Partisan Democrats rush to judgment is unjustified by the evidence
By Cong. Michael McCaul
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON DC For the first time in history House Democrats voted Wednesday night to impeach a duly-elected president of the United States without asserting a crime. Instead House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged President Trump with a vague abuse of power" for allegedly conditioning U.S. security assistance to Ukraine on an investigation into former Vice President Joe Bidens son Hunters relationship with a corrupt Ukrainian energy company.
Speaker Pelosi was right when she stated earlier this year:
Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless theres something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan I dont think we should go down that path."
In this case the rushed and deeply flawed inquiry launched by Democrats did not produce the clear evidence or bipartisan support we must require for such an extraordinary measure.
As a former federal prosecutor with the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department I approached this inquiry with the same standards I would have applied to any case. During six weeks of depositions I listened diligently and sought out relevant facts.
However the Democratic majority driven by a political timeline insisted on a rush to judgment with an incomplete factual record. Without interviewing multiple people with firsthand knowledge the Democrats settled for speculation and innuendo.
Ultimately Democrats failed to prove President Trump tied U.S. aid to Ukraine to political investigations.
Heres what we learned instead:
- President Trump placed a temporary hold on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine in mid-July and released it on Sept. 11th without Ukraine ever announcing an investigation into Hunter Biden or allegations of Ukrainian interference in our 2016 presidential election.
- Multiple witnesses provided testimony that the pause was due to President Trumps longstanding concerns about corruption in Ukraine and about other countries not contributing enough to support Ukraines defense.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who campaigned as an anti-corruption reformer made historic progress after his party took over the Ukrainian parliament in August.
- Vice President Mike Pence National Security Adviser John Bolton and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin saw the progress up close and reported their encouraging findings to President Trump in the days before the hold was lifted.
- The Democrats key witness the only one who talked with President Trump about the aid to Ukraine is Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
- Sondland admitted during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that he never knew why the aid was delayed.
- Neither President Trump nor anyone else ever told Sondland that aid was tied to investigations by Ukraine.
- Any opinion Sondland expressed to others about such a connection was only him speculating" he acknowledged.
- President Zelensky and his senior adviser Andriy Yermak the key Ukrainian officials in the Democrat narrative have repeatedly and strongly denied they were ever pressured or given any sense that the temporary hold on U.S. aid was connected to investigation requests. Indeed they were not even aware of the hold until it was publicly reported by the media.
History will judge Democrats for their rush to impeach President Trump without direct evidence in defiance of historic precedent and as a one-sided political probe.
The investigation" was held in the most secret room in the Capitol. Depositions occurred on days lawmakers were out of town.
Democrats denied Republicans basic fairness and did not allow them to call a single witness.
The Trump administration was not allowed to bring executive branch lawyers to the depositions.
In contrast lawyers for Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had the right to attend all depositions and hearings ask questions make objections present evidence and request their own witnesses during impeachment proceedings for those presidents.
Democrats denied those rights to President Trump and weaponized the impeachment process for political gain.
Opposing impeachment does not mean embracing every decision made by the Trump administration in this case. I strongly disagreed with the hold on the security assistance that Congress had appropriated for Ukraine and wrote an urgent letter with the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee a week before the aid was released.
Then and now I believe that unwavering support for Ukraine to counter Russian malign influence is a vital component of U.S. national security.
But the truth is House Democrats began their three-year effort to impeach President Trump the day he was sworn into office. A total of 104 out of 233 current Democrats voted for impeachment before the phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky ever took place.
Our constitutional order demands far more than this to remove a duly-elected president.
Some 63 million Americans voted for President Trump. With an election less than a year away Americans should decide their elected president at the ballot box as our Constitution requires.
Congressman Michael McCaul represents the 10th Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. A past chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee he is currently the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. For more information on Constituent Services Legislative Updates and his work in Washington D.C. follow him on Facebook Twitter Instagram or YouTube.