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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  December 12, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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liu, washington but owe chief susan page, white house correspondent peter baker and michael be michael besslosh. jon meacham said it's a historic matter. i think you will probably agree that what we have been seeing last night, again today, is a lot of partisan bickering and not anything that rises to the level of a constitutional debate. >> yeah. and maybe it was historic in that in a way it mimicked the conflict and hostility you probably saw if we were able to watch in the hearings over the impeachment of andrew johnson in 1868. but, you know, the other thing, andrea, i've been asking myself how different is this going to
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be because for the first time in history you have a president who is now running for re-election who is up for impeachment. and you really heard it this morning with that effort to not only scuff up joe biden and his son but sort of almost the commercial advertisements for the trump campaign that came at the end of some of the statements that were made by some of the republicans on the committee. >> indeed. peter baker, we witnessed this before, once before in my experience with the bill clinton impeachment. and then, of course, studied and read about watergate where the committees voted and about to impeach and the president was persuaded by republican senators, his fellow republican leaders, going to the white house and saying, you're going to be impeached. resoon. he, richard nixon, thought the better of facing that legacy and left office historically. the difference this time is the republicans are in lockstep.
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>> yeah. i don't see that happening this time. i don't think anybody sees that happening this time. at least on the current information that we have. if something else came out. if polls change, who knows? i think you're right. donald trump commands his party much more than richard nixon did his or bill clinton did his. in the bill clinton impeachment we thought it was partisan at the time, a part line vote in the house. even then there were moments when democrats were not on board with him, very upset with bill clinton and moments of fears at the white house they would show up at the doorstep much like barry goldwater and tell bill clinton it was time to step down, moments where what bill clinton worried about the most is the democrats. this time around i feel like the parties are even more solidly in their camps than we saw in those two previous impeachments. the republicans and democrats are not moving. they have their assigned roles
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and not planning to shift out of them, even a handful of them. >> and one of the other new developments in the last 24 hours, matt miller, is lef parson. the prosecutors in new york at sdny came back to the federal judge and said, basically, we don't trust this guy. that he had an unreported $1 million payment in the whole september issue with rudy giuliani when they were supposedly working with rudy giuliani on behalf of the president of the united states. he had a $1 million unreported payment from a bank in moscow and that having that much money available to him, they no longer trust that he won't flee. clearly did not now count on him as a cooperating witness. >> it is very clear there's much, much more about what he and rudy giuliani were up to we do not yet know.
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i think beyond probably just what they were doing on behalf of the president an enthat's a key point. as the attorney told the house intelligence committee. he was a member of the president's legal defense team, wokking on behalf of rudy giuliani to help the president of the united states officially. he said his lawyers said that in a letter to the house intelligence committee. and so, i think what -- if you want to look at where this is going to go, impeachment it seems will be wrapped up sometime next month. the southern district of new york is ongoing. he's been indicted. might be other charges that follow. his attorney has made it clear he has a story to tell, playing this silly game to tell it to congress it seems to get immunity to the charges go away. that's never going to happen. if he doesn't want a trial with what looks like overwhelming evidence of his guilt, he's going to have to talk to the southern district of new york and then talk about everything he did with rudy giuliani and he's going to have to talk about
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what it means if anything about the president of the united states. so i think the lesson we ought to take from that is even when impeachment is over there's a tail on this. a ukrainian piece to go on for months and months and months and we don't know what we find out about what they were up to. >> and jeff bennett on capitol hill, probably underreported in the midst of this is the russian angle. nancy pelosi said all roads to russia. how extraordinary was it that you had sergei lavrov in the oval office, the first time the day after james comey was fired, in the oval office that time which we knew about because the russian media went into the oval office and recorded that with the ambassador kislyak from russia and the president disclosed code words intelligence that had been
