WHY DOES A “DISCREDITED CONSPIRACY THEORY” CONTINUE TO RESURFACE?
by Sharon Rondeau
McGovern began by stating, as did Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee last week, that Trump imperiled “national security” by “withholding military aid from a country under siege,” referring to Ukraine, “for his own benefit.”
“If that is not impeachable conduct, I don’t know what is,” McGovern said at 11:20, adding that in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump was attempting to gain an election advantage for 2020.
At 11:25, ranking member Tom Cole (R-OK4) began his statement by saying that he has “great respect” for his Democrat colleagues but that there would be deep disagreement as the hearing proceeded. Cole quoted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as having said earlier this year that the impeachment of the president would be divisive and should be bipartisan if it were to take place.
As have other Republicans, Cole claimed that Trump has been denied due process and that Democrats have wished to remove Trump from office before he was inaugurated.
In an interview on December 10, Pelosi told a Politico reporter that the impeachment process has, in fact, been ongoing for “two and a half years.”
Last Friday, the House Judiciary Committee voted affirmatively on two Articles of Impeachment on a party-line vote, 23-17, and on Monday the majority issued a report on its findings. The Articles cite “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.”
Witnesses for the hearing are Rep. Jamie Raskin in lieu of Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose wife reportedly had a medical emergency, and Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins.
Democrats claim that Trump asked Zelenskiy to “interfere” in the 2020 election, while Republicans say that no crime was committed before, during or after the July 25 phone call.
Behind Raskin is seated an attorney who served as both a witness and questioner for the Judiciary Committee last week.
Raskin repeatedly criticized Trump for furthering a “discredited conspiracy theory” stating that “Ukraine, and not Russia,” interfered in the 2016 election, a criticism made by numerous Judiciary members last week.
Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has recently said both on Twitter and in interviews that he possesses evidence that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. election and that former U.S. ambassador to that nation, Marie Yovanovitch, obstructed certain Ukrainians from obtaining visas to come to the U.S. to report corruption against the U.S.
In his opening witness statement, Collins said that the majority is “bent on finding something” with which to impeach Trump. “If this was supposed to be bipartisan, then why are we in the Rules Committee today?” he asked rhetorically.
The entire House is expected to vote on the Articles on Wednesday.