Transcript for 'This is a very strong case of bribery': House Intel Democrat on Trump Ukraine call
Let's bring in democratic representative Jackie Speier. A member of the intelligence committee which will conduct the public hearings this week. Thanks so much for joining us. Let me ask you, Robert Mueller's public testimony earlier this year did not galvanize public opinion on the findings of his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 while this is obviously a different allegation how do you make a stronger public case this time? I think for a number of reasons. First of all, Bob Mueller's report was 400 pages long. Had a lot of legalese. This is a straightforward act. The president broke the law. He went on a telephone call with the president of Ukraine and said I have a favor though and then proceeded to ask for an investigation of his rival. And this is a very strong case of bribery because you have an elected official, the president, demanding action of a foreign country in this case, and providing something of value, which is the investigation, and he is withholding aid, which is that official act. And the constitution is very clear. Treason, bribery or acts of omission. In this case, it's clearly one of those. Obviously Republicans would disagree with you. Republicans sent their list of witnesses they want to call as part of the intelligence committee's public impeachment hearings yesterday. It included the whistle-blower and hunter Biden. This is what intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement last night. This inquiry is not and will not serve as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigation into the Bidens or 2016. In a letter to Republicans, Schiff calling the whistle-blower's testimony redundant and unnecessary and would only place their personal safety at grave risk. It doesn't sound like the chairman will allow Biden or the whistle-blower to testify as the Republicans have requested. If you're able to guarantee his or her safety, why shouldn't the whistle-blower testify? Well, the whistle-blower actually provided a document -- he was third hand. We have colonel vindman who was actually on the call who will be in a position I think to testify. You have a much more direct person to speak to about the events. And you have the actual transcript that the president himself provided that is corroboration. So you have -- what we have to prove though is corrupt intent. We prove corrupt intent by showing, first of all, the money was withheld, secondly there was concealment. There's concealment by having that transcript put into a special server. You have concealment because you have persons within the administration who are prevented from testifying. You then go further and you have this diversion by the president by trying to focus on the whistle-blower who legally has a right not to be -- Congresswoman, even though -- -- Shadow government. Even though there may be a legal right, Terry Moran, was saying it's somebody the people might want to hear from. For political benefit is that something you might want to consider having the whistle-blower come forward because the Republicans have made such an issue of this? I think the Republicans are making an issue of anything that they think will give them some gravitas. The only thing that the whistle-blower can say is that he was told by other people about the phone call. We have the other people coming forward to testify. You have direct evidence, not indirect evidence. And the whistle-blower has great risk associated with his life right now. He also has the right under the law, under the whistle-blower statute, to have his whistle-blower complaint filed and for him to be anonymous. We feel very strongly about whistle-blower protections. You said the rules driving the impeachment process are very equal. Yet chairman Schiff can turn down the GOP witnesses and the white house lawyers are not allowed to participate in public hearings before the house intelligence committee. How is that very equal? There are other witnesses the Republicans have requested that I would think the chairman is going to make available to testify. Tim Morrison, Kurt Volker is another. We want to stay focussed on the Ukraine call. Having hunter Biden come in is unrelated to the Ukraine call. That becomes irrelevant. The whistle-blower has protection. As it relates to having the witnesses be questioned by someone within the white house, this can, in fact, happen. The president can have a conclusion he can reach at the end of the actual judiciary committee hearing. All we're asking for is that we receive what we are rightly deserving which is the documentation from state department, all of which has been withheld and primary people like Mulvaney, who is the chief of staff who took direct orders from the president, of course, is using this phony argument of absolute immunity which doesn't exist in the law. We thank you for joining us this morning congresswoman Jackie Speier.
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