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tv   Articles of Impeachment House Hearings Day 2 House Judiciary Debates...  CSPAN  December 15, 2019 2:23pm-3:25pm EST

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obstruction of congress, rather, i apologize. and i am baffled and the more i think about it the more i'm baffled. in colorado we have a different term for that. we call it a campaign promise. you see when congress has a 14% approval rating, it's somewhere between being as popular as shingles and an all-expense paid trip to north korea. we have a national debt of over $22 trillion. we have a deficit of over $1 trillion this year. we were sent here to obstruct this congress. we were sent here to make sure that this power of the purse is actually exercised around this place. we were sent here to make sure that we didn't nationalize and
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ruin health care. we were sent here to secure the border and to do our very best to prohibit sanctuary cities in this country. we were sent here to stop this body from ignoring states' rights. yesterday we passed the ndna bill. somehow, someone slipped in a provision that every federal employee, every federal, not just defense department employees, but every federal employee will be given three months of paid family leave. every federal employee. all those americans sitting out there don't get that. it's exactly why we're here. to make sure that we hold congress to a higher standard. and if you issue an article of
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impeachment for obstructing congress, you're going to make this president more popular, not less popular. congress is an embarrassment and this president is holding his campaign promises, moving the embassy to jerusalem, cutting taxes, cutting regulations, sustaining an amazing economy with low unemployment, job creation, bringing manufacturing jobs back, negotiating trade deals. i think that we should be talking about how we support this president, how we support this agenda, and not how we undermine the positive direction that we are going in this country. with that, i yield back. >> will the gentleman yield for a question?
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>> no. the gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chair, to strike the last word. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. the articles of impeachment claim that the president had corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal benefit is to influence the 2020 presidential election. well, they have absolutely no proof of that. let's read the actual transcript of the phone call in question. i want to remind you, for the people that read it, there's only one section in this entire transcript, and it's not until page four out of five, that president trump brings up biden which was well into the july 25th call. president trump said to the
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ukrainian president, and i quote, the other thing, there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me. to anyone who hasn't seen the video of joe biden bragging that he got a prosecutor fired, i recommend you watch it. it's very telling. biden brags about how he got the ukrainian prosecutor fired who had been investigating burisma. burisma is the corrupt ukrainian company that hired hunter biden, joe biden's son, to serve on their board at the very same
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time that vice president biden was the point man to ukraine. joe biden says he told ukraine he wouldn't give them $1 billion if they didn't fire the prosecutor. he said, and i quote, if the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. put yourself in president trump's shoes. he has seen or heard about the video of joe biden bragging about how he got the prosecutor fired. the same prosecutor that had been investigating the same corrupt company where biden's son got a spot on the board getting paid at least $50,000 a month at the same time that joe biden, while serving as vice president, was the point man to ukraine. my democratic colleagues seem convinced that the president was
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targeting biden to influence the 2020 election. that is their main prems ise of these articles of impeachment. but it's just as likely, and i would say more likely, that president trump wanted to get to the bottom of possible corruption with the bidens, burisma and ukraine. and with that, i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. i now recognize myself for five minutes to strike the last word. and i just want to say, the central issue of this impeachment is the corruption of our institutions that safeguard democracy by this president. those are two basic protections we have for our democracy. free and fair elections and the president in article i is charged with trying to subvert
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the free and fair elections by extorting a foreign power into interfering in that election, to give him help in his campaign. we cannot tolerate a president subverting the fairness and integrity of our elections. the second major safeguard of our liberties designed by the framers of the constitution, is the separation of powers. that power is not united in one dictator, but it spread out. the second article of impeachment charges that the president sought and seeks to destroy the power of congress. congress may be unpopular and may be we should be re-elected or maybe we shouldn't be re-elected, that's a question for the voters. but the institutional power of
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congress to safeguard our liberties by providing a check and a balance on the executive is crucial to the constitutional scheme to protect our liberties. second to that is the ability to investigate the actions of the executive branch, to see what's going on, and to hold the executive, the president, or people working for him, accountable. the second article of impeachment says that the president sought to destroy that by categorically with holding all information from an impeachment inquiry. that is different from contesting some subpoenas on the basis of privilege, some may be contestable, some may not be, but a categorical with holding of information, we will prohibit anybody in the executive branch from complying with any congressional subpoena no matter how justified.
