tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN December 12, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST
welcome to our special coverage. i am jake tapper. it was a truly historic day today, and at any moment we expect the house judiciary committee to return from the break they took, and to resume debating the two articles of impeachment that have been drafted against president donald trump. one, abuse of power. the second one, obstruction of congress. let's start by going to capitol hill where we find cnn senior congressional correspondent manu raju. manu what do we expect to happen the rest of the day today, lay it out for us? >> reporter: a lot more
fireworks. we expect republicans to continue to offer amendments to try to undercut the two articles of impeachment. the articles the democrats put forward alleging abuse of power in the president's handling wrel in relation to ukraine and not cooperating with the impeachment inquiry. republicans plan to offer, according to doug collins told me, a good many number of amendments still and that could take several hours to get through. ultimately a decision for republicans to decide if they're satisfied, essentially tired and want to move on. desire by some to go to the white house christmas congressional ball today where president trump is attending. that could motivate things to get wrapped up before 7:00 or so. nevertheless, we expect an ultimate vote on articles of impeachment, the two articles, taken by the house judiciary committee to be taken today, approved along party lines and sent to the full house nap vote will take place probably by middle next week.
at this moment, jake, republican leadership on the floor taking the temperature of their caucus. whipping members to determine if they'll vote against those articles next week. republican leaders are confident they are not going to lose any of their members. the one former republican turned independent justin amarsh is expected to vote for the two arms. on the democratic side, leadership there, nancy pelosi saying she will not whip her members and not pressure them to vote the party line. said they can vote how much they so choose and we do expect at least two defections on the democratic side when it comes to the full house vote next week. maybe a couple more. a number of moderates still holding cards close to their vests. truly, historic moment happening in a matter of hours. advancing two arms articling of impeachment to the floor next week. >> democrats not whipping their members, not telling them how to vote and assessing where their votes are, do they know, are
they confident that the votes are there to impeach president trump among the democratic gu caucus. >> reporter: there is confidence. they need a majority of votes, the threshold, 216 votes on the floor because of vacancies, it's now 216 votes and they expect they'll are able to meet that threshold. they expect those defections as i mentioned. could be two, to be four, five or six. a lot depends on some members from trump districts going back home this weekend starting today, done voting after today. until next week. what do they hear from constituents? decide to vote against those articles of impeachment? a key test for some of those members particularly freshmen from those swing districts, jake. >> manu raju on capitol hill. you heard that. and the big headline, jeff toobin, there, is democrats have the votes to impeach president trump. that is monumental. this seis only the fourth time the histories of this nation that will happen. >> and that in and of itself is,
that is, you know, going to -- this -- the impeachment articles will be read by historians forever, but the timing of it, that really jumps out at me is that in the first 200 years of our country we had one impeachment. >> andrew johnson. >> right after the civil war. now we've had three in the last 45 years. i think that is indicative of the toxicity of our politics and how angry and combative our politics have become in that,s in that period. that doesn't mean the impeachments are wrong but it does mean that the stakes of disagreements with congress keep going up. >> and dana bash, tell us your impression of the hearing so far? i have not heard -- i've heard a lot of things said in defense of the president that are just not factually correct. for instance, the idea that the ukrainians had no idea there was
an issue with the military aid being held up. that's in direct contradiction to the testimony we heard from a pentagon official who said that the ukrainian embassy reached out july 25th the very day of phone call? >> right. and other testimony from people who were in ukraine that it was even earlier. you're right about that, but what noteworthy and we discussed some of it earlier, after all of this time of republicans talking process, process, process, finally at the 11th hour you did hear some republicans, the president's closest and staunchest defendering like jim jordan start to talk a little bit about the substance of the transcript. the summary phone call, and parsing it. so pushing back a little bit just even on the notion that the president was asking for an investigation, or what kind of investigation that he was asking for. we haven't heard any of that, you know, on a large scale. finally, right now, they were
doing that. and the argument was, he was saying do it for us. america. not, do us a favor. what the president actually tweeted earlier today. so it's like -- i don't know. you know this. some eureka moment after this sentence has been out there for three months they can finally figure out a way to discuss it, but why wait until -- never mind whether it's accurate or not, just on the strategy. why wait until now? >> john king, on the histories of this. the second impeachment of a u.s. president that you have covered as a journalist. it's pretty momentous. it's easy to get lost in the sniping and partisan attacks and we heard personal attacks against hunter biden earlier from congressman matt goetz, one of the president's biggest supporters but really this would be a stain on the trump presidency one way or another? >> yes. i remember in the clinton white house days.
