House Lawmakers Set Rules For Impeachment Vote | NBC News (Live Stream)

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Published: 12/18/2019 03:47 AM

The House Rules Committee meets to set the length and terms of debate on the House floor over two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection ...

Volker had breakfast in december -- here in washington. During the conversation, the ambassador stressed his belief that attacks levied against the former vice-president were false. He counseled giuliani that the ukrainian was promoing a self-serving narrative. mr. giuliani agreed, but the promotion did not cease. was any testimony presented that contradicts that testimony by ambassador volker , ...
i don't believe so. Also, the testimony on august 2, zelensky's adviser met with mr. giuliani in madrid.

They agreed ukraine would issue a public statement. I note it's the public statement, part of this, because that undermined the biden candidacy. it does nothing to address corruption. the president, as it was testified by ambassador sondland. Mr. trump didn't seem to care at all about whether the investigation was actually conducted. simply that it was announced. volker, encouraged, giuliani to report the results, so the white house visit could be arranged which was sought after, as we know by ukraine. , i will stop. There. relate to a question about mr.

giuliani which to me -- [ no audio ], acting as an actor on behalf of the president. Clearly, even as late as today continuing to talk about how the investigation of biden was to be done. , it's an problem. presented with competing hypothesis, one should select the one with the fewest assumptions. those who support the president. You would have to assume the following. , despite the transcript of july 25, specifically mentions the vice-president and crowdstrike and the server. We must assume the president meant corruption, although he doesn't refer to it. The need was to reach out to mr. giuliani.

there's no evidence of his failure of confidence in them. We must assume mr. giuliani was in a special position to pursue ukrainian corruption, generally. there's no evidence or rationale at all. We must assume sondland and mulvaney were in error when they confirmed a quid pro quo. We mustassume vindman, taylor, volker sondland and yovanovitch, as well as holmes and hill, were arrayed against the president. Despite not a modicum of evidence to that. , we must assume mcgahn and bolton and others hold the key to the president's innocence, if only they would testify.

Of course they refuse. The list goes on and on. I choose to follow the evidence which is laid out in a report of the house intelligence committee, judiciary committee, and i continue to urge support of the rule and the underlying articles of impeachment. Thank you, mr. chairman. mr. raskin. I want to follow up on the accusations against vice-president biden, which is at the heart of what we're talking. About.

president trump's smears against the vice-president are debunked accusations made by a corrupt ukrainian prosecutor. You heard me right. , president trump and his supporters are so desperate to undermine vice-president biden that they actually colluded with a ukrainian fraudster. George kent testified that there was quote broad-based consensus. End quote: among the united states, our european allies and international financial institutions that mr. shokin was - and i quote, a typical ukrainian prosecutor, who lived a lifestyle far in excess of his government salary who never prosecuted anyone known for having committed a crime and who covered up Crimes that were known to have been committed. That'S a nice way to say that everyone in the entire world agreed that this ukrainian prosecutor was a bad guy and corrupt. So would it be accurate to say that the allegations that vice-president biden inappropriately pressured ukraine to remove him are completely without merit, totally without merit.

Vice-President biden was acting to articulate and implement u. s. foreign policy at that moment. That policy was to get rid of a corrupt, prosecutor. , . So let me repeat. It was part of the official policy of the united states and therest of the world to fight corruption in ukraine. Correct >, >, yes, it was.

Did vice-president biden ask ukraine to help him cheat in an election like president trump ? No, he did not. okay. We can -- there's nothing appropriate about president trump's personal lawyer continuing to run around kiev with corrupt former ukrainian prosecutors in search of dirt. About joe biden. , i believe the american people know that joe biden is an honorable man and they know it's wrong to seek foreign help to cheat in an election. The president's ongoing pressure on ukraine to investigate the former vice-president is powerful evidencefor why we have no choice but to move forward with these articles of impeachment. Mr. chairman, there's nothing more distressing to me than the fact that not one of our republican colleagues are willing to confront the president over his misconduct. and i have credibility on this.

I confronted president clinton on his misconduct. I come to impeachment with deep sadness. The facts of this case are painful and indisputable. We know that the president abused his office asking the leader of the ukraine to announce an investigation of his political rival. We know that he illegally held up congressional appropriated aid, tothe ukrainians. He conditioned the release of vital military aid on ooh scan president zelensky opening an investigation based on his political rival and foreign interference in the 2016 election.

political rival and fo interference in the 2016 election. investigation, based on political rival and foreign interference in the 2016 election. The president blocked attempts to determine the extent of his misconduct by ordering people to defy subpoenas. These facts are uncontested. confirmed in public by career public servants who have dedicated their lives to serving our country. further. They are uncontested by the president and confirmed by his chief of staff. We have nowreached a point where, despite the unprecedented obstruction from the president, the evidence of this case is powerful enough to delay this vote. Any further would be irresponsible.

