Feb 1, 2020
Transcript: Key Moments from Impeachment Trial Friday, January 31
Read the transcript of all key moments from the Donald Trump Impeachment Trial on Friday, January 31, 2020 when the Senate voted to block witnesses from the trial.
Key Moment 1
Adam Schiff: (00:02)
But let me close this portion with words I think more powerful than General Kelly’s and they come from John Adams, who in 1776 wrote, “Together with the right to vote, those who wrote our constitution considered the right to trial by jury, the heart and lungs, the mainspring and the center wheel of our liberties, without which the body must die, the watch must run down, the government must become arbitrary.”
Adam Schiff: (00:39)
Now what does that mean? Without a fair trial, the government must become arbitrary. Now, of course, he’s talking about the right of an average citizen to a trial by jury. Well, if in courtrooms all across America when someone is tried, but they’re a person of influence and power, they can declare at the beginning of the trial, “If the government’s case is so good, let them prove it without witnesses.”
Adam Schiff: (01:17)
If people of power and influence can insist to the judge that the house, that the prosecutors, that the government, that the people must prove their case without witnesses or documents, a right reserved only for the powerful. Because only Donald Trump, only Donald Trump of any defendant in America can insist on a trial with no witnesses. If that should be true and courts throughout the land then as Adams wrote, the government becomes arbitrary.
Adam Schiff: (01:51)
Because whether you have a fair trial or no trial at all, depends on whether you are a person of power and influence like Donald J. Trump. The body will die, the clock will run down, and our government becomes arbitrary. The importance of a fair trial here is not less than in every courtroom in America, it is greater than in any courtroom in America. Because we set the example for America.
Key Moment 2
Patrick Philbin: (00:01)
Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate, the House managers have said throughout their presentation and throughout all of the proceedings here again and again that you can’t have a trial without witnesses and documents as if it’s just that simple. If you’re going to have a trial, there have to be new witnesses and documents. But it’s not that simple and that’s really something that is a trope that’s being used to disguise the real issues, the real decisions that you’d be making on this decision about witnesses. Because there’s a lot more at stake there. And let me unpack that and explain what’s really at stake there. The first is this idea that if you come to trial, you’ve always got to go to witnesses, have new witnesses come in in that. But that’s not true in every legal system and in our legal systems and both civil and criminal sides.
Patrick Philbin: (00:58)
There’s a way to decide right up front in some quick way, whether there’s really a triable issue, whether you really need to go to all the trouble of calling in new witnesses and having more evidence in something like that. And there’s not here. There’s no need for that because these articles of impeachment on their face are defective, and we’ve explained that. Let me start with the second article on the obstruction charge. We’ve explained that that charge is really trying to say that it’s an impeachable offense for the president to defend the separation of powers. That can’t be right. But it’s also the case that no witnesses are going to say anything that makes any difference to the second article of impeachment. That all has to do with the validity of the grounds the President asserted, the fact that he asserted longstanding constitutional prerogatives of the executive branch in specific ways to resist specific deficiencies in the subpoenas that were issued.
Patrick Philbin: (01:59)
No fact witness is going to come in and say anything that relates in any way to that. It’s not going to make any difference. And on the first article of impeachment, that too is defective on its face. And we’ve explained, we heard it again today here, that the way they have this subjective theory of impeachment that will show abuse of power by focusing just on the President’s subjective motives. And they said again today here that the way they can show the President did something wrong is that he defied the foreign policy of the United States and I talked about that before, this theory that he defied the agencies within the executive branch. He wasn’t following the policy of the executive branch. That’s not a Constitutionally coherent statement. The theory of abuse of power that they framed in the first article of impeachment would do grave damage to the separation of powers under our Constitution because it would become so malleable they can pour into it anything they want to find illicit motives for some perfectly permissible action.
Patrick Philbin: (03:12)
It becomes so malleable, it’s no different than maladministration, the exact ground that the framers rejected during the Constitutional Convention. The institution defines specific offenses. It limits and constrains the impeachment power. Now there’s also the fact that we actually heard from a lot of witnesses. We heard from a lot of witnesses in the proceeding so far you’ve heard 192 video clips by our account from 13 different witnesses. There were 17 witnesses deposed and closed hearings in the House and 12 of them testified, again in open hearings. You’ve got all of those transcripts so you can see the witnesses’ testimony. They’re the key portions have been played for you on the screens. And you’ve got over 28,000 pages of documents and transcripts. You’ve got a lot of evidence already. But there’s another principle that they overlook when they say, well, if you’re going to have a trial, there just have to be witnesses, as if the most ordinary thing is you get to trial and then start subpoenaing new witnesses and documents.
Patrick Philbin: (04:25)
That’s not true either, and we pointed this out. There’s, in the regular courts, the way things work is you’ve got to do a lot of work preparing a trial called discovery to find out about witnesses and depose them and find out about documents before you get to trial. You can’t show up the day of trial and say, Oh, Your Honor, actually we’re not ready. We didn’t subpoena John Bolton or witness X or witness Y, and now we want to subpoena that witness.
Patrick Philbin: (04:57)
Now we want to do discovery. And why does that matter here? Because here to show up, not having done the work and to expect that work to be done in the Senate by this body has grave consequences for the institutional interests of this body and it sets a precedent, it really sets an important precedent for two bodies, for the Senate and for the House. Because what the Senate accepts as an impeachment coming from the House determines not just precedent for the Senate but really precedent for the House in the future as well. If the procedures used in the House to bring this proceeding here to this stage are accepted. If the Senate says, yes, we’ll start calling new witnesses because you didn’t get the job done, and whatever process you use to get it here, then that becomes the new normal. And that’s important in a couple of ways. One is, as we’ve pointed out, the totally unprecedented process that was used in the House did violate all notions of due process. There are precedents going back 150 years in the house ensuring that someone accused in an impeachment hearing in the house has due process rights to be represented by counsel to cross examine witnesses to be able to present evidence.
Patrick Philbin: (06:25)
They didn’t allow the president to do that here and if this body says that’s okay, then that becomes the new normal and they stand up here. The House managers and say, this body would be unfair if this body doesn’t call the witnesses. They talk about fairness. Where was the fairness in that proceeding in the house and Manager Schiff says things would be arbitrary if you don’t do what they say and call the witnesses they want. Well, wasn’t it arbitrary in the House when they wouldn’t allow the President to be represented by counsel, wouldn’t allow the president to call witnesses? There was no precedent in a Presidential impeachment inquiry to have open hearings where the President and his counsel were excluded.
