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House Panel Continues To Set Rules For Impeachment Debate Before Vote. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired December 17, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00] RASKN: -- the role of the House is to act as the grand jury and the prosecutor, and the actual trial takes place over in the Senate.

But still, we had very significant procedural productions, including we invited the president and his counsel to attend all hearings, we provided the president's counsel the opportunity to cross-examine witnessed and object to admissibility of testimony, and we provided the president's counsel the opportunity to make presentations of evidence before the full Judiciary Committee, including the chance to call witnesses.

Now, the president chose not to avail himself of any of those opportunities. So it's -- again, it reminds me of -- you know, the president blockading all these witnesses and saying, "You don't have enough people with direct, first-hand evidence..."

COLE: Well, first of all, were those rights provided only in Judiciary Committee? Because you're not the principal committee of impeachment here, that's just the reality.

RASKIN: But...

COLE: You're, sort of, the final stop.

So did the president get those rights in the Judiciary -- the Intelligence Committee?

RASKIN: I believe not. I'd have to go back and check, but...

COLE: I can assure you not.

RASKIN: Well, -- but then let me explain. You may not accept this analogy, but here's the analogy that we proceeded on, because this is the first modern impeachment where the fact-finder was the House of Representatives itself instead of a special counsel or an independent counsel.

When the special counsel and the independent counsel did their work in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments, all of that was closed-door depositions, because you don't want the witnesses to be coordinating their testimony. And so on, that's how prosecutorial investigations take place. The -- the House Committee on Intelligence was our fact-finding committee. That's why they performed closed-door depositions, because they wanted to avoid witnesses coaching each other and coordinating their testimony.

COLE: Let me give Mr. Collins a moment here (inaudible)...

COLLINS: This -- I mean, we're driving down an interesting hole here, because this is -- I also am ranking member of the same committee that said early on we were, quote, "doing impeachment," that if the president saw something he didn't want, he could write us a letter just like everybody else in the world. This was actually said, that he could write us a letter, that would be how he would be taken care of.

But let me hit a couple of these things.

The White House still has not received all the documents it's supposed to have. I mean, we're here doing impeachment right now and they still haven't received all the documents.

I still have not received all the documents from the Intelligence Committee. That's in direct violation of H. 660. I don't know how we get around that, but we can pretend, we can paint pretty faces and say it doesn't happen.

But also here's another thing: The staff member they sent, Mr. Goldman, would not testify or answer questions on the methodology on how they actually did their investigation. And even in an egregious violation in their own report, where they named members of Congress in their phone records, he would not actually say who ordered that. Was it Chairman Schiff or him?

Now, I've always defaulted, as I think you would, Mr. Cole, to the member with the pen, which would've been Mr. Schiff. But Mr. Goldman actually sat there and said, "We will not discuss the methodology of the investigation."

This has got to be just the most amazing thought, when you come to an impeachment, when you're trying to give due process to the president of the United States and these are all ignored.

And we can pretty it up any way we want to, but it's just not buying. This is not right.

And look, you will impeach him, you have the votes. But at the end of the day is it worth the integrity of the House? I don't think so.

COLE: Well, during the staff presentation of the evidence, Ranking Member Collins asked how the investigation (inaudible) was conducted, resulted in the Schiff report; never got an answer.

Mr. Raskin, the House Intelligence Committee Democrats released phone records, including four phone calls by Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Nunes. How did the committee Democrats get those phone records?

RASKIN: I'm going to have to ask staff counsel to pass me a note on that. I will say...

COLE: But the staff counsel didn't answer that. Is that correct, Mr. Collins?

COLLINS: No, he wouldn't answer the question.

COLE: So telling us to go ask somebody who didn't answer the question...

RASKIN: I -- but -- well, I -- I understand that we forcefully represented that there -- that no member of the House of Representatives and no member of the press was targeted with any investigative resources.

COLLINS: That's -- Mr. Cole.

COLE: Go ahead.

