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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  December 12, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST

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statements. the whistle-blower got caught with chairman schiff. remember chairman schiff, the person that the democrats instead of the house judiciary committee which spent a full week on this, that's not who's been in charge. the person they put in charge was the person that got caught with the whistle-blower. have you spoken directly with the whistle-blower? no, we have not. we'd like to. that wasn't true. the person that said he had evidence of the first fake impeachment scam, collusion with russia, had evidence of that collusion and didn't have it. the person who in the course of that read into the record the steele dossier because the people needed to know the truth about what happened. well, we heard about the truth about the steele dossier this week when the inspector general told us it was all garbage, rubbish, all made up, yeah, that chairman schiff, and now he got caught not being truthful about
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a whistle-blower who as i said you the other day didn't tell the truth verbally and in writing and that's in a trns scri transcript. you know what we didn't get in this one-week impeachment summary in this judiciary committee, we didn't get that transcript. chairman schiff didn't send that one over. only if you were on the intelligence committee have you seen that transcript. i've seen it. i'd like everyone to see it. with that i yield to my good friend, congressman jordan. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding and i want to go back to where mr. buck was referencing the gentleman from rhode island when he mentioned mr. sondland as the guy they mentioned 611 times in their report, mr. sondland, the guy who presumed there was a quid pro quo, the guy who had to file an addendum to his deposition testimony and he has this great sentence where he says ambassador taylor rules that mr. morrison told ambassador taylor that i told mr. morrison that i conveyed this message to
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mr. yermack. six people again having four conversations in one sentence. here's the interesting thing. yermack talks with sondland. sondland talks with morrison. morrison talks with tay alrealo somehow we get the democrats thinking there was a quid pro quo and we need to impeach the president. yermack talks with sondland, sondland talks with morrison, morrison talks with taylor. guess what, two days ago the guy who started it, yermack, said it didn't happen. but that's their guy. mr. sondland had to file the addendum to his testimony, had to write this sentence to clarify. i think this is amazing. this is the clarification. ambassador taylor recalls from mr. morrison tells mr. taylor that i told mr. sondland -- yermack is the key here and it didn't happen. he just told us that. "time" magazine just reported it
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the same day that mr. gates pointed out that you filed articles of impeachment. holy cow, this is what it comes down to. i yield back. >> mr. chairman. >> the gentleman yields back. >> mr. chairman, i have unanimous consent. >> move to strike the last word. >> for what purpose? >> mr. chairman, i move to strike the last word. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> let me just say i've been pretty shocked and disappointed with my colleagues on the other side. there have been so many things that have been said like the president never used the word demand. i can tell you this, when a robber points a gun at you to take your money, they usually don't walk up and say i'm robbing you right now. the other argument that we've heard this morning is that,
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well, the aid was released. it was eventually released. there was no investigation. there was no announcement of an investigation. you know, the aid was released because the president got caught. it was released after the whistle-blower's complaint. it was released after public reports that the aid was being held because ukraine was being coerced into doing an investigati investigation, and congress had initiated congressional investigations into why the aid was being released. we can talk about alternative facts all day long but the facts are really pretty clear that the president abused his power, the precious power of his office to coerce a country that was dependent on us. a country who's fighting russian aggression because when ukraine fights russian aggression,
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they're helping us fight russian aggression. and he did it for personal gain. he should be held accountable. mr. chair, i yield back. >> mr. chairman, unanimous consent? >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my first unanimous consent request is the record of correspondence served on officials by chairman schiff. three were served prior to the passage of 33660. >> reserve the right and we'll take a look at it. >> two letters sent by the office of the vice president dated october 15 and december 11, the document request from chairman schiff, legitimate oversight authorities. the second later points out inaccuracies in chairman schiff's report. >> are these public
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correspondence? >> they are course spebetween t president and -- >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >>. >> i move to strike the last word. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> i yield to my friend, mr. reschenthaler. >> thank you. i think that we've got to remember that the abuse of power is coming from the quid pro quo charge which then morph ed into bribery. the problem is that my colleagues across the aisle can't make out what we call a prime fascia case meaning the elements are not supported by the facts. le the elements are as follows, whoever being a public official corruptly demands or seeks personally anything of value in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act, and we could tear apart each of these elements but let me just focus on corruptly.
