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The House Continues to Debate Articles of Impeachment. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 12, 2019 - 16:00   ET



Then we hear, "Well, it can't be obstruction of Congress, you all could have just went to court." But we're in December. We have an ongoing crime. We have a crime in progress. That's -- that is what the 911 call would say from a police officer, "We have a crime in progress." And they're saying, "With a crime in progress, why didn't you just schedule an appointment to call the police?"

We have an emergency to our national election going on right now. Our oath to the Constitution requires us to take this drastic, solemn and regrettable step, but it is necessary, because if we don't protect America's precious right to vote, it is clear that the other side won't.

And so I talked about the courage of Esther yesterday. Today I'm reminded of Judas, because Judas for 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus. For 30 positive tweets, for an easy re-election, the other side is willing to betray the American people, their precious right to vote and the future of our great country.

And with that I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

For what purpose does Mr. Gohmert seek recognition?

GOHMERT: To strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentleman is recognized.

GOHMERT: I'm -- I'm really intrigued. First we're told that the offense is withholding aid, even though it was provided, and in fact provided tremendously more helpful in both substance and in amount than prior administration. They just let people die over there.

But I thought the acknowledgment had been the aid was provided, but now we're told this is an ongoing crime. So it -- that -- I don't -- those two statements don't seem to work together well. But, you know, the double standards, they serve one party well.

When it comes to the obstruction of Congress, the position of the majority is a tyrannical position: "When we ask for something, you either give it or we're throwing you out of office." Never mind, we don't know what were going to charge you with, we figure if we keep requesting enough documents, kind of like Chairman Schiff getting phone records and releasing them, maybe we can intimidate people by getting the records and releasing them enough that they'll do what we say.

That's tyrannical. And, in fact, when we look at obstruction of Congress, a violation of the rules, the majority could've -- could've gone ahead and passed a tyrannical rule and said, "We're not going to allow the minority to have a minority witness day even though it's in the rules, because were tyrants and we don't care." But they didn't pass that rule, it's still part of the rules.

GOHMERT: So once this thing is rushed through, probably tonight, whenever, through the Rules Committee, they'll probably come out with a rule, as ranking member mentioned earlier, and say, gee, all such points of order are waived. You know, all of the times that the majority violated the rules, we're going to waive those and nobody can raise them to stop this impeachment.

That really is abuse of power, certainly is. But -- and I had a document prepared to offer as an amendment in the nature of a substitute, which would just change the president's name to that of Chairman Schiff and Chairman Nadler, regarding abuse of power and obstruction of Congress because there are plenty of bases for that. But it would not have been ruled germane, so I wasn't going to waste the time.

But obstruction of Congress, when there is no referee, there is no adjudication, there is nothing but a majority that says, you give us what we want until we find a crime or we're going to throw you out of office? That is so unreasonable, especially given the history of the last three years when the charges came and the charges went.

The president was -- I think it was a huge mistake for him, ever to allow Don McGahn to testify for 30 hours when it was a bogus charge to begin with. The -- setting perjury traps?


Thank God Don McGahn didn't fall into one.

But this is even more outrageous. Give us what we demand or we're going to throw you out of office. We can't -- you know, there's another thing that could have been done besides going to court. Could have passed a bill requiring the president to do certain things, turn over certain things. And gotten the Senate to agree, president vetoes it, you override the veto.

Then you -- which is kind of what happened to Andrew Johnson -- then you could really have a legitimate obstruction of Congress. It's not just obstruction of a majority in one-half of the Congress. But that wasn't done either. And even if that had been done, either the president or the Congress would end up having to go to the Supreme Court to say -- to get the courts to say, this was a lawful act. But in the case of Congress and Andrew Johnson, it was an unconstitutional act to say he couldn't fire the secretary of state.

So, either way, you've got to end up in court at some point before it can be an obstruction of Congress. But the majority was in a hurry. And when the majority -- this majority is in a hurry, then justice is undone and so is our future.

I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

For what purpose does Ms. Scanlon seek recognition?

SCANLON: Move to strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentlelady is recognized.

SCANLON: As I understand it, the amendment before us is based on a letter that has just been issued by the White House, months after the whole issue of the propriety of this July call was raised.

So, you know, I think it takes us back to basics again. And the basics being, if it looks like a duck and it swims like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. And I'm afraid that the July 25th call is a duck.

You know, we have the president's own words. "I want you to do us a favor, though." And then he goes on to talk about the favors that he want -- wants involving election assistance for him, to clarify what happened in the 2016 election and then start attacking his opponent in the 2020 election.

Immediately upon hearing this, national security professionals around the world say, whoa, this is wrong, OK? This quacks like a duck, OK? The president is going against all of our carefully thought out national security policy to ask for what one witness called "a domestic political favor," OK?

So -- so right out of the bat, it makes no sense to the professionals here. Then we hear -- then we start hearing this thing that, oh, well, he's really talking about corruption. Well, no, the Department of Defense had said it was OK to release the aid here because they'd already certified that corruption wasn't an issue.

The people on the ground, the ambassadors, the national security professionals who had been appointed by this president, said no, that is not an excuse.

We then hear that OMB officials, Office of Management and Budget officials, are saying, whoa, who's holding up the aid? We don't have a problem with the aid. Oh, it's the president. The president is holding up the aid.

Then we hear from the Department of Justice. Whoa, we didn't have anything to do with any inquiries into our American citizens. That's not the DOJ's interest. So the only person who had an interest in this was the president, and it was his personal interest. The unanimous opinion of all of our agencies in the U.S. government was, this was against our national security and our national interests.

