Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw and CNN host Chris Cuomo got into a back-and-forth on the question of whether President Donald Trump committed actual “wrongdoing” by asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country.
Appearing on Monday’s edition of “Cuomo Prime Time,” Crenshaw took the debate right to Cuomo, pressing the CNN host on why something can’t be in the “public interest” and also good for the president. The debate eventually forced Cuomo to appeal to campaign finance laws, an assertion Crenshaw immediately dismissed as a “stretch.”
Cuomo introduced the topic of the ongoing House impeachment inquiry by trying to get Crenshaw, as a Republican, to agree with the premise that what the president did was “wrong” but he should not be “removed.”
“I’m not sure I agree with the premise that he’s done something wrong,” Crenshaw said, refusing to take the bait. “I understand that there’s a theory about wrongdoing, but the facts don’t back that up.”
“You don’t think he asked a foreign power to help him with a political opponent?” Cuomo pressed.
Crenshaw made the case for a legitimate “public interest” because “our former vice president had a clear conflict of interest with his son being being a board member of a company that was being prosecuted by somebody that the vice president was trying to get fired.”
The CNN host insisted that Trump “went after Biden because he thought it would be good for him.”
“But you just made an assumption there,” Crenshaw calmly shot back. “You just read his mind, right?”
“That’s a little bit of a game people play in politics,” said Cuomo. “You don’t need to play that kind of game because you have reason on your side here which is ‘I think he had a legitimate public interest.’ Maybe, but it doesn’t have to be his only interest.”
Crenshaw asked Cuomo what the “right answer” would be if something is in the public interest but also “good for the president.”
At which point Cuomo appeared to appeal to campaign finance laws: “Under the law — you can look at the FEC guidelines about this — if you have multiple points of interest in something and one of them helps you in the election, you’ve got trouble.” (RELATED: Chris Wallace Puts Eric Swalwell On The Spot On Impeachment: ‘How Can You Be Considered An Impartial Fact-Finder?’)
“Now you’re trying to make this a campaign finance law thing, and that’s a stretch,” said the Texas lawmaker. “That’s an enormous – it’s really difficult to make that kind of political leap.”
“Those case do stink and I think the enforcement of them is even worse but this is a conversation the country will have to have and men and women like you of goodwill are gonna have to vote on it,” Cuomo concluded as the segment ended.