Patrick Philbin: (07:17)
It also would set a precedent to allow a package, a proceeding from the House to come here that the House managers say, well now we need new witnesses. We haven’t done all the work, and it’s witnesses they didn’t even try to get, they didn’t subpoena John Bolton. And they didn’t go through the process. When other witnesses were subpoenaed. When Doctor Copperman, Charlie Copperman went to court, they withdrew the subpoena. And now to say that, well, fairness demands that this body has to do all that work, that sets a new precedent as well and it changes. It would change for all the future the relationship between the House and the Senate and impeachment inquiries. It would mean that the Senate has to become the investigatory body and the principles that they assert, they did a process that wasn’t fair. They did a process that was arbitrary, that arbitrarily denied the President rights. They did a process that wouldn’t allow witnesses and then they came here on the first night.
Patrick Philbin: (08:28)
Remember when we were all here until 2:00 and in very belligerent terms said to the members of this body, you’re on trial. It will be treachery if you don’t do what the House managers say. That’s not right. When it was their errors, when they were arbitrary and they didn’t provide fairness, they can’t project onto this body to try to say that you have to make up for their errors and if you don’t, the fault lies here.
Patrick Philbin: (09:08)
Now they also suggest that it’s not going to take a long time, that they only want a few witnesses, but of course if things are opened up to witnesses and it is going to be fair, it’s not just one side. It’s not just the witnesses that they would want. The president would have to be permitted to have witnesses and with all respect, Mr. Chief Justice, the idea that if a subpoena is sent to a senior advisor to the President and the President determines that he will stand by the principle of immunity that’s been asserted by virtually every president since Nixon did. That’ll just be resolved by the Senate right here. Whether or not that privilege exists by the Chief Justice sitting as presiding officer, that doesn’t make sense. That’s not the way it works.
Patrick Philbin: (10:07)
The Senate, even when the Chief Justice is the presiding officer here, can’t unilaterally decide the privileges of the executive branch. That dispute would have to be resolved in another way and it could involve litigation and it could take a lot of time. So the idea that this will all be done quickly if everyone just does what the House managers say is not realistic. It’s not the way that the process would actually have to play out in accord with the Constitution.
Patrick Philbin: (10:45)
And that has another significant consequence again, affecting this institution as a precedent going forward. Because what it suggests, the new normal that would be created then is kind of an express path for precisely the sort of impeachments that the framers most feared. The framers recognized that impeachment could be done for illegitimate reasons. They recognize that there could be partisan impeachment. And if this is the new normal, this is the very epitome of a partisan impeachment. There was bipartisan opposition to it in the House and it was rushed through with unfair procedures, 78 days total of inquiry. Think about that. In Nixon, there had been investigating committees and there was a special prosecutor long before the House Judiciary Committee started its investigation in Clinton, there was a special council, an independent for the better part of a year before the House Judiciary committee even started hearings. Everything from start to finish in this case from September 24th to the articles of impeachment were considered and the judiciary committee was done in 78 days. In 78 days. And for the 71 of them, the President was entirely locked out.
Patrick Philbin: (12:21)
So the new normal would be slapdash and get it done quickly, unfair procedures in the House to impeach a president, then bring it to the Senate. And then all the real work of investigation and discovery is going to have to take place with that impeachment hanging over the President’s head. And that’s a particular thing that the framers also were concerned about. And I mentioned this the other day. In Federalist number 65, Hamilton warned specifically about what he called, and I’m quoting, “the injury to the innocent from the procrastinated determination of the charges which might be brought against them.” Because he understood that if an impeachment charge from the house wasn’t resolved quickly, if it was hanging over the president’s head, that in itself would be a problem. And that’s why they structured the impeachment process so that the Senate could be able to swiftly determine impeachments that were brought. That’s also suggests, that’s why there is a system for having thorough investigation, thorough process done in the House. And Hamilton explained the delay after the impeachment would afford an opportunity for intrigue and corruption. And it would also be, as he put it, “a detriment to the state from the prolonged inaction of men whose firm and faithful execution of their duty might have exposed them to the persecution of an intemperate or designing majority in the House of Representatives.”
Patrick Philbin: (14:06)
And that’s what’s happened here. And if you create a system now that makes the new normal, a half-baked, slapdash process in the House, just get the impeachment done and get it over to the Senate and then once the President’s impeached and you have the head of the executive branch, the leaders of the free world having something like that hanging over his head, then we’ll slow everything down and then we’ll start doing the investigation and just drag it out. That’s all part of what makes this even more political, especially in an election year. It’s not the process that the framers in mind and it’s not something the Senate should condone in this case.
Patrick Philbin: (14:59)
The Senate is not here to do the investigatory work that the House didn’t do, where there’s been a process that denied all due process, that produced a record that can’t be relied upon. The reaction from this body should be to reject the articles of impeachment, not to condone and put its imprimatur on the way the proceedings were handled in the House, and not to prolong matters further by trying to redo work that the House failed to do by not seeking evidence and not doing a fair and legitimate process to bring the articles of impeachment here. Thank you.
Key Moment 3
Jay Sekulow: (00:00)
Chief Justice, members of the Senate, over a seven-day period you did hear evidence. You heard evidence from 13 different witnesses, 192 video clips, and as my colleague, the Deputy White House Counsel said, over 28 thousand pages of documents. You heard testimony from Gordon Sondland, he’s the United States Ambassador to the European Union. You heard that testimony. He testified in the House proceedings. I did not have an opportunity to cross-examine him. If we get witnesses, I have to have that opportunity.
Jay Sekulow: (00:43)
William Taylor, former Acting United States Ambassador of the Ukraine testified, you heard his testimony. We didn’t get the opportunity to cross-examine him, he would be called. Tim Morrison, the former Senior Director for Europe and Russia of the National Security Council. You saw his testimony, they put it up. We didn’t get an opportunity, we did not have an opportunity to cross-examine him.
Jay Sekulow: (01:11)
Jennifer Williams, Special Advisor on Europe and Russia for Vice President Mike Pence. You saw her testimony, they put it up. I did not have the opportunity to cross-examine her. If we call witnesses, we would have to have that opportunity. David Holmes, the Political Counselor at the United States Embassy in Ukraine, saw testimony from him. We’re not able to cross-examine. If he’s called or if we get witnesses, we will call the Ambassador and we will cross-examine.
Jay Sekulow: (01:44)
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. You saw his testimony, appeared before the House. We didn’t have the opportunity to cross-examine him. If we call witnesses, we will of course have that right to cross-examine him. Fiona Hill, she is the former Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council. She testified before the House. If we have witnesses, we have the opportunity to call her then and cross-examine Fiona Hill.
Jay Sekulow: (02:14)
Kurt Volker, former United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations. They called him. We did not have the opportunity to cross-examine. If we’re calling witnesses, these are witnesses you’ve heard from, we would have the right to call witnesses and to cross-examine Mr. Volker. George Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. You saw his testimony, they called him. If we have witnesses, we have the right to call that witness and to cross-examine Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent.
Jay Sekulow: (02:53)
The former United States Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador Yovanovitch, they called her. You saw that testimony. We didn’t have the opportunity to cross-examine her. If we have witnesses, we would have to call her. Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. They called her. You saw her witness testimony right here. We did not have the opportunity to cross-examine her. We would have to be given that opportunity.