Any delay would risk interference in the 2020 election. , the permanent erosion of our system of checks and balances. This is not a matter of politics. I have never and will never support the impeachment of a president over a policy disagreement or a different ideology. This is a matter of protecting the integrity of our democracy for the next generation. , as we labor to pass on to future generations. Many of the great hallmarksof, our society, our financial, might our brilliant scientific enterprises, the gifts of our great natural resources, the strength of our military and the diplomatic corps as a force for good. We must also work with active stewardship and vigilance to pass on a vibrant and functional democracy.

If we don't do our duty to protect the constitution, the republic that we hand to our children will be less vibrant, -- [ no audio ], the framers of the constitution, knew democracy is fragile. They knew that its survival depends on the strength and courage we display in maintaining. This fragility is also a strength. It requires our public servants to put our nation's interests ahead of our own, to root out corruption and to hold each other accountable to high standards of democracy that democracy demands. That'S why we take an oath to defend the constitution. If protecting the constitution were trivial, we wouldn't have to take an oath.

courage and honesty have won out, as generations of americans have adhered to their oath of office and met the standards of service that our democracy necessitates. many died, protecting our democracy. We cannot let this legacy be damaged on our watch. President trump has not treated his oath ofoffice with the seriousness it requires. Ultimately, this is not only about one person. This is a vote about his and our oath of office. This is a vote to determine whether we will maintain our democracy or set our nation on a path to upend the values and standards of framers laid out for us.

I yield back. [ no audio ] . Thank you. Mr. chairman. may be a reflection of what we're doing here. I do want to say on coming in here seven eight hours ago, and i heard a few of my colleagues on both sides say this: it's hard not to be as amember of this institution who has great reverence for this institution institution. I believe mr. collins said not to be sad.

I think we are all sad and depressed from our perspectives. This is not the institution at its optimum. for the accusations about never trumpers. I guess i will admit to being an almost never trumper. after he was elected. I agreed with clinton that we should give him a chance. I remember teasing some of my staff. Maybe he is chester. Arthur. people thought when he took over for garfield, given list reputation in new york, no offense that he would not be capable.

He turned out to start the civil service system which we have benefitted from in the last few. Months. really courageous public servants come forward, irrespective of your position. You can't help but admire these folks. Then, having sat as a member of the oversight and sat in hours of those depositions with mr. raskin and others, ambassador taylor, colonel veldman, and having read the 300 pages and listened to the intelligence hearings and the judiciary hearings, i'm just --. My concern is that i have heard members of both parties say pattern. , there's a pattern: here. , i'm concerned about the president's pattern.

one of the reasons why i was an early signer on to steve cohen's articles of impeachment --, i'm not offended. , having signed on to cohen's that. Never came to the floor, as the chairman said. I approached those supporting those to have a hearing. My belief is this. Particular president, whether republican or democrat, in my perception rules, don't have the same affect on him as the majority of people. I think rules are important. I think, unfortunately, it's part of our business culture right now that stretching the rules or breaking the rules and get agway from them is part of what's wrong with this country. mr.

raskinand. Mr. collins, i have really one question. in this pattern of things we're all going to live with the consequences of our vote. I hear my colleagues strongly that they will vote against these. , most likely. Mr. mcconnell believes there will be a trial that the president will be acquitted. What i'm afraid of is the president will be empowered to break more rules.

I don't think escapable of --. I hope that's not true. what happens after this? I want to read a quote from james madison in'51 when he talked about the balance of --, i'm an amateur. , i hate to say, thisin front of a professional like mr. raskin. I don't take this as a hypothetical. Our actions and the actions of the senate are part of a pattern. either it will be corrected after this is all done or if i'm right, the president will go ahead and push the rules again and i'm mindful he made the call the day after the mueller Report. this is in the context of foreign interference. , the british, the french germans twice during world war.

I and ii were very aggressive at affecting our democracy. The founders were perceptive in understanding the democracy. In those days, which was an unusual thing, thatmadison said you had to bind the institution. These three institutions bind them. So there's a check and balance which is what'51 is all about. put this in the context of what we know from the mueller report and what mr. raskin talked about and the technology, mr. putin and his agents have perfected. We, as americans think maybe the russians aren't sophisticated.