COLLINS: Really? I mean I respect Mr. Raskin but I'm not even sure I -- he got that statement out without stumbling over everything. You cannot say that you take -- I mean this is -- and we (ph) -- they talk about metadata, talking about numbers.

At some point somebody with a ranking member phone number had to go down through there and look for the ranking members phone member. They had to go down and look for Mr. Solomon's phone number.

This is what they don't want to deal with. This is how bad it is screwed up and I know they want to gloss over process. I know they want to gloss over how they did their investigation because the time and the calendar are terrible masters. I've repeated it over and over.

But this is what we're talking about and they wouldn't even talk about it. So to say that there's -- you know that nobody was doing this intentionally is just not being factually accurate. It doesn't happen on its own.

COLE: I'd ask both of you this question, who specifically matched the number -- phone numbers of Ranking Member of Nunes and what method did they use.

RASKIN: I have no idea. I -- I just want -- if I could, Mr. Cole...

COLE: Certainly.

RASKIN: ... in response to the whole line of questions, the president of the United States was given the opportunity to call any witnesses he want -- any of the 17 witnesses who appeared before the House Intelligence Committee and Oversight and Foreign Affairs could have been called by the president.

[13:05:00]

He would have had the opportunity to cross examine any of them. But of course he didn't want to because all of them essentially told different pieces of the exact same story, which is the president executed this shake down of President Zelensky to come and get involved in our campaign at the expense of former Vice President Biden.

[13:05:00] COLLINS: (Inaudible) that just doesn't hold water when you look at our -- again, I can't say this enough; it goes back to a calendar and a clock. How is it possible when I talked to the Chairman himself, sent him letters asking, you know, when we were going to get witnesses when he didn't even bill the witness day in for ourselves.

He didn't even build in the calendar a time to accept one of our witnesses, much less the White House witnesses. So don't tell me that you could have accept (ph) -- he would have sent witnesses and we'd have accepted it. It was never on the calendar.

COLE: Let me ask you this because these numbers, didn't particularly need them. Who specifically ordered the inclusion of phone -- these phone records in the Schiff report?

RASKIN: Mr. Ranking Member, I'm afraid I can't answer these questions, I just don't know.

COLE: Mr. Collins.

COLLINS: Let's see. (Inaudible) the Intelligence Committee carrying out what seemed to be a political vendetta against another member of Congress.

COLE: Either of you think it's proper to have the names of individuals swept up in call logs who are not the target criminal investigation to have their names and...

COLLINS: No, it is nothing but a political drive-by and I brought that out. They could have done it several different ways. They could have said member one, it could have been person one. They could have done it any other way but they chose to actually use the names. This was a political hit job.

COLE: Give you an opportunity to respond, Mr. Raskin. Do you think it was appropriate for those numbers and names to have been released?

RASKIN: I can't...

COLE: They were not the targets of the investigations. They were just swept up.

RASKIN: Yes, I -- I was not involved in that part of it and so forgive me against...

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: No. Again, I understand and...

(UNKNOWN): Will the gentleman yield for a minute. We did have testimony on this.

COLE: No, I'm not going to yield my time. (UNKNOWN): OK. I mean, there was testimony.

COLE: You'll have your time shortly.

COLLINS: Yes. Mr. Cole, the testimony was I'm not going to tell you.

COLE: OK. How many times, Mr. Collins, in the Schiff report are hearsay statements used as evidence?

COLLINS: Hundreds.

COLE: Well, actually, only 54. It may seem that way.

COLLINS: When you take off -- one person talking off another person, off another person it goes up.

COLE: How many times in the Schiff report or news reports the only evidence supporting factual assertions?

COLLINS: I'm sorry. Would you repeat the question? I was -- I couldn't hear you (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: OK. How many times in the Schiff report or news reports the only evidence supporting factual assertions?

COLLINS: I would have been -- the main factual assertion was Mr. Sondland -- one.