Jay Sekulow: (03:27)
These are witnesses against the president. Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Again, same thing. David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He was called by the House, you saw his testimony. We never had the opportunity to cross-examine. If we have witnesses, we have to have the opportunity to do that.
Jay Sekulow: (03:54)
There were other witnesses that were called or you saw their testimony or heard their testimony or it was referred to, Catherine Croft, the Special Advisor for Ukraine Negotiations Department of the State, and Mark Sandy, the Deputy Associate Director for National Security programs, and Christopher Anderson, Special Advisor for Ukraine Negotiation, Department of State. You’ve heard their testimony referred to, we did not have the opportunity to cross-examine them.
Jay Sekulow: (04:20)
So this isn’t going to happen if witnesses are called in a week. Now, that’s just the witnesses that had been produced that you have seen by the House managers. You are being called upon to make consequential constitutional decisions. Consequential decisions for our Constitution.
Jay Sekulow: (04:48)
We talk about the burden of proof. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again 31 times. The manager said they proved their case 29 times, they said the evidence was overwhelming. Manager Nadler, he didn’t only say it was overwhelming in his view, on page 739 of the Congressional Record, he’s very clear. He says, “Not only is it strong, there is no doubt.” That’s what he says. The one thing that the House managers think the president counsel has got right is quoting me,” talking about Mr. Nadler, Manager Nadler, “as saying, ‘Beyond any doubt? It is indeed beyond any doubt.'”
Jay Sekulow: (05:31)
Now, of course, we think that they have not proven their case by any stretch of any proper constitutional analysis. In the Clinton investigation, they talk about witnesses being called, but the three witnesses that were called had either testified before the grand jury or before the House committees, so weren’t new witnesses. What Mr. Philbin said is correct. Under our constitutional design, they’re supposed to investigate, you’re to deliberate.
Jay Sekulow: (06:00)
But what they’re asking you to is now become the investigative agency, the investigative body. If they needed all this additional evidence, which they said they don’t need, and by the way, not only did they say it in the record, this is House Manager Nadler, quote, this is when he was on CNN back on the 15th of this month, “We brought the articles of impeachment because despite the fact that we didn’t hear from many witnesses we could have heard from, we heard from enough witnesses to prove the case beyond any doubt at all.”
Jay Sekulow: (06:35)
The same could be said of Representative Lofgren, “You know we have evidence proving the case through, for example, at the meeting when Bolton said it was a drug deal, well we have fact witnesses. Hill was there, Vindman was there, Sondland was there.” So this idea that they haven’t had witnesses, that’s the smoke screen. You’ve heard from a lot of witnesses. The problem with the case, the problem with their position is, even with all of those witnesses, it doesn’t prove up an impeachable offense. The articles fail.
Jay Sekulow: (07:11)
I think it’s very dangerous. If the House runs up, which they did, articles of impeachment quickly, so quickly that they are clamoring for evidence despite the fact that they put all of this evidence forward. They got their wish of an impeachment by Christmas, that was the goal. But now they want you to do the work they failed to do.
Jay Sekulow: (07:43)
But as I said, time and time again, we heard, “You didn’t hear from witnesses, you didn’t hear from many witnesses yet.” Mr. Schiff modified that a little bit today. A little bit. You heard from a lot of witnesses, but if we go down the road of witnesses, this is not a one-week process. Remember I talked about waving the wand and Ukraine corruption and Ukraine was gone. You’re not going to have a witness wand here where we just say, “Okay, you’ve got a week to do this and get it done.” There’s no way that would be proper under due process.
Jay Sekulow: (08:16)
But due process is supposed to be for the person accused and they are turning it on its head. They brought the articles before you. They’re the ones that rushed the case up and then held it before you could actually start the proceedings. But they’re the ones that passed the articles before Christmas.
Jay Sekulow: (08:43)
We talked a lot about the court system and the fact that they were seeking witnesses and when it got close to actually having a court proceeding they decided that they didn’t want to have that witness go through that proceeding. They actually withdrew the subpoena to move the case out.
Jay Sekulow: (08:59)
How many constitutional challenges will we have in this body because they placed a burden on you that they wouldn’t take themself in putting their case forward? If we look at our constitutional framework and our constitutional structure, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.
Jay Sekulow: (09:22)
Now, our opposition to this motion is rather straightforward, as I’ve said. We came here ready to try the case on the record that they presented. The record that the managers told us was overwhelming and complete. Mr. Schiff went through every sentence of the articles of impeachment just a few days ago and said, “Proved, proved, proved.” The problem is what it proved, proved, proved is not an impeachable offense.
Jay Sekulow: (09:59)
You could have witnesses that prove a lot of things, but if there’s not a violation of a law, if it doesn’t meet the constitutional required process, the constitutional required substantive issues of do these allegations rise to the level sufficient for a removal of office for a duly elected President of the United States? It doesn’t. And especially so, especially so when we are in an election year.
Jay Sekulow: (10:30)
I am not going to take the time, your time, which is precious, to go over each and every allegation about witnesses that I could. I could do it. I could stand here for a long time. I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to say this. They created the record. Do not allow them to penalize the country and the Constitution because they failed to do their job.
Jay Sekulow: (11:03)
With that, Mr. Chief Justice, we yield our time.
Key Moment 4
Adam Schiff: (00:03)
Senators, before we yield to counsel with the president, I’d like to take a moment by talking about what I think is at stake here. A no vote on the question before you will have long-lasting and harmful consequences long after this impeachment trial is over.
Adam Schiff: (00:23)
We agree with the president’s counsel on this much. This will set a new precedent. This will be cited in impeachment trials from this point to the end of history. You can bet in every impeachment that follows, whether it is a presidential impeachment or the impeachment of a judge, if that judge or president believes that it is to his or her advantage that there shall be a trial with no witnesses, they will cite the case of Donald J. Trump. They will make the argument that you can adjudicate the guilt or innocence of the party who is accused without hearing from a single witness, without reviewing a single document. I would submit that will be a very dangerous and long-lasting precedent that we will all have to live with.
Adam Schiff: (01:11)
President Trump’s wholesale obstruction of Congress strikes at the heart of our Constitution and democratic system of separation of powers. Make no mistake, the president’s actions in this impeachment inquiry constitute an attack on congressional oversight, on the coequal nature of this branch of government. Not just on the House, but on the Senate’s ability as well to conduct its oversight, to serve as a check and balance on this president and every president that follows.
Adam Schiff: (01:42)
If the Senate allows President Trump’s obstruction to stand, it effectively nullifies the impeachment power. It will allow future presidents to decide whether they want their misconduct to be investigated or not, whether they would like to participate in an impeachment investigation or not. That is a power of the Congress. That is not a power of the president. By permitting a categorical obstruction, it turns the impeachment power against itself.