They are very, very sophisticated. at propaganda that, as mr. raskin said, the ultimate goal is to disrupt democracy and have us destroy ourselves. Mr. putin believes the worst thing that happened to russia was the implosion of the soviet union. , hesees, the mass of men and women as incapable of governing themselves which to us sitting here. I think we all believe whether conservative or liberal, that is the opposite of what we live, for what people have sacrificed their lives for. Mr. putin wants us to be fighting each other. , they have used social media and somebody from the bay area who deals with these companies and is frustrated with them to govern themselves.

They have used it in a way, as the mueller report says, to support this president. According to the report. i thought that was damning enough to go aheadwith impeachment. , but we didn't. the obstruction was clear to me. But we didn't. in the context of that report and sitting here a few months before our democratic primary, which will be super primary in march and less than a year away from an election. Knowing that they're going to do these things in the context of what we are going to do is not a hypothetical. , it's part of an effort by foreign actors who do not believe in this institution or in democracy or average people governing themselves. What do we anticipate? The consequences after we vote tomorrow and after the senate takes what i think is a mistake in their actions.

Let me just read what madison said. all the founders are: amazing, writers. people wrote and read well then. He said in'51. He said the interests of a man. Must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. , it may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. if angels were to govern neither external or internal controls on governmentwould be necessary. in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men.

The great difficulty lies in this. You must first enable the government to control the government. and, in the next place, oblige it to control itself. So our failure to control ourselves as a congress for the difficulties of the time make me think that the consequences of our decisions and the inability to hold this president accountable and constrain him properly under the constitution is not a hypothetical. It'S something we're going to have to deal with in the days to come and before the next election, while foreignactors and domestic actors try to disrupt our democracy. mr. raskin, what do we do? How do we constrain the administration and properly balance that, with the needs of this institution, , you asked that at 6:50 p. m. that's a big question.

I will try my hardest. , let's see. 30 seconds left. , mr. collins. If you want to jump in. , i would love to hear your opinion. I will give it my best shot first. What are the consequences in terms of the 2020 election? That'S something --, let me say this.

, i don't want to assume the inevitability of your premise. Thatwe'Re not going to deal with this problem. The house of representatives has been immersed in this. We know a lot more about the facts. We know a lot more about the details. Now it's going over to the senate. , i want to believe that 100 senators are going to adhere to their constitutional oath, reflect on what that means and be open minded and critical thinking jurors in the process.

But what would happen if we don't deal with it? If we go home and say hey, you know, authoritarian is on the march. there's so much. We can do at this point. We don't dealwith it. I think president zelensky has to be watching. Ukraine has to be watching. from their perspective. They are in the middle of this.

All of us are sort of acting like well. President trump got caught. , of course, they're not going to go through with it. If we let him go, why won't they go through with it? Why won't he have to go through with it? Why won't he make his announcement about the bidens and then for his own domestic political consumption? He will have to go through with an investigation. We have set a new precedent there, a new standard that the presidentcan go and try to recruit foreign governments to get in our campaign by threatening, announcing and engaging in criminal investigations of their political opponent. That'S banana republic stuff. right, that's dictator, stuff. ! We set that as a standard. that terrifies me.

here is another pattern that we have to deal with. robert mueller came to testify before the house judiciary committee on july 24th. , as the president mentioned on the phone call on july 25th. He thought, basically, he had gotten away with everything. right mueller found a sweeping and systematic campaign by russia. He found more than 100 contacts with the trump campaign. but attorney. General barr had taken the report for 3 1/2 weeks and he had said to america. There'S nothing in there nothing to be seen here, prompting not one but two letters of protest from special counsel, mueller, and yet it was too late for democracy to catch up, to have a serious, rigorous, a natural -- analysis of what was in the report. on the Next day, president trump has the phone call with zelensky and says: do us a favor. , putting the icing on the cake of this effort to drag them in to our domestic politics. ? If we can allow one authoritarian despot like vladimir putin to come in the water? Is warm well, why not others? Why not turkey? Why not the president's friend in saudi arabia? He basically whitewashed their assassination murder and dismemberment of a `` washington, post' journalist.

What big deal would it be to say, come on in and get involved in our election campaign? That'S a serious problem. What about you say the pattern about checks and balances. ? It'S interesting, because the checks and balances appears in the federalist papers not to refer to the three branchs. It refers to the house and the senate. Those are the checks and balances. We should be thinking about right. Now. , the people's body will speak this week.

If it goes the way i hope will go, we will impeach this president for abuse of power. We will impeach this president for obstruction of the congress. , but we are placing our faith as the constitution obligates us to in the senate to do their job. What that also means is place. Our faith in the people to make the senate do their job. because we're politicians. We know that we don't respond exclusively and entirely to the will of the constituents. , but we do a lot.