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the president didn't have corrupt intent and that's why the democrats cannot make out a prime fascia case. contrary to shift's parody version of the july 25 call, the president wasn't asking the ukraine to, quote unquote, make up dirt about my opponent. that quote came from a parody from chairman schiff. the president didn't say it in the phone call. for whatever reason that is being missed. there was also significant reason to believe that the bidens were involved in corruption and there's also evidence ukrainian officials colluded with democrats in the 2016 campaign. there's been a lot of talk about this being a conspiracy theory. it's not a speconspiracy theory. also, the president was not seeking to help with his 2020 campaign. rather, he was seeking accountability regarding ukraine democrat collusion in 2016 and
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potential corruption in the obama administration's dealing with the ukraine as well. we have to remember too what professor turley said. remember he voted for hillary clinton. he's not a trump supporter. he was very impartial. he said and i quote, trump does not state a quid pro quo in the call. he's using his influence to prompt the ukrainians to investigate and to cooperate with the justice department. if president trump honestly believed there was a corrupt agreement with hunter biden that was not fully investigated by the obama administration, the request for investigation is not corrupt. again, i was quoting professor turley. i'd also like to quote the mueller report. just as an aside we have to remember months ago robert mueller came in here and he said there was no evidence of collusion, no evidence of obstructi obstruction, but again we're back here. let me go back to the mueller report. there was discussion of corruptly in that report as it
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pertains to obstruction of justice. it was stated, quote, corruptly means acting with an improper motive or with intent to obtain an improper advantage for himself or someone else inconsistent with the official duty and the rights of others. by that standard, by mueller's own standard, the president's behavior is entirely inconsistent with the definition of the underlying statute. with that i yield back to my friend and colleague from alabama. >> i yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from texas. >> i want to thank my friend so much. first of all, i was astounded, having been a pruosecutor and i've defended some cases, i've been a judge, i have sent a lot of people to prison but i've never sent someone to prison where the victim didn't know our figure out that they were a
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victim. that's extraordinary to hear that you can commit a crime like bribery or theft and the fact never knows, never figures out there's a victim. i've never sent anybody to prison when the victim didn't know they were a victim. i yield. >> ms. robbie. >> i yield to mr. collins. >> no. >> also, there's probably nobody on this committee that has followed what has happened over time in ukraine more than i have. there's no question putin wants the old soviet empire back. what happened when president bush was in office, putin had russia invade georgia and president bush reacted strongly and put sanctions in place. so what happened when president obama took office and secretary clinton was in office, they went over there with a red plastic reset button and the message was
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clear to putin. look, bush overreabltcted when invaded georgia so you can invade ukraine and we're okay. that may not have been what they intended but that's exactly what putin heard and that's why they invaded ukraine, crimea, and you're upset at trump? for heaven's sake. >> the gentle lady's time expired. what purpose does mr. rasken seek? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentlemen is recognized. >> thank you very much. our colleagues approve mr. sis aileeny for raising ambassador sondland to president trump's ambassador to the eu which is fascinating because that's president trump's pick. he contributed $1 million to the trump campaign, became the ambassador to the eu. they don't like him now because he clarified his testimony to say, yes, there was definitely a
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quid pro quo at the heart of this whole thing. so now of course they turn on the president's own ambassador but we don't have to rely on his word. i started to mention this before because he had lunch with david holmes who is the senior state department official at the u.s. embassy in kyiv. they went out to a restaurant, and ambassador sondland got president trump on the phone. holmes could hear the conversation, and this is all uncontradicted by other witnesses who were there. essentially ambassador sondland said to him that zelensky loves your ass and you're going to get exactly what you want from him. afterwards holmes says, well, what is it we can get from him. well, it's the big stuff. holmes says the big stuff, you mean like the war, dealing with
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russia? no, the big stuff, what president trump cares about. i'm not quoting verbatim because i don't have it in front of me but the substance of this is very clear. what does he care about? what can benefit him, like the bidens. it's very clear from multiple witnesses exactly what president trump wanted to get from president zelensky. he wanted a statement on television that ukraine was investigating and was going to investigate vice president joe biden, and he wanted a statement contradicting the 2016 understanding by our intelligence committee and by special counsel mueller that there had been a sweeping and systematic campaign by russia to interfere on the campaign and saying it was ukraine that interfered in our campaign. that's what he wanted. that was the big stuff. he didn't care about the russian war on the people of ukraine.
