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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Coverage of the House Floor Debate on Articles of Impeachment. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 18, 2019 - 17:00   ET

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


DOGGETT: -- and that he can totally ignore any impeachment proceeding of which he disapproves.

[17:00:00]

These are the claims of a wannabe tyrant who has extolled the virtues of tyrants and autocrats from Manila to Moscow. To advance tyranny, he adopts an open border policy, inviting foreigners to come in to our country and intrude in our elections.

Foreign nations have their own agendas, especially adversaries like Russia and China. An American citizen should be the only ones determining the fate of America. If the President continues demanding more foreign interference, we will never have truly free elections and we will not be free.

We act today recognizing the solemn responsibility to safeguard our security and Constitution. We pledge allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands, not to one man who would be king.

SPEAKER: Gentle -- gentleman from Georgia?

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Before I call my next speaker, could I get a time check from the Speaker?

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Georgia has one hour, three -- three and a quarter minutes remaining. The gentleman from California has 57 and a quarter minutes remaining.

COLLINS: That was one hour and?

SPEAKER: Three minutes -- three and a quarter minutes.

COLLINS: Three and a quarter minutes?

SPEAKER: One hour and three and a quarter minutes.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker, I couldn't hear. I apologize. Thank you, I will now yield one minute to the gentleman from -- one minute and a half to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Allen.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for a minute and a half.

ALLEN: Thank you to my friend from Georgia and thank you for your great work in -- in dealing with -- with this very sad day in our country. Today, for the third time -- third time in our nation's history, a President will be impeached. This will be, however, the first time impeachment has been entirely partisan and without merit.

This charade is not because President Trump is guilty of a high crime or misdemeanor but because one political party doesn't like him or his policies of America first. The facts are we have a divided government and House Democrats are at war with the Executive Branch. Fact two, they have been planning for this day since President Trump took office. Fact three, they accused the President first and then have spent months looking for a crime. Fact four, but no evidence has been presented of an impeachable offense.

During one of the partisan hearings, a member of this body asked if President Trump had evidence of his innocence, why didn't he bring it forward? The Democrats want Americans to believe that our President is guilty until he proves himself innocent? This whole process is unconstitutional.

Today we've heard both sides but we need to get the truth and the truth is the decision of who should be our President should be made by the American people, not Speaker Pelosi, Adam Schiff and House Democrats. Thank you and I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California?

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel -- Chairmen Engel, for three minutes.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for three minutes.

ENGEL: I thank my friend, Mr. Speaker. As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have to say that this is a sad day. No one is gleeful that the President's actions have brought us to this point but when you boil it down, we're here today because the President abused the power of his office to help his chances at re-election. He used the enormous weight of the presidency and American foreign policy to push a foreign government to smear a political rival, and he got caught.

Why is this conduct so serious? Why has the President's behavior pushed the House of Representatives to exercise one of its most consequential constitutional responsibilities? Because corrupting an American election, particularly in cahoots with a foreign power, means corrupting American democracy.

Our elections are at the heart of our democracy, the foundation of what makes our system of government great, our republic, if we can keep it, as Benjamin Franklin once said. If our elections are unfair then our republic cannot stand.

Anyone who tries to fix an election is taking away the power of the American people to choose their leaders. If it happens at any level of government, it's toxic to our democracy, and this came from the highest level. Section 37

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ENGEL: In this case, it's even more serious because what was the President willing to give up for this advantage? What price was he willing to pay? The price was our national security. When the President devised a shadow foreign policy that undermined our diplomacy and -- and diplomats, when he held back assistance for Ukraine, who's embroiled in a war against Russia, when he pressured a foreign government to interfere in our elections again, he sacrificed our security, he shook the faith of a loyal ally, he played right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. He weakened our country all because he thought it might help his reelection bid.

Only the president has that power to corrupt our foreign policy for political gain, and the moment he chose to do so, the moment he -- he undermined our security in his scheme to undermine our democracy, whether he succeeded or not, and thank God, he did not, at that moment it became an abuse of power, and a president who abuses his power for personal gain is exactly what the framers feared. It's why impeachment is in the Constitution.

So we need to pass these articles. The president's actions have left us no choice. He cannot be allowed to undermine our democracy and tear apart the fabric that holds our country together, so I will vote for impeachment, and I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. At this time, I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Gaetz, the member of the Judiciary Committee.

SPEAKER: Two minutes?

COLLINS: Two minutes.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for two minutes.

GAETZ: This is not about the Ukraine; It's about power. Donald Trump has it, and House Democrats want it. And so with no crime, no victim, no evidence, no proof, no agenda for America, this impeachment charade marches on, following no rules and adhering to no sense of honor.

The American people aren't fooled by dirty tricks. Voters will never forget that Democrats have been triggered into impeaching the president because they don't like him, and they don't like us. Those who vote yes on today's articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they serve in Congress, which won't be long because the American people will remember in November.

Democrats would rather trip the president just to see him stumble than see America succeed. They'd rather impeach the president than work together for the common good of our country and our citizens. Democrats may have won the House in 2018, but they haven't forgiven Donald Trump for having the audacity to win the presidency, and they haven't forgiven you, the American people, for voting for him.

