Skip to main content

tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  December 12, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

7:00 pm
been looking for an excuse to impeach this president for a long time now. in fact, when they took over the house -- >> pardon of the interruption here. i'm going to step out here at the top of the hour, but our coverage of the impeachment proceedings continue now on msnbc. stay with us. >> it's all about politics, hurting the president, hurting his reputation. they dislike him intensely. as i mentioned the other day, they really loathe this president and they're trying to hurt his chances in the next election. but one of my real concerns, and i have a lot of them about this whole thing, and i mentioned this earlier today, i'm very concerned about is that the democrats are really lowering the bar for impeaching a president in the future. it's becoming too routine. it's becoming the new normal. for 200 years in our nation we had one impeachment, one in 200 years, andrew johnson. and now in less than 50 years
7:01 pm
we're in our third one this time around. and i really am concerned that from now on in all likelihood when you have the president of the united states and you have the house of representatives and their opposite parties, you're going to end up with a base in the house of representatives pushing very hard for members to impeach that president, and it's very divisive for the nation. so many other things don't get done when you're going through an impeachment. for example, opioids. 70,000 almost americans lost their lives last year, but we've done very little about opioids in this committee, and we have jurisdiction over it doing something like our southern border which is like a sieve, and this committee's responsibility but we do almost nothing there. and over all in congress our infrastructure, roads and highways are crumbling and we do very little about that. so i think the american people deserve a lot better from what they're getting from this
7:02 pm
committee and this congress. in any event i want to thank the folks out there and god bless america. >> gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does mr. deuche seek recognition? >> i move to strike the last word. it is always the right time to defend the constitution. and that's the very reason that we're here. there are two articles of impeachment. the first is abuse of power. the president of the united states abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in our elections. how did he do it? he leveraged lifesaving taxpayer funded military aid that ukraine desperately needed for assistance in his re-election campaign, and he leveraged a white house meeting that he had
7:03 pm
promised to the new ukrainian president that president zelensky desperately needed to show vladimir putin that the united states is willing to stand with ukraine. and he leveraged that meeting for assistance in his re-election campaign. that's abuse of power. now, my colleagues have suggested that somehow abuse of power is not a serious offense, that we should make light of the president's actions, not treat it as the constitutional violation that it is. in fact, abuse of power was a principle concern of the framers of the constitution. and it was clear what it meant. the exercise of official power to obstatain an improper person benefit while ignoring the national interests, that's abuse of power. it's rooted thin president's duty, constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law.
7:04 pm
to put service over self, to put the country over his personal interests. i note for my colleagues all four of the constitutional scholars who testified including the republicans own witness have confirmed that abuse of power is an impeachable offense. president trump's own actions in fact exemplify the framers fears and the very reason that abuse of power is high crime. worse than president nixon president trump pressured a foreign government to aid in his corrupt scheme. that's the abuse of power article. but there's a second article, obstruction of congress. we know that no president in history, in history has directed the entire executive branch not to cooperate with an impeachment
7:05 pm
inquiry, has told every member of the executive branch not to speak to any of the impeachment inquiry -- to any of the impeachment inquiry issues. now, the question is when you look at the abuse of power which is a constitutional violation, and then you look at the president's obstruction of congress it leads to some questions i would like my colleagues to think about as we head toward this important vote. think about the people who the president has blocked from speaking. think about mick mulvaney. he acknowledged quid pro quo, says it happens all the time. that's abuse of power. then the president wouldn't let him speak. that's obstruction of congress. why won't he let him speak? what does he have to hide? think about secretary perry, ambassador taylor described the
7:06 pm
highly irregular ukraine policy channel led by rudy giuliani that included sondland, volker and rick perry. that contributings es to the abf power, it highlights the abuse of power. but it also is obstruction of congress. why -- why won't the president allow him to speak? what is he afraid of? think about john bolton. fiona hill testified that bolton told her to notify nsc counsel about the rogue effort -- he said i'm not a part of whatever drug deal sondland and mulvaney are cooking up. both in fact called giuliani a hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up. that's the abuse of power. obstruction of congress is clear. why won't he let him testify? what's he hiding? and lieutenant colonel vendman couldn't believe what he heard on the call and now eisenberg
7:07 pm
can't speak. what is it that the president is afraid he'll say? that's obstruction of congress. abuse of power and obstruction of congress, together that's what these articles are about. we're protecting the constitution. we're protecting the american people and our elections. that's why we need to proceed with these articles of impeachment. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. >> i move to strike the last word, mr. chairman. >> gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've been a prosecutor. prosecuted terrorists actually in the iraq court system, i actually got to defend a navy seal against trumped-up charges by the obama administration. and i had the honor of defending a district judge in my hometown of pittsburgh. so i've been on all sides of the courtroom. so i can tell you i would defend this case every single day. it is because the facts just
