Despite closed-door proceedings that had been ongoing for at least a month, House Democrats forged ahead Thursday with a formal vote on an impeachment resolution.
Most of the witnesses Democrats have called thus far have testified in relation to a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Democrats allege the president pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Republicans have complained that the process is unfair, claiming that those who have been allowed to attend the closed-door hearings have been shut down when they attempted to ask questions. Thursday’s vote was intended to give more legitimacy to the process by allowing the minority party to call witnesses.
The vote passed largely along party lines — two Democrats voted against and former Republican, now independent Michigan Rep. Justin Amash voted with the majority. But the days leading up to that vote were replete with secret hearings, leaked witness statements, media hits from all sides, pushback from President Trump and no shortage of hot takes.
The Daily Caller wades through the most recent stories to break down the most important details and new information.
The key players:
- Ukrainian Envoy William Taylor: “Taylor, who served as ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, said in his opening statement that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, told him that Trump wanted Zelensky to open investigations into Burisma and the Bidens in exchange for both the release of military aid to Ukraine, as well as a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Zelensky.”
- Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the charge hen Republicans demanded access to a closed-door hearing.
WATCH: here’s the video of when 2 dozen GOP members, led by @mattgaetz entered the secure hearing room (SCIF) to interrupt witness testimony in the #ImpeachmentInquiry as they demand access, despite not being committee members. They’re complaining it’s a “Soviet-style process”. pic.twitter.com/8KddYz3r9D
— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) October 23, 2019
- Timothy Morrison, former Senior Director of European Affairs at the White House: “The White House’s top official for European affairs told Congress on Thursday that he was not concerned that ‘anything illegal’ was discussed during the July 25 phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart that is at the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. ‘I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,’ he said in an opening statement.”
The White House response:
President Trump has remained true to form, referring to the impeachment proceedings as a “witch hunt” in the same vein as the Mueller investigation. He has also been adamant in his insistence that his phone call with Zelensky was “perfect” and that he did nothing wrong.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released an official statement following the vote on Thursday:
The president has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people.
The hot takes:
- President Trump strayed from his usual narrative, referring to impeachment proceedings as a “lynching.” The backlash was swift until archived videos showed a number of Democrats — including 2020 hopeful Joe Biden — had referred to Clinton’s 1998 impeachment using the exact same term.
- Republican Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise called the impeachment proceedings “Soviet-style,” joining Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in arguing that the new House resolution on impeachment did nothing to make the process more fair or transparent. “No rights for the minority unless the chair so designates,” Scalise said Thursday. “In fact, in this resolution it allows the chair to veto even the ability for the president to have legal counsel in the room. If the chair chooses at his whim they can kick out the president’s legal counsel.”
- Geraldo Rivera called the impeachment resolution “bullsh*t,” adding, “Hearing Democrats talking about their ‘solemn responsibility’ makes me gag.”
Hearing Democrats talking about their “solemn responsibility” makes me gag. It’s bullshit. They failed with the Russia hoax, then dropped that 2 1/2 year $45 million crusade when they discovered another hook. @realDonaldTrump’s #Ukraine call was sucky. Sucky ain’t a high crime.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) October 31, 2019
- Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said the impeachment resolution was too little too late, saying, “You can’t undo what they have done” with regard to unfair hearings and the lack of substantive due process. “This is such a sham and been such a sham from the beginning.”
- Adam Schiff told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Fox News’ primetime lineup may be among the main reasons the president hasn’t already been forced to resign in the way that former President Richard Nixon was. “The president now has Fox [News] prime time, and that allows his supporters to live in this alternate fact world and, frankly, I think if Richard Nixon had had Fox [News] prime time, he would have never been forced to leave office. That’s what we’re up against, an information environment in which you can live in a world devoid of facts and that’s a world, frankly, that is very suitable for a president like this.”
- Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said that House Democrats were really impeaching Trump “for Charlottesville, for getting elected, and for being Donald Trump. It has less to do with the call and more to do with that they can’t stand him. That is not grounds for impeachment.”
According to the Trump campaign, donors appear unworried by the imminent impeachment.
Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment resolution day turned into a MASSIVE fundraising day for @realDonaldTrump.
✅ $3 MILLION raised online alone in one day.
✅ That makes $19 MILLION in October online alone!
Impeachment sham is backfiring already!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) November 1, 2019
A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News suggests the president may have an uphill battle, however. According to that poll, 56% of women and 18% of Republicans now favor impeaching and removing President Trump.
Check back next week for the latest up-to-the-minute information, commentary and related content.
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