The day before she was sworn into Congress, one member of the body said she promised to impeach the "mother-f-er". She's not alone. Trump's impeachment was plotted and planned before the ink was even dry on his election certificate, and possibly before some Democrats could even point to the Ukraine on a map.

In seeking the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from New York said that he was the strongest member to lead a potential impeachment. Democrats may not have known why they were going to impeach the president, but they knew it was an inevitability, facts be damned.

This impeachment is a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who voted for President Trump, the same Americans that Democrats in Washington have mocked as "smelly Walmart shoppers" and "deplorables". This impeachment isn't legitimate; it's the radical left's insurance policy. But we have an insurance policy, too. It's the next election, and we intend to win it.

I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California.

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from Vermont, Mr. Welch, for two minutes.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for two minutes.

WELCH: Madam Speaker, we, the people have a common tie that binds us together now, as it has since the founding of our country, and it's our shared respect for the Constitution of the United States. Let us all step back from the maelstrom of the moment to recall that our country's inception 243 years ago, the concept of a democratic, self- governing rule was a breathtaking and idealistic aspiration, and when the 13 American colonies boldly rejected the rule of a British monarch, our founders were determined to form a government that would rule instead with the consent of the governed.

Ensuring that this noble experiment endured through the ages was an enormous existential challenge. It was met with the adoption of the Constitution in 1788. And at its heart are two bedrock principles that have served as touchstones for our country ever since. First, it established America as a nation of laws where no person is above the law. Second, it established the concept of a separation of powers where three co-equal branches of government would check each other, lest power be concentrated in one at the expense of liberty to all.

Mr. -- Madam Speaker, when President Trump abused the power of off -- his office by soliciting foreign interference in the upcoming election for his personal benefit, he willfully infringed upon the right of citizens to decide who will lead our nation, and in doing so, he placed himself above the law and in violation of his oath. And when he denounced, denied and defied the clear authority of Congress to investigate his conduct, he repudiated our constitutional system of checks and balances and further violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

And it is for these reasons I will cast my vote in favor of impeaching President Donald John Trump. I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Biggs.

SPEAKER: The gentleman's recognized for two minutes.

BIGGS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Some of my colleagues across the aisle have said, "Hey, where are the facts?" as if we have the burden of proof. It's your burden of proof, Madam Chair. It's the Democrats' burden of proof.

But the facts are unchanged. The Ukraine received aid that they were promised and appropriated for. The aid was lawfully disbursed. In fact, it was disbursed within the time limits set by this Congress. If you wanted it set before -- sent to them before September 30th, 2019, you should have put that in the legislation. You did not.

The Ukrainians gave nothing in return. The Ukrainian's president said he felt no pressure, no coercion, no duress, no conditionality. But what changed? On the day that the aid was released, two anti- corruption measures were signed into law by the Ukrainian president, Mr. -- President Zelensky.

Democrats have manufactured this sham and then argue that refusing to cooperate is impeachable. The Supreme Court is currently considering the extent of executive privilege when fighting dubious subpoenas. But instead of taking their process to court or waiting for the court to rule on the pending case, the Democrats chose to press forward because simply. they said, "We don't want to wait. We don't have time," they say. But failing to do so is an abuse of power of this institution that will have grave consequences for our republic.

Now, when the other side claims they proceed with soberness, I'm bemused by media reports that indicate they have been admonished not to do a jig today when they win the vote, which we know they will. I am struck that solemnity of process shouldn't need to have an admonition against levity. This process has been partisan, vindictive, dishonest.

In this impeachment, Democrats have lied about the content of the July 25th call, met secretly with the whistleblower, held Soviet-style hearings behind closed doors where the Judiciary Committee, the committee of jurisdiction could not attend, blocked the president's counsel from participating in the fact-finding portion of the inquisition. It has been a sham from start to finish.

And I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California. SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I recognize Mr. Scott for a unanimous consent request.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized.

SCOTT (?): Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend remarks in favor of both articles of impeachment.

SPEAKER: Without objection. Gentleman from...

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I recognize Mr. Carson, the congressman from Indiana, for two minutes.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for two minutes.

CARSON: Thank you, Chair, and thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, Madam Speaker, as we continue and consider this historic impeachment vote, let's be clear that the president's actions seriously jeopardize not only America's national security, but the security of our closest allies. His actions threaten the goals of a U.S.-led NATO alliance.

You see, Ukraine is a nation working hard to make its democracy stronger, and make no mistake: Ukraine is on the front lines of Russian aggression. Thankfully, U.S. military aid helps Ukraine defend itself against Russia and integrate itself into the European community. When our European allies are stronger, America is stronger. We are better-equipped to promote democracy and put a stop to tyranny.

But to President Trump, strengthening this valuable national security objective, Mr. -- Madam Speaker, was not as important as smearing a political rival. Madam Speaker, we know that he held nearly $400 million of aid to Ukraine until President Zelensky agreed to help him dig up dirt on his potential 2020 opponent. This aid was approved by Congress with strong bipartisan support. President Trump's actions hurt American diplomacy and undermined the integrity of our nation's promises to our allies.

