollone pointed out, in his July 25 call with Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky, Trump told the newly elected leader that Germany and other European nations do "almost nothing" for them. According to transcripts of the conversation, Zelensky said Trump was "absolutely right."
House Democrats "didn't have time in 24 hours to tell you this [in their impeachment remarks]," Cipollone said.
A "legitimate" point
Cipollone's argument even resonated with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin who, in his analysis of the Trump defense team's remarks, acknowledged the president's lawyers raised a "legitimate" point by underscoring the president's longstanding concerns with foreign aid and burden-sharing among nations.
"They did make one good point about [the transcript], I thought, which was the president did about burden-sharing in that phone call, and the House managers didn't focus on that or even mention it. And fair is fair," he said, the Washington Examiner reported.
"He has talked about it before, and that was, I thought, a very legitimate good point made by the defense," he added.
Toobin also acknowledged that Trump is "winning" impeachment case against him.
The best defense is a strong offense
True to the adage, the president's counsel showed on Saturday that the best defense is a strong offense. In his remarks before the Senate, Deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura went on the offensive and highlighted "six key facts" that exonerate Trump of wrongdoing.
Among them, according to Purpura, is that the transcript of Trump's call with Zelensky "shows that the president did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything," In fact, "the paused security assistance funds aren't even mentioned on the call," Purpura said.
"The Democrats' blind eye to impeach the president does not and cannot change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats' own witnesses, that President Trump has been a better friend and supporter of Ukraine than his predecessor," he explained. "Those are the facts."