Adam Schiff: (02:14)
How do we respond to this unprecedented obstruction will shape future debates between our branches of government and the executive forever. And it’s not just impeachment. The ability of Congress to conduct meaningful and probing oversight, oversight that by its nature is intended to be a check and balance on the awesome powers of the executive branch hinges on our willingness to call witnesses and compel documents that President Trump is hiding with no valid justification, no precedential support.
Adam Schiff: (02:50)
If we tell the president, effectively, “You can act corruptly. You can abuse the powers of your office to coerce a foreign government to helping you cheat in an election by withholding military aid, and when you’re caught, you can further abuse your powers by concealing the evidence of your wrongdoing,” the president becomes unaccountable to anyone. Our government is no longer a government with three coequal branches. The president becomes above the law. This is of course the opposite of what the Framers intended. They purposely entrusted the power of impeachment to the legislative branch so that it may protect the American people from a president who believes that he can do whatever he wants.
Adam Schiff: (03:49)
So we must consider how our actions will reverberate for decades to come, and the impact they will have on the functioning of our democracy. As we consider this critical decision, it’s important to remember that no matter what you decide to do here, whether you decide to hear witnesses and relevant testimony, the facts will come out in the end. Even over the course of this trial, we have seen so many additional facts come to light. The facts will come out. In all of their horror, they will come out. There are more court documents and deadlines under the Freedom of Information Act. Witnesses will tell their stories in future congressional hearings, in books, and in the media. This week has made that abundantly clear. The documents the President is hiding will come out. The witnesses the President is concealing will tell their stories.
Adam Schiff: (04:59)
And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance, when we could consider its relevance and importance in making this most serious decision. What answer shall we give if we do not pursue the truth now, if we allow it to remain hidden until it is too late to consider, on the profound issue of the President’s innocent or guilt?
Adam Schiff: (05:31)
What we are asking you to do on behalf of the American people is simple. Use your sole power to try impeachment by holding a fair trial. Get the documents they refuse to provide to the House. Hear the witnesses they refuse to make available to the House, just as this body has done in every single impeachment trial until now. Let the American people know that you understand they deserve the truth. Let them know you still care about the truth, that the truth still matters. Though much divides us, on this we should agree. A trial, stripped of all its trappings, should be a search for the truth, and that requires witnesses and testimony.
Adam Schiff: (06:33)
Now, you may have seen just this afternoon the President’s former chief of staff, General Kelly, said, “A Senate trial without witnesses is a job only half done.” A trial without witnesses is only half a trial. Well, I have to say, I can’t agree. A trial without witnesses is no trial at all. You either have a trial or you don’t. If you’re going to have a real trial, you need to hear from the people who have firsthand information. Now, we presented some of them to you, but you know as well as we there are others that you should hear from.
Adam Schiff: (07:26)
But let me close this portion with words, I think, more powerful than General Kelly’s. They come from John Adams, who in 1776 wrote, “Together with the right to vote, those who wrote our Constitution considered the right to trial by jury the heart and lungs, the mainspring and the center wheel of our liberties, without which the body must die, the watch must run down, the government must become arbitrary.”
Adam Schiff: (08:03)
Now, what does that mean? Without a fair trial, the government must become arbitrary. Now, of course, he’s talking about the right of an average citizen to a trial by jury. Well, if in courtrooms all across America, when someone is tried, but they’re a person of influence and power, they could declare at the beginning of the trial, “If the government’s case is so good, let them prove it without witnesses,” if people of power and influence can insist to the judge that the House, that the prosecutors, that the government, that the people must prove their case without witnesses or documents, a right reserved only for the powerful, because you know, only Donald Trump, only Donald Trump of any defendant in America can insist on a trial with no witnesses, if that should be true in courts throughout the land, then as Adams wrote, the government becomes arbitrary, because whether you have a fair trial or no trial at all depends on whether you’re a person of power and influence like Donald J. Trump.
Adam Schiff: (09:31)
The body will die, the clock will run down, and our government becomes arbitrary. The importance of a fair trial here is not less than in every courtroom in America. It is greater than in any courtroom in America, because we set the example for America. I said at the outset, and I’ll repeat again. Your decision on guilt or innocence is important, but it’s not the most important decision. If we have a fair trial, however that trial turns out, whatever your verdict may be, at least we can agree we had a fair trial. At least we can agree that the House had a fair opportunity to present its case. At least we can agree that the President had a fair opportunity to present their case. If we have a fair trial. We can disagree about the verdict, but we can all agree that the system worked as it was intended, we had a fair trial, and we reached a decision.
Adam Schiff: (10:37)
Rob this country of a fair trial and there can be no representation that the verdict has any meaning. How could it if the result is baked in by the process? Assure the American people, whatever the result may be, that at least they got a fair shake. There’s a reason why the American people want to hear from witnesses, and it’s not just about curiosity. It’s because they recognize that in every courtroom in America, that’s just what happens, and if it doesn’t happen here, the government has become arbitrary. There is one person who is entitled to a different standard, and that’s the president of the United States. That is the last thing the Founders intended. We reserve the balance of our time.
Speaker 2: (11:30)
Thank you, Mr. Manager.
Key Moment 5
Zoe Lofgren: (00:00)
Mr. Chief Justice and Senators, it’s not just about hearing from witnesses. You need documents. The documents don’t lie. There are specific documents relevant to this impeachment trial in the custody of the White House, OMB, DOD and the State Department, and the president has hidden them from us. I’m not going to go through each category again in detail, but here are some observations.
Zoe Lofgren: (00:30)
This is, of course, an impeachment case against the President of the United States. Nothing could be more important. And the most important documents, documents that go directly to who knew what when are being held by the executive branch. Many of these records are at the white House. The White House has records about the phone calls with President Zelensky about scheduling an Oval Office meeting with President Zelensky about the president’s decision to hold security assistance about communications among his top aides, about concerns raised by public officials with legal counsel.
Zoe Lofgren: (01:12)
We’ve heard about Ambassador Bolton’s handwritten notes and book manuscript, and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman’s presidential policy memorandum. We know of reports about a number of emails in early August. Trying to create, after the fact, justifications for the hold. But we haven’t seen any of them. They’re at the White House being hidden by the president. I think it’s a coverup.
Zoe Lofgren: (01:40)
Documents at the State Department. Records about the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch. About Mr. Giuliani’s efforts for the president. About concerns raised about the hold. About the Ukrainian reaction to the hold and when exactly they learned about it. About negotiations with the Ukrainians for an Oval Office meeting. We know of Ambassador Taylor’s first person cable and notes, and Mr. Kent’s memos to file. We know about Mr. Sondland’s emails with Pompeo, and Brechbuhl, and Mulvaney, and Perry. But we haven’t seen them. They’re sitting at the State Department.
Zoe Lofgren: (02:20)
DOD and OMB also have records. Records about President Trump’s hold on military aid to Ukraine. About the justification for the hold. About hiding the hold from Congress. And trying to justify the hold after the fact. And about why the hold was lifted, but we haven’t seen them. They’re at DOD and OMB.
