Politics: Lawmakers Dispute Impact of First Public Impeachment Hearings - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Lawmakers Dispute Impact of First Public Impeachment Hearings

19:35  17 november  2019
19:35  17 november  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings

  Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings A group of Senate Democrats is urging top State Department officials to commit that individuals who testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry hearings won't face retaliation over their remarks.Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee's ranking member, sent a letter on Tuesday to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Undersecretary of State Brian Bulatao urging them to publicly commit to protecting department officials who testify from any potential professional blowback.

Two career diplomats will testify Wednesday in the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry. This comes as CBS News polls show more than half of Americans are upset with how both House Democrats and President Trump are handling the inquiry.

Kevin McNamara reports on why the impeachment hearings may be unlikely to change public opinion. After Day One Of Impeachment Hearing , Is Barr Distancing Himself From Trump? | House Holds First Public Impeachment Hearing into Trump: A Closer Look - Продолжительность

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Democrats and Republicans sparred Sunday over whether testimony during the first public impeachment hearings presented evidence of impeachable conduct by President Trump, as Washington prepared for another week of testimony from U.S. diplomats and foreign-policy officials about Ukraine policy decisions that are at the center of the congressional inquiry.

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The hearings demonstrated how “the president of the United States used taxpayer-funded military assistance to pressure a foreign leader to help him in his election campaign,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D., N.Y.) on ABC. “That is solicitation of a bribe, and that is an impeachable offense listed in the Constitution.”

Republicans countered that the hearings hadn’t produced any firsthand witness testimony that would show impeachable conduct by Mr. Trump. Some current and former Trump administration officials who were a part of discussions on Ukraine policy with Mr. Trump have refused to testify.

“No one’s testified that there’s been a quid pro quo, everyone’s got second-, third-hand, fourth-hand information,” Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and vocal defender of Mr. Trump, said on CBS.

“There was never an investigation undertaken; there was never an announcement from [Ukrainian] President Zelensky,” he said. “It didn’t happen.”

Rep. Chris Stewart (R., Utah) disputed the premise that Democrats had strengthened their case against Mr. Trump. “The evidence is crumbling,” he said.

Appearing on the program at the same time, Mr. Maloney asked Mr. Stewart to join him in asking the State Department to release additional evidence, including emails and call records, related to the congressional investigation. “You bet,” said Mr. Stewart, “because I don’t think there’s anything there at all that is going to implicate the president.”

Ivanka Trump Tweets Out Fake de Tocqueville Quote to Bash Impeachment as a ‘Decline of Public Morals’

  Ivanka Trump Tweets Out Fake de Tocqueville Quote to Bash Impeachment as a ‘Decline of Public Morals’ “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.” Those words, Ivanka Trump claimed, were spoken by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. In a Thursday evening tweet, the first daughter used the quotation to bash the impeachment hearings against her father, President Donald Trump.

As the first public impeachment hearing got under way, it was unclear what prompted the timing of Gosar’s message. Asked whether it was intentional, his communications director, Ben Goldey, replied with an equally cryptic comment: All of the tweets pertained to testimony from today’s hearing .

Marie L. Yovanovitch holding a glass of wine © Christy Bowe/Zuma Press Still, Republicans expressed disappointment with how Mr. Trump reacted during the public hearings on Friday. While the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was testifying publicly, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to launch new attacks on her professional competence, prompting accusations of witness intimidation from Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman who is running the proceedings.

“I would have preferred he not provide that type of tweet,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) on NBC on Sunday.

“I find the president’s tweets generally unfortunate,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R., Ohio) on CNN.

The congressional panels handling the impeachment inquiry released transcripts Saturday that provided new details about how senior White House officials felt about the July call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Mr. Trump pressed his counterpart to pursue political investigations that could bolster Mr. Trump’s re-election efforts. That call is central to the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Trump has called his conversation with Mr. Zelensky “perfect” and attacked the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry as a hoax intended to undermine his 2016 election.

But Jennifer Williams, a national-security aide to Vice President Mike Pence who listened in on the call, testified this month that she found the call concerning, according to the transcripts released this weekend. She told lawmakers that she found Mr. Trump’s request for investigations “unusual and inappropriate,” according to the transcript.

Eight more witnesses are set to testify this week in the impeachment inquiry, following three witnesses over two days last week. There will be two hearings on each of Tuesday and Wednesday, and one on Thursday.

“We are unfolding the facts; that’s what an inquiry is about,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an interview broadcast on CBS. “There’s not even a decision made to impeach the president; this is a finding of fact, unfolding of the truth, and then a decision will be made; and that is a decision that goes beyond me,” the California Democrat added.

“If [President Trump] has information that is exculpatory,” she said, “then we look forward to seeing it.”

Members of both parties agreed Sunday that testimony on Wednesday from Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, could be pivotal because he will be the first witness who spoke directly with Mr. Trump about the foreign aid to Ukraine and potential investigations of the Ukrainian gas company where former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board.

Investigators are especially interested in the role Mr Sondland, a former hotelier who was a Trump campaign donor, played as an intermediary between Mr. Trump and senior Ukrainian officials. In revised testimony to impeachment investigators last month, Mr. Sondland acknowledged he recalled telling a top adviser to Mr. Zelensky that the aid was likely conditioned on Ukraine announcing political investigations—a reversal of his initial testimony.

When asked on CNN about whether Mr. Sondland’s conversation with a senior aide to Mr. Zelensky alarmed him, Mr. Turner said, “all of that is alarming and, as I’ve said from the beginning, I think this is not OK. The president of the United States shouldn’t even in the original phone call be on the phone with a president of another country and raise his political opponent.”

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

Ivanka Trump Tweets Out Fake de Tocqueville Quote to Bash Impeachment as a ‘Decline of Public Morals’ .
“A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.” Those words, Ivanka Trump claimed, were spoken by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. In a Thursday evening tweet, the first daughter used the quotation to bash the impeachment hearings against her father, President Donald Trump.

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