However, Sullivan did say that his interpretation and understanding of the Ukraine call was that the administration was concerned with broader corruption in the country.
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan implicitly broke with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that it would not be “in accord with our values” for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival.
Sullivan was speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is vetting his nomination as the next U.S. ambassador to Russia. His appearance has offered Senate Democrats a rare chance to quiz a top Trump administration official on issues related to the House-led impeachment inquiry into Trump — and they took full advantage.
Sullivan was grilled in particular by New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, the committee’s ranking Democrat, on impeachment-related topics, including the propriety of what Trump is accused of doing: pressuring Ukraine’s government to investigate a political rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
On that aspect, Sullivan was fairly direct. “Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent — I don’t think that would be in accord with our values,” he said.