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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

House Judiciary Hearing into the Impeachment of Trump. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired December 9, 2019 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:00]

CICILLINE: -- that said to protect and defend the Constitution, and that's what we're engaged in today.

And so, I want to return, Mr. Goldman, to the military aid. Did the investigating committees receive evidence about why the United States military aid to Ukraine was necessary? What was it advancing? There's a lot of Americans who are watching don't know a lot about Ukraine, don't know about the geopolitical significance. Like why does it matter?

GOLDMAN: The witnesses were quite clear about this and they say it mattered for multiple reasons. The first is that Russia invaded Ukraine to take over part of their country and that this was the first military incursion in Europe since World War II and this is Russia who's an adversary actually trying to encroach on another democracy.

So, just from a broad democratic viewpoint, it was essential not only to Ukraine's national security, but to America's national security to make sure that democracy remains worldwide.

CICILLINE: And when that -- prior to the call on July 25th, Congress had approved the aid, correct?

GOLDMAN: Congress had approved the aid and then the President withheld the aid.

CICILLINE: And the Defense Department had even publicly announced its intention to deliver the aid, correct?

GOLDMAN: That's right.

CICILLINE: The Trump administration had already certified that Ukraine had taken substantial steps to combat corruption, correct?

GOLDMAN: Correct.

CICILLINE: And that normally leads to the release of the aid and certification.

GOLDMAN: It announced the release of aid, yes.

CICILLINE: And the investigative committees questioned witnesses from the Defense Department, State Department, OMB, the White House and the National Security Council about the President's decision to withhold aid, correct?

GOLDMAN: Correct.

CICILLINE: And I'd like to play a clip of some of that evidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): From what you witnessed, did anybody in the national security community support withholding the assistance?

(UNKNOWN): No.

(UNKNOWN): I never heard anyone advocate for holding the aid.

(UNKNOWN): And the entire interagency supported the continuation of the security assistance, isn't that right?

(UNKNOWN): That is correct.

(UNKNOWN): I and others sat in astonishment. Ukrainians were fighting Russians and counted on not only the training and weapons but also the assurance of U.S. support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CICILLINE: Am I correct that the witnesses that appeared before your committee confirmed that there was no credible explanation withholding the military aid and that it was, in fact, against our national security interests do so?

GOLDMAN: Everyone agreed it was against our national security interests to do so. The only explanation that any witness provided was Mr. Sandy who said that he had heard from Rob Blair, I believe, the assistant to Mick Mulvaney, that the reason was because of other country's donations or contributions to Ukraine. But that was only in September and, of course, there were no further commitments from any other country.

CICILLINE: And as we heard from Bill Taylor who's a graduate of West Point and a decorated combat veteran who served in Vietnam, Ukraine then and now is in an active war with the Russians. Russia stole part of their country in Crimea and has killed more than 10,000 Ukrainians and weakening Ukraine would only benefit Russia. Here's what Ambassador Taylor said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAYLOR: After our meeting with President Zelensky, Ambassador Volker and I traveled to the front line in Northern Donbass to receive a briefing from the commander of forces on the line of contact. Arriving for the briefing in the military headquarters, the commander thanked us for the security assistance. But I was aware that this assistance was on hold, which made me uncomfortable. Ambassador Volker and I could see the armed and hostile Russian-led forces on the other side of the damaged bridge across the line of contact.

Russian-led forces continue to kill Ukrainians in the war one or two a week. More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the U.S. assistance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CICILLINE: Against the consensus of his own agencies and national security experts, the President used congressionally appropriated funds to advance his own political interests at the expense of our national security.

This action is a threat to the integrity of our elections and the sanctity of our democracy. President Trump must not get away with this. No one in this country, no one, including the President of the United States, is above the law.

And with that, I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

Mr. Johnson.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This has been a truly extraordinary and historically unprecedented hearing. It has, frankly, been an outrageous violation of due process, a series of violations of due process, in fact.

Let me review the past seven and a half hours. In the beginning of our proceedings today, I asked the Chairman Nadler if Mr. Berke was appearing as a staff member or as a witness. But the Chairman gave strangely conflicting answers to that important question.