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we will make sure that nobody in the executive branch gives any document to congress with respect to this inquiry. a subversion of the congressional power to keep the congressional in check. whether you think congress is behaving well or badly, if you want a dictator, then you subvert the ability of congress to hold the executive in check. what is central here is do we want a dictator, no matter how popular he may be, no matter how good or bad the results of his policies may be, no president is supposed to be a dictator in the united states. when i hear colleagues of mine arguing that congress is unpopular and therefore obstruction of congress is a good thing, this shows terrible ignorance or lack of care for our institutions, for our democracy, for our form of government, for our liberties. i, for one, will protect our liberties, will do everything i
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can to protect our liberties, our democracy, our free and fair elections, and the separation of powers that says congress and the president and the judiciary check each other and nobody can be a dictator. i yield back. >> mr. chairman -- >> i now recognize mr. johnson. for purpose purposes? >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i would speak to the amendment which is why we're here right now. i think it's a really beautiful argument. i think you should make it in court because that's what you're supposed to do under our system. if you want to make that argument, you're supposed to go to a federal court, the third branch of government, to resolve a dispute between the executive and the legislative. that's what's happened before but you guys won't do it. because you guaranteed your base you would get an impeachment by december, by christmas. this is ridiculous. it's a travesty and that's why we're concerned.
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i love the amendment and to reset the table because we just had a break, it's a good one. i think the people back home aren't able to find out because they don't have all the handouts. but this is all he wants to do. on page 3, lines 10 through 11, it reads, that president trump suggested an investigation of, quote, a political opponent, former vice president joseph r. biden jr. the amendment is simple, it's three lines. he wants to replace that with, quote, a well known corrupt company burisma and its corrupt hiring of hunter biden, unquote. it comports with the facts and everything that we've been saying here where people are probably saying i wonder why the democrats would oppose that? here's why. a constituent sent me a note during our break and he said this, quote, let me get this straight, president trump's phone call amounts to an abuse of power, but vice president biden's actions do not? let's review what we know.
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in biden's case, he personally withheld u.s. aid until the prosecutor he wanted fire was actually fired. biden received a personal benefit for his official act, namely the ability of his son to collect money from a corrupt ukrainian money. hunter and joe biden had a direct financial stake in avoiding an investigation of burisma. of course this is just obvious, everybody can see it. there was an article in the "new york times" that was published in may 2019 stated the following about the ukrainian prosecutor's ouster, among those with a stake in the outcome was hunter biden. of course joe biden had a personal interest in avoiding a political scandal involving his son. clearly, a requested informational investigation into biden's dealings was justified as an informational
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investigation into an abuse of power by the previous administration. but of course if president trump's requestedand it ends up president donald j. trump. that's the reason they won't ep eaccept the amendment but it's why everyone of us looking at the facts objectively has a obligation to do it. i have a minute and a half left. let me correct something else in the record. we may be a while doing that. my good friend said before the break at some point before the break .the ukrainians up in about the hold onnedet aid. but the fact is they didn't know about delay in funding until
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august 28th. ukrainian officials contacted state department were reportedly acting rogue with the then ukraine ambassador to the u.s. and working to withhold information from kyiv to undermine the zelensky administration. the swamp trainer that president trump affirmed later. andriy yermak has pickly confirmed the president's close adviser president zelenskys had no knowledge of the hold until made public by the political article on august 28th. look, that is the fact. like everything else they're trying to obscure here, you can't take your eye off the ball. i know this is hard to follow back home from conscientious constituents and citizens trying to do their duty, trying be informed and engaged as electorate. it's hard to follow. but what you have to know is that both the process and the substance of the arguments is -- is completely empty. it's vapid that's why we are
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wasting time here. i yield back. >> for our purposes mr. standen seeks representation. >> i move to strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized. >> there is some discussion today as to what is the reason we are here? it's been suggested by some that we are here because we disagree with the spt and his policies. a few moments ago we heard a list of policies where there might be some disagreement with the president of the united states. you know, we do have some policy disagreements with the president of the united states. we do disagree strongly about separating children from their parents at the southern border. we do disagree strongly with this president in his attempt to eliminate preexisting condition protections under the affordable care act. we disagree strongly with this
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president about his decision to remove us from the international climate change accord. but none of those are the reasons we are here today voting today on articles of impeachment. we are only here today voting on the two articles of impeachment because this president has chosen to put his personal interests ahead of the national interest. we are only here today because in president chose to attempt to withhold public resources in order to gain an unfair advantage in an election. that is the reason why we are here. that's the only reason why we are here. we are here voting on these two articles. but we're also here for the very important principle.