COLE: About 16 different times. Mr. Raskin, my understanding, Chairman Schiff did not transmit the evidence collected during his committee's investigation to the Judiciary Committee until Friday, December 6th. Does that comport with your memory?

RASKIN: That is correct.

COLE: OK. So Judiciary Committee majority, did it have access to any evidence beyond the actual report from the Intelligence Committee until the weekend before the Judiciary Committee actually considered articles of impeachment?

RASKIN: Well, I don't remember exactly when all of the deposition statements were released publicly. I think some of them had been released publicly before that time but we could go back and check the exact chronology.

COLE: Sure.

RASKIN: Yes, and -- and there's certain members of the Judiciary Committee who are also members of other investigative...

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: I certainly understand, certainly.

RASKIN: Yes.

COLE: It's my understanding that Chairman Schiff did not transmit all the material collected by the Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary Committee. Is that the case?

COLLINS: It is still true to this day.

COLE: So do you not agree, and I'd ask this to both of you, that the House Judiciary Committee could have had the time and opportunity to review all that material collected by the Intelligence Committee? Did you both have that time and opportunity?

COLLINS: We did not. It's a direct violation of House Rule -- House Resolution 660.

RASKIN: Mr. Cole, all I can tell you is that the vast amount of what we ended up getting was what was being produced, released publicly along the way.

I know the Intelligence Committee made the commitment to release those depositions -- those deposition statements publicly and I -- and so I've considered it a very fair and transparent process. I don't -- I don't think I got to see a single thing through the Judiciary Committee that I was not just seeing come out and being released by the Intelligence Committee.

In that event, all of it is in the final report. It's there for all of America to see and I don't want us to lose sight of the big picture of the...

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: We really don't know if it's all there in the final report...

COLLINS: We don't.

COLE: ... for all (ph) -- if you haven't seen them yourselves, all of it...

COLLINS: No, we do not know. That -- that's a statement that is assuming something -- you know, facts not in evidence. That -- that -- we don't know what we -- you know, this is the old classic case of evidence being given from a prosecutor to an -- you know, in a -- in a trial.

We don't know what we've not seen. We do know what we -- we know one -- a few things we know have not been transferred, but we also have heard of other things that's not been transferred and it's not -- it can't be in the report if it's not been transferred because then we could at least say it was in the report.

[13:10:00]

COLE: Let me move on to the articles themselves because in my view we've established the Intelligence Committee process was substantially flawed and procedurally defective. That's my view, I underline. The Judiciary Committee failed to create an evidentiary record sufficient to justify moving forward on articles of impeachment. You (ph) basically relied on the Intelligence Committee, again where the president was unrepresented. That violated rules of the House, in my view. The entire circus has been politically motivated from the very beginning.

On the obstruction of Congress charge, it's uncommon for the -- or excuse me, is it uncommon for the -- and I ask this to both of you, uncommon for the executive branch to push back against requests for information from Congress?

RASKIN: Well, no it is not uncommon for the executive branch to push back on the production of this or that document, or the timing of a particular visit.

What was absolutely breathtaking in its unprecedented and radical nature was this president's determination to shut down all discovery. They did not produce a single document to us, Mr. Cole, that was subpoenaed in this process. And the president essentially ordered everyone in the executive branch not to cooperate with us and...

COLE: Let me ask -- excuse me, I don't want to cut you off...

(CROSSTALK)

RASKIN: But I think that's a dramatic escalation in kind and in degree over anything that's ever been seen before. And that includes Richard Nixon, who I think tried to block seven or eight particular requests like the Watergate tapes, and that in itself became part of the case against him for abuse of power. But President Trump makes Richard Nixon look like a little leaguer when it comes to obstruction.

COLE: Mr. Collins, same thing. Do you think it's unusual for an administration to push back against congressional subpoenas?

COLLINS: No, it's common.

COLE: If it's pretty common, do you believe it's a high crime or misdemeanor to assert privileges in response to congressional requests for subpoenas?