7:08 pm
aren't there. let's go through each article. abuse of power, quid pro quo, bribery. call it whatever your focus group wants to call it because at the end of the day you don't have the facts to make up the case. you don't have the facts because the other party on your alleged quid pro quo never felt pressure. we have a primary document, primary source of information that is the transcript of the call that shows there is no connection. we also have the other party, president zelensky who said at no time did the ukrainians feel any pressure to have an investigation. we also know any investigation of biden ever took place. we also know that aid was given to ukraine, aid they never knew at the time was being under review, and aid that came in the form of javelin missiles. not what the obama administration gave, which were
7:09 pm
well wishes and blankets. so, again, no case can be made for abuse of power. obstruction of congress. it isn't right because only letters have been sent. there's been no subpoena. and how this work said is a subpoena is issued. the executive branch exercises their executive privilege just like obama did. and the courts have never decided this so where is obstruction? it doesn't exist. even if the facts are viewed like most favorable to the democrats, you still again cannot make out what we as lawyers call a prima facie case. this case would be dismissed on day one. but i'll tell you what case i'd
7:10 pm
prosecute. i'd prosecute schiff for abuse of power any day of the week. why? how about the fact he subpoenaed phone records from a member of congress? how about the fact he singled out devin nunes phone number and leaked that? how about the fact he dumped over 8,000 pages on the judiciary committee 48 hours before we had a hearing in this committee? that is abuse of power and that is what i would prosecute every day of the week. obstruction -- i'd prosecute the democrats for obstruction of congress, too. how about the fact i had a motion subpoena the whistle-blower. which by the way you cannot point to any statute. there's no statute that gives the whistle-blower the right to be anonymous. does not exist no matter what you say. i had a motion subpoena the whistle-blower two weeks ago. that motion was denied, i never got my subpoena and it was done
7:11 pm
in a partisan fashion right down the partisan line and so that is obstruction and i would prosecute that every single day. folks, this is nothing more than a political hit job. and i yield the remanlder inder time. >> gentleman yields back. >> move to strike the last work. >> gentle lady is recognized. >> i want to reiterate this is not about disagreements with the president's policies or personality or even his tweets. we're not judging the president himself. we're judging his actions. and i understand that he ran to disrupt the government. the problem is he went further. by abusing his power he endangered our elections and our national security. he remains an ongoing threat to
7:12 pm
both. so we've heard a lot of loose talk about what evidence we have or don't have. there is plenty of direct evidence of the president's wrongdoing including for example his july 25th call record in which he said to the ukrainian president, i want you to do us a favor, though. and then proceeded to request investigations into his political rival in a debunked conspiracy theory that the senate and all of our national security services have rejected. we have the testimony of his appointees, ambassador somdland a and volker about the may 23rd meeting in which the president said to them, talk to rudy. we have the testimony of three first-hand witnesses to the july 25th call, two of whom promptly reported the call to their superiors and to legal counsel. we have the testimony of david holmes who overheard the president ask ambassador
7:13 pm
sondland whether president zelensky was going to, quote, do the investigation. we have president's many public statements including his october 3rd statement that ukraine and china should investigate his political rival. even the minority counsel admitted there was direct evidence. he said, quote, we had some direct evidence on certain things and we had some direct evidence on the may 23rd meeting and sondland gave some direct evidence, end quote. the secondhand accounts were also extensively corroborated. for example, ambassador taylor and mr. morrison, both testified that during a september phone call with ambassador sondland president trump said there was no quid pro quo but then president zelensky had to go to the phone and announce investigations. ambassador sondland testified he had no reason to dispute ambassador taylor's and mr. morrison's testify about this conversation. there's also circumstantial
7:14 pm
evidence. there was no contemporaneous explanation given for the president's decision to with hold military aid that had bipartisan support from congress. that didn't come until after the articles of impeachment were filed. and the unified response from the state department and white house witnesses is that the aid should have been released. given these facts the only logical explanation as ambassador sondland concluded is that the aid was being used to leverage pressure on president zelensky. at the end of the day the evidence is overwhelming and the disputable. president trump's personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, pushed ukraine to investigate his political rival and a debunked conspiracy theory. his efforts had nothing to do and were taken with the
7:15 pm
president's knowledge. president trump ordered that critical military aid be withheld. officials were informed the aid would not be released unless president zelensky publicly announced an investigation, and president trump refused to release the aid until his pressure campaign on the ukraine was exposed. president trump refused to arrange a meeting with president zelensky, and president trump's agents advised ukrainian officials that the white house meeting would be scheduled only after president zelensky committed to the investigations. president trump ignored the anti-corruption talking points prepared for his calls. president trump asked president zelensky directly to investigate president trump's chief political rival. and president trump stonewalled congress' investigation. you know, i don't know what more you can ask for here.