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is any person above the law? that's what each member has to think about as they make this important decision. not trying to divert attention from the core facts or try to make the important vote today about something other than it is. that's what we need to focus on and i hope we will for the rest of the hearing. at this point i will yield to the gentle lady from texas. congresswoman escobar. >> thank you, mr. stanton. there has been much reference made to the transcript and i use air quotes because it's not an official transcript process. i want to remind everyone this was a document provided to us by the white house with elipses in the document and we don't know what was stated because it's not an official document. much has been made about the idea of the use of "do us a favor" as though the united states of america and foreign
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policy experts and state department experts were clamoring to get information on burisma or information on hunter biden or joe biden. we heard from mr. goldman last week -- and i asked him specifically -- if his committees had investigated that claim, that there was some legitimate concern by the government about corruption regarding burisma. and he said they thoroughly investigated it and found absolutely no evidence. mr. trump is welcome to be here. he was welcome to be here. he was welcome to participate, his lawyers, so that if he has any information that would exonerate him about this he could present it at any time. he is not. now let's compare that to the fact that he has prohibited witnesses from coming before our committee and other committees. he has prevented documents from seeing the light of day. he has intimidated witnesses.
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so let's remember that he is doing absolutely everything possible to hide his wrongdoing. if he could prove otherwise, he would. now, compare that with the information that was created through the investigations. over 300 pages in a report, over -- or 17 witnesses, over 200 text messages. that's just what was able to make light of day. that's just what we were able to discover because of patriots willing to come forward. so, again, i would say if there is any evidence that the american government or a foreign policy advisers or experts or the diplomats that dealt with ukraine believed that this was about us, then the president can show the evidence. thank you, mr. stanton. i yield back. >> thank you very much.
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and mr. chair, i yield back to you. >> the gentleman yields back for what purpose mr. deutch seeks to be recognized. >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. our colleague from la is exactly right. it gets confusing. it does. there is a lot we've been talking about which is why it's always important to return to the facts. and i just wanted to set a couple of facts straight. we heard that we were somehow sent here, members of congress were somehow sent here to defend the president or to defend the president's policies, or -- or to defend a an overturning of the status quo. i didn't understand the suggestion. because the fact is and i think on the dais and on our committee and everyone in america knows and needs to be reminded that we are sent here to defend the constitution. the constitution provides three co-equal branches of government.
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and when the president of the united states chooses to refuse to engage with the co-equal branch of government that is this body, when the president through his lawyer makes clear that he will not respect the constitution, will silence anyone who might have information to provide to congress, will instruct them to not turn over a single document, that is the obstruction of congress we're talking about. and the suggestion that it's somehow standard operating procedure in the united states of america for a president to defy congress completely, and then for our friends on the other side to throw up their hands and say, oh, every
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president does it. the way we resolve the issues is to go to court. we have three co-equal branchs of government. if one branch says they are going to completely obstruct the evidence of the second, we go to court. that's the way it works in our country. again, it's important to remind people of the facts and the constitution. that's not how it works. it doesn't work that way. it's never worked that way, never in the entire history of our country have we had a president of the united states simply defy a co-equal branch altogether. there is no example. my friends on the other side of the aisle cannot point to a single example where a president has said, i will not cooperate with you in any part of your work, period, this is not a legitimate effort, you are not a co-equal branch of government. and then simply says, but you can go to court because that's
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how things always work. again, it's just important to remember the facts are clear, no president has ever, ever, ever obstructed congress in the manner that we have seen from president trump. >> will the gentleman yield. >> in a moment. and so as we go forward -- i don't know how much longer we'll be here. it's always important to make sure that the facts are clear and that we don't muddy the waters by suggesting that something that is so unprecedented that we have never seen before in the history of our country is somehow just part and parcel of the way things work around here. they don't. we know it. my friends on the other side of the aisle know it. the american people know it. but mr. johnson is right, sometimes it's important to remind them of it. i yield. >> will the gentleman yield. >> thank you, mr. deutch, i want to add a little constitutional post script to underscore the
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important point mr. deutch is making here. the article 1 of the constitution gives the house of representatives the sole power of impeachment. it gives the senate the sole power of trial. en and as supreme court decision called united states versus nixon the supreme court emphasized the rules and procedures developed including the evidentiary rules are completely within the power of the house and senate and cannot be second guessed by the courts. and in terms of general congressional oversight, the gentleman is perfectly correct. the supreme court has emphasized that the fact finding investigative power of congress is central to -- integral and built into our legislative power. james madison said that those who mean to be dsh those who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. where does congress get the knowledge to legislate for the people is? we get it through subpoenas, through the discovery process and so on.