We will not allow our leaders to trade away our national security. We cannot allow Russia's continued threats to democracy go unanswered, and we must not allow our own president of these United States to get away with breaking his own Oath of Office.

Madam Speaker, that is why we take this solemn and necessary vote to impeach.

Thank you. And I yield back the balance of my time.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield a minute-and-a-half to the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Latta.

SPEAKER: For what period?

COLLINS: A minute-and-a-half.

SPEAKER: The gentleman is recognized for a minute-and-a-half.

LATTA: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

This is a sad day for our country, one that our forefathers warned us against. We have watched this illegitimate impeachment process unfold while making a mockery of our constitutional duties. House Democrats have conducted the most polarizing impeachment process in our nation's history. And the men and women I represent are tired of this Democrat- run House putting political games above our national interests.

House Democrats held secret meetings, withheld important documents, deliberately misrepresented information to the public, and did not give due process to the president. This investigation was unfair and the American people expect more out of Congress.

The Articles of Impeachment are not based on facts, but instead are entirely politically motivated. The truth is there was no pressure put on President Zelensky and the transcripts confirm that there was no conditionality. This inquiry has been rigged from the start, lacking fairness, transparency, and truth. It has been a waste of taxpayers' dollars and it based off the opinion of an unnamed whistle-blower and hearsay.

The accusations in today's proceedings do not align with the facts. This impeachment process is out of step with existing precedent for presidential impeachment proceedings, and is not a process I will support. I urge my colleagues to put country first and vote in opposition to the Articles of Impeachment.

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman yields.

The gentleman from California is recognized.

SCHIFF: I thank the gentleman.

It is now my pleasure to recognize the gentlelady from New York, Chairwoman Maloney is recognized for three minutes.

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman from New York is recognized.

C. MALONEY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. President Trump abused the power of his office for his own personal and political gain at the expense of our national security. President Trump's wholesale obstruction of Congress is unprecedented, indisputable, and impeachable.

President Trump is the first president in history to openly and completely defy all aspects of the constitutional impeachment process. In an attempt to cover up his abuse of power, he ordered the entire executive branch not to participate in the inquiry and directed it to defy lawful subpoenas from Congress.

As chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I find this obstruction particularly offensive. Even, even President Nixon accepted Congress's impeachment authority and allowed his aides and advisers to produce the documents to Congress. And President Nixon allowed current and former staff to testify in both the House impeachment and the Senate Watergate investigations, including his chief of staff and White House counsel.

By contrast, President Trump, without any legal basis, directed current and former officials not to cooperate with the House's inquiry, which resulted in nine administration officials defying subpoenas for testimony. And in response to the House's inquiry, President Trump refused to turn over even one single -- not one single document to Congress in response to lawful subpoenas.

Put simply, President Trump's actions are even worse than Nixon's. Let me repeat. President Trump's actions are even worse than Nixon's. Our founding fathers established a system of checks and balances that spread out power between the branches of government. They decided that no one would be a king, that no one is above the law, including the president. And they gave the responsibility of impeachment solely to the people's House.

When President Trump defies our subpoenas and obstructs our impeachment inquiry, he seeks to place himself above the Constitution and above the law. We cannot let that stand. And if we do, then that's the end of Congress as a co-equal branch of government and we've allowed President Trump to elevate himself above the law.

It is our solemn duty under the Constitution to impeach President Trump for his blatant abuse of power and his obstruction of Congress.

I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman from New York yields. The gentleman from California reserves.

The gentleman from Georgia is recognized.

COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield one minute to the gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Womack.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Arkansas is recognized.

WOMACK: I thank the gentleman for giving me this moment.

Madam -- or, Mr. Speaker, years from now history books will tell of this day. It will tell of a purely partisan effort to remove the president of the United States. An effort not built on a high crime or misdemeanor, not on a process and keeping with the high American standard of due process and equal treatment. This effort is rooted only in the governing party's hatred of a man elected president of the United States.

Members on the other side of the aisle have been in pursuit of this moment since 2016. They are consumed by it. Earlier in this debate, one of our colleagues referred to our president as a domestic enemy. Our founders warned us about this day. That is why our nation has entrusted the future of the country with the outcome of elections, not the will of a party filled with contempt for a duly-elected president.

My hope is that when the historians write about this day, it is not written in the context of a nation that lost its way, because its elected members chose hateful partisanship over the sacred oath that has protected this great republic since its founding.

And I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Arkansas yields. The gentleman from Georgia reserves.

The gentleman from California is recognized.

SCHIFF: Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Malinowski, for one minute.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized.

MALINOWSKI: Mr. Speaker, in America when we call the fire department or enroll our children in school, we do not expect a government official to say to us, I need you to do us a favor, though. Why would we tolerate a president using his awesome power to make foreign policy when the safety of our country is at stake not for the people but for himself?

