Impeach Speech

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, the chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus and one of about 30 House Republicans who stormed a secure hearing room in October to protest an impeachment inquiry addresses the media.

WASHINGTON – Two months of investigation and two weeks of televised hearings do not appear to have changed any minds in Arizona’s congressional delegation about the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The proceedings seem instead to have cemented the opinions of each side, with Republicans calling it an unfair process and Democrats saying the hearings have laid bare the president’s abuse of power.

“Quite frankly, most people are sick of it,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria. “Most people when I go back home, they’re like, ‘This is such a waste of time,’ and they think that Congress is doing absolutely nothing.”

Where Lesko sees a waste of time, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, sees further proof that Trump should be impeached.

“The public hearings provide us with ample evidence into the president’s conduct,” said a statement from Grijalva, one of the first in Congress to call for impeachment. “He abused his power and jeopardized our national security by withholding congressionally appropriated military aid and extorting Ukraine into opening an investigation into a political rival.”

One expert said it is still “too soon to tell” the outcome of the impeachment inquiry, noting that there are still several more steps – and hearings – in the impeachment process. But recent polls show that, for the moment at least, voters appear to be just as set in their ways as lawmakers.

A recent NPR-PBS Newshour-Marist poll showed that 65% of Americans say they cannot imagine any information or circumstances that might change their mind about their position on the impeachment. That online and mobile phone poll contacted 1,124 adults from Nov. 11-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Another poll by Emerson College shows that support for impeachment dipped slightly from 48% in October, before the hearings began, to 43% since, with the biggest drops among independents. The polls of 1,000 or more registered voters had margins of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The impeachment inquiry began after a White House whistleblower raised concerns about a July 25 phone call between Trump and then newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He was seeking both a meeting with Trump at the time and U.S. military aid to deter Russian aggression.

According to a partial transcript of the call, Trump asks Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate claims that Ukraine may have interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He also asked for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible Trump challenger in 2020, and the role of his son, Hunter Biden, on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Critics said that amounted to Trump threatening to withhold aid in exchange for Ukrainian interference in a U.S. election. Trump and his supporters say it was nothing more than the president trying to pressure Ukraine to clean up corruption in its own system.

The report was enough for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call on Sept. 24 for an impeachment inquiry, saying Trump betrayed his oath of office with the Zelensky call. That kicked off several weeks of closed-door hearings by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees.

On Oct. 31, the House voted largely along party lines to approve the process for open impeachment hearings, which started last week and wrapped up Thursday.

Lesko said Thursday that since the inquiry began, she hasn’t found any Republicans in the House who have changed their position on whether the president should be impeached.

“Republican members that are more moderate, that more often than others vote with the Democrats, they are opposed to this too because they see it as an unfair process,” she said.

Lobbying has been intense on both sides. When Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., left an unrelated hearing Wednesday, for example, she was chased by members of Common Defense, a veterans’ group opposed to Trump’s policies.

“We wanted to ask Senator McSally who is an Air Force veteran … if she thought Donald Trump lived up to the oath that he took when he became president,” said Kathryn L. Smith, a Phoenix-based organizer with the group. “We believe he is not doing that and as a commander in chief, we want to hold him accountable for things he has done or not done.”

The group hoped to convince McSally to look at the facts and withhold judgment until articles of impeachment reach the Senate.

Some Arizona lawmakers insist they are doing just that: Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, said Thursday he will wait until the investigation is completed before deciding whether Trump committed an impeachable offense.

Katrina Mulligan, managing director of national security policy at the Center for American Progress, said it is too soon to tell what impact the eight-hour-a-day impeachment hearing coverage might be having on the public.

“One issue is that we don’t have enough information,” Mulligan said. “It will not surprise me if, at the end of the day, the American public is divided along the same lines that we kind of see in the general political dynamic, quite frankly along where they get their news.”

Mulligan also noted that there is still a long way to go in the process. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said in a closing statement Thursday that the committee will decide whether Trump’s actions “are acts compatible with the office of the presidency.”

If the three committees involved in the investigation confirm articles of impeachment, those would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would decide whether to forward the articles to the full House for an impeachment vote.

If that happened, the impeachment would move to the Republican-controlled Senate, which would hold a trial and determine whether or not to remove Trump from office.

For Lesko, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, it means the potential of a long December in Washington deliberating the articles of impeachment.

“I’m anticipating I’m not going to have any Christmas vacation except for Christmas Day itself,” Lesko said. “I’m expecting that we’ll be here in Judiciary Committee probably morning until late night in these impeachment hearings, debating back and forth.”

For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.

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(16) comments

Mr Lemons

April 6, 2014 – August 2019

4,326 Ukrainian military and 3,339 civilians killed. Almost all are killed during years 2014-2016 (the dreaded Obama years)

Sept. 18, 2014

President Barack Obama stuck to his refusal to provide weapons or other lethal military gear to Ukraine, despite a passionate appeal for help in fighting pro-Russia rebels by Ukraine's president. As he relayed to Putin, "I'll have more flexibility after the election."

2017

Trump announced his intent to provide the Javelin, and a Republican Congress approved an assistance package of 210 missiles and 37 launchers, together worth $47 million.

May 2018

Ukraine had already purchased 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers from the U.S. for an estimated at $47 million.