Zoe Lofgren: (02:43)
Why haven’t we seen them? Because the president directed all of his agencies not to produce them. This trial should not reward the president’s really unprecedented obstruction by allowing him to control what evidence you see and what will remain hidden. You should ask for these documents on behalf of the American people and you should ask for these documents to get the truth yourself.
Zoe Lofgren: (03:12)
Now, let’s come back to the issue of delay. Since the president’s lawyers have suggested that having witnesses and documents would make this trial take too long. “There will be lengthy court battles,” they say. The president might even invoke executive privilege for the very first time in this entire impeachment process. “It would be better,” we’re told, to skip straight to the final verdict. To break from centuries of precedent and end this trial without hearing from a single witness. Without reviewing a single document that the president ordered hidden.
Zoe Lofgren: (03:48)
Respectfully, that shouldn’t happen. House managers aren’t interested in delaying these proceedings. We’re interested in the full truth. In a trial that is fair to the parties and to the American people. And the facts that the president’s council agrees are so critical to this trial. It’s why we said we won’t go to court. We’ll follow all the rulings of the Chief Justice. We can get the witness depositions done in a week. In fact, I know we can because if you, the senators, order it, that’s the law. You have the sole power to try impeachments.
Zoe Lofgren: (04:27)
If questions or objections come up, including objections based on executive privilege, the Senate itself and the Chief Justice in the first instance can resolve them. We aren’t suggesting that the president waive executive privilege. We simply suggest that the Chief Justice can resolve issues related to any assertion of executive privilege. As the Supreme court recognized in the case of Judge Walter Nixon, judges will stay out of disputes over how the Senate exercises its sole power to try impeachments.
Zoe Lofgren: (05:03)
That ensures there will be no unnecessary delay. And it’s why we propose we suspend the trial for one week and that during that time you go back to business as usual. While the trial is suspended, we’ll take witness depositions, review the documents that are provided at your direction. The four witnesses you should hear from are readily available. Ambassador Bolton has already said he will appear. We can and would move quickly to depose these witnesses within a week of the issuance of subpoenas. The documents too are ready to be produced. We’re ready to review them quickly and to present additional evidence.
Zoe Lofgren: (05:42)
Meanwhile, the Senate can continue going about its important legislative work as it did during the depositions in the Clinton impeachment trial. The president’s opposition to this suggestion says a lot. The president is the architect of the very delay he warns against. He could easily avoid it. He could move things along. He could stop trying to silence witnesses and hide evidence.
Zoe Lofgren: (06:10)
I think he’s afraid the truth will come out. He hopes his threats of continued delay, however unjustified, will cause you to throw up your hands and give up on a fair trial. Please don’t give up. This is too important for our democracy. A decision to forgo witnesses and documents at this trial would be a big departure from Senate precedent.
Zoe Lofgren: (06:37)
When the Senate investigated Watergate, it heard from the highest White House officials. That happened because a bipartisan majority of the Senate insisted. We got to the truth then because the Senate came together and put a fair proceeding above party loyalty. We should all want the truth. And so we ask you, do it again. That you put aside any politics, party loyalty, belief in your president, which we understand and sympathize with. But subpoena the documents and the witnesses necessary to make this a fair trial. To hear and see the evidence you need to impartially administer justice.
Zoe Lofgren: (07:22)
Now, there’s been a lot of discussion of executive privilege during this trial. Even if the president asserts executive privilege, something he has not yet done, it wouldn’t harm the president’s legal rights or cause undue delay. And here’s why. Let’s focus on John Bolton since this week’s revelations confirmed the importance of his testimony.
Zoe Lofgren: (07:45)
First, as a private citizen, John Bolton is fully protected by the First Amendment if he wants to testify. There is no basis for imposing prior restraint for censoring him just because some of his testimony could include conversations with the president. That’s commonplace. As long as his testimony isn’t classified, it is shielded by the Free Speech Clause by the First Amendment. Ambassador Bolton has written a book. It’s inconceivable that he is forbidden from telling the United States Senate, sitting as a high court of impeachment, information that shortly will be in print.
Zoe Lofgren: (08:27)
If the president did attempt to invoke executive privilege, he would fail. It’s true for two separate reasons. First, claims of executive privilege always involve a balancing of interests. The Supreme Court confirmed in US v. Nixon, the Nixon tapes case, that executive privilege can be overcome by a need for evidence in a criminal trial. That is even more true here in an impeachment trial of the President of the United States, which is probably the most important interest under the Constitution. It would certainly outweigh any claim of privilege.
Zoe Lofgren: (09:07)
Precedent confirms the point. To name just a few, national security advisors for President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski; President Clinton, Samuel Berger; President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice; and President Obama, Susan Rice testified in congressional investigations. These advisors discussed their communications with top government officials, including the presidents they served. There is no reason why all these officials could testify in the normal course of events and hearings. But Ambassador Bolton, a former official, couldn’t testify in the most important trial there could possibly be.
Zoe Lofgren: (09:52)
The second reason is the president waived any claim of executive privilege about Ambassador Bolton’s testimony. All 17 witnesses testified in the House about these matters without any assertion of privilege by the president. President Trump, as well as his lawyers, and senior officials have publicly discussed and tweeted about these issues at some length. The president has also directly denied reports about what Ambassador Bolton will say in his forthcoming book.
Zoe Lofgren: (10:24)
Under these circumstances, the president cannot be allowed to tell his version of a story to the public while using executive privilege to silence a key witness who would contradict him. You shouldn’t let the president escape responsibility. Only to later see clearly what happened in Ambassador Bolton’s book.
Zoe Lofgren: (10:47)
There are no national security risks here. The president has declassified the two phone calls with President Zelensky. All 17 witnesses testified about the president’s conduct regarding Ukraine. We aren’t interested in asking you about anything other than Ukraine. That’s simply a bogus argument.
Zoe Lofgren: (11:07)
The Constitution uses the word “sole power” only twice. First, when it gives the House sole power to impeach. And second, Article I, Section 3, where it gives the Senate sole power to try impeachments. And here’s what it says: The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.
Zoe Lofgren: (11:39)
Now, I think that provision in the Constitution means something. It’s up to the Senate to decide how to try this impeachment. With fairness, with witnesses, and documents. Privileges asserted can be decided using the process that you devise. That’s not unconstitutional. It’s what the Constitution provides. You have the power, you decide. Please decide for a fair trial that will yield the truth and serve our Constitution and the American people. I yield now to Manager Schiff.
Key Moment 6
Jason Crow: (00:00)
Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate, Council for the President, last week the House Managers argued for the testimony of four witnesses, Ambassador John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair, and Michael Duffy. And during the presentations from both parties, it has become abundantly clear why the direct testimony from those witnesses is so critical and new evidence continues to underscore that importance.