people including the president telling aides to turn this to our advantage politically. one thing. president trump trying to find ways to turn this to his advantage politically, but that does not mean a president wants to be impeached to turn it to his benefit politically. that's the president trying to make the best of a terrible, horrible situation. it is a stain on a presidency. it was a stain on the clinton presidency. think about the time when bill clinton was president. a booming economy. a president who said he would try to do things we're still talking about trying to do 25 years later. reform social security, the immigration system. none of that happened. >> he did have a great budget. >> had a great economy. the moment for any president, to be president at that moment the government working in operational surplus to deal with the other bill structural problems none of it happened in the clinton second term. bill clinton and senator santorum did town halls on social security reform. a bipartisan effort to get
things done. it was flushed by the impeachment because it made bill clinton raw and angry at republicans. he wanted retribution and the see the thing in president trump. we thought clinton days the town had become impossibly partisan and polarized. seems like a quaint small town america to think back 25 years to where we are today. >> one argument made by republicans, laura, is that there's no crime that president trump committed. democrats point out accurately the constitution doesn't actually require a crime for impeachment even with the mention of high crimes and misdemeanors. an interesting moment, congressman swalwell, democrat of california, talked be, former prosecutor. he saw potential crimes. as a prosecutor what did you think of the case laid out? >> good one and persuasive talking about the elements essentially. high crimes and misdemeanors, the notion there's no exact and precise measurement or
requirement or recipe to figure what it constitutes. if you're trying to show the american people and lead them to the idea what constitutes abuse of power? what was at stake? looping in con detectual clues of the founding fathers and what they wanted to accomplish and abuse of power, obstruction of justice is important and persuasive but haven't hammered it home enough. like "the godfather." michael corleone says no one goes against the family. allowing somebody to siphon your power executive branch of government. if executive branch of government can essentially say you don't matter. whatever you tell me for a congressional subpoena just doesn't have any weight, then i have given over separation of powers argument. they still continue to focus on essentially, last night you saw, their personal journeys to becoming congressmen and women, important from their own
perspective and jurisdictions but trying to persuade which have the most impact on future of democracy, hammer the point home it's now, because of an election and if power means anything in the future we have to unify and figure who was trying to undermine. >> laura, wasn't it vito corleone who says that? >> it's -- talking about fredo, with mo in the casino in las vegas. we'll go there. oh, no. we'll go there. don't mess with the family on this panel. >> i wanted to say the family like marlin brando. >> and your general reflection how the democrats are doing? >> some better than others. to be honest. >> who impressed you? i think a couple interests moments. zoe lofgren given her history on impeachment and able toll reframe what the clinton impeach mant was actually about. weren't pound more democrats
could make, maybe not some of the republicans here today but many past republicans voted to impeach president clinton, she said, over sex. right? this is much more serious. this is over the national interests of the united states. i thought the back and forth with hank johnson and matt goetz was interesting. when he had the moment kind of almost of silence to let republicans speak up and why, whether they thought it should be precedent that a up phfuture president should be able to seek political dirt on their opponent. stuck with me. whether it sticks with the american people, i don't know. ultimately what happened today was these members trying to make the case so that they can support their vote end of the day, and go home to their districts. that's what we were seeing and why it wasn't as unified as some messages seen in the past. they know their districts and know what people need to hear. i think what will be interesting to see what we flare moderate democrats on monday and tuesday after gone back, spoken to people in their district. i think they know where they're going to vote, but want to hear from people and want to be able
to come back and say, i made the case that i need to put country before my own political future, my own political gain. i've heard from my constituents. i also want to protect the elections in of future. this isn't about overturning elections of the past. what we'll hear from some and more interesting that what some members said today. >> how do you think republicans are doing, david? >> both sides, both teams doing what they need to do for their team is what's going on here. this is the act three in the play. right jt we all know we have the cliffnotes, can read ahead, see how it ends. everyone's doing what they need to do. i think jen is correct. people are making their case to go home and make it further. interesting to hear max rhodes and things like that say when they come back. not a lot of people in swing districts on this committee. nobody's really kind of weighing the equities like they would