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he didn't care about corruption. they invite us to believe that donald trump is an anti-corruption crusader who was shaking down president zelensky about corruption when he doesn't raise any corruption on that call except for what he believed was going on with the bidens, except that he reduced anti-corruption funding for ukraine, except he doesn't raise it anywhere else that we can find. what do you know, pick up "the new york times" yesterday, president trump had to pay $2 million to charities because he ripped off his own charity for millions of dollars. this is the anti-corruption crusader they want us to believe in, the guy who paid $25 million to students at the phony trump university which the attorney general of new york called a classic bait and switch operation. this is the guy that they want us to believe was shaking down the president of ukraine because
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he had some secret anti-corruption agenda that actually wasn't related to the bidens, that wasn't related to rehabilitating the totally discredited russian conspiracy theory that it was ukraine and not russia that interfered in our campaign in 2016. come on. get real. be serious. we know exactly what happened here. 17 witnesses. it's uncontradicted. there's no rival story. no rival story at all. our colleagues will not even tell you whether in theory it would be wrong for the president of the united states to shake down foreign governments to come and get involved in our presidential campaigns in order to harm the president's political opponents. they won't even tell us in principle whether they think that's wrong because it's too dangerous at that point. we know that they don't accept the facts. we know they don't accept the evidence. they don't like the fact that the depositions took place in
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the basement. where should they have been, the first floor, the second floor? would they accept the facts if they were in another room. i was in that room. there were democrats and republicans. the democratic counsel got an hour, the republican counsel got an hour. it was even on both sides. enough of these phony process objections. let's get back to the facts of what happened. the president of the united states shook down a foreign power to get involved in our election. that's wrong. i yield back. >> mr. chairman. >> the gentleman yields back. >> mr. chairman, down here. >> what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> their side. >> sorry. >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, it bears mentioning that there's a lot about david holmes i would say but what i would say first is that for a guy who
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heard part of one half of a three-minute phone call, he had a 40 minute opening statement. sondland testified that biden was never linked in his mind until the transcript was released at the end of august. the democratic report does not -- not the republican report, the democratic report does not establish any linkage between the announcement or understanding of investigations for his personal and political benefit. the only testimony democrats rely on to prove that allegation is ambassador sondland's testimony. however, they conveniently leave out the most crucial aspect of the testimony. that is, after being questioned he only presumed the linkage. in fact, he admitted in his public testimony that no one in the world told him there was any linkage, but this is the basis for the democrats' article one. i want to go into a broader reason of why we should accept mr. jordan's amendment. a democratic senator was quoted saying never in my view had america been led by such a
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dangerous head of state. he bemoaned that america was misled by a reckless and arrogant president. that was senator robert byrd from west virginia describing george w. bush. ronald reagan was accused of abuse of power for pushing a growth-based economic agenda, for committing troops to lebanon, or for turning back from nicaragua. clinton was abused of aides getting sweetheart points, use of the fbi to dig up dirt on political employees, waco and a swedish slush fund. george w. bush was accused of abuse of power for domestic spying and energy task force controversy, presidential records act, steel tariffs, the iraq war and nsa overreach.
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obama's irs engaged in politically motivated targeting of charitable groups. fast and furious gun running scandal, collected telephone records on a.p. journalists without a warrant, the ceaseizu of private property under the guise of environmental protection. the problem we're running into which is going to last far longer is this will become the new normal. every one of those things i mentioned had reports written about them. they probably had election consequences. do you know what they didn't have? a nebulous, ambiguous charge of abuse of power. if you cannot prove an underlying crime, you do not get to use all of the evidence you're presenting forward. this will continue, this will move forward. in the history of our country, the party who is not in the house has accused the white house of abuse of power. it started 200 years ago. it will continue into the future. now, congratulations, it will be impeachment every single time
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one party controls the house of representatives and the other party is in the white house. with that i yield to my friend from louisiana. >> i thank my friend. i just want to point out we are talking about and we have been for the last two hours this amendment this mr. jordan brought. he wants to strike article one of the resolution because the resolution isn't worth the paper it's wrong on. why do we need to do that? article two gives us the standard for impeaching the president. you got to have treason, bribery or a high crime and misdemeanor. you guys have defaulted to this abuse of power allegation. it's not a criminal act, it's not a crime, certainly not a high crime. there's one problem that -- to summarize all this, if you're getting lost in the arguments at home here's what it comes down to. in the 243-year history of this country, there's only two previous presidents that have been impeached by a vote of the house. there's of course andrew johnson and bill clinton. both of those and in the lengthy nixon impeachment investigation, evidence clearly established that specific criminal acts were committed. evidence clearly established
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that specific criminal acts were committed. these guys don't have that here. they know it. you know it. it's not on paper in the resolution in article one or article two. it's in nothing that's been said here in the last two hours. these facts don't change. this is a completely unprecedented, single party impeachment charade and everybody at home can see that clearly. these things don't change and they won't. i yield back to my friend. >> mr. armstrong. >> i yield to my friend from florida. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. no evidence, quote, when "time" asked yermack if he felt there was a connection, yermack was adamant, we never had that feeling. we did not have the feeling this aid was connected to any one specific issue. i seek unanimous consent to enter this "time" magazine article of 12-10-2019. >> without objection.
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the article will be entered. mr. cohen seeks recognition. >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i took theatre and drama in college and i was told the one thing you have to do is have the willing suspension of disbelief. the republicans obviously took that course over and over and over again. they're the fifth avenue crowd. they've talked about sondland. that's the man the president appointed as his ambassador to the eu. that's the man he said was a great guy. that's the man who's still employed. sondland said they were all in the loop. pompeo, giuliani, mulvaney, bolton, they were all in the loop. it was about the quid pro quo.