When I objected under House Rule 17 that Mr. Berke was repeatedly and brazenly steam rolling over House decorum rules and using language that impugn the motives of the President of the United States and suggested he is disloyal to his country, Chairman Nadler insisted that those words could not be taken down as stricken from the record saying, quote, "the rules don't apply here because Mr. Berke is merely appearing as a staff."

[16:35:00]

But later, Chairman Nadler stated the opposite and declared that Mr. Berke was appearing to present the Democratic members' report as their representative, which would, of course, mean that the member rules should apply.

Then Mr. Berke was allowed to switch places and turn from witness to questioner. That's extraordinarily bizarre, of course, but it's entirely consistent with this whole impeachment circus.

As everybody knows, Intel Chairman Adam Schiff was allowed in the opening act of this circus to serve as the judge, jury, prosecutor, witness coach and case strategy chief, all in one. So much for due process.

Under the Democrats haphazardly drawn special parameters for these special hearings, House Resolution 660, Mr. Berke was then allowed to join the elected members of Congress on this dais and asked 45 minutes of questions of his fellow witness, Mr. Castor.

When he was argumentative, assumed critical facts not in evidence, engaged in speculation and committed countless other violations of regular House rules and the federal rules of civil procedure, I objected. It was then ruled out of order by Chairman Nadler who informed all of us that while House Resolution 660 specifically provides for objections, it lists none of them and the Democrats have ignored every request of ours to obtain a list of what rules and objections would be enforced and applicable today. Again, so much for due process and fairness.

A month ago, listen, a month ago, the Republican members of this Committee formally requested all documents related to the impeachment investigation, but Chairman Nadler and Schiff withheld everything until you know when, Saturday afternoon.

That's right. Less than 48 hours before this hearing, they dumped approximately 8,000 pages of documentation on us while we were back home in our districts. They intentionally made it literally impossible for us to review all material in any meaningful way, mere hours before this faithful hearing.

What's worse is that the documents they decided to dump on us are not all of the underlying records we need to review but rather only a partial, redacted and biased subset of information that they think will advance their false narrative. And as has been mentioned here, we're being allowed no Minority day hearing, which is required by regular House rules.

Now, I'd love to cross-examine Mr. Berke himself but Chairman Nadler special and still mysterious rules for this hearing won't allow it. I noticed he's disappeared from the hearing room. I would love to ask him under oath about his own biases because he hammered here over and over today the importance of fairness and objectivity and accuracy and he insisted that everything here has to be unbiased.

But if he was under oath here, he would be forced to admit that FEC records show that he has personally donated approximately $99,000 to democratic candidates over the years, including sizable donations to Hillary Clinton for president and also donated to past Trump opponents, including Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Mr. Berke appeared here as a fact witness and a finder of fact, but in our system, a finder of fact is supposed to be fair and impartial, he's supposed to be an umpire. The problem with all of this and the problem that everybody at home can see with their own eyes is that the umpires in this high-stakes game are parading around the field in the Majority team's jerseys. The report of evidence released by Republican committee staff on December 2nd carefully documents that in the hearings that led to us to this point today, Chairman Schiff directed witnesses called by the Democrats not to answer Republican questions. He rejected witnesses identified Republicans who would have injected some semblance of fairness and objectivity and he denied Republican subpoenas for testimony and documents violating the Democrats' own rules to vote down those subpoenas with no notice to Republicans.

Chairman Schiff also publicly fabricated evidence about President Trump's July 25th phone call and he misled the American public about his interactions with the anonymous whistle-blower to selectively seek information to paint misleading narratives.

The anonymous whistle-blower reportedly acknowledged having a professional relationship with Vice President Biden and, obviously, his motives, biases and credibility are essential to this case but we can't question it.

This is not due process, this is not the rule of law and this is not how to impeach an American president, and this is not how we're supposed to run a country. It can't be.

Seventeen out of 24 of our colleagues over there already voted to proceed with impeachments before we started all this. They've already made up their minds. They were prejudiced before we walked in.

But the American people are not. Fairness still matters, truth matters, and the people can see clearly that this is a sham. I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

Mr. Swalwell.

SWALWELL: Mr. Goldman, would you welcome the problem of having 8,000 documents given to you from the White House?

GOLDMAN: It would be a wonderful problem to have.