have to in these 31 folks in the swing districts, and so we'll see. that's the really interesting part when those folks come back and stand the well in the senate and -- well of the house, excuse me, and make a statement and speech about why they're going to vote the way they do. >> you make an interesting point about the committee. this was true in 1998 as well. different kinds of representatives are attracted to different committees. if you are someone who really cares about bringing home the bacon to your district, you're going to go on the appropriations committee. tax policy, go on ways and means. judiciary is always attracted the idealist. those who are "the" most strongly partisan. >> the parlors. >> the performers. thinking back to '98 we covered. barney frank, bob barr, the republican. >> lindsey graham. >> maxine waters was on the committee. you had real colorful personalities as you still do. but that doesn't necessarily tell you how the moderates in
the party are thinking. >> everyone stick around. a lot more to talk about. any moment the house judiciary committee will pick back up and continue debating these two articles of impeachment against president trump. we'll squeeze in a quick break. we'll be right back. [ electrical buzzing ] [ dramatic music ] ahhhh! -ahhhh! elliott. you came back!
impeachment against president trump. only the fourth time in u.s. history that's happened against a u.s. president. the committee will resume debate over the two arms against president trump any minute. we'll bring that to you live. meantime, let's continue our conversation. john king, how quickly do you think we'll get a vote on impeachment on the whole, for the whole floor of the house? on the floor of the house as opposed to just a committee vote? >> assuming this doesn't go off the rails with amendment after amendment, early next week. the mantth is there. the question, how many democrats defect? the president will be impeached by the house of representatives most likely by middle of next week. >> dana does it help, a democrat in a swing district, say congresswoman lucy mcbath on the committee and in the spring district.
-- swing district. if you vote against it, does that help debt yget you re-elec a crap shoot? >> it's a crap shoot. you could also, the biggest political risk, even if you are in a swing district and really appeal to independents and some republicans you still need your base to come out for you. they're the core of your voters. if they're mad at you because you vote no to articles of impeachment, even one against a president they think should be impeached, then they're going to stay home, or go to the ballot and they're going to vote for the top of the ticket and just as a protest not vote for you. a very big risk. >> michael bloomberg said he's putting up $10 million to support members of the democratic majority who will vote for impeachment. embattled democrats. putting aside bloomberg, fund-raising is an issue. you raise your money from your base, not from people on the
fence. if you are a democrat who votes against impeachment you could have serious fund-raising problems. >> and the other thing, of course, is that you might have a primary. >> yes. >> congressman from southern new jersey. the part of new jersey very agriculture, very red, i think a plus-five, republican plus-five win for trump. congressman van jrue might face a primary for the democratic nomination. >> which is, i mean what we have seen for ten years play out on the republican side. if you don't, members of congress who didn't, you know, didn't plead guilty to the party, voted conscious, seeing it more and more. it could happen. >> watch the democrats. the story. 31 house democrats. 90 when bill clinton was president. 90 republicans. the number of house members from
the president, the other party, shrunk. becomes about your base. so few districts you have to keep your base. >> as john pointed out, of the 31, i don't know how many are like conor lamb who ran on i'm not voting for pelosi for speaker, be independent, work with the president. right? goes out, votes for impeachment, hard to run. >> the votes are to impeach. what we're suspecting. in all likelihood what will happen next week that the democratic controlled congress will vote to impeach president trump. bring in cnn kaitlan collins at the white house. tell us what you're learning about what's going on when it comes to the white house and capitol hill? >> reporter: yeah. notable development just happened. the white house counsel pat cipollone just seen in the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell's office over on capitol hill. of course, while taking this break from this hearing over there in the house going back and forth on amendments and the reason that's interesting we do not know the official reason for this visit, the white house counsel is paying to the senate