That'S an important ingredient in representative democracy. Look in congress itself. We cannot be afraid of our own power. One thing i disagree with, i think i heard one of my majority colleagues today say is we have three co-equal branchs. ? I have been trying to correct this from the very beginning. our framers. The founders of america overthrew a king. , the first sentence of the constitution, the preamble. They stated what america was about.

We the people in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves. The blessings of liberty. the very next sentence starts article 1. All legislative power is vested in the congress, ofthe united states. , the senate and the house of representatives. Do you see what happened? The sovereign political power of the people of america thrown from the acts of constitution, making into the congress of the united states. the power of appropriation and spending. the power to regulate commerce domestically and internationally. the power to declare war.

So, on and on. the power to have all the other powers necessary to enforce the forgoing powers. , then you get to the president. in articles of the federation. We didn't even have a president. They wanted to create somebody who would show executive energy to execute our laws. That wasthe job to faithfully. cute it and be the commander and chief of the army and navy in times of insurrection.

That'S the core of what the job is. section four of article two is about impeachment to make sure a president doesn't become a king. think about this. Why do we have the power to impeach the president and he doesn't have the power to impeach us? It was a great republic president gerald ford who answered it. here. The people rule. here is the people and their representatives rule. If the president were to be impeached, he doesn't go to jail for one day because of that. that'scriminal prosecution. , nothing to do with us.

What we're doing is protecting the country and the constitution. Mr. collins, you want 30 seconds . I think my friend just summed up the entire thing for me. He did. we went only a whirlwind trip. I would have loved to have him in class.

He went all over the world at 30,000 foot. He watch him that hits the common man and touches the wings of the god. The problem is he never addressed the issue, we're dealing with. I think that's the heart of the problem. We have right now. , it is one think in rhetorical, flourishes. we arecoming to an end of dealing with this. The bottom line is the question: where do we go from here? It'S like the simple man who once needed to get his --.

I really enjoyed `` the west wing. '. We watched it over and over again. That answer, which i respect deeply is amazing. We differ on so many things. jamie and i get along very well on many other things. He is wrong. , i'm right. , i'm kidding.

There was an episode in which president bartlett one of his rhetorical flourishes. toby, asked him about a friend who had called about getting something fixed at the v. a. He went into thislong --. Do you remember this? He went into this long story about the red tape and, if veterans had to come to d. c. , that's where red tape comes, from. , charlie, the body man for the president looked at him. , but mr. president, all he wants to know is how to get his wheelchair fixed.

I think that's what we're seeing a lot of here, today. future. , what's going on, what's going to happen, what happens tomorrow what's going to happen tomorrow, it's going to the senate, which is a predetermined observation from day one not because of anything else. It'S not going anywhere. ! That'S fine. , that's the pathwe chose. Where do we go? This is my question. when you look at this to say -- to come at it from the fact, which is the only way the majority can come at this is that the president did something wrong. at which point has he done anything wrong for this majority? He never has. when you look at the discussion -- and i understand that -- i get it.

, but when you look the it from the fact that from the moment after the election, there was discussion of impeachment. from minutes after he was sworn in. The `` washington post' said now the impeachment begins. when. We look at this process. All the way through the question is not: when do we --? How or where do we go from here. , it's just when. When do we do it again? It'S not matter of --. It was like i said earlier, not engaging in hypotheticals. We go back to the simple basic facts that happened in this case. zelensky and president trump said no pressure.

The transcript shows no conditionally. The ukrainians were not aware of it when they spoke and the ukrainians didn't open the investigation, received aid and got a meeting with the president. five meetings, three, which took place from thecall to the time the ukraines found out about the aid being withheld. None of these actually discussed aid being linked to the money. none. , so we start off and we get rhetorical flourishes at the end, which is fine. I understand it.

If i had to sell this, i would have to be rhetorically inflourished as well, because the constitution is defective. Is this congress going to become a body which we impeach because of partisan ideas, which is also what the founders discussed. you have the majority. ? We have the majority for a while. While i was here for six years. , it's a massive responsibility. at times. We did it well. at times we did not do it well. I believe that's.

Why, probably last november, we got an election that gave you the majority and gave you the gavel. , but remember just because you can don't mean you should. and sometimes when the facts --, when you have to go at them. From the perspective of the way, this process went, as i said earlier today, i'll fight process and facts and i'll win on both because when i take this case from here at this table in just a few minutes when we leave and take it to the floor Tomorrow and take it to the american people, just as this president will and just as those who fought and when we understand what actually happened and what is actually charged, not what was assumed, but what actually ended up simply seeing in that helps us down the line. I see two things that bother me. This will finish my statement to you. I see a process that has been trashed in the rules and process of the committee and of the whole. I see a process of impeachment lowered to where you don't have to jump anymore.