Jason Crow: (00:26)
Let’s start with John Bolton. The President’s counsel has repeatedly stated that the President didn’t personally tell any of our witnesses that he linked the military aid to the investigations.
John Bolton: (00:41)
There was simply no evidence anywhere that President Trump ever linked security assistance to any investigations. Most of the Democrats’ witnesses have never spoken to the President at all, let alone about Ukraine security assistance. Not a single witness testified that the President himself, said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a Presidential meeting or anything else.
Jason Crow: (01:13)
Simply not true, as the testimony of Ambassador Sondland and the admission of Mick Mulvaney make very clear. The evidence before you proves that the President not only linked the aid to the investigations, he also conditioned to both the White House meeting and the aid on Ukraine’s announcement of the investigations. But if you want more, a witness to acknowledge that the President told them directly that the aid was linked, a witness in front of you, then you have the power to ask for it. There’s a slide. I mentioned this portion of ambassador’s manuscript in the beginning and Manager Schiff referenced it as well. But he says directly that the President told him this.
Jason Crow: (01:58)
Now, the President has publicly lashed out, in recent days, at Ambassador Bolton. He says what Ambassador Bolton is saying is nasty and untrue. But denials in 280 characters is not the same as testimony under oath. We know that. Let’s put Ambassador Bolton under oath and ask him point blank, did the President use $391 million of taxpayer money, military aid intended for an ally at war, to pressure Ukraine to investigate his 2020 opponent? The stakes are too high not to.
Jason Crow: (02:37)
I’d like to briefly walk you through why Ambassador Bolton’s testimony is essential to ensuring a fair trial, also, addressing some of the questions that you’ve asked in the past two days. First, turning back to Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript. The President’s counsel has said, no scheme existed. And the President’s counsel has cited repeated denials, public denials of President Trump’s inner circle about Bolton’s allegations, none of them, of course, under oath. And as we know from the testimony of Ambassador Bolton, how important being sworn in really is. But Ambassador Bolton, as the top national security aid, has direct insight into the President’s inner circle and he is willing to testify under oath whether “everyone was in the loop,” as he testified before. Ambassador Bolton reportedly knows, “new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement,” including Secretary Pompeo in Mr. Mulvaney’s knowledge of this scheme.
Jason Crow: (03:43)
Second, Ambassador Bolton has direct knowledge of key events outside of the July 25th call, that confirmed the President’s scheme. Remember, this is exactly the type of direct evidence the President’s counsel say doesn’t exist. That’s partly because they would like you to believe that the July 25th call makes up all of the evidence of our case. The call, of course, is just a part of the large body of evidence that you’ve heard about the past week, but it is a key part. But Ambassador Bolton has critical insight into the President’s misconduct outside of this call and you should hear it. Take for example, the July 10th meeting with US and Ukrainian officials at the White House. Dr. Hill testified during the meeting that Ambassador Sondland said that he had a deal with Mr. Mulvaney to schedule a White House meeting if the Ukrainians did the investigations.
Jason Crow: (04:39)
According to Dr. Hill, when Ambassador Bolton learned this, he told her to go back to the NSC’s legal advisor, John Eisenberg and tell him, “I am not a part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this.” We already have corroboration of Dr. Hill’s testimony from other witnesses like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. And we have new corroboration from Ukraine too. Oleksandr Danylyuk, President’s Zelensky’s former National Security Advisor, recently confirmed in an interview that the “roadmap for US/Ukraine relations should have been the substance, but the investigations were raised.” Danylyuk also explained why this was so problematic. He raised concerns that being, “dragged into this internal process would be really bad for the country, and also if there’s something that violates US law, that’s up to the US to handle.” Danylyuk elaborated that there were serious things to discuss at the meeting, but if instead, Ukraine was being dragged into “internal politics using our President who is fresh on the job in experience, that could just destroy everything.”
Jason Crow: (05:51)
Another key defense raised by the President has been that Ukraine felt no pressure, that these investigations are entirely proper, while here’s Ukraine saying the opposite of that. You know what else Danylyuk said in the interview? “It was definitely John who I trusted,” talking about Ambassador Bolton. So if you want to know whether Ukrainians felt pressured, call John Bolton as a witness. He was trusted by Ukraine and he was there for these key meetings. And he was so concerned that he characterized the scheme as a drug deal and urge Dr. Hill and others to report their concerns to NSC legal counsel, who reports to White House Counsel, Cipollone. So let’s ask Ambassador Bolton these questions directly, under oath. The President says Ukraine felt no pressure, that’s solicited and these investigations wasn’t improper. Is that true? If it is true, why is Ukraine publicly saying that the talk of investigations could destroy everything? And if the President’s administration thought this was okay, why did you use the words drug deal? We should ask him that. Why did you urge your staff to report concerns to lawyers? These are all questions that we can get the answers to.
Jason Crow: (07:13)
Third, the President has suggested the house managers have not presented any direct evidence about Mr. Giuliani’s role in the scheme.
Speaker 3: (07:22)
In fact, it appears the House Committee wasn’t particularly interested in presenting you with any direct evidence of what Mayor Giuliani did or why he did it. Instead, they ask you to rely on hearsay, speculation and assumption, evidence that would be inadmissible in any court.
Jason Crow: (07:43)
Well, once again, that’s simply not true. But if you want more evidence, we know that Ambassador Bolton has direct evidence of Mr. Giuliani’s role regarding Ukraine and expressed concerns about it. The President has suggested that Mr. Giuliani wasn’t doing anything in proper and he was not involved in conducting policy. By their own admission, they said he wasn’t doing policy. So let’s ask John Bolton what Giuliani was doing and whether the investigations were politically motivated, or part of our foreign policy. He would know. Dr. Hill testified that Ambassador Bolton said Mr. Giuliani was ” a hand grenade”, which she explained referred to “all of the statements that Mr. Giuliani was making publicly, that the investigations that he was promoting, that the storyline he was promoting, the narrative he was promoting, was going to backfire.” The narrative Mr. Giuliani was promoting, of course, was asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden.
Jason Crow: (08:47)
Dr. Hill also testified that Ambassador Bolton was so concerned, he told Dr. Hill and other members of the NSC’s staff, “Nobody should be meeting with Giuliani,” and that was “closely monitoring what Mr. Giuliani was doing and the messaging that he was sending out.” So let’s ask Ambassador Bolton, if Mr. Giuliani wasn’t doing anything wrong, why were you so concerned about his behavior and that you directed your staff to have no part in this? If Mr. Giuliani wasn’t trying to dig up dirt on Biden, why did you seem to think that he could “blow everything up?”