COLLINS: Not -- and, it is. And again, I want to go back and give a little bit of history, since we've had history lessons here from Mr. Raskin.

And even in our own committee this year, what's been really interesting is -- is there's been a total, you know, just walk toward impeachment the whole time. But what was interesting in our committee is we would send subpoenas or we would -- you know, again we sent out letters and stuff, and we never followed up on them. But also one of the interesting things about our committee was we never engaged, for the most, part with the agencies for documents.

But what I thought was really interesting was Mr. Schiff and the Intelligence Committee, while we were still struggling during Mueller and some other times, Mr. Schiff actually negotiated with the Department of Justice and actually got documents released that our committee couldn't.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel who is one of the quieter chairmen, but one of the more effective in my personal opinion from across the aisle, had engaged all year with administration on ways to get documents. It's a matter of how you go about it. And to say that this is just unheard of is just not right.

COLE: Well, and -- and again, I'd ask this to both of you, and I think this gets to the point you're making, there's a normal accommodations process for resolving inter-branch disputes between the House and the executive branch. Is that not correct?

COLLINS: Yes.

COLE: OK. And that process really hasn't occurred here I think, Mr. Collins, that's what you're telling me, I presume. It doesn't fit neatly into the, you know, speaker's impeachment at Christmas timeline, to borrow your way of looking at it. I mean, we're not going to court...

COLLINS: No, they haven't.

COLE: ... on these things. We're not really engaged. This is a normal give and take, where actually both sides tend to avoid, quote -- you know, an exchange where they might go to court and lose something.

COLLINS: Right.

COLE: But all that's been set aside. We haven't had any process like that, have we?

COLLINS: No. And Mr. Cole, I'd even point out something that I disagree with, Mr. McGahn. We -- I mean there's been a court case in which we've lost and in which Mr. McGahn -- and it's still being appealed. But it does show you the process is working, it just don't work as fast as they want it to work. And I think that's where we have to go back to in this whole process.

So no -- and in fact, even the one that they had that was actually one of the members of the administration contested, they just withdrew their subpoena and withdrew from the -- from the lawsuit because they just didn't want to deal with it.

COLE: I know Mr. Raskin would have a different view and if he wants to respond, I'll wait (ph). But I want to ask you specifically, Mr. Collins, is there any actual evidence that the pause on the Ukrainian assistance was for the president's improper personal political benefit or could he have had other objectives?

That's directed at you, Mr. Collins.

COLLINS: I'm sorry. I apologize.

COLE: That's all right. I'm throwing a lot of questions at you. Is there any actual evidence that the pause on the Ukrainian assistance was for the president's improper personal political benefit or might he have had other reasons for withholding aid?

COLLINS: He had plenty of other reasons. And I think the -- that part of it is the law itself, which says that, you know, even though it was certified it was the president's call to make sure that there was no corruption in -- where aid is given.

There was other countries during that time in which aid was held. I think from an appropriator's standpoint, Mr. Cole, you'll also understand this aid was not even scheduled to go out -- it had to be done by September 30th. It actually went out early if you look at it from that timeframe.

[13:15:00]

So there were other reasons. There was a recent poll, it just shows -- and again, we talk about this a little bit from our side. The corruption in the Ukraine was so prevalent, recent polls said 68 percent of normal, just every day Ukrainians have said that they had bribed a public official in the past year. There was reasons for this to be discussed and reasons to go at it.

But also I want to point out one last thing on this other issue, Fast and Furious, the infamous issue with the Obama administration. It was seven months from first subpoena to first documents, seven months. That doesn't fit the timeline here. That doesn't fit the timeline here.

COLE: Go ahead.

RASKIN: So, this is an essential point that you raise right now. And I think that there is not any credible evidence from any of the witnesses or anything in the record to suggest that the president was actually trying to ferret out corruption as opposed to impose a corrupt scheme on the president of Ukraine.

