House Republicans again argued that President Donald Trump didnt conduct an impeachable offense and said Democrats are trying to eject him for political reasons.
“Its all political,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, on Monday morning.
“Whats their motive?” Collins asked. “Its November 2020. Because they cannot get over President Trump is the president of the United States and they dont have a candidate who can beat him.”
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Collins repeatedly highlighted that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is absent from the Judiciary Committee hearing despite him being the main architect of the impeachment inquiry.
“Adam Schiff, when he told us he wasnt going to come, instead, hide behind his staff, he also told us that were going to keep investigating,” he said. “Unfortunately, today, the witness who is supposed to be the star witness chose to take a pass, and let his staff answer for him,” Collins added.
Republicans have said Schiff should appear as a fact witness because he allegedly could shed light on the inquirys start. Several weeks after the inquiry was launched, Schiff admitted that his staff had contact with the whistleblower at the center of the inquiry before the anonymous person made his complaint about Trump—what GOP members have said is tantamount to collusion.
The House Judiciary Committees chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), in his opening statement, said that a number of witnesses in Novembers Intelligence Committee hearings have corroborated some of the whistleblowers claims. Therefore, he added, the person shouldnt be called to testify.
The chairman also noted that Trump and his legal team has not appeared before the hearing.
“The record before us is clear on this point as well: We invited the President to participate in this hearing, to question witnesses, and to present evidence that might explain the charges against him. President Trump chose not to show,” Nadler said.
The White House has repeatedly said the impeachment inquiry is a sham and participation would give it the appearance of a legitimate process.
Nadler also gaveled down and refused to hear several requests from GOP committee members, including Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking member, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
House Democrats have said Trump abused his power when he asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden. They have alleged he withheld millions of dollars in security aid to the country, which was denied by both Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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