'Evidence of wrongdoing ... in plain sight': Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries discussed the impeachment inquiry on ABC's "This Week."

October 6, 2019, 12:14 PM

Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said on Sunday that he does not support an impeachment vote in the House right now, but does support proceeding with the impeachment inquiry.

"The evidence of wrongdoing by Donald Trump is hiding in plain sight," said Jeffries on ABC's on "This Week," commenting on the president's actions. "The administration, without reason, rationale or justification, withheld the $391 million in aid from the Ukraine."

Jeffries sat down with Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos moments after ABC News reported exclusively that a second whistleblower has spoken with the inspector general.

PHOTO: Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., talks on the phone after the last votes of the week on Capitol Hill, Sept. 27, 2019.
Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., talks on the phone after the last votes of the week on Capitol Hill, Sept. 27, 2019.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Jeffries argued for the impeachment inquiry by noting Ukraine's vulnerability to Russia. Jeffries pointed out that despite the aid package having both bipartisan support from Congress and support from the Department of Defense, the money was not delivered to the Ukrainian government. Jeffries went on to point out that it was not until after the July 25 phone call between between President Donald Trump and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the aid was received by the Ukrainian government.

After a week that included the White House getting subpoenaed and Trump saying that China -- along with Ukraine -- should investigate the Bidens, Jeffries pointed out that House Democrats are not the only ones concerned about Trump's actions. More than 300 national security professionals have expressed public support for the impeachment inquiry, and both the general council to the CIA and the inspector general to the Intelligence Community -- who are each Trump appointees -- expressed concern over Trump's actions and the whistleblower's complaint.

"The question has to be asked," Jeffries told Stephanopoulos. "If Donald Trump has nothing to hide, why does he continue to hide information, hide documents, hide evidence from the American people?"

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview that Trump is "scared" of the impeachment inquiry because he "knows the argument can be made against him," she said.

When pressed if House Democrats are focusing too much on the impeachment inquiry rather than the American people, Jeffries said House Democrats are focusing on both.

"We will not be distracted by our constitutional responsibility," said Jeffries, promising that House Democrats are also focused on passing bills and not just the impeachment inquiry. "That will proceed on a separate track."

While the impeachment inquiry has been underway for the last three weeks, Democrats have simultaneously been introducing and passing bills that deal with issues such as health care, gun control and infrastructure. In late September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats held a press conference for the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which is legislation that is meant to lower drug prices for all Americans.

This coming week, though the House is in recess, State Department officials are set to appear before the House Intelligence Committee. According to congressional sources, Marie Yovanovitch, the former Ukraine ambassador, and the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland are expected to appear before lawmakers.

Jeffries urged that House Democrats will continue following the facts as the impeachment inquiry continues, telling Stephanopoulos, "this is as serious as it gets."

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