Let's start with this. In 2017 and 2018, the president could have raised corruption in withholding military and security assistance to Ukraine and never did. Then in 2019 he did. What changed? Well, Joe Biden was running for president and the presidential campaign was much on his mind.

The president removed Ambassador Yovanovitch. And we learned today from -- from Mr. Giuliani that he was involved with the campaign by Parnas and Fruman to smear Ambassador Yovanovitch to say there was something wrong with her. In fact, when she was -- according to all the testimony we had, and all the public information we have, she was one of the leading anti-corruption ambassadors that the United States have on Earth. And they sabotaged her, they undercut her, they subjected her to an unprecedented smear campaign that lead several of the other witnesses to protest that the State Department was not standing by its own ambassador.

And they got rid of her, as Mr. Giuliani said in today's paper, because she was getting in the way of the investigations they wanted. And what investigations were those? Those into Biden, those into the 2016 conspiracy theory. So that's pretty clear: It had nothing to do with corruption.

Moreover, if you go to the July 25th telephone call, President Trump never raised the word "corruption" once. But he did talk about Joe Biden three times. So we didn't hear "corruption, corruption, corruption," we heard, "Biden, Biden, Biden."

That was the favor that we were looking for, right? He wanted the president of Ukraine to come over and say he was investigating the Bidens.

Look, that's unrefuted and uncontradicted in the record. I don't -- I don't think we should be trying to pull the wool over America's eyes about this. Let's not play make-believe. If we want to say it's OK for the president to do this stuff, let's just go ahead and say it. But let's not claim that he was involved in some kind of anti-corruption crusade at the time. I think America knows that we can't take that seriously.

This president cut anti-corruption funding to Ukraine by 50 percent. The chairman of his campaign, Paul Manafort, was on the take, he was on the dole for millions of dollars to a former corrupt president in Ukraine. President Zelensky, who was getting shaken down, was the reformer, he was the product of the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 which tried to bring some democracy and tried to bring some fairness and anti-corruption efforts to Ukraine.

Giuliani and his gang that can't shoot straight, they went over there because they wanted to take advantage of the situation and go back to the corrupt forces in Ukraine.

So this president had one thing in mind, his own reelection and how President Zelensky could help him. And you can see that if you look at the phone conversation that Ambassador Sondland had with the president the day after July 25th.

On July 26th, he had this phone conversation that was partially overheard by David Holmes in the State Department, and he hears him tell the president that, "Zelensky will do whatever you want, he's going to do the investigations, he loves your ass," and so on -- and then he gets off the phone. And then he tells him what -- what the president is interested in is the big stuff relating to the president's own political ambitions, like the Bidens. He's not interested in the war with Russia, and I would say, obviously, he's not interested in corruption. He was interested in the Bidens and that was it.

Now either we think that's an appropriate and proper thing for the president of the United States to be doing, or we think it's wrong.

Some of us believe it rises to the level of...

COLE: Want to give Mr. Collins a chance to respond.

Before I do, President Zelensky, any Ukrainian official every tell you they felt shaken down?

RASKIN: Well, there's lots of evidence in the record...

COLE: That's not what I asked. I said, have you gotten any statements...

RASKIN: No, I've never spoken to them.

COLE: OK, and is there any statement on the record?

RASKIN: (Inaudible).

COLE: I don't think so.

[13:20:00]

COLLINS: No. There's statements on the record. The record is, "We weren't pressured, we weren't part of anything, I wouldn't be a part of that." Those are the statements from Mr. Zelensky.

You know, don't let -- at this point...

COLE: (Inaudible) chance to respond...

RASKIN: There are contemporaneous e-mails where -- and somebody will pass me the exact language, but essentially where Mr. Yermak, who is the top right-hand man to the president of Ukraine, says that the president does not want to be treated as a political pawn in domestic American politics.

For several weeks they were doing everything in their power to try to get out from underneath the straitjacket of this scheme that was coming -- that was bearing down on them from every different direction.

COLE: Mr. Collins?

COLLINS: Wow, that's a story right there.