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it was about having an investigation announced on cnn and then you'll get the military aid. sondland told one of the aides to president zelensky, you've got to announce the investigation. it was a strong arm. they did it. where do we get these people in the loop to testify? they've been asked to testify, the president says no, he won't let them testify. he knows that if they tell the truth, it will hurt his case because they know that they held up the military aid. president zelensky has no choice. he needs america to protect himself from the big bear, russia. they say he hasn't said that he felt pressured, a, he's an actor, and b, he's a politician. he depends on us. he has no choice, so he can't say that.
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but you knew it and he told people and he knew the aid was being withheld. they knew it on july 25. there were communications from the embassy that have been released that they knew the aid was being held up. they knew it was being held up. there was no reason for president trump to tell sondland no quid pro quo, i don't want anything, except for saying i want you to testify that i told you this because he knew that the whistle-blower had come out and blown their cover. he knew that the jig was up. he needed to find a way to say something that would be in the record and sondland remembered it. their best witness, they talk about the three professors, three of the most respected professors in america who said this is the most impeachable president, the abuse of power is the most serious you can mange. it's the constitution, the law of the land, and if you abuse your power, that's the most
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impeachable crime they could be charged with. they forget their witness, mr. turley, said what the president did was wrong. he didn't give a clean bill of health to the president. he said you need more information, more proof, but you can't get the proof because the president won't allow his men to testify. one of them is writing a book. one of them is still in an interim job. the other is running nfor senator. they can't do it. the proof is there. this is the most abusive act we can imagine, trying to influence our elections with foreign interference. that takes power away from the american people. that would end our country as we know it, a democracy, a shining city on the hill, a beacon of hope to people around the world who followed our revolution by changing their governments to giving people the power and not kings. this is a way to revert back to a king, a man who thinks he can do whatever he wants.
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he says i can do whatever i want, i'm president. that's not right. when he said i need a favor though, he was talking about getting dirt on the bidens. he feared joe biden as his primary political rival. michael cohen told us, the president doesn't come out and say exactly what he wants. he speaks in code. that's the president's code. michael cohen knows it and michael cohen is in prison now. individual one is not in prison because individual one could not be indicted because of the justice department's policies that say you can't indict a sitting president. but michael cohen, who is in prison because he facilitated the payments to ms. daniels and the payments to ms. mcdougal. talk about abuse of power, abuse of power is having a charitable foundation and taking advantage of the charities and using the money for your own purposes and having to pay a $2 million fine and not being allowed to be on a board ever again because you
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don't have the character to be over a charitable foundation. abuse of power is ripping off people at trump university and paying back $25 million. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. what purpose does mr. klein seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentlemanin is recognize >> i'm not going to go into why i don't see any of the remarks from the gentleman of tennessee in these articles of impeachment but i'm incredulous. as a prosecutor, i'm amazed at what the majority of calling facts. they keep talking about the facts and the evidence. well, their evidence is in dispute because it's based on hearsay, opinion and speculation. these are not facts. this is testimony about what somebody thought or what somebody concluded from acts taken by members of the
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administration. the charge is abuse of power but what the majority is really upset about is the fact that the president and the administration is exercising its power under the constitution, its authorized powers. for example, the president's authority to set foreign policy and fire, for example, an ambassador is not a smear on an official. it's the use of article two section two of the constitution. the president is authorized by statute to put a stop on the distribution of funds. the president is instructed in the ndaa to ask for and monitor investigations into corruption in the ukraine. when you talk about direct testimony from individuals like lieutenant colonel vindman and mr. morrison, you have the fact
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that they were on the call and the transcript speaks for itself, but you have opinions and conclusions after that. when it comes to actual testimony that hasn't been heard, it just shows that the majority really doesn't have any interest in getting to the bottom of this question because if they did care about actually finding out facts, they would be calling mr. yermack back into this committee. they would be delaying this process. what we have read in this article from "time" magazine is incredible andexculpatory. when you have claims by ambassador sondland that he was told the aid would not be released unless there were
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investigations, why isn't he in here? yermack stated, we never had that feeling. he added, we had a clear understanding that the aid had been frozen. we honestly said, what's going on here. we were told they would figure it out and the aid was unfrozen. we didn't have the feeling the aid was connected to any one specific issue. if you ignore this evidence and you were in a court case, you would lose your law license for allowing a case to go forward without this exculpatory evidence being provided to the defenses. it is so ridiculous to me that we are not taking time to look further into this, and with that i want to yield to mr. collins, the ranking member. >> thank you. i appreciate so much the gentleman from tennessee. he just answered a ton of questions for me about his understanding of props and thee at thiricks in his higher education. now we understand a lot of
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things. also, we have another thing. folks who study drama understand you read the lines. read the transcript. quit saying i want you to do me a favor. he also proved my point why mr. jordan's article is actually -- the amendment is actually good, because it's what i have said all along. the moment i saw that they decided to use abuse of power, they gave their whole conference cart blanche to make up anything they want and call it abuse of power because they don't have anything else to give. they don't have actual crime. if they did as portrayed from the gentleman from maryland, if you had the crime you would have put it in the articles. you didn't do it. the last thing that is amazing to me and the gentleman from tennessee said it. he called mr. zelensky a politician and an actor in.