So it's now -- only now, after the president has refused to allow us to inquire from anyone else who was in the room and was on the call, and after denying all of this evidence -- only now, after articles of impeachment have been filed, only now does the White House come up with an explanation? It's way too little, it's way too late and it smells like a duck.

So with that, I yield back to the chair.

NADLER: For what purpose does Mr. Gaetz seek recognition?

GAETZ: Move to strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentleman is recognized.

GAETZ: Thank you.

Before I make my point, during the break, a Reuters photographer, Josh Roberts, approached the dais and took pictures of the notes of the desks of several of my Democratic colleagues. We noticed that, announced it to staff and that reporter -- that photographer's been removed.

And I would just say, no member, Republican or Democrat, should be subject to that. We ought to have the opportunity to take our notes, participate in debate and have a fair discussion.


Substantively, though, President Trump did nothing wrong. As we've sat here today, each and every action of the president has been explained. We have offered the basis, the understanding. We've gained an appreciation for why a president would have reasonable concern about Ukraine, why a president would have specific concern about this Biden- Burisma nexus.

Here's what you haven't heard today. You haven't heard any defense of Burisma from them. You haven't heard them say, oh, well, this was all bogus. The president should have been -- should not have been asking this question. Because we have put into the record, we have cited in the record, the testimony of people like George Kent who said that there were deep, legitimate concerns. Even the testimony of Ambassador Yovanovitch, about having to expressly prepare for that.

Then they say, well, this aid's been withheld. The withholding of this aid is this bad presidential conduct. But the Biggs amendment that I encourage my colleagues to support ripens the fact that there was a very understandable reason for why the aid was released when it was, and it had nothing to do with the election or anything like that. It had to do with the fact that the Ukraine took substantive steps to ensure that our aid would be appropriately used for the cause that is now apparently the cause celebre of the left, and that is the -- defending the Ukraine against Russia. And they say, oh, well, the president's next bad act is this great obstruction of Congress.

They have subjected President Trump to more presidential harassment than at any other time in American history, attacking his family, not allowing his administration to continue to do its work on behalf of the people, and amazingly, despite all this distraction, despite all of the obstruction of the president that the Democrats have engaged in, jobs are rising, wages are rising, our economy is restored and renewed.

There are a few things my colleague said. I -- I -- I -- my -- the colleague from Rhode Island read, "Well, these are the findings of facts. Let me tell you what the factual findings are." I just want America to note, he was reading from the Adam Schiff report, the same Adam Schiff report that Adam Schiff himself would not sit there and explain. They were -- they lacked so much confidence in that report that when it was presented to the Judiciary Committee they had some of their donors asking questions of other of their donors, and then doing this weird switcheroo that was very unexplainable.

I don't know how my very smart colleagues like the gentleman from New York can say, "There is uncontradicted evidence of pressure" -- uncontradicted evidence of pressure. What do they think Zelensky's statements are? When Zelensky says there is no pressure, that is, at a bare minimum, evidence. When Mr. Yermak says there is no pressure, that is evidence. This -- the -- there is no evidence of a quid pro quo. There's no evidence of conditionality.

And the reason you know they lack that evidentiary basis is because they have to keep changing their language. When their pollsters and pundits told them to call it bribery, oh, that was the message of the week. Bribery was on every one of their lips. But then, when we asked the witnesses, "Did you see any bribery? Were you a part of any bribery?" the answer was no, and so they have to keep evolving the claims because there is no factual predicate.

I also heard my colleague from New Orleans say that this hearing would -- would be informed by our understanding of regret. There would be this deep sense of regret. Well, my -- my friend is from a deep blue district, so he probably won't be the one regretting it the most. The folks that will be regretting what they're doing are the Democrats in swing districts who probably aren't coming back. I'd tell them for the upcoming year, rent, don't buy here in Washington, D.C.


GAETZ: And so today, the only question that we are left with when we conclude this hearing is whether or not, as we move impeachment to the floor of the House of Representatives, which will occur more rapidly? Will they lose votes, or will they lose the majority? Because if these folks who promised to come here and work with us on healthcare and infrastructure vote for this impeachment, they won't be back. We'll be holding the gavels, and we'll remember not just how you treated us, not just how you treated the president; We'll remember how you treated the American people and we're going to come and restore a sense of honor and integrity in the next election.

I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

For what purpose does Mr. Cicilline seek recognition?

CICILLINE: Move to strike the last -- last word, Mr. Chairman.

NADLER: The gentleman is recognized.

CICILLINE: I -- I first want to respond to the gentleman from Ohio's reference that people who are listening on a call should just shut up. I couldn't disagree more passionately. The extraordinary, courageous patriots who love our country spoke up when they saw something that was wrong, that violated the law, violated the Constitution and undermined the national security interests of the United States, and thank God they did, otherwise the president of the United States would have gotten away with this scheme of dragging foreign interference into our elections to help him cheat in 2020.


So I salute the extraordinary men and women in the Foreign Service in our intelligence community for the courage that they've shown in coming forward and reporting what they've seen. I wish we could find more of it on this committee.

But I want to say, you know, facts are a stubborn thing. This amendment, unfortunately, is just not true, because what we know is this scheme, called a drug deal by the president's own Mr. Bolton, called a domestic political errand by another Trump appointee, which -- for which there's no explanation -- my Republican colleagues are trying to find an answer, and so they say, "Oh, but it was because he was fighting corruption." The idea that Donald Trump was leading an anticorruption effort is like Kim Jong-un leading a human rights effort. It's just not credible. It's just not credible, and we have facts that will demonstrate that.