This is -- maybe this is a (inaudible) because we're having to expand the story to fit our narrative here, and because -- you know, just (ph) don't play make-believe if there's nothing. If they had something in the phone call that would have been in the articles of impeachment. They don't.

Because at the end of the day there's no direct evidence of what they're trying to spin here, and that was that there was a pressuring or a quid pro quo or however you want to put it to Mr. Zelensky.

The problem here is that Mark Sandy testified under oath that there was a wholesale investigation going into foreign aid this year. So you can go back and quote 2017, 2018 all you want, but this year because of the problems, he testified that there was a wholesale investigation on the foreign aid everywhere.

Trump -- but if you know, the President Trump actually raised this with Mr. Poroshenko in 2017 and that was testified to by Mr. Volker and the former ambassador. So when you look at this, there's no direct evidence of -- of what was said here and to try and then come back and put this into a different perspective -- and again, going back to Mr. Yermak, and Mr. Yermak said there was no connection between -- ever discussed between the aid and the investigation.

And also if they were trying to get out from under it so hard, I guess if we're looking at (inaudible) they never did anything to get the aid. They never did anything to get the aid. They were that scared something was wrong.

COLE: Right.

I'll try to bring this to conclusion. And I know there'll be a difference of opinion here, so you certainly both can respond.

Contrary to my claims, or to my friend's claims across the aisle, Mr. Collins, do you think the Democratic majority effectively denied the administration a meaningful opportunity to participate in this proceeding?

COLLINS: They didn't effectively. They did.

COLE: OK, on October 30th, the Rules Committee held our original jurisdiction markup on H.Res. 660 and there were many serious concerns from our side of the dais about the damage this unprecedented process (inaudible) the institution. Republican members of the committee were repeatedly assured that, quote, "the president has been afforded all kinds of rights before the Judiciary Committee." We've heard that assertion.

And today, this would be an open and transparent process, despite the fact that we received the text of the resolution a mere 24 hours earlier; did not have a single amendment made in order.

Mr. Collins, was the administration provided the opportunity to participate in the Intelligence Committee proceedings?

COLLINS: No.

COLE: Because in my mind it's basically supplanted the Judiciary as the principal committee of impeachment.

COLLINS: They were. And they definitely weren't in Judiciary. And they -- it was put into the record that they should have been. But the problem is, is the actual way it played out in the scheduling in Judiciary Committee made it nowhere possible that they could -- even if all of a sudden they wanted to, there was no time in the calendar for it.

COLE: So I'll just end with this, I mean, and I certainly -- well, I'll let me friend respond if you need -- wanted to.

RASKIN: Thank you. You're very kind Mr. Cole. The -- when Lieutenant Colonel Vindman testified, he said that this request for a favor was not in any sense a friendly request, it was a demand in the context of the hundreds of millions of dollars that were being held up, the request for the White House meeting and so on.

For weeks the Ukrainians pushed back on the demand of the president, his agents and advised U.S. officials, they did not want to be, quote, an instrument in Washington domestic reelection politics. You recall the testimony of Dr. Fiona Hill, who said that this was a domestic political errand that the president's team was on in order to extract this commitment from President Zelensky to come and give this interview.

And, in fact, they had publicly announced, or they were going to publicly announce investigations in an interview that President Zelensky had scheduled on CNN, but then Ukraine canceled the interview a few days after the president's scheme was publicly exposed the military go released.

In other words, when the whole scheme blew up, then President Zelensky felt that he could be free from this obligation to come forward and say he was investigating the...

COLE: With all due respect, the president was telling United States Senators in August that the aid was probably going to be released, long before there was any notion about a whistleblower or anything else. Senator Johnson from Wisconsin has testified to that effect.

[13:25:00]

RASKIN: Well...

COLE: And again, with all due respect, I mean, the last administration for four years didn't provide any military assistance to Ukraine. The idea that 55 days was somehow life and death in this situation, particularly during the period of transition from one government to another, you know, it just -- pretty thin gruel to impeach a president of the United States on.