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we were talking about how they can't even read a transcript and he's an actor. it's amazing to me how we in this committee are degree gating mr. zelensky in the eyes of his country and the world because we can't make a case against this president. this is the tragedy of this impeachmen impeachment. they can't make the fact that he felt pressured. that is a critical amount of their case and i yield back to mr. kline. >> who is seeking recognition? >> unanimous consent. >> who is seeking recognition? >> i would like to introduce the editorial from the usa today that called for the impeachment of the president from "the los angeles times," from the philadelphia enquirer and the "boston globe." >> i object. i want to read it. >> objection is heard. >> i'd love for him to read them. >> who else seeks -- >> it proves that i can read transcripts. >> does anybody else seek
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recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> the fact that members of this committee would insinuate that the ukrainians doubted the hands of the russians because they didn't get aid is ridiculous. having served in a combat theatre and knowing what that is like, to blame that aid was delayed a few weeks, would have saved lives, is insulting to me and all that served. now democrats want you to believe that ukrainians died and it's trump's fault. members on the other side of the aisle on this committee are talking about bribery and laying out a case and elements for bribery, yet, if their case was so compelling and overwhelming and they had the elements, why isn't it in the articles of impeachment? they didn't include it because there's no evidence for that charge. the aid was released before the deadline set by congress. they released the aid. the ukrainians didn't start any investigations. they also got a meeting with president trump. president trump doesn't have to meet with foreign leaders and he still agreed to meet with them. article two section four of the
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united states constitution says the president and vice president and all officers shall be removed from office on impeachment for conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. congress has interpreted this to mean that the president committed an actual criminal act, outlined in the criminal statute. for example, nixon was accused of a criminal act. bill clinton, three. these are crimes not tried in the house of representatives, could have been tried in the criminal court. this standard provides clarity and as one witness who testified before this committee, mr. turley, explained, although criminalalty is not required, clarity is necessary that comes from a complete and comprehensive record. throughout this investigation the democrats couldn't seem to find any criminal act on the part of the president. instead of relying on historical precedent, they decided to impeach him for abuse of power, a vague phrase that appears nowhere in the constitution when discussing impeachment. it has no basis in fact or in
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evidence but is deeply rooted in personal opinion and perception. mr. turley also explained that implications of this occurrence, quote, we have never impeached a president solely or largely on the basis of a noncriminal abuse of power allegation. there's good reason for that unbroken record. abuses of power tend to be even less defined and more debatable as a basis for impeachment than some of the crimes already mentioned. he went on to say that the problem with proving an abuse of power theory is the lack of direct evidence due to the failure to compel key witnesses to testify or production of key documents. now let's talk about the direct evidence that they have. there is none. the only person who would have firsthand knowledge of the quid pro quo, bribery, extortion or whatever buzz word the democrats want, is president zelensky who has categorically denied any such agreement or pressure. herein lies the issue with hinging your entire impeachment on a noncriminal abuse of power allegation. the facts don't support your claims. let's review. never in the history of the united states has a president been impeached solely or largely on the basis of abuse of power.
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every president who has been impeached has been impeached for criminal acts. democrats found no evidence of criminal misconduct on the part of the president. the democrats have even failed to even prove a noncriminal standard for abuse of power and have relied on hearsay and conjectu conjecture. what the democrats are trying to do is pull the wool over the eyes of the american people and make them think that wrongdoing has occurred where there is none by using fancy rhetoric and flowery language they think they can convince a nation of their ill conceived ideas. don't fall for it, america. i yield the remainder of my time to mr. jordan. >> if the democrats are going to take some of sondland, you got to take all of sondland. in you're going to mention him 611 times in your report, if you're going to build your case around the guy who presumed, presumed there was a quid pro quo, the guy who had to file an addendum to his deposition, you can't ignore the direct conversation he had with the president of the united states.
