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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Dec. 6, 2023

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Herrera Beutler on whistleblower report: Quid pro quo ‘remains unproven’

Republican congresswoman says report does not prove Trump abused power for political gain

By , Columbian staff writer

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said she believes the whistleblower report released to Congress on Thursday does not prove that President Donald Trump abused his power to advance his own personal political agenda.

“After reviewing it, it remains unproven that the president engaged in a quid pro quo. These allegations remain serious, but for the sake of this nation, we should all follow a process that does not put conclusions before facts,” Herrera Beutler said in a written statement. She added that she appreciated the whistleblower report’s timely release.

The report, which caused an uproar on Capitol Hill as talks of impeachment continue to pick up momentum among lawmakers, is thought to have come from a CIA officer who had been stationed at the White House, according to The New York Times.

“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the nine-page report opens.

“I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute “‘a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order,'” the whistleblower wrote. “I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.”

Herrera Beutler said she believes the report did not prove wrongdoing on the part of the president. Her statement repeated the same sentiment she expressed on Wednesday, when a memorandum on Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was made public.

The rough transcript, reconstructed from notes and recollections of national security staff, showed the president repeatedly pressuring Zelenskiy to work with potential investigations connected to Joseph Biden, the former vice president and Democratic front-runner for the 2020 presidential election.

The call came a few days after the president unexpectedly froze nearly $400 million in aid to the Ukraine. In the phone call, Trump said the U.S. had “done a lot for Ukraine,” and said “I would like you to do us a favor” before asking Zelenskiy to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr in opening a corruption investigation into Biden. He did not mention the stalled aid package.

That, too, did not constitute a “quid pro quo,” Herrera Beutler said.

“The phone call by itself does not present the facts to prove what has been alleged — and any subsequent congressional action related to this must be led by facts,” Herrera Beutler said.

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Columbian staff writer