majority leader. spoken throughout this impeachment process. it's notable, because cnn reporting about that divide between what the white house and the president specifically was looking for in a senate trial and what people like the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell were saying privately was going to happen. that divide mainly came down to live witnesses, witnesses in person testifying or not nap . something we reported on, the difference over how to come to agreement on that and someone playing a key role in all of this is of course, pat cipollone. he's been really the person between the president and mcconnell. though they also speak often. he's really been the person speaking with a lot of these senators and house members over on capitol hill about this. negotiating, talking about the white house's messages, making sure they're all oh essentially on the same page and now over in the senate majority's office again, jake. >> thanks, kaitlan collins. let's talk about that. jen sake, a divide now between the white house, which wants a
spectacle. they want a senate trial in which witnesses are called in which they can bring up joe biden, et cetera. versus mitch mcconnell who it looks as though, reporting indicates, he wants a small process he considers this idea of democrats and republicans calling witnesses mutually assured obstruction they'll blow up the senate. the senate has a lot of pride. they do not think of themselves as the house of representatives. they think of themselves more serious, sober individuals. who wins that fight, do you think? >> look, i think if it's the republicans interest for mitch mcconnell to win that fight, because he's ultimately thinking about how to get through this quickly and survive. they're not going to lose 20 republicans from the republican side. yes, president trump will be impeached in the house. pease not going to be convicted in the senate unless something changes dramatically, and in mitch mcconnell's mind, his job get through that and not allow many republicans to vote in favor of conviction. he's also thinking about vulnerable members like cory
gardner, and beyond that. thom tillis. other seats he doesn't want to put in a vulnerable place, spend money on them, have them become vulnerable. becomes difficult. districts and states are much more diverse than the house districts. it's more likely they could be hurt by a long circus trial. >> to explain the math you're doing in terms of not losing 20. republicans control the senate. 53 votes to 47 votes. you need a two-thirds majority to remove a president from office. matter of picking off susan collins and cory gardener. >> i would say that the gulf between the white house and the
senate in terms of what they want the trial to look like, why this is -- i think they're simpatico. >> president trump is not going to get convicted in this trial. what good does it do chuck schumer to have a long trial that will end in failure for his side? i just -- i think there is a weird con evergence of all parties. >> stick around. any minute the house judiciary committee could start up. the debate over impeachment against donald j. trump. we'll bring that right to you. stay with us. great riches will find you when liberty mutual
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members of the house judiciary committee having just voted starting to return to the hearing room and will continue debating the two arm arms of impeachment ghent president trump, abuse of power and obstruction of congress. john king, let me start with you. how good a case do you think democrats have made for these two articles of impeachment? have they made the case? not saying you have to agree or not, to a skeptical independent that the president abused his power and has obstructed
congress by not cooperating with the investigators? >> if you have tracked along through the intelligence committee hearings and public testimony and articles of impeachment here i would answer, yes. that does not mean it's impeachable. that's a separate argument and you have to be a member of the house and get to vote that. have democrats made the case the president used official powers withheld military aide and a meeting at the white house to benefit him personally that had zip to do with national security? yes, they have. an issue accept coequal branch of government issued subpoenas in a constitutional obligation, responsibility of the house impeachment and the president said, no, absolutely no, didn't give the witnesses, yes, that's well documented. those facts are not in dispute. the question is, can they make the argument? especially with an election 11 months from now the president should be removed for this? the factual argument of democrats is a pretty solid