I will vote to impeach today because President Trump did just that when he shook down a foreign country to criminally investigate his political rival. If we fail to say that this was wrong, then any president will be free to ask a foreign power, be it Russia, China, or Iran, to help him hurt his political enemies at home. And every foreign tyrant and kleptocrat will know that America's foreign policy can be bought by doing our president a political favor.

If you believe that our highest duty is to protect America, then search your conscience and ask, do you want our future presidents to behave as this one has done? Do not whisper in the shadows of the Capitol that you disapprove and then defend that conduct here today.

Do your duty. Keep your oath. Defend your country.

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from California reserves.

The gentleman from Georgia is recognized.

COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At this time I yield one minute to the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from South Carolina is recognized.

J. WILSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Over a month ago on November the 14th, I spoke on the impeachment hoax with points true then and still true today. After over a month of secret investigations into the administration, Democrats have now decided to open these controlled hearings to the public. This continues the deception by Democrats to mislead the American people.

It's insulting. No Republican witnesses. No counsel by the president to participate. And full exoneration by courageous President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. It is said that instead of focusing on funding our military through the National Defense Authorization Act, passed only last week, or passing the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement to create jobs, that Democrats continue having wasted $30 million of taxpayers' money on the Russian hoax now proceeding with a Ukrainian hoax.

This partisan witch hunt diverts attention from the president's successes. The unemployment remains at a record low. There is record job creation. And the stock market, again, today, is thriving, showing that President Trump keeps his promises.

In conclusion, God bless our troops and we will never forget September 11th and the global war on terrorism.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Georgia reserves.

The gentleman from California is recognized.

SCHIFF: Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Gomez, for one minute.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from California is recognized.

GOMEZ: Mr. Speaker, we're here at this moment in our nation's history because the president abused the power of his office, bribed a foreign government to intrude into our democracy, and engaged in an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of Congress to cover it up.

Our credibility in the global community has been compromised, our character and motivations our questioned. We know where the president's true loyalties lie, not with our constituents, not with our allies, but with our adversaries and himself.

Abraham Lincoln once said, nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man's character, give him power. Donald Trump has failed this test. And now our test is whether we will be a check on that power.

Therefore, we must hold anyone to account regardless of party or politics, who sets fire to the very institutions the define our nation and our values. And with this in mind, I will vote yes to impeach Donald J. Trump.

I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California yields, the gentleman from California reserves.

The gentleman from Georgia is recognized.

COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I yield a minute and a half to the gentlewoman from North Carolina, Ms. Foxx.

SPEAKER: The gentlewoman from North Carolina is recognized.

FOXX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in strong opposition to the process and to the resolution. When Congress sees fit to examine its solemn power of impeachment, it is imperative that it does so in genuine pursuit of justice, fairly, transparently and objectively. Anything less is unacceptable.

This partisan impeachment has fallen far short of that. Sadly, Alexander Hamilton's prediction in Federalist Number 65 has come true, where he warned that "In many cases, it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence and interest on one side or on the other."

And in such cases, there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.

After years of investigation, hearings and millions of taxpayer dollars, Democrats found no proof that the president committed a crime, no proof that the vague accusations in these articles clearly reflect a basic prerequisite for impeachment.

Impeaching for high crimes and misdemeanors is a charge than an actual crime was committed. These empty baseless articles expose for the American people what this is, a desperate partisan attempt to avenge the laws of the Democrat's preferred candidate in 2016. We must respect American voters and reject these articles.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Georgia reserves.

The gentleman from California is recognized.

SCHIFF: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just a quick fact-check before I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that no Republican witnesses were allowed to testify. That is of course not correct.

In the Intelligence Committee, three of the Republican-requested witnesses testified, that is one out of every four of the witnesses were Republican-requested witnesses. That they incriminated the president did not make them any less requested by the minority.

I'm not proud to recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Keating, for one minute.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized.

KEATING: Today, I reflect on the imperatives of two sons of Massachusetts: John Adams, who, in one sentence, captured the very foundation of our country, saying, "We are a government of laws, not men." Translation? No one is above the law.

And John F. Kennedy, who in his iconic City Upon a Hill address, cautioned that any one of us holding public office would be judged by the high court of history on whether we were truly men and women of courage, with the courage to stand up to one's enemies and the courage to stand up, as well, to one's associates.

The courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed. And on whether we are truly men and women of integrity, who never run out of the principles in which we believe, and whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust.

President Donald Trump, indifferent and disdainful of this sacred trust, conspired to extract personal benefit from his office. He dishonored his oath. I refuse to abandon mine.

I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from North Dakota?

ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would just like to point out very quickly the only Republican witnesses allowed in the Intelligence hearings were on the Democrats' preapproved list.

[17:30:00]

And with that, I would yield one and a half minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Rice.

SPEAKER: The gentleman is recognized for one and a half minutes.

T. RICE: Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this partisan sham of an impeachment resolution that is ripping our country apart.

Beginning even before he took office, President Trump has been attacked by a never-ending barrage of lies and corruption and deceit by the liberal political elite including James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Hillary Clinton and the impeachment zealots in this Congress.