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no administration in history has attempted to do what in dmargs has done which is to pull the curtain over the executive branch and deny us all investigative requests we have i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> as do i. >> for purposes gentleman seeks recognition. >> strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognize zbld we're going to be here a long time tonight. don't let anybody there is plenty of balls we can go to if anybody tipping keep asking we have to fact check you all night. we will. let's go back to the transcript. the transcript every witness testified that the transcript was fine. did the the transcript was accurate reflected the call. everyone who testified to that. they was able to make additions make the process. talk about elipses. they should have put them in the articles of impeachment. the wide gaps here of fact and logic are amazing in this. so, i mean, this is -- let's go back to the facts.
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let's get back to what we're saying. i do appreciate the fact that my friend florida mr. deutch said that we're mutdying the waters the way we tried to get the facts out today and what i've heard from the majority colleagues over the last six hours if there was a a muddying waters you ally e process. s hazard ohhous waste site at this point. you don't have the fact where you need to get to. you have i say it was. we just don't like him even the chairman. this is about an issue of going back that we are trying to get a dictator. i love throwing the words in. we're trying to stop a dictator. trying to stop a dictator. that's not what you're trying to do. europe using inflammatory language because you want to make a better point because right now your facts are failing. and you put two articles of quichement that you really don't want to defend. because either you defend them passionately and look sort of silly doing it or you don't defend them and look worse for bringing them. again we can fact check this all night. we're here to do this. it's just amazing though that
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after three and a half hours earlier laying out everything that happened. look being at what went forward. these -- these actually going forward are not what is happening here. so again let's get it one thing clearly for those who may have tuned in after lunch after now the the transcripts are accurate. you know how i know because everybody testified they were. even fiona hill says the lechlt lpses was not at issue. that talking point let's mark off. discuss the fact of us as accuracy. it's called he had reading. you read the transcript as it's put in. it said you us, not me. these the things simple that go forward. i yield to mr. jordan process. >> i thank the ranking member for yielding. i want to go back to something the gentle lady from texas mentioned a few minutes ago questioning whether the transcript was complete. remember what colonel vindman testified to. he said it was complete and
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accurate. lunt colonel vindman said that in his deposition in the testimony in the hearing, complete and accurate transcript. so to say -- to suggest it's not is not consistent with the testimony we received from your witnesses. remember lieutenant colonel vindman is the same folks who wouldn't tell us who he talked to about the call. he only told us four of the individuals he spoke with. but that's the guy who told us the transcript was complete and accurate. i yoeld back to the ranking member. >> i yield to the gentleman from play. >> i want to respond to my colleague, mr. rascon. we could debate this all day long. but you misstated u.s. v nicken. i don't want to get too deep in the weeds for the folks at home. in that case the supreme court recognized the existence of executive privilege, a protection requiring a balancing of interest between the legislative and executive branchs by the judicial brarmg.
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but here is the important thing. they said that that case there is not absolute unqualified presidential prism of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. that's from the court. but the other side of that is true as well. congress doesn't have absolute unqualified authority to demand evidence from the president either. that's the whole reason that you have to go to the third branch of the judiciary. this is a legitimate claim of privilege. it's a legitimate issue that the courts could decide. it's a case of first impression as my colleague knows because this specific set of facts has not been addressed yet. and it should be resolved by the courts. professor turley addressed in his testimony to this committee and said quote, he wrote in the submission the answer is obvious. a president cannot substitute his judgment for congress on what they are entitled to see and likewise congress cannot substitute its judgment what the president can wmd high pressure the balance of the interest is performed by the third brafrm constitutionally invested with the authority to review and resolves such zbuts. >> can i yao.
