Marc Lotter, Trump 2020 Campaign Official, Discusses Impeachment Hearings
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Let's get reaction now from one of the president's supporters, Marc Lotter. He is director of strategic communications for the Trump 2020 campaign.
Mr. Lotter, hey, there. Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
MARC LOTTER: Thank you for having me.
KELLY: Before we dive into today's developments and your thought on them, may I ask about the possibility of the president injecting himself directly into the proceedings? You'll have seen he tweeted that he likes the idea of testifying, that he will strongly consider it. In your view, should he? Should he testify?
LOTTER: I'll leave that for the lawyers and the president to decide. Obviously, since I also work for the campaign, this is something that would be handled inside the White House. But I'll leave it to the president and his lawyers to make the best decision for that.
KELLY: We heard a lot of questions today from Republicans on the Intelligence Committee seeking to cast doubt on the testimony of the witnesses, the credibility of the witnesses - for example, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman - questions about his loyalty and judgment. Do you question his loyalty?
LOTTER: You need to honor the service of any person who has worn the uniform of the United States, served and been decorated for that service. But having said that, I also don't think that that shields you from scrutiny when it comes to matters of your opinion.
KELLY: Were you listening as the questions unfolded from the GOP counsel - the attorney asking questions on behalf of Republicans - asking Vindman about this offer to go be Ukraine's defense minister? What should we take away from that?
LOTTER: I think it's interesting that he was offered that position, apparently on multiple occasions.
KELLY: And turned it down on multiple occasions.
LOTTER: And turned it down.
KELLY: And says he found it comical.
LOTTER: But I think ultimately, what this comes down to is that we have confirmed this morning from two people who were on the call that the call is correct.
KELLY: The July 25 call.
LOTTER: We can still see that there was still no quid pro quo. And when it came to the concerns that were raised by the lieutenant colonel or those that were his opinions and his interpretation of things...
KELLY: You are correct that he confirmed that the readout of the call provided by the White House was substantially correct. He also said he was so alarmed by it that he reported it straight up the chain of command to his superiors, which prompts this next question because we heard Republicans questioning today Vindman's credibility. We heard them attacking the media, attacking the process, but never attacking the substance of the question at the heart of these proceedings, which is whether it is appropriate for the president to ask a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen who is his political opponent. In your view, is it? Is that appropriate?
LOTTER: I think you're leaving out one key element. We are not discussing a random political opponent. We are discussing the then-sitting vice president of the United States of America who both the witnesses this morning said they were concerned by the appearance of conflict of interest, the corruption that was involved with the company that Joe Biden's son worked for. So it is absolutely appropriate - I would say required - for a president to see if the then-vice president of the United States - if there was anything amiss or afoul or unethical that was happening between his son's service while he was also in office.
KELLY: You're talking about former Vice President Biden, who - I mean, this is not happening in a vacuum - who is running for president of the United States against President Trump in 2020. Is it appropriate for the president to ask a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen who was and remains his political opponent?
LOTTER: If running for office will somehow become a shield where no one running for office can ever be investigated for ethical questions or possible inappropriate activities because they're running for office, then no one will ever stop running for office.
KELLY: To circle back to this key question, you're describing an outrage from the left, and yet I do not hear a defense from the right, from Republicans in that committee or for you of the president's actions as he himself described them on the readout from that July 25 call.
LOTTER: Well, what I can tell you is that there was no quid pro quo. Ukraine said that they did not feel any pressure. The aid was released. And once again, we have found that now the Democrats have gone from collusion to obstruction to quid pro quo. Now they poll-tested bribery. That's falling apart. And now who knows what they're going to accuse him of next week?
KELLY: That's Marc Lotter, director of strategic communications for President Trump's 2020 campaign. Mr. Lotter, thank you.
LOTTER: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF CAIA'S "REMEMBRANCE")
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.