Democrats colluded with Russia and Ukraine to interfere in our 2016 election by producing the now-famous fake dossier. Now, they accuse President Trump of colluding with a foreign power. What a joke. They abused their office to illegally wiretap and spy on President Trump's campaign. Now they accuse him of abusing his office. What a joke.

They structure these proceedings to deny the president and Republicans in Congress a fair hearing. Then they accuse the president of obstructing Congress. Look in the mirror, folks.

The reaction of the American people, that this is contrived and corrupt, was entirely predictable and is entirely correct. The polls have turned against them and the Democrats are desperate to stop the bleeding. That's why we're cramming this vote in today, just before leaving for Congress, to dispose of impeachment as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The actions of the Democrats are a stain on this chamber. I urge my colleagues to join me in fighting against this shameful abuse of power and vote no on this sham of an impeachment resolution.

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from California?

SCHIFF: Hi, Madam Speaker. Didn't think I'd have to do another fact- check so quickly, but of course there was no pre-approved witness list.

I'm now proud to recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Meeks, for one minute.

SPEAKER: The gentleman's recognized for one minute.

MEEKS: The decision to impeach a president of the United States is of enormous magnitude and utmost significance. There are few issues that so deeply reflect upon the Constitution and the American system of governance.

As a senior member of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee, I've spent years trying to promote American values of democracy and the rule of law in other parts of the world, including Eastern Europe. Because I have been so steeped in Ukrainian issues for so long, I know how damaging President Trump's actions were.

But the president's damages does not end there. He has consistently obstructed at every turn of this investigation. This nation's founding fathers fought to end unaccountable rule. We did not free ourselves from a king to turn the president into a monarch.

But the camera of history is rolling. And I will cast my vote consistent with the principles of democracy, the rule of law and our Constitution, for the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. I do so because I could not look my granddaughter or any member of future generations in the eye, having condoned actions that undermine our democratic system. And I urge all of my colleagues to do the same, may God bless the United States of America.

SPEAKER: The gentleman from Georgia?

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I yield one minute to the gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Bacon.

SPEAKER: The gentleman is recognized for one minute.

BACON: Madam Speaker, I am strongly opposed to this impeachment. No law was broken, no high crimes or misdemeanors, no impeachable offenses. Ukrainians received aid one week prior to the law's requirement, aid that was previously rejected by the -- by the administration before it. There was no investigation, and President Zelensky said he received no pressure from the Trump administration, ever. Simply put, there was no quid pro quo and no crime. There is only the majority's disdain for the president, and that is not an impeachable offense.

The elections are in 10 months, but the majority doesn't trust the American people. Too many have said that the impeachment is necessary so the president is not re-elected in 2020, and that is shameful.

Today's vote sets a new precedent for America. In the future, the majority will use impeachment as a tactic to remove a president simply based on partisanship. Our founders feared this, and I strongly oppose it.

I want my statement to be in the record for the end of time, to show I was on the side of the Constitution, that I oppose the majority taking down a duly elected president who committed no crime, and I defended the truth.

Madam Speaker, I yield. Section 38

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SPEAKER: The gentleman from California?

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, my colleagues continue to make the argument that the Ukrainians got the money. Yes, the President got caught but he -- they got the money, no harm, no foul. It is the equivalent of saying if you are pulled over by a cop and you attempt to bribe the cop and the cop doesn't take the money but arrests you, where's the crime in that? They didn't get the money.

This is -- this is what my colleagues would have you accept -- this is what my colleagues would have you accept, that because the President got caught in the act, we must look the other way. But of course, that's not the way the law works, that's not the way the Constitution works, that's not the way our oath of office works. Our oath of office requires us to impeach a President that abuses his power, whether he gets away with it or he gets caught. And in this case, he got caught.

I'm now proud to recognize the gentleman from new Jersey, Mr. Norcross, for one minute.

SPEAKER: Gentleman is recognized for one minute.

NORCROSS: Madam Speaker, I rise today, a time of grave concern for all Americans. This past weekend, I joined a bipartisan delegation traveling to Belgium, to Luxembourg for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, a battle that over 19,000 Americans gave their lives. Today, we're called to preserve that democracy that they so bravely defended. Over two years ago, as one of the first members of Congress to vote to advance the inquiry -- since then, I have withheld final judgment as I review the facts and heard the testimony.

I believe there is overwhelming evidence well beyond reasonable doubt that President Donald Trump is guilty in both articles of impeachment -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Therefore, I will uphold my oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States in favor of impeachment.

It is our solemn responsibility to honor all those who have fought and given their lives to uphold the truth. In America, no one -- no one is above the law. I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's time is expired. Gentleman from Georgia?

COLLINS: Well, I just love this. Again, potshot at anyone you can. Remember quid pro quo? Didn't work out real well for them because that was supposedly -- you had pressure on Mr. Zelensky. You know, in fact, it didn't work out so well, you had to go poll test it. The majority didn't work out cause focus groups didn't like it.

