GOP Senator Brushes Off Trump Soliciting Foreign Interference: ‘Things Happen’

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 5: Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., leaves the Senate Republicans lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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January 19, 2020 4:44 p.m.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) doesn’t find President Trump’s attempt to dig up false allegations against political rivals to be a big deal.

In response to the Senate summons, Trump’s legal team argued Saturday evening that said that the first impeachment article, abuse of power, “alleges no crime at all, let alone ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ as required by the Constitution,”

During an interview on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning, Shelby was asked whether he thinks “it was proper for the President to solicit foreign interference” in the 2020 election.

“Well, I don’t know that has been actually proven,” Shelby said. “You know, that’s all in dispute, of what happened, whether the Russians were involved in it, whether Ukrainians involved in it, who was involved in it, and to what extent. But I’ve never seen anything that — where Trump actually was involved in.”

When Stephanopoulos pressed him again on whether it was OK to solicit foreign interference in light of the Ukraine pressure campaign and Trump urging the Chinese government to get involved as well, Shelby said “those are just statements, political” and “they make them all the time.”

Shelby then said that he “didn’t say it was OK,” but that “people do things” and “things happen.”

As soon as Stephanopoulos pointed out that “well, this is the president of the United States,” Shelby shot back that “well, still the president of the United States is human.”

“And he’s going to make mistakes of judgment and everything else,” Shelby said. “They have historically, both parties, both from the beginning of our republic.”

When Stephanopoulos asked if he views Trump’s foreign interference as a “mistake, but no necessarily impeachable,” Shelby sided with Alan Dershowitz who said he doesn’t believe “it rises to the standard of an impeachable offense.”

“Well, I’d say I don’t believe — like Professor Dershowitz at this point — that it rises to the standard of an impeachable offense,” Shelby said. “But I still think we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself.”

Watch Shelby’s remarks below:

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