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provided on isis from an american ally, an incredible disclosure to the russians. all of that now raised this week when the very day that the articles of impeachment were being considered in the house of representatives. he's bringing in the russian. you don't have foreign ministers normally in the oval office to meet with the heads of state like the president of the united states. how does the white house even justify that? and then, according to the white house, the president brought up russian interference and warned lavrov against more russian interference in the election and what we were told at the state department but lavrov then had a news conference before leaving town saying that didn't happen. >> reporter: and you know what that reminded me of? what lieutenant colonel vindman testified here saying that the white house readout is oftentimes used as a messaging device and some cases has no bearing, has no resemblance to
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the actual conversation so whereas president trump might not have talked about russian interference with the russian foreign minister, the white house tried to message out the fact he did and to your point, president trump tweeted out a picture of himself as the r resolute desk and lavrov behind and in 2017 there's reporting by "the washington post" that president trump told lavrov that he wasn't really concerned at all about the moscow question and russia's interference in the election. now, if you draw a line between that and these articles of impeachment that really only have a glancing reference to the russia controversy, just to show a pattern of behavior on president trump, right, there have been a question of why there's not a third article of impeachment for obstruction of justice to point to the ten instances of presidential
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obstruction, you heard house speaker nancy pelosi in her press conference today getting that question again and made the case that when it comes to impeachment, it was important to her -- she said i'm not a lawyer but the lawyers who happen to lead the investigation gaitive committees, made the case to her it's so important to lead with the strongest case that has the simplest evidence. and given all of that, the ukraine scandal, gambit, was the case they made for impeachment and they chose not to go back and to try to muddy up the argument some would say with president trump's dealings with russia and the investigation that came after it, andrea. >> and peter baker, as a former moscow bureau chief for "washington post," actually the ukraine issue is all about russia because it's all about pressuring the ukraine and siding with putin against you y ukraine and zelensky. >> you're absolutely right. this whole thing is tied into it
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from the beginning, the day he makes the call to president zelensky is day after robert mueller testified on the hill. feeling like he got off and that the russia investigation is over and no longer a threat to call ukraine and say let's find out who did it, his explanation. the idea of who really did it being the ukrainians, of course. we know from intelligence agencies in the united states is a russian propaganda line, something that they have been pushing out there, not them involved or interfering in the investigation and ukrainians and something that president trump advanced in the phone call the next day. this is all in the context of the russia story, the russia story never really gone away. the republicans say that's because the democrats can't let go of it, a hoax and still trying to prove a fake story. the democrats say, no, just because robert mueller didn't find evidence for a criminal conspiracy doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of contact between president trump and russia and
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consequence to what he did there saying, russia, if you're listening, hack into the e-mail accounts when his son and son-in-law met with russians offering dirt and so on and so forth. >> peter, just to but on the down the alan dershowitz issue, what do we know whether that's in play in the white house with a high profile, strong defender of the president to be part of the defense team at a senate trial. >> i think that's an open question at this point. in bill clinton's case he had his white house counsel chuck ruff, greg craig, a name that might be familiar who was acquitted on a recent charge and bill clinton, someone of stature to speak to the senators, a former senator, dale bumpers that just stepped down to represent him in that trial because he thought that the jurors if you will, they're not technically jurors, needed somebody like a dale bumpers to hear from. in this case, the president is
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looking for somebody like alan dershowitz, a history of prominent legal bearing or political bearing to advance his case for him and he doesn't have somebody like that right now. >> chris liu, any thoughts of what the president's team might look like? >> well, you know, i'm amused by alan dershowitz. he was a law school professor of mine and the clients of o.j. simpson and others, not a great set of people for the president to be aligned with and as i said i don't know that they really mount much of a defense but the same theatrics opposed to a legal and factual argument. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. you're watch live coverage. the house judiciary committee about to resume live debate on the articles of impeachment. hi i'm joan lunden.