So for example, at the very time you claim he's interested in ferreting out corruption in Ukraine, you know what his -- what he proposed? Cutting him by more than 50 percent, corruption -- anticorruption efforts in Ukraine. And here's an article: "Trump administration sought billions of dollars in cuts to programs aimed at fighting corruption in Ukraine and elsewhere." We restored the money. Congress restored the money. He proposed deep cuts. That's not evidence of a serious commitment to fighting corruption.

In addition to that, in a letter to the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the secretary of defense says, "On behalf of the secretary of defense -- " this is dated May 23rd, 2019, long before the July call. "On behalf of the secretary of defense and in coordination with the secretary of state, I have certified that the government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense -- institutional reforms for the purpose of decreasing corruption, increasing accountability and sustaining improvements of combating capability enabled by U.S. assistance." There's a certification.

And so there's only one explanation for why it was finally released. It was a report of a whistleblower report being filed. The president got caught. And so this notion that somehow this president was concerned about corruption is defied by all the evidence collected. I know you want to believe it. It's just not supported by the evidence.

And so this amendment is silly. It's inaccurate. It mischaracterizes the overwhelming body of evidence that was collected in this investigation. The president of the United States attempted to drag a foreign power into our elections to corrupt the 2002 (sic) election, to cheat -- undermined our national security, betrayed the national interest of this country, and he must be held accountable.

(UNKNOWN): Move the gentleman yield.

CICILLINE: (inaudible) the balance of my time to Mr. Swalwell from California.

SWALWELL: I -- I thank the gentleman, and I just want to have a reset of the facts here, because my colleagues claim that so many of these facts are in dispute. But I want to hear someone dispute the fact that Rudy Giuliani was Donald Trump's personal lawyer. I want to hear someone dispute the fact that when Rudy was hired, the anticorruption ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, was fired. I want to hear someone dispute the fact that Donald Trump told Vice President Pence to not go to President Zelensky's inauguration. I want to hear someone dispute the fact that President Trump ignored the talking points about anticorruption in his both April 21 and July 25 calls with President Zelensky.

(UNKNOWN): Will the gentleman yield?

SWALWELL: I want to hear someone dispute the facts that president Trump invoked his political rival's name four times on that July 25 call. I want to hear someone dispute the facts that the president's chief of staff said, "We are withholding the military aid because the Ukrainians need to investigate 2016." Not I -- we, we, as in Mick Mulvaney and Donald Trump. I want to hear someone dispute the facts that Ambassador Sondland said that a White House meeting absolutely, quid-pro-quo-conditioned on the investigations.

I also listened to your witness, Professor Turley, and he said President Trump's call was anything but perfect. That was your witness who said it was anything but perfect. I want to see a show of hands on your side. Does anyone agree with the one witness that you were able to bring that that call was anything but perfect? That is sad, and you will regret that you have sanctioned this.

And I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman...

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman?

NADLER: It's Mr. Cicilline's time.

CICILLINE: I yield back, Mr. Chairman.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back. Mr. Johnson -- for what purpose does Mr. Johnson seek recognition?

M. JOHNSON: Move to strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentleman's recognized.

M. JOHNSON: I want to speak in favor of the Biggs amendment. I'll ignore Mr. Swalwell's rhetorical question. It's, kind of, a silly one.

I do want to refute what Mr. Cicilline has said and what some of the others have said here, that there's just -- there's just no evidence in the record that the president was concerned about corruption. I mean, of course that's absurd. Everybody at home knows this.

The president's been talking about foreign governments and foreign corruption and the misuse of American taxpayers' treasure since before he ran for president.


He tweets about it all the time. I mean, everybody knows this. This is one of these things in the law that's just well understood. We would call it res ipsa loquitur.

But, look, every witness in the record -- every witness testified that President Trump was concerned about corruption with foreign government, that -- that -- that includes Ukraine.

And the White House released a transcript of the remarks between President Trump and President Zelensky before the bilateral meeting in New York, September 25th. This is after the funds are released, of course.

But he's explaining that he became convinced that the new Ukrainian administration was serious about reform measures. Let me read you a couple excerpts from that.

President Trump says, "Hi, I'm here with President -- the president of Ukraine. He's very, very strongly looking into all sorts of corruption and some of the problems they'd had over the years. I think it's one of the primary reasons he got elected." The president says, "His reputation is absolutely sterling. It's an honor to be with you."

You go through the transcript. President Zelensky responds a few moments later, "Thank you for your support, especially now, when, you know, we have two -- really two wars in Ukraine. The first one is with corruption, you know? But we'll fight. No, we'll be the winner in this fight, I'm sure."

A couple pages later in the transcript, President Trump goes back, "and stop corruption in Ukraine because that will really make you great. That will make you great personally" -- he's talking to Zelensky -- "and it will also be so tremendous for your nation, in terms of what you want to do and where you want to take it."

Later, President Trump says, "I want him to do whatever he can. This was not his fault. He wasn't there the previous years. He's been here recently, just recently. But whatever he can do in terms of corruption, because the corruption is massive. I know the president. I've read a lot about Ukraine. He wants to stop corruption."

The president continues, "He was elected, I think, number one, on the basis of stopping corruption, which unfortunately has plagued Ukraine. And if he could do that, he's doing, really, the whole world a big favor. I know and I think he's going to be successful."

It goes on and on through the transcript. And I'll ask unanimous -- unanimous consent to enter a clean copy of this into the record, Mr. Chairman.

