Transcript for House Intelligence Committee releases impeachment report
Other great work of the great. And laid colleague of mine Elijah Cummings we continue to be inspired. By his legacy. And guided by thoughts of his integrity and the great moral clarity that he always showed in this work. I just wanna thank my colleague said chairman angle sure when move a woman Maloney for there are a tremendous work as well. This report chronicles a scheme by the president I'd states to co worsen ally. Ukraine. That is at war with an adversary Russia. Into doing the pleasant of the president's political dirty work. It involves a scheme in which Donald Trump. Withheld official acts a White House meeting as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military assistance. In order to compel that power to deliver two investigations. That he believed would assist his reelection campaign. And I want to underscore the first of all just how important that White House meeting was to Ukraine. Ukraine has a new reformer as its president to a presidential and ski. A meeting with the the most important patron of Ukraine. The president I'd states in the Oval Office carries enormous significance of both. To the people of Ukraine but as equally important. To Russia. That the United States has Ukraine's back in its conflict with a nation which invaded its territory. The military assistance is also absolutely essential. As presents a Lynn ski goes into negotiations with Latimer prudent the fact that the United States. Is providing substantial. Military assistance approved on a bipartisan basis by congress is enormously important. The withholding of that aid even for a period of time. Since a disastrous message to friend and foe alike that the United States. Does not have the back of its ally. So these were things that Ukraine desperately wanted to and needed. At the same time there was something president trump desperately wanted them believe that he needed and that was. An investigation that would damage the rival that he feared apparently the most Joseph Biden. As well as they eat investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine. Not Russia that interfered and our last election now that. Conspiracy theory. Which is often summarized are characterized. By the term crowd strike. That conspiracy theory is a Russian narrative. That is a conspiracy theory put out promulgate did by Vladimir Putin's. To deflect attention away from Russia's interference on our own election and to try to drive a wedge between the United States and the nation of Ukraine's. So that's what the present one of these two sham investigations one into. Joseph Biden. Also debunks and discredited. That that sham investigative theory but also into this idea that Ukraine interfered and our election not Russia. And he was willing to sacrifice. The national security of the United States by withholding military aid and diplomatic recognition of the form of that White House meeting. In order to get what he wanted. That scheme however was discovered. Because among other things a courageous person step Fordham blew the whistle. But also because congress announced that it would investigate the matter. Once we began our investigation and once it became clear to the president and to the White House. That this was going to become public this game was going to become public only then. To the president nine states released the military aid and asked for that White House meeting that Ukraine successfully sought that is still not happened to this stage. Now. What does this mean for Americans why should they care. About what the president did visa V Ukraine why should they care indeed about Ukraine. First of all this is not about Ukraine. This is about our democracy this is about our national security this is about where the American people. Have a right to expect that the president I states is gonna act of their interests. With their security in mind and not for some illicit personal or political reason. So America should care deeply about what the press in nine states is betraying their trust in him. Betraying the fat oath that he took to the constitution. To protect our country and defend its institutions. So. We should care about this we must care about this and if we don't care about this week and on will be assured. The president will be back at it doing this all over again. Because indeed he already hats. First there was the invitation to Russia. To interfere in our last Election Day Russia if you're listening. Tack carries emails and indeed later that day they tried to do exactly that. But then there was the use of this official. Power to compel another country Ukraine to interfere. In a 20/20 election and even after. Even after our investigation began even after the impeachment inquiry began. There was president Donald Trump out on the White House lawn once again making it abundantly clear that he wanted Ukraine to investigate the Biden's. And what's more he won and other countries to interfere in our election as well and that China. Should also investigate the Biden's. This is the result of a president who believes that he is beyond indictment. Beyond impeachment and beyond any form of accountability and indeed above the law. And that is a very dangerous thing for this country to have an unethical president who believes there are above the law. The question now. And what does congress do about this. One of the other very important. Elements of our report today. Which goes beyond the president's misconduct with Ukraine. Goes to the president's