SWALWELL: How many have they given you?

GOLDMAN: Zero.

SWALWELL: Mr. Castor, you said earlier that they got the aid, they got the aid, no harm, no foul, they got the aid. But you would agree that although Mr. Sandy said that the presidential concern was European contributions, nothing changed from when that concern was expressed to when they actually got the aid, right? You agree on that? Europe didn't kick in a bunch of new money

CASTOR: No, but they did a study. I mean, they...

SWALWELL: A study. OK.

CASTOR: Yes. SWALWELL: But they didn't kick in new money? You agree on that.

CASTOR: Ambassador Taylor discussed that they...

[16:40:00]

SWALWELL: OK.

CASTOR: ... they researched.

SWALWELL: So, you talked a lot about the anticorruption president that we have in Donald Trump, the person who had a fraud settlement relating to Trump University, the person who just recently, with his own charity, had a settlement related to fraud. Let's talk about that anticorruption president of ours.

Take a wild guess, Mr. Castor, how many times has President Trump met with Vladimir Putin or talked to him?

CASTOR: I don't know the number. It's...

SWALWELL: It's 16.

CASTOR: OK.

SWALWELL: How many times has President Trump met at the White House with President Zelensky? It's zero.

And who is President Trump meeting with at the White House tomorrow? Do you know?

CASTOR: I'm not -- I'm not...

SWALWELL: It's Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

CASTOR: OK.

SWALWELL: Now, Mr. Goldman, withholding aid from Ukraine, obviously, hurts Ukraine. It hurts the United States. Does it help any country?

GOLDMAN: The witnesses said that that would help Russia.

SWALWELL: Did you also hear testimony that these acts by the president, while being wrong and an abuse of power, also harmed U.S. national security?

GOLDMAN: Yes. Did you hear anything about how it would harm our credibility? And I would turn you to a conversation Ambassador Volker had on September 14th of this year with a senior Ukrainian official where Ambassador Volker is impressing upon that official that President Zelensky should not investigate his own political opponents? What was thrown back in the face of Ambassador Volker?

GOLDMAN: After Ambassador Volker suggested to Mr. Yermak, again, who's here, that they should not investigate the prior President of Ukraine, Mr. Yermak said back, oh -- said back to him, oh, like we -- you're encouraging us to investigate the Bidens and Clintons?

SWALWELL: During Watergate, the famous phrase from Senator Howard Baker was asked, what did the president know and when did he know it?

There's a reason that no one here has repeated those questions during these hearings. We know what the president did. And we know when he knew it.

Mr. Goldman, who sent Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to smear Joe Biden?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who fired the anticorruption ambassador in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who told ambassador Sondland and Ambassador Volker to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who told Vice President Pence to not go to President Zelensky's inauguration?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who ordered his own chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to withhold critical military assistance for Ukraine?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who refused to meet with President Zelensky in the Oval Office?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who ignored on July 25 his own National Security Council's anticorruption talking points?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who asked President Zelensky for a favor?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who personally asked President Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who stood on the White House lawn and confirmed that he wanted Ukraine to investigate Vice President Biden?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: Who stood on that same lawn and said that China should also investigate Vice President Biden?

GOLDMAN: President Trump.

SWALWELL: As to anything that we do not know in this investigation, who has blocked us from knowing it?

GOLDMAN: President Trump and the White House.

So, as it relates to President Trump, is he an incidental player or a central player in this scheme?

GOLDMAN: President Trump is the central player in this scheme.

SWALWELL: There's a reason that no one has said what did the president know and when did he know it. From the evidence that you have presented, Mr. Goldman, and the Intelligence Committee's findings, we know one thing and one thing is clear. As it related to this scheme, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, knew everything.

And I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

Mr. Biggs?

BIGGS: Mr. Castor, what's direct evidence?

CASTOR: When a witness personally observes a fact and testifies to it.

BIGGS: And what's hearsay evidence?

CASTOR: Well, out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted is something that you learn in law school.

BIGGS: Right. And then the federal rules of evidence adopted by most states, hearsay is inadmissible unless the testimony falls under defined exceptions, is that right?

CASTOR: That's right. It is about 23 plus the residual exception.