But I just want to say that...

NADLER: Without objection.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you -- with this, is just one additional piece. As with all the other pieces of evidence, the very thin, paper-thin record that we have here, one thing is very clear, that you can't even -- I don't even think you can refute it with a straight face. Everybody knows the president is concerned about the misuse of American taxpayer dollars overseas. It's one of his primary driving forces. It's one of his main talking points.

So for anybody to sit in here today and pretend like that isn't the case, that he wasn't -- oh, Ukraine, the third most corrupt nation in the world, is the only one on the list that he wasn't concerned about? It just doesn't even -- it doesn't hold water. It doesn't make sense. And nobody back home is buying this -- no one.

So let's stop with the games. Let's acknowledge this for what it is and let's move on. I yield back.

JORDAN: The gentleman...

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

JORDAN: The gentleman yields...

(UNKNOWN): I yield the remainder of my time. I'm sorry. I had some left. I yield it to Mr. Jordan.

JORDAN: I just want to answer the -- the statement that the gentleman from Rhode Island made a little bit earlier. He said, pointing at Mr. Biggs's amendment, that his amendment was not true.

His amendment's real clear. It says Ukraine's -- the Ukrainians, under President Zelensky, signed two major anti-corruption measures. That's exactly what they did. They enacted this high anti-corruption court when he first -- when the parliament was first sworn in and they got rid of absolute immunity for members of their parliament, two pretty darn important anti-corruption measures.

In fact, Mr. Morrison, when he testified in front of this committee, told us -- no, excuse me, when he did his deposition, he told us that, when they were there with Ambassador Bolton, visiting with the Ukrainians, August 27th, he said the Ukrainians were tired because they'd been up all night preparing this legislation, putting it together. That's how focused they were on this.

And then when it passed; when it was enacted, that's, in fact, when the aid was released.

I yield, if I could, to the gentleman -- I yield back and yield to the...

(UNKNOWN): No, I yield to the ranking member.


(UNKNOWN): I yield to Mr. Gaetz.

GAETZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think House Democrats would have you believe that somehow this impeachment effort is the outgrowth of organic activity from the president, when the reality is they have intended to impeach this president from the very beginning.

And it was actually the chairman, when campaigning to be the head of the Judiciary Committee, who said that he'd be best on the impeachment issue.


This is a New York Times article. December 18th, 2017. And it says, "As our constitutional expert and with his demonstrated leadership on impeachment in the '90s, Nadler is our strongest member to lead a potential impeachment."

This is what Chairman Nadler wrote on his pocket-sized campaign literature to his fellow Democrats when he wanted the job. He was literally campaigning on impeachment before the president even made the phone call to President Zelensky.

It's who they are. It's what they've wanted. And it's all because they cannot stand the fact that the America First movement is the most powerful movement in American political history.

Mr. Chairman, I seek unanimous consent to enter into the record this New York Times article from December 18th, 2017...

NADLER: Without objection.

GAETZ: ... outlining your ambition on impeachment.

(UNKNOWN): I object (ph).

(UNKNOWN): Back home -- in my two seconds left -- we call that a mic drop moment. I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman?

NADLER: The -- for what purpose does Ms. Jayapal seek recognition?

JAYAPAL: Strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentlelady is recognized.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to go back to the facts and I want to go back to this amendment. My colleague from Florida said that this amendment is putting forward a, quote, "understandable reason for why the president withheld the aid and then suddenly released the aid."

And my colleagues on the other side have also made the point that we don't know what the intent was of the president. This is the stated intent, that because he was waiting for the Ukrainian government to do some massive anti-corruption measures, that that was the intent.

But I just want to remind people, again, of what I said yesterday. The president is the smoking gun. After his call with President Zelensky, the president came out onto the lawn and he was asked by a reporter, "What did you want to get out of that call with President Zelensky?"

And the president said, "I wanted him to" -- and these aren't the exact words, but he basically said "I wanted him to open an investigation into the Bidens." It's that simple.

So the president himself has told us what his intent is, but let's go on to say that, if my Republican colleagues, as some just did, argue that the president -- nobody can argue that the president is so interested in corruption -- of course, he's so interested in corruption.

I would go back, again, to the facts that are on the table, which is that, in 2017 and in 2018, the president released aid not just to any country but to Ukraine.

Now, my colleagues have also said that the president knew that President Zelensky was an anti-corruption fighter, but they just wanted to see if maybe he was really going to follow through.

So they're saying that the person before this president, before President Zelensky, the previous president of Ukraine, was a corrupt individual. They've said that through their -- through their remarks.

Well, if that president was corrupt, why, if President Trump cared so much about corruption, why did he release the aid in 2017 and 2018 to Ukraine?

Now, then I'd like to get to the question of this particular amendment. I looked at that OMB letter, and I would call that an after-the-fact cover-up. Why do I say that? I say that because if you look at the timeline -- and some of my colleagues have laid out pieces of this, but let me lay out a few more.

On June 18th -- we already know about the May letter that the Department of Defense sent, saying that Ukraine had passed all of its anti-corruption requirements. On June 18th, the Department of Defense publicly announced that it would release the military aid to Ukraine.

Lieutenant Colonel Vindman testified that by July 3rd, he was aware of the hold and he was aware that the Office of Management and Budget -- OMB -- was making queries that were, quote, "abnormal." He used that word, abnormal.

Fiona Hill testified that there was no explanation given for the hold. Under Secretary of State David Hale testified that he was frustrated because he was simply told that this was the president's wish.