obstruction of the congress of a coequal branch of government. And I want to underscore also the seriousness. Of this misconduct. Because the president informed every department for which we sought records the State Department. The office of management budget which has the records about the withholding of the aid the Defense Department his own White House personnel. Refuse to turn over a single document and answer to congressional subpoenas. The president instructed witnesses not to appear. The president used his office and has bully pulpit to try to intimidate witnesses. If that congress allows a president who so fully and allegedly obstructed the work of congress even involving an impeachment investigation. Into the president's on this conduct. Then we are begging for more of the same. We are signaling to any future president that can gauge and it whatever corruption malfeasance. Or negligence. And they are beyond accountability. And to my GOP colleagues. They need to consider. That when we have a democratic president are they willing to say in answer to there. Oversight. That a president may simply refuse. Because if they are in if we do we it will mean that the balance of power. Between our branches of government will be fundamentally altered and altered for the worse. It will mean to that future corruption. Malfeasance and incompetence will be far more likely. Than it is today. The facts here. Are really not seriously contested. Indeed the testimony of the witnesses. Was remarkably consistent. And you might be forgiven having watched the hearings. And watch the reaction of the members of the two parties to the tests were these witnesses. If you thought that there were two different hearings going on at the same time. This points out another danger that the founding fathers. A were all too aware of and that is the danger. Of except it excessive factionalism. That is that a political party may become so wedded. To a present of their own party. That they're unwilling to do their constitutional duty. But I firmly believe. That. If one party. Relinquishes its responsibility. To the constitution into their oath and does not relieve us of our obligation to the same. And I hope that every member of the house and the senate. Whether these proceedings go Ford in the house or they don't. Will keep in mind their duty is to the constitution. Not to the person of the president. That ought to be our guiding principle. To. Finally. I think what's presented to us here. Is really. So aptly. Summed up in what the president's own chief of staff. Had to say when he informed the country that yes indeed they had withheld military aid to get this political investigation. He told us to get over. To get over. That is what the president does we should just get over it. Pisses essentially what he was saying. So we need to just get used to the idea. Of a corrupt president and get over. Him. And so we will have to decide that given that the evidence that this was conduct is so clear an uncontested are we prepared to just get over. Or are we prepared to say that henceforth we must expect from this president and those who follow. That there will be a certain amount of corruption. In which the national security of the country will be compromise. In which the oath of the office will mean that much less. In which. The belief in the rule of law in the United States will be that much less. Is that what we're simply too. Get over or get used to. Well I for one don't think we should get over this. I don't think we should get used to this I don't think that's what the founders this country had in mind. And indeed I think that when they prescribed a remedy. This kind of conduct by a person I'm states putting his own personal political interest. Above the interest of the American people. Was exactly what if prescribed a remedy. As extraordinary as the remedy of impeachment. And so we have a very difficult decision ahead of us to make. And I have every confidence that the Judiciary Committee in consultation. With the entire caucus and her leadership. Well not only receive this report. As well as the reports of others. And make a proper determination about whether articles of impeachment or warranted. Without I'm happy they're responding to questions and give states which we view them. Obtained cellphone records that are in this report and what are they tell you you didn't learn how to rise from route one or multiple parties. But certainly the phone records show that. There was considerable coordination among the parties including the White House. Coordination. And the smear campaign against ambassador Ivanovic. Which cleared the way for the three amigos to take over significant part of Ukraine policy. Coordination in the execution of that policy. And that that this was indeed a continue on that began. Even prior to the recall of the ambassador. Now geared your question gets to a very important points which is there is more investigative work to be done. One of the issues that we are looking into is did this scheme began far earlier. Then we first understood. Was the scheme in fact put in place to try to pressure the last president of Ukraine where Shiancoe. And his corrupt a prosecutor general lute Sankoh in two deducting these same investigations. And was that planned. Put into turmoil and chaos when this new reformers a Lynn ski. And surged in the polling and ultimately won that presidency. That is something we continue to investigate. I and that is something that these phone records also shed light on. But. Even as we believe that