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>> mgts let's put it in the context and let's acknowledge. >> my friend. >> this is an issue. i yield 20 seconds. >> thank you. wree citing different cases. i'm talking about the 19939 judge walter nixon case. >> as i'll remind the gentlemen from the constitutional scholars on both sides of in issue it's my time not y'all zblees i yield back. >> fair enough. >> the. >> we had two different nixon cases. >> no mr. rascon we're done with in. >> the gentleman yields back for what purpose is she seeking recognition. >> i move to strike the last word. >> gentle lady is recognized. >> let's go back, as has been stated today, the constitution devotes only a few sentences to impeachment. i'm reading one. it's article one section 2 the last sentence. the house of representatives shall choose speaker and other officers and thus have sole power of impeachment. as professor rascon told us properly the constitution uses
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the word sole only twice. sole, not shared, not shared with the judiciary, not shared with the executive. this means that we have the -- the sole opportunity and obligation frankly to determine what evidence is necessary for impeachment. sole not shared with the executive. think back. judiciary chairman peter rodino warned president nixon about his failure to comply with the subpoenas issued in the watergate inquiry. under the constitution it's not within the power of the president to conduct inquiry into his own impeachment to determine which evidence and what version or portion of the evidence is relevant and necessary to such an inquiry. these are matters which under the constitution rodino wrote, the house has the sole power to determine. sole, not shared with the executive. sole, not shared with the courts. it's a civics lesson. don't let the other side who
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have such talented constitutional attorneys over there distract you. this is not an ordinary dispute, folks. this is a very rare thankfully -- very rare dispute. it's not an ordinary dispute where you go to the court. we don't need permission to go -- to use our constitutional rules. if president trump is allowed to refuse to comply with requests for information, it would gut the house impeachment power and undermine our bedrock principle of separation of powers. last night as we left here i wanted to just tell you this, i went outside and there was a team of about 12 high school students from ohio with their teacher. and they said would you mind stopping for a minute could weious talk to you a minute. it was so interesting to watch and listen and to hear what was going on at this important historic time. we loved learning about our constitution and how much you prize in constitution. thank you for protecting it for us. and you know what they said to me.
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we didn't understand this before but i do now. it's your job. it's the house's job to determine what evidence comes in. we do not need permission from the president. we do not need permission from the courts. in fact we have an obligation to do our job. under this simple smart document. today, december the 12th marks the anniversary of pennsylvania coming into the union. i think about those framers in my city of philadelphia. so wisely thinking through the words. today marks 232 years since those wise men thought through how would we conceive of our government and maintain self-government? do not be confused by the lawyers on the other side who would teach the wrong civics lesson. and distract you with the notion we need to go to court. we need permission of a
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president and permission of a court. we do not. with that i yield. >> will the gentle lady yield. >> i'd like to yield to the gentle lady from texas. >> i thank the gentle lady and for her very forceful response. and might i just say to the obstruction of congress, neither mr. nixon or mr. clinton obstructed congress in the manner that this president is doing. the underlying amendment had to do with corruption and i raise the point of the document that speaks about the july 25th call. let me just quickly say that the language is -- i would like you to do us a favor, though. and as the white house has distorted the interpretation, the us does not have any reference to the department of justice, department of defense, department of state, and clearly in the same document he mentions the vice president. he mentions crowdstrike, all of
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those have been debunked. it's clear the vice president was operating as the vice president of the united states at the time and as he was operating he was operating on an official policy to deal with ukraine. this is about the president seeking to have ukraine investigate this political opponent for personal and private reasons. no one misinterpreted what was said. and lieutenant colonel vindman immediately went to the legal counsel in the white house that immediately went dark and never responded because he was so offended by in campaign effort. with that i yield back. and thank the gentle lady for yielding. >> the gentlelady yields bap for what purpose does mr. refreshen thaler wish to be recognized. >> strike the last word. >> i yield to my good friend from texas. >> thank my good friend from pennsylvania. you don't have to be a
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constitutional scholar as i was. this is unique process. we don't need to hear from the courts? this we are told is uncharted territory because no president has just completely refused. let me just touch on a little bit here on both of those issues. this is uncharted territory. never in the history of this country have we had an impeachment proceeding begun by lies that got a warrant from a secret court that turned out and had been be documented to be lies and then kepting warrants three after that based on lies. and not one person on the other side of the aisle is the least bit embarrassed that they went to a secret court and got warrants based on lies, first to investigate -- spy on a campaign -- or surveil,