So what do we do? We throw it in here, a bribe. Ooh, it's all in their report, but if they had a bribe or if they actually had a crime, it'd be in the articles. Guess what? He doesn't have it, he can't put it in there. This is all fluff and circumstance because they can't get to the President and that's what's killing them.

A minute and a half to the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Bucshon.

SPEAKER: Gentleman is recognized for a minute and a half.

BUCSHON: Madam Speaker, House Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching President Trump since he was elected. He wasn't supposed to win. How could the voters support him, they asked. The American people were told the only way the Speaker would move forward with impeachment was if the case was compelling, overwhelming, and bipartisan.

Yet the case for impeachment that has been rushed forward by House Democrats is anything but that. To be clear, neither of those articles of impeachment prove any wrongdoing or impeachable offense has actually taken place.

Instead, House Democrats case rests solely on hearsay testimony and presumptions from cherry-picked witnesses. The framers of the Constitution never intended impeachment to be used as a tool to settle political and policy differences. That's what elections are for.

This is a sad and dangerous moment in our history as impeachment is being used to undo the will of the American people and silence the voices of millions of Americans in the process. Alexander Hamilton would be ashamed. I urge my colleagues to vote no on this partisan impeachment sham and I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California? SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I now yield one minute to Mr. Crow, the gentleman from Colorado.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for one minute.

CROW: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Years ago, I took my first oath to the country, went to war and fought alongside our nation's finest men and women. Some of them gave their lives for our nation. Not a day has passed that I don't reflect on those sacrifices.

I learned during that time that our nation is built on sacrifice. We have overcome challenging times because people have decided to put aside their personal interests, their livelihoods, and yes, even give their lives to do what is best for our nation.

Our founders created a system to ensure we would have no kinds or dictators, a system that vested power in the people to ensure that no man or woman is above the law. Generation after generation, this system has survived because people have fought for it. Today, it is our turn.

The President's abuse of power and scorn for our constitutional checks and balances is unprecedented. Unless we stand up against these abuses, we will set the country on a dangerous new course. My oath, my love of our country and my duty to honor the sacrifices who came before us require me to act.

To my colleagues, it is time to put aside our personal and political interests and honor those who have come before us. Thank you, Madam Speaker, I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia?

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. At this point, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from -- 35 seconds to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Hice.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for 35 seconds.

HICE: The Democrats new definition for evidence is allegations -- allegations based on hearsay, I might add, so they hurl allegations against the President and then they say to him that it's not their responsibility to prove guilt but the President's responsibility to prove his innocence.

This has been a sham and an act of injustice against the President and against 93 million Americans who voted for him and although this process was rigged from the beginning, Democrats never produced a single true piece of evidence.

It's time for us to stop this hoax and vote against these articles of impeachment.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California?

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentlewoman from Virginia, Ms. Luria.

SPEAKER: For what period of time?

SCHIFF: Oh, I'm sorry, for one minute.

SPEAKER: Thank you. The gentlelady's recognized for one minute.

LURIA: Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of our Constitution, in support of the military members in harm's way who defend our Constitution, in support of Gold Star families who keep faith that their loved one's sacrifice was justified.

I rise today in support of the oath I first took at 17 upon entering the Naval Academy and took five more times in my 20 year Navy career, an oath that comforted me in the years I spent away from my family, deployed around the globe. An oath that encouraged me to remain vigilant on the bridge of the ship at night. An oath that strengthened me when in command as I sent my fellow sailors into harm's way.

And today, an oath that gives me resolve, resolve to do what is right and not what is politically expedient. Resolve to stand with the President at the White House last week and resolve to stand up to the President in this House today.

I ask my colleagues to have the same strength and the same resolve. I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia?

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam -- Madam Speaker. I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Walker.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for 35 seconds.

WALKER: When emotion supersedes the facts, the conclusion is cataclysmic. Today, we are wrapping up not a three month process but rather a three year process, with Democrats disdain so much that it's led to the abuse of this very House.

These are the same Democrats who promised America they saw evidence of Russian collusion. Do the American people trust them? Hell no, they don't. A growing number of American people have condemned this impeachment process and that's with House Democrats setting the rules and then even bending and breaking the rules to fit their narrative.

The majority of Americans see this circus for what it is. I wonder how many more will join them. I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California?

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Eshoo, for one minute.

SPEAKER: Gentlelady is recognized for one minute.

ESHOO: Madam Speaker, I rise today to defend our Constitution and our democracy by voting for the two articles of impeachment. The words of our sacred oath define our duty and those words must be kept. Our founders primal fear was that powerful members of our government would become, in Hamilton's words, "mercenary instruments of foreign corruption."

President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal benefit. He also betrayed our nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.

Article two I agree with because it details the obstruction of Congress by the President by directing unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by this House of Representatives and abused the powers of the presidency in a manner subversive to the Constitution.

I believe the...

SPEAKER: Gentlelady's time's expired.

ESHOO: ... is the soul of our nation, and by defending it, we are saying we will not be soulless.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia?

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Barr.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for 35 seconds.

BARR: Don't be fooled. Democrats are not impeaching the president to protect national security. Democrats are impeaching the president for following a law that they themselves voted for.