case. the political argument should a president be removed is why we've seen a stagnation of public opinion making it hard for democrats. the democrats who say we have to do this, we must do this, we don't care about the politics is one thing. >> it's a solid case for people who are really interested in learning the actual facts. and -- >> and have the time to do so. >> and have the time, but are not interested in hearing what they want to hear, which is the problem, increasing problem, with our country and with society and with, you know, the media and we can talk about this for -- for 50 years, about the -- how things have changed. but it is played out in such a stark way during this whole process. that what john described about what the democrats are presenting in a world of, you know, where people are open to hearing arguments that don't comport with how they want things to go, meaning
republicans don't want this president to be impeached, or don't want to hear that the president did this and that is the core issue. they are talking past each other and the people out there who could be persuaded are not persuadable because they don't want to listen or are listening to people and media outlets telling them the things they want to hear. >> jerry nadler just walked back into the hearing room. expecting him to gavel back into proceedings any minute. laura, same question. how solid a case do you think democrats have made, not just to people who were paying attention to every word, not just political junkies or invested way way or the other in the outcome but the average american. how much are they hearing and are upset by it? >> with respect to the second article of impeachment, they received nothing in return for congressional subpoenas. clear. check in for one-half a second and that's clear to the american people. whether you think that's enough to impeach is a different story.
on the first part, it takes a little more intellectual exercise and requires abuse of power to look at context. losing argument trying to persuade the american public if this is a, the straw that broke the camel's back argument, because the american people want to know in an election year why this instance, why now? relying on context requires you to do what? go back to the mueller probe. did not have the benefit of witnesses like ambassador yovanovitch or dr. fiona hill or lieutenant colonel andrew vindman who were able to give a face to the actual allegations there. all they had was robert mueller, who without a doubt did not present the most exciting, energetic, charismatic of cases. you have that. ip think you have to worry about the american public, what would be the motivation for members of congress to say it's okay for the president of the united states to ignore subpoenas? if the president of the united states is head of a very branch of government whose job it is to
exercise and enforce the laws? that's the real issue. to me, it's never been whether the case is made. it's whether or not congress is allowing people to believe this is the time now. >> i'm not a believer that the mueller, incorporated mueller in articles or arguing it more would have changed the public view. look at the change in polling. it all shifted around the time when we saw the whistle-blower report, when we saw the transcript and that was talked about. very simple. actually, 70% of the public in many polls think the president did something wrong. not removened and impeached necessarily but don't like what they say. >> recess. >> jerry nadler is reconvening. >> and -- seeking recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i've heard continually from the other side this argument about obstruction of justice. obstruction of congress, rather.
i apologize. i am baffled. more i think about it the more i'm baffled. in colorado we have a different term for that. we call it a campaign promise. you see when congress has a 14% approval rating, it's somewhere between being as popular as shingles in an allexpen-expense trip to north "consumer reports." -- north korea. we have a national debt of over $22 trillion. we have a deficit of over $1 trillion. this year. we were sent here to obstruct this congress. we were sent here to make sure that this power of the purse is actually exercised around this place. we were sent here to make sure we didn't nationalize and ruin
health care. sent here to secure the border and do our very best. to prohibit sanctuary cities in this country. we were sent here to stop this body from ignoring states' rights. yesterday we passed the ndaa bill. somehow someone slipped in a provision that every federal employee, every federal -- not just defense department employees, but every federal employee will be given three months of paid family leave. every federal employee. all of those americans sitting out there don't get that. it's exactly why we're here. to make sure that we hold congress to a higher standard. and if you issue an article of
impeachment for obstructing congress, you're going to make this president more popular, not less popular. congress is an embarrassment, and this president is holding his campaign promises, moving the embassy to jerusalem. cutting taxes. cutting regulations. sustaining an amazing economy with low unemployment. job creation. bringing manufacturing jobs back. negotiating trade deals. i think that we should be talking about how we support this president, how we support this agenda and not how we undermine the positive direction that we are going in this country, and with that i yield back.
