Republicans 'can't defend the president's behaviors': Dem Intel. Committee member

Reps. Jim Himes and Lee Zeldin join Jonathan Karl on "This Week" to discuss the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
10:13 | 10/13/19

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Transcript for Republicans 'can't defend the president's behaviors': Dem Intel. Committee member
That is worth a million dollars. A vote in the full house and a vote were authorized would you cooperate? We would if they gave us our rights. It's time to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry. They want a fight? Let's arm ourselves with the full power of congress. President trump and Democrat John garamendy. They weigh in on whether the house should formally vote to start the impeachment inquiry. I'm joined by Republican congressman Lee Zeldin and congressman Jim Himes. Congressman Himes, let's start with you. We heard from ambassador Marie yovanovitch, somebody who testified to your committee. Despite the fact that the white house ordered her not to do so, tell us how important is she to this inquiry. She's very important to one of the parts of the inquiry. Apart from the president holding up aid to Ukraine, expecting to get a commitment that there would be an investigation of his political opponent, the moving of that transcript to the secret server, the third piece that's deeply concerning is a united States ambassador who mere weeks after she was asked to extend her tour for a year, is then summarily told to get on the next plane to Washington to be removed from her post for what appears to be Giuliani's effort with his various minions to achieve whatever aims Giuliani was trying to achieve in Ukraine. This has nothing to do with the United States foreign policy interests, but the president's personal interests and Rudy Giuliani's interests. She's very important. She's an example of abusing the American public trust in favor of narrow objectives. Congressman, why is this all happening behind closed doors? Why the secrecy? This is not a classified deposition. Why not do it out in the open? First of all, all transcripts will be scrubbed for classified information and made available for the American public to see. There's two reasons why these depositions are happening behind closed doors. One reason is when you're talking to ambassadors and other U.S. Government officials who have regularly had access to classified information, you need to be able to talk about that and then say this has to be redacted because it involved classified information. That's the most important reason. The second reason is, when you're interviewing people around the president, political supporters of the president, you don't want them to be able to look at each other's testimony and coordinate testimony. These are a group of people who have shown they have no problem whatsoever lying if they think it serves their interests. You don't want to give them the opportunity to look at what they're saying and coordinate their stories. This is an impeachment inquiry. There's so much at stake here. Why shouldn't the white house be able to have someone in there to cross-examine witnesses? Jon, that's not the way this process works. I understand that's the Republican line. Because they can't defend the president's behavior, they're trying to throw up all these procedural things. The reality is this is akin to an indictment. The trial happens in the senate. In the senate there are opposing parties able to cross examine witnesses. The chief justice presides over the trial-like proceeding. Impeachment is more like a grand jury indictments. It happens behind closed doors. Evidence is presented. The question you're asking is what the Republicans are incorrectly saying should be occurring. The trial happens in the senate. Congressman, this much is entirely true. In the previous impeachment inquiries with Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the house held a vote and there were rights afforded to the president's side and to the minority party. Why don't you go forward and hold a vote to formally launch this impeachment inquiry and get the entire house on the record. We may. Remember, again, there's no requirement that that occur. The Republicans -- That's the way it's been done. -- Want people to believe that's true. Well twice in our history when we've had impeachment inquiries. Three times if you count Okay. We've regularly impeached federal judges, impeached other officials without a vote on the floor. I don't much care about the vote on the floor. If there's a vote on the floor, I'll vote for it. The point is it's not required under the rules. There's absolutely no right being denied to the Republicans when we interviewed the ambassador and interview anybody else. Republicans get equal time to ask questions. If there is a trial in the senate, they'll be afforded all the other due process that they have and will always be entitled to. This idea that the process is somehow not fair is just a fiction designed to avoid the question of whether the conduct of the president is good or not. Just to be clear before you go you would be okay seeing a formal vote on the floor of the house? I would be okay -- my own opinion is we ought to take this off the table because it's such a nonissue. There's no doubt in my mind, if Nancy Pelosi does that, she'll have the votes and it will pass, but it's not required. Congressman Himes, thank you for joining us. Thank you. Congressman Zeldin, a lot of Republicans have had a hard time answering a simple question. Do you believe it was appropriate for president trump to ask the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden? Do you think that was an appropriate request? I believe our country should be working together to get to the bottom of what happened whether it's Joe Biden, hunter Biden, there shouldn't be an immunity from scrutiny because Joe Biden is running for president. We're not talking about that. Would you ask a foreign leader to investigate one of your political opponents? You have to answer in this -- I haven't. In this political case the question is what did barisma, Joe Biden and hunter Biden do? I have a huge issue with the fact that hunter Biden with no energy experience gets paid $50,000 a month from a corrupt company solely because he's the vice president's son. The vice president who was the most conflicted guy in the Obama -- This issue with the Ukraine was raised before the president brought it up. It's about the president going to a foreign leader and asking him to investigate a rival. I am also -- That's okay. Just like president trump I'm greatly concerned by that arrangement. It's either illegal or should be illegal what they did. We might have a policy conversation. The president -- Is the president's request of great concern? I believe we should be working together our governments with regard to these allegations, with regards to the company that's been corrupt, with the fact they would hire hunter Biden. The fact that Joe Biden was selected to run point and be in charge of the grants to Ukraine, be in charge of the loans and so much more and go to Ukraine and threaten to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine unless they fire the state prosecutor who was prosecuting these individuals. Those are all facts. There are people in the media saying it's been debunked. It's not true. Everything I've said is 100% accurate. I have a problem with that. Let me ask you about the former ambassador to Ukraine. Did you find her to be a credible witness? Sure. I wish that over the course -- there's issues where she contradicted herself during her testimony. I believe that every single word in real time should have been in front of the American public so you knew everything she said. Instead it was -- You're okay with all the transcripts coming out. You want to see Fiona hills next week and all the people the president doesn't want to testify you want those transcripts to be out? The president said there should be a process. There should be a vote for impeachment inquiry. There should be a process. The minority party should have subpoena power. The president should be able to have counsel present and present evidence. There should be a process. Instead what Adam Schiff wants is to get the United States drunk on his favorite cocktail. There's three in greed yents. One, cherry picking leaks, two representing facts, three outside lied. He lied when he gave his opening statement. He lied when he said president trump asked president zelensky to manufacture. It obliterate the fairytale that president trump demanded an investigation open against the Bidens in order to get aid from the United States to Ukraine. It's clear he brought this up when the issue of aid to Ukraine was raised. This is what ambassador Volker's transcript will show you. The president said it was a perfect phone call. Do you think it was a perfect phone call? I think there were great things discussed. Do you believe it was a perfect phone call? I think that conversation -- by the way the only thing that's being criticized -- it's not impeachable. The fact that we're trying to tear down a sitting president -- I have a problem with that. We should be passing usmca and lowering the price of prescription drug prices. We're out of time. Thank you for being with us. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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