Jerry Nadler Opens Impeachment Hearing Asking Republicans To Remember Their Legacy | NBC News

Channel: NBC News
Published: 12/12/2019

Rep. Jerry Nadler laid out the allegations against President Trump to open the House Judiciary hearing to markup the articles of impeachment. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovativ...

Today we meet to begin consideration of articles of impeachment against president donald j trump, although it is our custom to limit opening statements to the chair and ranking member of the committee. As i informed the ranking member, i believe that for such an important and solemn occasion as this, it would be appropriate for all members to have an opportunity to make an opening statement. Befor ...
we begin i want. I want to note the absence of our colleague ted lou, required a medical procedure monday evening and will be unable to attend this markup. I understand he is in good spirits and plans to be back at work next week. His statement will be made part ofthe record, and i know that all of my colleagues join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. I will now recognize myself for an opening statement. Today we begin consideration of two articles of impeachment against president donald j trump. The first article charges that the president used the powers of his public office to demand that a foreign government attack his political rivals. The second article charges that the president obstructed the congressional investigation into his conduct. Other presidents have resisted congressional oversight, but president trump's stonewall was complete absolute and without precedent in american history, taken together, the two articles charged president trump, with placing his private political interests above our national security above our free andfair elections and above our ability to hold public Officials accountable this committee now owes it to the american people to give these articles close attention and to describe their factual basis, meaning and importance. I believe that three questions should frame our debate.

First. Does the evidence show clearly that the president committed these acts? Second, do they rise to the level of impeachable, high crimes and misdemeanors? Third, what are the consequences for a national security for the integrity of our elections and for our country? If we fail to act to the first question, there can be no serious debate about what president trump did on july 25th of this year. When he spoke to president zhuzalenski of ukraine by telephone president trump had the upper hand, ukraine had been invaded by russia. Zalenski had only recently been elected, he badly needed our help. He needed it in the form of military aid already appropriated by congress because of our national security interests in ukraine, and he needed help in the form of an oval office meeting. So he could show the world that the united states stands with him against russian aggression. President trump should have focused on america's national security and on the interests of the american people on that call. Instead, he completely ignored them in order to push his own personal political interests. President trump asked for a favor. He wanted ukraineto announce two bogus investigations, one in two former vice president biden, his leading opponent in the 2020 election and another, to advance a conspiracy theory that ukraine, not russia, attacked our elections in 2016. These were not legitimate requests. Neither was supported by the evidence.

One investigation was designed to help president trump conceal the truth about the 2016 election. The other was designed to help him gain an advantage in the 2020 campaign. Both were divorced from reality and from official us policy. The evidence proves that these requests were not related to any real interest in rooting out corruption. President trump eagerly does business with corrupt governments every day. The evidence shows that president trump did notcare. If real investigations took place, a public announcement that the government of ukraine was investigating his rivals would have been enough for him to release the aid, whether or not an actual investigation ever took place. After the call president trump ratcheted up the pressure, he dangled the awful. The offer of an oval office meeting he withheld 391 million dollars in military aid. His personal lawyer traveled to pressure the ukrainians directly. The president deployed other agents, including outside the official channels of diplomacy, to make his desires clear by september. President zolensky was ready to comply and to announce the to fake investigations.

Then the scandal broke into the open, quite in the act, the president wasforced to release the aide. When the house of representatives opened an inquiry into the president's actions. President trump did everything in his power to obstruct the investigation he declared across the board resistance. He ordered every official in the federal government to defy all subpoenas related to the inquiry at his command. The administration also refused to produce a single document related to the inquiry, not one to put thus obstruction into context. During the watergate hearings, president nixon turned over recordings of his conversations in the oval office. Later president clinton ended over his dna president. Trump'S obstruction was by contrast, absolute. Those are the facts they are overwhelming. There is no denying them having reviewed the evidencewe come to. Our second question is the president's proven conduct impeachable? The answer is simply is simple. Absolutely under article 1 of the constitution, president can be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The highest of high crimes is abuse of power. It occurs when the president uses official powers to serve his own personal selfish interests at the expense of the public good to the founding generation that, if that had for the king and when our freedom, it was a specific, well-defined, offense. The first article of impeachment charges president trump with abuse of power. The article describes president trump's conduct and lays out two aggravating factors that we must consider in pressuring ukraine for a personalfavor president trump both betrayed our national security and attempted to corrupt our elections. When the president weakens an ally who advances american security interests by fighting an american adversary, the president weakens america and when the president demands that a foreign government investigators, domestic political rivals, he corrupts our elections to the founders. This kind of corruption was especially pernicious. Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. If our elections are corrupt, everything is corrupt. The president faces a second article of impeachment for his ongoing efforts to obstruct a lawful investigation into his conduct. We have never in the history of our nation, seen a president categorically defy congress in this manner if the presidentcan first abuse his power and then stonewall, oil congressional requests for information congress cannot fulfill its duty to act as a check and balance against the executive and The president becomes a dictator later tonight. You will hear more about both articles and how they describe a pattern of behavior that president trump seems determined to repeat again and again. My colleagues will also address various procedural objections that have been raised in the president's defense, but there is one of those objections that i wish to address right away.

Some ask: why not take more time? Why is this necessary now? Why do we need to impeach the? Why not let the next election handle it this bringsus to the third and final question: what is the risk if we do not act over the past 94 days, since the house investigation began indeed, over the last three years, one indisputable truth has emerged: if we do Not respond to president trump's abuses of power. The abuses will continue. We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems. When the president threatens the very integrity of that election door. Can we sit on our hands while the president undermines our national security and while he allows his personal interests and the interests of our adversary, russia to advance? The president's lawyer, personal lawyer, was in ukraine again just last week that was not three years. Agothat was not three months ago that was saturday president trump's, continuing abuses of power jeopardize our security and our elections. The threat is urgent. If we do not act now, what happens next will be our responsibility as well as his. I will close with the word to my republican colleagues. I know you. I have worked with many of you for years. I consider you to be good and decent public servants.

I know this moment may be difficult, but you still have a choice. I hope every member of this committee will withstand the political pressures of the moment. I hope that none of us attempt to justify behavior that we know in our heart is wrongi hope that we are able to work together to hold this president or any president accountable for breaking his most basic obligations to the country and to its citizens. And while you think about that choice, please keep in mind that one way or the other president trump will not be president forever. When his time has passed when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns as surely it will to kamar times and stronger leadership, history will look back on our actions here today. How would you be remembered? We have each taken an oath to support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I hope to be remembered for honoringthat oath. I hope you feel the same and so with a heavy heart but clear in my duty to our country. I support these articles of impeachment. I urge my colleagues to support them as well. I yield back to the balance of my time. Hey nbc news viewers, thanks for checking out our youtube channel subscribe by clicking on that button down here and click on any of the videos over here to watch.

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