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electronically surveil, as horowitz says -- but this is uncharted territory. nobody wants to apologize on the other side. i get that. it might be politically embarrassing. but to say we don't need to go to court. i mean the obama administration was just incredible as at getting subpoenas doing document dumps of stuff we weren't looking for asking for especially from judiciary. but the other stuff that we demanded we couldn't get it. and we tried to get boehner to go to court let's get a court order requiring it to hold him in contempt. that's the only way we'll get it done. and he wouldn't do it. and so knows of us that understand the constitution and understand they're not just two articles we ununderstood we needed a court order backing us up so it wasn't us abusing the
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offices of congress. we had as turley and dershowitz and others pointed out you had the court. go. another thing that's uncharted territory, we started this impeachment proceeding about the russia hoax and collusion and demanding all the documents about the russia collusion. and it kept changing and then it went to bribery and extortion and ee monthly mts and all these other things. never in history has a president been accused of crimes with -- with the target constantly changing. now, when you subpoena documents there has to be a reasonable basis for requesting information or subpoenaing witnesses. you got to have a reasonable basis. and when you keep changing the allegations against the party from whom you are demanding information then they have the reasonable expectation to advise them of what the new charge is today what the new evidence is
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today. but they couldn't get any of those. and i would have been very surprised if you would have -- now you find some obama appointees that might have upheld the subpoenas but not the sprours because it's so unreasonable. and to the earlier allegation that gee, even though nobody in ukrainian government has said they were a victim, well it's because the president has a gun to their head. well that's not the case. the reason that they are not saying that is because they knew this is the most helpful president they have had since the steel curtain fell, becauses in a president, unlike the obama administration when they were under attack and ukrainians really were dying, we offered up blankets, meals ready to eat for the military stuff. but this is a president that's really helping them defend themselves. this is a president that's really made a difference from ukraine. so it wasn't a gun to their head.
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they see this as a helpful president. and another thing, if a victim does for the admit to be a victim -- anybody that's been a prosecutor surely knows this. you can go to court, force it to court. and the victim says, i wasn't a victim, you don't get a conviction, and if you do, that is not sustained because that's what courts and congress call a no evidence point. you have a no-evidence point. that's why you had to drop bribery, although it does apply to vice president biden. you smartly dropped the bribery. and now you have this elusive abuse of power. s in outrageous and needs to come to an end. >> the gentleman's time is expired. for what purpose does mr. jeffrey's seek recognition. >> move to strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized. >> the gentleman from texas
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talked aboutable basis. the reasonable bass is that there are uncontroverted evidence that the president he pressured ukraine to target an american citizen joe biden for political gain and at the same time withheld without explanation $391 million in military aid that had been allocated on a bipartisan basis. ambassador taylor, west point graduate, vietnam war veteran, appointed by reagan, bush, trump, to the diplomatic corps said the following about the withholding of the military aid. no legitimate public policy basis, no legitimate national security basis, no legitimate substantive basis. that's why congress proceeded. we had more than 200 national
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security professionals. democrats and republicans, who expressed concern with the president's wrongdoing and said this undermines american national security. and that's a basis for the impeachment inquiry. but what the president has done is said, unlike the madison yan vision of democracy with the checks and balances, separate and co-equal branchs of government, i alone can determine what the representatives of the people see in connection with a legitimate investigation. and at the same time this is a president that attacks everybody. to distract. attacks everybody who won't bend the knee to donald j. trump. he has attacked john mccain, a war hero. attacked mitt romney, 2012
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republican nominee. he has attacked bob mueller, a marine, a distinguished professional in law enforcement. he has attacked your former speaker paul ryan. he attacks gold star families. he even attacked today a 16-year-old teenage activist, greta thunberg. are you here to defend that as well? and so what's happened is that instead of addressing the substance of the allegation you want to attack joe biden and his family. elijah cummings is no longer with us. he is in heaven just like the prophet elijah. but his spirit is with us. and we are better than this. we are proceeding in a serious,
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solemn and sober fashion because the allegations are deadly serious. is it okay for the president to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election or not? who should decide the outcome of our elections? is it the russians? the chinese? the ukrainians? or the american people? it should be the american people. and that's why we are here at this moment. and so let's have a serious discussion about it and stop aching americans who refuse to bend the knee to this president. >> would the gentleman yield. >> would you yield. >> i yield. >> to the gentleman from tennessee. >> thank you, sir. >> one of the issues, big issues here is trump conditioning military aid on an investigation of the bidens.