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welcome back as we await momentarily for the judiciary committee on the house side to resume its historic debate as jon meacham said, not done in historic fashion on the articles of impeachment. joining us from washington, myla wiley and carol lam, both of them are msnbc legal analysts. we have seen a lot of debate over the articles of impeachment but we have not been exactly
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hearing it being done on legal or constitutional issues. >> i think that we have heard a debate that is not about evidence for the most part. what is interesting to me hear is that it's not that there isn't a defense for -- we have heard a little bit of it from the republicans, i want to make a distinction, because what they're really saying is we don't think this is impeachable because we think that there is enough evidence that the president was concerned about corruption and that that's a legitimate concern and therefore this is not impeachable. that's a defense if you have evidence to back it up and i think the problem that they have is that they don't have evidence to back it up. if we were really having a debate we would be -- they would acknowledge there's -- not that there are undisputed facts, stop
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denying that. there are not disputded facts. what they're doing is debating whether the facts show there's an impeachable event or not. and i think the fact that they have not been able to mount any evidence beyond their argument about what's in the record is what's so damning and that's really what they have to contend with and that's why the senate is probably not very interested in hearing from witnesses. >> and carol lam, we don't know yet -- it is hard to determine what the politics of this is going to be, but clearly, we see such a partisan divide. this is not a dialogue or a debate. it is both sides in their corners. >> clearly a huge partisan divide. i think one of the interesting things of what's emerged from all of this is the portrait of the president that really shows that he is learning on the job about being a president. he has never served in public service before an he has
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approached everything as a dealmaker which to him means either money or power and i think that is what the democrats keep trying to bring out is that he is not behaving as a public official and certainly not as a president should conduct himself because the nature of public service is one of self sacrifice. you are sacrificing possibly a higher valer higher salary or time but most of all you can sacrificing the -- what you have earned because you're serving at the grace of the american public. and the president has never -- i mean, he would not deny this. he's never acted in that role before. so what the democrats are really trying to bring out is that the president doesn't understand the nature of public service and he put his own interests before that of the country and the president has in the past
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demonstrated he doesn't understand that concept. when he said to george stephanopoulos in an interview, well sure, if a foreign country had dirt on an opponent i'd be interested in that. why not? the boundaries of what you can do as a president is something that he does not seem to be aware of and in some sense that is a more frightening prospect than anything else and why the democrats feel that it's so necessary to take the step at this time. >> heidi, when you look at the committee and this debate today, are there any time limits or wait until everyone exhausted the argument? >> there's no time limits given that anyone can propose an amendment and keep the dialogue going but there's an event some lawmakers want to go to later this evening so maybe this won't be an all-day thing but we just don't have any indication at this point. for example, with the background
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check-ups far less controversial than this, that was an all-day event but i think the big question right now, we know that this is pre-determined and when it ends. the big question now i think which is face nating when we lift over to the stath is not only what those rules will be, whether they will have witnesses, but what the president's defense is going to be because his lawyer chose not to participate. and in listening to this debate, not only today but in some of these previous hearings, there was some pretty interesting new arguments, lines of defense being introduced such as maybe rudy really wasn't working for the president. how are they doing to handle that when they get to the senate and there is an actually trial? because for all of the republicans' arguments right now which are process oriented this is not a trial. the constitutional role is to
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bring charges and then that trial takes place in the senate and so, i think you will see for the first time maybe what some of these more creative defenses are going to be of the president given that there are so many facts here laid out on the label in the house. >> well, it may well be, heidi, that they don't discuss the facts that have been laid out and go after hunter biden, joe biden. michael, when we look forward to what kind of a trial this would be, assuming that they do get beyond the impeachment vote next week, and it goes to the floor, they report it to the senate, we're hearing from mitch mcconnell they want a very short trial, just may be the presentations by the managers on both sides and not even calling witnesses. michael? >> yes. absolutely right, andrea. as you were saying earlier it is very much within the hands of the senate majority leader after consultation with chuck schumer, obviously.