Mr. Chairman, with all due respect to my friends here, who I admire both and who I think have been very helpful in their testimony and is always straight and forthright, my view, Chairman Schiff ought be the person answering questions in front of the Rules Committee. It's his report.

I don't blame the president for passing on the opportunity not to go before the Judiciary for what was clearly going to be perfunctorily and provide a sort of window dressing of legitimacy to this process.

So, the claim that he was giving meaningful or consistent opportunities treated anywhere like previous administration I just don't think holds up. When you're denied an opportunity where the principle actions at and then given a last minute thing, and so, again I just -- I'm going to yield back my time Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank both of our distinguished members, former and current of the Rules Committee for coming up here and providing us their insight and their testimony. It's great to work with both of you and I appreciate your service to your districts and to the Congress and to the country. I yield back.

MCGOVERN: So, I want to thank the gentleman for his questioning. I said I'd be liberal with the time, you...

COLE: You were.

MCGOVERN: ... you're going to make me into a conservative by the end of this hearing.

(LAUGHTER)

But let me -- let me just do a couple of things here. One is I want to ask unanimous consent, without objection, to insert into the record, an October 23, New York Times article entitled, "Ukraine knew of aid freeze by early August undermining Trump defense." I also want to make a couple of comments about the minority day witness issue.

I did send a letter to my colleagues on the Rules Committee, we made it part of the record. Mr. Nadler has confirmed that he would work with the minority to schedule their hearing day on constitutional grounds of impeachment. Not withstand the fact that he already...

COLLINS: When?

MCGOVERN: ... minority witness, and we did a lot of history -- we looked at the history of -- of this whole -- this whole rule and basically it was designed to ensure that the minority was shut out witnesses, that they were completely shut out of hearings, as had been -- as had occurred in the past.

And the minority did get a witness. I tried not to watch the Judiciary proceedings as much as I could, but I did see him, he was there. But I would just say that -- that this -- this notion that somehow the minority has this super power ability to be able to not only name the witnesses, but set the day, and to be able to slow down progress on any bill, if that were the case, having been in the minority for eight years, we would have used it to stop most of the agenda that my Republican friends have put forward.

So, I -- I -- I -- I put the -- I would, again, just -- I will make that letter available to anybody who's interested.

COLLINS: Mr. McGovern?

MCGOVERN: Yes.

COLLINS: Mr. Chairman, I do have a question. I was -- you made a statement and I'm not sure if you were -- how you were wording it, if it was a paraphrase or not, but I was never promised by Mr. Nadler that he would work with us on minority hearing day from now to infinity. I mean he just -- he just basically said, no, we're not having it. He did not.

MCGOVERN: My understanding is he said that in Committee. Maybe I'm -- I'm wrong, but I -- we can find out during the break.

COLLINS: Well, we've had a little issue of consultation lately. So...

MCGOVERN: We -- yes, we can -- we will look that up and by the time we get back we will get you that answer. But let me -- let me, again, remind everybody here why we're here today.

I mean, because I -- it's easy to get -- kind of get caught up into the weeds and to talk about process, and -- let me -- let me -- I just was handed it. Nadler, it says I'm willing to work with the minority to schedule the hearing. I'll pass that onto the gentleman if you...

COLLINS: We have consultations issues in our Committee. And sending that and not talking about it, and taking all of our witnesses out is not true. And to put it into a letter is fine, but it's still not true.

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

MCGOVERN: Right. So, I -- I will ask that to be part of the record as well. Look, let me just remind everybody why we're here. As I said over and over again, the president abused his power of office for his own personal gain, and obstructed a Congressional investigation to look into that conduct.

And we all know how he did it, he tried to shake down the government of Ukraine to get -- basically get dirt on his political opponent to help him in the upcoming 2020 election. And he engaged in a systemic pattern of denying any documents of any cooperation with Congress. That is obstruction of Congress.

[13:30:00]