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joe biden, period, his primary political opponent in his mind. the republicans have said, no it was about corruption. it wasn't about them. but listen to what they talked about today. all they've talked about is the bidens. hunter biden's automobile accident. hunter biden this, hunter biden that. hunter biden salary. any haven't brought up the past ukrainian leaders or business. it's all the bide. s. their defense speaks to the truth of the allegations in this article that it was all about the bidens. they're all about the bidens. and that's what it's about. >> would the gentleman yield. >> i yield. >> i did bring up. >> yield back to mr. jeffreyy. >> okay i shouldn't have tried to correct you then i guess. >> foreign interference in an american election solicited by the president is not okay. that is an abuse of power. it undermines our national security. the president should be held
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accountable because no one is above the law. >> the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does mthe gentleman seek recognition. >> strike the last word. >> i think the gentleman from new york laid out in an articulate way the basis and justification for both article 1 and article 2 before us. but i just want to touch on the debate around obstruction of congress and explain to my colleagues and to the american people why in instance is so unprecedented. i will first just say with much respect to my colleague from colorado, i want to assure the american people that obstruction of congress to coloradans means the same thing that it does to everyone else in this country. it means the defines of lawfully issued subpoenas by the united states house of representatives.
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it means impeding the ability of the united states mouse of representatives to perform its constitutional duty. and unlike the obstruction of congress that has taken place in the past this president's obstruction of congress has been total, has been absolute and has been categorical. in 1999 and 98 when president clinton was the subject of an impeachment inquire in. this committee propounded 81 interrogatories and he responded. during the watergate investigation nixon's chief of staff testifieds. nixon's counsel testified. in this instance the president has taken steps to ensure that this committee does not receive -- and the intelligence committee as well -- key testimony from any host of
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officials in our government. and just to give you a historical context i will read to you a quote. "all members of the white house staff will appear voluntarily when requested by the committee. any will testify under oath, and they will answer fully all proper questions." that's from richard nixon's administration. so i hope, again, as we consider the gravity of the articles before us, that we can stay true to the facts, and recognize that when we is he say that no president in the history of in republic has ever completely defied an depechement inquiry as this one has, we mean it. and with that. >> would the gentleman yield. >> i would yield to the distinguished gentle woman from california.
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>> i enjoyed listening to you. you're absolutely correct in your reporting of what occurred during both the nixon and clinton impeachment. but i wanted to address the issue from a slightly different point of view. not only has president trump refused to provide information that he should have provided. he didn't assert a privilege. he just said no. i actually have just reread the letter from mr. sthe president' lawyer. it's page after page complaining about how the house is proceeding. but the constitution says congress shall have the sole authority to impeach. we decide how to proceed, not the white house. and in the end without asserting any privilege whatsoever he just announces they are not going to adopt, provide any information. this isn't something that needs
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to be adjudicated by the third branch, the judicial branch, because there is no -- there is no privilege being asserted here. it's simply no. that's never happened before. never happened before in the history of the united states. and i'll tell you in addition to being improper, a valid article, article 2 that we are considering today, if this behavior persists the balance -- carefully balanced sharing of power between the three branches of government is gone forever. it means that only one branch, the executive branch will have the right to decide what happens in the united states of america. and that is a very different type of country than we have enjoyed for over 200 years. and it is not a piece of good
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news for freedom in the united states that i -- i yield back to mr. neguse with thanks for recognizing me. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back for what purpose -- >> for what purpose does mr. mcclintock seek recognition. >> to strike the last word, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i have to offer a different perspective on this. the doctrine of executive privilege actually began with a subpoena that the house issued to president george washington in 1796 demanding all the papers relating to the jay treaty. president washington refused that subpoena because he he said the powers of the house did not extend to treaties. he ultimately only provided that information to the senate as a function of its treaty approval process. so -- and the doctrine that dates back to those days is derived from the separation of powers between the executive and
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legislative branches. congress can no more intrude in the policy discussions of the president than the president can intrude into our own policy discussions. s that essential to the separation of powers. now there is a natural tension between the branches. that's a by-product of that separation of powers. and when the tension cannot be resolved then we turn to the judiciary. that's the appropriate way to resolve this, different interpretations of the boundaries between president and the congress, the appropriate response is judicial review, not impeachment. the president has every right to the assert his constitutional rights. and he has every responsibility to defend the prerogatives of his office, his oath of office compels him to do so. in matters like this, the courts have acted quickly to resolve such disputes. but the democrats aren't willing
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to go to the courts. what article 2 says is we're not willing to go to court. we'll take the law into our own hands. these are the same people telling us that no one is above the law, of course except for themselves. what they're saying is congress alone will decide the limits of our own power. this is the essence of despotism. the reason we separate powers of government is that one branch of government alone cannot uni laterally define its power. yet this is the power representatives are putting to themselves. it's true we have the sole power of impeachment unthe constitution but the power does not exceed the bounds established by the constitution. the bounds include the grounds for impeachment which in committee ignored, and they include the separation of powers that protect one branch from intrusion of the other. i want you to think about the
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essence of the democrats' claim and what it means to american jurisprudence. you face an abusive prosecutor making false accusations. well you have constitutional rights you are gardner to use to protect yourself. you have the right to confront your accuser. you've got the right to call witnesses in your defense. you have the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. but in article says, if you go to court to defend your rights that's automatically obstruction of justice or in this case obstruction of congress. and the very fact that you tried to defend your constitutional rights is evidence of guilt. these are the tools of tyrants. and we have seen these tools used against college students in title 9 prosecutions and produced frightening litany of injustices. now they're brought into this attempt to nullify the 2016 national election that the left
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refused to accept. and that should scare the hell out of every person in the country. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does mr. correia seek recognition. >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i want to do a little fact checking for folks back in orange county. i know my colleagues compared vice president biden's withholding of aid to president trump's withholding of aid. and i just want to make sure i have the facts correct here. it's my understanding that vice president biden held up the aid in order to have -- firing mr. shulkin. but this was in accordance with u.s. policy -- express u.s. policy that was supported by europe and a bipartisan congress. yet you have president trump who held up almost $400 million of, again, bipartisan approved aid.