In August -- in August, several OMB divisions -- several divisions -- wrote a joint memo, recommending that military aid go to Ukraine as soon as possible. And they said in that memo that it was necessary, this military aid was necessary for supporting a stable and peaceful Europe.

I would also note that just recently, just a few weeks ago, two OMB officials resigned. And they resigned because of deep concerns that they had about what they were being asked to do. One of those individuals worked in the legal department that issued this after-the- fact cover-up memo from OMB.

Now, let me just ask the American people this. If the president was waiting -- had deep concerns about corruption and was waiting for Ukraine to take major steps on corruption, let me ask you what you think any president might do in that situation.


Might they ask the Department of Defense to follow up on those major anti-corruption things that they were trying to get done? They didn't -- he did not do that.

Would they -- would that president inform top agencies who are -- about those concerns? No, he didn't do that either. In fact, they were all universally in agreement that the aid should be released.

And might the president inform Congress that this was something that he was concerned about, and he had to withhold the aid? He didn't do that either. After-the-fact cover-up memo, that's all this is. And we need to oppose this amendment.

I yield back.

NADLER: The gentlelady's time is expired.

For what purpose does Mr. Collins seek recognition?

COLLINS: Move to strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentleman is recognized. COLLINS: It is amazing that this is an after-the-fact cover-up since it was asked for by a Democratic senator. A Democratic senator asked for this letter, so that's an after-the-fact cover-up, when a Democratic senator asks for a letter explaining the process of how this happens? An after-the-fact cover-up?

This is exactly what I thought would happen when we come back from lunch and come back from our break. All the things were over, their arguments were dead, everything was going. And they said, well, let's get back in there and tell the same things over and over again. Maybe the ones who were watching in the morning, wasn't watching in the afternoon.

That's got to be one of the best ones I've heard, though, an after- the-fact cover-up when it was asked for by a Democratic senator, just a few weeks ago. How is that an after -- I mean, I guess Trump's blamed for a Democratic senator thinking, ooh, be careful what you wish for. But there's other things coming out again (ph).

One of the things that really bugged me here is this lawful delay. This money was not due to be appropriated -- it could have been by Congress, we'd have said, do it on a certain day, we said by September 30th.

So really and truly, if there was no ever (ph) interaction between the U.S. and Ukraine and the money was not lasted (ph) until September 30th, there was nothing wrong here and there's still nothing wrong here.

It's been evidenced to me that the evidence reveals that only the majority -- again, this one is just mind-boggling -- how has anybody in the press or anybody else let them get away with the continual belittling of Mr. Zelensky? They've called him a politician derogatorily. They've called him an actor, they've called him weak, they've called him everything else in the world. He's cowering.

I mean, use the adjectives. And I'll go back to their adjective. You know, if they don't believe me here, if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, walks like a duck? Well, this is what they're doing. They're tearing him down in the eyes of the public and they keep doing it, over and over again, to try and get at the president.

This is crazy. You know why they do that, though? Again, I'm going to repeat it one more time because there seems to be a problem of reruns around here. The reason I keep repeating this is, is because they can't make their case. They keep putting this out there. And, again, it is amazing to me.

The next untruth that we're dealing with here today -- and this one is very sensitive to many in the military, many who have been texting me who have served overseas in our military and others -- when they say -- and put in an article, we agreed to put it in the record -- 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during President Donald Trump's administration withholding aid from the country from mid-July to September. Guess what, my colleagues? There were Ukrainians killed when we were -- had -- they had received their previous aid. There were Ukrainians who were killed in this battle before. This is a -- this is the most despicable, despicable of drive-bys, to say that this many? You're taking -- Under Secretary Hale has told you, over and over.

You talk about evidence? Read the transcript. He said this was prospective money, not current money. But yet we keep putting it in the record because if you tell the story enough times, somebody out there is going to believe it. That's despicable, for these 13s who lost their lives in Ukraine. And it's despicable for anyone who's actually fought in a battle for this country. Don't keep doing it. And if they do, call them out on it.

We're going to call facts, facts here. There's no crime. You know why? It's interesting, my friend from California just said, where -- where are they on these different things, where's the Democrats? My question is, where's your crimes? You talk about them, you want people to think they're there, you want people to come out and say, well, there's bribery, extortion. High-minded words. And you do it over and over and over again.

The problem is, if you had it, you would have put articles on it. You don't have it, so you didn't put articles on it. That's the stain on your articles. That's the stain on this committee. This committee couldn't make their case, so they came up with abuse of power. So they could put anything in it.

And, today, we've heard that over and over and over again. Why? Because at the end of the day, the aid was delivered, nothing was held, but yet we're going to tell because they were


supposedly pressured that the two on the call said didn't exist, and the Ukrainian leader said did not exist over and over and over again.

But our majority would rather besmirch Mr. Zelensky and take him down because they can't make their case. My question is, who are they hurting now? They're trying to take down the American president, and they're trying to take down the Ukrainian president at the same time by making him look small in the middle of his own country, in the middle of a hot war.

You can't have quid pro quo, you can't have pressure if the gentleman who is supposedly pressured says there is no pressure. And you can't make excuses for him. When he goes out, over and over again, and talks about it. Because he looks at is as it was in the call.

But also to me, it is just amazing, continuing this discussions to get people distracted. People died because money was withheld. That's not true, quit saying it.

And I don't care how many times you put it in a Newsweek article, it's still not true. When you understand what's going on here, that at the end of the day, it's very simple. I'll make it very slow for you to copy. They can't make a crime. They hold back to the fact that we impeach him for anything and that's what they've done. I yield back.