BIGGS: And I believe your present -- when every witness testified including Mr. Sondland, right?

CASTOR: Yes.

BIGGS: And much of -- and that's a yes?

CASTOR: Yes.

BIGGS: And much of them -- the Democrat's report the impeachment narrative is based on a the Sondland testimony. Is that fair characterization?

CASTOR: A lot of it is, yes.

BIGGS: How many times did Mr. Sondland mentioned in the Intel Committee's report?

CASTOR: Like I said, I did a search, just a Control F, and the name Sondland shows up 611 times.

BIGGS: Yes. And just to refresh your mind. Sondland, himself, told the world that, basically, nobody else on the planet told him that Donald Trump was trying to tie aid to investigations. In fact, he also said everything that he had been testifying to is simply his presumptions, is that right?

[16:45:00]

CASTOR: That is correct.

BIGGS: And so, when we consider what a presumption is, it's not direct, it's not circumstantial, it's not even hearsay. In fact, we typically, when we're trying a case, we consider it as speculation, is that right?

CASTOR: That's right.

BIGGS: Do courts allow speculation in?

CASTOR: No.

BIGGS: Why not?

CASTOR: Because it's not reliable.

BIGGS: It's inherently unreliable.

So, can you name any Democrat witness who asserted that he or she had direct evidence of those 17 that we've been hearing -- that we heard from?

CASTOR: 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. But a lot of what we've obtained has been circumstantial.

BIGGS: How about with regard to a personal knowledge of the quid pro quo allegation?

CASTOR: Well, we have not gotten to the bottom of that from a direct evidence standpoint.

BIGGS: How about tying aid to investigations?

CASTOR: That's correct, too.

BIGGS: How about political motives in asking for investigations?

CASTOR: The facts surrounding that are ambiguous.

BIGGS: In a non-legalistic rule, when we talk about speculation, we typically think -- use words like gossip, rumor, innuendo. Is that right? CASTOR: Yes.

BIGGS: And isn't it true that the only direct evidence we have is that Ukraine received the aid without giving anything in return, President Zelensky had -- has repeatedly stated no pressure, no problem with a phone call and the relationship with Mr. Trump, and that the president had a legitimate concern about Ukraine corruption?

CASTOR: He did. And the burden sharing of European allies.

BIGGS: So much has been made about the alleged desire for an announcement of an investigation. But, again, there's no direct evidence that supports the allegation that President Trump wanted -- merely the announcement of an investigation.

CASTOR: Like I said, there's eight lines in the call transcript to go to what President Trump said about the investigation. Eight lines.

BIGGS: And everything else is hearsay, innuendo, rumor, gossip, right?

CASTOR: It's inconclusive. Certainly.

BIGGS: Yes. So, when we get into this event today and the process, we start talking about the process, were you surprised to see Mr. Burke, get out of his chair, move to the seat and sit down next to the Chairman and start asking questions?

CASTOR: I don't know if I was surprised or not.

BIGGS: Yes. Well, I tell you. I was. And it looks Mr. Burke has been disappeared.

And so, that's one of the outrageous things about this process and it's been outrageous from start to finish. We've seen prejudice and bias from the president from start to finish. We have the lion's share, almost two-thirds of the members of the Democrats have already voted to impeach at least once, and that's before anything with regard to this July 25th telephone conversation ever took place.

And we're left with a constant view that as on November 9th, 2016, Representative Green from Texas wanted to begin impeachment proceedings at that point, is that correct?

CASTOR: Yes.

BIGGS: January 20th, 2017, "Washington Post" headline, let the impeachment begin. Is that correct?

CASTOR: Yes.

BIGGS: Ten days later, Mr. Zaid, who is the attorney for the whistleblower tweeted out, let the impeachment begin, let the coup begin, and victory to the lawyers? Is that right?

CASTOR: Yes. I've seen that. BIGGS: Yes. We had people who, on this Committee, came out today and said that they would -- had meant -- they went on TV and said we wanted to start impeachment earlier, but the speaker held us back. Did you see that?

CASTOR: I haven't seen that. No.

BIGGS: Yes.

CASTOR: I haven't seen news reports today.

BIGGS: Yes. You wouldn't be surprised about that, though, would you?

CASTOR: No.