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he asked him, mr. president, what do you want from ukraine? what did the president say? interesting, mr. sondland left this out of his opening statement, his 20-some page opening statement. what do you want from ukraine. the president said i want nothing, no quid pro quo. i want him to do what he said. i want him to do what he ran on. you can't ignore that, the one piece of direct evidence. you want all this presumption, all this addendum. if you're going to take some of sondland, you got to take all of him. i yield back. >> i yield to mr. gates. >> i have 30 seconds. >> okay. >> i had 30 seconds left before they cut the clock. >> the gentleman will proceed. >> i yield to mr. gates. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i think the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen's debate on the last subject shows what we're dealing with.
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this is not a rifle shot impeachment with facts and evidence. this is bird shot. he talked about everything from the campaign finance concerns to trump university, concerns about charities. this is like pin the tail on your favorite impeachment theory because they don't have evidence for any one single thing to impeach the president for. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does mr. mcclintock seek recognition. >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, the constitution introduces the president with 15 words. the executive power shall be vested in a president of the united states of america. it does not vest any authority in lieutenant colonels at the nsc, ambassadors, state department officials or cabinet secretaries. the only authority that these officials exercise is delegated to them by the president. all of the criticisms and
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resentments and personal and political disagreements that we have heard from those officials are completely irrelevant. it is dangerous that so many officials in the executive branch believe that they have independent authority to override presidential policy, leak classified documents and actively work to undermine the lawful discharge of the president's duties under article two. if their judgment can replace that of the president, it means that the people of the united states have been removed from the equation. someone said during the discussion today that the president has actually committed real crimes. the article does not charge such crimes. why not? because there's no evidence to support them. if there was evidence, you know that in a heartbeat they would have included these charges so it's obvious they don't even believe their own rhetoric. one member said, we're not restricted as the department of justice is.
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think about what that statement means. the department of justice is restricted by the bill of rights. the bill of rights sets forth basic principles of due process, the right to confront your accuser, call witnesses in yes, sir -- your defense. you have the right to appeal to the courts to protect these rights. yes, the department of justice is restricted by the bill of rights, but our bill of rights with its due process restrictions restricts all of us who take the oath of office. that includes congress. we are restricted to respect these rights also. only the majority is now placing themselves above the supreme law of the land. the lawful exercise of executive power is simply not an impeachable offense. the president is responsible for faithfully executing the laws. the foreign corrupt practices
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act makes it a crime to offer something of value to secure business in a foreign country. the facts of mr. biden's actions in the ukraine certainly look like they cross that line. does the president have the authority to request cooperation of a foreign government to investigate potentially corrupt interactions between u.s. officials and their own officials. of course he does. the democrats impute the most sinister motives to this request. nothing in the conversation suggests that. do us a favor because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about it. that's the exact quote. the national defense authorization act specifically requires the administration to determine that ukraine is taking steps to combat corruption before aid can be released. now, the democrats have made much of the fact that the secretary of defense certified this in may. they ignore two facts. number one, the secretary of defense exercises no authority
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independent of the president. the buck still stops at the president's desk. and two, the president has responsibility to determine that the findings of his administration remain valid, particularly as he assesses the intention of the newly elected president and parliament. lest we forget, last year three democratic senators wrote to the ukrainian government demanding that it cooperate in investigating president trump. the democrats found absolutely nothing objectionable about this. the only difference i see is that the president actually has the authority and the responsibility to make such a request. so what's at stake here? the worst possible interpretations of the president's motives and discharging his constitutional powers are being imputed to him by his most vitriolic opponents. there's nothing extraordinary about that. it's called politics, but if this can become the new standard of impeachment, that congress can impeach any president whose
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motives his opponents question, if this is allowed to replace treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors as the standard for nullifying an election and substituting the judgment of congress instead of the judgment of the american people, then no president can make any decision without subjecting the nation to the travesty going on today. the executive branch will be subordinated to the legislative, serving at the pleasure of congress, and the separation of powers at the heart of our constitution will have been utterly destroyed. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the ranking member, mr. collins, seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as we've gone through this amendment which is one of the most telling amendments and when put to a vote is going to tell a lot because this is the most amore fuss amendment that you can have. this is the one that even when i was waiting for the announcement
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from the chairman and others at the podium i was actually there and was being interviewed and when i heard this one come up and confirm that abuse of power was one of their articles of impeachment it was simply stunning. my first reaction has been made and rung true completely here today by many of the members on the majority including the gentleman from tennessee recently who just confirmed it. abuse of power for articles of impeachment means anything they want it to mean. it is the cart blanche coverage, saying, we don't really have a case but go out and make it up. just go out and say what you don't like. if he didn't say something nice or didn't do a policy you don't like, do this and that's going to cover you, you'll be okay, because remember, this is always about an election. you know how we continue to know this? we keep misquoting the transcript. they deeon't have the facts. it's simple. read it. it's us, our country. if you got a case, make it.