July 03, 2019

Hold placed on Ukrainian military aid due to corruption concerns.

July 25, 2019

President asks Ukraine a favor to look into Crowdstrike servers (More than likely a conspiracy theory, but why not investigate? The FBI didn’t). Also, later in the conversation, asks Ukraine to look into corruption, including opening an investigation into the Bidens. No mention of military aid in the conversation.

July 25, 2019

Lt. Col. Vindman scampers to the future “whistleblower” to relate what he thought he had heard. Also, tries to edit (tamper with) the transcription of the call, but was unsuccessful.

August 2019

“Whistleblower” meets with Schiff’s staff to get guidance on how to handle “leak” of President’s phone call.

September 10, 2019

Mr. Schiff requests “whistleblower” interpretation of leaked information.

September 11, 2019

President Trump releases military aid to Ukraine. He had until September 30, 2019, because the government’s fiscal year ends then and the money, if not used, would have to be “reappropriated.”

September 24, 2019

Intelligence community IG uploads “new” secretly changed whistleblower form that eliminates requirement for first-hand evidence and back dates those changes to August.

September 24, 2019

President Trump releases transcript of phone and Mr. Schiff wets himself.

VA172

Waiting for the dreaded reply. lol

HwyRovr

Yeah lil Si...oops. Will surely post something typically stupid.

simon1dog

Of all things, President Obama offered them (the Ukrainian's) "Blankets".

HwyRovr

Between 2014 and 2016, the United States committed more than $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine. Under Obama, the federal government started the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which sent U.S. military equipment to the country.

HwyRovr

TIMELINE

1) 15 February 2019 – Congress passes federal budget that included military aide for Ukraine. Liar-in-chief signs and vows to release military aid on 28 February.

2) 28 February 2019 – Liar-in-chief does not release military aid funds and offers no explanation.

3) 1 January thru 25 July 2019 – Sixty-five (65) Ukrainian soldiers killed fending off Russian invaders.

4) 25 July 2019 – In return for releasing military air the liar-in-chief asks Ukraine for a “favor”: Publicly investigate Joe Biden for corruption.

5) August 2019 – Russian invaders kill seven (7) more Ukrainian soldiers.

6) 9 September 2019 – Inspector General notifies Congress of whistle-blower report.

7) 10 September 2019 – Adam Schiff sends letter to the DNI (Director of National Intelligence) requesting the whistle-blower report.

8) 11 September 2019 – Liar-in-chief releases military aid to Ukraine and says, “See” Ukraine got their aid. So I did nothing wrong.”

“Obama withheld foreign aid and military assistance from the Ukranians (sic)…”. In 2014 the Obama administration refused to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine after they ousted its pro-Russia president. However, the United States under Obama provided extensive military and security aid but not lethal weapons. Obama rejected a request from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for lethal aid, though the White House approved a $53 million aid package that included vehicles, patrol boats, body armor and night-vision goggles, as well as humanitarian assistance.

tomgarven

Hopefully we will soon be able to see the Articles of Impeachment and the actions taken by our President which has lead most Democrats to the conclusion that our president has violated his oath of office.

Only then will we be able to judge for ourselves if the actions of our President have violated the intent and meaning of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

HwyRovr

Sadly no amount of information proving the scum is guilty will change the minds of Republiscums. He will be impeached - that is a fact.

HavasuGuy

I agree Tom. I trust that our constitutional process of impeachment will work to protect America no matter which way it ends. I don't understand why anyone would be opposed to it.

Sonny

[thumbup]

simon1dog

In my opinion the impeachment "sham" has only strengthened President Trump's chances for reelection. Thank you Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi!

HwyRovr

Oh good, another useless Republiscum, Lesko, whines. The facts are irrefutable and the liar-in-chief will be impeached.

TIMELINE

1) 15 February 2019 – Congress passes federal budget that included military aide for Ukraine. Liar-in-chief signs and vows to release military aid on 28 February.

2) 28 February 2019 – Liar-in-chief does not release military aid funds and offers no explanation.

3) 1 January thru 25 July 2019 – Sixty-five (65) Ukrainian soldiers killed fending off Russian invaders.

4) 25 July 2019 – In return for releasing military air the liar-in-chief asks Ukraine for a “favor”: Publicly investigate Joe Biden for corruption.

5) August 2019 – Russian invaders kill seven (7) more Ukrainian soldiers.

6) 9 September 2019 – Inspector General notifies Congress of whistleblower report.

7) 10 September 2019 – Adam Schiff sends letter to the DNI (Director of National Intelligence) requesting the whistleblower report.

8) 11 September 2019 – Liar-in-chief releases military aid to Ukraine and says, “See” Ukraine got there aid. So I did nothing wrong.”

dougleonard6

Again Rovr is not looking into facts, just he said, she said.... Poor Rovr,,, brain dead

HwyRovr

"HwyRovr" - Just how stupid are you? All inquiries into any crime consist of "he said, she said" as the facts are garnered. But never worry your scummy hero will be impeached and earn yet another asterisk next to his name in the history books. Poor Dougie, dumber than a box of Palin's.

JVW

Doug That's it in a nut shell. No-pun intended. The news Media is out for the under informed and make up their own facts to push the agenda. They most often pick 2 sets of 6-10 words in two pages taken totally out of context.

simon1dog

JVW - [thumbup]

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