No less than five times in the last six years, bipartisan Congresses imposed on the Executive Branch an affirmative duty to insure that the government of Ukraine was countering corruption and for good reason.

Ukraine is the third most corrupt nation on earth. So the president not only had the legal authority to temporarily pause security assistance to Ukraine, he had a mandate from Congress to do it.

And as a result, President Zelensky's government made historic anti- corruption reforms, making Ukraine a more reliable ally, countering Russian aggression, far from compromising national security. The president's actions advanced national security. Oppose this impeachment.

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: The gentleman's time's expired. The gentleman from California.

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, my colleagues would have the country believe that the president held up the aid to Ukraine because it was concerned about corruption. Of course there is not a shred of evidence of that.

All of the national security experts across all the departments testified that Ukraine met the criteria to receive the aid. So what was the real motivation here. Well, one thing is telling. In 2017 the president had no problem with aid to Ukraine, raised no issue of corruption.

In 2018 he had no problem with the military aid for Ukraine. So what changed in 2019. Joe Biden announced he was running for president and all of the sudden Donald Trump held up the aid for Ukraine.

As Ambassador Sondland testified, the president didn't care about Ukraine. All he cared about was the big stuff that affected him personally. The investigation of the Bidens that Giuliani was pushing. It's my pleasure to recognize the gentlelady from Virginia, Ms. Spanberger for one minute.

SPEAKER: The gentlelady is recognized for one minute.

SPANBERGER: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise today in support of House Resolution 755. As a CIA case officer, I used to meet with foreign nationals who were providing vital intelligence to help inform our hardest national security decisions and keep our country safe.

These individuals from countries where leaders abused their power and defied the rule of law risked imprisonment and often their very lives in order to provide the United States with information to help us, to inform us.

But why. It was their belief in the United States. Their belief in our country, the longest standing democracy in the world. Our country, a beacon of hope in the world. A democratic republic founded on a document and the belief in the rule of law and a belief in its people.

Today I am proud to serve in the people's House representing my hometown and again, serving our country that beacon of hope in the world. And today, especially today, I reflect on the founding documents that have set us apart in the world, leading people across generations and across the world to risk everything because of their belief in our great nation. Today, especially...

SPEAKER: The gentlelady's time is expired.

SPANBERGER: ... today, I affirm my commitment to upholding and protecting the Constitution, the rule of law defines and the people it governs. I yield back.

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Arrington.

SPEAKER: The gentleman is recognized for 35 seconds. ARRINGTON: Today, many of my Democratic colleagues will be making history. Unfortunately for supporting the first ever completely partisan impeachment of a president of the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I am deeply disturbed that history will indeed be made today in this hallowed chamber. But for all the wrong reasons. Not for love of country but hatred for a political foe. Not to pursue justice but to punish a political adversary.

Not to seek truth but to cease political power for the love of country. I urge my colleagues to oppose this disastrous political ruse. I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman yields back. Gentleman from California.

SCHIFF: Recognize the gentlewoman from California, chairman -- Chairwoman Waters, for three minutes.

SPEAKER: The gentlelady is recognized for three minutes.

WATERS: Ladies and gentleman, unfortunately the rules of debate won't allow to cite all of the reasons why this president should be impeached. There are many. However, Madam Speaker and members of this House, to quote the late Maya Angelou; when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

This day was not inevitable but it was predictable because this president has shown himself time and time again to believe that he is above the law. And he has no respect for our Constitution or our democracy.

Based on all that we know about Donald Trump, we could have predicted he would have abused the power of the president by corruptly soliciting the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian President Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into his political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

This impeachment resolution includes evidence that this president withheld $391 million of tax payer funds that Congress appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression. Another blatant abuse of power.

Our investigations revealed that this president advanced a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine rather than Russia interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit.

Never before in our history have we experienced a president who has so clearly conducted himself in a manner offensive to and subversive of the Constitution and directed his Cabinet members, Executive Branch agencies and other White House officials to defy lawful subpoenas from Congress.

Was he attempting to hide wrong doing. It is without question that this president has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self governance and the rule of law.

Because at every turn he has show ups who he is. It is no secret that this president could have been impeached a long time ago. Today we stand here with an irrefutable case and an indisputable set of facts that this president absolutely abused his power and obstructed Congress.

Any other individual who would have been caught conducting themselves in the way this president has would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It is shameful that any members of this House are willing to disregard the Constitution, turn a blind eye to hard facts and ignore a confession from the president himself.

History will remember those who were willing to speak truth to power. Yes, I call for Trump's impeachment early. This is our country. Our fore mothers and fore fathers shed their blood to build and defend this democracy.

I refuse to have it undermined. I wholeheartedly support this resolution. I'm proud that in the final analysis, justice will have been served in America and Donald Trump will have been impeached.

SPEAKER: The gentlelady's time is expired. Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Madam Speaker...

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: House is not in order.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Reclaiming my time that the gentlelady did not have, I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Abraham.

(CROSSTALK)

SPEAKER: The gentleman's recognized for 35 seconds.

