White House counsel 'invited to participate' in next hearings: House Judiciary Dem

Judiciary Committee and Intelligence Committee member Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., is interviewed on "This Week."
7:37 | 12/01/19

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Transcript for White House counsel 'invited to participate' in next hearings: House Judiciary Dem
Joining me now is Val demings, democratic congresswoman. She serves on the house intelligence and judiciary committee overseeing the impeachment hearings. Congresswoman we know the intelligence committee will send its report to the judiciary. Do you expect firm recommendations and ether the evidence be included? Good morning. I do believe that all evidence will be included in that report. The judiciary committee can make the necessary decisions that they need to. As you know, this week we will begin the critical process of hearing from constitutional experts to really lay out the ground for impeachment of the president. As we turn over that report to judiciary, we still have a lot of work to do. We know the witnesses for Wednesday's hearing will be legal experts on impeachment. Any sense on how many future hearings your committee will hold or do you expect to call any fact witnesses or recall? We haven't made the decision on future hearings or future witnesses. Our main focus is to have the president and his counsel, who you know are given the same privileges as president Nixon and president Clinton had to participate and engage in the impeachment process. Even to the point if we have executive sessions on the judiciary committee, they're invited to participate. We're hoping the president and his counsel will take advantage of that opportunity. If he has not done anything wrong, we're certainly anxious to hear his explanation of that. Have you got any indication the white house will be involved or the counsel? We have not. As you may know, chairman Nadler sent a letter. I know they've been in conversation with the white house and counsel. They sent a letter again inviting the president, making sure he and his counsel are aware of the opportunities to fully engage and participate in this process. We are certainly hoping that he will, as I said, take advantage of that opportunity. As I just talked about with Dan, you have the mcgahn ruling which could affect Bolton and Mulvaney. Why not wait to see if they could testify? What we have requested are documents from the witnesses that you have just mentioned, the state department, chief of staff. We want to have those documents to review those documents that will help to lead any interview or testimony from those participants. As you well know, they've not been willing to obey lawful subpoenas that have been issued. We're not going to play games with them. The American people are not going to, I think, tolerate any games. If they're serious about obeying lawful subpoenas, they need to respond to the request for documents and obey those lawful subpoenas. Couldn't their accounts be critical to understanding what's happening? Again, why not wait? Well, as I said they have not been willing to really comply with lawful subpoenas. They want to, what I believe, is play a political game and tie the process up in the courts as long as they can and run the clock out. We're not willing to play that game. We have requested documents. Those documents as you well know are critical and very valuable to the work before us. So if they comply with the document request, I believe it shows a good faith effort on their part to further cooperate with the inquiry. Congresswoman, you've seen all the facts and evidence laid out on these impeachment hearings. No witness has personally testified that the president directly conditioned the release of military aid on investigations into his political opponents. Does that missing element really undermine the democratic argument? Let me tell you, the best witness, the most effective, the most valuable witness that we have is the president of the United States himself. When president zelensky on July 25th, on the infamous call, mentioned the fact he was about ready to purchase additional weaponry, president trump responded but I need you to do me a favor though. He then went into to what the conditions will be. We know that every witness we talked to, none of the witnesses we talked to have been directly involved or not were able to give any reasonable, rational explanation for holding up the military aid. We do know that the aid was only released after congressional committees started asking questions and the whistle-blower came forward. Let's go back to that phone call. Given the president was ultimately unsuccessful in the quid pro quo as Republicans argue, the Ukrainians never opposed the investigation, the aid ultimately flowed and trump met with zelensky at the U.N., should Democrats consider a censure instead of impeachment? You're going to make me go back to my law enforcement experience. I had an opportunity in 27 years to deal with a lot of people who attempted to rob a bank, attempted to burglarize a house, attempted to car jack an individual. We didn't say since you weren't successful, we caught you, you weren't successful so let's just let you go and forget it. We have an obligation given to us by the constitution. I know it's one the American people want us to uphold. We're going to do the work before us. Congresswoman -- The fact that the president got caught in the act does not relieve him of being held accountable for the wrong doing that he has engaged in. Congresswoman, you talk about public opinion. Public opinion on support for impeachment has not increased through the hearing process. There's not been a single house Republican to join the Democrats in this. How do you really move forward given what you said about the public? Let me say we're going to do the work before us just like as a law enforcement officer I never took a poll before I lived up to my responsibilities based on the oath that I took. I have been extremely troubled and disappointed by the behavior of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Many of them I work on committees with. I've worked on other legislation with. I know them. I have the utmost respect for them. But their refusal to hold this president accountable and to clearly go into their partisan corner and protect this president at any and all costs is troubling to me and I believe troubling to the American people. Thank you so much for joining us this morning congresswoman demings. Thank you.

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

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