>> will the gentleman yield for a question? >> no. >> yield back. >> thank you, mr. chair. strike the last word. >> gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. democrats are articles of impeachment claim the president had corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefits used to influence the 2020 united states presidential election. well, they have absolutely no proof of that. let's read the actual transcripts of the phone call in question. and i want to remind you for the people that read it, there's only one section in this entire transcript and it's not until page 4 out of 5 that president trump brings up biden, which is well into the july 25th call. president trump said to the ukrainian president, and i
quote, "the other thing. there's a lot of talk about biden's son. that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. so if you can look into it, sounds horrible to me." to anyone that hasn't seen the video of joe biden bragging he got a prosecutor fired. i recommend you watch it. it's very telling. biden brags about how he got the ukrainian prosecutor fired for investigating barisma. barisma, to remind you, is the corrupt ukrainian company that hired hunter biden. joe biden's son. to serve on their board at the very same time that vice
president biden was the point man to ukraine. hmm. joe biden says, he told ukraine he wouldn't give them $1 billion if they didn't fire the prosecutor. he said, and i quote, "if the prosecutor is not fired you're not getting the money." put yourself in president trump's shoes. he has seen or heard about the video of joe biden bragging about how he got the prosecutor fired. the same prosecutor that had been investigating the same corrupt company where biden's son got a cushy spot on the board getting paid at least $50,000 a month, at the same time that joe biden, while serving as vice president, was the point man to ukraine. my democratic colleagues seem convinced that the president was
targeting biden to influence the 2020 election. that is their main premise of these articles of impeachment. but it is just as likely, and i would say more likely, that president trump wanted to get to the bottom of possible corruption with the bidens, barisma and ukraine. and with that i yield back. >> gentle lady yeeds baields ba. i now recognize myself and strike the last word. i want to say the central issue of this impeachment is the corruption of our institutions that safeguard democracy by this president. those are two basic protections we have for our democracy. free and fair elections, and the president in article one is charged with trying to subvert
the free and fair elections by extorting a foreign power into interfer interfering in that election to give him help in his campaign. we cannot tolerate a president subverting fairness and integrity of our elections. the second major safeguard of our liberties designed by the framers of the constitution is the separation of powers. the power is not united in one dictator, but is spread out through the executive represented by the president, the congress and judiciary. the second article of impeachment charges that the president sought and seeks to destroy the power of congress. congress may be unpopular, and maybe we should be re-elected or maybe we shouldn't be re-elected. that's a question for the voters, but the institutional power of congress to safeguard
our liberties by providing a check and a ball, on the executive is absolutely crucial to the constitutional scheme to protect our liberties. central to that is the ability to investigate the actions of the executive branch to see what's going on and to hold the executive, the president, or people working for him, accountable. secretary article of impeachment says that the president sought to destroy that by categorically withholding all information from an impeachment inquiry. now, that is different from contesting some subpoenas on the basis of privilege. some may be contestable. some may not be, but a categorical withholding of information. we will prohibit anybody in the executive branch from complying with any congressional subpoena no matter how justified, make sure nobody in the executive
branch gives any document to congress with respect to this inquiry, it's a subversion of the congressional power to keep the executive in check. so whether you think congress is behaving well or badly, whether popular or unpopular, if you want a dictator, then you subvert the ability of congress to hold the executive in check. what is central here is, do we want a dictatodictator? no matter how popular he may be, no president is supposed to be a dictator in the united states. when i hear colleagues of mine arguing congress is unpopular and therefore obstruction of congress is a good thing, this shows terrible ignorance or a lack of care for our institutions, for our democracy, for our form of government, for our liberties. i, for one, will protect our liberty and do everything i can to protect our liberties, our
democracy, our free and fair elections and the separation of powers that says congress and the president and the judiciary check each other and nobody can be addict tater. dictator. i yield back there chairman -- >> mr. -- i now recognize mr. johnson. >> for what purposes? >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i would speak to the goetz amendment why we're here. to address what you said, that's a beautiful argument. you should make it in court, because that's what you're supposed to do under our system. if you want to make that argument go to a federal court, third branch of government, to resolve a dispute between the executive. go make that argument but you won't do it? you know why? you guaranteed your base you would get impeachment by december. this is ridiculous, a travesty of justice and we're we're concerned.