we cannot wait because the president's efforts to secure intervention the next election. Persist. We continue our investigation and and we will just yes. Grip mr. Solomon's words and pins you supported teachers. Senate moving him from office. I'm gonna reserve any kind of a public judgment on that. Until I have a chance to consult with my colleagues. What our leadership. And I think this really needs to be a decision that we all make as a body. Assortment a continue to reserve judgment but I edit as you can tell. I am gravely concerned. That if we merely accept. Yes that we invite anomaly further corruption. Of our elections by this president but will we also invited of the next president. So I am keenly aware of the significance of the press and we set in whatever direction we move. And I am also very strongly guided by the fact that it. One of the seminal moments in this scheme took place the day after Bob Mueller testified the day after Donald Trump thought. That the last investigation was over he began the next. Significant step in a new course of misconduct. Ever served yet chairman. Here. But hear me. Well you know I say a couple things first of all. As I mentioned a we continue investigate whether the scheme began earlier than expected but the scheme also involved the blast president of Ukraine. But look. We have provided overwhelming evidence in this report. Of a scheme to pressure the current president of Ukraine to conduct these political investigations. What will it move others if we're able to show that. This was not the first time this was the second tough. I think what we have produced in in remarkable. Short order. Is so overwhelming that it ought to be presented to the Judiciary Committee now without any further delay. If we do uncover additional evidence and and we do learn more every day. We will feel free to file supplemental reports to the Judiciary Committee. But there is I think grave risk to the country with waiting until we have every last fact when we already know enough about the presence misconduct. To make a responsible judgment about whether we think that's compatible with the office of the presence and yes. And there you have it chairman Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee who led this impeachment investigation releasing a more than 300 page report making the case you know what he says is overwhelming evidence of the president abused his power obstructed justice. In the scheme to subvert US foreign policy and put the president's personal. And political interests above the national interest. The US he is now saying that that report will be voted on by House Intelligence Committee tonight as Judiciary Committee will begin drafting articles of impeachment hearings. Tomorrow and of course this is happening. As the president is overseas now in London now meeting actually with the queen and a NATO meeting had died Buckingham Palace want to go to our chief White House correspondent. Jon Karl there in London and of course the president has already been out in advance of this report coming out today responding to it. He sure has George clearly very much front and center in his mind and he's faced several questions off from reporters on this again it in advance. All of this report coming out the president had some very harsh words for Adam Schiff. Actually calling him a maniac and very sick. And repeated what he has said so many times before. That he didn't absolutely nothing wrong. Would all of this we also. Have him very actually Lee George looking forward to the senate trial as if there it is a given that there will. Be a senate trial and therefore an impeachment. He was asked if he would allow our mic mall baby Mike Pompeo and other White House officials. To testify. And he said absolutely not as part of this house process but when it with me to the senate where the Republicans. Would have more of a role in setting the rules. He predicted it would be a fair process and said he would allow those officials to testify again I would. Believe that. When we see added the president promised that throughout the Muller investigation it was the same vigor seniority as Grossman is also in fact. Then the fact that Mike Pompeo make mall rainy. And ask you guys are John Bolton had not testified as one of the key facts the judge did Adam should sites in the obstruction articles here. Exactly and end right here on page three and a summary he he names an agency says vice the vice president secretary of state act she stuck. Secretary of energy and others were either knowledgeable or active participants in this. And shipped to saying that this was an unprecedented campaign of obstruction so really laying the ground work not using in the language right now. Bribery treason or crimes at my and my intention demeanor exactly. Hinting at the charges that certainly will come and I do want to just go back some one thing that shifts at because they do think it's important I think. The viewers and Americans it at across this country. Get lost in this long process and Schiff said this is why it matters because this is not about Ukraine this is about whether the president of the United States is acting for you. On your behalf or on his behalf day advance his own personal interest. And if it happens it and if it has happened and it has happened he says it will happen again some that's why people should care about the. His chairmanship so there's a pattern the president letter Russia back in 2016 Ukraine and China. Here in 2019.
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