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and i know my colleagues are saying that he did this to root out corruption. and i think there are channels of pursuing help in investigations. on september 25th there was a public press release put out by the doj saying that president trump never asked them to investigate this matter. so i'm led to conclude that this must have been for the president's personal gain. the president interjected his person lawyer rudy giuliani who told us -- and i quote -- this is not about foreign policy, close quote. rudy giuliani went on to say, this information, open quote, this information will be very, very helpful to my client, close quote. and again, he said, open quote, i guarantee you, joe biden will not get to election day without
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being investigated. again, comparing and contrasting holding up foreign aid to support u.s. public policy versus holding up foreign aid against u.s. stated policy. mr. chair, i yield. >> would the gentleman yield back -- yield? >> yes. >> thank you, i thank you the gentleman for yoelding opinion i know there's been an effort to try to suggest that the trump administration or president was interested in corruption and that's why he held up the aid. the the evidence is absolutely to the contrary. all of the evidence. and in fact sometimes you have to go back to the source. if you look at the report completed by the intelligence committee of 300 page report, 17 witnesses, over 100 hours of testimony, they make findings of fact. there is fact and make believe. the findings of fact -- and i'm reading right from the report. the president solicited the interference of a foreign
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government in ukraine in the 2020 presidential election. in furtherance of this scheme, president trump directly and acting through agents within and outside the u.s. government sought to pressure and induce ukraine's newly elected president to publicly announce unfounded allegations that would benefit president trump's personal political interests and re-election effort. as part of the scheme president trump -- this is again findings of fact, personally and directly requested for the president of ukraine that the government of ukraine publicly announce the investigation into the president -- vice president and his son. president trump ordered the suspension of $391 million in vital military assistance urgently needed by ukraine to resist russian aggression. and here is the important part. in directing and orchestrating the scheme to advance his personal political interests, president trump did not implement, promote or advance u.s. anti-corruption policies. in fact the president sought to pressure and induce the government of ukraine to
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announce politically motivated investigations lacking legitimate prediction that the united states government otherwise discourages and opposes as a matter of policy in that country and around the ukraine and undermined u.s. national security. so the pefindings of fact detaid in the report completely refute that claim. again, i return to the most important fact. the president of the united states abused the power of his office, the enormous power of the presidency, not to advance the public good but to advance the political interests of donald trump. he used taxpayer funds, nearly $400 million, to leverage that and in doing so undermined the national security of the united states. he must be held kint accountabl because no one in this country, no one including the president of the united states, is sbabov the law. the one body that is charged with making certain we vindicate
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the power of class depending is the amendment in the nature of a substantive. recognition?eek >> i strike the last word on the nature -- >> recognized. will be the last of a long day we have had. i would like to start out by
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commending the chairman for following the rules. i think this markup has been better than it could have been. has beenhe chairman very evenhanded on that. me say thataid, let the chairman and those on his one of the aisle or wrong all of the issues we have been at last both today night as well as before hand. the constitution says the president and other officials can be impeached for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. it is obvious that there was no treason or bribery alleged here. it comes down to what has been alleged in these articles, whether they really are high crimes and misdemeanors. i would submit the answer on both of


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