SWALWELL: Unanimous consent request, Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

SWALWELL: Unanimous consent request --

NADLER: The gentleman is recognized --

SWALWELL: The Los Angeles Times story, October 16th, Trump froze military aid as Ukrainian soldiers perished in battle.

NADLER: Without objection.

(UNKNOWN): I object. I'm not sure how many times that this is being perpetrated, but it was perspective money, not current money.

NADLER: The gentleman does not have the time. Mr. Deutch, for our (ph) purposes Mr. Deutch --


(UNKNOWN): Coming from Los Angles --


NADLER: Gentleman is recognized.

DEUTCH: I ask the unanimous consent to submit for the record the May 23rd letter from John Rood certifying that the government of Ukraine is taking action to make institutional reforms to decrease corruption

NADLER: Without objection.

DEUTCH: I then move to sweep (ph) the last word.

NADLER: It is recognized (ph).

DEUTCH: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman it is -- the ranking member was right, it is important to repeat some of what's been said because most of America doesn't watch all day long, but for people who do, they need to understand that the reason we're here, the reason that we're moving forward on articles of impeachment is because the President of the United States abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in his own re-election, thereby cheating American voters.

It's true that on May 23rd the date that the Undersecretary of Defense certified that Ukraine had taken action against institutional reforms to compact corruption. It's true that they had done that that day; it's an important day because we've talked a lot about Ukraine needing the assistance, the security assistance as they were at war with Russia, and they did. They also needed the White House meeting. And also on May 23rd, it's just important for us to remember what the facts are. On May 23rd a delegation returned from President Zelensky's inauguration, they met with the President and the President told them work with Rudy. Ambassador Sondland said work with Giuliani or abandon the goal of a White House meeting. Let me say a word about Ambassador Sondland. My colleagues have challenged Ambassador Sondland's credibility but it's important to pay attention to what he and others have testified to under oath. And if you think that a million dollar donor to President Trump is not credible then we should look at all the testimony and the text messages and the emails to others and examine it closely. So they came back and they said work with Rudy.

And then on May 29th the President invited President Zelensky to the White House. So President Zelensky expected that he would be coming. And Sondland then said that there was a prerequisite of investigations. Lieutenant Colonel Vindman said that Sondland told the Ukrainians on July 10th to treat the investigation -- that the investigation of the Biden's was a deliverable, necessary to get the meeting.

Then on July 19th, Ambassador Sondland emailed Robert Blair, and Lisa Kenna, Brian McCormack and Chief of Staff Mulvaney and Secretary Perry and Secretary Pompeo -- all of them, and said that Zelensky was prepared to receive POTUS and call and offer assurance on the investigation. Volker had breakfast with Giuliani and texted Ambassador Sondland said most important is for Zelensky to say he will help with the investigation.

Then Volker texted the morning of the call, he texted Yermak and said; heard from the White House, assuming President Zelensky convinces Trump that he will investigate and get to the bottom of what happened we will nail down a date for a visit to Washington. That's -- those are the facts that's what was provided in text messages and emails and there's been


all this focus on the call, this is an effort that started moment that this delegation got back from the inauguration and it continued through the end of May and June and July and then there was a call, but it continued on through August and through September.

This isn't one time with eight lines. This is a concerted effort to make sure that Ukraine who was at war with Russia, understood that they weren't going to get their security assistance and they weren't going to get their security assistance and they weren't going to get their White House meeting until they announced an investigation of the President's principal political opponent. That is abuse of power. Multiple times my colleagues over here have asked, if anyone objects to the President of the United States abusing his power for political gain like that. But I would finish with this.

Ambassador Taylor, when he came and testified under oath, he said during our call on September 8th, Ambassador Sondland tried to explain that President Trump is a business man, when a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he asks that person to pay up before signing. I argued, he said, that made no sense; Ukrainians' did not owe President Trump anything. That's true, they owed him nothing to get the White House meeting they owed him nothing to get their aid and they owed nothing to him for his assistance to his campaign. I yield back.

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman --

NADLER: The gentleman yields back, what purpose does Mr. Sensenbrenner seek recognition--


SENSENBRENNER: I move to strike that last word.

NADLER: Gentleman is recognized.

SENSENBRENNER: I yield the Ranking Member.

COLLINS: Thank you Mr., it is amazing to me that again the things that will come out of this markup is not the simple fact that they're going to markup this and they'll send it to the floor, it is what they will perpetrate to try to hide the weakness of their argument. I have now given the article that the gentleman from California wants admitted, again perpetrating the falsehood that people were killed because of money, and in the own article, which is biased against the President, bias against the whole situation, it has this line, although there is no way to link Markiv and the other dozens death directly to the lack of aid.

Yes let's keep putting stuff in here that proves your pathetic argument. The article itself which is biased against the President actually says there is no way to link it, but yet we're doing it every time in here. Keep giving them. I'll keep accepting them. Wonderful article. Great job, because you're making my point. I guess I can hush and just let you make my point for me, but all you want to do is just besmirch the dead and go after Mr. Zelensky as weak and powerless.

That's what going to come out of this, so I guess Mr. -- I would draw my objection on this, it makes my point. You all have any more you want to put in, keep going, but besmirching the dead is not going to get you anywhere. I yield back.


SENSENBRENNER: I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

LOFGREN: Mr. Chairman.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back without objection, the material will be inserted in the record.

LOFGREN: I have a unanimous consent request.