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and you know, the other thing is that one thing that is going to be interesting in the senate trial, we saw almost a preview of coming attractions this morning but one thing that tells you an awful lot is the articles of impeachment left out. you were talking earlier about the possibility that there might have been one or more additional articles based on the mueller report. think how different today that discussion would have been had that been true and same thing with a senate trial. >> we have seen susan page, the president retweeting more than 100 times or tweeting more than 100 times not always on subject but clearly watching the impeachment hearings because a lot is about this, accused two of the house members on the democratic side of misquoting him and you saw a pushback from them, as well. >> we saw this interesting dialogue going on. two members of the -- on the democratic side of the committee read some of the language from that controversial phone call
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from july 25th between the president and the president of ukraine. president trump then tweeted -- clearly watching this closely and said me instead of us in reading the transcript. >> that is a defense. we said would you do me a favor and he is saying that meant the united states not him personally trying to get out of the abuse of power. >> a congresswoman involved respond to him from this committee hearing. >> sheila jackson-lee. >> that's who it was. having what amounted to a cross town conversation about this in realtime so the president clearly watching this closely. he is retweeting the tweets coming from those defending him, republican who is are on the judiciary committee. he looks like he's keeping a close eye on this. >> sheila jackson-lee invoked the memory of one of the most dramatic speeches in an impeachment case which was the late great barbara jordan, the
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texas congresswoman who was on the house judiciary committee. peter was the chair and her compelling speech against richard nixon, it was something that as a young college student i certainly -- it certainly had a huge impression. we should probably play that soon of the rhetoric we used to hear. we are waiting for the house judiciary committee to resume, the members filing back in from the floor. i want to thank our panel. katy tur whose hour this is will pick it up after the break. our coverage right here on msnbc continuing in just a moment. when you shop with wayfair, you spend less and get way more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one.
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we are about a minute and 20 seconds away from 2:30 and just minutes after that the house judiciary committee will reconvene to debate the articles of impeachment against president trump. they have been in recess for vot votes for about an hour and expected to pick things up at any moment. joining me, just back from the break. i took it over from andrea mitchell. professor myla wiley, carol lam,
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nick confasori and chuck rosenberg. everybody, we have been watching these hearings all day. they're debating the articles of impeachment. the first one introduced, the first amendment introduced by jim jordan struck down. the second one by matt gates is still being debated. this is about striking joe biden's name from it and adding barismo instead. what struck out to you as we have been watching this? what moments have piqued your interest? >> the whole thing is fascinating in the sense that the crimes for which the impeachment is being debated are actually still unfolding and recommitted in realtime in recent days. they're still trying to bring hunter biden into this on the house floor. and giuliani is still flying to the ukraine in recent days to find other oligarchs who want some help and the same as if gordon liddy was sending people
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back to the watergate. right? in the '70s on nixon. it is astonishing. it is not even that there is a -- some joint understanding of what the facts are as you were saying before. they're just keep on going with the things that got them in trouble in the first place. >> that's the democrats' argument that they need to do this now. they can't wait for the courts to rule on bringing more witnesses or getting the white house to comply with subpoenas because the president cheated or tried to cheat and he will continue to try to cheat, a threat to our elections. republicans, though, are saying this is all nonsense. they're arguing something completely different, as if the two sides are not just two sides but in two different universes. >> that's exactly right and sitting on the sidelines what's so fascinating about this to nick's point is barbara mcquaid called it the crime that keeps criming and that's a good way to put it but i want to go back to the point you don't need a crime
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because i think one of the areas of actual debate is does the constitution require one. and you know, that's why we heard earlier someone reading from 500 constitutional law professors saying, look, you don't. that's not what the founders intended. but even the republicans' own constitutional law expert john turley testified before them and said you don't need a crime. now, the way the articles are written i think are elegant in the sense that they include the elements that you would charge if you were charging the crime. so they're not actually saying there was no crime. but they're also saying, let's just get past that and talk about abuse of power that this is and there is a debate there because then they're putting on trial the constitution itself and how they're going to interpret it. >> the room is filling up. jim jordan is back in the hearing room with some other
