The leader of the Democrats refused to allow a general election to decide the fate of the president, the House Speaker said to her colleagues in a memo on Nov. 18.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed a suggestion from public impeachment inquiry hearings to “let the election decide” as “weak.”
“That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action because the president is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections,” Pelosi said in a statement the Washington Post shared on Twitter.
House Democrats will continue the investigation and “meet the needs of the American people” through deciding themselves what should happen to Donald Trump. Pelosi admitted she should have made progress for America’s working families instead of trying to impeach the president, and defended her decision by suggesting the president could be a domestic enemy of the state.
“Our first order of business is our oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic,” she said. “As such, we are custodians of the Constitution and, for the people, defenders of our democracy.”
Pelosi also appeared to commend former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch who testified the Barack Obama administration had previously expressed concern about the son of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden (D), Hunter, and his role on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma. Trump’s request to Ukrainian authorities to investigate the connection upset Democrats and ultimately led to the impeachment inquiry.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) believes Yovanovitch’s admission effectively invalidated a key argument House Democrats have used to hold the inquiry.
“So, for the millions of Americans watching, President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful ambassador nominee before her confirmation,” the congresswoman said according to PBS “NewsHour.”
Stefanik also revisited a question Yovanovitch admitted to have prepared for a question and answer session with the then-Obama State Department.
“It wasn’t just generally about Burisma and corruption, it was specifically about Hunter Biden and Burisma and … the way the question was phrased in this model Q&A was ‘What can you tell us about Hunter Biden’s, you know, being named to the board of Burisma?’” Stefanik said. “Yet our Democratic colleagues and the chairman of this committee cry foul when we dare ask that same question that the Obama State Department was so concerned about but we will continue asking it.”
Despite Yovanovitch delivering a major blow to the credibility of the probe, Pelosi insists there are still grounds to continue public hearings with further witnesses on the grounds of suspected “extortion and bribery.”
“The facts are uncontested: that the president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests,” Pelosi said. “We will hear from additional witnesses who will courageously expose the truth and defend our democracy.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioned the approach House Democrats have taken in the investigation, claiming former President Barack Obama (D) had also withheld aid.
“[Obama] was supposed to give lethal aid. Congress said give 300 million [people] lethal aid and he sent them blankets [instead], so presidents since the beginning of time have resisted Congress and there’s been this sort of back and forth jockeying over what is sent,” Paul told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “Presidents have withheld aid for corruption, so I think it is a mistake to say ‘he withheld aid until he got what he wanted.'”
The senator revealed if there were reasonable grounds to suspect there was corruption, Trump was well within his rights to withhold aid to Ukraine.
“If it’s corruption and he believes there to be corruption he has every right to withhold aid, so I think it is a big mistake to argue ‘quid pro quo,'” he said. “It did not have quid pro quo, I know that is what Congress is arguing. I would not make that argument.”