Jason Crow: (09:30)
Fourth, the President has said that there was nothing wrong with the July 25th call, but once again, the evidence suggests that Ambassador Bolton would testify that the opposite is true. According to witness testimony, ambassador Bolton expressed concerns even before the call that it would be “a disaster,” because he thought there would be “talk of investigations or worse.” Now, if the President would have you believe that the call was perfect, as he’s repeatedly stated, why don’t we find out? Because all of the evidence before you suggest otherwise. And Ukraine knows this is not the case, that the call was not perfect. Danylyuk is clear on this point. He said, “One thing I can tell you that was clear from this July 25th call, is that the issue of the investigations is an issue of concern for Trump. It was clear.” But if there’s still any uncertainty, we must ask Ambassador Bolton, if there was no scheme, how did you know President Trump would raise investigations on the call? What made you so concerned a call would be a disaster?
Jason Crow: (10:43)
Fifth, the President’s main defense, once again is that he withheld the military aid for a legitimate reason, But the evidence doesn’t support that. We’ve heard a lot. The evidence doesn’t support that. Witness testimony, emails and other documents confirm that Ambassador Bolton and his subordinates on many occasions, including through in-person meetings with the President himself, urge the President that there was no legitimate reason to withhold the aid. But if you’re not sure, if you think this could in any way have been about a legitimate policy reason, let’s ask the national security advisor who was in charge of that. If this was simply a policy dispute, as the President argues, let’s ask John Bolton whether that’s true.
Jason Crow: (11:29)
The President also argues that you cannot evaluate the President’s subjective intent, that the President can use his power any way he feels is appropriate. That’s of course, not the case. Whether his intent was corrupt is a central part of this case, as it is in nearly every criminal case in the country. As a backup argument however, the President claims that we want you to read the President’s mind.
Jay Sekulow: (11:57)
This entire impeachment process is about the House Manager’s insistence that they are able to read everybody’s thoughts, they can read everybody’s intention, they think you can read minds.
Patrick Philbin: (12:16)
They wanted to tell you what President Trump thought.
Jason Crow: (12:22)
Juries are routinely asked to determine the defendant’s state of mind. That’s central to almost every criminal case in the country and it’s disingenuous for the President’s counsel to argue that the defendant’s state of mind is unknowable, that it requires a mind reader, or is anything but the most common element of proof of any crime, constitutional or otherwise. But if you want more information, let’s ask the President whether John Bolton can help fill in any gaps about his state of mind.
President Trump: (12:53)
If you think about it, John, he knows some of my thoughts, he knows what I think about leaders.
Jason Crow: (12:58)
The case is about the President’s conduct and Ukraine. John Bolton knows a lot about that. Let’s hear from him. A fair trial demands it. And it’s more than just ensuring a fair trial, it’s about remembering that in America, truth matters. As Mr. Bolton said on January 30th, “The idea that somehow testifying to what you think is true is destructive to the system of government we have, I think is very nearly the reverse. The exact reverse of the truth.”
Jason Crow: (13:40)
Now, as Manager Schiff started this out, the truth continues to come out. Again, in an article, today, more information. The truth will come out and it’s continuing to. The question here before this body is, what do you want your place in history to be? Do you want your place in history to be, let’s hear the truth, or that we don’t want to hear it?
Key Moment 7
Hakeem Jeffries: (00:00)
Given our time constraints, we will now summarize the reasons why Mr. Mulvaney, Mr. Duffey and Mr. Blair are all so important. Let’s turn first to Mr. Mulvaney. To begin with, Mr. Mulvaney participated in meetings and discussions with President Trump at every single stage of this scheme. We just talked about motive and intent, well, if you want further insight into the president’s motives or intent, further direct evidence of why he withheld the military aid in the White House meeting, you should call his acting chief of staff who had more access than anyone. Mr. Mulvaney is important because the president’s counsel continues to argue incorrectly that our evidence is just hearsay and speculation.
Hakeem Jeffries: (01:00)
Faced with Ambassador Sondland and Mr. Holmes saying this was all as clear as two plus two equals four, the president says they are just guessing. That is simply not true. The evidence is direct. The evidence is compelling and confirmed by many witnesses, corroborated by text messages, emails and phone records. But if you want more evidence, if you want another firsthand account for why the aid was withheld, for the undisputed quid pro quo, for that White House meeting, let’s just hear from Mick Mulvaney. Over and over again, Ambassador Sondland described to multiple witnesses how Mr. Mulvaney was directly involved in the president’s scheme. Here’s some of that testimony.
Dr. Hill: (02:00)
And so when I came in, Gordon Sondland was basically saying, “Well look, we have a deal here that there will be a meeting. I have a deal here with chief of staff Mulvaney. There will be a meeting if the Ukrainians open up or announce these investigations into 2016 and Burisma.” And I cut it off immediately there. Ambassador Bolton told me that I am not part of whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.
Speaker 3: (02:28)
What did you understand him to mean by, “The drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland were cooking up?”
Dr. Hill: (02:33)
I took it to mean investigations for a meeting.
Speaker 3: (02:38)
Did you go speak to the lawyers?
Dr. Hill: (02:40)
I certainly did.
Adam Schiff: (02:41)
What I want to ask you about is he makes reference in that drug deal to a drug deal cooked up by you and Mulvaney. It’s the reference to Mulvaney that I want to ask you about. You’ve testified that Mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo, of this condition that the Ukrainians had to meet that is announcing these public investigations to get the White House meetings, is that right?
Yeah. A lot of people were aware of it, and-
Adam Schiff: (03:11)
Including Mr. Mulvaney?
Hakeem Jeffries: (03:16)
Remarkably, the president is still denying the facts even as they argue that if it’s true, it’s still not impeachable. But if the president did nothing wrong, if he held up the aid because of so-called corruption or burden sharing reasons, he should want his chief of staff to come testify under oath before this distinguished body and say just that. Why doesn’t he want Mulvaney to appear before the United States Senate? Well, we know the answer, because Mr. Mulvaney will confirm the corrupt shakedown scheme, because Mr. Mulvaney was in the loop. Everyone was in the loop.
Hakeem Jeffries: (04:21)
As Ambassador Sondland summarized in his testimony on July 19, he emailed several top administration officials including Mr. Mulvaney, that President Zelensky was prepared to receive POTUS’s call, and would assure President Trump that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will turn over every stone. Mr. Mulvaney replied, “I asked NSC to set it up for tomorrow.” The above email seems clear. Ambassador Sondland testified that it was clear that he was confirming to Mr. Mulvaney that he had told President Zelensky he had to tell President Trump on that July 25th call that he would announce the investigation, which he explained was a reference to one of the two phony political investigations that president Trump wanted.
Hakeem Jeffries: (05:26)
And Mr. Mulvaney replies that he’ll set up the meeting consistent with the agreement that Sondland explained he’d reach with Mr. Mulvaney to condition a meeting on the investigations. But if there’s any uncertainty, if there’s any lingering questions about what this means, let’s just question Mick Mulvaney under oath. Mr. Mulvaney also matters because we have heard several questions from this distinguished body of senators wanting to understand when or why or how the president ordered the hold on the security aid. As the head of the Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Mulvaney has unique insights into all of these questions, your questions.