i love the goetz amendment. reset the table after break. people at home an able to follow it because they don't have the handouts. all he wants to do. page 3, it lines, 10 through 11 reads president trump suggested investigation into former vice president joe biden. simple. three lines. wants to replace it with a well-known company barisma in its corrupt hiring of hunter biden. quote/unquote. a logical amendment comports with the facts of everything we said a lot of people at home are scratching their heads saying i wonder why the democrats would oppose that? here's why. constituent sent me a note during our break for the votes series and he said this. "let me get this straight. president trump's phone call amounts to an abuse of power but vice president biden's actions do not?" review what we know. i pulled facts. go through them quick. first, in biden's case he
personally withheld u.s. aid until the prosecutor he wanted fires was actually fired. biden received a personal benefit for his official act namely the ability of his son to continue to collect money from a corrupt ukrainian company. hunter and joe biden had a direct financial stake in avoiding an investigation of barisma that myself lead to the company's demise. his gravy train would stop. of course. obvious. everybody can see it. an article that stated following about the ukrainian prosecutor's ouster. "among those with a stake in the outcome was hunter biden. mr. biden's younger son at the time on the board of an energy company owned by a ukrainian oligarch in the sights of the fired prosecutor." joe biden had a personal interest avoiding a personal scandal involving his son. clearly a requested informational investigation into biden's dealings was justified as an informational
investigations into abuse of power by the administration. of course, mr. trump's being justified no impeachment charge against him is justified. it can't be an abuse of power by president trump to inquire about an abuse of power that's so painfully obvious by vice president biden. in other words, any theory of impeachment on these facts has to collapse on several and ends up exonerating president donald j. trump. that's the reason they won't accept the amendment and why every one of us looking at the facts objectively has an obligation to do it. i have a minute and a half left. correcting something else used in the record. a lot facts to correct and may be here a while do that. my good friend and trusted friend ms. lofgren said before the break at some point that the ukrainians knew about the hold on the aid, but the fact is senior ukrainian government officials did not know about the delay in funding until august 28th. ukrainian embassy officials who
contacted state department and d.o.d. officials were acting rogue with the then ukraine ambassador to the u.s. and working to withhold information from kiev to undermine the new zelensky administration. swamp drainer. the guy who would clean up the corruption president trump affirmed later. andrei yermak confirmed president zelensky's close advisers had no knowledge of the hold until made public by the politico article august 28th. look that is a fact. like everything else they're trying to obscure you can't take your eye off the ball. i know this is hard to follow back home from conscientious constituents of ours and citizens trying to do their duty, trying to be nchbl inform and engaged. it's hard to follow. you have to know both the process and the substance of these arguments is completely empty. spr
ha vapid. we're wasting our time. i yield back. >> mr. chairman i move to strike the last word. >> gentleman recognized. >> there's been some discussion today as to what is the reason why we are here. it's been suggested by some that we are here because we disagree with the president and his policies. a few moments ago we heard a list of some policies where there actually might be some disagreement with the president of the united states. you know, we do have some policy disagreements with the president of the united states. we do disagree strongly about separating children from their parents at the southern border. we do disagree strongly with this president and his attempt to eliminate free, existing condition protections under the affordable care act. we disagree strongly with this
president about his decision to remove us from the international climate change accord. but none of those are the reasons we are here today voting today on articles of impeachment. we are only here today voting on these two articles of impeachment because this president has chose to put his personal interests ahead of the national interests. we are only here today because this president chose to attempt to withhold public resources in order to gain an unfair advantage in an election. that is the reason why we are here. that's the only reason why we are here. we are here voting on these two articles, but we're also here for the very important principle, is any person above the law?