That is my concern. I know mr. raskin doesn't share it. you asked. , that is myconcern. Where do we go from here in some ways? Looking at the this god help us. , i yield back. That was more than 30 seconds.

Let the record show. Let me just finish with, from my perspective, the specificity. we were talking about people reading the summary of the phone call and different people reading it and having different realities when they read it. , but as all of us can relate to it, a candidate for federal office. The law says, cannot in quote, knowingly, solicit, accept or receive from a foreign national, any contribution or donation. , and that contribution or donation is definedas anything of value. When i read that summary, he is clearly asking for something of that value. , an investigation that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars against his primary opponent. The day after the mueller report a day before he went out, i'm told and said that the second amendment gave him the right to do anything. He wanted.

with that. Just maybe briefly. Mr. ras kins, the president withheld funds. , mr. collins, said he released them. My recollection is and the testimony he released them because people in the congress and the press were starting to say you need to release these. , so it wasthe pressure brought to him to release that got him to release it. , and in that time ukraine was exposed to His -- mr. putin. was he faithfully executing the duties of his office when he did that he got caught red-handed.

I don't see any ambiguity in the his tore record about that. We announced the investigation on the 9th of december. the 11th. The money was finally released. Thank you. I yield back. thank you. I have good news for both of you.

I think everybody has asked their questions. Nobody left here on this committee. I do want to close --. I wantto thank both our witnesses for enduring this very long hearing. I want to thank the members of the rules committee democrats, republicans because i think we have very sharp disagreements on this. , but i think this hearing was conducted with civility. I want to thank mr.

cole and his team for helping with that. I mean i like this hearing, quite frankly, better than the one that was in your committee. , but i think people feel very strongly about these issues and i think you know i do --. I do want to thank everybody for their cooperation here today. , so you guys are dismissed. and thereare no other witnesses here. So that will end the hearing portion of this -- . Mr. chairman . Yes, sir could i be recognized.

all right. We have a -- yeah. , . I have the four letters that i sent individually asking to review the documents. two letters that were group projects and i would like to add those. without objection. , and then also, i think it's significant. The president poroshenko talked to congress in 2014 -- . The gentleman deserves to be heard. In his address.

He referenced a lot of things. how ukraine had voluntarily withdrawn from being a nuclear power, with the promise that they would always be protected. , and then maybe they weren't. , but he also, this was the speech in which he also said that they needed more military equipment, both Lethal and non-lethal blankets and night vision are important, but you cannot win a war with blankets. This was from 2014. donald trump was not. President. I thought it was important to put that in this part of the record how national security was threatened by president trump. The hearing portion has come to a close.

and we will reset subject of call of the chair and work to reconvene some of the obligations that the members have. yeah. With that the hearing is closed. , [ inaudible, ], . I can promise you that. I think it will be --, >, , the house rules committee, finalizing the terms of the debate and historic vote on impeachment. take a look. We have listened to the hearings. , we have read the transcripts. and it's clear that this president acted in a va that not only violates the public trust, he jeopardized our national security.

and he undermined our democracy. He acted in a way that rises to the level of impeachment. That is why we are considering h 755 today, aimpeaching president trump for high crimes and misdemeanors. What i cannot discern is a legitimate reason why the majority is moving forward when the process is so partisan when the american people are not with them, why they are moving forward when they haven't proven their case and why they are moving forward when there is no Basis for impeachment. kbr, why? Why put the country through this the clock and the calendar are terrible masters. and they lead to awful results. and yes, there will be a day of reckoning. the calendar and the clock will continue. But what you do hear and howwe have trashed the process in getting here will live, on.

second thing is this. My friend said was that there were no fact witnesses that this was based on the report that was delivered to us by the house committee on intelligence. Of course, that's a play on words too. There were 17 fact witnesses who appeared before the house committee on intelligence. The house oversight committee and the house foreign affairs committee. abuse of power is the essential impeachment offense. That'S why it's in there.

What it's about is elevating the personal interests and ambitions of the president above the common good abovethe rule of law and above the constitution. The pressure issue is sad because, again to continue this line of thought after the president of the ukraine has came out and denied it and denied it and denied it and denied it. You are calling him a pathological liar a world leader or calling --. He was actually called in our committee last week, a battered wife. He was actually called that. compared to a battered wife. How low have we.

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