NADLER: The gentlelady is recognized for unanimous consent request. LOFGREN: I would like to ask unanimous consent to put a Roll Call article into the record entitled "Ukrainian lives hung in balance as Trump held up aid," quoting a National War College official about the diverse impact on war (ph) --

NADLER: Without objection. For what purpose does Mr. Johnson seek recognition?

H. JOHNSON: Move to strike the last word.

NADLER: Gentleman is recognized.

H. JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move in opposition to the Biggs Amendment. My colleague from Georgia talks about how Democrats are trying to make President Zelensky look weak, well I tell you that brings to mind the picture of President Trump and President Zelensky meeting in New York in September, at the U.N., and a big chair for President Trump, little Chair for President Zelensky -- a big 6'4" President Trump, 5'11" Mr. Zelensky -- President Zelensky, and they're standing there, and President Trump is holding court. And he says, oh by the way no pressure, and you saw President Zelensky shaking his head as if his daughter was downstairs in the basement duct taped.

I mean, there is an imbalance of power in that relationship, it always has been and there's no way that the nation of


Ukraine can stand up to the power -- to the power of the United States of America, and President Trump used that unequal bargaining position -- he leveraged his power in that relationship, not for the benefit of the United States of America, but for his own benefit.

He, again, held President Zelensky up there in New York the same way he did on the telephone call on the 25th of July. And he told him, look, I know that you need those javelins, but I need you to do me a favor -- or do us a favor, and who was "us," by the way? Was it the American people, or was it the Trump campaign and all of those corrupt officials that he aligns himself with -- half of whom are in jail or facing charges, or facing sentencing.

Who was he talking about "us," it wasn't the American people -- it was the Trump organization and the Trump campaign, and that's wrong -- it's wrong for the United States president to use his position for his -- for himself. It's wrong, and that's what President Trump did, and that's what we're holding him accountable for today, and President Trump pretty much sold out our Constitution for his own personal benefit.

We are called upon today with the question of whether or not we're going to sell out our positions, whether or not we're going to be sellouts. I mean, each and every one of us had a career before we came to Congress. I myself was a criminal defense lawyer, and I enjoy my job -- I'm honored to represent the biggest client that I've ever represented, and that is the citizens of the fourth Congressional district of Georgia. But I would gladly, to protect the Constitution, give up my job that I love, and I'd go back to Georgia to do what I used to do -- if I had to pay a heavy price for doing what was right for the Constitution, and that's what my friends on the other side of the aisle are charged with now.

I know that there is a lot of fear about what -- about them being in Zelensky's position, about them being in that little small chair with the President, with the bully pulpit, the right-wing media, Fox News -- everything being on his side and him levying and leveraging that power against them as they approach their primaries -- they don't want to get primaried.

I know that that is the desire, but let's not sell out the country for our own desire which is exactly what we're charged with protecting our country from President Trump doing, let's not do that -- let's make ourselves look good in the eyes of history, let's do the right thing. And with that, I will yield back.

NADLER: Gentleman yields back. For what purpose does the gentlelady from Florida, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell, seek recognition?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

NADLER: Gentlelady is recognized.

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Thank you. I want to respond to -- I've been here all day listening to all the comments from my Republican colleagues, and the one thing that has continued to be mentioned is that there has been no crime committed.

And I have been asked by some of the people that live in my district, live in my community, Americans that say, but what is the crime? And I have to say that there is no higher crime than for the president to use the power of his office to corrupt our elections. We are seeing behavior from this president that we have not seen in the history of our country, violating three of the most dangerous violations of the Constitution.

One, abuse of power through self-dealing, two, betrayal of national security, and three, corruption of our elections. And I want to make something very clear we are here today because the president of the United States of America has violated the law.

The president's conduct meets all the elements of criminal bribery under 18 U.S. C 201 B, 2A -


a public official demands or seeks anything of value personally in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act. Why are we here? How did we get here?

The inspector general of the Intelligence community brought to Congress an urgent and credible threat to our national security, to our democracy -- that is why we're here today. You have heard conspiracy theories, you have heard things that are not true -- to distract from the fact that this president abused the power of his office to extort a foreign government for his own private, political gain -- not for the interest of the United States of America.

Now you also hear about -- that we're trying to overturn our election. If you see, they have a poster over there saying that we're trying to overturn the election -- that couldn't be anything farther from the truth. It is a ridiculous statement. Impeachment is a crucial part of a Constitution that ensures a democratic government, it was created by the Founders as a check to prevent a president from becoming a king.

And it is incredible to me to see some of my colleagues bend over backwards to cover up from this president. My sister is a yoga teacher, she doesn't contort the way some of my Republican colleagues distort the facts, all to protect this president.

The founders knew that elections would come every four years, but included impeachment in the Constitution to protect the republic against a president who would be an imminent threat to our democracy, and that is why we are here today.

Because this president has shown us that he is welcoming foreign interference. He has asked Russia, he has asked Ukraine, he has asked China. Asking him -- asking them to investigate his political opponents, we've seen it. We have seen those videos. That is direct evidence, we have documentary evidence. We have a transcript of a call. We have text messages, we have e-mails from Ambassador Sondland. Everyone was in the loop.

This is a scheme that began back in February, March. This was a complaint that was brought forth to Congress because it was an urgent and credible threat. The president of the United States has violated the law. He has abused his power. He is undermining our freedoms, our democracy. We must act. That is why we're here today. No one, no president in this country is above the law.

I yield back my time.

NADLER: The gentlelady yields back.

For what purpose does Mr....

ARMSTRONG: Armstrong.