7:16 pm
we've got admissions from the president. we've got corroboration from people he's appointed. the only thing you can do is stick your head in the sand if you're not willing to see what happened here. and with that i would yield to my colleague from florida. is she here? okay, she's -- >> oh, thank you. a few seconds. i'll wait for the next yield. >> okay. >> the time for the gentle lady has expired. >> they had a problem because these things will never change. there was no pressure. both president zelensky and president trump said there was no pressure, no victim -- the aid was released and there was no investigation. and you know what else?
7:17 pm
there was no whistle-blower and no adam schiff. if you cannot prove any of it, i guess you're going to use all of it, so why not expand it all the way back to where this thing all started? bob mueller. and buried in the bottom of article 2 of this impeachment is the language these action were consistent with president trump's efforts to undermine the government -- but i guess after two years, 19 lawyers, 40 agents, 500 warrants, 2,800 subpoenas, $30 million there's
7:18 pm
simply no way they could leave it out. here is just a reminder. the investigation dild not establish members of the trump campaign coordinated or transpired with the russian government. mueller report page 2. this started it day president trump the election. this has been the forgone conclusion since the day the democrats won back the majority. this was never about facts or fairness, so here we are where we were always going to be on a purely partisan impeachment that is destined to fail in the senate. and with that i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentle lady is recognized. >> you know, i've listened carefully to this very long debate this evening and throughout the last two weeks, and i think it's important to look back to the founders and the foundation of what it is
7:19 pm
that we're doing here. the founders knew that the powers given to the president needed to have the capacity to be curbed in the case of abuse. the framers of the constitution consciously adopted a particular phrase from the english practice to help define the constitutional grounds for removal. the content of the phrase, high crimes and misdemeanors for the framers is to be related to what the framers knew on the whole about the english practice, the broad sweep of english constitutional history and the vital role impeachment had play in a limitation of royal prerogatives and the control of abuses of ministerial and judicial power. now, when you're coming to
7:20 pm
private affairs in an ordinary criminal law it's possible in advance to define what it is you can't do. you can't steal that money. you can't hit that person. but when you're talking about the abuse of presidential power, you can't always specifically define what a bad actor in the house might do, and therefore you have the term high crimes and misdemeanors, and you have the abuse of presidential power. it's important to note in the second article of impeachment against richard nixon there was an article for abuse of power. the article principally addressed to aid his political
7:21 pm
allies, harm his political opponents, gain impersonal political advantages. he used his power and this is a quote, it had undertaken for his personal political advantage and not in furtherance of any valid national political objective. his presidential powers and again this is quote, were seriously incompatible with our system of constitutional government and warranted removal from office. we have a similar issue here, but i want to raise the issue addressed by my colleague from ohio. because i do agree there can be a tendency in the country these days to immediately think i don't like that, let's go to impeachment. that frankly has been prevalent since the clinton impeach. . lying under oath is a crime. lying about sex a shame, but neither one involves the use of
7:22 pm
presidential powers. and the use of impeachment in that instance really in an improper way, it was never an abuse of presidential power, i think put it in the public mind this is tool to be used about disagreements about policy. nothing could be further from the truth. i voted against the iraq war, but the congress voted. some people thought we should have articles of impeachment about that. no, that did not undercut the constitutional order. congress voted. it was a mistake, but it was the president and the congress together. it was not the president usurping the powers of another branch of government. here we have a situation that is so obvious, if you look at facts, it's just inconceivable, the things i've heard today are just stunning to me that you could reach a conclusion as
7:23 pm
really defense counsel here grasping at straws. the president misused his presidential power to gain a benefit to the detrimental interest of the united states. it is an abuse of power that harmed us, and it is ongoing, it is a threat to the constitutional order. it meet the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors. it is abuse of presidential power. and it is our responsibility to use the tool that our founders gave us in the constitution to preserve that constitutional order. we must impeach. i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. who seeks recognition? >> strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized. >> thank you. just a quick comment. comments about president
7:24 pm