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republicans. before going back into the hearing, what will you be watching? >> i would like to actually see a debate. by that, i think people not just talking but also listening. that's at least the old-fashioned way i think about a debate. myya had a really important point. statutory bribery, the thing we keep talking about was codified in federal law 60 or 70 years after the constitution was ratified so whatever they mean by bribery in the constitution they certainly weren't referring to statutory bribery. impeachment doesn't require a crime. moreover, there wasn't a crime of bribery at least as we understand it today in the day the constitution was ratified. >> the republicaning saying it's nothing at all. how are democrats defining abuse of power here? >> you have to be careful not to make it sound look it's just i
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know it when i see it but i think what democrats are saying is we're so far over the line of however you want to define abuse of power. call it bribery, extortion, just unfit for office but whatever criteria the president was using to make his decisions it was an abuse of power. >> jeff, you have been on the capitol all day long and past few months. like you live there now. tell me, this is, you know, this is a historic day. they're debating articles of impeachment against donald trump. what is it like to be on capitol hill today? >> reporter: well, look. i think lawmakers certainly get the gravity of the moment. you can sense that you are a part of history. certainly lawmakers that we have talked to, particularly those better known members who might have a chance to become house managers, those are the people who would prosecute the case when this impeachment push reaches the senate which seems
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all but inevitable at this point. the conversations with those folkses in particular i think are particularly revealing and we do have some news in that that house speaker nancy pelosi we are told by sources familiar has in mind a group of about a dozen or so, maybe 13 house members who would prosecute the case, present the case at a senate trial. we are told she wants a mix of gender, regional and racial diversity. the regional diversity issue i'm told is particularly resonate with her because you see a poster there in the room republicans that accusing democrats of pushing forward with impeachment with what they call an elite coastal impeachment squad. in part, that's because the various chairs of the investigative committees come from either california or new york. so that right now is one of the best guarded secrets here on capitol hill is just who the speaker will settle on to present this case when it reaches the senate. >> can you tell me about the relationship between lawmakers
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right now? is it more fraught than ever between republicans and democrats? it seems to be at times in that room pretty personal with the way that lawmakers are addressing each other or describing the other's arguments. they're going after adam schiff, chairman nadler, gone after now hunter biden who's not a lawmaker and gone after his alleged substance abuse and then saw the return fire from mr. johnson of georgia back at matt gates for bringing that up saying a pot should -- or the kettle shouldn't be calling the pot black. is there a relationship between the two parties or as antagonistic as it seems on tv? >> reporter: there's a disconnect between the way it's lived and the way it is projected. so for instance, congressman ras kin and congressman meadows have a decent relationship. late congressman cummings and congressman me dos -- cummings
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referred to him as his best friend and a lot of that stuff you don't get the sense of that in the back and forth because there's political theater that happens here so it is really kind of hard to articulate really how the members interact with one another away from the dias and then the layer of impeachment and the grave question to grapple with, how it's projected in this setting and this impeachment hearing. >> they have just shoed the cameras away and i think that means we'll be starting in a moment. nick, who's that theater for? is it for these increasingly divided districts because of gerrymandering or the president? you know what? jerry madder just gavelled. let's hold that answer. >> i know recognize -- for what purpose? >> move to strike the last word. >> recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i have heard from the other side this argument
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about obstruction of justice. obstruction of congress, rather. i apologize. i'm baffled and the more i think about it the more i'm baffled. in colorado we have a different term for that. we'd 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 expension paid trip to north korea. we have a national deficit, 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.
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we were sent here to make shure that we didn't nationalize and ruin health care, 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 ndaa 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.
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and if you issue an article of 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. >> would the gentleman yield for
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a question? >> no. >> gentleman yielded back. for what purposes? >> thank you, mr. chair. to strike the last word. >> gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. democrats are articles of impeachment claim the president had corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal, political benefit used to influence the 2020 united states presidential election. well, that absolutely no proof of that. let's read the actual transcript of the phone call in question. and 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.