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but don't make it up because you don't have it. what we have also is a continual repeated attacks on the ukrainian president, mr. zelensky, the repeated attacks. we're either claiming he is a liar or a puppet or he's a politician and actor so disregard him. wow, that's a lot of concern for the ukrainian people. taking on their very president they've just elected. when we understand and we look at this, this is how it gets to the problem. when you get to a certain point and you can't makeually add it up and you have law professors tell you the inference is okay, we've lowered the standard where anything can be brought in. the factual case that has been made over the almost three hours by the minority side has laid bare the case on abuse of power. there is none. you can make it call up, sell i
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the american people, but they're not buying it. they're not. it's going to get harder and harder for members to go to that well next week -- go to the ballot where they stick their card in and vote yes on abuse of power and actually have to go back and explain that. it's easy in this room. you got help from your colleagues. when you're back home trying to explain why you're going to take down a president duly elected over abuse of power because of some of the arguments we've heard this morning, that's just amazing. there is true skepticism about what went on in the ukraine and it's deeply rooted with this president. by the way, there was another time in the late 17 and early 18 ukraine aid was held. it's not the first time. i've said this before, most people are amazed that he actually does what he says he's going to do, runs on campaigns that our foreign aid needs to be looked at. that's what a president and true leadership does. other countries' aid was also
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held. lebanon was actually held. others were actually held. this is not a new thing. do not let the majority try to convince the american people that withholding aid or not looking into corruption is a new thing. don't let them do it. in the words like i said of others maybe when you're having to play a part you have to do that. you have to make it up. it's called ad-lib. it's what they're doing. mr. hill testified, one of the more egregious ones and a friend of mine texted me a few few minutes and, again, it needs to be hits. one of the things purpose traers that people lost their life over this withheld aid. this friend of mine who texted me lost limbs in defense of our country in a war zone. he says don't let them get away with this because this is a future act. mr. hill testified to this fact. in fact, he reputed it in his deposition. talk about facts, go to the
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deposition, go to the transcript. he said this was future aid, it had nothing to do with running the army right then. in war zones people get hurt and die and russia has invaded the ukraine. they are fighting that. it is a hot war. people will. but to blame this conversation because you have such a weak case that you're going to try and throw that in to scare the american people, that's not right. make a case. have your facts. put it in the articles. when you can't do that, you go in the back room and you start writing articles of impeachment. you say, uh-oh, we got a problem. let's put something in there that all of our conference can get behind because they don't like the president. i yaeld baield back. >> i move to strike the last word. the gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i rise to speak in opposition to this amendment. to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, to remind you
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of the facts that have been uncovered and to review them and put them on the record again for the american public. facts do matter. notice the contrast between the conversation on this side of the aisle and that. they run away from the facts. they're afraid to admit to themselves or to the american public of what the president's behavior really adds up to. let me just recite the facts. when ukrainian president zelensky raised the issue of u.s. military assistance to ukraine during the july 25 call, president trump replied, quote, i would like you to do us a favor though, because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about that, end quote. congress appropriated and authorized defense certified to congress that ukraine had completed the recquisite anti-reform actions
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to qualify for the security assistance appropriated by congress. the president himself directed the aid to be put on hold. in july ukranian officials asked pentagon staff about the hold on military assistance. no legitimate public policy or rationale exists and the president has not brought one forward for the president's decision to withhold security assistance to ukraine. providing aid to ukraine is in the national security interest of the united states. withholding it is in the personal, political interests of the president and of putin. president trump failed to say the word "corruption" during his april 21st call with president zelensky, president trump failed to say the word "corruption" during his july 25th call to president zelensky. the aid to ukraine was released only after house committees announced an investigation into the administration's decision to halt the aid.
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the president instructed all witnesses from the administration not to testify and withheld all relevant documents from house investigators. on october 3rd, when asked by a reporter what he hoped president zelensky would do following their july 25th call, president trump told the american public and the world, well, i would think that if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the bidens. it's a very simple answer. on october 17th at a press briefing in the white house, acting chief of staff mick mulvaney said, president trump absolutely mentioned corruption related to the dnc server in connection with the security assistance during his july 25th call, and that that server was part of, quote, why we held the money up, end quote. upon taking a question from a reporter attempting to clarify the acknowledgment of a quid pro quo, mulvaney replied, quote, we do that all the time with
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foreign policy. get over it. let me remind you of a statement that dr. fiona hill made in her opening statement and her extraordinary, powerful opening statement of incredible testimony before this congress. she said, and i quote, if the president or anyone else impedes or averts the security of the united states in order to complete a presideersonal or pol interest, that is more than worthy of your attention. i ask my colleagues respectfully on the other side of this dias, isn't it worthy of our attention to uphold the security and the president do the same? or do they think it's proper, do they think it's okay for any president, not just this one, but for any president to invite foreign interference into our elections?