clinton's actions, when you lie under oath it's perjury, it's a crime. and i understand the comment that he wasn't acting in his official capacity. that would setback the me too movement if they took that position, you know, having sex with an employee that's that much younger when you're president of the united states. that's not in its official capacity. but no matter how long we spend today, tonight, tomorrow, it doesn't make up for it fact that we did not have fact witnesses. i mean, this remind me historically of the trial of so sacrates. you want to try donald trump for being arrogant? i'm sure you'd have a republicans vote with you on that. yeah, he's arrogant. he's a lot to be arrogant about,
7:25 pm
but that is not a crime. it is not a high crime for sure. and it's certainly not a misdemeanor. it's bothersome to people, some people like it, but that's not what impeachment is supposed to be about. and to have had a trial the fear hearsay gossipmongering witnesses there were coming to a star chamber and people can't seal them, hear them but we have adam schiff put it together in a report, we receive the report but don't have much time to review it. but that's all we need. we don't even get to hear from the preparer of the report and get to cross examine him. this is stalin-esque type proceeding. that's the way it worked under
7:26 pm
stalin. you didn't get to find out the fact witnesses because usually there weren't any, just like here. so what do you have? you have people give an appearance, give their impressions and oh, gee, we're well educated. great. that's fine. and if you never sure about rationalizing, go to law school. you're trained to do that. so when you hate a person like the three witnesses obviously do donald trump, you can come in and just misrepresent facts and use those to base your opinions on them. just great. but look at what really started -- it started before mueller. it started back carter page had worked for the cia to help them against the russians. and what do they do? they pervert that, lie to the fisa court and say, oh, he has worked with russians. misrepresent who he is, what he did and what a patriot he was and then get a warrant.
7:27 pm
and then as time goes on, they lie about it. it came from hillary clinton's campaign, the democratic national committee, and they hired fusion gps, they hired a foreigner to affect our election. and they worked with an australian, an italian and they -- actually christopher steele admitted you know what those people that gave me that information, they may have been russian, they may have been ukrainians. it'd be nice to know, but the majority doesn't want us to get there. and the very week we find out how bad this travesty one the top people in the fbi and department of justice perverted justice because they didn't like the guy that might get elected. they did everything they could. they used all these foreign resources to try and change the outcome of the 2016 election.
7:28 pm
and when that didn't work, then they came forward with impeachment. it was, oh, let's project what we did on donald trump, but it turned out he didn't do that. and even mueller and weissman, as much as they hated trump, they couldn't find anything to use against president trump. so we had to drop the russian collusion. we had to drop the treason. oh, what about obstruction? just well it's not obstruction of justice when you know you're innocent and you know the department of juls s is tryisti to set you up and you're trying to expose the truth. no, it was others who were obstructing the true justice. vindman, for heavens sake you set that guy up a hero. he wasn't a hero. for those who believe in praying for this country, pray for mercy. we can't afford justice -- i yield back.
7:29 pm
>> gentleman yields back. >> move to strike the last word. >> young lady is recognized. >> mr. chairman, five more minutes. five more minutes in a very, very long day. but when you look at what the other side has presented in defense of the president, what do we get? nada, nothing. none of y'all will defend the president's actions because quite simply you cannot defend the indefensible. you just can't. even if you like him or support his actions, you just won't defend what he did. it's really quite simple and not complicated at all. he offered official acts in exchange for a political favor. he's a clear and present danger to do it again. he ignored the power of the people and he will do it again. it's really just that simple.
7:30 pm
the president is an imminent threat. the president has shown us his pattern of conduct. he's made clear he will continue to abuse his power to corrupt the 2020 elections. we must act with a sense of urgency to protect our democracy and defend our constitution. in the clinton case the house voted to impeach 72 days after it authorized an inquiry. it has been 94 days since congress launched its investigation into the president's dealings with ukraine. impeachment is a charging decision like a grand jury or a prosecutor makes. and we have seen more than enough evidence here to charge and move to trial in the senate. it is the president who's abusing his power. what is not fair is the president's blanket refusal to participate in this inquiry for
7:31 pm
the sole purpose of hiding the facts from the american people. federal courts have ruled that congress has a constitutional right to obtain documents and testimony from the trump administration. one federal court said that the president's obstructions is a farce and he is openly stonewalling, and i agree. he is the first president to engage in wall to wall stonewalling and in some respects an outright cover-up of his own behavior. he's refused to comply with all the congressional subpoenas an act no other citizen can do without consequence. as has been stated before, even president nixon shared documents and allowed current and former aides to testify as part of the impeachment process.