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president trump said to the 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 penal 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 barismo. barismo is the corrupt ukrainian company that hired hunter biden, joe biden's son, to serve on
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their board at the very same time that vice president biden was the point man to ukraine. hmm. 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 cushy spotted 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
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convinced that the president was targeting biden to influence the 2020 election. that is their main premise of these articles of impeachment. but it is just as likely and i would say more likely that president trump wanted to get to the bottom of possible corruption with the bidens, barismo and ukraine. with that i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. i recognize myself for five minutes to start the last word. i want to say the central issue of this impeachment is the corruption of our institutions that safeguard democracy by this president. those are two protections for our democracy. free and fair elections and the president in article 1 is
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charged with trying to subvert 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. the power is not united in one dictator. but is spread out through the executive, represented by the president, the congress and the judiciary. the second article of impeachment charges that the president sought and seeks to destroy the power of congress. congress may be unpopular. and maybe 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 absolutely crucial to the constitutional scheme to protect our liberties. central 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 withholding all information from an impeachment inquiry. now, that is different from contesting some subpoenas on the basis of privilege. some may be contestable, some may not be. but a categorical withholding of information, we will prohibit anybody in the executive branch from compelling with any
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congressal subpoena, no matter how justified, make sure that nobody in the executive branch gives a document to congress with respect to this inquiry is a subversion of the congressional power to keep the executive in check. whether you think congress is behaving well or badly or popular or unpopular, if you want a dictator then you subvert the ability of congress to hold the executive in check. what is central is do we want a dictator no matter how popular or unpopular he may or the policies, no president is supposed to be a dictator in the united states. and when i hear colleagues of mine arguing that the congress is unpopular and therefore obstruction of congress is a good thing, it shows terrible ignorance or lack of care for our institutions, for our democracy, form of government and liberties. i for one will protect our
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liberties, everything i can do to protect the liberties, democracy, free and fair elections and separation of powers that says the congress and the president and the judiciary check each other and nobody can be a dictator. i yield back. >> mr. chairman? mr. chairman? >> no. i now recognize mr. johnson. for what purpose? >> strike the last word. i would speak to the gates amendment but i wanted to address what you just said. that's a really beautiful argument. 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, go to the third branch of government to resolve a disputd. that's what's always happened before but you won't do it. make that argument but you won't do it. you know why? you garn tiered your base to have an impeachment by december. this is ridiculous. it is a trafdy of justice and
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why we're so concerned and i love the gaetds amendment and we had a break, it's a good one. i think the people back home don't follow it because they don't have the handouts. only page three lines ten through 11 reads president trump suggested an investigation of, quote, a political opponent former vice president joseph r. biden jr. unquote. so mr. gate's amendment is three lines. replace that with, quote, well-known corrupt company and its corrupt hiring of hunter biden. that is a logical amendment to comport with the facts and everything we have been saying here that a lot of people back home probably saying, well, i wonder why the democrats oppose that. here's why. i have a note from a constituent. let me get this straight. the phone call is an abuse of power but vice president's actions are not? i pulled the facts.
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first, in biden's case he personally withheld u.s. aid until the prosecutor he wanted fired was actually fired. biden received a personal benefit for official act, namely the ability of his son to collect money from a corrupt ukrainian company. they had a direct financial stake in avoiding an investigation. and then the gravy train would stop. this is obvious. everybody can see it. there was an article in "the new york times" published in may 1st, 2019, stated about the ukrainian's ouster. quote, among those who had a stake in the outcome was hunter biden. his younger son on the board of an energy company by an oligarch in the sites of the fired prosecutor general. joe biden with a personal interest of a political scandal with his son. clearly a requested
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informational inquiry is justified into an abuse of power by the previous administration. but at president trump's requested information at investigation was justified then no impeachment charge against him is justified. it can't be an abuse of power by president trump to inquire about an abuse of power that so painfully obvious by vice president biden. in other words, any theory of impeachment on the facts has to collapse on itself and exonerating president donald j. trump and why they won't accept the amendment and why every single one of us looking at the facts obltdive facts objectively has an obligation to do it. friend said before the break at some point that ukrainians knew about the hold on the aid. but the fact is that senior ukrainian government officials did not know about the delay in
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funding until august 28th. ukrainian embassy officials who contacted state department and dod officials were reportedly acting rogue with the then-ukraine ambassador to the u.s. in working to withhold information from kyiv to undermine the new zelensky the swamp drainer. andriy yermak has publicly confirmed that the president's close advisors, president zelensky's close advisors had no knowledge of the hold until it was made public by the "politico" article on august 28th. look. that is the fact. like everything else they are trying toke obscure here, you can't take your eye off the ball. i know this is hard to follow back home from -- from conscientious constituents of ours andom citizens who are tryg to do their duty. it's hard to follow. but what you have to know is that both the process and the substance of these arguments is -- is completely empty.