NADLER: ... Armstrong seek recognition?

ARMSTRONG: Move to strike the last word.

NADLER: The gentleman is recognized.

ARMSTRONG: I think that argument would have a lot more merit, on the abuse of power charge, if we don't take a look back and look at the whole destination and how we got here. And the reason I say that is because for two years, we heard about Russian conspiracy, Russian collusion, how are we going to prove it. Chairman of the Intelligence Committee went on national TV and said he had direct evidence of Russian conspiracy. Well, the Mueller report came out. And actually, if you watch media, about a week before the Mueller report came out, we started switching to obstruction, and obstruction of justice. And so we go through that.

And the Mueller report comes out and shows there's absolutely no conspiracy, absolutely no collusion. So we're going to check that off the list.

Now we go to 10 articles of obstruction of justice, and we walk through it and we're bringing Bob Mueller into the Judiciary hearing, and I'm pretty certain there were people marking out statues (ph) next to the Washington Monument, of gratitude and gravitas of Bob Mueller. Well, that hearing fell flat and obstruction of justice was abandoned.

So then we moved into a July 25th phone call, and we went to quid pro quo. And quid pro quo kept going and kept going, but then they decided that wasn't working really well, so we poll-tested bribery. And bribery had a little bit of a problem because you cannot prove the elements of the crime.

And I don't care how many different ways we say it. When the victim of the crime -- alleged victim -- continue to go on national TV, international press conferences, every step of the way, and deny that he was a victim and deny that there was a crime, we move on.

So we move from things of -- of campaign finance, which didn't even work in the Mueller report and continued to moving forward. So instead of starting an investigation in a general way and moving towards a specific crime, we try and pick 17 different specific crimes.


And when they never get there, instead of doing what any reasonable investigator would do and say, there is no there, there, we take it all and we put it together and then we say, well, because we can't prove any of it, we're going to use all of it.

And so if we want to know why we're here today, that's why we're here today. Because this started the day President Trump got elected. It is continued -- it's continued through the Mueller report, not to be deterred.

In a separate different thing, the day after the Mueller report hearings happened in the Judiciary Committee, I was in the Oversight Committee when they -- when they subpoenaed the personal e-mails of every member of the Trump family, from -- this is never going to stop. I agree with my colleague from Ohio, it is never going to stop.

And we don't -- we will continue to move forward, but you cannot move through all of these specific crimes, use these words for weeks at a time and the minute they fall apart, we just move on to the next thing. I think that's why you're losing the support of the American people, I think that's why you're losing support of your colleagues on your side of the aisle in Congress, and that's why we're here. So let's -- so let's call it like it is and explain how we got here, why we're here and where we continue to go. And with that, I...

COLLINS: Would the gentleman yield?


(UNKNOWN): (inaudible).

ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I'll yield to the ranking member.

COLLINS: Thank you. Mr. Armstrong, you just brought up a great point. You know why we know what you just said is true? You know, again, we've gotten (ph) a lot of non-truth here, and we just say it over and over so people will believe it. But you -- what you just said is completely true, that this will never end. You know why we know that? Adam Schiff's own words and Al Green's own words.

Adam Schiff in the -- even the other day, giving -- in his -- one of his press conferences, which he loves dearly -- he loves to testify in front of cameras, just not in front of members, where he has to actually answer questions.

And he said, we're just going to keep -- no matter what happens, we're going to keep investigating, investigating, investigating, investigating, investigating. We're going to start it off (ph).

I wish the -- I mean, Mr. Ratcliffe, you're on the Intel Committee, and I know others on this are. Well, it'd be nice for you all to get back to oversight of the intelligence community, that'd be nice. Shocking proposition, for a committee that's supposed to be doing that.

But then also, Mr. Green said we can impeach him over and over and over again. This is what's happening, it's a farce. We can't come up with crimes, so we say crimes. We can't put them in the articles because we can't make it happen.

But yet -- just like you said, I just want to commend you for telling the truth. You told the truth. This is not going to end, no matter what. Except -- and the reason we know it is because we don't have to infer, we don't have to find articles to put in the record. We just listen to their own words.

I yield back to Mr. Armstrong.

ARMSTRONG: And with that, I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back.

For what purpose does Ms. Demings seek recognition?

DEMINGS: Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the next -- last word.

NADLER: The gentlelady is recognized. DEMINGS: You know, I rise today in opposition of this amendment. It is so obvious, it's so obvious that it is a last-minute, after-the-fact desperate scramble to cover up the president's wrongdoing. And I tell you what, we're not falling for it and I really do believe the American people are not falling for it, and probably are offended by it.

You know, my Republican colleagues have talked about a lot of things today. And they're really working very hard to protect the president, it appears like at any and all costs.

But I really wish that my colleagues on the other side would work as hard to protect voting rights for the American people, believing that everybody should have the right to vote, and that cheating in our elections, by anyone at any time or any place is just not right.

It just amazes me, to suggest that abuse of power is somehow inadequate or inappropriate or not serious enough? Abuse of power by the highest position in the land, the leader of the free world. That abuse of power is not enough to impeach this president or any other president.

But the framers were so desperately concerned about abuse of power by the president, by -- they were -- they were terrified of the thought of an unprincipled man, a person, finding their way into the White House. To suggest that abuse of power is not serious is not enough? It's simply ridiculous to me.

The president has a constitutional duty, and that really is the highest document in the land, to violate the Constitution. He has a constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law. Well, that's what it says: to faithfully execute the law. Is there anybody here -- I don't care what comes out of your mouth today.