7:32 pm
and the committee still recommended an article of impeachment against him for obstruction. last night i reminded us that all this is really about improving and protecting our democracy for the little boys and girls across this nation so they will know about what it means to make a promise and to make a pledge and to keep it. because democracy is a gift that each generation gives to the next. and that's why we have to take action, we have to move forward, and we must impeach the president. with that, mr. chairman, i yield the remanldinder of my time to colleague from florida. >> i just wanted to answer and clarify that i along with so many of my colleagues, so many of us you see sitting on this
7:33 pm
dias, we did not come here to impeach the president of the united states. we came to lower health care costs, and that's exactly what we did today. we voted on hr3 today to lower prescription drug prices. they say let the american people decide. well, that is why last week we voted on the voting rights amendment act, which many of my republican colleagues voted against. let american society, yes that is exactly why we're here because we don't want russia, ukraine or china making the decision for us in our american government. this president has committed the highest crime by abusing the power of his office, inviting foreign interference in our elections, and that is why we are here today. please don't confuse americans with false claims and pushing debunked conspiracy theories. we are here to tell the american people the truth. i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back.
7:34 pm
who seeks recognition? >> to strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i've lost track of the number of newspaper articles that have been entered into the record in these proceedings, but i think it's a telling commentary on the case this committee is relying on. i think it underscores dereliction of duty of a judiciary committee drafting articles of impeachment without a single fact hearing. virtually the entire record is to shift report and newspaper clippings. as i reminded the committee yesterday this week mr. schiff's report on fisa abuse was categorically and completely contradicted by the inspector general's report. mr. schiff's work is not exactly what you can call the gold standard of accuracy, reliability or incisive analysis. and newspaper clippings with all due respect are not exactly the solid foundation that can
7:35 pm
support our wielding such power. impeachment should be made of sterner stuff. a matter so momentous as this should be considered thoroughly and dispassionately and fairly. mr. chairman, to substitute our judgment for that of the american people by nullifying a national election is a very weighty matter. if you're going to do that, you should have a record of fact that no reasonable person can deny. a one-sided report from adam schiff in a newspaper scrapbook is a foundation of an impeachment that i predict will crumble and disintegrate before the senate finishes its consideration. abuse of power is exactly the vague and expansive ground that the founders considered as maladministration and rejected in favor of the narrow ground of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. the lawful exercise of the
7:36 pm
president's constitutional authority is not impeachable. and the moment we make it so, the president becomes a servant of congress, and the separation of powers which has protected our freedom for nearly 2 1/2 centuries will be greatly diminished. and similarly the president's assertion of long established boundaries that maintain the separation of powers is also not impeachable. and once we make it so, we also clearly diminish the separation of powers. the overwrought political hyperbole we've heard over and over throughout these hearings ought to warn us we're straying from the political motives which should never animate the impeachment power of congress. public opinion has not coalesced around this act, which should also alert us by proceeding we would further alienate the american people and agitate the waters of this nation. you fail to denifine any law th
7:37 pm
the president has violated. if you could, you should clearly articulate and support it with legally admissible evidence and put it in the articles. otherwise your case is simply a disagreement with decisions the president is authorized to make. and again, this is matter that our constitution reserves to the voters and not to the congress. and by denying the witnesses requested by the minority, you've blinded the committee to getting the whole story. if you're truly confident of your case, you should have nothing to fear from what a full airing of testimony would offer. the most chilling observation i've heard is that we can do this because we're not restricted like the department of justice is. well, the same rights of due process and the same fidelity to the constitution are required of us. in the impeachment of andrew johnson congress made many of the same mistakes we are making tonight. i would urge my colleagues to carefully consider how history
7:38 pm
has judged them and how it will judge us. i yield back. >> the gentle pln yields back. >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you. mr. chairman, we just continue to hear the same excuses for the president's behavior. and this is such a grave moment that we're in. we're talking about the highest constitutional crimes -- abuse of power and obstruction of congress. and so let me once again just review the facts. first, my republican colleagues have said this is about corruption, but all of president trump's agencies, all of his advisers, everyone unanimously told him that ukraine had passed all the anti-corruption bench marks. the department of defense said that ukraine had passed their review on anti-corruption bench
7:39 pm
marks and no further corruption policies were needed. president trump's administration cut programs designed to fight corruption in ukraine. and president trump was given talking points by the national security counsel that specifically said say these things. but president trump did not use the talking points he was given. the only two names he mentioned on the july 25th call were joe and hunter biden. second, the republicans suggested this was all about president trump's concerns with burden sharing with our allies, but that wasn't true. that wasn't true. mr. holmes testified that burden sharing was not a problem. europe was actually contributing four times as much money as the united states did.