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with that, mr. chairman, i yield to the gentleman from rhode island. >> i thank the gentlelady for yielding. there was a letter signed by more than 500 legal scholars across the spectrum which i'd like to read from very briefly. speaking of the president's conduct, they say the president's conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the founders feared when they included the remedy of peace in the constitution. conduct need not be criminal to be impeachable, the standard here is constitutional. they say it's conduct that corrupts elections. i know my time is about to expire. i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. i recognize myself on the amendment and i yield to mr.
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ciccolini. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is a letter signed by more than 500 constitutional scholars. i think some of the confusion my colleagues have been struggling with is the difference between impeachable offenses and vi violations of the criminal statute, so i hope this will clarify that. they write, impeachment is a grave abuse of trust. impeachment is a remedy for conduct that corrupts elections. the primary check on the president is political. voters can punish him or her at the polls. the president who krupcorrupts elections places himself beyond the reach of this political check. george mason described impeachable offenses as an attempt to subvert the constitution. it makes the president democratically accountable. put simply, if the president chee cheats at his effort of reelection, putting democrats
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through a check is not a remedy at all. that's what impeachment is for. whether the president's conduct is classified as bribery, a high crime or misdemeanor or both, it is clearly impeachable under our constitution. so in asking for unanimous consent that this letter that more than 500 legal scholars signed be made part of the record, i hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will understand the basis of this article of impeachment, that the president of the united states violated the public trust, undermined the national security of the united states, betrayed our national interests by using the enormous power of his office, not to advance the public good, not to advance the policies of the united states and the interest of the united states, but to advance his own personal, political benefit. that's what the founding fathers spoke about. it's not a conclusion of my own, it's a conclusion of 500 legal scholars. i hope this will put to rest
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this notion that you have to violate a criminal statute. a president could deface a post office, a mailbox. that's a federal crime. no one would suggest the president could be impeached for that. the framers are talking about the abuses of the public trust, a violation of the most sacred oath to honor the interests of the american people and not advance your own personal, political interests. these constitutional scholars say it much better than i can and as well as professor raskin has said, so i ask for unanimous consent that it be made part of the record. >> without objection. i would simply point out a few things, number one, that the impeachment of president nixon, although he committed many crimes, the committee voted impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. it did not specify a specific crime. i would also point out that the majority staff report of the judiciary committee back in 1974, not just now, and i
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believe in 1998 but certainly 1974, pointed out that crimes and impeachable offenses are different things. there are crimes which may not be impeachable. there are impeachable offenses which may not be crimes. an impeachable offense or high crime of misdemeanor is a grave and serious offense against the constitution, against the construction of government. i would refer you to the federalist papers. i would also say one other thing. we've repeatedly heard that the democrats are accusing president zelensky and mr. yermak of lying, because mr. zelensky said, president zelensky said he wasn't pressured. of course he said he wasn't pressured. the united states is a powerful nation on which his nation is dependent. he has a gun to his head. the gun is the fact that the president of the united states, upon whom he depends for military aid, for help in many different ways, has shown himself willing to withhold that aid and to do other things based
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on what he says, based on what he says, based on whether he's willing to play along with the president for his personal, political goals. so of course he denies he was pressured. if he didn't deny that, there might be heavy consequences to pay, and you cannot credit that denial without any aspersions on his character, but simply on the fact that the president of the united states holds a gun to his head. i yield back, and the question is on the amendment. those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> opposed, no. >> no. >> in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. >> mr. nadler? >> no. >> mr. nadler votes no. miss laufgren? she votes no. mr. johnson of georgia votes no. mr. deutsche? mr. deutsche votes no.
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miss bass? >> as they do this roll call, jeffrey toobin, this has been three hours already that they've just been debating the first of are clearly going to be several amendments to these two articles of impeachment, and the democrats are in the majority, so there is no suspense as to the outcome of these amendments that these republicans are putting forward. what's significant is the history of all of this that's unfolding. this is clearly a moment in american history that students will remember for years and years to come. >> and, you know, what is often said about congressional hearings is everything has been said but not everyone has said it. i mean, it is a certain degree of repetition, but if you actually -- oops, my microphone fell. if you do actually listen, i mean, you have a good sense of what the issue is here.
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there is a -- it's interesting, they're talking almost exclusively about the abuse of power, they're not talking much about the obstruction of congress. but i think this has been a civil he had kageducation here,e can decide whether this has been an impeachable offense here, because the issues have been aired out well on both sides. >> they're about to finish the roll call. the republicans will lose the democrats who will win, and then a second one will be introduced. >> mr. richmond, you are not reported. >> no. >> mr. richmond votes no. >> are there any other members that haven't voted who wish to vote? >> mr.


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