that's what each member has to think about as they make this important decision. not trying to divert attention from the core facts or trying to make this important vote today about something other than it is. that's what we need to focus on and i hope we will for the rest of this hearing. at this point i will yield to the gentle lady from texas. congresswoman escobar. >> thank you, mr. stanton. much reference has been played to the transcript and i use air quotes, because it's not an official transcript. i want to remind everyone, that this was a document provided to us by the white house with el ellipses in the document and we don't know exactly what's wa stated because it is not an official document. much has been made also about this idea of the use of, do us a favor. as though the united states of america and foreign policy
experts and state department experts were clamoring to get information on barisma, or information on hunter biden or joe biden. we heard from mr. goldman last week, and i asked him specifically if his committees had investigated that claim, that there was some legitimate concern by the government about corruption regarding barisma, and he said they thoroughly investigated it and found absolutely no evidence. mr. trump is welcome to be here. he was welcome to be here. he was welcome to participate. his lawyers. so that if he has any information that would exonerate him about this, he could present it at any time. he is not. now, let's compare that to the fact that he has prohibited witnesses from coming before our committee and other committees. he has prevented documents from seeing the light of day.
he has intimidated witnesses. so let's remember that he is doing absolutely everything possible to hide his wrongdoing. if he could prove otherwise, he would. now, compare that with the information that was created through the investigations. over 300 pages in a report. over -- or 17 witnesses. over 200 text messages. that's just what was able to make light of day. that's just what we were able to discover, because of patriots willing to come forward. so, again, i would say, if there's any evidence that the american government or a foreign policy adviser or experts or the diplomats that dealt with ukraine believed that this was about us, then the president can show the evidence. thank you, mr. stanton. i yield back.
>> thank you. mr. chair, back to you. >> yields back. >> move to strike the last word. >> recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, our colleague from louisiana is exactly right. it gets confusing. it does. there's a lot we've been talking about which is why it's so important to always return to the facts, and i just wanted to set a ucouple of facts straight. we heard that we were somehow sent here, members of congress are somehow sent here to defend the president, or to defend the president's policies or to defend an overturning of the -- i didn't really understand the suggestion, because the fact is, and i think everyone on this day and everyone on our committee, every american knows and needs to be reminded we're sent here to defend the constitution. and the constitution provides three coequal branches of
government, and when the president of the united states chooses to refuse to engage with the coequal branch of government that is this body, when the president through his lawyer makes clear that he will not respect the constitution, will silence anyone who might have information to provide congress, well, we'll instruct them to not turn over a single document, that is the obstruction of congress we're talking about. and the suggestion that it's somehow standard operating procedure in the united states of america for a president to defy congress completely and then for our friends on the other side to throw up their hands and say, ah, every president does it. the way that we resolve these
issues is to go to court. we have three coequal branches of government. if one branch says they're going to completely obstruct the business of the second, then we just go to court. that's the way it works in our country. again, it's important to remind people of the facts, and the constitution. that's not how it works. it doesn't work that way. it's never worked that way. never. in the entire history of our country. we haven't had a president of the united states simply defy coequal branch altogether. there's no example. my friends on the other side of the aisle cannot point to a single example where a president has said i will not cooperate with you in any part of your work, period. this is not a legitimate effort. you are not a quo equal branch of government. and then simply says, but you can go to court, because that's
how things always work. again, it's just important to remember the facts are clear. no president has ever, ever, ever obstructed congress in the manner that we've seen from president trump. >> the gentleman yield? >> in a moment. and so as we go forward and we like, i don't know how much longer we'll be here. it's always important to make sure that the facts are clear. and that we don't muddy the waters by suggesting that something that is so unprecedented that we've never seen before in the history of our country is somehow just part and parcel of the ways things work around here. they don't. we know it. my friends on the other side of the aisle know it. the american people know it, but mr. johnson's right. sometimes it's important to remind that. >> i want to add a constitutional post-script to underscore the very important