7:40 pm
and ambassador sondland testified he was never asked to go to the european union and ask for more money. and remember mr. sondland is president trump's ambassador to the european union. what was ambassador sondland told to communicate to ukraine by president trump? he was told to say that resumption of aid would likely not occur unless president zen swr sky announced the investigations. and what were those investigations? 2016 election interference and burisma, meaning the bidens. so finally left with nothing else to argue in defense of the president, the republicans have raised one more thing, which is that president trump had a legitimate reason, somehow a legitimate reason to investigate vice president biden. but once again that makes no sense. it makes no sense because the facts are that that investigation of -- that issue
7:41 pm
of biden and burisma went back to 2015. and president trump released aid in 2017 and 2018, so he clearly didn't have a problem with the issues of 2015 because he had two opportunities to release aid, and he did. but something changed in 2019, and the only thing that changed is that vice president biden suddenly started beating president trump in the polls. so the evidence is clear. president trump said do us a favor, though. and who was the us? well, he told us. he told us exactly what he meant by us. he told president zelensky that us meant deal with rudy giuliani, president trump's personal attorney who knows, and this is a quote, very much knows what's going on. president trump could have gone through official channels if he wanted if this investigation was actually legitimate. he could have asked the
7:42 pm
department of justice to initiate an investigation into the bidens and burisma. but he didn't do that. he did not do that, and the department of justice said that he didn't do that. he never asked them to do an investigation or even talk to ukraine. instead president trump asked his personal attorney because us was not about america. this wasn't about official policy. this wasn't about what was right for our country. this was not about putting america first. every witness testified to that as well. this was personal. it was all for president trump's personal political gain. this was to benefit trump's own re-election campaign. that's why he had his personal attorney do this. he abused his power and he abused the office. and he placed our safety,
7:43 pm
millions of dollars of taxpayer money all at risk for his personal political election. and that is the one thing the president can't do. he cannot use our money, the powers of the office that we entrusted to him, we the people not for us but for himself. that is the gravest abuse of power, and this president has left us no choice but to impeach him. i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. for what purposes does mr. johnson seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized. >> this morning i began by outlining our important role of the day. most of us are attorneys on this committee and in this case we're also called as finders of fact. we're supposed to carefully and objectively analyzed the claims not against our personal preferences but against the records of evidence. and now we've done that in the past 12 hours and it's time to
7:44 pm
summarize our case. now literally at the end of the day there's two short articles they brought before us. and let's review both. on the first the democrats know there's zero evidence in the proceedings to show president trump engaged in any scheme of any kind or that he intend in his dealings with ukraine to influence the 2020 election. all they've argued today is based on hearsay speculation and conjecture completely. the truth is there's not a single fact witness that could provide testimony to support their paper thin case, which is precisely why we've been given no opportunity or a fact witness for a minority hearing. what the evidence does show is president trump holds a deep seat asked reasonable skepticism for ukraine, and his administration sought proof that the newly elected president zelensky was a true reformer. president trump wanted to ensure security assist witness not
7:45 pm
squandered overseas. it trump ukraine discussion were never about what would happen in 2020 but were about what would happen in 2016. there is simply no evidence of any impeachable offense here either. and if they'd not promise an impeachment to their liberal base by christmas, the democrats should have gone a few blocks to get a simple order compelling the extra documents they've subpoenaed. that's what always has been done in the past, but they don't have time for that here. the real abuse of power here is on the part of the house
7:46 pm
democrats as they've feverishly pursued this impeachment 20 times faster to reach their predetermined political outcome. they have ignored or blocked exculpatory evidence, restricted republican republican review of evidence, and violated proper minority fairness at every single stage. the founders of this country warned against a single party impeachment for good reason. they feared it would bitterly and perhaps irreparably divide our nation. our chairman mr. nadler gave a speech about that 20 years ago when he was opposing the impeachment of bill clinton. the obvious truth, their reason of the day changed at least a
7:47 pm
