GOP Group to Air Advertisements on Fox News Calling for Republicans to Condemn Trump Over Ukraine Scandal

Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL), a conservative group whose stated purpose is "defending the institutions of our republic," will run a series of advertisements on Fox News this week to encourage Republicans in Congress to speak out against President Donald Trump's alleged abuses of power in the Ukraine scandal.

The videos will run every day this week on Fox & Friends and Special Report with Bret Baier starting Tuesday in the congressional districts of 15 House Republicans and the home states of 12 Senate Republicans, including Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Rob Woodall, Susan Brooks, Will Hurd and Fred Upton.

The advertisements are part of an ongoing $1 million campaign recently launched by the group that aims to persuade GOP members to hold Trump accountable. The group has chosen these specific congressional Republicans because "they seemed like some of the most likely to do the right thing," Carson Putnam, RRL's chief of communications told Newsweek.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump late last month after the emergence of a whistleblower, who alleged in a formal complaint that the president had attempted to persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden during a July phone call. A partial transcript of the call, released by the White House, proved that Trump had indeed asked his foreign counterpart to probe his 2020 rival.

"It is horrifying for President Trump to ask foreign governments to interfere in a U.S. election," Chris Truax, a spokesperson and legal adviser for RRL, told Newsweek. "It's horrifying for President Trump to ask a foreign government to investigate a fellow American, and it's doubly horrifying that it's for his political benefit."

"This is something that should be an easy call for everyone to say: That's wrong," he said, noting that it appears to be a "difficult call for a lot of Republicans in Congress."

The 30-second-long videos are roughly the same and begins by addressing each congressional Republican, before then calling for them to speak out. "Representative Kinzinger the country is in crisis," a voiceover in the advertisement says, "the President of the United States has requested foreign interference in American elections to benefit himself politically... This is an abuse of power by the chief executive of our country. He won't stop unless Republicans like you stand up and say that it's wrong."

According to Truax, these advertisements exist only to encourage lawmakers to speak up and are not expressly about impeachment. "The House is doing an impeachment investigation and before anybody draws a conclusion about that, that investigation needs to be completed," he said. "But that's separate than standing up and saying, 'This is wrong, you cannot encourage foreign governments to interfere in an American election.'"

"Whether that rises to a level of impeachability, that's something we'll decide in due course," Truax added.

RRL was established last March as reports began surfacing of Trump's alleged intentions to dismiss then-special counsel Robert Mueller. The 448-page redacted report, released by Attorney General William Barr in April, proved that Trump had attempted to discharge Mueller in June 2017, but former White House counsel Don McGahn refused and said he would rather resign.

Since then, the group has aired over 50 advertisements during Fox News programs to "encourage speaking up from Republicans" over Trump-related matters. In May, RRL told Newsweek that it prefers to air on Fox News because of the network's wide-ranging audience demographic and reach. According to 2018 Nielsen Media Research figures, Fox News attracts more than double the adult viewers aged 35 and above that CNN draws. Additionally, 26 percent of Fox viewers are Democrats, 44 percent Republicans and 30 percent undecided.

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump answers a question from the media during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the East Room of the White House October 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. A GOP group will run advertisements on Fox News this week to encourage Republicans in Congress to speak out against Trump's Ukraine scandal. Mark Wilson/Getty