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Both parties stand their ground on Trump impeachment case

The House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jerrold

The House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), approved two articles of impeachment Friday. Credit: EPA / Michael Reynolds

House Democrats on Sunday defended the likely impeachment of President Donald Trump, arguing that his actions present a threat to the integrity of the 2020 elections, as Senate Republicans making the Sunday political talk show rounds indicated it was unlikely they would vote to remove the president in a Senate trial.

With the U.S. House expected to take a full vote Wednesday on impeaching Trump, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) told ABC’s “This Week” that despite the lack of bipartisan support for impeachment, the process was necessary to take action against what he described as a “crime in progress against the Constitution and against American democracy.”

“This is a continuing threat to the integrity of our elections now,” Nadler said, referring to Trump’s effort to seek Ukrainian investigations into his Democratic rivals. “This is not a one-off. Impeachment is not a punishment for past behavior.”

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee in a party-line vote approved two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power, stemming from his solicitation of a foreign investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, his leading 2020 Democratic rival; and obstruction of Congress, following Trump’s defiance of congressional subpoenas surrounding his Ukraine dealings.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), addressing the obstruction charge, told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that Trump’s refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking documents and witness testimony from White House and State Department officials could set a dangerous precedent.

"In many respects, I think this is the most serious of the articles because it would fundamentally alter the balance of power and allow for much greater misconduct in the chief executive of the country," Schiff said.

Schiff said if the Republican Party is “prepared to say a president of the U.S. can simply say no to any congressional subpoena and tie up Congress for years in litigation, it is going to have to accept corruption, malfeasance, negligence, misconduct, in any future president, Democrat or Republican.”

Congressional Republicans meanwhile called for a swift trial in the Senate, arguing that weeks of testimony from current and former White House and State Department officials failed to present a convincing argument for impeaching the president. 

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a former CIA analyst who has previously said Trump’s dealings with Ukraine were inappropriate, told CNN’s “State of the Union” while he would like to hear from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and “other” witnesses who refused to testify before lawmakers, he did not believe the evidence presented so far made a compelling case for impeachment.

“You can vote against impeachment and still disagree with some of the policies or some of the behavior,” Hurd said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the Trump’s staunchest supporters, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he supported a speedy trial in the Senate, saying, “I don’t really need to hear a lot of witnesses," while adding that he has "clearly made up my mind."

"I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process, so I don’t need any witnesses," Graham said.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), appearing on ABC's "This Week" said he "fully" intended to follow his Senate oath to remain impartial during an impeachment, but he also raised misgivings about the case for impeachment describing the process as partisan.

“I think this is the beginning of the end for this show trial that we’ve seen in the House," Cruz said.

Graham and Cruz's interviews echoed statements made last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who in a Thursday interview with Fox News, vowed "total coordination" with the White House, and said there was "zero chance" Trump would be removed from office.

Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general now serving as a White House spokeswoman on impeachment matters, defended the coordination between McConnell's office and the White House during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."

"We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we weren't working hand in hand with the Senate to clear the president of this charade," Bondi said, when asked about the appropriateness of the coordination.

Democrats took aim at Senate Republicans for declaring Trump's likely acquittal in the Senate before an actual trial occurs in the chamber, noting that senators are supposed to serve as impartial jurors, hearing testimony and weighing evidence without a predetermined outcome in mind. 

Nadler told “This Week” if Republicans “don’t think there’s sufficient evidence on the record” against Trump, “they should demand” testimony during the Senate trial from White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton and other top Trump aides who have refused to testify.

Schiff, following up on "This Week," argued that Republicans were unwilling to force the White House to comply with the House Democrat subpoenas because they "realize that what’s been presented in the House is already overwhelming, but that there’s more damning evidence to be had.”

"I hope that the senators will insist on getting the documents, on hearing from other witnesses, on making up their own mind, even if there are some senators who have decided out of their blind allegiance to this president that he can do nothing wrong," Schiff said.

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