half-dozen times but they could never get any traction or facts to justify those various conspiracy theories. they obviously met somewhere at liberal high command about 75 days ago and convinced nancy pelosi they had to pull the trigger. the problem is they've done that and they couldn't uncover a single pact. so what to do? they're left with no choice but to desperately create a totally fraudulent process to try to railroad donald trump. the result is, quote, the shortest proceeding with the thinnest evidentiary record. i've actually enjoyed the sparse four minutes of real intellectual debate we had today on the actual contours. you need treason, bribery or a high crime or misdemeanor. none of that exists here, and everybody knows it. those high school students at
7:48 pm
home know it, our constituents it and in our heart of hearts my good friend on the other side of the room knows it. i would say with all sincerity this moment doesn't call for politicians. this moment calls for statesmen. this impeachment is going to fail and the democrats are going to justly pay a heavy political price it. god help us, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. >> i move to strike the last word. >> gentle lady is recognized. >> a little while ago one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who was saying the reason why aid was withheld is because the president wanted to investigate corruption. the idea that the most corrupt president that we have seen in recent history withheld military aid because he was concerned about corruption and ludicrous.
7:49 pm
as my colleagues have pointed out, both calls that president trump had with president zelensky trump never mentioned corruption. the department of defense vetted giving the aid and said it was okay. once upon a time president trump loved his generals. this time he ignored them. members of congress authorized the aid and lobbied the white house to release the aid. staff from the office of management and budget resigned because they were worried about what was going on and why the aid was withheld. they were worried about what the president was doing, and they believed withholding the aid was wrong. trump even cut funding for programs to deal with corruption in countries like ukraine. so a man that is so concerned about corruption also has interesting friends. he has bromances with some of the world's most corrupt leaders, the leaders from saudi
7:50 pm
arabia, turkey. he had the president erdogan of turkey at the white house a few weeks ago. all the president's men, all men around him indicted, arrested, incarcerated -- my mother used to say if you lay down with dogs don't be surprised when you get up with flees. i do have to say, though, i have empathy for my republican colleagues because i don't believe they have choice. they have to defend the president, and they dare not step out of line. because if they do, they will suffer the consequences. a few of my republican colleagues earlier did try to say they didn't believe the president's conduct was appropriate, and they got slapped quickly. the president said his conduct, he said the call was absolutely perfect, and so now you don't hear any of them saying or questioning whether his behavior
7:51 pm
was appropriate. you have to fall in line. and not only do you have to fall in line, you have to praise him constantly. like those famous press conferences we've seen in the oval office, where they one by one go around the table and talk about their praise for him. it makes me feel like a meeting that would take place in north korea where you have to praise dear leader. so you have the fall in line because the entire reason was corruption, but i know that you know better. you have to say that he did nothing wrong. one of my colleagues said we are lowering the bar on impeachment. i believe that we have lowered the bar on the presidency. it is so sad to see my colleagues who i believe know what's better. they are not able to say it. they know that the man is corrupt. when it comes to impeachment, there is no higher crime than for the president to use the power of his office to corrupt
7:52 pm
our elections. we will move to impeach president trump because of the abuse of power through self-dealing, the betrayal of national security in the service of foreign interests, and the corruption of our elections that undermine our democratic system. so if my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can't bring themselves to do what is right and impeach the president that they know is a threat to our election, that they know is a threat to our standing in the world, then we will have to do it, and we will have to move to impeach. i yield now to representative jackson lee. >> i thank the gentlelady for concluding. to my friends on the other side of the aisle, to the americans who listen to the soldiers everywhere who wear uniforms, i have no angst, i have no dislike of anyone who voted for anyone
7:53 pm
in 2016. i take issue at insult that one would suggest the work of this committee is about a dislike for those who voted for president trump. president trump is before this committee in articles of impeachment for his own behavior, for his desire to do with public monies and a public position, to do a private matter and a political matter. and that is to get dirt on his 2020 potential opponent. in honoring and defending the constitution, we defend and honor ourselves. and for that reason, as an indicting body to articles of impeachment, we will give the opportunity for the congress to decide on president trump's ultimate results. but i stand with the constitution -- >> the gentlelady's time. >> and stand for justice. i yield back. >> the gentlelady's time is expired. for what purposes does mr. swalwell seek recognition? >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized.