ABRAHAM: Madam Speaker, what is shameful is that Speaker Pelosi has allowed this Democratic witch hunt to move forward. She's the one that has abused her power and we should be debating her removal from the House.

Regan said that the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so. Democrat extreme partisanship will set a dangerous precedent for this nation.

And mark my words, Madam Speaker, this sinister attempt to remove this lawful president will not go unnoticed. I yield back.

SPEAKER: The gentleman -- the gentleman from California.

SCHIFF: I recognize the gentlelady from Nevada, Ms. Titus, for unanimous consent request. SPEAKER: Gentlelady is recognized.

TITUS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I ask unanimous consent to enter my statement into the record supporting the impeachment of Donald Trump.

SPEAKER: Ordered.

SCHIFF: And I now recognize the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Himes, for two minutes.

SPEAKER: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes.

HIMES: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise today in anger and hope. I'm angry that President Donald Trump has treated his oath and office so disrespectfully that now we must hold him to account.

The truth is clear to anyone not deliberately looking away. The president withheld military aid and meeting unless and until a vulnerable Ukrainian president announced a nakedly political investigation.

It didn't matter if the Ukrainians uncovered any wrongdoing. The mere announcement of an investigation would damage his political opponent. Mr. Trump didn't care about stopping corruption in Ukraine, never mentioned the word corruption once in the infamous July 25th call. This was not an attempt to reduce Ukrainian corruption; it was an attempt by Donald J. Trump to aim Ukrainian corruption straight at the heart of the presidential election of 2020. The president knows this, which is why he has not given this Congress a single e-mail, phone record, or document. That is not the behavior of a man with nothing to hide. It is simply an undeniably contempt of this Congress.

But what makes this impeachment essential is that the president's abuse of power has not stopped. As we speak, he continues to urge foreign interference in our democracy, beseeching China to investigate the Bidens, sending Rudy Giuliani overseas to chase Russian conspiracy theories.

This morning, the president tweeted, "I DID NOTHING WRONG," all caps. He believes it, too. He sees nothing wrong with inviting Russian, Ukrainian or Chinese interference into our election. He did it. He continues to do it, and he sees nothing wrong with it. He'll wake up tomorrow and do it again if we don't stop him today.

Therein lies our hope. I'm proud to answer the call to defend our democracy and the United States Constitution, and urge my colleagues to do the same.

And yield back the balance of my time.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. For things that I really don't understand, I'm having to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Kelly.

SPEAKER: Gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds.

T. KELLY: Madam Speaker, I'm saddened today that I spent two Christmases defending our country overseas and I get a measly 30 seconds to speak in this laughable process. Our president made a campaign promise to drain the swamp, and there are those today relying on swamp creatures' words to preserve swamp.

How do you suppress the votes of 63 million people and an electoral landslide? You keep repeating the same lies absent any factual basis. I've heard some of the greatest fiction ever spoken here today. If you don't like the facts, just rewrite them in a parody and repeat. If the facts are so clear and indisputable, why is the minority leader begging for more witnesses? You can't disprove something that never happened. I ask my colleagues to vote no to this sham. Thank you, and I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from California.

SCHIFF: Madam Speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, for two minutes.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for two minutes.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Madam Speaker, like many of my colleagues, I never ran for Congress wanting or expecting to impeach anybody, let alone the president of the United States. However, given the facts, here we are.

While some questions remain unanswered, two key facts are clear and compel me to support the articles of impeachment. First, President Trump attempted to pressure a foreign government to help his re- election campaign; and second, the president used the powers of his office again to obstruct a congressional investigation into that wrongdoing.

The president has falsely claimed he has been denied the chance to defend himself, but at the same time, he is preventing the testimony of witnesses with direct knowledge of the events under investigation. If the president were innocent, as he claims, surely these witnesses would be able to testify to that. If there had been no quid pro quo, these witnesses could say that. If aid to Ukraine were not intentionally delayed for improper purposes, they could surely testify to that, also.

But rather than giving these witnesses the chance to speak, the president has silenced them. The president has silenced witnesses at the Defense Department. The president has silenced witnesses at the State Department. The president has silenced witnesses at the White House. He even silenced the loquacious Mick Mulvaney, who uttered at a press conference that there was a pred -- quid pro -- quid pro quo, and get over it.

By choosing to block this testimony, the president is not proving his innocence; he's just proving he's afraid of what they have to say. As a wise man once said, the truth will come to light, and it has. It is our duty to act on it. I yield back.

SPEAKER: Gentleman from Georgia.

COLLINS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's a shame on the floor of this House when you accuse somebody and then make them prove you're not guilty of what you're accusing of. That's a bad (inaudible) look.

Thirty seconds to the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Rose.

SPEAKER: Gentleman's recognized for 30 seconds.

J. ROSE: Madam Speaker, today I rise in strong opposition to this partisan impeachment spectacle that just seeks to accomplish what President Trump's opponents failed to do at the ballot box in 2016. Our votes today are merely formalizing the decision my colleagues on the other side of the aisle reached three years ago.

[18:00:00]