BIGGS: No. Nobody should be surprised about that because this is a sham hearing. Three years that they've been trying to remove this president and this is the culmination of a predetermined outcome. That's where we are today.

And so with that, we can -- we bring it back to the same points, no pressure, no conditionality, and all of the aid, meetings, calls were received by the Ukrainians. With that I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

Mr. Lieu?

LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Nadler.

Let's just cut through the Republican arguments today and make things very simple. No one else in America could do what Donald Trump did and get away with it. No American elected official can call up a foreign government official and ask for an investigation of a political opponent.

No one sitting on this Judiciary Committee can call up a foreign government official and ask for help in a re-election campaign. If we did that and got caught, we would likely be indicted.

Now, let's focus on the president abuse of power in this case because it's actually worse than the examples I just gave. And I know that I first swore an oath to the constitution when I joined the United States Air Force and active duty. And the three core values I learned were integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do.

I'd like to focus on the first two. Integrity first and service before self because it's ingrained in our military members that we cannot mix official duties with personal private gain.

[16:50:00]

So, Mr. Goldman, in this case, the $391 million at issue, that wasn't Donald Trump's money, that was U.S. taxpayer funds, is that right?

GOLDMAN: Yes. LIEU: And certainly, the president should not use our taxpayer money for his own personal benefit and especially not to leverage it for his own reelection campaign, isn't that right?

GOLDMAN: That's correct.

LIEU: The president's abuse of power is even worse than this case than just using official duties for private gain, it's also just flat out illegal. You cannot solicit foreign assistance for a re-election campaign. That's a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Multiple people have gone to prison for violating various sections of that act. A reasonable person could also conclude that the president violated the Empowerment Control Act of 1974 which congress passed as a response to President Nixon's abuse of power.

So, I'd like to explore that little further with you, Mr. Goldman. In this case, Congress with bipartisan support had appropriated taxpayer funds for the specific purpose of aiding Ukraine in its war against Russia, is that right?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

LIEU: And not only had that money been appropriated, the money had been released to the Department of Defense, is that right?

GOLDMAN: They were about to release it, yes.

LIEU: And then, suddenly without explanation, the president demanded that those taxpayer funds be withheld from an ally who desperately needed the aid.

Mr. Goldman, did the president notify congress about his decision to withhold aid?

GOLDMAN: No, he did not.

LIEU: So, the Empowerment Control Act was designed to prevent the president from secretly taking congressionally-appropriated funds and doing whatever he wants with them. So, is it true that, in your intelligence report, you found the following in your findings of fact, President Trump ordered the suspension of $391 million in vital military assistance urgently needed by Ukraine and the president did so despite his obligations under the Empowerment Control Act. Did you find that?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

LIEU: All right. So, now, we did not only did the president abuse his powers for personal gain and not only was it illegal, his actions also harmed U.S. national security. So, it's a fundamental tenant of U.S. national security to push back against Russian aggression. Ukraine's at the tip of the spear pushing back against Russian aggression.

Is it true, Mr. Goldman, that harming the Ukrainian military also harms U.S. national security? GOLDMAN: That's what a -- pretty much every witness said.

LIEU: Last week, Professor Karlan confirmed that it is an impeachable offense to sacrifice the National Interests for his own private ends, a slide shows of which he said.

Mr. Goldman, based on the evidence that you found in your report, is it fair to conclude that the president's actions, both leveraged taxpayer funds for his own private gain and sacrifice of national interest for his own private ends?

GOLDMAN: That is what we found.

LIEU: I was perfectly struck by Mr. Holmes' testimony because it makes clear that the president did not care about our foreign policy or U.S. national security. He only cared about investigating his political opponent.

Here's what Mr. Holmes said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Ambassador Sondland stated that the president only cares about big stuff. I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia. Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEU: Look, here's the thing, if any military member used official acts for personal gain, that member would no longer be part of the military. And in fact, last year a navy commander was convicted for taking things of value in exchange for official acts.

The U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case said to the commander, quote, "put his own selfish interests ahead of the navy and that of our nation," end quote. We should not hold the commander-in-chief to a lower standard than regular military members, we should not hold the president to a different standard than any other elected official. No one is above the law.

I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

Mr. McClintock?