Hakeem Jeffries: (06:34)
Remember that email exchange between Mr. Mulvaney and his deputy Rob Blair on June 27? When Mulvaney asked Blair about whether they could implement the hold, and Blair responded that it could be done but that Congress would become unhinged. It wasn’t just Congress, it was the independent government accountability office that determined that the president’s hold violated the law. Well, if the president’s counsel is going to argue without evidence that he withheld the aid as part of US foreign policy, seems to make sense that the Senate should hear directly from Mr. Mulvaney, who has firsthand knowledge of exactly these facts. He said so himself.
Mick Mulvaney: (07:36)
Again, I was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily.
Hakeem Jeffries: (07:43)
Why doesn’t President Trump want Mick Mulvaney to testify? Why? Perhaps here’s why.
Mick Mulvaney: (07:55)
Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money. Now there was a report-
Speaker 7: (08:06)
So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?
Mick Mulvaney: (08:13)
The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate.
Speaker 7: (08:22)
To be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is, funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well.
Mick Mulvaney: (08:32)
We do that all the time with foreign policy. We were holding up money at the same time for the Northern Triangle Countries. We were holding up aid for the Northern Triangle Countries so that they would change their policies on immigration. By the way, and this speaks to an important point, because I heard this yesterday and I can never remember the gentleman who testified. Was it McKinney? Is that his name? I don’t know him. He testified yesterday. And if you believe the news reports, because we’ve not seen any transcripts of this, the only transcript I’ve seen was Sondland testimony this morning. If you read the news reports and you believe them …
Mick Mulvaney: (09:07)
What did McKinney say yesterday? What McKinney said yesterday that he was really upset with the political influence in foreign policy. That was one of the reasons he was so upset about this. And I have news for everybody, get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.
Hakeem Jeffries: (09:25)
Is that what the constitution requires? Get over it. Is that good enough for this body? The world’s greatest deliberative body, get over it. The president’s counsel can try to emphasize Mr. Mulvaney and his attorney’s efforts to walk back this statement, but as you’ve seen with your own eyes, the statement was unequivocal. And even when given the chance in real time on that day, on October 17th, to deny a quid pro quo, he doubled down. “Get over it,” he said. But if you have any questions about what the real answer is, where the truth lies, there’s only one way to find out, let’s all just question Mr. Mulvaney under oath during a Senate trial. After all, counsel said that cross-examination was the greatest vehicle in the history of American jurisprudence ever invented to ascertain the truth, your standard.
Hakeem Jeffries: (10:44)
Finally, I’d like to touch briefly on the importance of Mr. Blair and Mr. Duffey to this case. The president’s lawyers have argued that withholding foreign aid is entirely within his right as commander in chief. That this was a normal, ordinary decision, and that this is all just one big policy disagreement. We have proven exactly the opposite. This can’t be a policy disagreement because the president’s hold actually went against US policy. The hold was undertaken outside of the normal channels by a president who they admit was not conducting policy. The hold was concealed, not only from Congress, but from the president’s own officials responsible for Ukraine policy. And most importantly, the hold violated the law.
Hakeem Jeffries: (11:51)
The president has the right to make policy, but he does not have the right to break the law and coerce an ally into helping him cheat in our free and fair elections. He doesn’t have a right to use hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds as leverage to get political dirt on an American citizen who happens to be his political opponent. But if you remain unsure about all of this, who better to ask than Mr. Blair or Mr. Duffey? They oversaw and executed the process of withholding the aid. They can tell us exactly how unrelated to business as usual this whole shakedown scheme was when it was underway. They can testify about why the aid was withheld, and whether there was any legitimate explanation for withholding it. Some of you have asked that very question.
Hakeem Jeffries: (13:07)
Multiple officials, including Ambassador Sondland, Ambassador Taylor, David Holmes, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, Jennifer Williams and Mark Sandy all testified that they were never given a credible explanation for the hold. So let’s ask Mr. Blair, let’s ask Mr. Duffey if this happens all the time, as Mick Mulvaney suggests. Why at this time, in connection with this scheme, are all of those witnesses left in the dark? Despite the president’s refusal to produce a single document, to produce a shred of information in this impeachment inquiry undertaken in the House, his administration did produce 192 pages of Ukraine related email records and Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, albeit in heavily redacted form.
Hakeem Jeffries: (14:23)
These documents confirm Mr. Duffey’s central role in executing the hold. He’s on nearly every single email released, nearly every single email. Here’s an important email from that production. Just 90 minutes after the July 25th call, Mr. Duffey emailed officials at the Department of Defense that they should hold off on any additional DOD obligations of these funds. Mr. Duffey added that the request was sensitive, and that they should keep this information closely held. The timing is important, because if the aid wasn’t linked to the July 25th call, if it wasn’t related, why the sensitive closely held requests made within two hours of that call? Let’s just ask Mr. Duffey.
Hakeem Jeffries: (15:44)
Mr. Duffey and Mr. Blair can testify about the concerns raised by DOD to the Office of Management and Budget about the illegality of the hold, and why it remained in place even after DOD warned the administration that it would violate the Impoundment Control Act. Now, the president, of course, has disputed this fact. But we have demonstrated that OMB was warned repeatedly by DOD officials of two things. First, continuing to withhold the aid would prevent the Department of Defense from spending the money before the end of the fiscal year. And second, the hold was potentially illegal, as turned out to be the case. By August 9th, DOD told Mr. Duffey directly that DOD, the Department of Defense, could no longer support the Office of Management and Budgets claims that the hold would not preclude timely execution of the aid for Ukraine, our vulnerable ally at war with Russian backed separatists.
Hakeem Jeffries: (17:07)
Yet, as Mr. Duffey reportedly told Ms. McCusker at the Department of Defense on August 30th, there was a clear direction from POTUS to continue the hold, clear direction from the president of the United States to continue the hold. So how did Mr. Duffey understand the clear direction to continue the hold? Why is the president claiming that this wasn’t unlawful when DOD, the Department of Defense, repeatedly warned his administration that it was? Wouldn’t we all like to ask Mr. Duffey these questions?
Hakeem Jeffries: (17:58)
Finally, here’s another reason why we know this was not business as usual. On July 29th, Mr. Duffey, a political appointee with zero relevant experience, abruptly sees responsibility for withholding the aid from Mark Sandy. A career Office of Management and Budget official sees the responsibility from a career official. Mr. Duffey provided no credible explanation for that decision. Mr. Sandy testified that nothing like that had ever happened in his entire governmental career. Let’s think about that. If this is as routine as the president claims, why is a career official saying he’s never seen anything like this happen before? Mr. Duffey knows why, shouldn’t we just take the time to ask him?
Hakeem Jeffries: (19:17)
The American people deserve a fair trial. The constitution deserves a fair trial. The president deserves a fair trial. A fair trial means witnesses. A fair trial means documents. A fair trial means evidence. No one is above the law. I now yield to my distinguished colleague, manager Lofgren.