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it's vapid. that's where we're wasting our timee' here. i'm out of time and i'll yield back. was >> gentleman yields back. for our purposes, mr. stanton seeks recognition. >> mr. chairman, i move to strike "the last word." there's been some discussion today as to what is the reason why we are here? it's been suggested by some that we are here because we disagree with the president and his policies. a few moments ago, we heard a list of some policies where there actually might be some disagreement with the president of the united you know, we do have some policy disagreements with the president of the united states. we do disagree, strongly, about separating children from the parents at the southern border.c we do disagree, strongly, with this president and his attempt to eliminate pre-existing
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condition protections under the affordable care act. we disagree strongly with this 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.da we are only here today voting on these two articles of impeachment because this presidentac has chosen to put h personal interest ahead of the national interest. we are only here today because this 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 this 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 thisd hearing. and at this point, i will yield to the gentle lady from texas. congresswoman escobar. >> thank you, mr. stanton. there is much reference, there has been much reference made to the transcript. and i useth air quotes because it's not an official transcript. i want to remind everyone that this was a document provided to us by the white house. with ellipses in the document and we don't know exactly what was stated because it is not an official document. much has been made, also, about this idea. the use of do us a favor. as though the united states of
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america and foreign 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 wasbe welcome to participate. his lawyers. so that he -- if he has any information that would exonerate him abouty this, he could prest it at any time. he'sit 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
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seeing the light of day. he has intimidated witnesses. 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 17 witnesses. over 200 text messages. that's just what was able to make light of day.t that's just what we were able to discover because of patriots willing to come forward. so, again, i wouldto say if there's any evidence that the american govern -- government or foreign policy advisors or experts or -- or the diplomats that dealt with ukraine believed that this was about us, then the president can show the evidence. thank t you, mr. stanton.
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i yield back. >> thank youi very much. mr. chair, i yield back to you. >> for our purposes, mr. deutsch. >> move to strike "the last word." >> gentleman istr recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, the -- our colleague from louisiana is exactly right. it gets. confusing. it does. there is a lot that we've been talking about, which is why it's so important to always 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 are somehow sent here to defend the president or to defend the president's policies. or -- or to defend an overturning of the status quo. i didn't really understand the suggestion because the fact is, and i think everyone on the -- everyone on our committee, everyone in america knows and needs to be reminded we're sent here to defend the constitution. and the constitutionde provides three co-equal branches of
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government. 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 -- 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
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other side to throw up their hands. and say,uphe ah, every presiden does it. thent way that we resolve these issues is to go to court. we have three co-equal branches of government. if one branch says they are going b to completely obstruct e business of the second, then we just 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's 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
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government. and then simply says, but you can go to court because that's 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've seen from president trump. >> will the gentleman yield? >> in a moment. and so as -- as we go forward, and i don't know how much longer we'll be here. it's always important to make'l sure that the facts are clear. and that we don't muddy the waters by suggesting that something that is sosu unprecedented, that we've never seen before in the history of our country, is somehow just a parcel of thes way things work around here. they don't. know it. friends on the other side of the aisle know it. the american people know it. but mr. johnson's right. sometimes it's important to remind them of it.t. i yield. >> will the gentleman yield? >>nt thank you. i just want to add a little


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