MCCLINTOCK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In every election one side wins and the other loses. Democracy only works because the losing side always respects the will of the voters. The moment that social compact breaks down, democracy collapses into chaos. That's only happened twice in our nation's history. It happened in 1860 when the democrats refused to accept a legitimate election of Abraham Lincoln and it happened again in 2016 when the democrats refused to accept the legitimate election of Donald Trump.

The issues before us today do indeed strike at the heart of our democracy. The first calls for impeachment began just days after the 2016 election, and ever since, the democrats have been searching for a pretext.

[16:55:00]

When the Mueller investigation found no evidence to support the monstrous lie that the president acted in collusion with Russia, the Democrats realized they were running out of time and suddenly the Ukrainian phone call replaced collusion, Stormy Daniels, tax returns, emoluments, and even tweets as the reason to nullify the election just a year before the next one is to be held.

Impeachment is one of the most serious powers with which congress is entrusted. It requires an overwhelming case of high crimes supported by clear evidence that a vast majority of the nation deems compelling. Our constitution vests the executive authority including the enforcement of our laws with the president and it gives him sole authority to conduct our foreign affairs.

Clearly, this includes requesting a foreign government to cooperate in resolving potentially corrupt and illegal interactions between that government's officials and ours.

Now, the sum total of the Democrats' case comes down to this. Not one of their hand-picked witness provided any firsthand knowledge of the president ordering a quid pro quo. And two witnesses, Sondland by testimony and Senator Johnson by letter, provided firsthand testimony that the president specifically ordered no quid pro quo.

No testimony was provided that the Ukrainian government believed that there was any quid pro quo, but there are ample public statements that its officials did not believe there was such a linkage.

In fact, the testimony of their witnesses crumbled under questioning and we were left with career bureaucrats who admitted that the only evidence they offered was presumption, speculation, and what they'd read in "The New York Times."

It's upon this flimsy evidence that the democrats justified nullifying the 2016 presidential election. And it's so flimsy the democrats have had to turn our Bill of Rights on its head in order to make it.

They've argued that hearsay evidence better known as gossip is better than direct testimony. They've argued that the burden of proof rests with the accused to prove his innocence while at the same time denying the defense witnesses permission to testify.

They've argued that the right to confront your accuser is an invasion of the accuser's privacy. They've argued that appealing to the courts to defend your constitutional rights as the president has done is ipso facto obstruction of justice and evidence of guilt.

They've asserted the power to determine what witnesses the defense is allowed to call and they've argued that a crime is not necessarily to impeach, only impure motives in performing otherwise lawful acts, motives, of course, to be defined entirely by the accusers.

These are the legal doctrines of despots but they're the only ones who can accommodate the case before us today. This is a stunning abuse of power and a shameless travesty of justice that will stain the reputations of those responsible for generations to come. And God help our country if they should ever be given the power to replace our Bill of Rights with the doctrines that they have imposed in this process.

Democrats are fond of saying no one's except -- or no one's above the law but they have one unspoken caveat, except for themselves. The speaker's already short circuited what should be a solemn, painstaking, thorough, and above all, fair process by ordering her foot soldiers on this Committee to draw up articles of impeachment without this Committee hearing from a single fact witness.

Despite the fact that Mr. Schiff doesn't dare to appear before this Committee to defend his work, we're supposed to accept his report at face value and obediently follow the speaker's orders.

As the Red Queen declared, sentence first, verdict afterwards. We can only pray the Senate still adheres to the judicial principles of our founders. If they do, perhaps then we can begin repairing the damage that this travesty has done to our democracy, our institutions, our principles of justice, our constitution and our country.

The gentleman yields back.

Mr. Raskin?

RASKIN: Thank you.

Why is impeachment in the constitution? Well, the framers feared a president might corrupt our elections by dragging foreign powers into our politics in order to promote the personal political ambitions of the president above the rule of law and above the national security.

The framers set against a potential tyrant's boundless thirst for power, the people's representatives here in Congress, and the people's own democratic ambitions, our self-respect, our love for freedom and the rule of law, our fierce constitutional patriotism.

[17:00:00]

Now, it looked like President Trump might get a -- might get away with his Ukraine shakedown. After all, most Americans --