7:54 pm
>> fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me. we allow the president of the united states to again abuse his office for his own personal gain, it's shame on all of us. it's shame on our constitution. we know he is going to do that again because on june 12th of this year he told george stephanopoulos before this phone call with president zelensky happened that if he could again receive help from a foreign government, as he did from russia, he would do it again. on july 24, bob mueller testified to our committee. he said what the president could be charged with up to ten crimes of obstruction of justice, but the department of justice prevents him from doing that. the next day the president did it again. every prosecutor when they are assigned a case will open up the file, and the first thing we all do is we look at the rap sheet. was this an aberration or is this a pattern of conduct that
7:55 pm
the person engages in? but it's not just prosecutors who look or use a rap sheet. we all do it in our everyday lives. if you're a small business owner and you're hiring an employee and find out that they have multiple thefts in their past from the employer, you probably wouldn't hire them. if you're a parent looking for a night out and hiring a baby-sitter, and multiple references said the baby-sitter is always late you wouldn't ask that person to watch your kids. if you're going to a restaurant for an anniversary and saw multiple bad yelp reviews, you wouldn't go to that restaurant. the president doesn't just have bad reviews, he has really bad prior conduct, serious priors. he is a repeat offender. crimes against our constitution, and yes, crimes that one day may be prosecuted statutorily. he has abused his power in the
7:56 pm
past. he is abusing his power right now. he will abuse it tomorrow. we have a department of justice who will continue to protect him. but fortunately, the american people have a congress who can say that he's not above the law, and we're not helpless in holding him accountable. and i'll yield to the gentleman from rhode island. >> i thank you the gentleman. we've heard a lot of explanation about why we're here tonight that we don't like the policies of the president, we don't like the president. but the one thing we haven't heard, the real reason we're here tonight is the conduct of the president, the grave misconduct. and so i just want to recount very quickly again the evidence that was presented in text messages, in call records, in emails, in hundreds of press statements and tweets. president trump acknowledging that he'd been engaged on a personal basis through rudy his lawyer in investigating ukraine, that president zelensky is sensitive about ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as
7:57 pm
an instrument in washington domestic reelection politics as ambassador sondland said. that david holmes testified under oath i'm surprised that it was so specific and concrete. it was a demand that president zelensky personally commit to a specific investigation of president trump's political rival on cable news, and the evidence goes on and on and on. of the president's effort to use the enormous powers of his office to betray the national interests and cheat in the election in 2020 and to use hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to attempt to achieve that objective. our founders talked about abuse of power because they recognize that the power of the presidency was enormous. there was a danger that a president would use that power not for the public good, but for his own personal or political advantage. so they created articles of impeachment to give a final check against that abuse of power. no one's here because we want to do this. we're here because we have no choice.
7:58 pm
we're not acting out of hate. we're acting out of love of our country. and love of our democracy. when generations look back on this moment, they will ask what did we do to preserve our democracy? and the only thing we can do to preserve that is to hold this president accountable, because if we don't, they will ask us why we failed to preserve the greatest democracy on earth that has been an example to the world. and in this moment we have to find the courage to answer that question for all future generations, and not be part of an effort to undermine the greatest democracy known to man. i urge my colleagues tonight, we must approve these articles of impeachment so we can make it clear that nobody in this country in the greatest country in the world is above the law, even the most powerful person the president of the united states. and with it, i yield back.
7:59 pm
>> the gentleman yields back for what purposes does mr. jeffries seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> the record is clear donald trump abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election and thereby undermine the integrity of our democracy as well as our national security. my republican colleagues have spent all day arguing process. that's what you do when you can't defend the indefensible. you argue process. well, here is a process concern that you might reflect upon. earlier today, mitch mcconnell gave some indication as to how a possible trial in the senate may run. and this is what senator mcconnell said.
8:00 pm
i'm going to coordinate with the president's lawyers so there won't be any difference between us on how to do this. in other words, the jury, senate republicans are going to coordinate with the defendant donald trump on how exactly the kangaroo court is going to be run. i submit to you respectfully that is a process concern, that the american people should be worried about. now america is a resilient nation, and we've been through moments of turmoil before. and we've always come through. we're a resilient nation. lincoln said during the height